ngc-105
Sep 23
By Matt Gander In We've Got Issues No Comments

The NGC team must have mulled over putting the Nintendo DS on issue 105’s cover as the mag included reviews of every single UK launch game. Primarily being a GameCube magazine, though, it was Namco’s Starfox Assault that took the newsstand limelight. And who was here to welcome us this month? Why, it’s only an opening page penned by Slippy Toad, in lieu of a new editor waiting in the wings.

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“Hey, fellow space frogs! I’m so, like, totally stoked to be here. Wow, it reminds me of the time I had some bogeys on my tail and was about to wipe them off when suddenly, from nowhere…oh boy! Ice cream!”

This issue from April 2005 is a pretty good example of the amount – and quality – of software the GameCube received on a monthly basis. The console have been outsold by both the PS2 and Xbox, but publishers were still committed.

April saw the release of Starfox Assault from Namco, Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe 2, Mario Party 6 from Nintendo, a trio of games from EA – Fight Night Round 2, FIFA Street and TimeSplitters: Future Perfect – plus a handful of kid’s licensed games. The GC certainly wasn’t short on software, with a page long release schedule in the mag to prove it.

Killer7, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – which was later reworked into 3DS launch title Splinter Cell 3D – and Ghost Recon 2 occupied the previews section, with GR2 receiving a tepid 2/5 anticipation rating.

“Unfortunately this belated GameCube version isn’t based on the decent Xbox version. It’s a port of the comparatively poor PS2 edition, which is a completely different game developed by a completely different team, and therefore quite hard to recommend, that is unless you’ve always wanted a Clancy-based Doom-style shoot’em up”. Harsh but fair – when reviews appeared the following month, they were mostly around the 5/10 mark.

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With previews out of the way, the staff then cast their critical eyes over all 14 UK Nintendo DS launch titles. It’s easy to forget that Nintendo was gunning for hardcore Nintendo fans during the DS’s early days. It wasn’t until the arrival of the DS Lite and Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training that the Kyoto giant targeted casual gamers, complete with a highly successful marketing campaign showing B-list celebs playing the DS whilst on the toilet. Or was it while lounging around in the living room? We forget.

After taking a good look at the handheld itself, the second wave of games got an airing. The team was very eager to get their hands on Castlevania DS, a tad optimistic about Another Code and Lost in Blue, and curiously positive about both Meteos and, uh, Pac-Mix. Presumably, that was a typo. They also rightly called out Need for Speed Underground 2 to be a stinker. EA didn’t put any major effort into DS development until it started selling gangbusters.

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destiny
Sep 21
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Depending on how flush you feel, Forza Horizon 3 can be yours this week – the £79.99 ‘Ultimate Edition’ goes live at 1am Friday, ahead of next Tuesday’s official release.

Reviews went live earlier this week and were full of praise. The demo appears to be going down a treat, too, so no doubt some eager gamers will be keen to take to the track early.

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As for releases arriving in a somewhat less extortionate manner, Destiny: The Rise of Iron launched Tuesday. GamesRadar is the only site to give it the review treatment so far, handing out a 4/5. “If you’re a long-standing Destiny player, it’s almost certain to refresh and revitalise your daily visits. And if you’re a curious newbie, there has (once again) never been a better time to jump in” they said, while pointing out that the shift to current-gen only doesn’t appear to have improved the visuals to any notable degree.

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severed_screenshot_08
Sep 19
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

We were starting to think that Drinkbox Studio’s Severed would never find its way from PS Vita and onto other formats. Pleasingly, this isn’t the case – the RPG-light adventure, starring a one-armed female warrior, graces both Wii U and 3DS this Thursday.

As well as crossbuy support, it’s also arriving with a discount in place – £10.79 until 29th August (£11.99 thereafter). Scores for the PS Vita version included a stonking 9.5 from Destructoid, so you can see why we’re pleased as punch to see this one going multi-format.

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In the eyes of Nintendo, Noitu Love: Devolution (£6.99) is the week’s eShop highlight. This too is due on both formats with a crossbuy offer – buy it on one format, and get it for £3.99 on the other.

