The PlayStation 4 launched in November 2013 after a huge build up in the run up to its launch. With initial sales figures in the opening 24 hours of over 1 million it proves to be a serious contender for the console gamer’s choice of console. Improving on almost every aspect of its predecessor the PS3, the PlayStation 4 is a gaming powerhouse that promises to bring the best in video game entertainment to the home.
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With the Assassins Creed Franchise moving on from its instalments with the likes of Altair, Ezio, Connor and Edward, we move on to London to meet Jacob and Evie. Assassins Creed Syndicate is the 7th console full release game in the franchise that has seen a steady release year after year with mixed results. Can the exploits in London make up for the issues in the previous game, Unity? Julius donned his blade and pistol to hit the streets, rooftops and back alleys to find out. Jacob and Evie Frye, ahh this merciless pair of twins both serve as our main characters in the game and we can switch between them as we please, but it is to be noted that during main memory sequences, Jacob and Evie both have their own mission paths and we will have to play as them both to continue.
Assassins Creed Unity carries on from the previous titles in the franchise. With Altiar, Ezio, Connor and Kenway already providing their stories, it now falls to the latest character to be featured, Arno. Set in the bustling city of Paris during the French revolution, Assassins Creed Unity exploits the timeframes brutal way of life to its advantage. Take on your foes with hidden blades, swords, pistols and all manor of weaponry as well as help from co-op partners to better organise and facilitate the perfect assassination. Hide in the crowds and blend in to provide the perfect cover in which to further your position as the master assassin. After a few months of bugs and issues, Julius finds out if all the patches and fixes have made this Assassin’s Creed game a worthy successor.
The tagline for this, the final addition of the acclaimed Arkham series, is Be The Batman, and with the introduction of the Batmobile, it’s fair to say that this is the closest you’ll get to being the actual Batman without being called Christian Bale or Ben Affleck… Or being a smegging billionaire… You know what I mean! And whilst that means a lot of tense and memorable encounters with iconic villains, epic scraps against waves of henchmen and the always excellent “Bat-Stealth” sections, unfortunately “being” the Batman and ensuring the safety of an entire city does include some menial caretaker work… Looking at you, Riddler. And when I say the entire city, I do mean the entire city, as Rocksteady have finally opened the gates of Gotham for the player.
Well here we are another battlefield game but this time it has headed into a different direction. Instead of a normal war-time game, it has switched to a drug war. In my opinion this is a good step mainly because many games franchises never take the risk of changing it up, it’s good to see battlefield took the leap of faith. Danny has been a keen Battlefield player since his article way back when he started with JoypadAndMe on why he switched from Call Of Duty to BattleField. After talking about the Beta for Battlefield Hardline previously on the website, Danny couldn’t wait to try the full game out and give you his thoughts on this step away from the standard Battlefield format.
Based on a comic book that no one I know has heard anything about, Blue Estate has very little to do with either the colour blue, or the socio-economic struggles of the housing market. I would say it’s about mafia boss Don Luciano’s prized horse, the titular “Blue Estate”, and the Pulp Fiction-esque kerfuffle that ensues in trying to rescue it, but really, Blue Estate has very little to do with anything other than daft, over the top madness. That’s not to say there isn’t a plot as there is, and it’s silly, but essentially, as with most on-rails shooters, the plot simply exists as a crutch to guide the player from one encounter to the next, whether that be a Korean nightclub, the warehouse of a fast food establishment or a golf course populated by Eastern European goons using grenades as balls.
Broken age started life back in 2012 as a Kickstarter project under the name Double Fine Adventure. With an initial development goal of $400,000 it soon smashed that by hitting £3.45 million with 87,000 backers. Broken age became the largest crowdfunded video game project at the time and also proved that crowd funding was a viable way for developers to fund their games and help their ideas and creations come to fruition. It showed that not only was their interest out there for a game still in early development but there was also the people and the funds to back the project. Many indie developers have now taken the crowd funding sites to help with their development and marketing costs with varying results.
