This week’s assortment of new releases are an odd bunch, mostly being games that have had a moderate budget – available both at retail and on the download services – yet nobody is talking about them on social media. In fact, Argos has already cut the price of two new releases – Generation Zero and Outward – which presumably means they’ve had very slow launches.
For the uninformed, Generation Zero is an open-world sci-shooter set in 1980’s Sweden, favouring online co-op play. It’s from the minds behind the Just Cause series, re-using the Apex engine. It doesn’t appear to be going down quite as well as their previous titles, however, with complaints of sparse environments and a poorly paced, unrewarding, gameplay loop. Review scores are subsequently mixed so far, with only a few critics able to see its potential.
Despite launching on Tuesday, reviews of Deep Silver’s Outward are yet to surface. This open-world survival RPG puts you in the boots of an ordinary adventurer, rather than a mystical being. User reviews on Steam and Metacritic are surprisingly positive, so it’s a mystery as to why review code has seemingly been held back.
Then we have Xenon Racer, a futuristic affair that feels more like Ridge Racer than Wipeout due to a focus on drifting. It doesn’t do much with its futuristic setting at all, in fact – there are no ramps, loops, weapons or anything of the sort. Just beefy muscle and sports cars skidding around typical racetracks. We’ve spent a few hours with it so far, and while it’s far from terrible, it does feel rather bland. Even the narrator sounds bored – “That’s an error” he casually says after smashing into a barrier at top speed. We’ve rounded up scores below. Look out for our own review soon.
This week also bears not one, not two, but three JRPGs. Final Fantasy VII needs no introduction. This Xbox One and Switch re-release is a typical low budget Square-Enix effort, with very little care or attention. You can however adjust the game speed by X3 and turn off random battles, which is handy. At £12 we can’t grumble too much, but still, it’s sad to see such a classic title shoved out the door with no real thought.
The Princess Guide, meanwhile, apparently suffers from terrible AI during combat. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is faring far better, even gaining a few 9/10s.
The Xbox One and Switch also receive Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, a glorified mobile conversion. Although it packs in plenty of fan service, it’s reportedly on the shoddy side. “Unless you’re an absolute die-hard Power Rangers fan who foams at the mouth when it comes to new content (and has patience to wait for online matches), give this one a very easy miss,” said Australian site Stevivor, who warned of inactive online lobbies.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is one of this week’s bigger releases, if not the biggest. Reviews are live now, confirming what many predicted – it’s full of great ideas, but a little light on challenge. Scores are mostly clocking in at 8/10, with a few 7s here and there.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is also due out Friday. ACIII is generally remembered as being a bit of a mess – Ubisoft had numerous studios working on separate parts which they then stitched together, resulting in a real hodgepodge of a game. Its development is rather fascinating, with some studios even kept out of the loop on ideas that were being cut. Unless a miracle has occurred, we don’t hold out much hope.
Which brings us onto The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode 4, which many feared would never see the light of day. Word has it that it’s worth the wait, despite a few shortcomings. You’ll find a smattering of spoiler-free reviews below.
New release showcase:
8.0 – God is a Geek: Generation Zero combines the open world of an RPG with the shooting and looting of a battle royale, to create a rather special, 80s vision of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, where every fight feels like a battle for survival.
6.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: I’d recommend Generation Zero to those who have a steady group of friends to play with. If not, stay away until the game goes on sale or a major patch releases that makes the single player option more manageable. I like you, Generation Zero. I just wanted better.
N/A – Eurogamer: Yes, Generation Zero may be a riot with a couple of pals (even though they don’t get to keep any of their hard-earned progress if playing in your world, and vice versa). But despite its broody atmosphere and brutal combat sequences, Generation Zero is just another open-world FPS without the content needed to meaningfully sustain – and reward – its players.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
8.25 – GameInformer: Despite a slow difficulty ramp, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a delightful adventure thanks to fun-to-find collectibles, colorful levels, and creative boss battles
4/5 – US Gamer: The visuals in Yoshi’s Crafted World speak for themselves. Every corner you turn presents something new to wonder at. The game’s a bit on the easy side, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you accept Yoshi titles are more about exploration and collecting than serious platforming. It’s a great little “spring game” that should fill out your Switch library nicely.
7.8 – IGN: Yoshi’s Crafted World is a very fun platformer that’s light on challenge or ambition, but brimming with creativity and charm.
B+ – Defunct Games: There are other minor problems, like the long load times and occasional frame rate issues. But the truth is, none of these issues, including the repetitive tracks and weird A.I., are enough to keep me from having a good time. Maybe it’s because I’m so starved for an arcade racing game, but I had a lot of fun with Xenon Racer.
6.4 – Video Chums: There’s no denying that Xenon Racer is a very promising drift-focused racing game but it doesn’t quite reach the high notes that its inspirations achieved 20 or so years ago. As a result, you’ll be better off booting up your PS1 and replaying some classics.
6/10 – GameSpew: Ultimately, while Xenon Racer‘s initially frustrating difficulty barrier can be overcome, its blurry visuals, brief campaign and awful announcer take the shine off of the whole experience.
The Princess Guide
6/10 – TheSixthAxis: The Princess Guide is an adorable, energetic game. It has gorgeous art and fun, well-written characters. It’s just marred by grinding through messy and poorly designed combat. The AI squad-mates that are so integral to the action have terrible AI that make it impossible to consistently coordinate any of their actions. There’s massive heart and care put into the narrative and visual design of The Princess Guide, but that is weighed down by how frustrating it is to play the game.
6/10 – Nintendo Life: When it’s firing on all cylinders, The Princess Guide is a somewhat deep, satisfying action game with vibrant visuals and humorous, whimsical storytelling. Unfortunately, it’s bogged down by trying to shove overengineered combat through a thick UX fog. After yet another “mission” that consists of moving on the map to intercept three enemy skirmishes to completion, a reasonable player might wonder: Is it worth $40 to praise-or-scold each Princess through a couple of hours of sword-swinging?This quirky game may meet the particular sensibilities of some, but others should probably pass on this one.
5.5 – Destructoid: The Princess Guide is a game I enjoy less and less the more I play it. There is a sound structure here and some really clever ideas, but the weight of all its small issues really burden what should a fun and frivolous experience.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
9/10 – PSU: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a sprawling epic of a game. With satisfying combat, incredibly well defined characters, and enough story to satisfy the most demanding visual novel fan, Trails of Cold Steel has earned its place in the JRPG Hall of Fame. It’s time to call it like it is: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a classic.
9.0 – God is a Geek: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel on PS4 is everything I wanted in a remaster of one of my favourite RPGs this decade and more.
8/10 – Push Square: Between its brilliant world building and fantastic cast of characters, this is a slow-burning story that refuses to let you go. While the game does plod at points, it’s hard not to sit back and appreciate just how much effort has gone into making this world feel so rich and interesting. Add a rock solid turn based combat system to the mix, and you’ve got all the makings of a genre classic.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season – Episode 4
4.5/5 – ATOF: ore could have been done to give this season as a whole the feeling of conclusion it strives for and somewhat reaches in this finale, but those who stuck with it this whole time will come away satisfied. Now we all just have to hope that The Walking Dead has one last resurrection left in it, if we want to explore the ramifications of the ending presented here.
9/10 – Cultured Vultures: Take Us Back caps off The Walking Dead: The Final Season on a pitch perfect note with the goodbye that Clementine and Telltale themselves deserve.
6/10 – The Metro: If you’ve stuck with the series to this point, the last four episodes are worth playing despite having to make it through the technical problems and head-shakingly misconceived action sequences, but if Skybound wants to continue the franchise, it’s going to need an almighty reboot.