Category Archives: Reviews

The Art of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City & Arkham Knight (Book Review)

Rocksteady’s trilogy of Batman games have become gaming legend in recent years. Never before has a studio nailed the feel of a comic/movie icon so well in gaming form. Behind every great game though, are reams of artwork inspiring ambitious mechanics and design. The creative mind’s eye uses the page to provide the provisional jumping off point for others.

This hardback book is a celebration and homage to the journey of the Batman series’ aesthetics from concept through completion. It’s an absolute beast of a book too, a true coffee table piece if ever there was one. Weighing in at 2KG, The Art of Rocksteady’s Batman has 304 pages containing 400 high quality images. Concept art has long been an unlockable feature in video games, but high quality art assets are much better appreciated on the page rather than your TV screen.

Continue reading The Art of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City & Arkham Knight (Book Review)

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Just Cause 3 Review – Appetite for Destruction

We’ve had more than our fair share of open world sandboxes on the new-gen consoles, but the wait for Just Cause 3 has been a rather long one. After all, nobody quite does explosions like Rico Rodriguez.

Just Cause 3 does so many fun things right, but the number of basic elements that it utterly fails at is truly shocking. My first few hours with the game were not good at all actually. However, as I got used to the rough edges, the fun side of the game eventually prevailed and I found myself reluctantly being teased into having a good time. Continue reading Just Cause 3 Review – Appetite for Destruction

Star Wars: Battlefront Review – Old Rope or a New Hope?

Despite the success of the original Star Wars: Battlefront games back in the PS2/Xbox days, we never saw a third game last-gen. But now, with modern gaming technology and DICE’s expertise on full throttle, we have a game that looks almost as good as the movies that inspired them.

Sure, the animations aren’t as fancy as that original trailer set on Endor, (called it!) but the graphical clarity and slick 60 frames-per-second across all platforms makes this one of the best-looking multiplayer shooters ever made. Continue reading Star Wars: Battlefront Review – Old Rope or a New Hope?

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Review – A co-op coup

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is so packed with content it tough to pick a place to start. While many COD players like to skip the campaign each year and dive straight into the multiplayer, Black Ops III’s story mode marks the long-awaited return of co-op, making it one of the best campaigns the series has seen in a while.

However, I ran through the campaign playing solo first. This third entry in the convoluted Black Ops storyline jumps even further into the future. The world has gone to shit, but I can’t remember why. Soldiers have body modifications that allow them to jump higher and wall-run in a similar, but certainly toned down, version of the hyper movement skills seen in last year’s ambitious Advanced Warfare. You can now shoot while mantling over low walls and even reload while sprinting for a much more fluid feeling Call of Duty and these features gel nicely with the competitive multiplayer too. Continue reading Call of Duty: Black Ops III Review – A co-op coup

Need for Speed Review – Burnt out

The Need for Speed series has struggled to find an identity for years, despite takes by numerous developers. Between the forgotten titles, we’ve had the Fast and the Furious-inspired Underground, the cops vs racers of Hot Pursuit (twice), the straight-faced track racer Shift and the open-world attempt by Criterion in Most Wanted.

This latest game has had an extra year of development, breaking the habit of releasing a NFS game every year. The subtitles are gone, 2015’s game is simply Need for Speed. Although, given the nature of the game, EA must have been pretty tempted to call it Need for Speed: Underground 3. Continue reading Need for Speed Review – Burnt out

Tales of Zestiria Review – Needs more ‘Zest’

There was a time when Japanese RPGs were big news on consoles with regular updates from the likes of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. There have been slim pickings over the last few years though. Instead, we’ve seen RPG elements creep into more action-orientated games. 2015 has been no different, with the great (Witcher III) and poor (Mad Max) alike bumping their games past the 40 hour mark with skill trees and lengthy upgrade systems.

But what about something unmistakably ‘Japanese’? With the Final Fantasy series going online with XIV or still being miles off (XV), it’s once again up to Bandai Namco and the Tales series to bring fans a slice of old-school goodness. Continue reading Tales of Zestiria Review – Needs more ‘Zest’

Asus ZenPad 8.0 Z380C Tablet Review – Another Asus Ace?

Asus ZenPad 8.0 Z380C Tablet Review - Another Asus Ace?

If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’re in the market for a new tablet but don’t want to pay through the nose for the latest poser-friendly iPad. We don’t blame you. The price of Apple’s tablets has got way out of hand, with the costs of extra memory being particularly shocking.