In the gaming world I have noticed that there are two types of people. Those that like tower defense games and those that despise them. I am in the former camp here. I love them. Theres something satisfying about working out your tower placements and upgrades and being ready for the oncoming wave of devious creatures that want to get past you and take away your precious whatever’s in order to destroy you. I played the original Defense Grid on Steam and loved every minute of it. Sure, it had its points that it could improve on but what game doesn’t. Seeing Defense Grid 2 come to the console meant that this was a no brainer. Come hell or high water, I’ll play Defense Grid 2 but would it actually be any good?
Don’t starve is one of the titles released for the PlayStation 4 as part of the ongoing PlayStation Plus subscription in 2014. As one of the launch window title for the latest Sony console it had a lot to live up to. Did it? lets find out. Well where can I start, this game is bonkers. Absolutely bat crap crazy. Bare with me as I try to explain and comprehend myself what this game is and how this game works. In its basic form its a rogue like dungeon crawler with randomly generated maps. What this means is that each and every game is different and in each game there is the real emphasis on being careful and thinking about what you are doing and what you are about to do. A death in this game is exactly that, a death, everything lost, no going back and no checkpoint saves.
If you have not played any of the Dragon Age games before, you are thrown into a world full of rich lore, so it may be daunting at first, but you will soon understand and love it. Your character is a survivor of a massive explosion at the Conclave – where the Chantry (similar to our own Church) were acting as mediators for the war between the mages and templars. The explosion left a massive tear in the sky (called the Breach) which leads into the Fade (a kind of dream/nightmare-ish realm where demons and spirits reside). Like with other Bioware games, they keep the cutscenes dynamic via the decision wheel, which pop-up in cutscenes and allow you to choose what to say, and your voiced protagonist will portray what you want.
Dragonball has finally solved the age-old question of how you add original characters and plot and then weave them into the path of a well-trodden storyline. The answer: time-changing shenanigans! Unoriginal? Maybe, but it breathes new life into the series, and poses a number of fascinating “What If?” questions. What if you swapped bodies with Captain Ginyu instead of Goku? What if Hercule wasn’t totally useless…? Summoned by Trunks through the power of Shenron and the Dragonballs to Toki Toki City, you play a silent warrior from one of five races: Human, Saiyan, Namekian, or from the unnamed species that Frieza and Buu belong to (Frieza Race and Buu Race are the names given here).
Fallout; one of the most recognisable titles in the gaming industry, and boy do they like to advertise it. Bethesda really go to town with their Fallout games and Fallout 4 is no different. Releasing to the public as one of the most anticipated titles of the year brings with it some very high expectations. Holding up to those expectations has been the downfall of many titles that inevitably fall by the wayside. Can Bethesda push Fallout 4 past those issues and make this latest iteration the stand out title for the Fallout series that will also hold its own while being released in the busiest gaming time of the year? Step out of your secure vaults and take a look at what Julius thinks of Fallout 4 in this review.
The introduction is impressive and show cases a lot of the good things about the game. The graphics are nice as is the environment. I enjoyed exploring it and immediately after starting the game it was fun to spend a little while just looking about. There are lots of ways to navigate the world, you can drive, cycle, air glide, swim or grapple hook about. Or, if you invest in a particular development skill tree, which you should immediately and as soon as possible, you can even ride elephants and smash stuff up. Of course if, like me, you’d seen someone riding an elephant in the gameplay and, like me, tried to ride one before investing in that particular skill, you’ll end up on the less friendly side of the elephant smashing.
Yes we finally have fifa on next-gen and it looks absolutely stunning the graphics really have taken a leap into transformation with the new consoles. And one thing that helps this the game face of most of the clubs in the game. It’s great to see that EA finally got their act together trying to create the most realistic football game possible. They took the time to go around to many football clubs catching pictures from footballers faces and putting them into the game which is outstanding. Even the stadiums look spectacular I love watching the intros to a game getting the full view of the stadium in about to play in, this really draws me in and at some points makes me feel like im actually at the game.
I must confess I’ve had my eyes on this game since it was first announced as coming to PSVita & PS4, having originally been released as an iOS / Android game. This version could be classed as a definitive edition adding more features, levels and music than the original release. Visually this game has more than a deliberate passing resemblance to 3D shooters such as Star Fox on SNES. Using the processing power of current systems to unleash some graphical effects I don’t think I’ve seen before the main one being colour diffusion, which occurs when you boost your ship with R1 causing a fish-eye lens effect and separation of the colours within the objects, something similar is done within Fez but doesn’t have the same impact as it does within Futuridium.
