VGX 2013 | TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION ANNOUNCED

Crystal Dynamics have announced that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, is coming to the Xbox One & PlayStation 4 on 28th January 2014.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is the character defining action-adventure where a young and inexperienced Lara Croft transforms into a hardened survivor. This fully re-built version for PlayStation®4 system and Xbox One features an obsessively detailed Lara and a fully realized lifelike world.

Lara Croft presented in unprecedented high definition detail:
–       An all new Lara model created to take advantage of the power of next-gen consoles
–       TRESS FX technology that delivers realistic hair simulation and motion with every strand being physically active
–       Shader and lighting reworked to showcase the raw physicality of Lara’s journey through sweat, mud, and blood materials and effects

A physical world put in motion thanks to brand new hardware architecture:
–       The world has been dynamically brought to life using complex physical world simulation on trees, foliage, cloth, weather, lighting and effects
–       All texture resolutions have been created at 4x resolution for maximum resolution and detail
–       In-game characters, enemies and destructability have been enhanced for added depth and realism
–       Subsurface scattering technology implemented to capture the most physically accurate lighting simulation and deliver a great sense of believability
–       Native 1080p gameplay gives outstanding visual fidelity and showcases the beauty of Yamatai in all its high definition glory

Tomb Raider Xbox One PS4

The Definitive Edition of the award-winning action-adventure includes all of the original downloadable content, plus digital versions of the Dark Horse comic, Brady Games mini-art book and the Final Hours developer videos. Customers who pre-order will receive special art book packaging featuring never-before-seen concept art.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ is so named as it’s exactly what we’ve custom built for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 system consoles.  The new hardware let us finally express the original vision in all of its glory. This was a continued labor of love. We pulled the game apart and rebuilt it with painstaking detail to add enhanced visual storytelling but without changing the award winning tale. The end result is a cinematic living world. We can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience this rebuilt epic adventure.”

Crystal Dynamics Executive Producer, Scot Amos.

Hitman HD Trilogy Outed on Amazon US?

A listing had recently appeared on the American arm of online retailer Amazon seemingly outing the imminent release of a Hitman HD Collection.

With a price of $39.99 (there’s no UK or European pricing yet) and a supposed release date of 23 January 2013, Amazon lists the Collection for both PS3 & Xbox 360.

hitman hd trilogy
Can this Agent 47 Greatest Hits be true?

Re-mastered in HD, the package will collect together Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Contracts & Hitman: Blood Money. The Collection follows the recent success of other HD Collections from Splinter Cell to Metal Gear Solid.

According to the listing the first run of the Collection will ship with a limited edition art book depicting famous scenes from across the three games.

In the listing is genuine, it will follow the release of IO Interactive’ latest addition to the franchise Hitman Absolution last month. You can find our review of Agent 47’s latest jaunt here.

Square Enix Takes a Hit Out on Good Taste

We all know how the PR machine works: a marketing campaign is there to get people talking about a game or app. Whether people are praising it or lampooning it, people are still talking. But the PR department of publisher Square Enix may have just misjudged the tone of their latest campaign for IO Interactive’ Hitman Absolution.

Today saw the launch of a Hitman Facebook app that let users send offensive & threatening videos to their friends that ridiculed their apparent “ginger hair”, “small tits” & “small penis”. Within minutes of the app going live critics & gamers alike condemned the app for its simulated bullying & distasteful “virtual hits”.

Following a universally negative reaction Square Enix has since pulled the app & have apologised, stating the aim for the app was “wide of the mark”.

The app let you place a ‘hit’ on a friend for various unsettling reasons

“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends,” said the publisher in a recent statement to CVG. “Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.

“We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.

“We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”

This isn’t the first time Square Enix & Agent 47 have had their names tied to controversy either. Back in May this year the publisher was criticised for an animated trailer that showed 47 violently dispatching a group of bondage-clad nuns in consistently graphic ways.

Our controversy-free review of Hitman Absolution, the game behind all the fuss, will be going live this week.

[Sources: CVG & Joystiq]

Ten Reasons Why You Should Be Playing Hitman Absolution

In a month where both Call of Duty & Halo return to record-breaking sales, Square Enix & developer IO Interactive bravely released the first Hitman in six years. And despite some heavy-hitting competition Hitman Absolution has proved to be a slick piece of contracted fun.  So we’ve got ten reasons why should already be playing Agent 47’s latest kill-frenzy…

Stealth is the new black

There’s nothing wrong with a little mindless mayhem (and Hitman Absolution has plenty of it if you’re that way inclined) but nothing smacks of true predatory values like a silent kill. Whether it’s stalking your target in a crowd or watching from the shadows Absolution gives you the weapons, disguises & distractions to get the job done clean. Trust us, nothing says psychotic finesse like a little fibre-wire.

A smorgasbord of choice

Each mission of Absolution is split up into separate areas, with each one designed to cater to even the craziest of gaming tastes. Sure, you can move like a silent shadow & take your target with grace or you can rig their car with explosives & blow their atoms sky-high. By splitting each mission to bite-size portions might seem to fly in the face of some classic stealth games but even the smallest of areas can be a brutal killing ground for the inexperienced nube. Poison or gas explosion, the sick choice is yours!

