The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was my first ever Zelda game. It will always hold a special place in my heart not only for being the game that introduced me to one of the greatest franchises I ever have had the pleasure of playing, but also for being a fantastic game in its own right. So when a straight sequel was announced, I have no shame in revealing that I was very excited - kiddie at Christmas excited.
But how would I find a sequel to a game that I have placed on a pedestal for two whole decades? Would it be able to live up to the game I held so dear, and would there be enough difference in this game to make it a classic in its own right?
Like most Zelda games, we begin with Link oversleeping – Hylean heroes apparently need their ten hours of beauty sleep a night. After being woken to go and do some work, our hero gets accidentally caught up in a very familiar plot involving kidnap of Sage descendants to a mysterious parallel land. It’s up to our hero to collect some well-known jewels, and a famous sword to go off after them.
So yes, story-wise this won’t win any awards for individuality, in fact its parallel to Link to the Past’s story is equalled in the mirroring that also occurs between Hyrule and the game’s mysterious parallel land known as Lorule. And Lorule itself is essentially the Dark World from Link to the Past, right down to its music, design and enemies.Click here to read more...
Not long after Ubisoft announced Watch Dogs, rumours and conspiracy theories began to float around that the game was going to be linked to the Assassin's Creed series, possibly even as a full entry to the series' canon.
While playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag earlier today, I stumbled across some evidence in the Abstergo offices (Ok, less 'stumbled' and more 'hacked') that directly links the two game brands together.Click here to read more...
Welcome back to our countdown of the best games of last generation! Today we have a list that includes one of the finest titles to ever grace the Wii, car crash brilliance, the return of a glorious strategy franchise, and An Amazing RPG From The Best Games Company Ever.
Late to the party? Don't worry, you can catch up with all of our Games of the Generation pieces from the last week of so right here.
What we said: Fans of both loot grinders and hectic shooters will be in seventh heaven with Borderlands and will be able to enjoy the experience solo and with other players. However, most others will need to seek out company in order to fully enjoy what it brings to the table. Either way, Borderlands is a capable FPS with simple and accessible MMO elements that will still be relevant many months down the line.
What we said: Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the best JRPGs ever made. In fact, it's probably one of the best roleplaying games of this generation - regardless of platform. Monolith Soft has made the genre relevant again, delivering depth and nuance without compromising fun or thrills. If you own a Wii, you owe it to yourself to play Xenoblade Chronicles. It's that simple.Click here to read more...
Microsoft are finally ready to talk firm numbers when it comes to worldwide Xbox One sales, confirming that their entertainment system has sold over 2 million units in the 18 days since launch. This is a similar to the PS4's 2.1 million figure, which was also announced 18 days after the US release, so it's clear that demand for both consoles is impressively high.
High being an understatement, because apparently Amazon were selling 1000 Xbox Ones per minute at peak demand.
So how are Microsoft celebrating their milestone? Beyond thanking the fans in a statement on Xbox Wire, the Redmond heavyweights have decided to mark the occasion by raising several first-party Xbox Live game prices by a fiver.
Hooray! Wait, what?Click here to read more...
Publisher: KISS Ltd
Darkout creates atmosphere better than any crafting sandbox game I've ever played.
Though heavily influenced by Terraria and Minecraft, this new procedural indie effort swaps lurid voxels for dense backgrounds and a rich colour palette, stranding us on a twilight forest world where shadowy predators hunt us through rippling bioluminescent foliage. Our unlucky astronaut is forced to subsist from the most primitive basics, crafting primitive shelters and tools from whatever they can find before eventually bringing outrageous future technology to bear, all while desperately trying to keep the lights on. There's a sense of real purpose, of threat, despair and desperation, that you rarely get from a procedural craft'em up.
Mind you, the player character model sticks out like a sore thumb: a clunky cutesy cartoon caricature who undoes almost all of Allgraf's good work in an instant. They've promised to improve the art assets across the board, but I'm afraid that this is a symptom of Darkout's biggest flaw.
Despite not being an Early Access title, it's neither complete nor fully ready yet.Click here to read more...
If you're excited about No Man's Sky, be sure to check out this abstract and beautiful exploration game that has clearly influenced Hello Games. You've got an entire procedurally generated universe of planets to explore, claim and discover for yourself, all with the barest minimum of hand-holding. It's pure exploration, and it's wonderful. Mind you, some will find its somewhat directionless approach rather maddeningly.
Doki-Doki Universe is a weird game. It's a handcrafted paean to positivity that measures progress in emotional terms and places you in the role of QT3 -- a robot who has spent the last 32 years waiting patiently on an asteroid for the human family that abandoned him. Until a gurning, monobrowed alien named Jeff turns up, that is, and informs QT3 that his entire robotic model line is due to be scrapped unless he can demonstrate a capacity for understanding humanity.
