ForHonor
Feb 15
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Launching a major new release on Valentine’s Day strikes us as a shrewd move – the high streets and supermarkets we visited yesterday were far busier than usual.

If you were lucky enough to receive either For Honor or Sniper Elite 4 from a loved one, then you’re in for a good time – both seem to be going down well with critics.

Reviews of Ubisoft’s online-focused melee hack and slasher – which has been likened to a fighting game, thanks to its nuanced combat system – are starting to filter through now. Attack of the Fanboy opted for a 4.5/5, calling it “one of the most visceral multiplayer experiences in video games”, while Cheat Code Central went for a 4/5. “The multiplayer is extraordinary, when it’s working properly” they claimed, suggesting that Ubisoft needs bring the servers up to speed.

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It seems to be business as usual for Sniper Elite – it’s another sturdy shooter, but one that’s lacking when it comes to story and character development. The AI has been improved greatly this time round though, plus melee combat now has those gloriously grizzily slow-mo X-ray sequences.

Scores for the UK-developed shooter include 4.5/5 from Windows Central, 8/10 from GameSpot and a 7.75 from Game Informer. “Sniper Elite 4 is a well-rounded experience that delivers on multiple fronts,” said GI.

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Yazuka0T
Feb 14
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

When it comes to balancing seriousness and silliness, Japanese developers have it perfected. The Yakuza series is perhaps the most explementary juggling act out there, featuring cuts-scenes that often involve unpleasant themes, along with sub-quests that push the boundaries of ridiculousness. It makes for a heady mixture of surprise, suspense, and hilarity; this is one of those rare games that makes you believe anything is possible.

Franchise newcomers (the Yakuza series started out on PS2) may get the wrong impression initially. This ‘80s set prequel is linear to begin with, featuring a few lengthy (approx. 15 min) cut-scenes in close proximity. Not only do they introduce one of two playable characters, but also develop the plot in a surprisingly rapid manner. A straightforward shakedown for cash goes awry, leading a low ranking yakuza – Kazuma Kiryu – to be framed for murder.

Just to illustrate how fast the plot evolves, it’s soon revealed that the murder isn’t the issue – it’s the location in which it took place. A valuable empty lot in an estate due for renovation is causing a commotion amongst warring yakuza clans, and the murder has made the whole situation ten times worse.

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H2x1_3DSDS_TankTroopers
Feb 13
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Three new eShop releases are due this week – one minor release for Wii U and two noteworthy ones for 3DS. New Zelda: Breath of the Wild 3DS themes may be of interest, too – The Open World and A New Adventure, as they’re known, hit the eShop on Thursday for £1.79 each.

TankTroopers

On 3DS Nintendo’s Tank Troopers marches out for a modest £7.19. This cartoony tank battler offers customisable tanks, six-player online support and download play. Consider us intrigued – it looks surprisingly slick.

Dragon Ball Fusions (£34.99) meanwhile is due at both retail and on the eShop. This role-player allows fans to merge DBZ characters to create new fighting styles. Nintendo Life thought it was well put together, giving it 8/10. “Dragon Ball Fusions fuses fan service with an enjoyable story and battle system to create a fresh Dragon Ball video game experience, with the only blot being the sometimes tedious energy aquisition process,” they said.

Then on Wii U there’s I C REDD (£1.39), a tunnel based score-chaser from RCMADIAX. The low price and ‘all caps’ title probably gave that away.

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Nioh2
Feb 13
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

PlayStation 4 exclusive Nioh has had a successful launch, arriving at #2 in the UK top 40. It has certainly defied our expectations – we had it pegged for outside the top ten.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard failed to make it to three weeks at number one – it’s now at #3, dislodged by GTA V.

Rockstar’s evergreen crime caper is now one of five titles to take the top spot for 12 weeks or more, putting it alongside Who Wants to be a Millionaire (18 weeks), Wii Fit (16 weeks), Zumba Fitness (13 weeks) and FIFA 14 (12 weeks). Never underestimate the casual market.

FIFA 17 dropped to #4 while Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare remained at #5.

Battlefield 1 rose one place to #6 while Rocket League fell to #7. At #8 it’s last week’s new arrival Hitman: The Complete First Season. Positions #9 and #10 were then occupied by two top ten re-entries – Overwatch and Watch_Dogs 2.

