Tag Archive: First-person shooter

Below, we list the most noteworthy games expected to arrive in 2013. Release dates are provided when known.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Watch trailer(s)
Sega | February 12 for 360 / PS3 / PC (tbd for Wii U)

Developed by Gearbox Software (BorderlandsDuke Nukem Forever), the first Aliens-themed console game since 2010 has been in development for five years—and was included in our 2012 game preview article a year ago—but finally has a firm release date set for next month. The first-person shooter takes place between the second and third films, with locations including the second movie’s planet LV-426. The story comes from Battlestar Galacticascribes Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Watch trailer(s)
Frictional Games | tbd early 2013 exclusively for PC

The “Amnesia” in the title (rather than the porcine portion) reveals that Machine for Pigs is a sequel to the well-received 2011 PC survival horror game Amnesia: The Dark Descent 85, though the new game comes from a different development team (thechineseroom, makers ofDear Esther 75) and features completely new characters, a different setting (Victorian England, 60 years after the first game), and revised gameplay. The changes are intended to add some unpredictability for returning players without eliminating what made the first title so successful.

Bayonetta 2 
Nintendo | tbd 2013 exclusively for Wii U

The 2009 action title Bayonetta was released for the 360 90 and PS3 87, but, in a bit of a coup for Nintendo, this long-delayed sequel will now be a Wii U exclusive. Don’t expect the violent hack-and-slash action to be toned down just because the game will be appearing on a Nintendo console. And if returning developer Platinum Games actually manages to find a clever use for the Wii U’s unique GamePad controller, it could go a long way toward silencing recent criticism about the console move.

Beyond: Two Souls Watch trailer(s)
Sony | tbd 2013 exclusively for PS3

Three years ago, the PS3 title Heavy Rain 87 brought something new to gaming, with a cinematic experience heavy on narrative and visuals rather than running, shooting, and jumping. Though the game earned plenty of critical acclaim, some gamers found the lack of user-controlled action disappointing. Developer Quantic Dream’s follow-up, Beyond: Two Souls, looks like it could address some of those concerns while serving as one of the PS3’s most technically sophisticated games to date. Featuring a motion-capture performance by Ellen Page (Juno), the new title is a supernatural/psychological thriller and emotional character drama centering on over a decade in the life of a young woman with a ghost-like companion. Few other titles this year have the gaming press so excited.

BioShock Infinite Watch trailer(s)
2K Games | March 26 for 360 / PS3 / PC

Easily the most anticipated game of the first quarter of 2013, the third title in the BioShock series follows after two of the most acclaimed and imaginative games on current-generation platforms: BioShock (96 on the 360) and BioShock 2 (88). Whereas the last game took place in an underwater city, Infinite (also a FPS) aims higher, with its action unfolding in an impressive mid-air metropolis (complete with a rollercoaster-like rail system) suspended by hot air balloons and blimps. While the game is principally set in 1912, a rift in the space-time continuum means that you should expect plenty of anachronisms (as well as some scenes set in the more recent past). Developers Irrational Games have also promised an ending unlike anything you’ve seen in previous games.

Company of Heroes 2 Watch trailer(s)
THQ | tbd early 2013 exclusively for PC

The WWII-set Company of Heroes earned an impressive 93 upon its release in 2006, which makes this sequel eagerly awaited by real-time strategy fans. While the Second World War is again the setting, the action moves to the Eastern front—with players controlling the actions of the Soviet Red Army—while technology improvements include True Sight (with soldiers now realistically able to see only what is in front of them and not obscured) and graphics that are better than ever.

Crysis 3 Watch trailer(s)
Electronic Arts | February 19 for 360 / PS3 / PC

Crytek’s sandbox-style FPS series returns with a third chapter that advances the action forward in time by over two decades, to the year 2047, when New York City has been covered by a dome and turned partially into a rainforest. Note that despite early rumors of a Wii U version, the game will definitely not be ported to Nintendo’s new console.

Dead Space 3 Watch trailer(s)
Electronic Arts | February 5 for 360 / PS3 / PC

While the first two Dead Space horror-themed shooters received an 89 and 90 (for their 360 versions), the early reaction to previews of this third installment were mixed, with some fans unhappy with the emphasis on the game’s new cooperative multiplayer mode, which will include story elements unavailable in single-player. Whether you are playing singly or with a friend online, protagonist Isaac Clarke returns (joined by newcomer John Carver in the co-op mode) to battle the zombie-like Necromorphs, this time on the ice planet Tau Volantis. Kinect owners will be able to use voice controls, a first for the series.

Dota 2 Watch trailer(s)
Valve | tbd 2013 exclusively for PC

Anyone who would consider Dota 2 one of the year’s most anticipated games has probably already been playing the game for months, but its first official release won’t occur until later in 2013. A sequel/remake to fan-made Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients, the multiplayer online battle arena title Dota 2 is an action-RPG/real-time strategy hybrid—with two teams competing to take out each other’s stronghold—that is exclusive to Valve’s Steam platform. Eventually, you’ll have over 100 “heroes” to choose from (or strategize against), which means a steep but ultimately rewarding learning curve for newcomers.

Double Fine Adventure 
Double Fine Productions | tbd 2013 for PC / iOS

Once the biggest crowd-funded video game project in history (before being surpassed in recent months by the likes of Project Eternity and Star Citizen), Double Fine Adventurereceived nearly $3.5 million from donors on Kickstarter, starting a trend that ultimately resulted in $83 million in Kickstarter funding for gaming projects in 2012. What exactly will that money buy? An old-school point-and-click adventure game, a genre that has fallen out of favor in recent years with the rise of shooters. Given Double Fine head Tim Schafer’s extensive experience in the genre (as the designer of acclaimed titles like Grim Fandango94 and the Monkey Island series), there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Look for more anticipated video games in 2013 here http://www.metacritic.com/feature/video-game-preview-2013

–written by jason dietz for metacritic.com

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ 48 FPS 3D – Good or Bad?


