If you were around in the late-90’s and early-2000’s, you’ll most likely remember just how big of a deal the Tony Hawk game franchise was. It brought skateboarding games to mainstream success thanks to its easy-to-pick-up gameplay, memorable music, and skatepark-sized amount of replay value. And despite a nasty bail in the form of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, which was released shortly before Hawk and Activision Blizzard split ways, it doesn’t seem that all is lost. Word on the street is that Activision are in the process of giving the first two games in the franchise (Maybe more) the remake treatment. As a longtime fan of extreme sports games, this rumor has me absolutely pumped, and I hope this remake (Or package of remakes) really is a thing. I have confidence that there is at least one studio at Activision that is fully capable of producing the game that Pro Skater 5 failed to be. Maybe it’ll even be as good if not better than Skate 3. In the meantime, all we can do is wait and find out if the Tony Hawk franchise truly is ready to drop into the halfpipe again.
This weekend’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare Beta included all consoles finally and gave us an idea of how cross-play will work in the franchise. I had previously played the PS4 only alpha and beta and also gave this weekends new Ground Wars mode a spin to see how it feels.
I should start off by saying while I’ve always enjoyed Call of Duty games, I’ve never been a huge fan myself. I did buy last years Black Ops 4, but apart from the free games offered on PS Plus (Black Ops 3 and MW Remastered) I’ve never really played that much apart from at friends’ houses. Still, COD multiplayer has always been fun and frantic even for a rookie such as myself.
During the alpha and both betas I’ve played mostly Gun Fight, a 2v2 mode where every 2 rounds each team is given a new gun with random mods. Usually this means a standard gun with maybe a new scope or extended mag, but sometimes results in monstrosities like a shotgun with a sniper scope. Every round is timed and every person has one life. If one team isn’t dead by the end of the round, a flag is planted in the middle that each side can try and capture to win.
This mode is fast, tense, and honestly my favorite mode. It’s refreshing to play on even ground with everyone else in the match. Obviously someone who is more skilled has an advantage, but even a someone like me who doesn’t have much of a background in COD games can pull off a win. Forcing everyone to have the same loadout allows newer players to know what they’re up against while still letting pro players flex their FPS muscles.
Just this weekend Infinity Ward added a new mode called Ground War to the rotation. It’s a 32v32 mode with a huge map and vehicles including ATV’s, tanks, and helicopters. The objective is to capture several points scattered throughout the map and hold them to rack up points while fending off the opposing team.
Unfortunately this is my least favorite mode. The idea is neat and at least isn’t another tacked-on battle royale mode, but it’s mostly a mess. Spawning is horrible. Whether I spawned on someone in my squad or one of our controlled points, I was often immediately murdered without even getting to look around. I also found it difficult to tell friend from foe and other players knew that. Someone would sneak into our base and stand at the back shooting everyone while we all frantically searched for where the attacker was.
Also the map is a waste. Apart from well defined zones, it’s environment is forgettable and mostly unused. At least 90% of the fighting occurs in the central buildings and 3 main control points, essentially making it a standard COD match, just with too many players. The vehicles handle well but apart from the tank only offer a quicker way to get to the centralized fighting. Getting caught in the open is a guaranteed death sentence because snipers (already far to prevalent in COD multiplayer in my opinion) are rampant.
In its more standard modes Modern Warfare excels though. For years the franchise has been the gold standard for online multiplayer and this re-imagining looks to keep that reputation. Granted I ran into an issue where I could only play one match and then had to restart the game to get into another, the few matches of Domination I played felt good.
The only significant change is in how the game feels. You can hear and feel every action with the gun whether it’s firing, switching, or just reloading thanks to top notch sound design and animation. It’s hard to describe but the guns feel heavy, meaty even. Reloading is harsh and maybe even violent but serves to make the guns feel different from past titles. I think it’s part of why Gun Fight feels so good to me. It showcases how versatile the guns are in modification, and how tactile the moment to moment game-play is.
To get even more technical, cross-play is active for the last few days of the beta now. While I seemed to mostly be paired with other PS4 players I did participate in a party of both Xbox and PS4 players and it still played well. We couldn’t make a chat party though which is unfortunate but understandable. You can opt out of cross-play but not controller types which I’m not a fan of. That might be available in the full game, but playing against mouse and keyboard was not an experience I recommend.
To finish up, I do wish the beta was available longer so I could play more, which is really what’s important. There are amazing parts of it that I love, like Gun Fight, but the addition of Ground War is a waste I think. That being said, I do think the mode will have it’s fans. It’s not completely broken and there is fun to be had. At one point I got into a turret on the tank and when the driver parked up on a hill I was able to rain fire down on unsuspecting players from a distance. The I got taken out by a sniper and my fun was over before it ever really began.
Still, if you’re a fan of Call of Duty and especially the Modern Warfare series I think this game will be perfect for you. They’ve kept what’s great about COD while adding the right amount of new things and details to keep the series relevant and exciting. Hopefully you’ve had the chance to play the beta before it ends on September 23, but if not you can pick up the game on October 25.
Few gamers would disagree that Crash Bandicoot was a very important piece of the PlayStation One’s library. Our orange marsupial hero starred in terrific platformers that went toe-to-toe with big franchises like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. And let’s not forget about Crash Team Racing, Sony’s heavily-revered answer to the iconic Mario Kart 64. CTR offered wacky items, well-designed tracks, and a very enthralling adventure mode. Crash and co. got two more kart racers after that, but it seems like the first one from 1999 is the fan-favorite. And apparently, Activision has heard that loud and clear, because they have now taken the 20-year-old racer and given it an amazing coat of modern paint in the form of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.
