Category: Reviews

mecA sequel ive long wanted, I really enjoyed the original Mirrors Edge back in the day, it was different, flowed really well, looked great and played great, when the sequel was announced at E3 2013 I was excited but that withered a lot as we got closer to release and the somewhat tepid reviews confirmed my concerns.

The main issue I had with Mirrors Edge Catalyst was that it feels uninspired and a lot of design decisions that just do nothing for the game, at times it almost felt like they wanted me to dislike it.

Moving to an open-world design is fine in theory, there are plenty of games that pull it off well and others that have evolved to the new formula but I felt like it took away from the level design with it becoming repetitive and lacked the quality the original had, I still remember some sections even from years ago, some of the building sites in particular with some enjoyable bits, it was good design and a challenge to keep flowing through well but they pulled it off and it made for a great game.

Having more to do seemed like a good idea, side missions can add to a game when done right but lots of repetitive quests did little to feel compelling and when added together with the rest of the game not feeling particularly stand-out it ended up coming across as filler. (more…)

Mini-Reviews: Fallout 4, Mad Max, Shadow Complex Remastered

Fallout 4

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The long-awaited follow-up to Bethesda’s 2008 Fallout 3 and Obsidian’s 2010 Fallout New Vegas, there was a lot of hype around Fallout 4 and I played Fallout 3 in September 2015 and quite liked it with a lot of interest in how the next instalment would improve the franchise, unfortunately I wasn’t really all that convinced that it did.

Looking at two things specifically, first the story has an interesting premise, your spouse is killed as you go into the vault and your child is kidnapped as you are frozen in time for a large amount of years, when you finally awaken you want revenge and answers for what has happened. I liked the story, there is a great sort-of twist later in the game which changes a lot of what you do, the different factions with their own ideologies works quite well too, in the end I made the decision of what I thought a parent would do who loved their child (without giving away any spoilers that should tell you what decisions I made).

Secondly, the world itself is massive and completely boring and tedious to play around in. Having played The Witcher 3 last year, that game has a phenomenal story, great gameplay and fully realised world with plenty of interesting and compelling side content, its fun to fight various creatures of all shapes and sizes but Fallout 4 has none of that. The world is so big and so bland, there is a ton of tedious micromanagement for when you have filled up your back-pack with constant back-tracking to sell or store things unless you leave them behind – which is something I’d recommend too much because you need money for stuff. (more…)

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AIPD is a top-down twin-stick shooter with tron inspired neon visuals as you aim kill the artificial intelligence enemies and get high scores across different modes and difficulties.

There are 5 modes to choose from: standard mode which increases in difficulty with every round, “tough transporters” where super weapon transporters are fully upgraded, “hostile space” where environmental dangers are all present, “high-tech armada” which has enemies start with all abilities and finally a “design”  mode where you can customise your rule set and gain a higher starting multiplier bonus.

The player can choose from 6 different weapons (gatling, shotgun etc) so they can pick the weapon that suits their play style and can also give you a boost in co-op as you can have a good variety of weapons across your friends and there are also 6 modifications to choose from which have different benefits (and limitations) around various aspects of your ship like the shields and weapon cooling.

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Sparkle 2 Review

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Sparkle 2 releases on Xbox One after the launch of Sparkle spin-off title “Sparkle Unleashed” which released in June 2015 from developer 10tons Ltd. It’s a classic match 3 orb game with levels set across a map with the aim to match all the orbs on a level and see the story through to the end.

What it’s about…

A long time ago, five keys were created. These enchanted keys are supposed to open a lock which guards something valuable. The keys were scattered across these lands forever locked between night and day. Many have tried to search for the keys, but they still remain undiscovered. Will you be the one to unravel the mystery, or will you become yet another soul consumed by the search?

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Until Dawn Review

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Originally a Move accessory game for PS3, Until Dawn from British developer Supermassive Games is an interactive drama survivor horror adventure game for Playstation 4 and was heavily retooled from the original concept, now third-person and using a regular controller it is similar in gameplay style to Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain and utilised an upgraded version of the Killzone Shadow Fall engine.

It’s intended as a story like a teen slasher movie with a style and character attitude to suit.

What it’s about…

A group of friends go to the annual winter getaway in a secluded lodge at the Blackwood Pines Lodge, owned by the Washington’s family including Josh and his twin sisters Beth and Hannah, during the break a prank is played on Beth which heavily embarrasses her and she runs off into the forest during the night, as Hannah goes after her they are chased by persons unknown and disappear.

