Jun 21
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

While this week’s line-up of new titles is lacking a standout big hitter, plenty of new games are vying for your cash.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, in particular, stands a very good chance of breaking the UK top ten next week, and that’s despite a lack of reviews – being online focused, critics are taking their time before penning a final verdict. Kotaku and Destructoid both have work-in-progress reviews though if you’re eager to read up on early impressions.

Other retail releases include Dead by Daylight and Get Even on PS4 and Xbox One, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls on PS4, and 3DS JRPGs RPG Maker Fes and Ever Oasis.

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Slasher horror Dead by Daylight hit PCs in 2016, offering 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer similar to Evolve and the much more recent Friday the 13th: The Game. It’s launching on consoles for around the £25 mark, and while the absence of reviews is a tad concerning, it’s looking like a safe enough purchase. The PC original managed to gain a respectable Metacritic of 72%.

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Jun 20
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

Role-playing games usually don’t hit their stride until around the 8-hour mark, with most starting with a slow-burning introduction sequence that sets up the stage for what’s to come. THQ Nordic’s The Dwarves – a tactical RPG released right at the end of 2016 – breaks this tradition, being an incredibly fast-paced and condensed experience with little to no flab.

After around just 8 hours of play the story was heading towards the point of no return, and it wasn’t long until the final blow was delivered to the end boss. With the plot being an amalgamation of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, based on a trilogy penned by Markus Heitz, there’s an undeniable Tolkien-esque vibe present, references to bearded female dwarves and all.

Over the space of two evenings, I’d grown familiar with likeable protagonist Tungdil, completed the majority of side-quests, saved entire towns from orc armies, forged a mighty weapon to rid the world of evil, and tracked down the main villain to their lair. In any other RPG, I’d be squaring up to the first boss roundabout now.

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Indeed, the speed of which the plot develops is pretty astonishing, with drama-filled cut-scenes appearing at the end of almost every battle. Each chapter lasts around 2 hours, mostly comprising of a couple of large scale battles and a handful of surprise encounters. These encounters often occur when visiting a town or tavern via the map screen, and mostly involve ‘Choose your own Adventure’ dialogue boxes with multiple choices. In a few instances picking the wrong answer leads to insta-death, which is mighty frustrating, but generally finding out what happens next is compelling, especially in prickly situations.

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Jun 19
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

After a small resurgence last week, Horizon Zero Dawn has gone the whole hog and re-claimed the UK chart top spot, dislodging Sony’s own Wipeout: Omega Collection in the process.

This can be attributed to a price drop – the open-world opus is currently available for around £25 online.

Nintendo’s ARMS had to settle for #2. It’s the 4th fastest selling Switch game so far, following behind Zelda: BotW, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and launch title 1-2-Switch.

GTA V saw a sales boost too, moving back up to #3. DiRT 4 dropped one place to #4, and then at #5 it’s Wipeout: Omega Collection.

At #6 it’s Tekken 7, down from #2. FIFA 17 remained at #7 while Overwatch falls a few places to #8.

Injustice 2 moved down to #9. Good old Rocket League sees us out at #10.

MotoGP 17 was this week’s only other new arrival, parking up at #18. PlayStation VR Worlds did manage to re-enter at #27, however.

Jun 16
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

We’re still in two minds as to whether launching a new release during E3 is sensible or not.

Any coverage is bound to be shoved off a gaming site’s pages quickly, in favour of E3 news. ARMS does have a few advantages, however – the global testpunch converted many naysayers, and Nintendo lifted the review embargo some time ago.

As reported during our new release round-up, scores include 9/10s from Nintendo Life and God is a Geek, an 8.25 from GameInformer and 8/10 from The Metro. It also recieved Eurogamer‘s ‘Reccomended’ badge today. “Arms does for fighting games what Mario Kart did for driving games, and the results are absolutely splendid,” they said.

There aren’t any big new releases on PS4/Xbox One to challenge it, meaning it stands a good chance of taking the UK chart top spot. We’ll find out on Monday.

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The Switch sees two other eShop releases this week. In fact, it’s the only Nintendo system to see some eShop action, aside from a Dr Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training demo.

Feared cancelled at one point (we even reported as such, after having a long-standing pre-order cancelled), Nintendo had a sudden change of heart for Devilish Brain Training, dusting it off to launch alongside the upcoming New 2DS. It launched in the US way back in 2013, and in Japan in 2012, making this an incredibly belated release.

