Platforms: PS3 | PS Vita (reviewed)
Publisher: NIS America | Reef Entertainment
The trailers lied. Yes, Akiba's Trip is a game in which you'll rip the clothes off sexy vampires, but that's not what it's about.
It's actually a cel shaded celebration of otaku counter-culture in all of its bizarre diversity and a love letter to Tokyo's trendy Akihabara district. It's big-hearted, anarchic, punk, devastatingly cool and fiercely unapologetic in its desire to do its own crazy thing; a blend of riotous street combat with compelling RPG components and visual novel elements. A little like Yakuza by way of Jet Set Radio, only much rougher around the edges.
All-told, Akiba's Trip is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2014, though admittedly the combat still revolves around ripping people's clothes off. We'll get to that in due time... but for now, note that I said "people," not "girls."
Revealing that you'll spend half your time disrobing hot buff dudes clearly wasn't at the top of the marketing team's priorities!Click here to read more...
LEGO Batman 3 promises to go "Beyond Gotham," but TT Games are thinking bigger. Sure, the Justice League's bid to stop Braniac from abducting major cities takes our heroes around the world and even outside Earth's atmosphere, but at its core this is nothing less than a love letter to DC's entire sprawling universe. It's an attempt to cram in characters from throughout the most obscure parts of the canon, comics, Elseworld stories, the films and everything in between; from the snarling antihero we know today to Adam West's legendary 1960's romp.
And Batcow. And The Condiment King. And Mister Mxyzptlk. And... Kevin Smith?!
It's a veritable DC fan's dream crossover, but fans of the LEGO series can also expect some new gameplay features, enjoyable stud-collecting adventures and the gentle yet anarchic humour you'd expect from the Manchester-based studio.Click here to read more...
It's all in the name. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham takes us beyond the iconic city on a quest to save the entire world, drawing on a massive pool of characters from every part of the DC universe, fan favourites and Elseworld stories.
I recently sat down with TT Games producer Matt Ellison to discuss how they approached development, what new features to expect and how LEGO Batman 3 promises to be a DC superfan's dream crossover. Not to mention a blast for aficionados of Adam West: the one true Batman.
In my opinion. Watch it all above, including what Ellison other classic franchise TT Games would love to give the LEGO treatment if they could get hold of the license.
Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot takes itself a tad too seriously in my book, but is still a worthwhile platformy shooter with some superb set pieces and smooth mechanics. It's best enjoyed in the gorgeous efinitive Edition, which can be yours for a shade under £18 courtesy of The Game Collection. Thanks to Chanchi32 @ HUKD!
This is the best game I've played all year.
I'll admit that I had a hunch it might be. The preview events up to this point haven't been vertical slices or perfectly constructed demonstrations created solely for the events at which they've been found. They've just featured Wii U's boasting self-contained snippets of the game at various points, letting Platinum's latest tour de force speak for itself. No frills, no gimmicks, just the same grin on the faces of every rep hired for the day who've stood beside the terminal and said something along the lines of "it's pretty special isn't it?" as I've hastily picked my jaw up off of the floor after playing.
So much of that, of course, has to do with the combat. Bayonetta 2, just like its predecessor, is an absolute delight to play. You can make combos up on the fly, experimenting with various combinations of light and strong attacks, mixing in spurts of pistol fire here and there, never stuck in a canned animation, with the acrobatic evade option always readily available. There's no real difficulty curve in learning the game's systems, you just slip into the role of Bayonetta with fluid ease, chaining together balletic barrages and furious flurries of Umbran aggression. You evade enemy attacks and then hit them with your own -- working out that side of things is never a problem.
That's not to say that the game isn't challenging. Coming to terms with the freedom of combat, and the pinpoint timing required to maximise the abilities that you have at your disposal involves practice. Bosses will become sub-bosses, that then turn up in greater numbers just to make things interesting. The enemies that you'll face -- both celestial and damned -- telegraph their attacks, but will certainly gang up on you. There'll be moments of peace in which you can take a breath or launch an attack sequence, but equally there will be sequences where you simply must dash and evade and jab and counter, sending Bayonetta into a cartwheeling, breakdancing frenzy of slim attacks and self-preservation. Enemies will vary the windows of opportunity that they present, and though there will be some attacks you can predict well in advance, others will come more quickly, testing your reactions and your concentration.Click here to read more...
