ZombieArmyT
Mar 04
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Although a fair few new games are out this week, your piggy bank shouldn’t take too much of a pounding as not a single one is being released at full price.

We’ll take a look at ScreamRide first because reviews started to appear online as far back as Monday. Developer Frontier has worked on numerous rollercoaster games in the past, but whereas the likes of Rollercoaster Tycoon focused on managing a theme park, ScreamRide is more about building scream-inducing rollercoasters and then testing them out to destruction.

It’s a unique premise and while it’s always pleasing to see Microsoft release software aimed at the younger and family markets, reviews have been more Paultons Park than Thorpe Park. By that we mean there has been dozens of middling 5/10 and 6/10 review scores floating around, such as those from GamesRadar, Videogamer, The Metro and The Official Xbox Magazine UK.

Screamride

There are a handful of higher scoring reviews out there – both Polygon and IGN rather enjoyed it – but they’re in the minority. It’s a bit of a shame as we were looking forward to this one. We’re still going to take a punt on it though (we bagged a £20 pre-order deal on Amazon several weeks ago) and should have a review up sometime next week. Incidentally, we’ve seen a few websites claim that it’s an Xbox One-exclusive when in fact it’s also heading to Xbox 360. And for around a tenner less, too.

If you haven’t had your fill of zombie harming fun with last week’s Dying Light, then you’ll probably be wanting to know if Zombie Army Trilogy is worth tucking into. Reviews are hardly bountiful in number but at this moment in time all signs point to it being a ‘solid 7/10er’. “Though Zombie Army Trilogy doesn’t offer all the cinematics and huge stand-out moments of some triple-A shooters, it does offer some excellent level design, good range of enemy types and a challenging four-player co-op experience that brings the team together for a fun-filled, chaotic zombie romp,” said PlayStation Universe.

The Sixth Axis meanwhile had this to say: “Parts of the trilogy are showing their age and difficulty spikes can sap away the fun, but steel yourself for a challenge, get some mates together and there’s plenty to like about it”.

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Eurogamer’s review is the only other we can find currently. “Provided all you want is the chance to shoot decomposing Nazis in the face hundreds of times over, you can’t really fault Zombie Army Trilogy for delivering on the crude grindhouse pleasures implicit in its title. It’s also hard not to wish the game didn’t do more to deviate from its amusing but repetitive blood-soaked trajectory” they mused.

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OlliOlli
Mar 03
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

2D arcade-like skater OlliOlli may have taken a while to reach other formats since launching on PS Vita over a year ago, but at least it’s arriving on the Nintendo eShop with Wii U/3DS cross-buy support, along with an alluring launch-period discount.

From Thursday until 19th March the pixel perfect skateboarding sim (to use a term lightly) will cost £7.99, with the price then rising to £9.99 thereafter. Those who own it on Wii U can download it on 3DS, and visa versa, as long as the Nintendo Network IDs are linked.

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Generous consensus had it that although frustrating at times, it was no less as addictive. Scores did fluctuate slightly though – everything from 6/10s to 9/10s. Considering one of the 6/10 reviews made the ridiculous claim that the visuals look like something from a 90’s shareware game, we don’t think you should be too worried about the less positive reviews out there.

As usual, a couple of new (read: old) games are heading to Virtual Console. We have Culture Brain to thank for both side-scrolling brawler Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll (£2.69) and the top-down Kung-Fu Heroes (£3.49) – two NES titles that were never released in Europe. We had to trawl all the way over to GameFAQs to get the low down on these two. Apparently both aren’t too bad at all; Kung-Fu Heroes is allegedly quite tough, but Flying Dragon has a difficulty level that’s “just right”.

KungFuHeroes

Then we have the usual selection of premium priced retail downloads. This week: Cooking Mama: Bon Appétit (£24.99), Gardening Mama: Forest Friends (£24.99), Best of Casual Games (£19.99) and Hollywood Fame: Hidden Object Adventure (£19.99) on 3DS. Both Cooking Mama games feature a neat sounding SpotPass feature, allowing exclusive items to be traded. We imagine that Nintendo will be giving these two a spot of promotion over the coming weeks.