Exercise your Cortex
For those of you who missed this game’s original version (We at SSG will not judge you, don’t worry), allow me to summarize the story — Crash, his allies, and his enemies have developed a kart-racing hobby, which soon catches the attention of an egomaniacal racer named Nitros Oxide. Due to his deranged fascination for showing off his racing prowess, he challenges Earth’s best driver to a one-on-one race for all the spoils. The drawback is that if Nitros wims, he’ll turn the world into a parking lot and force the inhabitants to be at his command. With the fate of the globe in question, you and the character of your choosing must rack up victories one after another, collect all the trophies and relics, and stop Nitros once and for all.
On the track, Nitro-Fueled has controls that are both tight and deep. While it’s mainly inspired by Mario Kart, its drifting mechanic feels very unique. You hold down one of two hop buttons to hop and initiate the drift, and it fills up the boost meter. When it gets to half-full or close to being completely full, you tap the other hop button to perform a speed boost. You can chain up to three, and your timing determines how fast your boosts are. It seems a bit challenging, but it’ll grow on you. All of the tracks (And even some new ones, including a PS4 exclusive), characters, and items from the original version are back, and you even get content that originates from Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing. Combine all of the above with many ways to customize your character and kart, and you have more than enough depth to accompany you during your trip down memory lane.
A Wumpa Fruit a day keeps Cortex away
Though some may scoff at the game being locked to 30 FPS, you have to give it credit for having little to no slowdown, even when four players are racing on one screen. The team at Beenox has done a fantastic job giving the 1999 racer a 2019 makeover, with eye-popping colors and well-animated characters. The audio is also above average with hilarious one-liners and very catchy music. And speaking of music, you have the option of listening to the remade soundtrack or the original PS1 music, which is such a rad touch.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, up to four players can race or battle on one console in a laundry list of game types. But if for some reason you’re unable to invite friends into your home to play this nostalgia-filled racer, online play makes up for it with each lobby holding up to eight players. I wouldn’t say it’s the best online arcade racing out there, but Beenox has plenty of time to fix up the netcode. Whether it’s offline or online, the multiplayer does everything in its power to make you laugh out loud or utter every curse word imaginable.
No sugar, no caffeine, just Crash
As long as you’re not a Mario Kart elitist that turns the other cheek when seeing one of many clones of said series, I have a butt-ton of confidence that Crash and the gang will provide you with a hefty amount of racing hilarity. It’s fun and deep, but more importantly, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a highly-successful unearthing of one of the kart-racing genre’s most prominent competitors.
Today Activision announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will release on October 25 and is a “reimagining” of the series.
The Infinity Ward developed title in the long-running series was also confirmed to feature crossplay between consoles and PC. The campaign makes a return as well after being absent for Black Ops 4. It won’t be a copy of the original game’s campaign though. Ars Technica reports you will play a part of it as a rebel soldier in the Middle East.
Also confirmed today there will be no annual past like past Call of Duty games. Post-launch content like maps will be free for all players, although no mention of microtransactions or other possibly paid content.
Alongside the campaign and PvP, Activision announced cooperative modes for the game and a cohesive experience across all three. No details as to what this means exactly but with release so close we can expect details soon.
Activision also confirmed the game will have a brand new engine which you can see for yourself in the trailer below.
In a response to another tweet today, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has apparently confirmed the title of the next Call of Duty.
The alleged title of the newest Call of Duty will be Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Later in another tweet, Schreier also called it a “soft reboot”. This info confirms other recent rumors that Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty title this year would return to the Modern Warfare series.
Despite the rumors and details emerging, neither Infinity Ward nor Activision has confirmed anything. But with E3 in a few weeks, it’s possible we could see a game reveal. While this may dampen the surprise it’s probably good news for many COD fans.
While Call of Duty: Ghosts and Infinite Warfare (the last two Infinity Ward COD titles) reviewed well, fans felt differently. Ghosts is considered to be one of the worst recent Call of Duty games. Infinite Warfare ran into trouble with its futuristic setting and abilities. Many fans wanted a more realistic take and longed for a return to the Modern Warfare series.
So despite the confusing title (the first Modern Warfare game was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), it looks like Infinity Ward is going back to its roots.
Today, Bungie announced on Bungie.net, that they’re splitting up with Activision and Bungie plans to maintain Destiny’s rights. IGN states that Bungie and Activision held a publishing agreement together since 2010.
According to Bungie’s post on Bungie.net titled, “Our Destiny,” Bungie states,
“With Activision, we created something special. To date, Destiny has delivered a combination of over 50 million games and expansions to players all around the world. More importantly, we’ve also witnessed a remarkable community – tens of millions of Guardians strong – rise up and embrace Destiny, to play together, to make and share memories, and even to do truly great things that reach far beyond the game we share, to deliver a positive impact on people’s everyday lives.”
After Bungie thanks Activision for their Destiny partnership and praises themselves for their eight-year-journey with Activision, they state, “we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.”
Moments later, Activision’s Twitter account responded with “thank you Guardians. It’s been an honor and a privilege to help bring the world of Destiny to life for you.” Activision’s Twitter account also uploaded an image of a joint statement shared by them and Bungie for fans to read. Check down below for the specific image.
It appears the break-up between Bungie and Activision was inevitable based on recent posts online. Kotaku claims that “Destiny, which first launched in September 2014, has had a long and rocky road through expansions, updates, and a sequel. The most recent major entry in the franchise, Destiny 2: Forsaken, was beloved by players but failed to meet Activision’s sales standards.”
It’s depressing to see partnerships come to an end. However, with separation, comes chances to expand and improve. Let’s see what happens to Bungie and Activision in a few years to truly judge if this decision was the right one to make.
What do you think about this news? Are you shocked by this decision or did you see it coming? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, and follow us for more news about the gaming industry, and everything video game related too.