The game revolves around jetting off to visit new planets and satellites, performing tasks for the cast list of weird and wacky inhabitants, learning their likes and dislikes, unocovering hidden secrets and presents, and spawning in a plethora of bizarre creatures and items in Scribblenauts-lite fashion. Each planet is different, each collection of offbeat characters going through some sort of moral crisis, which QT3 has to set right. Slowly, the robot begins to comprehend things like abandonment and bullying and love and fear (what would freak you out more... a man in a bunny suit or an anthropomorphic carrot?), the action punctuated by personality tests (complete with goatee'd therapist) to determine QT3's progress and allow for plenty of comedic asides.
If that all sounds bat-sh*t crazy, that's kind of because it is, as I rather demonstrate in the video below. If you come out of the other side more confused than when you went in, don't be alarmed. That's exactly how I felt.
The Doki-Doki Universe review will go live tomorrow.Click here to read more...
A few people might come back from work today, say "Xbox On" and discover that absolutely nothing happens. They'll try again, and again, slowly realising that their new console simply isn't listening to their commands, before reacting accordingly.
However, there's no need to panic, because your console has just automatically downloaded a firmware update before powering down. They can do that in standby mode. As such, you'll need to switch it on manually then wait for it to apply - if you can remember how since Kinect really has spoiled us over this last few weeks.
So what's in the update? Find out after the break.Spoiler alert: pretty much sod all >>
If you skipped Ezio's last adventure, Ubisoft are willing to flog you a digital copy of Assassin's Creed: Revelations for a paltry £3.38 until midnight tonight. Be sure to use voucher code 10THANKS to get an extra saving - and be aware that you'll need Uplay. Thanks to tehwabbit @ HUKD!
Obsidian are kicking their Kickstarted RPG into a higher gear with the very first gameplay teaser as well as a change of identity Project Eternity has now officially become Pillars Of Eternity, shrugging off its working title to get serious ahead of next year's release.
In case you forgot, Pillars Of Eternity promised to draw inspiration from Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale - so naturally raised an impressive Kickstarter war chest as the internet went absolutely nuts for it. Backers should head over to the the brand new backer portal.
You know what? Following the obnoxious obsession with graphics ("1080p 720p 30FPS 60FPS OMG") over the last few months, it's wonderful to get excited about big stories, gorgeous artwork and stirring soundtracks. Here's hoping that Obsidian delivers.Click here to read more...
The Walking Dead: 400 Days isn't as good as its parent game, offering some strong stories and big choices but nowhere near enough time to fully fleshy them out. However, there's no quibbling with this cheap deal - remember to use voucher code DFDDEC20UK. Thanks to nickkelly at HUKD!
Ubisoft aren't messing about with this week's XBLA sale, which will last until next Tuesday. We're talking about some seriously big deals on seriously big games here, such as snagging Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger for less than £2.50 or Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for a fiver.
Special mention also needs to go to Scott Pilgrim vs The World, which is one of the only truly great film tie-ins ever made. Final Fight fans should buy it, love it and play it in local co-op for the full effect. Here's the list of links and prices:
Bundle Stars have been upping their game of late, and the Indie Capsule Bundle is a fine example. You'll get And Yet It Moves, Blood of the Werewolf, Doc Clock: Toasted Sandwich of Time, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Plain Sight, Slender: The Arrival & Snuggle Truck with change for £3. Not a bad haul, especially since two of these games released this Halloween.
Even though it's called the "Capsule" bundle, you'll get Steam codes rather than having to use Greenman Gaming's client.
Platform: Xbox One (timed exclusive)
Developer: PopCap Games
In almost every way that counts, Peggle 2 is exactly what we need it to be. What I need it to be. Another hit, another fix, just a bit more of that sweet Pegglin' action to calm the shakes and stop my teeth itching. A prescription for the Extreme Fever we've all been suffering from these last few years.
PopCap's beloved Bagatelle-meets-Pachinko-meets-psychadelic-insanity timesink is is still as enjoyable and inexplicably addictive as ever. Flinging balls at little coloured pegs shouldn't be this much fun, yet Peggle 2 once again nails the middle ground between chance and skill. Superb ball physics allow experienced players to line up and call the perfect trick shot, while most of us enjoy the thrill of a one in a million chance coming good with random desperate punts. Whatever your style, nailing all of the orange pegs results in a crescendo of classical music, fireworks and ridiculous shenanigans that makes us feel warm and tingly all over.
What? You know it's true.