We can't get enough of Monolith's Shadow of Mordor here at Dealspwn and we thoroughly recommend you dust off your Uruk hunting skills to get a taste too. Turns out the Nemesis system has managed to back up its bold ambitions with a neat set of mechanics that sees enemies remember you and you can even brainwash them into fighting for you as you infiltrate the highest ranks of Sauron's army. There's an excellent set of skills available to take advantage of an enemy's weaknesses too to create unique experiences throughout.
Thanks to mcoliver88 at HotUkDeals.
This week, Jon and I jumped into Black Forest Games' side-scrolling action-fest, Dieselstormers. As described by the devs themselves, it's "high-octane carnage for 1-4 players featuring customizable motorguns, gas-guzzling knight armour, generated levels and randomized loot", and we had ourselves a blast.
Of course, I really should have done the tutorial do nab myself some sweet upgrades first, but no matter. It's classic run-and-gun stuff, only with bouncy, electrified ninja ropes of awesomeness, and it has one of the best names out there.
Chances are, you're either a big fan of the Dark Souls series or you just can't be doing with their brand of no-nonsense difficulty and downright unresponsive controls.
Me? I'm not a fan and haven't been since I played the original Demon's Souls. So why am I the one talking to you about Bloodborne, a game by the same devs and seen as a potential killer exclusive on the PS4 for fans of From Software’s series? Well, after trying out the recent Alpha, I'm thinking maybe Bloodborne will be worth a look after all and those of you that aren't fans of the Souls games probably shouldn't dismiss it so soon.
Is it still hard? Of course, and the checkpoints (or lack of them in the Alpha) will certainly make your eyes water a little and I'm sure there will be plenty of difficulty settings to nail that feel of trapping your junk in your zip, or stubbing your toe for hours on end or what other kink that makes you keep playing these bastards.
So, let's dive into the Alpha demo. First of all you're given the option of four different characters with four varying weapon loadouts. The first is the one you may have seen in past footage with a blunderbuss gun and a saw cleaver, this was the first one I tried. The second was armed with a pistol and a sword that could split into two blades at the touch of a button.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 | Wii U | Xbox 360 | Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Avalanche Software | Ninja Theory (combat)
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Guardians Of The Galaxy deserves a good game. This isn't it.
We were initially thrilled at the news that Disney Infinity 2.0 would be doing the heavy lifting when it came to Guardians' movie tie-in. Instead of a terrible Activision-published atrocity, we were promised a lengthy piece of fanservice including high quality miniatures and production values, boasting a story from none other than Brian Michael Bendis himself, available for £15 alongside the Star-Lord and Gamora figures. What a fantastic idea.
And what horrible execution. Disney Infinty 2.0 ultimately triumphs despite its issues, but the Guardians Of The Galaxy playset is one of the worst games I've suffered through in years. Other sites seem to have included this expansion in their reviews for the base game, but I'd like to discuss what is effectively a DLC pack in detail so you can be forewarned against throwing bad money after good.
Or, in other words, buy the Rocket Raccoon figure and steer clear of this sorry shovelware.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 | Wii U | Xbox 360 | Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Avalanche Software | Ninja Theory (combat)
Publisher: Disney Interactive
There's no such thing as a "good game for kids." There are only good games, some of which are more accessible than others. Take Minecraft, designed to encourage experimentation and creativity regardless of age. Or Mario, beloved by millions despite punishing each pitfall with instant death.
Half of Disney Infinity 2.0 gets this absolutely right. The toybox mode is utterly fantastic no matter how old you are. Create your own levels, invite some friends and then watch your favourite Disney and Marvel toys come to life. It's genuinely magical.
Sadly the other half displays the same lazy level design, shonky mechanics and lack of care that typifies so-called kids games. "Who cares? It's just for children."
Fun fact: everyone deserves quality software. So thank goodness that Disney Infinity 2.0's better half is also its biggest by far!Click here to read more...
Blacklist is one of the best Splinter Cell games in years and the Humble store have one of the cheapest prices I've seen yet. There's an excellent range of gameplay styles to choose from. Trying to be as sneaky as possible is an incredibly intense experience compared to just run-and-gunning it (but you can do that too). The multiplayer is feature packed too with Spies Vs Mercs making a return along with some cool co-op missions. One of the best games of last year.
Thanks to bandwidthbob at HotUkDeals.
I can't get enough of Hyrule Warriors. It helps, of course, that I'm quite a fan of the musou genre, but Omega Force have quite outdone themselves with this hybrid mashup. I spent much of yesterday listening to the game's outstanding soundtrack, which mainly consists of epic, widdly, J-rock variations on an abundance of Zelda themes.
Much like the OST for Pacific Rim, it instantly makes whatever you're doing seem more awesome than before.
