Having recently published a roundup of horror games coming to Xbox One and 360 next month, it's time to look at another batch of upcoming games. This time we turn our eyes and hearts to three distinct games from French publisher Focus Home Interactive.
Later this month, Focus will release Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes for Xbox One and 360 at retail. Then in October, Styx: Master of Shadows will sneak onto Xbox One and other platforms. Finally, the off-the-wall Kinect shooter Blue Estate is due out on Xbox One shortly after that. With adventure and investigations, stealth and action, and motion-based shooting, that's quite a diverse spread of games. Read on for plenty of details and trailers!
Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes
Frogwares' 'Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' series originated way back in 2002 and continues to this day. Previous entries on Xbox 360 included 'Sherlock versus Jack the Ripper' and 'The Testament of Sherlock Holmes,' both of which I always wanted to play. Testament saw fictional detective Sherlock Holmes fall from grace, being forced to shadier and more violent measures to complete his investigations.
The latest game draws inspiration from Dostoyevsky's novel Crimes and Punishment. Taking place in a gritty version of Victorian-era London, Holmes will investigate six different cases.
Investigation is a huge part of the game, with 14 different mechanics at Holmes' disposal. One such mechanic is "Sherlock Vision," a feature inspired by BBC's Sherlock TV series. As Holmes looks around, his vision will highlight evidence that bears examination. Likewise, his thoughts and observations will appear as text on-screen. The game really dramatizes Sherlock's hyper-observant and analytical mind.
Clues that Holmes discovers will show up on the "Evidence Board." There players will consider the evidence and attempt to link it into a theory about the crime's perpetrator. Depending on your investigation skills, the theory could be right or wrong. In total, each case will have 3-5 possible solutions and 6-10 endings.
Naturally, Sherlock has the ability to select the suspect of the crime. From there, he can choose what to do with him or her as well. Will he give her to the police, or sympathize with her plight and let her go? He can even choose two suspects for a crime, making things even more complicated. One of the game's themes is the blame and regret that Sherlock feels about his actions.
Crimes & Punishments comes to Xbox One and 360, Playstation 3 and 4, and PC on Tuesday, October 30. Preorder at Amazon to receive a $10 promotional credit.
Styx: Master of Shadows
No, this isn't a game about one of the worst bands in history. Master of Shadows comes from Paris-based Cyanide Studios. Their latest game is actually a prequel to 'Of Orcs and Men,' an Xbox 360 action-RPG starring the same character. Styx is a two-century old goblin who specializes in thievery and assassination (two of my favorite pastimes).
The game centers around Styx's infiltration of the Tower of Akenash, which holds a treasure guarded by a force of humans and elves. The Tower's treasure is the Heart of the Tree. An amber source of limitless value, it will be Styx's ultimate score. But first he has to discover the secret plans of the tower and steal the tower key from the Governor who protects it.
Styx is a game of stealth kills, somewhat similar to Dishonored or Assassin's Creed. Our antihero will have to sneak around, extinguish lights, and kill and assassinate the hapless guardians of the tower. Some choice execution methods include poisoning a well used by the guards, or creating a magical clone of Styx who can assist in performing a double stealth kill.
Our goblin can stay in cover, hide under tables and other objects, and lurk in the shadows to avoid detection. He can move quickly or slowly, the latter proving much quieter than running. Making noises will distract guards, possibly allowing for a hasty escape. He will improve his skills through an RPG-like skill tree. Players can spend points on
Styx will also use the Source Tree's Amber to gain more magical powers beyond cloning, such as invisibility and summoning smoke clouds. All of these cost Amber to use, which is apparently in short supply. Hopefully not so short that it keeps players from enjoying Styx's powers.
Fighting your opponents head on will also be an option, though Styx's small size makes such fights quite a challenge. He can parry attacks at least, possibly choosing to drop down or climb up to another level and make haste. The optional Goblin difficulty level takes away Styx's power to fight entirely. If he gets caught in Goblin mode, he'll die automatically. That should be cool for extreme stealth enthusiasts, but I'll probably stick with the normal game mode.
Styx comes to Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC this October. It will cost $29.99/£24.99.
This game comes from French developer He-Saw. Blue Estate originated as a 12-issue comic series created by Viktor Kalvachev and available in a complete hardcover collection. The book centers around an alcoholic hitman and his starlet cohort as they scheme to rob a movie star of millions.
The game itself is a prequel, focusing on different characters than the book. Players will control Tony Luciano, son of a mafia Don, and Clarence, Tony's ex-Navy SEAL bodyguard. Tony runs a strip club given to him by his father. When the club's star dancer Cherry Popz gets kidnapped, Tony and Clarence embark on a rampage to get her back. Yeah, it's supposed to be kind of silly.
Blue Estate is a rail shooter, much like classic arcade games like Virtua Cop and House of the Dead. It supports one or two local players. The protagonists automatically move through levels, with players simply being required to shoot enemies full of holes. Hitting a bad guy in the head or nuts (the game's word of choice) will result in an instant kill. Players have unlimited ammo for their default pistols, but will also pick up limited-use automatic weapons, shotguns, and more.
The big question about Blue Estate is how well the new Kinect can handle a game about precision shooting. Certainly it can see individual fingers and finer movements than the original Kinect. But will players simply aim their hands in the air and pull their fingers like mad in order to shoot the hordes of bad guys? I'm not sure, but that might not be good for your fingers.
The Playstation 4 version (released in June) uses the DualShock 4's motion sensor. We don't know if the Xbox One version will combine the Kinect's motion sensing with the tactile input of a physical controller. That seems like the best solution to me… On the other hand, the PC version works exclusively with the Leap Motion controller, which does not involve a physical input and somewhat resembles the Kinect's functionality. Time will tell what the developer has decided on for Xbox One users.
Blue Estate will bring its darkly humorous crime drama and shooting action to Xbox One later this year. We expect it to cost $19.99 like the Playstation 4 version.
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