wehappy
Jul 27
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

General consensus has it that We Happy Few – available now on PC and Xbox One in early access form – has the potential to be something really quite special, but it needs a lot of work in order to achieve that greatness.

It also seems that it isn’t quite what people expected, either. The opening – as shown at E3 – suggests it’s a slow paced and involving drug-fuelled Bioshock-style adventure, when in fact it’s a randomly generated crafting/survival game with (optional) permadeath. Those who have picked up the preview version seem to be enjoying it so far, although be warned that enjoyment may only be temporary – Eurogamer’s interest levels quickly waned.

“We Happy Few has a ways to go, and offers up moments of fitful brilliance – certainly, it’s nice to see some skewering of England’s vaunted cultural heritage in the age of Brexit. But after a couple of days with the game, my high is already beginning to fade” they claimed.

wehappy2

Activision’s current-gen re-release of Marvel Ultimate Alliance and its sequel – announced just last weekend, and stealth launch yesterday – have set tongues wagging too, and all for the wrong reasons. Not only are these re-releases expensive (£29.99 each or £44.99 for the pair) and missing DLC, but PC gamers report of control and audio glitches too.

As HD remasters go, it appears they’ve had the same level of effort put into them as Activision’s own Prototype and Deadpool re-releases. That’s to say, not much at all.

Speaking of surprise releases, Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune leapt out of nowhere and onto PSN earlier this week. PS Plus members can pick up this latest entry in the cult JRPG series for £26.39 (£32.99 otherwise). Another JRPG launching this week is Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PS4, which is in fact the only retail release this week has to offer. Reviews have mostly been around the 7/10 mark so far. “The combat is probably the best of any Compile Heart game I’ve played,” said Destructoid while making comparisons to the Neptunia series.

Read more

Mega-Drive-portable
Jul 26
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Presumably because news stories covering anything slightly nostalgic bring in the clicks, everybody from The Mirror to BT ran stories today reporting on the return of the humble Mega Drive.

00398-625x440

This news originates from a press release issued by FunstockRetro last Friday, announcing a 25th Sonic Anniversary edition Mega Drive with 80 built-in games, plus a handheld version. The console has a cartridge slot, while the handheld features SD card support for additional games.

As most gamers will know, Chinese manufacturer AtGames has been knocking these out for years. An almost identical model launched in 2014, while last year saw the trio of 16-bit Mortal Kombat games added to the roster for a new Mortal Kombat edition.

As for the handheld version, this model with SD card support launched back in 2010 with 20 built-in games.

The mainstream media reports that this “new” console is being released to go head-to-head with the recently revealed Nintendo Classic Mini. While this revised model – which allegedly features more Sonic games than before – may be a strong seller off the back of that, especially if it can gain predominate placing on store shelves, every single news story fails to mentions that these devices have been around for years, with one very similar model available right now. This lack of research is pretty worrying – one quick search on Amazon is all it takes, after all – but not entirely unexpected.

TheMetro

At least the inaccuracies within these pieces raise a grin, with BT referring to Ecco the Dolphin as ‘Echo’ and the usually reliable Metro making the mistake of calling the console the ‘Sony Sega Mega Drive‘ and bizarrely claimed that the new console comes with a portable screen. That’ll be the handheld version, then.

Most outlets also fail to report that half the built-in games are simple homebrew style affairs. You’d think the names of these games – with highlights including Yawning Triceratops, Jack’s Pea and Meatloaf Rotation – would be the giveaway here. That said, the Mega Drive did have a fair few games with very peculiar names. We all remember the classic that was Super Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure, right?

Turbo16WiiU
Jul 25
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Yesterday likeable YouTuber Larry Bundy Jr. published a video detailing the history of the ill-fated Tubrografx-16 mascot Johnny Turbo; today a trio of TurboGrafx-16 titles highlight this week’s UK Nintendo eShop line-up. Coincidence? Yeah, it probably is.

1024px-TurboGrafx16-Console-Set

We have Konami (yes, really) to thank for Wii U re-release of R-Type, New Adventure Island and Bonk’s Adventure.

All three graced the Wii VC back in 2006, but it appears R-Type has been delisted since. We’d wager that Konami has had to cough up licensing fees, as it launches for £7.19 this Thursday, whereas New Adventure Island and Bonk’s Adventure are a somewhat more modest £5.19.

