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Mar 20
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands has taken the UK chart top spot for a second week.

When combined with For Honor’s two-week run, Ubisoft is now the publisher with the most weeks at number one in 2017 so far.

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LEGO Worlds’ second-week sales appear to be fuelled by word of mouth – it’s up one position to #2, with launch week sales down only by 37%.

Horizon Zero Dawn fell to #3, GTA V moved up to #4 and then at #5 it’s FIFA 17.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild dropped two places to #6, Rocket League shifted to #7, Infinite Warfare moved to #8 while Minecraft: Xbox Edition and Forza Horizon 3 both re-entered the top ten at #9 and #10 respectively.

It seems retailers are clearing out old Xbox One stock once more, with launch titles Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome re-entering at #16 and #31. Rare Replay meanwhile re-appeared at #27.

Stealth adventure Styx: Shards of Darkness was the only new top 40 arrival, making a lowly #37.

The ‘Xbox Greatest Hits’ re-release of Bully: Scholarship Edition did manage to make #7 in the Xbox 360 chart, however.

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Mar 17
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

C-c-c-changes! Nintendo has chosen to move their UK eShop schedule to a Thursday, the day the eShop itself updates. The annoying thing about this, of course, is that it doesn’t give much of a heads-up about what’s around the corner. It also shakes up our site schedule up a tad, so look out for our eShop round-ups on a Thursday or Friday from now, instead of a Monday or Tuesday.

As our headline states, twelve games hit the UK Nintendo eShop this week, but only one is for Switch. That game is ACA NeoGeo King of Fighters ’94 (£6.29), a fan favourite. Incidentally, publisher Hamster recently patched their past Switch NeoGeo games, improving sound quality and such.

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It’s easily the humble Wii U that has the most exciting line-up, including two Turbografx-16 titles: the Zelda-alike adventure Neutopia, and Dungeon Explorer, a five-player RPG. Both launched on the Wii VC years ago. If you purchased either back then, they can be had on Wii U at a special reduced price. Otherwise, they’ll set you back a modest £5.39 each.

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Styx
Mar 15
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

After the recent whirlwind of big name releases, this week is but a gentle breeze. The calm before the next storm, if you will – next Thurs sees the release of the long-awaited Mass Effect: Andromeda.

It’s Styx: Shards of Darkness, FlatOut 4: Total Insanity and Danganronpa 1/2 Reload that find themselves sandwiched between, while the digital services receive the typical assortment of oddities.

No reviews of FlatOut 4: Total Insanity – out Friday on PS4 and Xbox One – are live yet, which is hardly encouraging. This latest instalment of the crash and smash racer is being published by BigBen and developed by French studio Kylotonn, best known for Motorcycle Club, WRC 5 and WRC 6. If those games are to go by, we’re in for a middling experience – we’re yet to see anything truly amazing from Kylotonn.

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Reviews for stealth adventure sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness surfaced a few days ago, with scores mostly around the 6/10 and 7/10 mark. “Once you get past the slightly budget look of the UI and occasional control jank, there is a solid core of a pretty damn good stealth game here” said Destructoid’s reviewer, who scored it a 7 (while adding the word ‘jank’ to our lexicon).

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Mar 15
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

As a game that entails little more than making and spending money, Clicker Heroes could only ever exist within the realms of free-to-play.

The action takes place on a single screen, and it all begins with a single tap of the attack button to kill an enemy. Another then takes its place. An endless loop, no less. Enemies don’t fight back, or do anything other than merrily bob up and down, and each is defeated by mindless button bashing.

Defeated enemies drop gold, and soon enough falls your way to be able to hire a hero. Heroes do the clicking for you, and so now there’s almost no input required at all. From here on in its a (ridiculously) simple case of raking in the cash, hiring heroes and levelling them up.

Bosses must be defeated within a time limit, and so sometimes you’ll have to revisit past stages to grind for cash to level up heroes, but that’s about as in-depth – and interactive – as it gets.

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The package is held together, albeit loosely, by an in-game achievement system. The amount of money earned, and the potential damage your party can deal, soon skyrockets into millions and billions, and so achievements are for such unlikely things as levelling up 25,000 times.

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keyart2
Mar 14
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Like most shmups released in the past twenty years, Ghost Blade has a gimmick. It’s one that’s rather simplistic when compared to Ikaruga’s reversed polarities, or examples of the genre that bestow extra firepower when flying closer to enemies, simply giving the chance to focus the standard spread-shot into a single beam at the cost of reduced manoeuvrability. While far from innovative, it does help Ghost Blade to feel rather…focused.

Fans of the genre may have heard, or even played, Ghost Blade before – it was released on Dreamcast in 2015 as a homebrew/non-commercial title with a very limited print run. Despite being aimed at a hardcore demographic, some reviewers noted that it felt like a good place for genre newcomers to start. Two years on and one HD makeover later, this remains true.

