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...
Super Smash Bros will release in time for Christmas, meaning that Boxing Day plans are pretty much sorted. If you're not in the market for the Gamecube controller/adapter bundle, The Game Collection are currently running a pre-order for £36.95, which will save you £2 versus the next cheapest retailer Base.com. You can watch a Nintendo rep blatantly let me win a few matches in the linked video above.
Thanks to Ninjin00 @ HUKD!
Destiny has been a huge seller, but FIFA is bound to smash it off the top spot next weekend and is a good shout for Xmas #1. Other brave (foolish?) games are releasing the same week too, including the eagerly awaited Gauntlet remake and the intriguing murder mystery title, the Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Check out the full lineup for the week below, along with links to our past coverage and the best online pre-order prices.
As a console gamer, I’m really jealous that this is only coming to PC for the foreseeable future. I blame this newfound addiction to Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Gauntlet is a true original brand though and we can’t wait to see its modern update. It has four player co-op of course.
Pre-Order: Steam £14.99Click here to read more...
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...
Finished Destiny already or just have a really short attention span? Fear not, we’re back with our weekly look at next week’s releases. This is the week that parents will be dreading ahead of Xmas as Dinsey are rolling out their latest toy-fest. Will Zelda survive it’s whoring out to the Dynasty Warriors franchise and why are those sheep acting like Lemmings? This is the week to find some answers.
This might be the year to check out Disney’s Skylanders-baiting franchise that sees real-life toy figures used on a portal to appear in-game. Since Disney acquired Marvel, it’s always been a sure bet we’d see them in Disney Infinity. So get ready for new playsets including The Avengers, Spider-Man and the crew from Guardians of the Galaxy. 2.0 also marks the series next-gen debut on the PS4 and XO. The base game and some extra figures is looking pricey, so be sure to check out our past coverage below first and stay tuned for Jon’s verdict on the XO version.
Cheapest PS4 / XO Pre-Order: Simply Games £50.94Click 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...
Ask the question "what Nintendo IP would you most like to see on the Wii U/3DS?" and the answer often involves Samus. It's been too long since we've had a kickass Metroid game (sorry Other M), and being one of the most popular Nintendo IPs, you'd think that the Big N would have been eager to mobilise on it.
God only knows it would have been a better use of Retro's time than Donkey Kong Tropical Laurel-Resting.
As it turns out, a Metroid game for 3DS might well have been in the works at Next Level Games, only for Nintendo to nix the very early prototype in favour of Luigi's Mansion 2.Click here to read more...
Today's Nintendo Direct presentation was all about Bayonetta 2, the sequel to the best brawler ever made that's been getting us hot under the collar for some time. No, not like that. As in: it's looking more utterly ridiculous every time we see it.
You can watch the video below, but here are the salient points:
Almost all good news, but unfortunately it appears that we won't get the original game for free as originally advertised; rather we'll have to pay an extra tenner. Why does Europe deserve nice things, right?
We'll keep an eye out for a deal.Click here to read more...
Super Mario 3D World is definitely the 'go to' Mario game on Wii U, but platforming fans should definitely check out New Super Mario Bros U if they have a gap in their schedule. And have played Rayman Legends to death. This launch title isn't designed to be a tech demo, rather it's a familiar yet tightly-designed experience with a few cheeky surprises along the way, not to mention a whole mess of levels. ShopTo's £18.81 price tag is seriously cheap, so be sure to use the FBFAN5 voucher code. Thanks once again to BuzzDuraband @ HUKD!
I don't often start a preview with a disclaimer, but when a publisher invites you to Brands Hatch for a day behind the wheel, I suppose you probably ought to mention it. Within minutes of emerging from the pedestrian tunnel, I found myself abusing the traction control of a beefy BMW and taxing the patience of a trained racing driver as he patiently -- oh so very patiently -- explained where I probably ought to be braking and hitting the apex to avoid going all kinds of sideways.