The scores on the killing floor

Adding a little arcade flavour to the mix is the new in-game score system. Jettisoning the knock-on effect Notoriety system from 2006’s Blood Money was a good move on the part of IO Interactive as it finally lets players focus on each section of the mission to bag the best score. If you choose to go blundering in wielding you signature silenced Silverballers then your gung-ho technique will dock you points, whilst avoiding detection & killing your target in a creative or silent manner will build towards a final score that rises & falls with every action.

Killer instinct

Some fans have decreed the new Instinct system as a franchise killer but it adds a new level of situation management to the game. In the six years since Hitman Blood Money both Assassin’s Creed & Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series have redefined what true hunters can do, so it’s no surprise IO Interactive took some slightly blatant cues from its new comrades. Instinct Mode is essentially Batman’s Detective Mode, letting you track NPCs through scenery & see their intended route with flaming trails. Silent kills & hiding bodies will replenish your Instinct which can then be used to fool enemies or take out multiple enemies a la Splinter Cell Conviction’s Mark & Execute system. Copied yes, but done with class.

A personal contract

The Hitman games have never been acclaimed for their narratives but Absolution manages to give enough exposition to justify each setting whilst not over-egging the story. The cut-scenes are beautifully animated & the voice-acting is decent enough to make a mockery of the dire Hitman movie a few years ago. And having veteran VO artist David Bateson reprise his role as 47 gives the oddly emotive story & gravitas other actors might have overdone.

Multiplayer (but not, but kind of)

Thankfully Hitman Absolution hasn’t taken a leaf out of Ubisoft’s book & shoehorned in an unbalanced set of multiplayer death matches. Instead Absolution presents Contracts. Taking its cues from the ‘Autolog’ style systems that are making the rounds across video games at the moment, Contracts lets you compete for the highest score on missions based on the different sections of the single-player campaign. You can even create your own missions to challenge your friends & foes with. Rather than asking you to build a map ‘Forge’ style, Contracts drops you into a location & lets you build the difficulty. You pick the targets, set the parameters & twist the rules. By completing the mission you prove it can be done with players from across the world taking on your record to earn cash for new weapons & disguises. Simple but so addictive it could claim you life.

“Hitman Absolution feels more like a Tarantino movie than a video game, dripping with style, class & bravado”

Higher difficulty done right

Some developers still struggle to get the distinction between difficulty levels, but Absolution proves that it’s not just about tougher enemies & less armour. As you progress from Easy to the brutal Purist setting, Absolution increases the reaction times of enemies, removes hints & removes Instinct regeneration. Normal & Hard become nothing more than training levels as you prepare for the onslaught of Professional & Purist. Legendary is for chumps.

Contract killing has never looked so good

The Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 may be well into their twilight years but games like Absolution are determined to squeeze each consoles processor for all its worth. Absolution is easily one of the best looking games on either console to date. Amber sunsets bathe penthouses in a warm glow whilst neon signs sizzle in night-time rain fall, Absolution has that slick art style that makes it feel more like a Tarantino movie than a video game. The variation between traditional architecture of an orphanage with the neon playground of a strip club gives you just some idea of how stylistically confident this game is.

Hitman Absolution is all about giving players the tools to embrace the dark arts & become a sublime dealer of death”

Balanced achievements

Whilst achievements & trophies aren’t the be all and end of all of gaming, it doesn’t hurt to play a game that doesn’t short change you for ten hours of campaign dedication – Perfect Dark Zero this is not. Achievements are mostly based on certain milestones reached over the singe-player campaign whilst some tougher trophies will push you to complete replay the game with different playstyles to bag the full score. Complete the campaign & have a little ditty in Contracts & you’ll bag a well-earned 650g/70% of the Gamerscore on offer.

Who needs a white hood?

The exploits of Altair, Ezio & Connor may have become as synonymous with stealth gameplay as Solid Snake but Agent 47 has managed to strip back its experience to the truest principles of the genre. Whilst Assassin’s Creed 3 focused more on melee combat & aggressive actions, Hitman Absolution is all about giving players the tools to embrace the dark arts & become a sublime dealer of death. Fibre wire is the new hidden blade.

Picked up the new Hitman yet? If you’re not convinced keep an eye out for our upcoming review from Content Editor Dom Reseigh-Lincoln. Keep it infinite!

Ten Reasons Why You Should Already Be Playing Sleeping Dogs

Here at infinite robots we’re still playing one of the summer’s chart topping successes, United Front Games’ slick open-world noir thriller Sleeping Dogs. If you’ve still managed to miss this Eastern sandbox adventure then we’ve got ten reasons to make an odyssey to Hong Kong…

#1 Combat that’s pure Hong Kong cinema

The combat of Sleeping Dogs is the trump card makes it a totally unique experience. Melee combat isn’t a few punching animations thrown in to break the monotomy of gunplay. Sleeping Dogs is the total opposite experience to Saints Row & GTA and it’s proud of it. Mixing together the fast, bone-shattering moves a la Tony Jaa with the brutal melee violence of early John Woo movies makes the combat a fluid & intuitive experience that’s fun rather than a dreaded outcome.

