Few publishers dare to go mano-a-mano with FIFA 18 it seems, as there’s little in way of retail release this week. Having said that, we may see Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony and YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters make the UK top 40 next Monday. Different demographics and all that.
On the download services there are a fair few games of note, including the eagerly awaited Cuphead – a game three years in the making. That’s joined by Ruiner, a gritty top-down cyberpunk shooter that’s generating a buzz on Twitter, and the PS4/PS Vita version of the wonderful SteamWorld Dig 2.
For Xbox owners feeling flush, Forza 7 is available from Friday via the £79.99 Ultimate Edition. Several car packs are thrown in, although the fact that the contents of the ‘Day One Car Pack’ are still yet to be revealed seems a little cheeky.
We may also see Battle Garegga Rev.2016, Lilith-M and Syndrome on the UK Xbox One Store before the week is out. It isn’t entirely clear what countries they’re launching in first.
New release showcase:
FIFA 18 – Multi
EA’s money making giant rolls back into town this week, available on just about every format going. The consensus is that it’s the best FIFA in years (the best since FIFA 12, Game Revolution claims) but there’s still room for improvement.
We’re still waiting on review of the Switch version. We’ve known for some time that it doesn’t have the same features as its current-gen counterparts. Hands-on-impressions were favourable enough, though. Switch support from EA hangs on this title, so hopefully it’ll do the business.
[Update] Nintendo Life awarded the Switch version 8/10 earlier today.
Will this be the last outing for last-gen consoles? Perhaps – the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of PES 2018 failed to make a dent in the chart. It all depends on success on a global scale, really. The humble PS2 received FIFA games up until FIFA 14, thanks to sales in countries such as Brazil.
4.5/5 – GamesRadar: The best footballing package available, with myriad improvements – yet still unlikely to convert fans of the opposition.
8/10 – VideoGamer: Problems such as the defensive game feeling less important and the hinderance of set pieces are apparent, but the flashy graphics and sharp commentary are no longer the only reason to boot up EA’s football sim for a kick around. At long last, we have two quality football games on the market again.
8/10 – The Metro: The improvements are slight, but this is still the best FIFA has been in several years – in terms of gameplay as well as just presentation.
SteamWorld Dig 2 – PS4/PS Vita
After hitting the Switch last week, Image & Form’s dirt digging sequel arrives on PS4. It’s bigger, bolder, and brighter than the 2013 original, thanks to far more lavish production values. The gameplay loop of mining, selling, upgrading, and descending further into a secret-filled mine is simple yet compelling. And the fact that the hero has all-new abilities prevents it from a case of being more of thesame.
We awarded it a well-deserved 9/10 earlier this week. To quote ourselves: “For a third time in a row – with SteamWorld Heist being the second – Image & Form has managed to create something a hair’s breadth from perfection”
Cuphead – Xbox One
After more than a couple of delays and setbacks – and one huge shake-up to turn it from a boss rush experience to a run and gunner – Cuphead is finally out this Friday. With Xbox One exclusives thin on the ground, despite the Xbox One X just weeks away, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
We’ll update this round-up with a sampling of reviews once the embargo lifts.
[Update – the first reviews are now live]
5/5 – GamesRadar: ” If you’re partial to a tough-but-fair challenge, and you have even the slightest appreciation for the rich history of animated cartoons, you’ll be overjoyed by the wonderfully artistic adventure that is Cuphead”
4.5/5 – Windows Central: “The randomness on some boss fights will frustrate some, but patient, methodical gamers will relish the challenge, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment at the end of each huge battle”
8/10 – GameSpot: “It could benefit from a few tweaks, and two-player co-op doesn’t feel like the valuable addition you might imagine, but Cuphead remains a rare, unique game that truly stands out”
3/5 – Twinfinite: “If you’re in dire need of a real challenge, definitely give Cuphead your attention. However, if you’re not in any rush there’s no harm in waiting”
SNES Mini Classic
Nintendo’s latest nostalgia box bundles over twenty 16-bit hits together, including the never-officially-released Star Fox 2. Both first and third-party titles feature, including the likes of Mega Man X, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Castlevania 4 and Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. No Final Fight or Axley, but we’ll get over it.