Anyway, our review is already out, in which I gave it 8/10 and called it a bunch of fun, along with branding it as probably the best Warriors game to date:
Hyrule Warriors doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't. It does exactly what it says on the tin, producing what is probably the best Warriors game to date, and doing so by taking many of the best aspects of The Legend of Zelda and successfully incorporating them into the classic 1-vs-1000 gameplay. The fan service is astonishing, the level of detail very welcome indeed, and the action can be truly satisfying, with the various bosses going a long way to making the repetitive action seem quite refreshing at times. A triumphant mash-up indeed.
Not only that, but we've also gone and captured the game's first battle on Hyrule Field, which features lots of Spin Attacks from Link, and an appearance from King Dodongo.Hit the jump to see Hyrule Warriors gameplay in action >>
Nintendo are usually fairly strict when it comes to their own IPs, especially when it comes to their big hitters. But their slight history of sharing isn't without success stories... along with other, admittedly contentious, results. Take the Metroid series, for instance. Retro Studios' Prime trilogy is still a benchmark in fantastic reimaginings of a yesteryear favourite, even if Other M proved that sometimes there'll be mixed results when a Nintendo IP is loaned out into other creative hands.
Unlike those games, though, Hyrule Warriors is not representative of Nintendo giving another studio relatively free rein with one of their most beloved franchises. Here we find a very specific mashup, and one that tends more towards the latter part of its name than the former. Hyrule provides the sizzle, but Warriors the steak.
It's worth bearing in mind that I like the various Warriors series that have emerged over the years. My favourite is still probably Dynasty Warriors 4, but that has more to do with it being an incredibly cathartic game at a certain point in my life rather than anything that game does especially well over any of its fellows. You generally know what you're getting with a Warriors game: a range of playable heroes, amusingly nonsensical cutscenes, 1-vs-1000s combat stuffed with button mashing and epilepsy-inducing special attacks, taking over enemy keeps and knocking out Outpost Captains.
Hyrule Warriors does all of those things.
But it does them in better fashion than I've ever seen from a Warriors game before.
Hyrule Warriors is basically a Warriors game as modded by the world's biggest Zelda fan. It's a spectacular piece of fan service that manages to frame everything in terms of the various adventures of Link and Zelda over the years, from playable characters and weapon sets to fairly pretty maps based upon locales from a number of different Zelda titles, to an entire adventure mode that plays out on a retro map plucked from the original Legend of Zelda NES game. Rupees burst out of downed enemies, fulfilling certain requirements on the battlefield will cause chests to spawn that tinkle in familiar fashion when they appear, and deliver the same anticipatory music when you take a peek inside. Variations on Koji Kondo's musical themes weave in and out of the wildly-soloing electric guitars that accompany most Warriors titles.Click here to read more...
The last time we left our heroes, they'd emerged from a vicious street fight and secured a new base of operations. The Division's first gameplay trailer gave us a look at how players will cooperate to take back New York from the deranged survivors of a chemical attack; using both gunplay, strategy and RPG-esque skills to outmanoeuvre and outsmart their foes.
It's all right here in this E3 video. Watch it, else nothing that follows will seem wondrous. Or make any sense.
Ubisoft brought the next chapter to Gamescom 2014, or perhaps more accurately, the prequel. After showing us the daytime section again, running on Xbox One and iPad, they whisked us off to a new section of the game set during the previous night. Manhattan feels like a totally different place after sundown, an eerie and haunting environment that feels preternaturally wrong as you carefully pick your way through the ruined streets. A once bustling city now silent and deserted, save for the packs of hard-edged operators stalking through the rubble.
However, the day/night cycle is more than just a stylistic choice. New threats come out to play once the sun sets, and you'll need to work together in order to survive until dawn.Click here to read more...
With four Super Mirrors available in Bayonetta 2 (although only one that we can talk about currently), there's a fair bit of opportunity to play dress-up in Platinum's madcap action bonanza. To give you an idea of what to expect, hit the jump for a bunch of gameplay footage of Bayonetta in action, dressed in a variety of costumes and outfits from Super Mirror 64-2.
The Super Mirror's are all available at different intervals via Rodin's shop -- The Gates of Hell -- and the Mirrors themselves all cost 100,000 in currency. Unfortunately, you only get one costume included in that price (for 64-2 it's Fox's outfit), and every other costume costs another hundred grand as well. Cosplaying is an expensive pastime when you're an Umbra Witch.
The effects that the costumes have on the game itself are fairly minimal -- this is pure bonkers fan service, and there's nothing wrong with that. Most of the little changes are cosmetic, but there's something undeniably grin-inducing about rolling a Morphball about the place, or kicking the butts off of angels and demons with a set of tiny Arwings.Click here to read more...
