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.
If you're new to Media Molecule's other platformer created after LittleBigPlanet, you'll find an excellent experience that's just become the PS4's best platformer - not that the competition is strong right now. You control Iota, a little fella with an envelope for a face. Don't worry, just go with it.Click here to read more...
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.
For the most part though, the difficulty evens out and with so many settings, there really is something for all players. Usually in racing games, rubber-banding in the AI means you always have a chance of catching up. Forza 6 says pish to this, although it's happy to keep a racer or two right behind you, even letting them magically catch up over half a lap if you shunt them into the gravel and tyres.Click here to read more...
When I think about improving the Quality of Life for my PC experience, the usual areas of input, audio and visual come to mind. The thing is, the more I think about it, the more that list has expanded in recent years – laptop stands, iPod/Pad docks, and mouse mats with ridiculous names. That said, there’s one peripheral that up until now I would have only associated with offices – monitor mounts.
It’s a fact that Colebrook Bosson Saunders know well, having supplied many award-winning designs to companies for years. Its Flo series in various configurations is the backbone of this, but now CBS is looking to extend its consumer base to the general public. As someone who appreciates a good PC setup – both from a home office and a gaming point of view – I was invited by CBS to get hands-on with the Flo Monitor Arm Mount over the course a few weeks to put it through its paces, and see if it was worth the investment.Click here to read more...
Despite the fact Ground Zeroes gave us a vertical slice of what would be on offer, I wasn’t really prepared for what The Phantom Pain ended up delivering. The scale of the game – be it the size of its maps, the scope of the gameplay, and the challenges available – overtakes anything we’ve previously seen from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. You could even say it’s the logical conclusion to Kojima’s work in terms of gameplay and accessibility, with the end result being something that stands head and should above anything else remotely similar.
In short, Kojima has effectively re-written the rulebook on stealth games yet again, but is it the perfect game? That’s a question that isn’t so easy to answer.
Trying to fully explain the story would take far too much time than I can afford to spare here, so here’s a brief summary. After Mother Base is destroyed at the end of Ground Zeroes, Big Boss returns nine years later take revenge on those that nearly killed him, and rebuild his army without a nation. Cue lots of ridiculous plot twists, robotic arms, and fights with supernatural beings in the chapter that fills the gap between the eras of Big Boss and Solid Snake.
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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?
Mad Max's biggest challenge isn't that it's bloody hard (and it is), it's just so crushingly dull and long-winded. Missions see you constantly driving around the wasteland with ever shifting shades of brown or grey, doing the same sort of fetch quests that you've been commuting between for the last decade. The map is cluttered with collectibles, hot air balloons (Assassin's Creed-style sync points), races, bases to raid, scrap salvage areas, convoy routes to ambush, towers to destroy and so on. Most icons don't even have the decency to bugger off from the map once you're done either. The whole design seems content to make do with the dusty remains of gaming worlds that have moved on long ago, much like Max's life.Click here to read more...
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.
Before horror cinema became obsessed with low-budget, haunted house, night-vision camcorder borefests and the gorno genre fetishised the violence with series like Paranormal Activity or Saw respectively, horror films were generally based around hapless teens fleeing supernatural forces or maniacs with machetes. Until Dawn is all about that teen slasher style and runs the genre's favourite tropes through a Heavy Rain filter with those all-important player choices affecting multiple lead characters who can die permanently. Supermassive's game borrows intelligently from other games and films, as even the scares you might predict still threaten to send you scurrying behind the sofa.
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.
Broken Sword is a point and click adventure series with a neat, classic cartoon visual style that has been updated slightly to stay true to the series' roots. This fifth title was developed through a successful Kickstarter campaign, and was originally released as a two parter for the PC and the Vita. Thankfully, we now to get to play it on PS4 and Xbox One too.Click here to read more...
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.
One Piece is based on an anime series and the story seems to be a rough highlights reel, meaning it'll make zero sense to anyone that hasn't watched it (severe déjà vu if you played the first game on PS3 too). Levels and their plots don't seen connected, it's just an endless barrage of waffle stuffed with overlong cutscenes and comic book (well, manga) picture dialogue scenes. The writing is painfully clichéd and riddled with as many children's anime tropes as you can care to name.
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.Click here to read more...
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.
As ever, Gauntlet works best with friends, either online or with local co-op. Characters include the typical tropes. The muscled warrior, the charging Valkyrie, the arrow-slinging elf and the spell-casting wizard. The warrior and Valkyrie are your close range bruisers while the other two are much more comfortable at range (terrible at close quarters).Click here to read more...