Clearly cut from the same cloth as Contra, Metal Slug and Gunstar Heroes, it’s an arcade shooter of the 2D pixel art variety. There’s one major difference to the aforementioned, though – it has a pointer driven control scheme. A choice of control methods is in place – reign fire either with the GamePad and stylus, or Wii Remote and Nunchuk.

Nintendo Life gave the Wii U version the review treatment last week, resulting in an 8/10. “Noitu Love: Devolution feels like a love letter to the likes of Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug or Contra; yet it’s also a romance as per the vision of developer Konjak. While it feels like those familiar arcade romps of yore, then, this game is also decidedly its own thing; it’s all the better for it,” they said.

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recore
Sep 19
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Last week’s slew of big name releases has woken the UK chart from its summer slumber, with seven new big hitters in the top 20 alone.

Like BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite before it, BioShock: The Collection has topped the UK top 40. It also takes #1 in the Xbox One chart, beating console exclusive ReCore.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 enters at #2, although sales were down 3% from PES 2016. This year the current-gen versions made up a resounding 93% of sales. That didn’t stop it topping both the PS3 and Xbox 360 charts, though.

Fellow sports sim NBA 2K17 made #3 – the last position as last year.

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– last week’s chart topper – fell to #4, and then at #5 it’s ReCore.

Rocket League, Uncharted 4, GTA V, No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex occupied positions #6-#10, while F1 2016, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Call of Duty: Black Ops III departed the top ten.

Dragon Quest VII: The Forgotten Past is the next highest new entry, clocking in at #12. NHL 17 slid in at #15 while Batman: The Telltale Series made #19.

Over in the PS Vita chart meanwhile Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness takes the top spot while MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death made #2.

bioshockt
Sep 15
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Take three highly acclaimed games and their respective DLC packs, freshen them up with a 1080p makeover, and the end result is one of the highest scoring games of 2017. Right?

Well, we’re still waiting on a perfect 10/10 – or a 5/5 for that matter – as while each of the BioShock games still holds up incredibly well, when the package is viewed as a whole it isn’t quite faultless. Close, but not quite.

BioShock Infinite not receiving a total visual overhaul (it’s the 2013 PC version if you weren’t aware) seems to be the biggest criticism, although it’s hardly a deal breaker.

As you can see by the scores and quotes below, critics universally claim that it’s a series more than deserving of a remaster, ergo one that everybody should play. Take a look:

4.5/5 – High-Def Digest: “There’s very little in the way of new content, but these titles are so enjoyable that I still enthusiastically recommend ‘BioShock Collection’ to old fans and newcomers alike”

4.5/5 – Attack of The Fanboy: “Bioshock: The Collection is one of the few remasters that I’ve played over the last couple of years that feels necessary”

8.2 – IGN: “As a veteran returning to play through the three games of BioShock: The Collection is a pleasure, but it’s a bit disappointing to watch the updates and behind-the-scenes content to each entry gradually decline”

8/10 – VideoGamer: “If you played the series when it came out then you already know most of what you’re getting with BioShock: The Collection. If you never had, then this is a good time to play a bunch of games that are very well made, but also acknowledged as being influential”

8/10 – GameReactor: “If you have yet to familiarise yourself with the series all together, then there’s certainly a reason to invest in this collection. All you need to know is that this is Bioshock, one of the very best modern gaming series, and that, we assure you, is reason enough”

4/5 – Trusted Reviews: “The Collection doesn’t add a huge amount for the seasoned BioShock player, but for anyone looking for the best versions of three exemplary games, look no further”

No score – The Rampage Online: “This collection takes you back to the first time you played; getting lost in new world. The extra features keep the game fresh and will have you playing for hours on end, faster than you can say “Would you kindly?”

deadrising
Sep 14
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

We were mildly surprised to see Dead Rising riding high in Amazon’s movers and shakers list, as the physical release is passing Europe by.

It’s Canadian store VideoGames Plus who’s selling import copies on Amazon UK, and they’re obviously doing a roaring trade. If anything, this shows that there’s demand for physical releases of Capcom HD conversions in Europe. The downside to buy physical? You’ll probably have to wait a while for delivery, and at £24.99 for a single game (the whole last-gen trilogy has been re-release this week) it’s an expensive option too.