Originally entering this world as an Easter Egg of sorts in Project Gotham Racing 2, Geometry Wars took on a life all of its own. A Smash-TV inspired twin stick shooter, Geometry Wars channels your inner high schooler, and has you declare War on Geometry. Yeah, suck it Maths! I can’t wait for the next round of Algebra Incursions, or Quadratic Skirmishes. After Bizarre went under, people thought we’d never feel the sweet sensation of massacring shapes to the sounds of thumping techno and the sight of some insane colour explosions ever again. So let’s thank our heroes at Sierra for providing us our latest instalment of rainbow-flavoured delirium. For the uninitiated, the premise is simple: you, the Little Spaceship That Could, must destroy waves of evil geometry that hate you and everything you stand for…
I guess this is one part retro review, one part recent review, as Metal Slug 3 was just re-released for the fifth, maybe sixth time, on the PS4 (along with the PS3 and PSVita). I’ve lost count to be honest. I’m sure Wikipedia has the numbers. All I know is I remember playing through this game a number of times on the PS2, and I loved it back then, but that was about 8-10 years ago, for a game that is now 15 years old, so the question is: Does this hold up? “Oh god yes!” would be my response if I was at the pub, and I wasn’t obliged to explain why I held such a view. But here we are, with you reading my words and wondering why I’m not getting to any form of cohesive point, and instead opting to hold your attention by spinning some elaborate and anticlimactic yarn that’ll culminate with nothing.
Warner Brothers revisit the world of Middle Earth in this new third person open world game, set in the dark corners of Mordor. You play as ranger who has been murdered along with his family by the Black Hand of Sauron. You are resurrected by a mysterious Wraith and become linked together, with the same goal of killing the Black Hand. Its time for you embark on your adventure to destroy Sauron’s army. The game plays like a ‘best of’ the last generation. The combat of the Arkham games. The gathering and outpost liberation of Far Cry. The stealth mechanics and free running of Assassins Creed. The side quests and openness of GTAV. Everything in this game has been done before, but here its entwined and stitched together wonderfully.
It’s that time once again, where fighting game players up and down the land begin to display guttural, primal and violent tendencies, so much so that competitors can often be found disembowelled and lacking vital pieces of their skeleton. If you’re a little bit confused, allow me to alleviate: Mortal Kombat X has finally arrived, and oh my, it is a cacophony of blood, guts, and gore. With so much content on offer, I barely even know where to begin, so I’ll start as the game starts, with the Faction War. Upon first loading the game, you’re given the choice between 5 established Mortal Kombat factions: The Lin Kuei, the Black Dragon, Special Forces, the White Lotus and the Brotherhood of Shadow.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch (Written by Connor)
The idea of an Octopus dressing up in a wedding tuxedo, with bow tie and top hat, then walking up the isle, to marry the woman me loves may be a difficult concept to get your head around. Well you’ll need to, as this is the opening chapter to the bizarrely oddball, Saturday morning kids TV, cartoon style story that is Octodad: Dadliest Catch. The wedding is just the start when you continue after the opening credits featuring an incredibly catchy theme tune, living your life as a loving husband and father. Dealing with all the trappings that it involves from keeping your unsuspecting wife and children happy and your secret safe, which is far harder than you can imagine given the following…
Outlast (Written by Darren)
GET HEISTING, SON! Simple math: (Dark Knight bank heist – the ensuing string of betrayals) X that shoot-out from Heat + 4-player co-op = Payday 2: Crimewave Edition. An analogy I am sure has been done to death already, but once you’ve experienced the thrill of boosting $1 million in gold from a National Bank and barely escape the almost overwhelming D.C. Police force, you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. Unless of course, you’ve never seen The Dark Knight or Heat, in which case this will all be new to you. In fact, depending on what version of Payday you’ve previously played, a lot of this may or may not be new to you anyway. The Crimewave Edition brings the Payday 2 console experience in line with the current PC version, including all the updates, new heists, characters, gear and other luxuries that us console luddites weren’t afforded.
