Fiona takes a look at three big titles from SEGA - Total War: Rome II, Company of Heroes 2 & Sonic Lost World at E3 2013.
Hotly anticipated, Rome II was built upon the foundation of the first title, whilst keeping true to the audience who made it the success it was.
Rome II contains a new campaign map. This looks lush, covered in luscious flora and fauna, and shows the Ancient wonders of the world, such as the great pyramids of Giza, the lighthouse of Alexandria. The lush green of Europe and the colour palatte used really makes it feel colder and wetter than the arid deserts of Egypt and Africa.
A key new strategic component of Rome II is the introduction of politics, which gives you control of your internal power struggle. You can balance power by brokering an arranged marriage to join families, or choose to assassinate or discredit your enemies.
The skills matrix has been greatly enhanced also, and legions are more customisable, including the traits and traditions of certain regiments. New members will take on the pride and characteristics of being a part of that hallowed group.
When taking part in naval battles, you manually aim your ships, and you can see individual sailors falling overboard into the water.
The developer I spoke to advised that there will be sharks in the final game, who will feed on these hapless souls.
The battle we played in our demo was the Battle of the Nile. This involved elephants, chariots, foot soldiers, flaming hay balls, spears, arrows and shields. It was exciting stuff, and I’m happy to report that I won the battle, and kept all my elephants happy. (Apparently if they get upset or stressed they bolt.)
The developers I spoke to was clearly very proud of this title, and especially of how good it looks, which really sets it apart from any of the competition.
Launching on the 2nd of September, the standard edition will cost $109 NZD, or the special collectors edition (with a frickin’ catapault!!) will cost $220 NZD.
The Beta of this game has been live on the Net for anyone to play, which speaks volumes about the confidence that the developers have in this title. CoH was one of top rated real time strategy games of all times. The team members I spoke to were clearly very excited to finally have the game ready to launch, and said that the aim was to give their loyal fan base “more of the same, but better!”
It’s been 6 years since CoH came out, and with the evolution in graphics technologies, the game looks newer, fresher, and slicker. The cut scenes are filmed using real game artefacts so that they blend seamlessly with the normal game play, and the ones I saw helped capture the intensity and gritty realism of war.
The developers were keen to give fans the experiences they enjoyed from the first title, but enhanced. So it looks better and has some new features to freshen up the experience.
These include 2 new armies (Russians and Germans, with their own characteristics) weather being a key factor (as it is in real life) and line of sight.
The Russian army has the luxury of great numbers, so their tactics are more based on brute force. The Germans however, are limited in numbers and have to be more tactical and precise, using technology as their advantage.
Line of sight is a significant improvement on the last title, where you could “see” anything in the immediate vicinity. Here, visibility is restricted to line of sight only, which is far more realistic, and enables more strategic use of scouts and dropping smoke to provide cover.
The addition of “weather” also provides an element of variety and replayability. As an example, the same map will play very differently from winter to summer. Additionally all ice that might form during winter months is breakable…therefore, you can take the risk of crossing a frozen river. But if your opponent shoots you on the ice, you will lose your tank to the icy depths.
If there is snow on the ground, this also adds another element of traceability. You can see the treadmarks of your enemies in the snow, and vice versa.
NZGamers who have already enjoyed a taste of Company of Heroes 2 on beta will be pleased to know that the game will be released on 25th June. The standard version will be $99 NZD, and the special Red Steel version (Steel case, and DLC ) will be $139.
This collaboration with Nintendo is something that Sega are very excited about. There are two versions of the latest Sonic title: Wii U, and 3DS. Each version is approximately the same length, but each contains completely different levels, making this effectively the release of two completely standalone titles.
The Wii U version provides the ability to flick gems using the gamepad and enhances co-op play, while the release on 3DS provides the first ever fully 3D version of Sonic in an open world.
The main changes to the story are that Sonic is working with Robotica to achieve a common goal. With Robotica! The levels I saw were varied and dynamic, providing diverse locations and settings.
The elephant in the room is of course that this new version does look quite a bit like Super Mario Galaxy, with the three dimensional look, spinning around all sides of the environments. Having said that, Super Mario Galaxy is a prodigiously good game, so this isn’t necessarily a negative.
There are also levels that look like classic side scrolling Sonic, so most fans should be happy with the diversity shown.
Sonic Lost World is launching in the holiday season, so look for it later this year.