Watch Dogs became one of the most divisive games of the year, delighting some and disappointing others largely depending on how much hype you'd been exposed to. However, it's still an interesting and unique sandbox game that contains some great hacking mechanics under a bit too much bumf.
What we can agree on is that GAME's £23.99 price for their exclusive PS4 and Xbox One special edition is very competitive indeed, and cheaper than almost all normal editions of the game elsewhere. Thanks to iamthebatman01 @ HUKD!
It's great to see Monolith back on form after so many years in the doldrums, and it's even better to see a genuinely fantastic Lord Of The Rings game that genuinely expands on the universe. This stealthy stabby brutal bloodsoaked experience shines thanks to the quality of its systems and its unique Nemesis mechanic that creates unique bosses to hunt and take down depending on your performance.
Better yet, SimplyGames have slashed the price of the Xbox One version down to £32.85. Thanks to imsomethingyournot @ HUKD!
FIFA 15 is an experimental art game in which you'll delve into Mandelbrot-inspired fractals to discover a hidden synesthesic world of... no, it's footy. This year's iteration is a bit faster and boasts superior player management. If you want in, SimplyGames will save you a fiver on the PS4 and Xbox One versions. Thanks to RK94 @ HUKD!
Platforms: PS4 | Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Bandai Namco | Devolver Digital
"If you miss the thrill of classic old-school shooters, the simple joy of blasting hordes of foes with oversized weapons and ferreting around for secrets, quicksaving and circle-strafing all the while, you should buy Shadow Warrior immediately."
I wrote this line a year ago in my Shadow Warrior PC review, and it still holds true today. Laughing at the limp linear patronising state of the FPS genre, Flying Wild Hog looked back at classic PC shooters and delivered a Wangtastic slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger of a game with huge explorable levels, massive guns and enormous hordes of deadly demons to point them at.
Now a pixel-perfect port is available on PS4 and Xbox One, meaning that console owners have the opportunity to find out what they've been missing. I could probably end the review here... but in all honesty, this is also an opportunity for me to right a wrong.
See, Shadow Warrior has matured like a fine wine, becoming more delicious with age, and a year of perspective makes me realise that I might have weighted certain aspects of the game too heavily even though my criticisms are still the same. On PC I accused many of its unique features of watering down and diluting the classic FPS formula I've loved since Doom, and they do, but a year on I find myself enjoying Shadow Warrior as the game it is rather than the game I wanted it to be.Click here to read more...
NBA 2K15 is an interactive sporting soap opera, and it's quite brilliant in that regard. Visual Concepts have been leading the line in terms of narrative framing for career modes for some time, but last year's next-gen version saw them really ratchet things up in terms of context and plotting for MyCareer, upping the stakes by giving you a nemesis to measure yourself against, a mute team buddy to give you inspiration and a kick up the arse when warranted, and interactions with coaches, GMs and the press.
This year, though, they've really gone the extra mile in cultivating a sporting narrative full of drama and emotion. You kick things off as an undrafted rookie with an obnoxious, Jerry Maguire-esque agent shopping you about low-to-mid-level teams for a trial. The greater the team's standing, the harder you'll have to work to impress them, and so on. Succeed, and you'll earn yourself a ten-day contract; do well in the mattering of games during that short time period, and you might win a spot on the rotation for the rest of the season. It's a true underdog setup that then spins out into regular team meetings, chats with your coach, practice sessions, contract negotiations, team-mates finding out about you entertaining the notion of signing with a another team, squabbles about playing opportunities, clashes with other rookies and players, all in the quest to become the greatest player you can be.
It's rather intoxicating stuff, aided by more fully-featured voice work from the characters you'll meet along the way. It must be said, however, that few NBA players have the acting chops of Shaq, and the monotonous drawl of the likes of Terrence Ross and Andre Drummond, not to mention the interesting timing of some lines that VC clearly didn't have the time to record twice, can make dialogue exchanges inadvertently hilarious.Click here to read more...
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a fantastic idea that turns you into a full-body conductor with the power of your Kinect Sensor, allowing you to create and share crazy remixes on the fly. However, it just boils down to flailing your arms around in front of the telly like a drunk hailing a cab.
I was deeply conflicted in our full review, but in fairness, I should also point out that I've probably awarded it the lowest score on the internet. Definitely download the demo and try it out for yourself! Note that Kinect 2.0 is mandatory. Thanks to Aeschylus @ HUKD!