While the £79.99 price tag puts it £30 higher than the NES Classic Mini – which sold out almost instantly – it does come with two controllers. We know it’s a cliché to say it, but we really do hope Nintendo produces enough stock to go around. We’ll chalk up something resembling a review after ours arrives.
New digital multi-format releases:
Curve Digital’s cyberpunk twin-stick shooter offers tight controls and a fast pace, but is apparently let down slightly by repetition and a short campaign. Don’t let this put you off, though – review scores are mostly 7s and 8s.
A futuristic racer with a parkour twist, allowing traversal along walls and ceilings. Features electronic music by Viennese musician Zanshin.
Pinball FX3 (PS4/XO)
Zen Studio’s pinball simulator bounces back, bringing roughly 50 tables from previous entries with it. Don’t expect to see every table from their back catalogue make the cut – expired licensing agreements look set to hold some tables back.
This colourful 2D platformer, so-called because the hero wields a paint cannon, made a splash on PC earlier this year. With ex-Ubisoft talent behind it, it’s no surprise.
Firefighters: Airport Fire Department (PS4/XO)
UIE’s first firefighting sim was a gaming atrocity. We aren’t holding out much hope for this spin-off, or indeed, any hope at all.
New on PSN:
Eurogamer, amongst others, claim that this colourful RPG from the creators of Torchlight is the spiritual successor to Zelda: A Link to the Past. That’s some praise right there.
A compilation of nine mini-games for under a tenner. Think PlayStation VR Worlds, but indie.
Manage your own fantasy retail business, setting prices and employing helper robots to stock shelves and keep thieves at bay. Also due a retail release for around £15.
Fragments of Him
First released on PC and Xbox One in 2016, this interactive narrative experience is both emotional and powerful.
A neat, and inexpensive, 3D puzzler based around rickety robots.
Rising Star’s latest 2D platformer is heavy on nostalgia, taking place in good old 199X. What a year that was.
Online battles are the focus of this Unreal Engine-powered robo rampage. It’s the first Gundam game on PS4, no less.
A VR puzzle/platformer set in a Babel-like tower.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
With the Danganronpa series gaining traction in the west, there’s a good chance Killing Harmony may manage to break the UK top 40 next week.
This JRPG tries to take the social aspects of Persona, but reportedly suffers from being too simplistic. Consider the above instead.
A giant mountain in your living room. What’s not to like about that?
Mahjong World Contest
We’ve no idea, sorry.
New on Xbox One Store:
Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition
Cough up £79.99 and get access to Microsoft’s impressive racer three days early. Alternatively, buy the standard edition for £40 from Amazon and wait three days. Up to you.
NeoGeo Burning Fight
SNK’s failed attempt to take on Final Fight. Hardly one of the NeoGeo’s highlights.
New Nintendo retail releases:
One Piece Unlimited World Red – Deluxe Edition (Switch)
Another week, another Wii U conversion. This anime tie-in includes a wealth of DLC and has improved visuals. Out Friday.
YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters (3DS)
Not a new game, per se, but rather an expanded version of Bony Spirits/Fleshy Souls with new quests, different locations and fifteen new Yo-Kai to befriend. In short, it’s the series equivalent of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon.
Next week: Forza Motorsport 7 (XO), The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game (Multi), Mario and Luigi: Super Star Saga + Bowser’s Minions (3DS), Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy (3DS), Battle Chasers: Nightwar (Multi), Radial-G: Racing Revolved (PS4), Raiden V: Director’s Cut (PS4), Dragons Dogma Dark Arisen HD (PS4/XO), The Hunter: Call of the Wild (PS4/XO), Let Them Come (XO), Bulb Boy (XO), Iron Wings (XO), and JYDGE (PS4/XO).