Going for the kill

Team G&G | Print Edition: December 2012

It's exciting times if you are a gamer. Well, not because a handful of new games-you know, those sequels from franchises that you have always loved- promise to take you back to those familiar fictional worlds where you could choose to be hero or villain. Not even because the quality of game graphics is today able to create a botsphere that amazes by its resemblance to our existing biosphere. Simply put, gaming looks set to become a 24-hour activity for the individual, whether he is squatting with the console controls in his hands in his bedroom or is at the back row in the boardroom.

With the proliferation of newer platforms like the tablet, phablet and the smartphone, it is possible that games will move from consoles and the PC to new arenas. There is a big debate going on in the gaming world about such a development. Of course, the current technologies in the tablet and the smartphones, especially with regards to graphics processing, are not able to cope with the demands that games make on the engines of a device. However, the gamemakers are seeking ways to capitalise on the 24/7 accessibility of the mobile devices that could keep gamers connected to their games anyplace, anytime. Possibly, popular games could have separate storylines and gameplay, each designed to suit a different platform, keeping everyone happy in the process.

One thing is clear though. Gaming need no longer be a one-player activity, with the Internet making the whole world an interactive ground for competitors. Also, with gamemakers adding twists that take a game in different directions depending on the choice the player makes, the same game keeps the gamer coming back for newer action more than once. In the meantime, just enjoy these games in 2013.

XBOX360; Rs 2,999
Forza Horizon brings the Forza Motorsport authenticity to a music festival atmosphere along the open road. An open world game with dream cars, dream roads and impressive pick-up-andplay open-road racing experience, the game also lets you tune in to music that rocks your world, race past screaming crowds and the sun-baked cliffs of Red Rock and explore the epic driving landscape of Colorado. You also get to experience a 24-hour dynamic lighting cycle that includes night racing. The game also brings you another first with the debut of mixed surface and dirt racing.


PS2, PSP; Rs 499 & Rs 699
With version 2, the focus of Street Cricket Champions shifts to tricks, flair and style from strategy. The new game has innovative batting, bowling and fielding systems for the nine international teams. Plus, you can bowl pace or spin in a single over, taking the opponent by surprise while the batsmen can choose nontraditional shots like MS Dhoni's trademark helicopter shot or six variations of reverse cross bat shots. Overall, it is cricket rediscovered.

XBOX360; Rs 2,499
If the 100-meter dash in an Olympics stadium sends your pulse racing, then the all new Kinect Ultimate Sports Collection is the ideal buy for you. Kinect Ultimate has two best-selling Kinect games wrapped into one-putting 13 great sporting games like baseball, darts, golf, skiing and many more at your fingertips. And, of course, you can conduct your very own Olympics with the multiplayer options available.

PC, PS3, XBOX360; Rs 999+
Agent 47 is back and back with a punch. Hitman Absolution with its amazing life-like scenarios and catchy dialogues tries to give a big-screen ambience to gaming. Stealth is the key of this game with players having the option of banking on Agent 47's instincts to see them through various levels. The game changes with every option you take and so you can play a different game every time you come back. Along with the skills of deception, the environment also becomes crucial in this version of the popular game.

XBOX 360; Rs 3,299 & Rs 4,599
Halo 4 is touted as the biggest sci-fi blockbuster of the season . Master Chief returns this time in a game that is epitomised by increased pace and action, epic encounters, a new interactive story and more combat freedom. This version promises the most dynamic and explosive campaign yet, whether it is a solo fight or a cooperative assault on Xbox LIVE. The game is available in standard and limited editions and, for the first time, includes a downloadable Spartan ops mode.

The 19th title in the Need for Speed series allows players to select a car and compete against other racers to a final destination. Like the original Most Wanted, cops will try to stop cars and arrest the player in certain segments. A new feature called Easy Drive lets players modify their cars even as they are driving. The game has already come in for a lot of critical acclaim.

