MKX
Apr 20
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Battlefield: Hardline has been knocked off the UK chart top spot by Mortal Kombat X. Knocked into a vat of boiling acid, presumably.

Warner Bros. must be pleased – it had the biggest ever launch for a Mortal Kombat title, and also the second biggest launch of the year so far behind Battlefield. And that’s despite the PS3/360 versions being delayed until later in the year.

Sales were spilt 61% on PS4, 38% on Xbox One and just 1% on PC. As always though, digital download sales aren’t included.

The PC version of GTA V has seemingly helped Rockstar’s crime caper rise back up to #2. Battlefield now sits at #3 with FIFA 15 and Bloodborne rounding off the top five.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection departs the top ten this week, falling from #9 to #11.

After making a surprise top ten re-appearance following a surge in console bundle sales, Forza Horizon 2 and Halo: MMC likewise depart, dropping to #13 and #14 respectively.

As for other recent new top 40 arrivals, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the Second Sin is now at #17 while Ride falls one place to #19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD meanwhile re-enters at #33 due to price cuts.

DSCF8260
Apr 17
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

While in a charity shop earlier today my attention was drawn to a box of reduced books. The 1993 gaming joke book Mirthful Kombat was perched on top of the pile. Price? A measly 10p. I felt guilty spending so little in one transaction that I threw a few extra coins in the charity box out of common courtesy.

book

The cover features an illustration of the Mortal Kombat logo, despite the fact that there isn’t a single joke about the blood-soaked brawler. In 1993, MK was the talk of the town (well, playground) and so I assume the publishers thought it would help shift a few extra copies. Fellow fighter Street Fighter II gets a couple of mentions, but literally just that.

The majority of jokes are about the Super Mario Bros. with punchlines involving either plumbing or pasta. Puns based around Sonic the Hedgehog’s name – and the fact that he’s a hedgehog – are common as well, plus lots of GameBoy/Nintendo wordplay. Dozens of punchlines entailing the word ‘beep’ too, oddly.

joke

It all seems rather odd – think about how many classic games were released in the early ‘90s, yet the writer (John Byrne) chose to stick with just a handful of subjects and characters. All signs point to Byrne being a non-gamer, then.

While reading Mirthful Kombat from cover to cover during my lunch break I shared a few select cuts on Twitter. The fact that I considered these to be some of the better examples on offer speaks volumes about the overall quality. The illustrated jokes aren’t any better. In fact, they’re impossibly worse.

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2752772-mkx_screenshot_kano
Apr 15
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

We’re far from being prude here at Games Asylum, but having watched a Mortal Kombat X fatality reel earlier this week we were left thinking that NetherRealm’s latest pushes the boundaries of acceptability somewhat.

Long ago, fatalities in MK games were mostly crass – dropping an arcade cabinet onto a hapless foe’s head, and such – but in MKX they all seem…pretty disgusting. Faces are shaven clean off, brains slide out of the top of pierced skulls and intestines dribble over the floor, all in a disturbingly realistic manner. We never expect a MK game to be tasteful, but nor do we expect one to be just plain gross.

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Perhaps Warner Bros. were hoping to spark some good old gaming controversy – the kind this franchise has thrived upon. No longer do elaborate codes have to be consigned to memory to perform fatalities either. Well, that’s the case for those with money to burn – the game launched alongside an IAP that allows for simplified fatalities. Two button presses instead of four, apparently – £3.99 gets you 30. Perhaps we should be grateful that there aren’t IAPs for easier combos. Simplified fatalities won’t help players win matches, after all.

Gratuitous guts, gore and grizzle aside, MKX’s core mechanics are seemingly sound. It would also seem that we’re in the minority in thinking that it’s a little too violent for its own good – VideoGamer called it “hilariously brutal” while The Metro reckons that it’s “just tongue-in-cheek enough not to offend”. Both outlets gave it an 8/10, which is the score most European sites are dishing out. A few US sites have gone for 9/10s, which isn’t entirely unexpected – Mortal Kombat always goes down a storm in the US but is mostly met with the shrugging of shoulders in the UK. The same always goes for Twisted Metal, not that we’ve had a new one of those for a while.

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NeverWinterT
Apr 14
By Matt Gander In Reviews 3 Comments

Whereas many games will be nearing their conclusion once they hit the ten hour mark, Neverwinter sees only the surfaced scratched. As a fully comprehensive MMORPG – the kind consoles have only received in a butchered state in the past (Defiance and Ascend: Hand of Kul spring to mind) – it was always a given that there would be a learning curve. What’s surprising though is just how gentle that curve is. Organic, even – instead of dull tutorials there are a handful of easy going missions cunningly disguised as such.

The first ten hours simply see your handpicked hero being prepared for the colossal 60+ hour adventure ahead. Your hand taken gently and the basics explained, all while trying to recover a sacred crown from a gang of mercenaries. This honeymoon period, if you will, also entails picking an AI controlled companion to join your side, while another early mission involves a trip to the stables to rent a mount. With money flowing freely though, you shouldn’t be far off from buying a horse outright by the time comes. These summonable steeds make exploring the Sword Coast slightly less of a trek, ignoring the fact that it only takes a paltry three hits to separate horse and rider. They can’t be relied on to escape danger, that’s for sure.

NeverWinter

Another early mission teaches how to praise the lords – a feat that can be performed once an hour in exchange for a handful of random goods. It soon transpires that most tasks take an hour, whether it’s sending your AI buddy away for training or partaking in a dungeon crawl with four other players. Another example – it generally takes an hour of questing to level up, unlocking additional skills in the process. Older skills and attacks quickly become redundant, replaced by fancier and more efficient ways to heal and maim.