WWE 2K17, Mafia III and Final Fantasy XV departed the top ten, meanwhile.

Nioh was the only new arrival this week, although we did see No Man’s Sky, LEGO Batman 3 and Mario Kart 7 re-appear in the bottom half of the top 40. With no LEGO Batman Movie tie-in, we guess LEGO Batman 3 is proving popular with those who missed it first time round.

APT
Feb 09
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

When this colourful match-three puzzler hit PSN last week it attracted a bit of attention. We’d wager this is down to the fact that it bears stark resemblance to Bust-A-Move (aka Puzzle Bubble), Taito’s celebrated classic that’s long overdue a comeback.

Indeed, quite why current license holder Square-Enix hasn’t sought to create a new console/handheld Bust-A-Move since 2011’s Puzzle Bobble Universe is beyond us. The series is perfectly suited for digital distribution as past games have always arrived at less-than-full-price. It’s not like match-three puzzlers have fallen out of fashion either. In fact, they’re more popular than ever. Guess we can thank Facebook for that.

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Adventure Pop’s set-up is identical to Tatio’s age old classic. Launch coloured bubbles out of a cannon to clear the screen, performing slick trick shots by bouncing shots off walls. Two bubbles are loaded into the cannon at once which can be swapped between. Fail to clear the screen before the supply of projectiles depletes, or if the bubbles drop below the line during a boss stage, then it’s game over. Actually, that’s a white lie – being a free-to-play game, it’s possible to cough up some cash to carry on playing. IAPs start at £2.39, rising to £39.99.

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Nioh1
Feb 08
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

While Team Ninja’s Nioh looks very similar to Dark Souls on first glance, critics are keen to stress that there are several key differences. Not only is it samurai themed, but it also has a different stamina system – which gives the chance to attack enemies when they’re suffering from fatigue – summonable spirit animals, and a weapon system with three forms of attack.

Review scores have been sky high – including top marks from Jim Sterling – with consensus being that it sees Team Ninja back on top form. Those who didn’t enjoy Dark Souls won’t find solace here, though. It put Polygon through their paces so thoroughly that they had to postpone their review. “This is almost certainly the most difficult game we’ve ever had to review in our decade-plus of writing about games,” they claimed.

Nioh2

Rainbow Six: Siege – Season 2 aside, Nioh is this week’s only retail release. Next week looks set to make up for that, with both Sniper Elite V4 and For Honor out Tuesday.

On the Xbox One store the free-to-play Adventure Pop popped out of nowhere earlier this week. That was soon accompanied by another FTP release – mobile hit Fallout Shelter. We’ve spent a couple of hours with the post-apocalyptic homemaker and found it to be curiously compelling. Not the best fit for console – there’s a lot of time spent waiting for something, anything, to happen – but it’s pleasant enough. The presentation remains appealing and there’s enjoyment to be had by sending your civilians out to scavenge in the wasteland.

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coins
Feb 07
By Jake In Mobile Games No Comments

Piracy is rife on Android. Piracy is bad. But free is good. And you can have free Android apps without piracy. At a price. (Figuratively.) Here are two ways.

Amazon Underground

Amazon Underground launched in 2015, replacing Amazon’s daily free app offering. It’s an intriguing beast, offering apps for free that would cost you good money – either up front or in IAPs – elsewhere. How? Why? Quite.

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20151021193151_1b2cf3f9
Feb 06
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Square-Enix’s Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber hits the Wii U’s Virtual Console service this Thursday for a modest £8.99. If you’re able to finish this cult tactical RPG before the Switch arrives in less than a month, then you deserve a pat on the back.

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Indeed, it’s nice to see Wii U support with the Switch’s release looming. While this late N64 RPG was never released in Europe, it did make it onto the Wii VC years ago. Way back in 2010, to be precise. We’re looking forward to a Switch re-release in 2024.

A few new indies are due on the soon-to-be-outdated console too. These include Words Up! Academy (£2.69) – which is simply described as a “puzzle and skill game” – and Maze Break (£6.00), which combines Breakout/Arkanoid with traditional maze solving.

They’re joined by Plantera (£4.49), due on both Wii U and 3DS with same ID cross-buy.

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