GotchaRacing_logo
May 22
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

The release schedule looks worryingly bare over the summer period. This is especially the case for the Wii U – after LEGO Jurassic World and Yoshi’s Woolly World in June the next big hitter is hard to pin down.

Worry not as Nintendo has the eShop to fall back on. The well-received survival adventure Don’t Starve: Giant Edition launches next week – with an extra gift copy for early buyers to pass onto friends – while Natsume plans to bring two of Arc System Works’ titles to the western world.

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Gotcha Racing is due to hit 3DS in July. It’s fast-paced racer with a twist – car parts are gain by capsule machines. The focus, of course, is on creating the best vehicle possible using randomly supplied items. As you progress capsule machines that supply improved, thus more desirable, parts become available. 12 tracks will be on offer, in addition StreetPass race other players to receive even more parts.

Then there’s Brave Tank Hero, out on Wii U and 3DS in August. This one sounds similar to the Wii U launch title Tank! Tank! Tank! – a 3D combat title in which the enemy has to be driven out of a city over the space of 50 different missions. Three types of tank are promised, as well as boss battles against “fearsome boss tanks”. From the sounds of things enemies will be other military vehicles – there’s no talk of giant bugs, rampaging monsters or anything of the sort. Boo!

“The Arc System Works titles are exactly the type of high-quality niche titles we love to bring to our audience,” said Hiro Maekawa, CEO and President of Natsume Inc. “Fans have been asking for more pick-up-and-play experiences they can enjoy in short or long bursts of playtime, and we’re happy to be working with Arc System Works to provide exactly that to our fans!”

FarmingSim15
May 20
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Shortly after reviews for The Witcher 3 surfaced the amount of pre-orders increased from 1m to 1.5m. That’s an amazing feat, especially when taking the series’ history into consideration. Due to the cancellation of glorified conversion Rise of the White Wolf the original was PC only while the sequel never made it to PS3.

We’re confident in saying that when the chart breaks next Monday it’ll be the PS4 version that takes the bulk of the sales. Again, and assuming that does happen, it will be quite the accomplishment seeing the series has never graced a Sony format before.

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The open-world RPG’s success is fully deserved – the majority of reviews bare either a 10/10 or 9/10. In fact, we’re yet to see a score lower than 8/10. We updated our review round-up earlier this week, should you need further convincing to open your wallet.

One that should definitely be approached with caution is Farming Simulator 15. It’s the first current-gen retail release in recent memory that has eluded the press. By which we mean this – we’re yet to see a single review. We wasn’t impressed with 2013’s console iteration one bit, and we doubt the extra grunt of the PS4 and Xbox One will have improved matters given the tedium of the source material.

Presumably so it can rub shoulders with The Witcher 3 on store shelves, it received a Tuesday release in the UK. You have to admit that was a pretty shrewd move.

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Not one, not two but three new PS Vita games head to retailers this week too. They are Looney Tunes: Galactic Sports, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed and the Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Starter Pack. We were expecting Steins;Gate as well, but that appears to have been pushed back into June.

Looney Tunes Galactic Sports

We’re struggling to find reviews of the two kid’s titles, but Disney has at least thought to include both a different character and playset in the PS Vita pack. Black Spiderman and the Spiderman playset, specifically.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U reviews are more forthcoming, including an 8/10 from Destructoid (“As long as you can deal with a little skin and a silly plotline, Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a fun little action romp”) and 6.5 from PlayStation Lifestyle (“It’s not the best game, but it’s a good start for hopefully a new direction in this video game series”).

Even the Wii gets a look in the week thanks to the incredibly belated release of PSA World Tour Squash. Originally due out late last year – and last summer before that – if Amazon is to be believed it finally leaves videogame limbo this Friday. Unless we’re mistaken, it’s the first Wii release in over six months.

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May 19
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

Say farewell to your social life – CD Projekt’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is finally out today.

If you’re able to briefly drag yourself away from the colossal 100+ hour adventure, here are ten facts for your perusal:

  • CD Projekt was formed in 1994 and started out as an import retailer, bringing early American PC CD-ROM games into Poland
  • CD Projekt signed Baldur’s Gate from Interplay and added Polish voice actors. 18,000 units of the five disc RPG were shipped on day one
  • Baldur’s Gate cost double the usual price of a CD Projekt release but came with a map, D&D rulebook and an audio CD. Despite the inflated cost, pre-orders well exceeded expectations. A good job too – the whole company was riding on its success
  • Interplay asked CD Projekt to convert Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance from consoles to PC. Intended exclusively for the Polish market, the deal fell through not long after development started
  • The Dark Alliance fallout prompted CD Projekt to create their own RPG. That game was The Witcher, which ended up taking over five years to develop by a team of 100 people. Over 2 million copies have been sold to date
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    KirbysEpicYarn_WP_1_en_1024x768
    May 18
    By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads 2 Comments

    It’s another one of those weeks where the Virtual Console releases are the focal point of Nintendo’s eShop schedule. Sorry, Swords & Soldiers II – we can’t look past a delightful double whammy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Paper Mario.