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed) | Xbox 360
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
I genuinely love my Kinect sensor and the musical legends at Harmonix, but I think they might have missed the point here.
Guitar Hero and Rock Band make you feel like a rock god, whether you're shredding on a plastic guitar, smashing the drums, laying down a bass line or howling into a microphone. Rocksmith literally teaches you how to play a six-string, much like Dance Central teaches you a selection of hilarious dance moves. Child Of Eden makes you feel like a transcendent electric death machine. You're only stood in front of a telly with a plastic peripheral or Kinect sensor, but the physical movements feel empowering and rewarding in and of themselves.
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is supposed to turn you into the Sorcerer's Apprentice and grant you dominion over music itself... but playing it feels like directing traffic at a busy intersection. Or attempting to guide a light aircraft in to land in your living room. You're just waving your arms about in time to music, more like a weather reporter in front of a greenscreen than a magical orchestra conductor.
It's a shame, because Disney Fantasia is otherwise one of the most fascinating and unique projects ever developed for the Kinect sensor, letting you create crazy remixes out of classic and current music.Click here to read more...
With one short month to go before Far Cry 4 lands, we take a decisive look at all the available evidence, including our very own hands-on sessions, to make the case that we could be looking at a Game of the Year contender here. So dive into this week’s Sunday Seven: Why Far Cry 4 is Set to Own 2014.
You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but the honey badgers are arguably the most vicious creatures in Kyrat. Hunting missions will make a return, but using fire or explosions to kill animals will result in damaged pelts that are worth less cash and possibly not be as useful for crafting. Looks like we’ll have to avoid using rocket launchers and mines on the monochrome missile-like bastards then. Other animals that want to eat your eyes include wolves, rhinos, leopards, eagles, cave bears and much more. Come at me, nature!Click here to read more...
A great week for Wii U owners who can feel super smug as the Umbran witch makes her Nintendo debut. There’s quite the musical theme elsewhere with the latest Just Dance title and Harmonix’s motion-controlled take on Fantasia. The words Firaxis and Alpha Centauri are probably enough to get our PC-gaming readers excited, not to mention a certain Dreamfall title. Read on for the full rundown along with links to our past coverage and the cheapest prices.
Fans have only been waiting since 2006 to find out what happens next in the Dreamfall saga, so yeah, they’re pretty pumped for this one. We get the feeling this is going to be a Kickstarter success story and can’t wait to play the new episodic format. The game is also coming to PS4 at some point, but release dates vary from next week (wrong), to November, to next year. Expect reviews of the PC version from our very own Carl Phillips soon.Click here to read more...
This week, we deal with Driveclub's latest woes and ask how big games sites can justify early reviews for online games, we chat about Microsoft's continued defence of their indie parity clause, and we take a look at the announcement for the rather controversial Hatred.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
The early bird catches the worm, but the late and tardy birds reap magnificent savings. ShopTo are currently selling and Xbox One console with The Evil Within, Alien Isolation, Wolfenstein, Forza 5 & Dead Rising 3 for £399.85, which is £30 less than the solus console itself cost just one year ago!
Madness, especially seeing that all but one of these games scored an 8/10 (because we haven't reviewed The Evil Within yet!). Thanks to partyblast @ HUKD!
Tesco's Xbox One horror bundle is appropriately timed for Halloween and a scary saving to boot. £349 will net you the console (without Kinect), Shinki Mikami's brand new horror title The Evil Within and terrifying Alien sequel Alien Isolation.
Apparently you can use voucher code TDXR-WRTP to bring the price down even further to £334. Thanks to Mac007, Chanchi32 and Nathan94 @ HUKD!
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.
Microsoft may be lagging behind Sony in sales terms, but they're putting up one heck of a pre-Christmas fight. ShopTo's latest deal sees the White Xbox One, controller, Sunset Overdrive and Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare all slashed down to £349.85, which is the same as a solus PS4 costs at retail.
To be clear, neither Sunset Overdrive nor Advanced Warfare have released yet, so we can't attest to their quality, They seem to be shaping up nicely, though. Thanks to brandonday1 @ HUKD!
Do you like tower defence games? If the answer is no, then I really don't know what the hell you're doing here. Go away. Shoo! This game is not for you.
If, however, you do like tower defence games, then you should really stick around, because Defense Grid is back, and it's probably the best tower defence game money can buy.