Peggle 2 (Written by Gareth)
PopCap and EA return to the peg popping world that is Peggle with 60 brand new levels, new wacky power ups, a vastly improved multiplayer and some new faces to finally deliver this previously Xbox One exclusive to both the PC and PlayStation 4. Your aim is to hit every single orange peg on the board with your ten balls you fire from your cannon. Your only guide is an arrow that shows the trajectory of you ball and in a pin ball style it bounces off of other pegs and obstacles making its way to the abyss below. Each peg you hit on the way down disappears in the next turn and scattered amongst these are pink score multiplying pegs and green power up pegs that make overcoming the level slightly easier.
More and more games are making the transition from mobile markets to the console market. There seems to be a demand for smaller, less expensive games that have some good, strong gaming mechanics to them to offset the more expensive triple A titles. Developers Yeah Us have decided to jump in on this market opening and bring their title Pumped BMX+ to the PlayStation platforms. I’ve always been a fan of games such as Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman and Dave Mirra titles so any BMX or skateboarding game always piques my interest. After seeing the trailer for Pumped BMX+ I had to see what it was like. The obvious comparison that will probably be made initially is that to the Trials games one mobile. I can tell you now that its nothing like them. Yes its a linear track game and you control the bike to make it to the end of each level but that’s where it ends.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first: Q.U.B.E looks like Portal, plays like Portal, and if we’re all being honest, it was likely inspired by Portal. But make no mistake about it, Q.U.B.E aims to be a whole different beast. If Portal is the comedy of puzzlers, Q.U.B.E seems to be the dramatic equivalent. Q.U.B.E’s puzzles involve manipulating different coloured blocks to either traverse the environment or move objects from A to B. Red blocks can form towers of up to 3, 3 yellow blocks can form staircases and blue blocks can launch you across the map. Though simple at first, the game is constantly throwing new concepts at you, yet Q.U.B.E a fantastic job of easing them into the puzzles.
It must be hard being somebody important in the Resident Evil universe, as once you become embroiled in bioterrorism incidents or zombie outbreaks, they seem to follow you around everywhere. A simple walk to the shops can turn into a fight for survival, or a family visit can inexplicably morph into a sudden mutation extravaganza. Or maybe this happens… At a TerraSave conference with Moira Burton, daughter of series favourite Barry Burton, Claire Redfield is basically loving life and being appreciative of the fact she isn’t involved in another horrible freak show of bioterrorism, experimentation and all-round abject horror…
I think there’s something funny in the water cooler at the offices of Volition, because games like Saints Row don’t come from the minds of anyone rational; they come from the minds of loonies. Maybe their offices are attached to an actual insane asylum, and the inmates enter the premises unattended to create their own vision. It would explain the visible shift you can see the series take during its progression, as the crazies begin to infiltrate the production team. A title that was born out of a potential DLC idea, Volition expanded the idea and created the sequel to SR3. Ashley takes a look at the madcap world that you take on in the sandbox extravaganza that is Saints Row 4!
In 2013. Yacht Club Games, a recently formed studio helmed by a fellow named Sean Velasco, had a hankering to make a game in a similar vein to Mega Man and Duck Tales, as one tends to do. Of course, making games is a serious expenditure, one that Yacht Club needed some help with. Taking to Kickstarter on March 17, 2013 to announce their very first game, Shovel Knight, Yacht Club were inundated with funding from a variety of sources and by the time the campaign ended, their $75,000 goal was smashed and the final total reached over $300,000. Fast forward through some unfortunate delays, an eventual PC release and the announcement of free DLC updates in the future, we arrive at today: Shovel Knight is finally here on Xbox One and PS4.
Stick It To The Man (Written by Darren)
Stick It To The Man is a side-scrolling, adventure puzzle game from award-winning Swedish developers Zoink!, who have a worked on a variety of games across platforms such as Wii, smartphones & browsers. You play as Ray, an uneasy, somewhat paranoid person who works as a safety helmet tester. He lives a reasonably normal life (as normal as he can in the bizarre world he inhabits) until one evening on his way home he suffers a head injury from a falling mysterious canister. After a strange dream he awakes in hospital and shortly after discovers he has a large, pink “spaghetti-like” arm and hand protruding from his head, that only he can see.