A year later the group of friends return to the lodge after an invitation from Josh, to bond and remember his sisters and things start to go wrong from the moment they return. (more…)

Rise of the Tomb Raider Thoughts

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A game steeped in controversy over the exclusivity deal Rise of the Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamic is the sequel to the 2013 reboot

What it’s about…

After struggling to deal with the events that unfolded with the Yamatai a year earlier Lara becomes engrossed in trying to restore the reputation of her dead father “Lord Croft” whose unfortunate demise came due to an obsession with Kitezh and immortality. After being warned against following the same path by his ex-partner Ana, Lara gets caught up in trying to uncover the truth to the secrets of Kitezh whilst fighting against the mysterious Trinity paramilitary organisation who are also trying to work towards the same goal.

Whats good?

Tomb Raider made bigger and better. It’s a fantastic sequel that takes what the reboot did and makes it bigger, more to do, longer game with a better story (more on that below) and the hub worlds are all much more fleshed out with plenty of collectibles to find. (more…)

Halo 5 Guardians Thoughts

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343 Industries first attempt at a Halo game had its highs (the campaign) and its lows (the multiplayer) but it was still a decent game overall and I think that as a first attempt at a Halo game it was a good effort for them to get their feet under the table with a great campaign but they made some wrong choices with the multiplayer and leaned too much towards Call of Duty and not the Halo that people wanted. It was certainly a good learning experience for them though and Halo 5 will ultimately decide what they took from Halo 4.

The good news for me is that I feel that 343 have proven with an excellent Halo 5 Guardians that they do listen and do understand the Halo franchise, I’ve had a lot of fun with the game and I think that any questions of their suitability to develop the franchise have been washed away in a sea of exploding plasma grenades.

So lets break this down between the campaign and multiplayer… (more…)

Baseball Riot Review

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Baseball Riot by Crimsonland developer 10ton Ltd is the follow-up to Tennis in the Face and is a humorous physics based puzzle game which is out now on Xbox One, Windows (10/mobile), Apple TV, iOS and will be launching on PS4 and PSVita in January.

The game has a simple premise, you play as former baseball player Gabe Carpaccio who is on a quest to destroy the evil Explodz Inc corporation who produces energy drinks, you travel through the US defeating a number of goons who have been corrupts by Explodz Inc including opposition fans, catcher, umpires and more.

To progress on each level you need to knockout all the enemies and you can collect up three stars along the way, to complete a level you must knockout the players but you don’t need to collect all the stars, the challenge is bouncing the ball to knockout the goons and collect the stars in the 3 balls given. The puzzles are nice, relying on bouncing off walls and objects which avoiding hazards like glass to hit enemies and finish the levels, collecting all 3 stars is preferably to help you progress to the next region. (more…)

Mini-Reviews #5: Lego Jurassic World, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman Arkham Knight,

Lego Jurassic World (Xbox One)

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The Lego games are generally pretty boring to me, I couldn’t finish Lego Star Wars 2 and although I did complete Lego Lord of the Rings it was a disappointing experience to me, i’ve also played various other ones.

I love how they capture the IPs the are representing, I think they do it really well and inject in some nice humour to them, particular where they need to substitute out a scene inappropriate for a younger audience and I get that they are aimed a different age group than mine but despite how well they do in building that world up with Lego blocks they are just the same game over and over which is disappointing. Perhaps I would feel differently if they had kept the online co-op in the Star Wars Complete Saga but it’s always disappointing to me.

I did feel the Jurassic Park games were a bit better than their previous efforts, they had nice inclusions such as controlling dinosaurs and drivable vehicles, it wasn’t terrible but it was just a bit boring for my liking but as I said, these games aren’t really aimed at me which is probably why I don’t find them very exciting. (more…)

Mini-Reviews #4: Batman Arkham City, Resident Evil Remastered and Saints Row IV Re-Elected

Batman Arkham City (Xbox 360)

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I liked Arkham Asylum but wasnt a huge fan of it but I wanted to play Arkham City before Arkham Knight came out and found it another good but unremarkable game if I’m honest. it looked nice (for a years old Xbox 360 game) and it controls fine but it’s just not a franchise I am overly enthusiastic about.

It retained much of the feel of the first one except with a notably bigger budget and a much bigger city landscape, I like the traversal although admittedly I wasn’t particularly skilled at it. I like that it focuses on all the different villains in the universe much more than the recent Nolan films which were fairly narrow in comparison, it does well to differentiate itself and focus on what makes the world so enjoyable to so many people.

The Catwoman sections mixed the game up well and it was really good that she was a unique character on her own with all new moves and she felt very different to control – as you’d expect but sometimes it doesn’t always happen like that so its good they got that right. (more…)

Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition Review

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Divinity Original Sin was originally a Kickstarter project by Larian Studios which was funded and released in 2014, it’s the 5th game in the Divinity franchise but is a prequel to the original which released in 2002 on PC called “Divine Divinity”.

