This generation of consoles hasn’t had the best run for licensed tie-ins or traditional RPG experiences. And now, as it winds to a close, the two genres get one last chance in an odd-sounding hybrid. A South Park RPG.
How do you fit South Park into an RPG experience? Simple, just have the kids pretending to be on an epic adventure with elves, mages, wizards and warriors. Adults may know it as LARPing (Live Action Role Playing (like in the movie Role Models), but to the kids of South Park, they’re simply playing outside.
Continue reading South Park: The Stick of Truth (Review)
Even Batman needs a little help from his friends, despite hating them all.
If going on a mad collecting splurge in Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 was too much of a guilty pleasure to indulge in, you might be more comfortable with Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. Even in Lego form, comic/movie icons don’t come much cooler than the Dark Knight. Even if he is stubby and spends most of the time sulking.
As long as you’re not expecting any dark plot elements like Nolan’s films, the 90s animated series or Rocksteady’s recent games, you’ll be fine. This is for fans who don’t mind a bit of fun poked at Batman. If the Joker was going to make a Batman game it might be like this. Everyone is so happy and cheerful, except for Batman of course.
Continue reading Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Review)
Bored of zombies? Here’s an under-dressed cheerleader with a chainsaw. Oh look you’re back.
Hmmm, a Zombie-hunting Cheerleader armed with pom-poms and a chainsaw you say? Throw in one of gaming’s quirkiest developers in Suda51 and you know the game will be a memorable experience. Although, it will probably be remembered for boob-filled screenshots rather than gameplay.
Like most zombie games, there isn’t a lot of explanation. There are zombies, zombies are pests, let’s re-kill them all. You play as Juliet Starling, head-cheerleader slash pro-zombie chopper, and must clear up the undead mess. All on her eighteenth birthday too, yes Suda-san, we get it – she’s barely legal.
Continue reading Lollipop Chainsaw (Review)
The magic the PS Move has been waiting for
Delayed for years and almost forgotten, Sorcery makes a late bid for attention on the criminally under-supported PlayStation Move. Considering most Move titles are based on sports, minigames and dancing, there’s no denying the potential excitement offered by a full-on adventure title that takes advantage of the motion controller and the often forgotten navigation controller.
Unlike the on-rails action of Medieval Moves, Sorcery allows complete control over your character’s movement. This can be done by holding a PS3 pad with just your left hand for the analogue stick. Or better yet, use the navigation controller (like a Wii nunchuk without the annoying cable) for the first time since Killzone 3.
Continue reading Sorcery (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.
Continue reading Harley Quinn’s Revenge (Batman: Arkham City DLC Review)
This is not a traditional rally game. It’s an important point to remember for fans of Codemaster’s epic Dirt series. What it is though, is fun. Car smashing, exhilaratingly arcadey fun.
While Dirt 3 seemed caught in two minds as to whether to carry on with the impeccable rallying from the near-perfect Dirt 2 or try and turn your car into a demented pole-dancing skateboard, Showdown feels much more focused, admittedly more towards a Mad Max meets X-games mashup.
Gone are A-B timed stages in favour of a full on festival of car on car violence and general, well, pissing about. Think back to games like Destruction Derby and Twisted Metal, but pretend they were never crap.
Continue reading Dirt Showdown (Review)
The beautiful and the damned
If you didn’t finish Final Fantasy XIII, you’ll have saved hours of your life from a torturous grind. However, the story was one of the best the series has ever done. The brooding star, Lightning, was a fantastic character that proved you can have a female lead that eschews the tiresome ‘big boobs, brassy attitude’ design and we were gifted an understated portrayal of conflicted charisma. A real boot up the backside of the series’ recent rosters if ever there was one.
After the closing scenes of the last game, Lightning disappeared almost as soon as she was reunited with her younger sister, Serah. This leaves the sequel without its leading lady. I wasn’t convinced that Serah had what it takes to take over the lead, but Square-Enix have done a great job at building her into a solid character. They must have been really confident in her as the old cast only really appear as cameos, admittedly perfectly timed ones.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Review)
After a strong launch line-up the Vita’s release schedule has been worryingly quiet. It has also been without anything resembling a decent RPG to really get our teeth into. Hopefully that’s all about to change as Disgaea 3 gets a re-release.
We’re not entirely sure why NIS didn’t release Disgaea 4 instead as it’s generally seen as the superior title. What you have here is a full priced game that has been out on the PS3 since 2008 and available for under a tenner today. On the plus side, Absence of Detention does come with all the separate DLC from the PS3 game, including an extra four chapters. Not that you’d miss it, this game is huge. You can level up to Lv. 9999 type of huge.
Continue reading Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention (Review)
Shuffling up to the zombie party the day after the night before can hardly be called fashionably late, but here we finally are. The Yakuza series is renowned for its unique blend of beat em’ up RPG, so it was surprising and (whisper it), slightly disappointing to see them announce a gun-packed zombie game when all I really wanted was a new city to play in with Kiryu and the rest of the face-stomping gang.
Previously, the series only used firearms as brief power-ups before the game got back to doing what it did best: letting you swing street thugs by their ankles face-first into lamp posts. Sadly, there are no options to enjoy such violent delights here. A few melee weapons remain, but for the most part it’s all about the boomsticks.
Continue reading Yakuza: Dead Souls (Review)
After a return to form for Sega’s Virtua Tennis 4, EA really have their work cut out for them if they want to take on the champ. In typical EA fashion, they’ve chucked a horde of player and tournament licenses and right analogue stick controls at the game in an attempt to dazzle us.