The 20th edition of the popular Fifa series now comes with support for KInect and Playstation Move. The updated career mode will let players manage an international team as well as a club with the option to transfer players. The game also features 69 stadiums, including a handful of new ones.

The game will feature one-on-one matches, but with a simplified, four-button layout for casual players. Along with undefined light, medium and heavy attacks, there will be a "character trait" button that activates a specific ability or attack designed to showcase each character.

This sci-fi/horror first-person shooter game will draw heavily from the movie with players having access to weapons made popular on the big-screen. The game will feature gauntlet runs where players fight enemies as they travel from one point to another and then defend a specific area. Deathmatch and escape scenarios in the multi-player mode are also expected to add to the thrills of the new game. A lot of features of the game are still under wraps.

This real-time strategy game for Windows is a sequel to the popular 2006 game and will be set in the cold eastern front of World War II. Built on Relic's proprietary Essence 3.0 engine, the game will showcase improvements is line-of-sight technology and TrueSight for better troop visibility in real combat. Essence 3.0 will also bring in better weather-simulation and destructible environments.

PS3; Rs 2,999
With four campaigns, the game features over three times the amount of gameplay of the last version. Resident Evil favourites like Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield are joined by new characters like Jake Muller to face the latest horror in the form of the highly virulent C-virus. Resident Evil 6 delivers both single and two player co-op gameplay either offline or online. The new Agent Hunt mode allows you to invade other players' games online as a zombie, while residentevil.net lets you track your stats and compare realtime information with that of other players.

XBOX360; Rs  2,599
Get an insight into the training regimens of the world's greatest athletes with a revolutionary fitness game that takes exercise routines to the next level, but in the comfort of their homes. The game has an new feature that acts like the eyes of a real life trainer and kicks off with a detailed fullbody assessment that takes about 15 minutes. Once the assessment is done, players get to create a personalized workout that will work for them, regardless of their fitness level. Users have the option of working out with friends by tapping in to Xbox Live; that lets players challenge and chat with their friends online. Players can also get increase the intensity of the workout by competing in 60-second drills with people across the globe.

PS3, XBOX360,PC, WIIU; Rs 1699+
This first-person shooter game, ninth in the Call of Duty franchise, will feature future warfare technology and present branching storylines driven by player choice. The single-player campaign now has two storylines- one set between 1970 and 1980 and the other in 2025. Alex Mason returns as the protagonist in the Cold War section, which chronicles the rise of the game's primary antagonist, Raul Menendez, the Nicaraguan narcoterrorist leader of populist movement Cordis Die.

'Delivering on-demand content will be key'

 Tore Blystad, director Hitman: Absolution
Tore Blystad, director Hitman: Absolution
Q: How is Hitman: Absolution different from other games of its kind?

A: Absolution is all about choice. Agent 47 is a highly trained professional hitman. He has the ability to blend into plain sight, kill with his bare hands, fashion a weapon from almost anything—he is an expert marksman, fearless, powerful and unstoppable. So when players put on the suit, we want them to feel as though they are in control of the ultimate killing machine and as developers we want players to be able to use 47’s highly honed skills and abilities however they want.

Q: What are the new trends in gaming? how are things changing?

A: I believe that if you have a good game, it will be played. There has never been as many opportunities in game development as today and what we will see is games being accessible across multiple platforms delivering different aspects of the gaming experience on mobiles, consoles, browsers, etc. Players will be even more connected and games will be stored in the “cloud”, so you can bring your progress with you where you go. Delivering ondemand content in an accessible way will be key to anyone’s success in the future.

Q: What hardware trends are we going to see in the near future?
A: The biggest part of the new hardware is how players are connecting and how games are going to be designed in the future. Is it free to play, episodic, micro transactions, will big games become an entire platform across different hardware where the players have a long standing experience with the title? For games to be successful in the future they have to make the right decisions and follow the movement of players, and that is going to be one of the most interesting developments for gaming going forwards.

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