We like Cooking Mama here, having purchased the Nintendo DS original on import many years ago. Since then though the series has been run into the ground somewhat. We kind of get the feeling that these two are a last ditch effort to rejuvenate the series.

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image (10)
Mar 02
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Prior to last Friday, the only way to purchase Dying Light was via the download services at a rather extortionate £54.99. Proving that gamers are willing to wait until something is sensibly priced, the belated retail release has shot straight to the top of the UK chart.

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It’s the third consecutive number one in three weeks, and Warner Bros’ first chart topper since The Lego Movie Videogame.

The Order 1886 – last week’s number one – falls to #4 while places #2 and #3 are filled by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and newcomer Dragon Ball Xenoverse respectively. GTA V rounds off the top five, just like it always seems to.

Sony’s much debated PS4-exclusive isn’t the only new release on a slippery slope – Evolve is down five places as well, falling to #8.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask meanwhile departs the top ten, dropping six places to #14. Monster Hunter Ultimate 4 drops further still, now resting at #23.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires was the only other new entry in the top 40, arriving at a respectable enough #21.

Over the in the individual format charts, 2D brawler Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late made #23 in the PS3 chart while JRPG Hyperdevotion Noire: Godness Black Heart entered at #3 in the PS Vita top 20. And yes, there is such a thing.

RE22
Mar 02
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Capcom’s first foray into episodic gaming doesn’t mess around. During a casual evening event Claire Redfield and her fellow TerraSave terrorist-fighting buddies are confronted by mysterious, gun toting, party crashers. Following the surprise attack, Claire awakens in a disused penal colony with some kind of electronic tag bound to her arm. Dubiously coloured water runs down the walls, filth coats the floors and screaming can be heard echoing through the colony’s corridors.

Within mere minutes of the game starting numerous questions instantly spring to mind, such as who rudely cut the celebrations short, and both the whereabouts and safety of the other TerraSave members.

The source of the screaming soon reveals itself – Moira Burton, the delightfully foul-mouthed teenage daughter of Barry Burton, was also snatched during the attack. Once freed from a nearby prison cell, Claire and Moira can be swapped between at the press of a button. Co-op split-screen play is an option, but not one we’d recommend as the screen isn’t simply split down the middle as you’d expect – each player instead has a postcard-sized view surrounded by huge black boarders. We actually had to pull our sofa forward a good three or four feet to prevent squinting at smaller details. Online co-op play is promised in an upcoming update however, and should benefit the bonus wave-based Raid mode no end. More about that later.

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This first episode is split into two hour long chapters, each featuring two different playable characters with skill sets that work in almost perfect harmony. Moira carries a torch and has an emotional dislike of firearms, opting for melee weapons instead. The torch – found at the outset of the adventure – allows her to temporarily daze enemies which Claire can then dispatch with relative ease.

Whereas the girls simply have to make do with whatever they find while fleeing the colony, Barry Burton brings everything but the kitchen sink along for the rescue mission. He attempts to follow Claire and Moira’s tracks, observing the carnage left behind in their wake while closing in on their whereabouts. The hirsute hero forms an unlikely alliance with Maria – a small child blessed with the ability to detect the whereabouts of the penal colony’s afflicted inhabits. The word ‘zombie’ isn’t used once, incidentally.

Barry’s chapter partly takes place in a forest cloaked in darkness, which not only provides a welcome change of pace but also turns the terror up a notch. The use of shadows, lighting and sound in this section is noteworthy, helping to create a tense atmosphere as Barry and Maria attempt to find a safe passage through the overgrown foliage.

RE2

One of Barry’s many talents is the ability to perform stealth attacks. Maria’s supernatural skills are essential when it comes to pinpointing enemy locations and so the two form a formidable team. Totally unafraid of the horrors surrounding her, she can also use bricks to bash the brains out of any downed enemies. When using her sixth sense it can be tricky to tell which way foes are facing though, resulting in some messy confrontations if trying to remain stealthy.