As you'd expect from a next-gen debut title, Peggle 2 is also very shiny indeed. It's crisp, colourful and utterly gorgeous, oozing both class and painstaking attention to detail alongside rampant hilarity by the bucketload. The five characters look fantastic thanks to big expressive animated portraits, reacting to your shots in all manner of silly ways. Returning unicorn Bjorn prances and whinnies, farting out rainbows and magically throwing up the horns with his... horn. Jeff the troll quotes The Dude as he relaxes with a cold pint, all while his goat pals get so amped in the background that their heads explode. Zombie girl Luna's jaw drops so hard that it falls off. Each master is absolutely packed with personality, though of course, they aren't just pretty faces.Click here to read more...
After four weeks of talking about the previously known classes of WildStar, we finally dive into new territory with today’s Class Drop Wrap-up. As usual, I’ll be bringing you my take on the information we’ve had thrown at us by Carbine Studios, highlighting anything that’s caught my eye over the last seven days and giving you a rundown of what we can expect from this newly-unveiled class. I’ll also probably be teasing the massive barrage of WildStar coverage that will go live on Dealspwn later this week, because I’ve got a massive barrage of WildStar coverage that will go live on Dealspwn later this week, conveniently enough. So, you know, that’s cool.
Surely you’ve been keeping up to date with the rest of my wrap-ups? What’s that? You haven’t?! You absolute swine – use the helpful hub below to get up to speed and then make sure it never happens again.
Traditionally, the healers in MMOs have been the backline support troops, standing at the rear of the epic encounters and making sure their buddies don’t scuttle off the virtual coil too quickly. On the bright side, they get to see the battle unfold with the best view in the house, but adversely, for the most part, they have to stand at the back watching health bars for ten to fifteen minutes. In a way, up until now they’ve been like the sober person at a rocking party – just standing there watching everyone have fun, and then when the place gets trashed they get blamed because they were sober enough to do something about it. Well, dear healers, prepare to get drunk* because the Medic finally lets you get up close and personal with your healing. With this high-tech class, you’ll be able to dive into the action to keep your friends alive. In fact, you could say…
Metal Gear Solid V's playable prologue, Ground Zeroes, is getting a retro-tastic exclusive mission on PlayStation... but Kojima has a surprise in store for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners. A deal with Microsoft sees Raiden returning from an alternate future to save the Earth from the invasion of the body snatchers, bringing his trademark brand of razor-sharp ultraviolence to what appears to be a thoroughly outrageous piece of exclusive non-canon content.
We've got the trailer after the break, alongside some new details about Ground Zeroes' European release date and pricing.Click here to read more...
Developers: Sony Japan Studio
Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Mark Cerny. Architect not only of beloved IPs such as Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and Spyro the Dragon, but also of the PlayStation 4 itself. This smiling genteel man has been one of the most visible exponents of innovative design over the years, no more so than in the past twelve months as Sony had him take the stage time and time again to tell us that the PS4 was focused on one thing, and one thing only: games.
With such a litany of references and credits, and ably supported by Sony Japan Studio -- an outfit although sometimes lacking in execution and polish brought us the fantastic ideas behind games such as Gravity Rush and Tokyo Jungle -- when we learned that Cerny would be heading up a crack team of developers to produce something for the PS4, we all got rather excited.
And then Knack turned up.
Sure, Knack is pretty to look at. Constructed of chunks and shards of minerals and relics, the titular character is a wonderful sight to behold -- an impressive avatar to demonstrate the power in particle rendering and animation that the PlayStation 4 can bring to the table. He trots around brightly coloured landscapes, from ice caves to lava plateaus and gloriously realised, verdant temperate areas, with a fixed camera harking back to days gone by when we'd be controlling a sprightly marsupial on the PSOne. When you open chests stuffed with relic pieces, and Knack absorbs them into his form and swells in size, it's hard not to be a little impressed by the graphical trickery. The textures are gorgeous, the clean, Pixar-esque feel to it all is aesthetically delightful, and Knack at least looks the part.Click here to read more...
Acrobatic action titles? Check. Genre-defining third-person shooters? Oh yes. More plastic peripheral insanity? You bet! We're into the thirties in our countdown of the best games of last generation, and there are more surprises in store. Were you besotted with Bayonetta? Rabid about Rayman? Bonkers for Bad Company? Let us know what you make of thing in the box below.
Also, if you're yet to check out #50-41, click here to do so now!
What we said: Bayonetta herself might well split opinion - can a strong willed, intensely capable female figure who defies manipulation be taken seriously when she's being manipulated into some of the most suggestive poses this side of Spearmint Rhino's front doors? - but it's incredibly hard to argue against action this stylishly accessible and deceptively deep. Sexy, self-referential, slick and stylish, Bayonetta is an excellent action title to kick off 2010, dodging accusation of being derivative with one of the most finely tuned, and fun to play, combat engines seen in video gaming.
What we said: Rayman Origins is mechanically brilliant, perfectly-paced and drop-dead gorgeous, but can you put a price on happiness?
Probably not. But we've got a score for it. - 10/10Click here to read more...