That Trivia Game (Written by Connor)
It’s been along time since I’ve played any kind of video game quiz, after years spent playing them in pubs or drunkenly at home with friends using the plastic buzzers from Sony’s Buzz games. Can this little indie developed game help me remember the fun of showing off acquired knowledge or will it result in a general display of dumbassery? The look and style is very similar to Buzz but lacks the budget and finesse. You can select, name and customise your contestants and buzzers which look very under animated and a little like scary marionettes. Thankfully That Trivia Game is very playable by answering questions using the symbol buttons giving multiple choice answers mercifully and clearly displayed to match their locations on the pad. As a neat novelty is that the light bar on the DualShock4 changes colour depending on whether you answer correctly.
The Order: 1886 (Written by Gareth)
The Order: 1886 is Sony’s first major in house release of 2015. After all the excitement it caused during its reveal at E3, it has been met with some criticism in the run up to launch with gameplay footage and trailers that have underwhelmed both the press and the public. Is it the the new intellectual property that PS4 owners have been craving for after Knack and Driveclub failed to deliver or will it be another ‘nearly’ game that seems to be thrown out by almost all SCE first party studios lately, bar Naughty Dog. Set in an alternate history Victorian London you play the role of Sir Galahad, loyal Knight to The Order and in charge with keeping the capital safe from half breeds, essentially werewolves known in this universe as Lycans.
Thief (Written by Kari)
It’s a whole new story so all the ties to the older games have been cut. You venture off to a simple snatch and grab mission, but of course things go wrong. Your apprentice Erin screws thing up and it results with you slipping into a coma for a year, the city becoming even more of a hell hole of the menacing Gloom and Erin going missing. Who will save the city now, I wonder..? The story is divided into chapters, each chapter is ranked with one of three: Ghost, opportunist or predator. The rank depends on how you play the game. Sneak all the way, you are a ghost etc. The system doesn’t give you any bonuses on your achieved rank aside from gold, so playing through the missions multiple times isn’t really encouraged.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Written by Gareth)
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is the fourth game to use the UbiArt Framework engine (after Rayman Origins/Legends and Child of Light) and the second to be developed by Ubisoft Montpellier. When you think of puzzle adventure games, the last place you’d expect to be thrown into would be that of the First World War. Not with Valiant Hearts. This is game that finally deals with the horrors of war intelligently. While both allies and enemies fall around you, you are never pushed into violence throughout your adventure. It’s a 2D puzzle game that is both simple and clever at the same time. Most of these are environmental, using your equipment and surroundings to progress through the quite stunning levels that the UbiArt Engine can produce.
Wolfenstein The Old Blood (Written by Ashley)
Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of two sleeper hits of 2014, in my opinion, the other one being Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare if you’re interested. I expected it to be a pile of arse, but came away pleasantly surprised by it all. Great story, interesting characters, fun gameplay, whilst not taking itself too seriously (Nazi moon base. ‘Nuff said); in a nutshell, The New Order was a beautiful game. So I’m sure you can picture my elation when I saw that Machine Games and Bethesda were releasing a prequel, entitled The Old Blood. Over the Nazi moon is the expression I’d use. Unlike the continuous narrative of The New Order, The Old Blood (this might get confusing) is split into two parts.
Zen Pinball 2 Table: Guardians Of The Galaxy (Written by Graham)
When Guardians Of The Galaxy was announced as the latest outing in then Marvel film franchise I have to admit I had to take a moment to find out who this band of galactic misfits where. They are by no means the most well-known of the Marvel characters that could have been chosen and so I was initially skeptical as I’m sure many others were. Add to this Zen’s announcement that they were launching a pinball table based on the film and I was wondering if this would appeal to the masses. Without giving away any spoilers for the film I can say that any fears you have for a more unfamiliar set of characters to most being a major release need to be allayed. The film is amazing. It’s every bit as good as the other films out there and can hold its head up high. Can the Pinball table claim the same thing?