This near clockwork sense of progression makes an already addictive experience even more addictive, and with so many tasks achievable within 60 minutes (or thereabouts) we very much doubt this is down to coincidence. It more than likely boils down to being a design choice, enticing players into staying online for “just one more hour”. The logic behind even the most complex of aspects is incredibly sound throughout while the pacing, ergo sense of progression, is impeccable. Enter new area and every player you meet will be around the same level – no saviour of the Sword Coast gets left behind.

Every area has a unique enemy faction – Neverwinter’s swamp is suffering from a zombie infestation, for instance, while the local cemetery has been overrun with zealous cult members. Most enemy factions are formed of melee attackers who swarm to your location, projectile flingers who attack from far, spell casters that can evade attacks and damage-absorbing behemoths of various descriptions. Every now and then you’re teased with a surprise appearance of a new enemy type – one early dungeon contains the devil-like entities that aren’t commonplace until stepping into a blood-soaked battlefield much later on – thus giving a sneaky taster of what’s to come.

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3DSZombies
Apr 13
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

After what seems like several quiet weeks, this Thursday sees the Nintendo eShop erupted with content – new games, new DLC, demos and a bunch of other stuff. Discounts too, but they’re yet another dreary assortment. We’re pretty sure Castle Conqueror EX goes on sale at least once a month.

Anyway, if you stayed up late to watch the last Nintendo Direct then you will have caught wind of the upcoming StreetPass games. StreetPass Fishing and StreetPass Zombies are both out this week, at £4.49 each or £7.19 for both. Fishing stumps up the challenge of catching 150 different aquatic critters. Levelling up unlocks access to new rods and aquariums while new bait is gained from Mii characters via StreetPass.

In Zombies, meanwhile, any Miis you’ve met become AI controlled characters ready to help you whittle down a zombie horde. They also bring one of 26 weapons along with them for you to use, including what appears to be a Wii Remote.

StreetPass Mii Plaza Premium launches on Thursday too – £4.49 gets your StreetPass peeps a VIP room, new greetings (including StreetPass birthdays) and expanded music player options.

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Hardline-hotwire-barricade
Apr 13
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Battlefield: Hardline has snagged a fourth consecutive number one, albeit it by the skin of its teeth – Chart-Track reports just 100 copies were between Hardline and FIFA 15, which moves up to #2 this week.

Sales were down throughout the entire UK top ten with the biggest faller being Bloodborne. The PS4-exclusive goes from #3 to #6 after a 58% drop in sales.

Following behind Hardline and FIFA 15 are GTA V, Far Cry 4 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Then behind Bloodborne at #6 there’s Forza Horzion 2, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and finally Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition at #10.

Forza Horizon 2 and Halo: MMC are both on rise due to a boost in Xbox One bundle sales. This is likely down to the new £299 price tag.

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin meanwhile departs the top ten after just one week, falling from #8 to #15.

Dying Light also drops out of the top ten for first time since launch.

Due to last week being rather quiet there are no new entries in the top 40. The belated arrival of the Xbox One/Xbox 360 versions of Ride have propelled pQube’s racer up to #18 though. It also enters at #10 in the Xbox 360 chart and #11 in the Xbox One chart.

Tower-of-Guns-Review
Apr 08
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

A retail release of Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams Directors Cut on PS4 and a match-three puzzler collection of some description on 3DS are the only titles heading to store shelves this week.

The rest of April is far from being jam packed with new releases – Mortal Kombat X and GTA V (PC) arrive next week, and then the belated PS4 version of Tropico 5 is due at the end of April along with a retail release of The Last Tinker. Unless we’re mistaken, that’s our lot. May is looking curiously busy though with Project Cars, The Witcher 3, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, Splatoon, Puzzle and Dragons Z + and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. all due. Quite why Nintendo are releasing four big games in one month beyond us.

Aaru’s Awakening

Thankfully for those hankering for something new to play there are a fair few new arrivals on the download services, including the new PS Plus line-up. That includes the roguelike FPS Tower of Guns (PS4/PS3), luscious hand drawn 2D platformer Aaru’s Awakening (PS3/PS4) and warped PS Vita adventure MonsterBag.

Killzone Mercenary, Never Alone and Dishonored are the other freebies. We reviewed Never Alone back in December. It’s very good, but also very short. Ideal fodder for PS Plus, then.

Tower of Guns is heading to Xbox One this Friday too. The price unknown currently, but expect it to be around the £12 mark – the PS4 version is £11.59 for PS Plus non-members.

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Intro_01
Apr 07
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads 2 Comments

With a £16.99 price tag, Affordable Space Adventures certainly doesn’t live up to its name. We actually to fail to think of a single eShop release that’s arrived at a higher price, downloads of retail releases notwithstanding.

That name wasn’t picked simply because it sounds delightfully quirky though – it’s all about exploring space while on a budget. The Wii U GamePad is used to tweak the spaceship’s internal gubbins while you navigate planets and sneak past robots. In co-op mode, one player takes control of an engineer while the other plays as a pilot. A scientist can join your merry (starship) enterprise too, controlling the ship’s scanner and flashlight.

AffordableSpaceAdventure

Nintendo Life gave the Wii U-exclusive an 8/10 earlier this week, claiming that “There’s nothing else quite like this out there, and it’s certainly a trip worth taking”. They also called it “one of the eShop’s top-tier games”.

Just one other new release is heading to the Wii U eShop this week and that’s Guac’ a Mole (£3.19). Very clever. Well, it would be if half-a-dozen Mexican restaurants didn’t share the same name. Details are thin on the ground but – and as the name suggests – it appears to be a Whack a Mole variant. Unless we’re mistaken it made its debut on the App Store. Read into that as you will.

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