You will have to buy it, it's not an unbalanced free-to-play, lucky dip of a title, where you never know if everything's actually going to come together and work in a fashion that might prove fun. No, Defense Grid 2 will cost you. In fact, it'll cost you £18.49, and that's quite a lot for a tower defence game in my book.
The thing is, though, Defense Grid 2 is really rather good.
Like a good single malt, Defense Grid 2 is distilled excellence. It's not overly ambitious, it doesn't have lofty goals of flights of fancy, it simply wants to be the best tower defense game there is. And it does pretty damn well aiming for that goal.Click here to read more...
Invest in some underwear, folks! You're going to need spares. The Nostromo Edition for Alien: Isolation is under £35 at Gameseek, and you can knock a further two quid off of the price by using the code 2354682 at the checkout.
Great spot by BazingaBen at HUKD!
There’s a lot to be excited about with next week’s releases. Take a trip to Pandora’s moon with friends, explore creepy mansions packed with gibbering lunatics and well, probably buckets of giblets too. Fans of racing are sorted this week too (you know, because DriveClub is probably still offline) as they get to choose between a super light set of four wheels or mud-encrusted bikes. Forget all those pretenders though, what you really want to do is drop a ball and watch it bounce around...
Exciting! Of all the early exclusives on the Xbox One, this is the one that had most PS4 owners seething with jealousy. If you're yet to experience Peggle, you should really go and check out a PC or mobile demo and then be prepared to throw money at the sequel on PSN next week. There's no word on pricing yet, but we expect it to be around a tenner.Click here to read more...
With the Hobbit movies proving to be one of the longest train wrecks in recent memory, it’s a relief to see developers looking elsewhere for inspiration of doing Tolkien’s world justice. So, to fill the gap between the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, we find ourselves deep in the heart of Mordor.
Enter Talion, a ranger working on the Black Gate who, along with his family, is killed almost immediately by invading Uruks. Luckily (sort of) for him, an Elven Wraith spirit invades his body just before death. Meaning that a short while later he is resurrected and will continue to do so each time he is killed.
Throughout the adventure we’ll learn more about life in Mordor for humans before the orcs and Uruks invaded and Sauron took over and we’ll even learn how the One Ring was forged and how Sauron betrayed the nine. The time setting and location are ripe for gaming territory and Tolkien nuts should definitely take a look.
Shadow of Mordor brandishes its base influences with little shame, but in fairness, Monolith has chose some of the best brands to initiate, namely Assassin’s Creed and Rocksteady’s Batman titles. So expect an open world where you can climb any surface and find lots of side-missions and collectibles to keep you entertained between story missions. These distractions also help to fund your numerous combat upgrades, so it rarely feels like time wasting. The climbing mechanics are solid and the animations have a pleasing weight to them too.Click here to read more...
Project Spark has long been one of the most quietly ambitious projects out there. Billed as a game creator that lets your imagination run riot, a free client that lets you create and share your own games while enjoying numerous exciting creations from the community, is now out of beta and ready for prime time on Xbox One and PC.
Meaning, of course, that it's fair game for criticism. Reviewing this crazy thing is going to be incredibly difficult, but since I've been on-board since the beta and logged a fair few hours since launch, I'd like to share my major initial impressions of Project Spark -- both in terms of praise, constructive criticism and some potential concerns.
This list is by no means complete and may be subject to change, I'm only human after all, but for now here are my burning observations.
Playing through the 'Crossroads' mode and the first episode of the campaign is fleeting fun for fans of third-person action adventures, but the real joy of Project Spark is its creation suite. It's magnificent. You're given an enormous flat plane to turn into your own wondrous creation. Map tools allow you to raise hills, carve out rivers and paint them to your specifications, creating majestic island networks, towns, mazes and platforms out of thin air. You can choose the time of day, the angle of the sun and the camera. You'll then sprinkle your creation with assets, objects, characters and NPCs, all of which can be assigned different sizes and behaviours using a pleasingly robust logic system.
Known as 'Kode,' this system allows you to create cause-and-effect relationships ("when" and "do" commands) to govern how any object, character or creature works. For example, after plonking down an enormous squirrel the size of a house (no, not Conker!), I told the Project Spark that when I move the thumbstick, the monolithic woodland creature should move. When I press the A button, it should jump. It's a brilliant and deceptively deep setup with numerous options, AI behaviours and sensors up for grabs.
For my next trick, I created a rock and told it to follow my squirrel around, because every hero needs a sidekick. It's that simple.Click here to read more...