On the casual setting at least, the penalty for failure isn’t punishing in the slightest – enemies don’t put up much of a fight and both ammunition and green herbs are in bountiful supply. Overuse a single weapon and you may find yourself out of ammo for that weapon alone, but as both Claire and Barry carry more than one firearm you’ll never be left without something to fall back on. Resident Evil 6’s gung-ho proceedings have left their mark here, but not to a significant degree – enemy encounters are spread so far apart that we didn’t gain the achievement for killing 100 afflicted until way into our second play-through.

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KirbyT
Feb 28
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

We put the lack of fanfare surrounding Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – or Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, as it’ll be known over here – down to the omission of a European release date. It’s pretty hard to get excited about something that could, potentially, be months away.

American gamers however have been enjoying the first amiibo-compatible Kirby for a couple of weeks. Well, we assume that they’ve been enjoying it – reviews have been slightly mixed. Mostly good, to be fair, but the Kirbster has been on the receiving end of a few harsh reviews.

Giant Bomb’s review in particular. They called the colourful claymation platformer “tedious” and compared it to something you’d expect to find on tablets or mobiles. GameSpot meanwhile said that it’s “like doing a mile on a stationary bike and discovering that you only burned away calories from one bite of your lunch burrito”.

Enough negativity – as you can see below, the majority of outlets found it to be a high rolling adventure:

A+ – Nintendojo: “Truly no other game uses the Wii U touch screen to its fullest with such flair. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a beautiful, creative, and fun-loving game that absolutely deserves your time and attention”

5/5 – US Gamer: “Simply put, if you have a Wii U, Rainbow Curse makes for an essential addition to your library; Nintendo’s latest system might not have much longer to live, but it’s still heartening to see a developer create a console experience that couldn’t happen anywhere else”

4.5/5 – Hardcore Gamer: “Its claymation visuals are astoundingly beautiful, and while brief, Kirby’s latest adventure is never anything less than satisfying”

9/10 – EGM: “Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a fine successor to Canvas Curse—it’s on par or better in many ways and should provide a potent challenge for even the most experienced platform player”

9/10 – Destructoid: “It’s a game that has a little something for everyone, all without compromising its unyielding, unique, and undivided attention on its mission to blast pure adorableness into the world in all directions. If Kirby and the Rainbow Curse doesn’t make you smile, you may need to see a doctor for that”

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ResiRevelations
Feb 26
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

The zombie bandwagon shows no signs of slowing. This week alone sees not one but two undead undertakings, and they’re about to be followed by Rebellion’s imminent Zombie Army Trilogy.

The zombie filled duo out this week are Dying Light – the retail release of which was delayed in Europe, lest you forget – and Capcom’s episodic adventure Resident Evil Revelations 2.

The four episodes, priced £4.79 each on Xbox Live and £4.99 a piece on PSN (season pass also available), are due for release in very quick succession. Make that very quick succession – the first part launched yesterday, and the whole thing is due to be wrapped up come 12th March. Episodes 3 and 4 are just a day apart, in fact.

We put this down to Capcom wanting to get the retail release out the door pronto, unlike Telltale’s incredibly belated retail collections that aren’t on shelves for a good six months after the final instalment hits the download services.

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Both Destructoid and The Metro found much to enjoy within the first episode.

“Resident Evil: Revelations 2 feels like a budgeted release at times visually, but given the interesting environments and insanely detailed Raid Mode, that’s okay. Either mode is worth the $5 entry fee alone, and I will be playing this for weeks to come both alone and with a partner” said Destructoid. The Metro meanwhile claimed that it’s the scarcest RE has been in years.

The download version of Dying Light has been available for a month or so already, not to mention readily available at retail in other parts of the world, so chances are most of you know what to expect by now. In short, it’s Dead Island but done right. By that we mean loads of polish and fine-tuning.

As the decent Call of Juarez: Gunslinger proved in the past, Techland can indeed achieve greatness when given a gentle prodding.

