GravityRush2
Jan 19
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

There’s a Japanese tinge to this week’s new release round-up – all four retail release due out originate from the orient.

Gravity Rush 2 is the one getting the most attention, with a fair bit of promotion from Sony themselves. Reviews scores are mostly around the 8/10 mark, with the exception of Slant Magazine who handed out a miserable 1.5/5. “Gravity Rush 2 doesn’t defy gravity so much as it just lifelessly hangs there” they said. Ouch. Obviously, they’re in the minority – the Metacritic currently stands at 81% from 69 critics.

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Both PS4 and PS Vita get the anime hack n’ slasher Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star. Our man Michael wasn’t too impressed, handing out a mediocre 5/10. Scores have been a tad higher elsewhere – God is a Geek dished out a 7.5 – but it’s still safe to say that the Musou series can sleep easy.

Then we have a couple of handheld JRPGs – Atelier Shallie Plus on PS Vita and a PS2 conversion of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King on 3DS. Atelier Shallie has gained some decent reviews, including a 4/5 from Hardcore Gamer, while DQ VIII is often regarded as one of the finest JRPGs of all time. This is the one that made a huge impact in the west, taking magazine covers and selling rather well. It the years that have past it has lost very little, and it fits the 3DS perfectly.

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C2XWvknXUAA2LDl
Jan 18
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Those with a penchant for gaming collectables might want to pick up the latest issue of The Official PlayStation Magazine (UK), as it comes with a Yooka-Laylee soundtrack CD. Quite possibly the best magazine freebie since OPM’s own Sackboy keyring, back in 2013.

Eight music tracks feature, composed by Grant Kirkhope and David Wise. We had a quick listen while driving home from work earlier and are pleased to report that it’s incredibly Banjo-Kazooie-esque, with numerous xylophone jingles and whatnot.

Yooka-Laylee also takes the magazine’s cover this month. The 8-page preview looks at the levels, characters and multi-player modes. Plenty of insight into the game’s development, too. One fan apparently sent the team a crisp £10 note in the post as they were too young to back the project on Kickstarter.

Issue #132 hit the newsstands earlier this week. The next issue isn’t out until 14th February, so there’s plenty of time to track down a copy.

Main_Visual_Small
Jan 17
By Michael Halton In Reviews No Comments

Although a fan of anime, I have never watched either Fate Stay: Night or Fate Stay: Zero. Personally, I prefer shows like Hunter X Hunter and Full Metal Alchemist, but in preparation of this review I researched the anime series on which this game is based, and also consulted my wife who has watched the whole thing. How she found the time to do so I’ll never know.

Turns out the anime has earned itself a cult following and is an enjoyable series with the prequel, Fate Stay: Zero, appearing to be the fan favourite. Sadly, and as we all know, a good show doesn’t guarantee a good game. You only have to look at last year’s TMNT tie-in to see that.

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Explaining what Fate/Extella is about is tricky due to the insane complexities of the gradually unfolding story. I’ll give a shot, though. After picking either a male or female lead, you’re greeted by a generously proportioned female (if you know what I mean) known as Nero. It turns out that Nero is your servant, which came about after the Holy Grail war was won by yourself after obtaining a ring called the Regalia. The ring has been duplicated and fallen into wrong hands, and so you need to travel to different areas clearing out baddies and “super” bosses. Even with my wife’s expert knowledge, it’s hard to untangle the storyline any further.

From the off, this single player hack and slasher fails to make a favourable impression. The graphics remind me of Skies of Arcadia on Dreamcast, if only a tad better. The character models are appealingly sharp and full of colour, but they’re teamed with mundane backgrounds and uninspiring battle arenas. Rumour has it a 4k patch is on its way, but it’s hard to see how this could fix the dullness of the environments.

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3DS_DragonQuestVIII_case_pkg01
Jan 16
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Taking the focus away from the Nintendo Switch for a moment, this week sees a smattering of new Wii U and 3DS games on the eShop.

Here be dragons. Well, maybe – when Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King launched on PS2 all those years ago we don’t recall seeing any majestic flying beasts. The RPG classic – and the first in the series to make a real impact in the west – hits the 3DS this Friday. The eShop price has been set for £34.99, so you may want to go the retail route for this one – it’s currently £28 to pre-order at Amazon.

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Reviews are full of praise, including a glowing 9/10 from Nintendo Life. “This isn’t just one of the best RPGs on the 3DS, it’s one of the best RPGs full stop — and one of the best Dragon Quests to dive into for the uninitiated” they said.

New 3DS owners can pick up RCMADIAXs newest score-chaser COLOR CUBES (£1.39), while all and sundry can test their management skills in Gourmet Dream (£4.79), which puts you in charge of a restaurant.

