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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Men of War: Assault Squad review

If Assault Squad was an MG 42 it would need a barrel change about every three minutes. ‘Ferocious’ doesn’t begin to describe the bloody bullet ballets served-up by this semimarvellous semi-sequel.

Instead of sending our favourite WWII tactics title in years back to the front with a conventional campaign in its kit bag, Digitalmindsoft have equipped it with something called ‘Skirmish’. There’s still a heap of singleplayer missions (16), but now all scenarios rely on the same push-push-PUSH! play mechanism.

You start at one end of a long battlefield with a knot of infantry under your wing. By pushing forward and seizing the control flags that dot the terrain, reinforcement points are earned, and new force types unlocked. A gain might release a new armoured car or infantry flavour. It may also trigger a brutal counter-attack. These retaliatory thrusts, combined with the fact the AI is usually dug-in deeper than an agoraphobic tin miner, mean victories sometimes take hours to secure. Even on ‘easy’ you’ll need stamina and skill to prevail.
What lovely war
Though the enemy never stops trying to regain lost flags, there are usually sufficient lulls in the lead storm to enjoy MoW’s trademark intricacy. A click here sends a sergeant scampering across a lane to pick up an abandoned anti-tank rifle. A click there sends a sniper slithering surreptitiously down the flank. Behind the church, two unhorsed tankers jog forward to begin repairs on a knocked out StuG. By the bridge, engineers start stringing barbed wire and laying mines, and grenadiers clamber back into a halftrack in readiness for the next nerve-shredding, pulse-propelling phase of the assault.

Dawn of War 2: Retribution getting Dark Angels DLC next week


One of the moodiest Space Marine chapters, the Dark Angels are known for their awesome robes and brooding, Roman look. THQ announce that they will be making their way to Dawn of War 2: Retribution next week, in a DLC pack that will add new models, paint jobs and emblems to the Space Marine chapter, letting you play as the Dark Angels in mutiplayer. You’ll find four new screens of the chapter below.

Bluesnews report that the DLC is due out next Wednesday April 6, and will include eight new models. You’ll find more information on THQ Insider.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screens show new landscapes and massive maces

Bethesda have released six more screens of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, showing some more Oblivion-esque landscapes, dungeon interiors, angry ghosts and a huge freakin’ mace. You’ll find the new screens below. Click to enlarge them.
                          

Minecraft creator Notch schmoozed by Napster founder Sean Parker


This is not strictly news, but it made us laugh.

This week Markus Persson, the guy behind indie hit Minecraft, mentioned he had two meetings coming up: one with a prospective employee, another with someone who “has a great business idea”. Later, he wrote on his blog that a “rather spontaneous rich guy” met with the team, then invited them to fly to a party in London on his private jet. Which they did.

When fans pestered him for the identity of the mysterious rich guy on Twitter, Notch confirmed that Majestic XII’s guess was correct: Napster founder and influential Facebook investor Sean Parker. Which makes the whole thing amusingly close to the flashy behaviour of the Sean Parker character in The Social Network, the movie about the founding of Facebook that Parker himself called “a complete work of fiction”.

So if you were wondering, yes: it is possible to make an indie game so good that rich people show up and fly you to parties. The interesting part is, assuming Parker wasn’t the prospective employee, what was his “great business idea” for Notch and his team?
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