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ShadowWarrior1
Feb 25
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

The original Shadow Warrior was released a year after Duke Nukem 3D. Whereas Duke Nukem went on to appear in numerous spin-offs – no less than 13 different studios have created games starring the cigar smoking macho man, in fact – Shadow Warrior’s protagonist Lo Wang was consigned to obscurity. That was until Polish developer Flying Wild Hog thought it was about time Lo Wang came out of retirement, ready to star in this radical reimaging.

It’s fair to say that when Duke Nukem Forever finally limped out of the door in 2011 most found Duke himself to be almost entirely irrelevant to today’s gaming culture. Crass, egotistic and puerile – he’s everything that today’s heroes aren’t. This is where Lo Wang, name notwithstanding, has the upper hand. Flying Wild Hog did away with all racial slurs and stereotyping for their reboot, and as a result Shadow Warrior’s humour is far more tasteful than it was back in 1997. Sure, Lo Wang may rely on sarcasm a touch too often but his sarcastic quips are still far more welcome than lowbrow innuendo. Collectable fortune cookies help to raise a grin also, with one humorously informing that “cardboard belts are a waste of paper”.

ShadowWarrior3

Lo Wang is joined by Hoji, a softy spoken spirit bound to a mask – the one possession they were allowed to bring back to our world. Conversations between the two often amuse (for a 200 year old spirit, Hoji is surprisingly well-versed with pop culture) and the fact that they can’t recall why they were banished from Earth in the first place adds an air of mystery to the storyline.

Shadow Warrior feels like it’s the game that Red Steel should have been, giving players the choice of slicing and dicing the demonic adversaries with various ancient swords or falling back on modern day firepower. Guns and swords can be swapped between at a push of a button, while a ‘quick swipe’ ability helps to keep enemies at bay while reloading. On top of this, Low Wang can throw shurikens and cast magic via beat’em up style button combinations. The idea is to use as many different attacks as possible during enemy confrontations in order to achieve a five star combat rating. This brings a welcome sense of Bulletstorm into the proceedings, preventing you from relying on one or two weapons or just the sword.

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2585712-pac-attack
Feb 23
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Judging by the bitterness of the weather outside, we’ll be spending most this week in the warmth and out of the way of the elements. Luck would have it that there are a few new arrivals of note on the eShop.

CybernatorAdvert

It’s two new Virtual Console offerings that grab our attention – SNES cult classics Cybernator and Pac-Attack. Although we haven’t played Cybernator for many years, the fact that it received an almost unaltered PS2 conversion back in 2005 would suggest that Konami’s shooter still holds up well.

Having shown Pac-Attacksome love early last year, it’s is one that we can vouch for. For fans of Tetris in particular, it’s well worth a look. Despite the Pac-Man license fitting the puzzler like a glove, it was actually designed with Namco’s often forgotten Cosmo Gang in mind. A bit of trivia for you there.

Both are due on Wii U for £5.49. They’re the US versions, if that means anything to you.

The Wii U also gets artwork creation tool SDK Paint (£3.99) – which features Miiverse support (uh-oh!) and 3D viewing via anaglyph 3D glasses – and the purse pleasingly priced Hyrule Warriors: Boss Pack (£2.69). This add-on includes, and we quote, “Two new challenge modes (Boss Challenge and Ganon’s Fury) with five new alternatively-coloured costumes as rewards”.

Pac-Attack1

Nintendo also reports that “each mode also contains three battle types across three difficulty levels, as well as one extra-difficult scenario”.

Things are a tad busier over on the 3DS eShop. Five new releases, no less. Say hello to Hello Kitty & Sanrio Friends 3D Racing (£29.99) – also due out at retail this Friday – stupidly titled pre-school rhythm game Mes Comptines (£4.49), 8-bit style platform adventure Zombie Incident (£1.99), blatant Tetris clone Best of Arcade Games – Tetraminos (£8.99) and Titan Attacks! (£7.99).

That last one is a Space Invaders/Galaga-alike from Curve Studios. The PS4 version went down well, with many reviewers claiming that it puts a welcome spin on a classic formula.

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