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...
If you've got a PS4, you'll probably want to blast through this graphically gorgeous super-powered sandbox. It'll put your console through its paces, and it's bloody good fun to boot. Do expect some boring side missions and a dearth of genuinely new things to do -- though what you can do is enjoyable and very pretty. Amazon's £27.99 offering is the best new price around by a mile. Thanks to mattlong37051 @ HUKD!
Infamous: First Light is out in the US today, and our review went live earlier. Here's what we said about the game:
Infamous First Light packs a whole bunch of content in at a decent price, and fleshes out Second Son's most interesting character in fine fashion, with a sibling story that tugs at the heartstrings thanks to another great performance from Bailey. It's an extension, perhaps, more than an expansion -- more of the same sort of thing, but with a slightly different flavour -- but given how much fun Second Son was, that's no bad thing.
But if you're still uncertain whether or not to buy the standalone prequel to Second Son, here's a little look in more depth at some of the changes you can expect to find playing as Fetch rather than Delsin, along with a video of the game's opening 10 minutes.Click here to read more...
I had a blast with Infamous: Second Son. For me, it was probably the best game in the series thus far, a polished experience that did the basics incredibly well, delivered some cracking performances from its leading stars, and dazzled the senses with a gorgeous Seattle sandbox and plenty of interesting abilities. It didn't seek to really break new ground or reinvent the wheel, but Second Son was supremely satisfying because Sucker Punch managed to nail things where they counted -- combat, traversal, scale, story. Would it have been nice to have Seattle live and breathe a little more rather than simply being an obviously gamified sandbox? Perhaps. But frankly I was having too much fun to really care.
Given the hot topic of female protagonists in the gaming industry, it's not surprising really that Sucker Punch were asked in the run up to Second Son's release about the possibility of a female playable protagonist. That questioning only became stronger when we were introduced to Abigail "Fetch" Walker -- a Neon-powered Conduit with some serious baggage in her past and a heavy chip on her shoulder. That Sucker Punch followed through and have given us a fat slab of Fetch's backstory to play through here in First Light is admirable.
More importantly, it's pretty damn good.
Laura Bailey is back to voice Fetch, and once again, the strength of Sucker Punch's performance capture really comes through. Anyone familiar with her story in Second Son will already know the end state of this prequel, set two years before the events of the original game. Fetch is making a living on the streets with her brother in First Light, making ends meet by doing unsavoury jobs for unsavoury people. By the time we meet her in Second Son, she's lost a huge deal, not least a sense of control, and First Light tells the story of how she goes from being a woman trying to hide her powers to being a Conduit fixer and assassin, to eventually becoming a powerful renegade filled with rage and anger.Click here to read more...
Saints Row IV might not be the most difficult game out there, but by god it's fun. Probably one of the finest sandbox games out there just for sheer insanity, Saints Row IV might just be the best game in the series (although I kind of swing between this and SR2 on a daily basis). You can grab it for around £4 at German site Games Planet, though only buy if you're based in the EU as the Steam code is region locked.
Be quick, mind, as there are only 12 and a half hours left to go for this flash deal.
Thanks to socialjeebus at HotUkDeals.
Watch Dogs: DedSec Edition | Base | 44.99 | Review
Base are not necessarily the most reliable retailer when it comes to snappy delivery, but this one might be worth the wait. Watch Dogs: DedSec Edition is just £44.99 at Base right now, and this limited edition package comes with some rather tasty stuff.
One for collector's, the DedSec Edition comes with the following:
A 23cm Aiden Pearce Figurine
DedSec Collector box
Watch Dogs Artbook: artworks and illustrations that inspired the game
Original soundtrack of the game
Watch_Dogs map of Chicago
Set of 4 collectible cards: discover Watch_Dogs iconic characters through augmented reality
Set of 3 exclusive badges
Also included is around 60 minutes of extra DLC and bonus weapon rewards. If you've not discovered the delights of Chicago yet, this might just be the perfect opportunity. After the Destiny beta, natch.
Great spot by Jas10.
GTA V has had a 50% price cut on Xbox 360, but the offer only runs until midnight tonight. It's worth noting that you've been able to get it at this price from retailers for a while, but it's a useful drop for the supremely lazy and those box-haters out there.
It's a slightly sad indictment of digital pricing, to be honest. Apparently not making loads of cases and printing crates of disc is super expensive. Still, sometimes you just have to have it immediately, and maybe that's worth paying for. Not at full price, mind. But that's what deals are for.
Crackdown is indeed coming to the Xbox One, confirmed today by a suitably ridiculous CG trailer during Microsoft's E3 press conference.