With Jon now well and truly off in the sunset, I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with me and my Handsome Jack fandom while we finish off the review process for Tales From The Borderlands. Chances are that if you’re reading this you’re already up to speed, but just in case you can check out our reviews for Episode 1: Zer0 Sum, Episode 2: Atlas Shrugged, and Episode 3: Catch A Ride.
Episode 3 provided a high point for the series for many reasons, so the pressure was on for Episode 4 to build upon what we called the best episode so far. In truth, Escape Plan Zero suffers from yet another slow start, but as soon as the introduction begins and To The Top blasts out the speakers you can tell what’s about to happen is going to be something special.
In fact, what we get is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster.
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There is unquestionably no mistaking the intended direction of Toxic Games’ FPS puzzler release Q.U.B.E. From the moment you jump into the game it’s hard to hide from the fact its instant comparative similarities to the Portal series.
Last year’s release of the Director’s Cut addition to Q.U.B.E. introduced a whole new storyline with a different soundtrack and added puzzle depth to its original 2011 release. It’s an incredibly entertaining puzzle game, which will quite effectively satisfy most gamers and has now made its way to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game in itself is straightforward; you awake in a futuristic room, progressing through various rooms using the four different cube types available to manipulate each room’s environments helping you progress into to the next room. Red cubes act as a simple extendable platform, yellow cubes act in the same way that a three tiered stairway would, blue is utilised as a springboard mechanism, with purple cubes allowing you to rotate the position of structures such as walls.Click here to read more...
As someone who binged their way through Season 1 of the anime on Netflix recently, I’ve been craving more Sword Art Online. The tale of Kirito, fighting for survival in the online worlds whilst trying to save those closest to him, resonated with me far more than I was expecting (despite the second arc getting a little... weird… in parts.) It was enjoyable, emotional, and filled with great action sequences. Yet, the idea of a game made me nervous. Could the combat of the show – where players become their avatars in a VR simulation – truly translate to an input system of analog sticks and shoulder buttons? Perhaps more importantly, could a game successfully build upon the story and characters in the virtual world of Aincrad?
While newcomers are provided with a brief story catch-up to get up to speed, the truth is that Re: Hollow Fragment is a game for existing fans of SAO. However, fans should realise that this is a “what if” scenario instead of a continuation of the existing storyline, as the game diverges from the end of the first story arc in Aincrad. **Sword Art Online spoiler warning** Instead of finding freedom after defeating Heathcliff on floor 74, Kirito and the remaining players remain trapped in Sword Art Online. Their new goal is to clear the remaining 25 floors of Aincrad in hopes of truly escaping the game. Meanwhile, Kirito also discovers a mysterious new zone called the Hollow Area. Providing new challenges to best and weapons to earn, it acts as a new subplot for players to explore.
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You would think that after Journey's success there would have been a wave of titles hoping to provide an experience away from the traditional game. But games with an emphasis on exploring over defeating enemies or high scores continue to be a rare occurrence on consoles. Enter Uppercut Games, who have crafted something they hope will stay in your thoughts long after those credits roll.
Submerged has two storylines for you to discover. The first one at the forefront of the game begins by showing a boat wash 'ashore' alongside a building in a flooded city that sees only the tallest buildings reach for a place above the water. A young girl carrying a smaller boy disembarks and makes her way towards a temple-like structure laying him down near a font that could be as much an alter as it could be a birdbath. There's no talking, no explanation of why you're there, or how long you've been at sea but as the game plays out, things become a little clearer as details are salvaged from the city whose sidewalks now pave the ocean floor. Much is left for the player to imagine, but Uppercut Games feed you just the right amount of information for you to come away with your own understanding of what has happened.Click here to read more...
In my younger years my brawler of choice was Double Dragon II, but that was mainly because I didn’t get a Mega Drive until much later on. That's not to say I didn’t sample the delights of Streets of Rage, though. I remember playing it for the first time round a friend’s house, co-op’ing our way to victory by smashing thugs with our virtual fists of fury. However, as good as SoR I was, the defining entry was clearly Streets of Rage II thanks to its more varied enemies, brand new special moves, and differing boss fights.
With Sega having already given the first game a 3D makeover, along with other classics like Thunder Blade and Outrun, there have been many brawler fans waiting for 3D Streets of Rage II to make its glorious return. The good news is that the wait has been absolutely worth it, and the 3DS version not only adds depth in terms of its visuals, but in its accessibility and longevity too.
