Square-Enix is on a roll with their Final Fantasy re-releases, with yet another – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age for Switch and Xbox One – on this week’s agenda.
While it’s great to see FF games on formats that never received them the first time around, Square-Enix seems hellbent on getting them out the door quickly – FFX/X-2 Remaster launched just two weeks ago. We’re jealous of anybody able to find the time to play through these 50+ hour JRPGs before the next arrives.
Other notable new releases are relatively few. From THQ Nordic there’s Fade to Silence, a wintery sandbox survival game that first launched on PC some time ago. Scores are mixed so far with sloppy combat and poorly explained mechanics to blame, although most critics agree that the dynamic weather patterns make good on the game’s promise.
Then from GameFreak, the house of Pokemon, comes Giga Wrecker Alt. on Xbox One and Switch – a physics-based puzzle/platformer with striking 2D visuals. Sadly, scores for this one aren’t sky high either with bizarre design choices at fault.
Speaking of which, Crashbots is an auto-runner with a load of content but a frustration factor that’s off the charts. Weirdly, the protagonist’s health and energy gauges are one and the same. So when you’re low on health you may not have enough juice to make it to the finishing line, and when you’re low on energy one hit can kill you instantly. In the words of Bart Simpson: “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
We awarded it 4/10 yesterday. Xbox Tavern awarded it a similar score – 38%. “Hardcore highscore enthusiasts will possibly enjoy the multiple challenges on offer for each stage, and if you’ve a very strong capacity for patience and forgiveness, there’s enough content included to keep you going for a while. That said, there’s just far too much frustration involved here for it to be considered fun on a casual level, and a vast amount of irritating issues, both technical and by design, further holding the whole thing back,” they said.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection also makes it to Xbox One this week. We’ll be honest – we didn’t know an Xbox version was planned. This collection is light on stone cold classics, but that’s the precisely the point – it brings together a bunch of SNK’s earlier, lesser known, games that many won’t have even heard of before.
The PS4 version was reviewed by ourselves back in March, where we dished out praise for its slick presentation. The developers even went out of their way to include both US and Japanese ROMs of each title. Are you taking notes, Konami?
New release showcase:
Fade to Silence
7/10 – GameSpew: “Its unique setting makes you want to go out and discover its secrets. Its camp building elements reward you for seeking out other survivors and building bonds with them. And the survival aspects give the game depth and added challenge. It isn’t just a bog-standard adventure game with a frosty backdrop; in Fade to Silence, the weather is your biggest foe. Whether you’re a fan of action-adventure or survival games, Fade to Silence is well worth checking out”
6.5 – PSU: “Lackluster combat and poorly explained mechanics aside undermine the fact that Fade to Silence is an often decently crafted survival sandbox effort that neatly dovetails Lovecraftian themes into its design to often surprising effect”
5/10 – Push Square: “Fade to Silence is an amalgamation of mechanics and systems that only work some of the time. Extensive survival procedures and dynamic weather patterns provide the potential for a memorable experience, but nothing takes advantage of that. Controls frustrate, crafting is lacklustre, and combat is missing any sort of depth. Keen survivalists will find something to like here, but those with only a passing interest should probably steer clear”
2.5/5 – Screen Rant: “Fade to Silence’s survival mechanics are mostly a success and, combined with its truly punishing blizzard system, creates moments of gleeful suspense. If the game had eliminated the monster threat and the dull combat mechanics, instead focusing on shoring up the survival elements, it would perhaps be one of the best survival titles of the year. As it is now, it’s still a worthwhile experience with an absorbing premise and fun moments sprinkled throughout, but it’s far too plodding in so many areas to be considered something truly great”
41% – New Game Network: “Fade to Silence is an unremarkable and slow slog for survival through a wintry post-apocalypse. Technical problems, underdeveloped gameplay systems, and a confused tone erode away most of the enjoyment in a setting that showed potential”
Giga Wrecker Alt.
70% – Xbox Achievements: “A cool and unique physics-based puzzle platformer from the house of Pokémon, Giga Wrecker Alt. has some nice twists and mechanics. It’s found a perfect home on console”
6.5 – Xbox Tavern: “Giga Wrecker Alt. has all the markings of a stellar platform puzzler, but sadly doesn’t quite manage to achieve greatness due to its lackluster boss encounters, its at times frustrating design choices, and its somewhat floaty handling. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a hell of a lot to like about the journey at hand, from its intriguing story through to its several interesting mechanics, but the fun is religiously interrupted by the game’s aforementioned drawbacks”
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
A – Gaming Age: “In terms of the quality of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age on Switch this is a very worthy port. And in terms of value that’s up to how you want to look at the whole package because where it’s virtually double the cost of any previous Final Fantasy port yet you do have a load of added features and content that weren’t in the original PS2 version and even extras to the Switch and Xbox One since then which make this one the definitive and best way to play Final Fantasy XII”
8/10 – RPG Site: “That being said if you already own The Zodiac Age, I would still suggest getting the Nintendo Switch version purely for the new additions, which are also available in the Xbox One version. The ability to switch jobs is an invaluable one, and the New Game + feature creates a new level of replayability and grinding opportunities for Zodiac Age’s Trial Mode. If you haven’t yet had the chance to play Final Fantasy XII, I would argue that this is one of the best versions of the game yet”