You’re off to a good start looking at an Asus tablet. This is after all the company behind the first truly great budget tablet, the 2012 Google Nexus 7, aka the benchmark. But today the competition is pretty damn strong in this area, with even Tesco releasing an impressive tablet in the form of the Hudl 2. So, let’s see how the ZenPad 8.0 Z380C measures up. Continue reading Asus ZenPad 8.0 Z380C Tablet Review – Another Asus Ace?

Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized Review – The illusion of choice?

Coming in late? Be sure to check out my spoiler-free reviews of Episode 1Episode 2Episode 3 and Episode 4.

Life is Strange’s five part episodic series began life back in January and the last episode was released nearly three months ago. It’s safe to say the release schedule has been a mess. Even the originally-planned six-week gap between episodes should have been flagged as a narrative momentum killer.

Such is life when reviewing and playing episodic content these days. If you’re smart though, you’ll have stayed away until today. Now the final episode is out, you’re free to play through the whole story at your own pace. And to get right to it: you really should.  Continue reading Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized Review – The illusion of choice?

Bedlam: The Game Review – You’d be mad to come here

Bedlam: The Game Review - You'd be mad to come here

You may already know something about Bedlam as it’s based on a book by Christopher Brookmyre. Packed with pop culture references it featured a chap waking up in an old Doom-style shooter he used to play in his youth. The book followed him as he made his way through multiple familiar game worlds and different gaming genres.

The game follows a similar premise, but puts you in the shoes of a different character for some reason.  This gives the writers an excuse to come up with additional dialogue, which often falls a little flat if I’m honest and may even cause a few eyes to roll. What we’re really after though is an experience of playing through some classic genres akin to the experience in the book. Continue reading Bedlam: The Game Review – You’d be mad to come here

WRC 5 Review – A dirty old clunker

Rallying used to be king of the racers in gaming, but just like real rallying, it’s seen its audience dwindle to a fraction of the glory days. A fact not helped by Codemasters bastardising their own franchise by unleashing Ken Block’s show-ponying over actual racing.

The second wave of WRC titles (Sony had a WRC series on PS2) performed admirably last-gen though, despite always being in the shade of Dirt 2. Milestone were a bit cheeky though, recycling some tracks in their annual release and stripping down the career mode to its bare bones. Continue reading WRC 5 Review – A dirty old clunker

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Review – Still jaw-dropping

No trilogy rocked more socks off PS3 gamers than Naughty Dog’s all conquering adventures. But have they stood the test of time and who is this remastered collection even for?

To be honest, it’s an easy recommendation for any gamer. First and foremost has to be the new Sony converts. If you didn’t have a PS3 last-gen, or simply missed out on the series (you can’t play everything) and now have a PS4, this is an essential purchase. Continue reading Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Review – Still jaw-dropping

Lego Dimensions Review – Brilliant but blocked

Gamers of all ages have been enjoying Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games for years now, but now they can finally play with real Lego bricks as a part of the game. With the runaway success of the toys-to-life trendsetter, Skylanders, it’s a mystery why it’s taken this long for the Lego games to jump into the genre.

Rather than focus on one IP, this new series is a mashup of multiple franchises and movie licenses. In the box, you’ll find dinky NFC-chipped Lego minifigs for Batman, Gandalf and WyldStyle. Together they must take on evil forces across dimensions to save the day by beating up goons, smashing up environments and holding the Circle button to rebuild odd yet useful tools. So far, so Lego, right? Continue reading Lego Dimensions Review – Brilliant but blocked

Tearaway Unfolded Review – Treat your DualShock 4

Tearaway Unfolded Review - Treat your DualShock 4

What a joy it is to see Tearaway land on the PS4, especially if you don’t own a PS Vita and always wanted to try Media Molecule’s much-loved title. Crucially, for fans of the original, there’s enough new material here to justify owning both versions.

The Vita’s plethora of control inputs were a perfect fit for Tearaway’s ambitious ideas. Thankfully, the DualShock 4 performs admirably too, with the trackpad bearing much of the workload, which I’ll tell you about soon enough. Continue reading Tearaway Unfolded Review – Treat your DualShock 4

Forza Motorsport 6 Review – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Forza Motorsport 6 Review - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

It’s all about speed and control. Speed is that vital ingredient to racing games that has us coming back for more. Just how fast can we go and stay in control? Maintaining control of the car, holding a fragile grip on the road just long enough to hold the line around that corner is all that matters. Speed and control make every corner a fight, a neck-and-neck paint-trading tussle between you and your fear of flying off the track or braking too soon and losing ground on the chase and that all-important speed. Forza 6 nails speed and control.