It’s primarily an RPG franchise which has generated a positive reception among gamers and has done well to constantly evolved over the last 13 years, Original Sin is an isometric turn-based game with old school roots whilst looking modern and including features like co-op.

The Enhanced Edition represents Larian completing their vision for the game after the huge success of the Kickstarter with fully voiced characters, a new UI, controller support, new content including quests and characters, reworked story with a new ending and reworked visuals and sounds, this is a proper improved version of the base game which was enjoyed by so many on PC.

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With the Enhanced Edition on Xbox One being my first exposure to playing the game I wasn’t sure what to expect but immediately I was impressed by the sharp visuals and art-style which makes the game look great, it has plenty of detail with nice effects and that straight away stood out for me. A great art-style is always welcome and it really shows here, outside of that the game runs well without any drops in frame-rate (that I noticed) and only very minor tearing when viewing the map. (more…)

Gears of War Ultimate Edition Review

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Gears of War is one of my favourite franchises, I love the gameplay, the games look great, have varied and interesting enemies and they have always had small but innovative gameplay features such as the chainsaw bayonet and active reload, all of this forgets to mention drop-in drop-out co-op and horde mode too.

Gears of War was, in my opinion, a title game that absolutely nailed almost every aspect of what Epic were going for, to say improvements weren’t possible would be a mistake as they keep improving with future iterations but for what Gears of War was it did it all: the world was great, the premise and enemies were compelling, the scope of the project was big, multiplayer was great with some awesome maps, co-op added a lot to the game and was implemented in a way that would become the standard and the franchise carried that on in Gears 2 and 3, but this is about Gears of War 1.

The only thing that was underdeveloped for me was the story itself and this was somewhat of a theme all the way through, whilst their definitely seems to have been a plan for how the story would unfold going from Locust to the Lambent (as seen in Gears of War 1 wretches) Rod admitted that they didn’t really have the resources to fully dive into the lore and back story as they wanted to and things were made up a bit as they went along.

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Planetbase Early Impressions

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I was browsing Steam when I found I found this game in my recommended section and found it only sale on the Humble Store so I quickly bought it and jumped right in, at time of writing I have played it for 5 hours and I really like it.

It’s a city building management game about establishing an outpost on a remote planet, you have a group of space settlers in a ship with some resources and your job is to grow set up and grow your base, getting the necessary materials you need to survive in this uncharted world. The description to me seemed very much like Banished in space and that is pretty much exactly what it is and I can’t describe how happy I am about that.

You start with more than enough materials to get your base up and running, the tutorial is reasonably thorough in helping you get the basics but it might take a little longer to really get how it flows, you need to build a number of things straight away to survive which is why you get more materials than you might do in other games: an airlock to get your settlers into the base, oxygen tank, dorm (sleeping), canteen, bio-dome (grow food/resources), wind-turbines and solar panels for power (plus extra storage), water extractor and then after that you can look at what is next which means building up your base, getting more materials from things like mining and trading before you can then start producing your own equipment to promote stronger growth. (more…)

Crimsonland Review (Xbox One)

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Crimson land is a top down dual-stick shooter from developer 10tons Ltd who more recently released Sparkle Unleashed however Crimsonland was the first game they developed back in 2003 and this version is based on the 2014 remaster released across Steam, Playstation 3, 4, Vita, iOS and Windows Phone!

It’s a game about a guy and his guns, thirty different guns with lots of variety to suit players and situations as well as and fifty-five perks which are used to aid you as well and can turn a situation on its head very handily when things get tricky as well as a variety of power ups. You use a vast array of weaponry to blast through all manner of enemies including spiders, aliens and lizards which is very fun and satisfying if you like the genre.

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Extreme Exorcism Review

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Extreme Exorcism is a pixel-art paranormal platformer where you fight against yourself set in a haunted house. Its based on an interesting concept – playing against your own ghosts and killing them to get high scores in different modes, it’s the fourth game by developer Golden Ruby Games and published by Ripstone who have also released the likes of Pure Pool, Stick it to The Man and Pure Hold ’em.

It was something I wasn’t really sure how well it was going to work, taking ghosts in racing games (and others) to the next level in a more literal way and it works really well. The first enemy is a paranormal chair which doesn’t attack you so that the game can get your first ghost ready then every time you complete a round your ghosts come back and follow your exact same movement and attacking pattern which once it gets going turns into a frantic solo or multiplayer game as more ghosts come on-screen. (more…)