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The Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack – as it’s rather cumbersomely known – launched Tuesday on PS4 and Xbox One for £39.99. Alternatively, each game (Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2 and Dead Rising: Off the Record) can be had for £15.99. We’re big fans of the series due to its warped sense of humour. Off the Record highlights this the most, with very few achievements/trophies story based – most are for doing daft things with zombies, such as luring them into theme park rides so they meet a messy end.

All three games are rather lengthy due to their open-world and sandbox nature, so rest assured that there’s plenty of bang for your buck here. This is also the first time loyal PlayStation fans get to play the original game, which was a former Xbox 360 exclusive. The original is quite tough if memory serves. Pro tip: there’s a katana and an Uzi (IIRC) hidden on a ledge near the mall exit that makes progress significantly easier.

Another HD collection offering a sizeable chunk of quality of entertainment is BioShock: The Collection. BioShock and its sequel have been remastered in ravishing HD while the slightly more gung-ho BioShock Infinite is in fact the 2013 PC version, which is apparently still up to current-gen standards. All DLC is included too, including the superb Minerva’s Den. BioShock 2 is missing multiplayer, but that’s no biggie. It’s safe to say that most gamers have forgotten that there even was a MP mode.

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3ds_dragonquestvii_e32016_box_01
Sep 12
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Although the Wii U sees six new indie releases this week, the 3DS still manages to steal the limelight in this week’s UK eShop line-up.

This is due to the arrival of two significant releases – Square-Enix’s rebuilt role-player Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (£34.99 with free theme) and the New 3DS’s Futuridium EP Deluxe (£5.99 until 22nd September, £7.99 thereafter).

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What’s Futuridium, you ask? Think along the lines of a super trippy take on Star War’s infamous Death Star trench run scene. As well as the temporary discount, it’s also free to those who already own it on Wii U. Moreover, the Wii U version is due a price cut to £5.99 from Thursday. Bonus!

Reviews of Dragon Quest VII haven’t gone live yet, but with a bit of luck they’ll be online by the time we come to pen our multi-format new release round-up. We will however point out that it can be found for less than £34.99 in physical form – it’s currently £28 to pre-order from Amazon.

The 3DS gets one other new title – Splat the Difference (£4.50), which put a messy twist on good old spot the difference. Four players can partake using just one copy of the game.

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recore_joule-and-mack
Sep 12
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

When news of ReCore’s £29.99 price tag broke during E3, we warned that you may want to curb your enthusiasm for Microsoft’s robot rampage.

Not wanting to gloat, but all signs point to us being bang on the money – reviews went live today, and aside praise from a couple of outlets (literally a couple – God is a Geek and Windows Central) the reception has been lukewarm at best, with more than few sites opting for below average scores.

Many reviewers agree that the concept had potential and some good ideas are on display, but they’re buried under a tonne of technical faults. Crash bugs, framerate stuttering and lengthy loading times appear to be the biggest offenders. Also: enemies running through walls. Hopefully a patch is already on its way.

A lot of critics – even those who dished out poor scores – hope Microsoft will still commit to a sequel that builds on the foundation here. As Windows Central noted, though, it’s likely to be a one shot dealio like Sunset Overdrive, Ryse and Quantum Break before it.

Let’s take a look at what’ s being said:

8.0 – God is a Geek: “While the core mechanics will be familiar to any gamer with enough experience, there’s enough here to ensure that ReCore feels like something fresh and fun”

4/5 – Windows Central: “ReCore leans on some beloved gameplay conventions while injecting injected some of its own, gloriously unique and fulfilling elements”

75/100 – Gaming Trend: “ReCore is the framework of an incredible game with some truly unforgivable technical issues, which greatly deter from the overall experience”

7/10 – The Jimquisition: “New Eden isn’t as big as No Man’s Sky‘s universe or even Far Cry 4‘s mountainous terrain, but it’s got far more compelling reasons to stick around”

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