Wei of the Dragon Fist…

#2 Driving from point A to Point B has never been so fun

Sandbox games have gotten bigger & bigger since GTA 3 realised Liberty City in all its 3D glory. And while so games made driving an actual drag (*cough* The Getaway *cough*), and others rely on gimmicks like grappling hooks (*cough* Just Cause *cough*) Sleeping Dogs makes simply driving to a mission marker an awesome experience. The cars & bikes have a mostly forgiving arcade feel that makes drifting & cornering a ton of fun. Add together the ability to hijack other cars mid drive and things just got very tasty.

#3 A truly unique setting

Whilst Sleeping Dogs’ version of Hong Kong may be a fictional one it’s still a tantalising feast for the eye that sounds & feels alive. The market districts glisten with bright neon whilst the business sector bustles with suits, boutiques and soaring skyscrapers. The look & sounds of a modern Eastern epicentre feel authentic & real, which makes for an environment that’s a richer backdrop than Steelport or Liberty City.

Hong Kong is a vibrant & tragic place to explore

#4 Embrace the lack of weapons

An open-world game with hardly any guns? Are you mad? Well don’t know it till you’ve tried it. Sleeping Dogs makes a brave move by reducing the number of gun fights to a minimum. There are no military hardware shops in the real Hong Kong so the Sleeping Dogs version avoids the need to litter the city with weapon stashes. Guns are a rarity and rather than making the game feel boring it brings greater emphasis on hand-to-hand combat & empowers you as a player.

#5 Racing that’s more Need for Speed than GTA

The many races littered around Hong Kong could have been tacked on as a side-thought. Instead, they’re a delicate mix of feature of all the best things about arcade racers. The one-button ramming ability makes racing more of a duel with the race leaders as you burn through the city streets. All the races take place at night with vibrant checkpoint markers that turn familiar roads into dangerous race tracks littered with oncoming traffic.

The storyline of Sleeping Dogs is unashamably ultra-violent

#6 A stellar voice cast

Sleeping Dogs may have a few well known Western voices on its roster, such as Tom Wilkinson & Emma Stone but its real strength lies in the sheer number of Asian actors that have contributed voice work. Everyone from Lucy Lui & Kelly Hu to Will Yun Lee & Tzi Ma bring a depth of personality that more than steps up to the greatness GTA has given us in the past. The voice-work is as good as anything coming out of Hollywood at the moment and it really sells the emotional twists of the plot.

#7 Pork Buns

“If you don’t eat a pork bun then you’re only half a man!” That’s all we need to say on that matter.

#8 The soundtrack to your criminal life

You can’t have a sandbox game with a huge map and not have some tunes to burn some serious rubber to. The mix of styles & genres is one of the most eclectic on the market and yet they all meld together in a way that perfectly suits the game world. Whether you’re cruising to the traditional Chinese tracks or flipping cop cars to Fear Factory & Trivium the track listing never gets old.

The races in Sleeping Dogs are a league beyond GTA’s

#9 Collectormania

For all those collectorphiles out there Sleeping Dogs does not disappoint. Rather than simply littering the world with pointless collectables only worthy of an achievement or tropy, Sleeping Dogs utilises them as a way improving the skills and attributes of protagonist Wei Shen. From health shrines that increase your overall health to jade statues that can be traded for melee combat upgrades, these collectables add more than just some points to your Gamerscore.

#10 Mini-game mania

Sleeping Dogs is littered with mini-games, each of which breaks up the usual driving & melee combat sections in a way that’s fun and a little quirky. From cracking safes to breaking into a camera feed with a key code they’re a bit of harmless fun that fill the fictional city of Hong Kong. But all of them pale in comparison to the karaoke sessions. The track-listing might seem like a wedding DJs cast offs but the Guitar Hero esque note hitting with a cursor and the sound of lead actor Will Yun Lee crooning away shows a game that’s more than happy to laugh itself in-between bouts of blood and ultra-violence.

So have you picked up Sleeping Dogs yet? It’s a fine title that’s genuinely better than any other modern-set sandbox game of its kind, including GTA IV. Go pick it up & keep it infinite! Follow @infiniterobots for more gaming news & updates from Editors Shaun & Dom.

Final Fantasy VII PC Re-Release out now

Final Fantasy VII PC re-release out now on Square-Enix store

The “updated” Final Fantasy VII re-release is out now in Europe, unfortunately not currently available in North America. Remember that this isn’t a long awaited remake, but a re-release of the PC version which was ported from the PS1 back in 1998.

The “updated” PC version of the game will support achievements, cloud saving and come with a character booster – effectively allowing you to cheat by upping your HP, MP, and Gil levels to maximum.

European customers can buy the game now here at a reduced price of £7.99 until the 12th September. After this date the price reverts too £9.99.