Creative Assembly’s Total War team is now almost four times larger than it was when developing the original Rome: Total War. Player expectations have advanced in tandem with technology, and the bar keeps rising: from Shogun’s jagged sprites to Rome II’s grime-streaked, battle-hardened soldiers, there’s always more that can be done to render historical warfare with the depth of detail that has come to define the series.

 
 
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I made a promise to myself when I was about to start this review: no battle reports. I wasn't going to write sexy, sensual descriptions of what PlanetSide 2's enormous, chaotic, 2,000-player sci-fi warfare is capable of. There was a very good reason for this, and it's probably not what you're thinking: I just wasn't sure I could do it justice. Over the past week I've been taken aback by the scale of this game. What it encourages players to enact, on the ground and in the skies, and how well it scales the battles is rather extraordinary. It's laying a late claim for my game of the year. 


 
 
Hitman: Absolution is two games in one -- a disappointing sequel to its predecessor, Blood Money, and a flawed but enjoyable murder simulator in its own right. Batman has his gadgets. Corvo has his magic. Agent 47 can kill you six different ways with nothing but his iconic red tie, and leave without anyone ever realizing. It's just a shame that the ultimate predator himself has to fall prey to his creators' thirst for mainstream appeal, in an overly cinematic adventure tied down by how much more it could have been.

 
 
Criterion Games' Need For Speed: Most Wanted made me forget the disappointment of Black Box's NFS The Run from my first virtual turn of the key. Although it misfires on occasion, this over-the-top arcade racer still plants a silly grin on my face, whether I'm racing AI Corvettes, breaching police roadblocks, or nitrous-boosting past desperate online opponents. It does a lot of things very right.

 

Hawken

12/24/2012

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They may look like unwieldy lumps of steel, but Hawken’s war machines are surprisingly agile. Meteor’s free-to-play shooter gives you control of a twenty-foot-tall mechanical warrior, but it’s not another MechWarrior: the maps here are small, and the combat snappy.

 
 
Earlier this week, we updated you on the status of an upcoming Assassin's Creed film by Sony Pictures. Whenever we hear news of a gaming-based movie getting the green light in Hollywood, our minds start racing in an effort to fill the roles. Here are our picks for the cast of Assassin's Creed.


 
 
With Halo 4, the newly-crafted development studio 343 Industries is attempting to build the next great adventure for the legendary Master Chief. We had a chance to visit their office (located in the old Bungie studio) and discuss their approach on how to take the Halo series in a bold, new direction while remaining true to the past 10 years of excellence.

Watch the video below to see studio creative director Josh Holmes and Halo 4 executive producer Kiki Wolfkill share their thoughts on the development of the new Halo trilogy and what 343 Industries has in store for the fans.



 
 
I started and finished the Infamous vampire-themed DLC today, and was surprised by how much my opinion about it has changed since this morning. Going in, I was skeptical. It’s a non-canon side-story, it doesn’t use your Infamous 2 save data, and you don’t have access to Cole’s full range of abilities. That may sound damning, but now that I’ve completed Festival of Blood, I can say that it is among the best post-release additions to a game I’ve ever seen.


 
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