Looking at gaming’s release schedule, you may notice one genre in particular doesn’t seem to have anything on the horizon – the action platformer. Has the flop of Knack on the PS4 put developers off making new ones? Until someone says otherwise, it would seem that the best way to get our fix is to look backwards.
Fortunately, I’ve been saved a visit to my local preowned store and plugging my PS2 into a modern TV (scart lead consoles on HD TV’s look horrendous) thanks to PS2 title, Legend of Kay being released in digital form on PS3. This isn’t an HD remake, but to be honest, time has been kind to the game and it still looks good today. Widescreen and 60Hz support helps too. Continue reading Legend of Kay Review – This kitty has claws
With the PS3/360 generation of gaming pumping out some excellent games right up to the release of the new generation of gaming consoles, there was always going to be the question of whether some of these games should have waited for the new hardware.
That said we were blown away by what our old machines were capable of with the likes of Beyond: Two Souls (visually at least), Bioshock infinite, The Last of Us, and of course Tomb Raider. So how much do we really need a re-release of a game that’s not even a year old? I admit I was sceptical, but as a fan of the game and a visuals enthusiast (my new name for ‘graphics whore’), there was no denying I’d struggle to pretend a PS4 version wasn’t of interest.
Continue reading Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (PS4 Review)
Releasing at the busiest time of year, Liberation went largely unnoticed when it released towards the back end of 2012 on the PS Vita. So when Ubisoft announced they would be polishing it up for a downloadable release on PSN and XBLA it was collective high fives all-round. Sorry Vita, but the big TV wins again.
So often, I cringe when I see the prices of digital games or HD remakes, but Liberation’s £15.99 asking price is very reasonable. Mainly because the original Vita version costs more and the visual upgrade is huge. Some of you may be disappointed to hear that the multiplayer options have been ditched, but this makes sense really. Why would Ubisoft want to dedicate resources to keeping more servers alive when they know most fans will be enjoying the superior multiplayer offerings of Assassin’s Creed IV?
Continue reading Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD (Review)
If you’re a late comer to the Assassin’s Creed series, or your interest for it has waned in recent years, this is the game for you. It’s also an essential purchase for any graphics-devouring next-gen console owners out there, as it’s a visual powerhouse from start to finish.
The story sees you essentially playing a game, within a game. You’re some sort of beta tester at Abstergo Entertainment, using the DNA-memory technology seen in the series beforehand to relive the memories of a famous line of Assassin’s. Rather than trying to save the world from Templars as Desmond Miles, this time you’re running through the life events of one Caribbean-based, Welsh pirate, Edward Kenway, to create a video game. It’s very Meta and inside knowledge of past events is handy for the little snippets of information you may find, but newcomers shouldn’t feel left out. There’s always a quick glance at Wikipedia if you need to catch up on the finale of the previous game(s).
Continue reading Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4 Review)
Bring duct tape.
Like any good zombie attack, you never see it coming and How to Survive will sink its teeth into your nights if you let your guard down while patiently awaiting the arrival of your shiny next-gen console.
EKO Software’s game is a top-down action-RPG that can be loosely compared with the likes of Diablo III or Dead Nation. After crash landing on a zombie-infested tropical island, you’ll need to scavenge for salvage and build weapons and armour to hold off the infected masses. The overall aim is to make a series of vehicle repairs via completing fetch quests. Ok, so not exactly a revolution of new ideas, but once How to Survive gets going, it’s hard to put down.
Continue reading How to Survive (Review)
Get your Zurkon!
Sony’s long serving pair are back for another dose of platforming and mad scientist-style firearms. Let’s get straight to what you want to hear, yes, Ratchet & Clank: Nexus is a return to form after the misguided effort that was Q-Force. So, with no threats of ridiculous tower defence to worry about we’re free to enjoy the series as it was always meant to be.
That said, I’ve been surprised to see Insomniac continue to work on the series since they started working on non-Sony titles, but I supposed something has to pay the bills between Fuse and Sunset Overdrive (an upcoming Xbox One exclusive). This could explain why we’re getting a shorter Ratchet adventure than usual, but in fairness, it’s only £20.
Continue reading Ratchet & Clank: Nexus (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.
Continue reading Castlevania: Mirror of Fate HD (Review)
Following Heavy Rain must have been a daunting task. The interactive drama wasn’t to everyone’s tastes thanks to the quick time event heavy gameplay. But there’s no denying it was a unique game that told a story in a way a film would never be able to.
So here we are with Beyond: Two Souls, another game written and directed by David Cage and developed by the highly respected Quantic Dream. Beyond, enters new territory though, dropping the crime genre for a tale with a sci-fi edge that’s keen to cut into the concept of death and what awaits us on the other side. It has an episodic feel, making it more comparable to a TV series than a film. I mean, how many 12 hour films have you seen recently?
We’ve come to expect actors’ performances to play a key role in Quantic Dream titles, with some excellent work from the cast of Heavy Rain and the excellent facial motion-capture that lifted the game high above the competition. So it makes sense that this time they would reach out to Hollywood and bag some big-name talent.
Continue reading Beyond: Two Souls (Review)
Dragon’s Crown is a fond throwback to classic side-scrolling beat ‘em ups like Streets of Rage, or more specifically, Golden Axe (you can totally ride dragons!). Stages involve going from left to right with a four-strong group consisting of knights, amazons, dwarves, elves, wizards or sorceresses. There’s a boss with a health bar as wide as your TV at the end of each one too, with one of them being a clever nod to a certain Monty Python film. Sold yet?