This might sound like an old-school journalistic junket, but when I traded the real thing for the PS4 version of Project CARS, on the same track in the same weather conditions, I discovered that it was actually my training.
See, Project CARS is designed to be more than a soulless simulator. It may be underpinned by reams of official engineering specifications and raw data, but every facet of the game has been pored over and tweaked by real racing drivers to give it the human touch. As such, every piece of advice I received on the track was instantly and completely relevant in the game, while the virtual course looked and felt like the real thing.
It's the sort of authentic design philosophy that could well put Project CARS into pole position this Christmas, even as it stares down the barrel of Driveclub and Forza Horizon 2. The fact that it's drop-dead gorgeous, VR compatible, 12K-ready and powered by next-gen tech is probably not going to hurt either.Click here to read more...
Plugging official specifications and tyre data into your racing game is all well and good, but Project CARS promises to go one step further this Christmas by focusing on the human element. As such, Slightly Mad Studios have worked closely with real racing drivers including Nicholas Hamilton, the original Stig and Oliver James Webb, who advise on how the cars actually handle in real life.
Having recently attended a Project CARS preview session at Brands Hatch, I naturally grabbed Oliver Webb for an interview about his input, which has influenced everything from handling minutiae to track design. Plus, seeing as he's currently one of the faces of BAC Mono, naturally we had to chat about the gorgeous British sports car.
Stay tuned for our hands-on preview, and be sure to check out our previous coverage!
Splinter Cell Blacklist is a seriously impressive sequel hinged around player choice, and better yet, it costs a ridiculous £0.97 on Wii U at Gamestop.
It's so cheap, in fact, that it won't qualify for free delivery, instead requiring an extra £2. Which is still phenomenally inexpensive.
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.
Project CARS is looking more exciting (and gorgeous, it must me said) every time we see it - and I managed to scrape an amateurish fourth place during a hands-on race around Brands Hatch.
Be on the lookout for the dynamic weather, which massively affects the driving conditions, handling and visibility. This demo track accelerates the onset of a rainstorm over three laps, so you can judge for yourself.
Oh, and sorry about the glare! I'll have some shinier videos for you soon, along with more in-depth coverage. Did you catch our interview with producer Pete Morrish?Click here to read more...
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...
Funded by Kickstarter, assisted by real drivers and powered by impressive cutting-edge graphical tech, Project CARS is set to become an automotive tour de force. After trying out the latest build at 4K resolution and on the Oculus Rift, I caught up with lead producer Pete Morrish for a chat about the new title and what sets it apart from other racers.
Over the weekend, a fairly complete-looking roster of Super Smash Bros was leaked onto the internet via some screenshots and some rather legit videos (courtesy of NeoGAF) showing off the unlocked character selection screen and showcasing some of these characters in action.
In the interests of let everyone decide for themselves, we've hidden the images below the jump, and you can have a gander if you're up for some spoilery goodness.Click here to read more...
Nintendo don't often make much of Gamescom. In the past, they've actually been fairly rubbish at noticing Europe is even here to be honest, in spite of Iwata highlighting the issue several times over the past few years.
But they turned up to this year's show with a host of playable games to demo to the public, and behind closed doors they didn't bother with flashy presentations or snooze-inducing, heavily-scripted developer walkthroughs where you watch someone else play the game, instead they just let people play and let the games speak for themselves.
Letting the games speak for themselves could well be Nintendo's motto. They've never been the best when it comes to corporate communication or getting the word out (the mind-bending originality of the Wii, and that console's aggressive Ant-and-Dec-fronted marketing aside) but their games shine when placed in the perfect environment. It's a shame in some ways that it's only after you've picked up a Wii U and played some of the exceptional titles on offer that the console's essential nature reveals itself.
Thankfully, over 300,000 people had the chance to do just that at this year's show.
Jon and I have both gone hands-on with a number of Nintendo's upcoming titles now, so we thought we'd have a little chat about some of the highlights for the Japanese company from this year's show.Click for our Nintendo @ Gamescom discussion >>