Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark (Review)

Grimlock deserves better

It’s always amused me just how much people hate Michael Bay. I mean, it’s a film about toys. Of course it’s just robots hitting each other and stuff exploding. Don’t like it? Well stop paying a fortune to watch it at the cinema thus encouraging him to make more. Seriously, I had to delete one person from facebook because they were complaining about how awful the film was despite them paying to watch it twice.

Personally, as an effects fan, I quite like the films (not seen the new one yet though), but wish they were about 45 minutes shorter. I approached the latest tie-in game with low expectations, but with a willingness to be pleasantly surprised, despite High Moon Studios -whose Cybertron series has been widely praised by critics and fans alike- not being at the helm. Fingers crossed they get to work on a brand new entry to the series once they’re done with helping out on COD: Advanced Warfare.

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Enemy Front (Review)

An Inglorious Bughunt

I wanted to love Enemy Front, I really did. As a big WWII FPS fan, I’ve been starved for years and have only recently got a taste of the genre coming back with the ‘what if the Nazi’s won’ Wolfensteinon PS4 and the ‘let’s shoot Italians in Africa for a change’ of the recent Sniper Elite III. Enemy Frontcould have been another game to show that WWII is still one of the best settings for FPS titles; instead, it’s probably buried it.

The game’s ambitions are pure enough, but CI have struggled to cope with the CryEngine and basic gameplay design, producing one of this year’s biggest messes. The frame-rate crashes into single-digits whenever you go indoors, especially when moving up the stairs of any of the multiple apartment buildings. The checkpointing seems intent on making you relive the worst parts of the game whenever you bite the dust after the increasingly random number of perforations deemed acceptable is reached.

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Sniper Elite III (Review)

Better than a bullet in the nads

Sniper Elite III has opted for a change of scenery for its latest long-range melon buster and visits the sandy vistas of Africa during World War II. Unlike most WWII games, there’s a surprising lack of Nazis, instead you’re generally shooting Italians with ze Germans apparently not being fans of the searing heat.

Scenery change aside, it’s business as usual, shooting Axis soldiers from oh-so far away, with gruesome slow-mo detail accompanying most shots. The series’ stable gore looks more grisly than ever on the new consoles. Skulls explode, teeth smash from jaws, bones snap, insides are ripped through and of course testicle shots are back. On the default settings, I soon tired of these slow-motion killshots that follow the bullet from your gun right up to its messy destination. I’d advise dipping into the options to turn down the frequency of them as they lose their impact by the end of the first stage otherwise. They also make it difficult to keep track of nearby enemies between shots.

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Standalone DLC Like Infamous: First Light Must Become The New Norm

Games are expensive. Add in the fact that new-gen games are £10-£20 more expensive than they were on PS3/360 and it’s not surprising that many gamers opt to trade in their games as soon as they’re done.

With multiplayer orientated titles like Battlefield or Titanfall, they may keep hold of them a little while longer if they’re still fun or reliable online. The promise of extra maps to download further down the line make trading them in a risky proposition, after all nobody wants to miss out.

But what about games like Infamous: Second Son? With no multiplayer component and a Platinum Trophy available over two playthroughs through less than 20 hours of play, there isn’t much reason to keep the game. It makes much more sense to trade it in or make even more money back by listing it on eBay. Even if you really enjoyed a game, it’s worth noting that you could sell for a high price soon after launch and then buy again for a quarter of the price in a few years’ time when you fancy reliving the experience.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Review)

An Essential Journey

With a World War I setting, Valiant Hearts: The Great War explores relatively unfamiliar ground for gaming, or even movies to be honest, as it was generally WWII that inspired so many films and games. It’s hard to believe that the human race had the capacity for war again after the events of WWI and Valiant Hearts plays an important role in showing us that this was one of the darkest moments of humanity’s very chequered past.

Unlike most war games though, Valiant Hearts isn’t another one-man-army first-person shooter or a strategic tactical sim. It’s a heavily story-driven experience with puzzling and old-school adventuring at the core of the gameplay.

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2015’s Hits Are So Far Away. But So What?

After the lengthy presentations on day zero of E3 concluded, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there really wasn’t much to look forwards to in the next few months. Every exciting trailer or tantalising CG reveal blasted the same message: come back and see me in 2015, Brendan.

This would seem the case for most console owners, be it PS4, Wii U or Xbox One. As a PS4 owner though, I felt there was that little bit less to look forwards to though. Sitting through the Microsoft presser and watching them make it all about the games, there was no getting around the fact they were having an amazing show.

I’ve never been a Halo fan, but for those that are, the lack of many new games to play at Christmas doesn’t seem too bad when they get to replay their old favourites with a next-gen lick of paint. Perhaps, it’s just the lack of interesting Holiday exclusives that are getting me down.

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Destiny Could Own 2014… If It Fixes Some Problems

It’s hard to feel bad about England’s early stumble in the World Cup when we’ve been able to play the Alpha test of Destiny all weekend. In short, it’s been tonnes of fun and it looks like Bungie are onto a winner. Naturally, there’s a lot to like about the new shooter (like being able to aim down the sights right, Bungie!), but we’ve also comes across a few things we’d like to see sorted by the time the full release touches down in September.

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