Expect killing criminals with guns, destructible buildings, killing criminals by throwing cars at them, a variety of vehicles, killing goons by blowing them up and generally inflicting as much insane police brutality as possible in a massive cel-shaded playground.
Hopefully. Series creator Dave Jones and Scottish studio Cloudgine have yet to show us any gameplay, but frankly we've been waiting long enough. Let's have it. I've just gotta get those pendulous orbs.
Dead Rising 3 was our favourite launch title on either new-gen console by a country mile, translating horsepower into outrageous fun rather than shiny graphics. However, PC gamers will soon be able to get in on the action with a graphically-enhanced PC version of the Xbox One exclusive, boasting "upgraded textures" and trading cards if you buy on Steam.
You might not have to play it on Xbox One, but at least you can use an Xbox One controller. Microsoft has now released the drivers at long last; they'll be included in a later automatic Windows update or you can grab them now from Major Nelson. Unlike the Xbox 360 controller, you can connect it via a standard micro USB cable.
Watch Dogs has its moments.
Interconnected future Chicago is a hacker's playground. You'll infiltrate heavily guarded compounds without even setting foot in the building, leaping between CCTV cameras like a digital ghost. You'll turn car chases into carnage as you detonate sub-street steam pipes and raise bridges, speeding away from pile-ups that would make Elwood Blues doff his fedora. Vindictive players will terrorise panicking criminals by remotely sending them threatening texts and arming their grenades, an unseen terror who eventually sneaks in to mop up stragglers with a baton and silenced pistol.
When its hacking, gunplay, stealth and driving come together, the result is pure water cooler magic.
Unfortunately these moments are wrapped in an open-world game that's arguably too big, flabby and formulaic for its own good, but they still make Watch Dogs well worth playing.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (Steam Early Access)
Developer: Phosphor Games
Publisher: Nether Productions
It took me five minutes to hate Nether with a passion. Taking its cues from the likes of DayZ and Rust, this Unreal-powered indie effort threw me straight into a grim grey world with little more than a butter knife and a mysterious parcel. I wandered around the vast empty expanse for what felt like an eternity, surveying the ruined cityscape and initially-mediocre visuals, hacked up a teleporting fiend and took its tongue, then got my face ripped off by a massive bat creature. New character. Reload. My next avatar fared little better, surviving for a few minutes until a malicious player shot me in the back of the head and didn't even bother to loot my pathetic possessions. The urge to ragequit was overwhelming.
Then, suddenly, everything clicked and I realised that I wasn't just surviving - I was loving every silly, unpolished, harrowing player-driven second of it.
Two things happened. First off, I blundered into the options menu and enabled anti-aliasing like the dolt I am. It was like receiving cataract surgery as the world resolved into a softer, sharper, more hauntingly beautiful place. Though no graphical powerhouse and lousy with visual quirks, Nether is a cut above its peers.
But, more importantly, I started playing with Carl over VOIP... at which point I discovered that Phosphor Games are creating a unique take on the sandbox survival genre that allows you to make your own fun in some interesting ways, and gives you a reason to play beyond just living another day.Click here to read more...
I got a massive kick out of Saints Row IV thanks to its focus on giving you ridiculous superpowers, outlandish weapons, and setting you in a homage-toting version of the Matrix. It's a whole bunch of fun, and it's on sale over at the Humble Store for the next seven hours.
Goat Simulator is one of the first games that I've ever come across that arrives with a disclaimer from the developers concerned, actively warning people off of the game:
Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game. It was made in a couple of weeks so don’t expect a game in the size and scope of GTA with goats. In fact, you’re better off not expecting anything at all actually. To be completely honest, it would be best if you’d spend your $10 on a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe a real-life goat.
And it might be right, you know.
For some, the thought of prancing about a pretty tiny, yet jam-packed sandbox as a crazy, bleating billy will seem completely pointless. Goat Simulator is a bit of an aberration -- a joke perhaps taken too far -- a broken, buggy mess that makes a mockery of game development and serves only as a flash in the pan designed to exploit today's obsession with YouTube-captured mishaps.
Goat Simulator is all of those things. Whether or not it's worth your ten dollars (or six pounds) will come down to how much of that you find amusing.Click here to read more...
About time too. Just when our excitement for Watch Dogs reached critical mass, having previewed a production build, interviewed the developers and even tested out the companion app, Ubisoft delayed their anticipated hacking sandbox at the eleventh hour. Then went dark.