You’re spoilt for choice, with six different character types to choose from. They’re ranked from beginner to expert, but to be honest you’ll be fine going with whichever takes your fancy from the start and you’re allowed to have a few on the go at once.
Continue reading Dragon’s Crown (Review)
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.
Continue reading Rain (Review)
An absorbing adventure that’s still full of heart
Square Enix aren’t the fastest of movers when it comes to giving us what we really want. That Final Fantasy VII remake doesn’t appear to be on its way soon and Kingdom Hearts III has only just been announced.
In the meantime though, we’re more than happy to revisit the past in their latest HD collection, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. Rather than just give us HD versions of the main canon PS2 games, Square are making the effort to bring players up to date with the Nintendo-only spin-offs and region-specific releases. Naturally, this leaves room for another HD collection before KHIII.
Continue reading Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (Review)
After the slightly frosty reception the thawed out first sequel received, it would seem the Lost Planet series has been pining for those long cold winters again. So the third game is a prequel to the original, taking place many years before.
You are Jim, red-haired (finally!) and awesomely bearded-up for the cold. Jim has a wife and newborn son back on earth, but he’s taken this job on the frozen rock of E.D.N. III to earn some serious money as a Rig operator / go-to guy for exterminating the pesky Akrid wildlife while the NEVEC Corporation searches the planet for T-Energy.
Rather than the Vital Suits of the last two games, you get to romp around in a 50-foot high walking Rig. These huge mechs are essentially maintenance machines, hardly built for combat, but as you and Jim will find out, you’re stuck with what you have.
Continue reading Lost Planet 3 (Review)
When the best stealth experiences this generation have come from first person games -take a bow Far Cry 3’s machete and Dishonored- you have to wonder if grizzled vet Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell can still compete. Like any stealth master though, you don’t even notice how good he is until you’ve been completely drawn in.
The so-so wrapping of this long-awaited return belies the high quality within though. Fans of TV’s 24/anything with terrorists will be able to spot the plot a mile off. A rogue ex-military group attempt to start World War III by threatening terrorist attacks on America if they don’t pull all their troops from foreign countries. A few familiar faces from Sam’s past turn up, but newbies can play the game without feeling they’re missing important facts. Blacklist is a great standalone entry point to the series.
Continue reading Splinter Cell: Blacklist (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.
Continue reading Mars: War Logs (Review)
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is far removed from the strategy roots of last year’s much-loved XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It was off to a rough start when originally revealed as an FPS, before the internet threw its toys from the pram over a few minutes of footage.
Fans were appeased when 2K released Enemy Unknown, and since then The Bureau transformed into a third-person shooter and the tactical side of the game was given some much-needed emphasis in the build-up. After all the fuss and returns to drawing boards, 2K may end up annoying fans anyway. There’s no escaping that this is essentially a third-person shooter with squad commands stapled on.
The story is standard alien invasion fare, but with an unusual setting for most video games, the early 1960s. This gives the early parts of the game something of a unique identity. The sharp suits, the hats, the cars, the picture perfect suburban homes and even the music all feel spot on. Mad Men fans will adore it.
Continue reading The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (Review)
The spandex-sporting shooty, slicy, shouty scamp
The superhero barrel gets another scraping for yet another video game tie-in. This time, for Marvel’s Merc With a Mouth, Deadpool. The dude hasn’t even had a movie yet. But hey, that might work in his favour.
Newcomers to Deadpool’s universe should know that he’s known as a character that frequently breaks the fourth wall in comics. Essentially, he knows he’s a comic book character even though everyone else in the Marvel Universe has no idea. This allows him to constantly talk to the readers and share jokes with them, often at the bewilderment of the likes of Wolverine who can’t fathom why he’s so laid-back all the time (he’s already skimmed through the script of this game for example). Continue reading Deadpool (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.
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.
Continue reading Journey: Collector’s Edition (Review)
Insomniac’s first outing since leaving Sony’s nest was always going to be a tough task. But with such a strong history of inventive weaponry in the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance games, chances were that anything they put their minds too involving boomsticks would be fun.
Fuse is a third-person cover shooter with a heavy emphasis on co-op. With the multiplatform competition consisting of the like of Kane & Lynch and Army of Two, it’s all there for the taking. Fusepacks a little extra punch by allowing for four-player co-op action, rather than a paltry two.
Continue reading Fuse (Review)
After receiving widespread critical acclaim over the course of the first season of the episodic download game series, The Walking Dead has finally followed the tracks and shuffled its way to retail. Telltale have missed an opportunity though as this release features no extras, like making of videos, interviews and so on. Hell, if they’d chucked a poster in they could have called it the Collector’s Edition.
I’m making a fuss about this because as many of you will be aware you can download the series on PSN/XBLA for around £15 or even cheaper on PC or during a sale, but the RRP for this is £30. I love having physical copies of games, but you may want to buy this digitally or wait until this version drops in price, which it surely will. At least with this on the shelves it may stop people buying Activision’s awful -entirely unrelated- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct by mistake.
Continue reading The Walking Dead: Retail Edition (Review)
I should begin this review with a public warning announcement. This Walking Dead game has nothing to do with the multiple award-winning downloadable series The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. Whereas that game was based on the comics, this is based on the AMC TV series and is a first-person action game.
Seeing as the critically acclaimed one that features multiple story choices and plays more likeHeavy Rain than Dead Island has just been released at retail too (review incoming), we wouldn’t want you to pick this one up by mistake.
Continue reading The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Review)