For those not aware, the TurboGrafx-16 was the US version of the PC Engine, a system that went head-to-head with the NES and then later received a CD add-on to help it compete with the Genesis and SNES. Due to very few western developers committing to the console, NEC themselves supplied most of the software. This ultimately caused the system to die out in the mid-90s, failing to ever grace European shores; one of the reasons why we’re pleased to see a trio of its finest on Wii U.

WiiUVC_NewAdventureIsland_07_mediaplayer_large

The New 3DS sees three VC releases too – the Super Nintendo versions of Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting and, wait for it, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. The presence of Street Fighter Alpha 2 surprises us slightly as this rather ambitious conversion utilised the S-DD1 chip to help with graphic decompression. The game is notable for one other, less positive, reason – it had loading times. We wonder how tolerable they’ll be nowadays. We highly doubt they’ll reduce it to ‘curio’ status – it was a pretty decent conversion for the then aging SNES.

Read more

Lumiose_City_(FR_Illumis__IT_Luminopoli__DE_Illumina_City__ES_Ciudad_Luminalia)_scene_illustration
Jul 25
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

For reasons obvious, a trio of Pokémon games resurfaced in this week’s UK top 40.

Dugtrio

We guess this answers the question as to whether Pokémon Go will have a positive impact on the upcoming Pokémon Moon/Sun.

Pokémon Omega Ruby is back at #17, Alpha Sapphire made #24 and Pokemon Y reappeared at #29.

Popular 3DS pack-ins Tomodachi Life and New Super Mario Bros. 2 are back in the chart, too, suggesting that the success of Pokemon Go has also helped 3DS sales. Or 2DS sales, as the case may be.

Other gaming sites will have you believe the ‘real’ news in chart land is that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens has claimed its 4th consecutive number one.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes holds the current unbroken run of five weeks. Considering No Man’s Sky, the next big hitter, isn’t due until 10th August there’s a good chance The Force Awakens will become a LEGO record breaker.

FIFA 16 moved up from #7 to #2 while Overwatch, GTA V and DOOM rose one position each to occupy #3, #4 and #5 respectively.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End dropped from #2 to #6, Black Ops III rose to #7 while Rocket League shot up to #8.

Monster Hunter Generations meanwhile fell from #3 to #9 during its second week of release. Good old Minecraft: Xbox Edition then rounded off the top ten.

Speaking of Xbox, Chart-Track was seemingly unable to compile a complete Xbox 360 top ten this week, presenting us with a top nine instead. In fewer words, only nine different full price Xbox 360 games were sold in the past seven days. The PS3 is starting to show its age now likewise, with the usual top 20 reduced to a top 12.

screen322x572
Jul 22
By Matt Gander In Mobile Games No Comments

Thanks to the ability to transfer critters via a link cable, and later infrared, the core Pokémon games have always had a social aspect. Try as Nintendo might, though, this idea hasn’t extended much further than school playgrounds due to the franchise’s demographic. It pains us to say it, but there’s a slight stigma against playing Nintendo handhelds in public too. That’s unless it happens to be an original Game Boy, which in this day and age will doubtlessly earn extra hipster cred. Unkempt beard optional.

Cna6rouXgAA8WjW

Now Nintendo has finally embraced mobile gaming, Pokémon’s social aspects have become fully realised. All it took was moving their games away from their own hardware; who would have thought it?

By featuring generation one ‘mon, Pokémon Go draws heavy on nostalgia to create something that anybody can play anywhere. There is no stigma in whipping your mobile out for a few minutes as if you were merely checking Twitter or seeing what year old memes have finally found their way onto Facebook. Perfectly suited for on-the-go-gaming, a few minutes is all it takes to load up Pokémon Go (servers permitting), catch a critter or two and grab some extra consumables from nearby PokéStops.

With an attractive entry point of sweet nothing, Pokémon Go has become a worldwide sensation in just one week. This success can also be attributed to a simple core mechanic. It’s one that’s perhaps even a little too simple for its own good, bearing an uncanny resemblance to 2009 mobile hit Paper Toss.

Read more

I Am Setsuna
Jul 20
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

We feel conflicted as to whether releasing a game set during winter in the middle of summer is a brilliant idea or not. It’s certainly something up for debate – we recall Nintendo delaying the N64’s 1080 Snowboarding in Europe from summer to winter, believing it would do better when the weather is chilly outside.

