Further proving that this winter is quieter than usual, just one big hitter makes an appearance this week. We do however have a couple of pieces of new hardware and some full-price PSVR games, ready for all the big spenders out there.
That single, solitary, big release is Dishonored 2. If youâ€™re hoping to see reviews surface before handing over the best part of fifty quid, youâ€™re in for disappointment. As you may already be aware, Bethesda has changed their policies so that review code goes out to critics just a day before a game’s release.
This is apparently so critics and gamers get the same experience, at the same time. DOOM was the first to receive this treatment and sales werenâ€™t allegedly harmed despite many â€“ us included – remaining wary of its quality right up until launch day. Ditto Skyrim: Special Edition.
In other words, Bethesda wants us to trust them. Trust that they arenâ€™t about to drop a stinker or a game that still needs development time. The problem is, trust takes time to build. DOOM was ruddy fantastic; Skyrim SE apparently still had five-year-old glitches present. Dishonored 2 could very well be the game that makes or breaks that bond of trust. Weâ€™re exceedingly hopeful, though, as the original Dishonored was one of last-genâ€™s finest stealth adventures.
If you are ready and willing to hand over Â£50 before reviews drop, the digital Xbox One pre-order edition comes with Dishonored DE and the Dishonored 2 â€˜Imperial Assassinâ€™s Packâ€™ for Â£49.99. Looks like PS4 owners gets some themes instead, but they can play a day early.
Then we have Crytekâ€™s PS4-exclusive Robinson: The Journey VR, a first-person adventure set on a dinosaur-filled island. It harks back to Crytekâ€™s pre-Crysis days. Specifically, a PC tech demo known as X-Isle Dinosaur Island. Both IGN and Eurogamer were impressed with the visuals but felt it was lacking overall.
IGN handed out a mediocre 5.5 with their final verdict being: â€œFrustrating controls keep Robinson: The Journey from being much more than a pretty dinosaur exhibit.â€
Eurogamer meanwhile claimed that itâ€™s â€œas hollow as it is spectacular.â€
Ubisoft has a new PSVR game out, too â€“ Eagle Flight VR. PlayStation Lifestyle found much to praise. â€œFlying around a stylized Paris is breathtaking throughout, and the sense of speed is always thrilling. Be it in either single-player or multiplayer, this is one VR game worth experiencingâ€ they said before handing out an 8.0.
PlayStation Universe liked it even more, opting for a 9/10. â€œThis is definitely the PlayStation VR game we have been waiting for!â€ they beamed.
JRPG fans have two new titles to choose from come Friday – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II on PS3 and PS Vita, and Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization on PS4 and PS Vita. Reviews of the former are bountiful, with most being around the 8/10 mark. At the time of typing, just one Hollow Realization review is up â€“ a 7.0 from PlayStation Lifestyle. They praised the storyline, voice acting and character development, but wasnâ€™t too impressed with combat and slow pace.
On the digital services, PS4, PS3 and Xbox One all get doubtlessly thrilling Handball 17. The PS4 and Xbox One also both get Xenoraid, a top-down arcade shooter. Then on PS4-only thereâ€™s the intriguing Small Radios Big Televisions from Adult Swim, a trippy adventure that involves searching various factories for cassette tapes and then explore the virtual worlds within. Think along the lines of Proteusand Hohokum.
The PS4 Pro should be filtering through to retailers any day now. Amazingly, IGN not only reviewed it but also gave it a score â€“ an 8.5. â€œThe PS4 Pro is a premium-looking machine that offers a lot of extra power for developers to exploit. But right now, even on a big and brilliant 4K screen, the differences are often not stark enough to make standard PS4 owners jealousâ€ they warned.
Eurogamerâ€™s Digital Foundry gave it a slightly more thorough going over. â€œIf you own a 4K screen or are considering a purchase, the upgrade will be highly worthwhile, but what’s clear is that there’s little here likely to make your existing console obsolete,â€ they said. They then continued: â€œWith an installed base rapidly approaching 50m users, that’s probably a very good thing.â€
Whereas the PS4 Pro will set you back the best part of weekâ€™s wage, job depending, the NES Mini Classic arrives at roughly the same price as a new release – Â£49.99. A whole bunch of impression and unboxing videos went live on YouTube earlier this week, so you donâ€™t have to look far to find out how it fares. Tech Crunch also compiled this rather comprehensive report, looking at the system itself and all 30 games on it. In short: if you loved the NES, this is essential.
Be warned though â€“ stock appears to be in short supply.
Next week: Watch Dogs 2 (PS4/XO/PC), Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection (PS4/XO), Killing Floor 2 (PS4), Yesterday Origins (PS4/XO/PC), Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (PS4/PS Vita), new LEGO Dimensions sets and standalone releases of the Uncharted PS4 remasters.