    Nintendo’s decision to bring the incredibly well-received Kirby’s Epic Yarn to Wii U is clearly down to the impending arrival of Yoshi’s Woolly World. It’s set to cost £13.49 until 28th May; £19.99 thereafter. Best get it in early, then. N64 classic Paper Mario – the first in the long running series – will set you back £8.99. Again, that’s on Wii U.

    Kirbys-Epic-Yarn-Fangora

    In fact, all of this week’s releases are for Wii U – the 3DS is merely set to receive a demo of Adventure Bar Story and a few price drops.

    Swords & Soldiers II, then, is the sequel to one of the WiiWare’s finests. It’s a humorous 2D strategy adventure starring a bunch of marauding Vikings. While searching for riches they come across demons and magic-carpet riding Persians, each with their own armies to defeat. It looks good, this. Just like Affordable Space Adventures though, it’s arriving at a higher price than most eShop releases – £16.99.

    This leaves us with Baila Latino (£24.90), an American Latin dancing game for up to four-players. Apparently publisher O2 Games are planning on bringing it to retail, along with four other casual Wii U titles. Luv Me Buddies Wonderland, anyone?

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    TheOldBloodT
    May 18
    By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

    The glorious Project CARS is the UK’s number one for a second week running. Amazingly, that’s Bandai Namco’s longest number one streak since Ridge Racer Type 4 way back in 1999.

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – another Bandai Namco published title, due out tomorrow – should help add a few more weeks to that record.

    At #2 it’s the physical release of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. The PS4 version took a hefty 67% cut of the sales. Initially, the Xbox One version wasn’t going to receive a physical release, possibly explaining why only 27% of sales were for Microsoft’s system.

    Wolfenstein: The New Order is back in the top 40 too, albeit down at #32.

    This week’s chart presents us with another record breaker – GTA V has now passed 5m sales in the UK. Rockstar’s crime caper is at #3, down from #2. Mortal Kombat X likewise moves down a position, now at #4.

    At #5 it’s another new entry – Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on PS4. We had a feeling this would perform surprisingly well.

    Positions #6 through to #10 are then filled by FIFA 15, CoD: Advanced Warfare, Dying Light, Destiny and Battlefield: Hardline.

    Alas, another one of our inklings has also proven true – Code Name S.T.E.A.M. failed to make an impact on the top 40. It has to settle for #4 in the 3DS chart.

    The Wii U’s Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush hasn’t seen a significant drop, however – the pink blob merely moves down two places, now at #23

    Toro
    May 15
    By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

    One game eluded us during this week’s new release round-up. That game was the mysterious Toro, and as predicted (or possibly feared) it’s a Spanish bullfighting simulator. Presumably developers Recotechnology believe there’s money to be made by finding the smallest gap in the market possible.

    It launched today on both Xbox One (£15.99) and PlayStation 4 (£19.99). The difference in price is as baffling as Toro’s very existence. The 12+ age rating equally so. We guess those who take the plunge aren’t going to be treated to some grizzly confrontations; something that may have help induce even the slightest hint of appeal.

    ToroXbox

    Try to contain your excitement while reading the blurb:

    “Toro, is the first bullfighting simulator game, that will challenge your skills, reflex and fast reactions interacting with 500kg bulls. You will be able to face the bravest bulls in the most famous bullrings worldwide, and become a number one bullfighter In an exciting and fun way, Toro offers the possibility to get in front of the most dangerous bulls and complete a stylish performance with the wide variety of passes that are available for each round Face the bull, combine different passes correctly executed to enrage the bull and do it with style to get the support of the demanding spectators and get the highest score”.

    Had Toro launched at just a few quid – and yes, this price point is possible on the download services – we may have taken a look out of sheer curiosity but the asking price(s) strike us as way off the mark. Something as niche as this should arrive with an impulse buy price tag, like Goat Simulator before it. Heck, for £15.99 we could purchase a physical copy of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood and still have change.

    AirMechArenaXboxOne
    May 13
    By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is just days away, but if you’re desperate to scratch that RPG itch right now then you may be interested in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. A remaster of an already existing remaster, it arrives on PS4 this week.

    FFRemaster

    It’s available for around £35 from online retailers or for £44.99 via PSN. As well as a handy Cross-Save function, it also has the option of the original or remastered soundtrack. IGN gave it 9.3 earlier this week, prasing the upgraded visuals and improved lighting effects.