That game in question is Square-Enix’s I Am Setsuna, a digital-only role-player that appears to have snuck up on a lot of gamers. Designed to appeal to fans of the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games, it sees Square-Enix going back to basics with a classic battle system and simple storytelling. It will no doubt appeal to fans of Bravely Default, too, seeing that series was also influenced by RPGs from days gone by. The plot, however, has more in common with Sony’s ICO, involving a maiden who’s about to sacrificed. That’s Setsuna, if you haven’t guessed.

I Am Setsuna2

“It’s not a new classic by any stretch, but I Am Setsuna demonstrates a great understanding and mastery of what made Square Enix’s past successes work so well,” said Polygon before handing out an 8.5. It also gained a thumbs up from Kotaku. “If Tokyo RPG Factory’s goal was to create a sad, stirring adventure that evokes memories of the past without feeling too antiquated, they nailed it” claimed their reviewer.

Sword Coast Legends is an altogether different role-player, coming from the now defunct studio n-Space – the console conversions were handled by publisher Digital Extremes. Set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe from Wizards of the Coast, it’s available now on both PS4 and Xbox One for £15.99 with free Rage of Demons DLC. Fresh features for this console iteration include a new Warlock class, additional skill trees, enhanced visual effects and additional areas.

MalditaCastilla

In a bizarre twist of fate, two games seemingly influenced by Capcom’s Ghouls ‘n Ghosts series turn up this week. Maldita Castilla EX – Cursed Castile is the more obvious, and expensive (£9.59), of the two while Cast of the Seven Godsends – Redux (£5.59) goes for a more modern direction with sharper visuals. Having played the first two stages of Redux we can say that although the artwork is a little amateurish in places, the difficulty level is the right side of challenging. Give the demo a go.

Read more

LIS_new_concept_new_tower2_tif_jpgcopy
Jul 18
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

We haven’t seen a great deal of Virtual Console games lately, save for the odd New 3DS SNES re-release here and there. This week makes up for that – Hudson Soft’s A Shadow’s Tale (aka Lost in Shadow) has been granted a rather unexpected Wii U eShop re-release.

A game popular with collectors, this Wii platformer from 2010 is known to sell for as much as £50 on eBay. At £17.99 for the new digital version, it proves to be a far cheaper option.

Reviews were generally favourable upon release, including 7.5s from both IGN and GameInformer. “Shadow is absolutely a solid experience, albeit one that has some darkness of its own” said the former.

The rest of this week’s Wii U releases are significantly cheaper. The colourful auto-runner Buddy & Me: Dream Edition launches for £3.89 this Thursday alongside 2D Egyptian puzzler Defend Your Crypt (£2.69), Atari 2600 Combat clone Toon Tanks (£1.79), the top-down Hot Rod Racer (£2.69), and good old Jewel Quest (£3.49).

Then on 3DS there’s the rogue-like Adventure Bar Story spin-off Adventure Labyrinth Story (£4.50), the cutesy Ninja Smasher! (£2.93) and Defend Your Crypt again (£2.69).

The New 3DS meanwhile gets Wind-up Knight 2 (£4.00), a runner that arrived to a lukewarm reception on Wii U. We have a feeling that it may fare better on handheld, being a better fit and all.

Read more

KinectSportsRivals1
Jul 18
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Consider last week’s Amazon Prime Day a success – the UK chart has seen a good old shake up off the back of Amazon’s one-day discounts.

Not so much in the top ten – where LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens claims its third number one – but rather just outside, with Zoo Tycoon, Kinect Sports Rivals and Guitar Hero Live re-entering at #11, #12 and #15 respectively. To reiterate, there’s a Kinect game at #12 in the chart. A Kinect game.

XboxOneFamilyBundle

This is more than likely due to Amazon clearing out the Xbox One Holiday Bundle, as it’s known. Fellow Xbox-exclusives Quantum Break, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Forza Motorsport 6 are back in the chart too, while Batman: Arkham Knight is up from #32 to #13 and MGSV: The Phantom Pain returns at #34.

Moving back to the here and now, Capcom’s Monster Hunter Generations is off to a flying start debuting at #3.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is at #2, Overwatch drops to #4 and then at #5 it’s GTA V.

Activision’s Ghostbusters tie-in wasn’t anywhere near as lucky as MonHunGen, and neither does it deserve to be, failing to break even the individual format charts.

As for other recent releases, the dismal 7 Days to Die drops from #11 to #21 while Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – a game so tedious we couldn’t even bring ourselves to review it – falls to #35.

© 2001-2014 Games Asylum