The first impression as I fired up the game was the usual disappointment with the menus that are the same clunky, basic ugly boxes we’ve seen FIFA drowning in for years. Yes, all the options you want are there, but why does every EA Sports game have to look the same?
Continue reading Grand Slam Tennis 2 (Review)
They always say you should never go back. And considering the gruesome nightmares of the body and mind that the Silent Hill tourist board have been selling for years, perhaps we should heed the old adage. Against our better judgment though, we’re going to go and poke its festering corpse with an HD stick.
There have been plenty of HD re-releases of late and the majority of them have been awesome.God of War, Metal Gear Solid and Sly Raccoon are still fantastic games to play. Silent Hill may prove to be a rotten horse flaying too far though.
Continue reading Silent Hill HD Collection (Review)
Survival Horror has been a festering corpse for a while now. Resident Evil and Dead Space have mutated in shooting games with limited ammo and we’re left with the Silent Hill series that’s been struggling since SH3. Nowadays we have Demon’s Souls (ish) and Amy, the later being my frontrunner for worst game of the year.
I’m all for giving Silent Hill: Downpour a shot as it has to be better than SH: Homecoming at least. And I’m glad to say it is. Thankfully, the new developers, Vatra have at least played Alan Wake, one of the rare gems the genre has produced in recent times. Hold it; I should probably put a hold on the semi-optimistic slant this review was heading. This game’s no Alan Wake beater, just so you know.
Continue reading Silent Hill: Downpour (Review)
The PS2 was spoilt for choice with platforming adventure titles, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper and of course Jak & Daxter. So an excuse to dive in again in shiny HD with widescreen support was a no-brainer.
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is admittedly one of my favourite games, but have I been remembering the game through rose-tinted glasses, was it really that good? Hell yes it was. Originally released in 2001, this was ridiculously impressive both technically and in terms of gameplay. All the levels are linked together, and you can run from one end of the game to the other without a single loading screen.
Continue reading Jak & Daxter Trilogy (Review)
Third-person shooters were something to be avoided on the PSP, but thanks to the Vita’s second analogue stick we can now safely embrace the genre on a handheld device. Unit 13 comes from Zipper Interactive, the team behind the Socom games, most recently the impressive Socom: Special Forces, so there’s potential here.
Despite Zipper’s last game having a decent plot, this game is very much business only and broken up into individual missions with no story at all. Essentially, you pick one specialist from the unit and get dropped into a level to kill terrorists, kill leaders, kill intel, I mean pick up intel and diffuse bombs. Standard 9-5 counter-terrorism.
Continue reading Unit 13 (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.
Continue reading Hustle Kings (Vita Review)
Until Street Fighter X Tekken arrives on the Vita the fighting market is pretty open. Sure you could go for BlazBlue, but some may prefer something a little different and a new IP to go with their new handheld. Reality Fighters comes loaded with gimmicks, but does it pack enough punch to warrant a place in your collection?
This arcade fighter’s hook is letting you put your own face onto the fighters. A further use of reality takes advantage of the Vita’s rear camera to fight against a real-world background, in real-time or from pictures you snapped earlier or from a few glossy pre-loaded ones.
Continue reading Reality Fighters (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.
Continue reading Escape Plan (Review)
Sport games are off to a good start on the Vita and the trend continues with Sega’s Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition. This game is almost identical to the PS3 version, which is certainly no bad thing. In fact, I’d go as far as to recommend this version over the PS3 one as the gameplay is better suited to the stop/start nature of handhelds, not that you can’t lose yourself for hours as well.
Graphically the game is on a par with the big consoles and has even inherited the dodgy likenesses. Take Djokovic, they’ve nailed the geeky haircut, but there’s something unsettling about his face. Oh and talking of unsettling, wait until I tell you about putting your own face into the game later on. It’s a bit Silence of the Lambs.
Continue reading Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition (Review)
In many ways, Everybody’s Golf is a perfect fit for the PS Vita handheld. It’s a fast-loader, gameplay is quick and it can be played for hours or just a few holes at a time before slipping the game into sleep mode when the ad break finishes. One negative that it does find though is being on your new, shiny and expensive console that probably has no desire to be thrown at a wall, punched, bitten or burned, which are all possibilities when the game f**ks you over again then runs off giggling with its stupidly happy cast of freaks. So, um, yes, I really like Everybody’s Golf on the Vita, but I want to kill it.
I suppose I should talk about the rest of the game before the red mist takes over again. If you’ve played the PS3 or PSP versions, then you’ll know what to expect. The game provides a generous six 18-hole courses (plus the mirror versions) for you to play and I’m pleased to report that they’re new and not just ports of the PS3 ones.
Continue reading Everybody’s Golf (Vita Review)
This collection of thirty minigames is aiming to tempt gamers as a launch purchase as it utilises all of the Vita’s functions. Except the analogue sticks. And the face buttons. So yes! Smear, tickle, rub, wobble and even sing your way through the world of Little Deviants!
The visual style is clearly aiming for a younger market, but nothing’s so garish as to make it unplayable for adults too. So you won’t feel like a berk playing it, unless people are watching you. You play as a race of aliens trying to rebuild their ship so they can return home. This will involve not attacking humans and defending their planet from zombies and robots. As you do.
Continue reading Little Deviants (Review)