Most critics have weighed in with their thoughts about director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (read our review), with the reactions varying accordingly. However, the most commonly-derided aspect is the film’s appearance when projected in its native format: 48 frames per second (fps) 3D, which is twice the standard for theater showings. The issue has hounded An Unexpected Journeysince Jackson premiered footage in 48 fps at CinemaCon 2012; lately, he seems to be spending more time discussing the format (or, rather, defending it) than other film elements, thematic and technical alike.

Warner Bros. is noticeably concerned about blowback, as evidenced by the limited rollout and lack of surcharge for 48 fps Hobbit screenings. Jackson is ready to embrace it as a new storytelling tool but for studios, the jury’s still out on whether 48 fps is the next ‘big thing’ (see: 3D and/or IMAX) or the latest in a line of failed attempts to shake up the viewing experience (Smell-o-vision, anyone?) – and by that we mean, something that audiences will pay for.

What the higher frame-rate does is remove that thin layer of graininess that allows viewers to distinguish between images projected on a theater screen (something artificial) and their surroundings in the real world, purely on the basis of sight. This results in camera and actors’ movements onscreen appearing faster than normal; not to mention, it makes it all the more obvious when practical effects (be it sets, props, makeup or costumes) and CGI have been manufactured on the cheap.

HD televisions and Blu-rays have a similar impact, revealing the imperfections and flaws in older titles (and newer ones, at that) which were previously masked by the haziness afforded from lower frame-rate projections. Similarly, motion onscreen in general is often perceived as sped-up and therefore blurrier, simply because so many longtime viewers are accustomed to the ‘slowdown’ effect of the traditional 24 frame-rate screening (going back to the early 20th century, that is).

the hobbit-unexpected-journey-reviews

An Unexpected Journey, by comparison, doesn’t suffer so much from those issuesbecause Jackson and his collaborators took added transparency into consideration while shooting at 48 fps; hence, viewers are actually meant to be able to see the finer details. As a result, the fine craftsmanship of film artists who work with their hands, basic machinery or state-of-the-art computers is easier to appreciate; not to mention, scenes where human and CGI players interact seem more believable (as both now look equally “real”).

Of course, this presents a philosophical dilemma: Should these things look “real?” Middle-earth, as presented in The Hobbit, is the sort of fairytale kingdom that one might conjure up from their imagination (as J.R.R. Tolkien did so many years ago). When you reduce artificiality and instill a heightened sense of realism, it dwindles the sensation of peering into a dreamworld; worse, it leaves some people with the same (bad) impression as a low-budget recording of a stage performance. That’s why some have dismissed Jackson’s Hobbit ’experiment’ as misguided at best, a gimmick with little artistic merit at worst.

the hobbit bilbo-rivendell-hobbit-trailer-570x244

Andrew Lesnie’s cinematography throughout An Unexpected Journey uses 3D to its advantage, combing subtle (but constant) camera motion with sweeping crane and aerial shots to generate an immersive visual design. Moreover, when viewed with the 48 fps format, the grandiose shots of environments both real (the New Zealand landscape) and fake (tunnels and mines in the Lonely Mountain) end up bearing a stronger resemblance to a model; that holds true for the individuals that populate them, be they computer-generated or genuine.

Again, this quality can be a distraction and jarring for those not prepared. However, it (arguably) allows cinematic visuals to better imitate what the real world looks like to the human eye, when perceived from either a great height or up close. This also makes the 3D viewing experience smoother and less cumbersome (ie. higher fps = fewer headaches). Moreover, it seems to reduce the frequency of 3D images that take on a pop-up book appearance and benefits certain camera techniques (like changing the depth of field). Indeed, that makes 3D and 48 fps a natural fit.


Jackson’s intention with these technical choices is quite apparent: the more real various components of Middle-earth look, the more moviegoers will feel as though they’ve been transported there (in theory). It’s not meant to distract from key storytelling elements (narrative structure, pacing); rather, it’s meant to enhance. Whether or not it inadvertently ends up serving the former rather that latter and intended purpose, is the basis for continuing debates about the subject.

Interestingly enough, the 48 fps format might be best-suited for films that aren’t reliant on heavy amounts of digital shots or big-budget panache; that is, smaller projects aiming for something closer to cinéma vérité would benefit more from the crystal-clear visual presentation. On the other hand (as mentioned before), that format does reduce physical stress from 3D viewing and helps to seamlessly blend practical/CGI components. Its storytelling value is flexible, depending on what the director is going for (similar to the partial use of IMAX in such films as The Dark Knight Rises).

the hobbit

Jackson perhaps put it best himself when he clarified that increased frame-rate projection is not meant to be an industry game-changer (a la color, sound, 3D). To quote:

“The big thing to realize is that it’s not an attempt to change the film industry. It’s another choice. The projectors that can run at 48 frames can run at 24 frames – it doesn’t have to be one thing or another. You can shoot a movie at 24 frames and have sequences at 48 or 60 frames within the body of the film. You can still do all the shutter-angle and strobing effects. It doesn’t necessarily change how films are going to be made. It’s just another choice that filmmakers have got and for me, it gives that sense of reality that I love in cinema.”

(reviewed by sandy schaefer. images taken from screenrant.com)


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