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Ghost Blade is instantly likeable, boasting vibrant visuals, detailed backdrops and an excellent soundtrack that fits the fast pace superbly. While we can’t vouch for the Wii U version, the framerate never falters on Xbox One – the screen is constantly filled with collectables, enemy craft, and pretty explosions yet the action remains silky smooth throughout.

Moreover, the difficulty curve is masterful, with the five stages becoming progressively tougher. The final stage is appropriately challenging, especially on hard mode, demanding strategic bomb usage to make it through to the end. An extra continue is added to the pile upon being faced with the dreaded Game Over screen, and so given time, even novice players will find themselves with enough continues to eventually emerge victorious.

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Wildlands2
Mar 13
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Last week Horzion Zero Dawn became 2017’s fastest selling title so far. Seven days later, that record has already been snatched away: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands had an impressively strong launch, topping the UK chart in the process.

Chart-Track reports that it’s the second fastest Tom Clancy title after The Division, beating Future Soldier’s week one sales.

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Horzion Zero Dawn dropped to #2 – with sales down 60% over launch week – while the budget-priced LEGO Worlds debuted at #3. We spent some time with TT’s take on Minecraft over the weekend and were left impressed. It’s playful and innovative, complete with a cheeky nod to Puggsy – one of TT’s first games.

Zelda: The Breath of the Wild fell to #4 during its second week, with sales down 70%. Considering copies are allegedly hard to find, especially on Wii U, that’s still a placing for Nintendo to be proud of.

GTA V is still hanging around, this week at #5. Then at #6 it’s the very well-received NieR: Automata. We had to visit three different branches of GAME to find a copy, suggesting demand was higher than expected.

FIFA 17 and Rocket League occupy #7 and #8. Switch launch title 1-2-Switch sits at #9 while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare sees us out at #10.

Bomberman R meanwhile dropped from #7 to #21.

The 3DS’ Mario Sports Superstars was the only other new arrival in the top 40, dribbling in at #37.

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Mar 09
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

We can only assume the alcohol flowed freely during the Nintendo Switch launch party – this week’s eShop schedule was sent out four days later than usual.

Nintendo’s exciting new plaything sees two new releases: Blaster Master Zero (£8.99 – also out on 3DS) and ACA NEO GEO NAM-1975 (£6.29). The original Blaster Master achieved cult classic status on the NES, mixing 2D side-scrolling and top-down shooting to good effect. Visually it was rather smart too, sporting some chunky, colourful, sprites. This reimaging retains the retro style, along with the pleasingly daft plot – an intergalactic quest to save a pet frog. We hope it doesn’t croak.

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Nintendo Life found the hybrid shooter to suit Nintendo’s hybrid console superbly. “Blaster Master Zero is a lovely addition to the Switch’s library. We suspect that it will help to fill the gap between major retail releases for anxious Switch owners looking for a low-impact game to play on the go” they said before handing out an 8/10.

NAM-1975 is another top-down shooter. This NeoGeo classic was one of the early releases for the system, arriving in 1990. While far from original, it’s quite well balanced and provides a decent challenge. You’d be better off buying last week’s Metal Slug 3 over this, though, as it offers far more variety.

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Wildlands
Mar 08
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Following on from Gravity Rush 2, Nioh and Horizon Zero Dawn, the PlayStation 4 receives yet another significant system exclusive – Square-Enix’s NieR: Automata.

Reviews for the Platinum-developed hack and slash RPG went live ahead of Tuesday’s US release and were full of praise, resulting in a 89% Metacritic that puts it on par with Horizon Zero Dawn.

Of the 52 reviews currently available, the lowest score is a 7.75 from Game Informer. The vast majority however are 9/10s. “Automata doesn’t solve every problem from the original: the graphics are still low tech and the voice-acting remains mostly awful (although the soundtrack is excellent). But rarely has such a seemingly incompatible mix of ideas and genres melded together so well” claimed The Metro.

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Xbox One owners aren’t without something new to play. Far from it, in fact – Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands hit both Xbox One and PS4 on Tuesday, while the budget-priced LEGO Worlds is due Friday. A Switch version is also due at some point.

We’re still waiting on reviews for the potentially massive LEGO Worlds – it’s Minecraft, basically, but with a bigger focus on exploration – but reviews of Wildlands are roaming free. They’re mostly positive so far, including 9.0 from God is a Geek and a 4.5/5 from GamesRadar. Not everybody is smitten by Ubisoft’s latest open-world shooter, though. We Got This Covered opted for a 3/5 while Twinfinite went for a 3.5, claiming that the game world feels empty outside missions.

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