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World can also be put through its paces this week, via a free demo. The full game is out 3rd February.

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gtav
Jan 16
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

We expected to see Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare still at no.1 in the UK chart this week, but instead the top ten has undergone a shuffle.

It’s GTA V that takes the top spot, making it 10 weeks in total. This puts in a small band of other titles – including GTA: Vice City – that have also reached the milestone of 10 weeks at the top.

Infinite Warfare can be found at #2. FIFA 17 moves down to #3, Battlefield 1 holds onto #4 and then at #5 it’s Forza Horizon 3.

Watch_Dogs 2 sits at #6, Rocket League moves up to #7, Mafia III falls to #8, Steep slides to #9 while Gears of War 4 sees us out at #10.

We’re still waiting on the first of 2017’s retail releases, and so there were no new entries this week.

We did see a few re-entries at the bottom of the top 40 though, with Mario Kart 7, Infamous: Second Son and The Crew back at #35, #36 and #37 respectively.

Titanfall 2 meanwhile look set to depart the chart, currently clinging in at #40.

SwitchConstructor
Jan 14
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

One titbit of news that eluded gaming sites yesterday is that System 3’s HD re-release of Constructor is heading to Nintendo Switch on launch day – 3rd March. In Europe, anyway. We have a feeling this one isn’t going to make it stateside, like the publisher’s own Putty Squad before it. Good job the Switch is region free, eh?

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The game’s announcement marks the first time we’ve ever received a screenshot titled shite.jpeg. Classy.

The toilet humour doesn’t end there, for better or worse. Taken from the press release: “Using the Nintendo Switch, Constructor fans will be able to seamlessly take their construction empire with them, allowing players to build, sabotage, and cause construction chaos anywhere. Caught short and need to lay some pipe during Constructor? Undock your Nintendo Switch, take your place on the porcelain throne, and continue building your empire in uninterrupted comfort. Just remember to flush.

For those too young to remember, Constructor – like the name suggests – entails running and managing a building company. It delves into the shadier side of things, with the ability to send thugs over to a rival building company’s turf, or become tangled in a criminal underworld. You can even send a group of maniacal clowns to terrify your enemy. How topical.

Over 5 million copies were sold on PC back in 1997, leading to a PSone release via Acclaim. Because Acclaim used to spend huge sums on marketing, adverts for it were everywhere – most people remember the garish CGI characters adorning the paging of gaming mags, if not the game itself.

It’s also due out 28th February on PS4, Xbox One and Steam. Unless it gets delayed again – it was originally due out later this month.

[Update] System 3’s Constructor Facebook page reports the Switch version will miss the system’s launch and is now due 28th April.

Untethered
Jan 13
By Jake In Mobile Games, Reviews No Comments

Don’t feel self-conscious enough sat flailing around with a VR headset on? Untethered wants you to talk to it too.

It’s quite a barrier to entry – as for that matter is the price, and the fact that it’s a Google Daydream exclusive. But it’s worth getting over the ludicrousness of talking to your phone while it’s strapped to your face: this “quirky episodic VR series mixing comics and radio drama” from That Dragon, Cancer developer Numinous Games is completely convincing.

Untethered

Set in a coastal Oregon town where there have been reports of strange goings on, this first episode casts you as a local radio DJ, and takes place entirely in the studio. It’s an inspired choice of location, perfectly suited to a seated VR experience, and totally believably rendered. There’s a realistic amount of ‘stuff’ around, most of it interactive in some way, some obviously relevant to the story, but a lot just there to surprise and delight.

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riseshine
Jan 12
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

This week finally sees the gaming industry wake from its post-Christmas slumber, bringing us a handful of new games. No retail releases just yet, though – we’ll have to wait until next week to see some fresh faces on store shelves.

Rise & Shine and Dead Effect 2 are both due to hit Xbox One this Friday. Rise & Shine comes from Adult Swim, and although it may resemble a typical run and gunner on initial inspection, it also features puzzle elements. It appears to be quite the looker too.

Dead Effect 2 meanwhile made its debut on PC back in 2015. It’s a sci-fi FPS that gained mostly positive reviews on Steam but received a bit of kicking from critics. We’ll have to wait and see how it fares on Xbox One, as no reviews are currently live.

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We may also see the intriguing horror adventure Sylvio before the week is out. It isn’t clear if its 13th January release date is for the US, or both US and Europe. Launching a horror game on Friday 13th is pretty smooth move – it would be a shame not to make the most of it.

Over on PS4 there’s the all-singing, all-dancing Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone from SEGA, which is a free download with paid-for content. You get two music tracks to start you off, with two additional song packs priced £24.99 each (or £44.99 for both). We dare anybody to describe these as ‘micro-transactions’.

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