Category Archives: PSN (PlayStation Store)

Castlevania: Mirror of Fate HD (Review)

A Better Reflection

 

The 3DS was always going to struggle with the ambitious graphics in Mirror of Fate, but we no longer have to fend off its ugly with a crucifix, because Konami have unleashed a HD makeover on the PS3 and Xbox 360 digital stores and at a bargain price of £9.99.

For those of you who missed the 3DS version, the game ditches the 3D action feel of Lords of Shadow for something more in line with the classic 2D Castlevania games. So expect lots of platforming, exploration and fending off opponents from both sides.

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Rain (Review)

psn ps3 game rain

The Heavens open and darkness falls


Sony have a strong history in recent years of nurturing development talent eager to try something a little offbeat, risky or arty. We’ve had Journey and The Unfinished Swan and we’re bound to see more of their kind on the PS4, but before we take that leap onto next-gen in November, we have a title many of us have been looking forward to since its initial reveal back at Gamescom 2012.

Rain takes place during one evening in the rainy streets of Paris. Hearing a noise outside, a boy looks out his window to see a ghostly silhouette of a little girl run past. He climbs outside to investigate only to discover that he himself has turned into a similar ethereal figure. There isn’t much time to dawdle though as there are sinister creatures on the prowl too, so you must guide him through the streets to help him find the girl and make his way back home.

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Castle of Illusion HD (Review)

Castle of Illusion HDRolling back the clock with the haunted house of mouse


Following the recent retro remake of DuckTales, we now get to see how the classic Mega Drive game, Castle of Illusion scrubs up by today’s standards. As a big fan of the 90s original, I had my fingers cautiously crossed for a nostalgic blast.

The story remains true to the original, with Mickey setting off to rescue long-time sweetheart, Minnie from the evil witch, Mizrabel. Rather than animate some traditional Disney-style cartoon scenes to set up the game, Sega Australia have gone low-budget and opted for some mildly animated illustrations.

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The Sunday Seven: Reasons to be Excited about PS Vita TV

Earlier this week, Sony took to the stage at the Tokyo Game Show to announce the excellent-looking PS Vita TV micro-console, which will be released in Japan later this year. Sony haven’t announced anything about a Western release beyond “stay tuned”, but considering the high interest the device has received from this half of the world, we’re expecting to get our hands on it early next year at the latest. We can’t complain really, especially as Japan is getting the Vita TV device instead of the PS4 this year. I bet they’re furious deep down, but in a really polite way.

So, is Vita TV really just a consolation prize for gamers in Sony’s homeland? Far from it, in fact, I really want one. Is that because I’ve been told I can’t? Very possibly, but here are another seven reasons why I’m crossing everything in the hope we’ll soon be plugging the little white box into a nearby TV.

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Mars: War Logs (Review)

That’s One Red Dead Planet

Low cost downloadable RPGs are something of a rarity on consoles, with only Rainbow Moon coming to mind in recent years as anything vaguely worth your attention. Mars: War Logs would like to get involved with the genre too, despite being more of an action-RPG.

Set far into the future, Mars has undergone colonisation, but that new civilisation has long since collapsed. It has been replaced by warring water companies as everyone inexplicably fights over the dusty hellhole.

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The Sunday Seven: How the PS4 Could Win Next-Gen

Last week, I looked at how Microsoft could come out on top in the next-gen console wars despite their initial self-inflicted setbacks. So it’s only fair that I give the same treatment to Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4. Both consoles are going to release around the same period, just in time for the Christmas madness. We’ve not had consoles launch head-to-head for generations, which means we’re going to see a real fight between the two. Ring that bell Mr. Shopkeeper. It’s so on.

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Journey: Collector’s Edition (Review)

The Genesis of Greatness

*This collection encompasses ThatGameCompay’s previously download-only games including Flow, Flower and Journey. I’ve reviewed all three and discussed the extras also included.

Flow

The first time I played Flow six years ago, I started it late and ended up glued to the screen until 6am. It’s an experience you can just be swallowed up in. Just as it gets difficult, it expands and resets.

You play as a basic underwater life form that must eat smaller creatures in order to grow. The game takes place on a series of 2D stages and movement is controlled by turning the PS3 SixAxis controller with a press of any button making you move faster. As with all of ThatGameCompany’s PS3 games, there isn’t a heads-up display and next-to no tutorial, but you should find this an easy experience to get into.

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Pool Nation (Review)

With only Hustle Kings to really compete with, Pool Nation enters the digital pool hall looking to wipe the floor with the posers. No cutscenes, no irritating voice-overs, just pool. We like it already.

You can dive straight into the lengthy tournament campaigns without bothering with the tutorials if you just want to get stuck in. Basic shots are a breeze. Some very handy aiming lines are turned on by default showing the path of the white ball and a separate path for the ball you’ll hit, making even the sharpest angled shots effortlessly simple.

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Killzone HD (Review)

There have been many HD re-releases over the last few years and it’s always a tough ask when the game was pushing the original hardware to the limit. Exactly how much more can we expect from a HD remaster? Rest assured though, Killzone HD looks, and more importantly, still plays exceptionally well today.

I was worried that having been such a fan of the original game, I may have been remembering the visuals with rose-tinted glasses and the HD reworking would shatter those memories. Thankfully, the game looks fantastic today and pulses with graphical finesse. It’s fortunate that the original game featured a texture-friendly grainy filter and a lot of mist, which transfers well today, giving the game a distinguished look.

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Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (Review)

The Ratchet & Clank series has been somewhat unpredictable in recent years as it seems to be trying to reinvent itself with the last few games despite a strong following and decent review scores. Its blend of planetary exploration, platforming and fantastically fun weaponry was a hit every time, culminating in the excellent A Crack in Time in 2009.

