Saturday, 13 February 2016

Cybergeddon: Why a global security disaster is inevitable

Cybergeddon: Why a global security disaster is inevitable

Attacks on TalkTalk and Wetherspoon’s are a mere blip compared to what could happen to our global IT infrastructure. Davey Winder examines the genuine doomsday scenarios

Ambassador R James Woolsey Jr, a former director of central intelligence in the US, gave evidence before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in July 2015. Woolsey warned that the US is “heading toward an EMP catastrophe”, meaning a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse represents an existential threat to the American people. “EMP is a clear and present danger,” Woolsey said. “Something must be done to protect the electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures - immediately.”

Divided We Fall

Tom Clancy's The Division

We take a gluttonous bite of the division’s rotting big apple and leave beaten, bloodied, and hungry for more

The first thing that strikes us during our extended hands-on session with Tom Clancy's The Division isn't an enemy sniper's bullet or brutal melee attack (those come later), but the game's absolutely stunning visual presentation. A real apocalypse wow.

Unfolding in New York City after a population-wiping plague has been unleashed via contaminated banknotes, the open-world online action-RPG drops its heroes in a scarily real post-pandemic Big Apple. According to associate creative director Julian Gerighty, getting the setting right was key to staying true to the Clancy universe. "One of the values we have as a Tom Clancy game is that it has to be grounded in reality, so we really wanted to create something that was a living, breathing mid-crisis NYC... a city that is reeling from this catastrophic event. We've built what we think is the closest thing to a one-to-one representation of New York that has ever been seen in a videogame."

Homefront: The Revolution

Homefront: The Revolution

It’s not quite a revolution, but the new Homefront is a dab hand with a shapeshifting gun

Homefront: The Revolution has seen tough times, both within its alternate-history setting and without. It has survived the fall of the United States to a unified Korea – reinvented by the writers as a nation of Titanfall extras equipped with DNAlocked weapons. It has survived the bankruptcy of original publisher THQ. It has weathered the near-collapse of THQ’s successor, Crytek, with Koch Media swooping in to pluck the studio now known as Dambuster from the wreckage. But we’re not sure it’s going to survive the attentions of Dorothy the personal fitness trainer, custom character during our time with the game’s four-player co-op mode.

47 reasons why Hitman is one for your crosshairs

47 reasons why Hitman is one for your crosshairs

Still smarting from the fan reaction to his last game, Agent 47 hits PS4 on 11 March for the first episode of his new, six-part outing. We infiltrate Square Enix to test an early build and uncover 47 reasons why Hitman is one for your crosshairs

For the world’s best assassin, Agent 47 sure has made a meal of arriving on PS4. OI’ barcode bonce missed his appointment in December. Then, after confounding targets with a release and DLC structure so complex it had to be explained over a number of dossiers, Square Enix shredded its original plans and instead turned Hitman fully episodic.

Forget the trainwrecks starring Timothy Olyphant and Rupert Friend; if this route to current-gen had been developed for the silver screen, it’d have been named Assassin Squad! and starred the late, great Leslie Nielsen as a slapstick killer who bungled every job.

Luckily, that’s where Agent 47’s facepalms finish, as we discover during our extensive playtest of the first episode…

Ratchet & Clank: Lombax to the future

Ratchet & Clank

This April, two of PlayStation’s biggest heroes will unleash a double-barrelled assault on fans across the globe: hitting cinemas with their feature film debut, and crashing onto PS4 for the first time in a full remake of their PS2 platforming classic. Matthew Pellett dives into the game and movie to see if Ratchet & Clank can thrive in a new generation.

To fully grasp how splendidly the new Ratchet & Clank game is shaping up, first you need to ignore its RRP. With a budget price set at £29.99, expectations are likely moderate. Perhaps you think this is a simple remaster of the first game in the series: the same blueprints as the 2002 platformer-cum-shooter starring a wannabe hero lombax named Ratchet and his newfound robot friend Clank. This time with some uprezzed textures and a handful of minor feature tweaks for good measure, maybe? Enough to justify a new disc rather than just releasing the emulated PS2 original, of course, just not the overhaul to warrant a full-price £50 release.

End Game

End Game

The decline, evolution and future of the RTS

To speak of the ‘death’ of a genre is always a bit ridiculous, but real-time strategy as traditionally conceived has certainly seen better days. If the genre were a round of deathmatch we’d be well into the final third, with all resources tapped, the majority of key bases flattened and depleted armies scattered across the map. The StarCraft series remains an outpost of prosperity, bustling along in defiance of changing market conditions. Also, the excellent Company of Heroes and Dawn of War games from RTS veterans Relic continue to find a dedicated and passionate audience. This month’s new Homeworld feels special partly because it’s such a one-off. Elsewhere, it’s a bit of a wasteland: from the ruins of Command & Conquer: Generals 2, which was shuttered along with fledgling developer Victory Games in 2013, to the ashes of the Age of Empires series, shelved by Microsoft back in 2009.