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Jun 14
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Usually we see at least one surprise E3 release, with Trials of the Blood Dragon and Dead Rising 3’s Street Fighter remix being two key examples, but this year we were treated only to a new Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite story demo. If it isn’t in your download queue already, it’s probably worth a look.

Indeed, this week’s release schedule is quieter than usual due to E3, with just a few new games of note. Of these, Nintendo’s ARMS is by far the biggest.

Shrewdly, Nintendo lifted the review embargo way before E3. The colourful fighter has gone down almost as well as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, gaining 9/10s from Nintendo Life and God is a Geek, an 8.25 from GameInformer and 8/10 from The Metro. “One of the most enjoyable and original fighting games of recent years, that fully justifies its use of motion controls – and it’s only set to get better in the future” was The Metro’s verdict.

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Tour de France 2017 and MotoGP 17 mark the arrival of the two-wheel race calendar, meanwhile. These two racers always launch during the same week, and as per usual, reviews are thin on the ground. They aren’t due out until Friday however, so we may see some before the week is out.

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Jun 14
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

It could be argued that most, if not all, of the big-name publishers played it safe at E3 by sticking to their franchises and annual outings. Even so, this year’s expo could become one for the ages.

The big boys bought out their biggest guns, resulting in an extravaganza of exceedingly promising titles.

Sony had a strong line-up of system showcases; the usual assortment of new and classic IPs that we’ve come to expect. Microsoft knuckled down and finally revealed some new games; 42 titles, no less – 22 of which are exclusive in some way. As for Nintendo, while we would have liked to have seen at least one new IP, and a few more third-party titles, their line-up was incredibly strong. By the end of 2018, we should have a Switch catalogue that eclipses that of the Wii U. A dizzying prospect.

We’ve picked out six showstoppers that had the crowds whooping and hollering. Woo!

A Way Out

EA’s conference marked the beginning of E3, and so it makes sense to start with a new game from good old Electronic Arts. Step forward A Way Out, a story-driven adventure that can only be played via online or local co-op in split-screen. Maybe not the most enticing of set-ups, but consider this – it’s from the guys behind Brothers, which also had an unprecedented focus on teamwork.

Essentially Prison Break: The Game – excusing the fact that such a thing already exists – it sees two criminals escaping from prison and going on the run, fleeing through forests and taking to the city streets to reunite with their families. With different scenarios unfolding each time, playthroughs should vary significantly.

Our only worry is that the online experience is going to heavily depend on whom you’re paired with. Online etiquette isn’t what it used to be, but hopefully, the more mature tone will attract a fanbase with decorum.

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Jun 12
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Proving that a new instalment was long overdue, WipEout: The Omega Collection has topped the UK chart. Amazingly, it’s the first in the series to do so – the 1995 PS1 original only made it to #5.

Codemasters’ DiRT 4 is off to a good start too, arriving at #3.

The third – and final – new entry for this week is The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind at #9.

Incidentally, Bethesda’s own Dishonored 2 is also back in the top ten, at 10, while both DOOM and Fallout 4 re-entered at #17 and #18 respectively due to price cuts.

Prey had a rough week, however, dropping from #6 to #15.

Going back to the top ten, Tekken 7 dropped to #2 after debuting at no.1.

Horizon Zero Dawn rose to #4 thanks to a long-awaited price drop, GTA V remains at #5, Overwatch is at #6, FIFA 17 fell to #7 while Injustice 2 dropped a few places to #8.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands dropping from #7 to #21 is also noteworthy.

Jun 11
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

In Refunct, the end is just the beginning. It isn’t until after the initial playthrough that it starts to resemble a conventional video game.

Until then, it’s less of a ‘game’ and more of an experience.

Set in a world stripped of colour, it’s your job to bring it back to life, restoring colour by leaping and wall running off blocks and platforms to reach the activators that make more colourless blocks rise from the water. Along the way, there are collectable cubes to find, and a couple of new playthings are introduced.

Refunct (5)

There are no means of failure whatsoever, allowing you to take in the calmness of the water, the tranquil sunsets and mellow soundtrack as you work out how to reach the next area. The task at hand takes around 15-20 minutes; a length that’s reflected by the price – a mere £2.39.

As well as a bonus for finding all collectables, there are also achievements to gain for reaching the end within certain time limits. Beating it within 8 minutes it’s tough; under 4 minutes is a challenge. Suddenly the tranquil experience you just played through becomes a rush to beat the clock, prompting you to try and memorise block formations and activator locations.

Now, it’s a video game.

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