    Even though FF Type-0 HD is barely a few months old, X/X-2 HD Remaster may perform surprisingly well in next week’s chart. Expect to see Wolfenstien: The Old Blood too, thanks to its standalone nature and sub £15 price tag. And the mostly glowing reviews, of course.

    Intelligent System’s Code Name S.T.E.A.M. on 3DS may struggle to break the top 20 though. Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Edition only managed #32 in this week’s chart while April’s New 3DS re-release of Xenoblade Chronicles had to settle for #27 before leaving the top 40 the very next week.

    American gamers received Code Name S.T.E.A.M. back in March where it was met with a lukewarm reception. Since release however Nintendo has rolled out a patch allowing the action to be fast-forwarded during enemy turns. This prompted Polygon, amongst others, to revise their reviews.

    Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark

    Over on the download services both Xbox One and PS4 see the release of Team 17’s colourful platform puzzler Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark (£7.19 – Xbox One/£7.39 – PS4) and also Ubisoft’s free to play AirMech Arena.

    We spent a few hours with AirMech last night, mostly playing through the tutorials again. Why? Because there’s no facility to import saves from the Xbox 360 version. Developer Carbon Games promises they’ll add this in the future. This put us in something of an uncomfortable quandary – do we start it all again or wait for the update? As we hadn’t spent any real money in the Xbox 360 version we decided to start anew. It’s a good job, then, that it’s a pretty good game – an RTS that combines Transformers, Command & Conquer and the Mega Drive cult classic Herzog Zwei. It’s well worth a try.

    As for Schrodinger’s Cat, the PC version received very mixed reviews – everything from Hardcore Gamer’s 4/5 to a right old critical mauling from Russian site Riot Pixels. According to Google Translate, they claimed that “there is nothing even remotely decent about this game”. Crikey. It’s probably best to wait for reviews of this new console iteration to appear, as no doubt the developers have made a few improvements of some description.

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    Make-choices-and-face-their-consequences-to-unlock-endings-tailored-to-how-you-play-png
    May 12
    By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

    With launch day just a week away, reviews of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are beginning to surface.

    Being the colossal adventure that it is, some outlets are still ploughing through CD Projekt RED’s latest RPG and as such are yet to commit a score.

    VideoGamer and Eurogamer both fall into this camp, although they have chalked up some rather exhaustive first impressions.

    Eurogamer also reports that the Xbox One version does achieve 1080p, but not constantly – dynamic scaling boosts the resolution between 900p and 1080p “depending on what’s happening in-game”. You can bet Microsoft pushed CD Projekt hard for this.

    Enough of technical prowess – review scores so far been a heady mixture of 8s, 9s and 10s. This has resulted in a Metacritic of 92% (currently formed of 23 critical reviews), with the lowest score(s) being the 4/5s handed out by OPM and GamesRadar.

    Most of the faults highlighted seem to be combat related or down to the fact that the main storyline is heavily fetch-quest orientated. Almost every reviewer seems to agree that the open-world is one of the finest ever created though, with Eurogamer in particular claiming it’s on par with Red Dead Redemption. “ […] like Red Dead, Wild Hunt offers an open world with a real sense of place. This is a game packed full of life and character that manages to remain focused and cohesive, despite its imposing scale”

    Here’s a review round-up: [Updated]

    5/5 – The Telegraph: “There is no saving the world, here, no great evil force pervading the landscape, or a doomsday clock ticking down to inevitable destruction, with only you to stand in its way. The story of Wild Hunt is a personal one, set in a huge and unrelentingly beautiful world”

    5/5 – The Guardian: “This vast fantasy adventure combines sophisticated storytelling with an expansive and richly conceived world”

    10/10 – GameSpot: “[And] make no mistake: this is one of the best role-playing games ever crafted, a titan among giants and the standard-setter for all such games going forward”

    10/10 – AusGamers: “This is open-world gaming at its finest. It’s largely free and unbound by your own adventurous noseying, and you’re really only fenced in by the progression at which you’re on at any given time. The game-world doesn’t wholly scale, and you’re rewarded much more for questing than grinding”

    Essential – Eurogamer: “A majestic, earthy open-world adventure with great integrity and personality, this is the best role-playing game in years”

    9.75 – GameInformer: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt encompasses what I hope is the future of RPGs. It stands out for its wonderful writing, variety of quests and things to do in the world, and how your choices have impact in interesting ways. Usually something is sacrificed when creating a world this ambitious, but everything felt right on cue”

    9.3 – IGN: “Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I’d start to burn out. Even if the plot isn’t terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are, and along with the excellent combat and RPG gameplay, they elevate The Witcher 3 to a plane few other RPGs inhabit”

    9/10 – The Metro: “A colossal achievement in technical terms, with a level of interaction with the game world and its inhabitants that is unsurpassed in modern video games”

    9/10 – VideoGamer: “The Witcher 3 is vast, intriguing, and enthralling”

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