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Physical comfort is an important part of gaming. Let's face it, sometimes a game just pulls you in for hours. Chances are, many of you want to lose yourself for a day in the likes of The Witcher III or Batman: Arkham Knight. Is your sofa/bed the most comfortable place still for lengthy sessions? With Fallout 4 thundering towards us, you're going to want to find the right seat.
Let me present the i-eX Bean Bag Gaming Chair. This faux-leather beast is much more gamer-friendly than your usual bean-bags (that attempt to swallow you whole) thanks to the addition of back support. There isn't a rigid component, it's more of a change to the shape of the bag that provides something similar to a racing car's bucket seat (but with the comfort of a bean bag).
The bag itself is roughly three quarters full of polystyrene 'beans' and they're poured into a separate internal zipped layer with another zip hidden underneath the seat, so you're not accidentally going to spill the beans any time soon.
My sincerest apologies for the lateness of this review, but as I was on holiday during its release I’ve only just gotten round to reviewing it. Anyway, here’s the usual housekeeping – if you’ve missed our other reviews, you can get up to speed by reading them here: Episode 1: Iron From Ice, Episode Two: The Lost Lords, Episode 3: The Sword In The Darkness, and Episode 4: Sons of Winter. As always with our episodic reviews, our score will be published once the season is finished, reflecting the game as a whole.
While the action begins in a rather tense fashion (which in understandable given the ending to episode 4) the linearity of proceedings early on take away any true feeling of choice. This is yet another example of how the established timeline of the show disrupts anything that could happen in the game, but thankfully once we get past the first chapter the narrative opens up by diverging into uncharted waters. If Episode 4 set up the board for the final charge, Episode 5 pushes them past the point of no return, as it is made very clear that it is now all or nothing for House Forester.Click here to read more...
Life is Strange is becoming known for killer WTF endings to each episodes, making that damn six week gap between episodes absolutely excruciating. Don't worry I'm keeping up the habit of not giving away any past plot events for those of you waiting for the season to wrap up before diving in, Netflix-style.
The opening section of Episode 4 is a radical departure for the story given the ending of the last entry. Max's whole reality is seen from a new point of view. There are new entries in her SMS log, a new group of friends and her relationship with Chloe has transformed.
Expect to sit back and listen to a lot of dialogue for the first hour in a scene that goes on a bit too long without much meaningful player interaction. Don't worry though, the narrative sucker punches you without warning before you get too impatient.Click here to read more...
God of War III is still an excellent title in the action genre pantheon. Having played through the HD makeovers of the original two games earlier this year, I was well placed to get stuck into God of War III again and it's aged wonderfully over the last five years.
If you enjoyed God of War 1 and 2 on PS2, but found yourself picking up an Xbox 360 over a PS3 last-gen (thus missing out on God of War III), you'll certainly want to take a look at this remastered edition if you now own a PS4. This is a grand finale to the main trilogy that any action fan deserves to experience and there are certainly cases to be made that GoWIII is the best entry to the series.
For anyone with a PS3 who didn't get around to playing the game, you too may want to consider this polished version at some point. Owners of the original will want to listen up now too. As you may have gathered by this review's title, there really isn't much here to encourage a second purchase.Click here to read more...
It has to be worrying for a game developer wanting to create a game based around the classic 1954 creation Godzilla. I mean where exactly can you go with it, surely there is only a limited amount of content you can include into a title of this nature? Whilst playing this year's entry to the Godzilla series I desperately wanted to find reminiscent similarities to the 1991 SNK release King of Monsters.
Did that happen? Let's find out.
Upon launching Godzilla, you make your way to the title screen where you immediately find yourself thrown into a tutorial with the simple instructions to make your way forward to a TV tower visible just ahead of you, with the simple objective to destroy any buildings in your path. The tutorial is short and simple but manages to cover all the basics such as movement and the various attacks Godzilla is capable of without becoming tedious. Questionably, the turn left and turn right movement have been assigned to the L1 and R1 controller buttons, immediately causing concerns due to the many years of experience with the left analogue acting as my movement tool.
Completion of the tutorial then takes us back to the title screen where several different game modes are now presented to us, including: God of Destruction, King of Kaiju, VS mode. Evolution Mode and Diorama mode. Of course naturally, I headed straight into the God of Destruction mode, not only due to the obvious fact it was Godzilla's story mode, but it sounded quite bad ass and I wanted a piece of that action.Click here to read more...