In 2011, the series delved into co-op gameplay and despite dumbing down the controls to remove manual aiming and allow all players to share a single screen, the game was an enjoyable blast with the usual polish we’ve come to expect from the series. It was surprising to hear the studio was working on yet another R&C title after announcing the multi-platform Fuse. We were hoping for something along the lines of A Crack in Time again, but alas we have a PSN tower-defence download title. Wait… what?

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Game of the Year 2012


What with the gaming industry still being keen to strangle itself every year by releasing all the good games at once, I’m going to be playing catch up on some of the great titles long into next year. This might even give me something to do next summer if the lineup for the ‘sunny’ bit of the year is as grossly thin as it was this year.

I’ve played some great stuff this year though, many of them get a mention below, but a few other honourable shouts go out to DishonoredSonic and All-Stars Racing TransformedBlack Ops II,Sports Champions 2 and WipEout 2048 and Virtua Tennis 4 on the Vita.

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When Vikings Attack (Review)

Picking a simple premise for a game can be enough to make the most basic of efforts entertaining for hours. Just look at Angry Birds, Plants Vs Zombies or Calling All Cars – the latter being the best PSN game you’ve never played.

When Vikings Attack comes at us with its own simple mechanics aiming to be easy to pick up for the masses. Throw in multiplayer, cross-play with the Vita and extra characters to unlock and it’s clear that the developers think the game has a shot. These ambitions spiked my interest and after five minutes, I thought this could work. Sadly, after 15 minutes, it got boring. Half an hour later and it felt like all possibilities of enjoyment were driven from my very soul.

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The Unfinished Swan (Review)

Sony’s PS3 continues to lead as a platform striving to offer as many diverse experiences as possible. Admittedly, most have them have come from That Game Company in the shape of Flow, Flower and Journey. So it’s good to see a new studio emerge from under Sony’s wing to show us such a visually arresting game.

While the game is a first person title, I’d hesitate to class it as a first-person shooter, although it handles that way. There are no bullets here though, only paint and a few platforming sections.

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Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force (Hands-on Preview)

You might be wondering where Insomniac Games have been since announcing their multi-platform title,Overstrike. Well, since then this is their second Ratchet & Clank title, it would seem they’re not quite ready to move out of mama Sony’s house quite yet.

In recent years we’ve had the awesome Crack in Time and last year saw the enjoyable inclusion of multiplayer to the series with All 4 One. Today’s demo was single player but there will be online and splitscreen co-op options for two players. This could work very well as the action was a little dumbed down for All 4 One to allow four players to share a single screen. It was fun, but not quite the full co-op experience long-time fans craved.

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Harley Quinn’s Revenge (Batman: Arkham City DLC Review)

Take me down to Arkham City, where the grass is dead and the girls show no pity.

It’s encouraging to see some premium downloadable content that attempts to expand on the single-player experience of a game. Like many games, Batman: Arkham City has seen more than its fair share of extra costumes and challenges for characters like Robin, Catwoman and Nightwing. But after the huge events at the end of Arkham City, fans will be excited to jump over the prison wall again to ruff up the inmates. As a warning, this DLC review contains spoilers for the end of the main game, so consider yourselves warned.

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Hustle Kings (Vita Review)

A cheap price and pool on the go are certainly good ingredients for the Vita’s take on our favourite pub game. No arguments over whose 50p is on the table at 3am either, which is always a good thing.

A very long tutorial begins well enough by telling you how to use the three different cue shot methods and spin shots. But the help and controls for jump shots and straight backspin are terrible and anyone who can do these shots in real life will no doubt be shouting “Bullshit!” many times over.

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Escape Plan (Review)

Within the first few months of the Vita’s release I expect we’ll be seeing this sort of thing a lot. What, artsy black and white puzzle games? No, that would be fine; I mean games with overly-reliant touchscreen and touchpad inputs hampering a potentially enjoyable experience. These aren’t the only flaws behind Escape Plan, but they certainly tip the scales towards indifference.

The premise is simple; controlling two characters you must escape a long series of 2D challenge rooms. A sideways screen swipe makes them walk and a tap stops them. Interacting with the environment on their behalf is the key to their freedom.  Drawer-like platforms can be pushed out from behind for a limited time, so timing your walks (they can’t be called runs) across them is of vital importance. Not being able to use the X button to start/stop walking is a miserly and foolish omission as the touches don’t always register first or second time.

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Amy (Review)

Survival horror continues its search for a new host as this promising download-only effort fails on all fronts. A technical nightmare that feels rushed, untested, unloved, thoughtless and irritating. Amy, we are upset and disappointed. More so because before we got to hold your hand we thought this would be the post-Ico hit we’ve needed.

The premise was so deliciously tangible it was hard not to get excited about this ambitious studio bringing survival horror to the downloadable market, especially seeing as the genre has ebbed in recent years on modern consoles.

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Trine 2 (Review)

In a gaming climate that has almost killed off the humble platformer, Trine 2 shines as a reminder of how much potential is still there for developers willing to work at it as Frozenbyte has done once again.

Players of the original 2009 Trine (PS3 and PC) will be able to jump in straight away, while 360 players might experience a longer adjustment, as the game doesn’t take much time to explain the game’s mechanics to the new player.

Essentially, you control three characters at once by swapping between them on the fly to solve the platforming puzzle at hand with only one character appearing on-screen at a time. The wizard levitates objects and conjures crates and planks to help you climb upwards, the thief fires arrows and has a grappling hook to attach to wooden surfaces and swing around, and the knight provides the muscle with a sword and shield combo or a sledgehammer that can also be used to smash through walls.

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