The waiting began. The conjecture and concerns deepened. But now we can start to ramp back into hype mode, because Watch Dogs has been officially dated by way of a new trailer! So long as you don't want to buy it on Wii U, that is.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...
Platforms: PC | PS4 (tested) | Xbox One | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested)
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Apologies to those of you who've followed my writing on Assassin's Creed over the last couple of years as I'm going to repeat myself a little bit here, but for those of you coming into this review in need of a little context, here's the beef: Assassin's Creed III was a sprawling, clunky, overstretched, uneven adventure with a dull central character and too many diffuse game components that failed to come together to present an engaging, cohesive world. There was little freedom, too much linearity in a paradoxically gigantic world, a lack of verticality (the first thing anyone does in AC is climb the nearest tall steeple or spire), and an abandoning of the thing that had made the franchise great. The key has always been in the title: we want to assassinate people.
Thankfully, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag does much to bring stalking one's prey however you like back in a big way.
We'll get to the pirate stuff itself, but let's look at how the more familiar elements to the series have been tweaked up and expanded upon for this game. The best things from Assassin's Creed III -- things like running assassinations, the wide variety of darts, and treetop parkour -- have all returned. But now there's verticality to go with that. Not on the scale of the urban hives of activity that Rome and Constantinople and the Crusader cities presented to us, but enough to warrant more than enough rooftop hopping.Click here to read more...
I've been rather underwhelmed by the exclusive offerings of both Sony and Microsoft up to this point, but Dead Rising 3 has given me a hefty hook and provided some much needed excitement. With more news each day of further game delays, and the wise choice looking like patience and prudence this Christmas, Capcom Vancouver have turned up with a game that I really, really want. I don't know how good it's going to be, I don't know just how deep all of the systems run, but I do know this: that game put the biggest smile on my face at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase yesterday, and it still hasn't come off. It's funny, it's empowering, it's expansive and ambitious, there's reams of choice and customisation. This is how you craft catharsis.
Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One's flagship launch titles, carrying a hefty amount of expectation upon its shoulders. It's had a bit of a rough year in terms of reveals to the public at E3, framerate issues and Gamescom , and the stuttering, see-sawing marketing messages from Microsoft, but njow, close to launch, it looks like it's coming out of the gates hot. - Dead Rising 3 Preview
We sat down with executive producer Josh Bridge at a showcase event earlier this week to chat about how the power of the Xbox One is being used to propel the franchise forwards with this third game.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Developers: Capcom Vancouver
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
In line with Microsoft's seeming inability to get their PR and marketing messages straight earlier this year, I don't think any of us were particularly thrilled by Dead Rising 3's appearance at this year's E3. The trailer looked dour and grim, anathema to our memories of a series that has often been characterised by over-the-top, hilariously creative undead bashing.
Then Dead Rising 3 turned up in playable form at Gamescom, though we didn't have time to see it sadly, and all of the reports there were of dodgy framerate issues, but there were hints towards the freeform, anarchic nature of the older games, lashings of crafting and customisation, and Chinese whispers of yes it is pretty grey and brown, but I carved zombies up with a nitrous-boosted digger.
As it turns out, we can have our cake and eat it too. Alan Jarvie's art direction for this game might lean rather more towards the gritty, realistic end of the spectrum, but that's ok. The zombies in Dead Rising 3 do feel a little bit more fearsome, the tone is set a little darker, there's actually a bit of a horror feel to things this time around. But that doesn't mean you can't have hilarious, side-splitting moments of emergent brilliance and rampant hilarity. Dead Rising 3 is looking like a game that gives the best of both worlds, with enough variety in terms of game modes, customisation, and crafting to play the game however we want.
And just in case you haven't been listening to Game Buzz or read any of our stuff over the past...forever, we love choice.Click here to read more...
UK developer The Indie Stone announced last night that Project Zomboid will be making it long awaited appearance on Steam as an Early Access purchase from Friday. Considering the zombie survival sandbox title has been greenlit for quite a while now, the news will no doubt be welcomed by those who voted for its inclusion on Valve's digital marketplace many months ago.
To mark this occasion, the price for the title has been slashed over on Desura to £4.99. That's a 50% reduction on the price it will be from Friday, and purchasing on the indie-focused store will immediately grant a Steam key to pre-load the game. Those who have previous purchased the Alpha build will be able to claim a key as well, with details on how to do this found here.
A lot has changed since I last got hands-on with Project Zomboid earlier this year in a set of episodes for Dealspwn Playthrough - the engine has been revamped, the crafting system given more depth, and the struggle against zombie hordes made a much more dangerous affair. You can expect us to check out the latest build once it hits the game this Friday.