Magicka was an absolute blast on PC, but its sequel feels right at home on a big screen and a DualShock 4. Preferably accompanied by three pals and an irresponsibly large pizza.
In case you don't know, the original Magicka actively shattered every videogame wizard cliché in the book, apart from the floppy robes. As opposed to demure back-line damage dealers, its protagonists were incompetent yet fearsomely powerful screwups who could combine numerous elemental forces into ridiculous situational spells. Think Rincewind, only with Vivi's skillset and an appetite for uninhibited destruction. Loosed into combat against hordes of foes, we'd translate arcane death beams, fireballs, shields, water, life and ice directly into pain.
Often "accidentally" aimed at our comrades, because why not.
It was the perfect opportunity for a hectic, silly and surprisingly deep cooperative experience, and a tradition that Magicka 2 plans to continue. Having played a very early build at Gamescom 2014, I can attest that it's shaping up to be an utter riot that's going to be best enjoyed by a team of friends in the same room. Partly because Paradox have tweaked the experience to work brilliantly on a console, but also because you'll want to be within easy high five/punching distance once the griefing starts.
To put this in perspective: within three minutes I'd set the developer on fire and pushed a fellow correspondent off a cliff with a water jet. Before they teamed up and evaporated me. Friendly fire is best shared with friends, no?Click here to read more...
Words can't quite explain just how utterly bonkers Bayonetta 2 actually is, so here's a little video showcasing five of the most crazy happenings I've encountered thus far in the game. We can only talk about the game up to chapter five currently, but already I've unleashed a Hellish unicorn, surfed the tunnel of a tsunami on the steeple of a cathedral, stopped a Lumen Sage with an epic fistbump, and seen Black Santa wall-ride a department store in a Cadillac.
I can only apologise for the number of times words fail me in this video and I'm reduced to shouting "WHAT?!" in delighted confusion, but you'll hopefully understand why by the end.
Dieselstormers, formerly known as Project Ravensdale, is already shaping up to be a seriously hectic cooperative run & gunner. Four dieselpunk knights do battle with Orcs and Goblins using crazy upgradeable weapons, nifty energy grappling hooks and a whole lot of firepower. Plenty of features are yet to be implemented, including armour customisation, a better crafting interface and more mission variety, but what's here is rather fun if a little bare-bones. I'll drop a preview this week.
Just in case I haven't told you yet, because I've got a sneaky suspicion that there are still some people out there who don't own a Wii U and therefore either haven't heard or fully understood the seriousness of what I'm about to say, I bought a Wii U for Bayonetta 2.
I've already waxed lyrical about the game's dual control systems in a previous preview so I won't repeat myself in that sense here. Having now played a large chunk of the game, I have to say that I'm not particularly fond of the touchscreen input for long periods of play (or indeed at all for that matter), but that's because I adore the way the game handles when you're playing it as you would have the original. The swipe and tap inputs essentially turn Bayonetta 2 into the most bonkers smartphone experience you ever laid eyes on, and although it's perfectly poised in that respect to bring in a new audience who want to enjoy the absurd spectacle, it's not really for me.
But that's the joy of choice. Finally, with the difficulty raised above the Easy setting that they must have been flouting months back at the preview event, the standard control system really comes into its own once more. Pirouetting about the place, cartwheeling out of danger before spinning back in for a flurry of attacks is beautifully balletic and gloriously responsive. It's a near perfect setup, the controller really just an extension of your mind. Everything is so fast and fluid that you're just stepping into combos on the fly, mixing and matching button combinations to see what happens, always with a finger delicately poised over the dodge button to take you out of harm's way.Click here to read more...
Quantum Break is still one of the Xbox One's biggest wildcards. Promising to transcend the boundaries between games and television, Remedy's latest creation finally broke gameplay cover at Gamescom, revealing that the creators of Max Payne are still capable of creating a handsome shooter with some nifty slow-motion mechanics.
We had to know more, so naturally I attended the Quantum Break showcase at the first possible opportunity. The lights dimmed. Our guide stepped up to the plate. And Remedy unveiled... an expanded version of the demo we already saw during Microsoft's press conference.
Wonderful, quoth Jonathan sarcastically. However, it's clear that while Quantum Break's gunplay looks rather fun, the time-based puzzling and intriguing transmedia setup are what's really going to set it apart from the crowd. Like Max Payne crossed with Bernard's Watch and Blinx: The Time Sweeper, perhaps.Click here to read more...