There’s a sweet spot to be found in Forza 6, where you’re challenged just enough by the AI and the driving aids are tuned to ensure every race is an exhilarating adrenaline rush. That’s not to say the AI difficulty options are completely reliable though. Sometimes you’ll go from winning multiple tight races in a row only to find the next one has the two lead cars are so far in front of you, you’ll think you’re in first until you notice the 3/24 indicator in the corner. Continue reading Forza Motorsport 6 Review – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Until Dawn Review – A night to remember

Horror games aren’t usually meant to be ‘fun’ or known for being ‘a laugh’. Scrambling around in the shadows for ammo in The Evil Within, or managing a tiny inventory in Resident Evil can be harrowing and stressful experiences. And then there’s the nerve-shredding trauma of Bloodborne.

But what about horror movies? Beyond the blood and gore, we’re waiting for inevitable scare lurking around the corner to make us jump out of our skins and then laugh it off with friends. Until Dawn is the gaming equivalent of that horror movie experience and it’s been well worth the wait. Continue reading Until Dawn Review – A night to remember

Mad Max Review – Bleeding out on the blacktop

Mad Max Review - Bleeding out on the blacktop

Mad Max is a treasured movie series, and it was a great surprise to see the recent Mad Max: Fury Road reboot turn out to be pretty damn good. The pressure is certainly on for Avalanche Studios to deliver with their Mad Max game, which has been in the works since around 2008. So, it’s perhaps not unfair to have high expectations, especially when you consider the same studio is responsible for the ludicrously fun Just Cause series, with a third entry set to tear through stores later this year.

Just think about the comparison though. Just Cause games are set in a tropical paradise and give you tonnes of guns, skydiving, mid-air car surfing, anything-goes grappling hooks and the fun cranked up to 11 for the duration. Mad Max is set in a desert wasteland, car fuel must be scavenged and fought for, ammo for your rusty sawn-off is in dire supply and just staying alive is a constant challenge. Can you guess which game is more fun to play? Continue reading Mad Max Review – Bleeding out on the blacktop

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse Review

It’s seriously bad luck to be near George Stobbart. Just as his first Broken Sword adventure began with a death in Paris, someone is shot within minutes of Broken Sword 5. And so begins another adventure to find the murderer. There’s more to it this time though as the shooter’s main aim was to steal a mysterious (and quite disturbing) old painting from a Parisian gallery.

If you’re new to the Broken Sword series, don’t be put off by that daunting number in the title. This adventure works as a standalone title and instead of relying on series knowledge, merely gives the odd nod to fans via cameo appearances, and of course, irritable goats. Continue reading Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Review – Riot Control, Japan Style

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Review - Riot Control, Japan Style


One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is all about smashing through big crowds. No matter which character you’re controlling, you’re essentially a god, eternally smashing through thousands of weakling enemies per stage with an extraordinary set of physical skills. It’s gaming in its purest form of empowerment. And it’s enormously fun.

There’s a problem though, and it’s one familiar to anyone that’s played a Dynasty Warriors game or one of the earlier One Piece titles – there’s really not much else to it. But in the right sized doses, this could find a place in your heart.

Continue reading One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Review – Riot Control, Japan Style

Immerse Virtual Reality Headset Review – Can VR work on phones?

Immerse Virtual Reality Headset Review - Can VR work on phones?

It’s taking the Oculus Rift so long to get to market, the knock off products are hitting the shelves before the number one contender for a Virtual Reality-led future even has a solid RRP. Given the buzz about VR though, we’re eager to try kit we can.

To be fair, this isn’t quite a competitor to the like of the Oculus Rift or Sony’s Project Morpheus. Instead, the Immerse Virtual Reality headset is designed for your smart phone. So you won’t need an expensive PC rig or console to use it. You may have heard of this tech before with Google Cardboard, which placed phone handsets into a box with some lenses to replicate 3D imagery via apps that show two images, much in the same way the Oculus works. Continue reading Immerse Virtual Reality Headset Review – Can VR work on phones?

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Review – Too old school?

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Review | Too old school?

The dungeon crawler video game genre really does owe it all to 1985’s Gauntlet. The top down multiplayer title has been copied ever since with similar titles in the action/RPG genre, most notably the new genre king, Diablo III, which has built upon Gauntlet’s sturdy foundations.

So yes, if you’re a retro fan or recently found yourself absorbed by the world of Diablo III on PC or consoles, there’s certainly fun to be had with this PS4 update of the recent PC remake. The graphics are slightly shinier than the PC version and there are new items to unlock, but realistically, there’s no reason to double dip unless your mates never wanted to play on PC. Continue reading Gauntlet: Slayer Edition Review – Too old school?