When it was revealed Activision are involved with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, some folk were left scratching their heads. If youâ€™re still confused as to why the house of Call of Duty has picked up publishing rights, ask yourself this: which publisher wouldnâ€™t want a Dark Souls spin-off in their line-up?
Itâ€™s pleasing to see Activision hasnâ€™t pushed DLC, retailer exclusive content, deluxe editions with early access and all the other gimmicks publishers are keen to flog. Less pleasing is the fact that reviews are under embargo until a day before launch. FromSoftware rarely puts a foot wrong though, so we imagine itâ€™ll be a safe purchase. In fact, FromSoftware are one of the most consistent developers out there.
For the uninformed, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set in 15th century Sengoku Japan, starring a disgraced and disfigured warrior who uses prosthetic tools as weapons. Stealth and the ability to wall-run should make for a remarkably different experience to past Souls-likes. [Update: review scores added below]
Devolver Digitalâ€™s The Messenger is an altogether different ninja adventure, influenced by Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi and other retro classics. It first hit the Switch a few months ago to rave reviews, and itâ€™s looking like this belated PS4 version hasnâ€™t lost anything.
â€œIt perhaps flies a little too close to the sun later on as you hunt down the final few collectibles, but by and large, it’s a cloud-stepping joy. Fans of 2D action games should have a blast with this, and that’s a message we’re happy to pass,â€ said Push Square before dishing out an 8/10.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection also makes the jump from Switch to PS4. This isnâ€™t a collection of NeoGeo games, but rather a package featuring 24 titles from the companyâ€™s early years. Thereâ€™s some obscure stuff on here â€“ developers Digital Eclipse even trekked around Japan to find arcade cabinets so rare that little to no information existed.
The first review of this PS4 iteration clocks in at a stonking 10/10. â€œSNK 40th Anniversary Collection is one of the coolest, most fascinating video game releases out in 2019,â€ was PlayStation Lifestyleâ€™s verdict.
Speaking of belated conversions, tower defence hackâ€™n slasher Hell Warders has finally made it to Xbox One. The Xbox Tavern wasnâ€™t left too impressed, disappointed by the visuals and sloppy controls, ultimately resulting in a mediocre 5/10.
Switch owners get EA’s Unravel Two, meanwhile, avaliable both digitally and physically.
Also of note: Chocoboâ€™s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! on Switch and PS4. Itâ€™s an enhanced version of 2007’s FINAL FANTASY FABLES: Chocoboâ€™s Dungeon with a new two-player buddy system. The jury is still out on this one.
Check back next week for more Square-Enix re-releases, with the legendary Final Fantasy VII receiving a digital dust off on Switch and Xbox One. Now, this is the kind of Cloud-based gaming we can get behind.
New release showcase:
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
9.5 – IGN: “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a stylish, focused stealth-action take on the FromSoftware formula that evolves in a different and refreshing direction. It may be a bit easier than a Souls game, but itâ€™s something amazing all its own”
9.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “It blends mechanics and narrative in a way that is too rare in games today, allowing for a deep level of immersion that begs for just one more clash of blades no matter how difficult the encounters get. Seeing each one to its bloody finish is well worth the trials it takes to get there”
9.0 – GameInformer: “Sekiro is a wild ride through narrative twists and shocking boss battles, and an amazing triumph or crushing defeat is only ever seconds away”
4/5 – Hardcore Gamer: “Set against the backdrop of a gorgeous Japanese aesthetic, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice combines what makes a From Software title special into an excellent, solid package that fans are going to love. Death may be a constant in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but itâ€™s worth getting up each time”
4.5/5 – Digitally Downloaded: “Fate/Extella Link is a delight. It takes beloved characters from a beloved anime franchise, and then appropriates the Koei Tecmo Warriors gameplay structure with such style and panache that Koei should be taking some notes itself”
4/5 â€“ ATOF: “If youâ€™re a fan of the franchise and like musous, then I see no reason why you wonâ€™t enjoy this. On the other hand, I recommend checking out Extella if youâ€™re new. You can go in blind if you want, but I donâ€™t think the gameplay alone is good enough to carry the whole package”
7/10 â€“ Push Square: “As far as Warriors-style action games go, Fate Extella Link is near the top of the pile on PS4 — it’s a robust and refined sequel that fans of the genre shouldn’t miss out on. The process of levelling up, collecting skills, and bonding with your favourite Fate characters is both satisfying and rewarding, and although repetition does become a factor later on, the flashy combat has enough kick to keep you engaged”
New digital multi-format releases:
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Pinball FX3: Williams Pinball â€“ Volume 3
Phar Lap â€“ Horse Racing Challenge
New on PSN:
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection
Chocoboâ€™s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY!
Super Kickers League
New on Xbox One store:
The Sinking City
Tyd wag vir Niemand
Miles & Kilo
Vosaria: Lair of the Forgotten
Stories: The Path of Destinies
New Nintendo retail releases
Next week: Assassin’s Creed III Remastered, Generation Zero, The Princess Guide, Outward, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – The Final Season Episode 4: Take Us Back, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Space Junkies, Final Fantasy VII, Xenon Racer, Operencia: The Stolen Sun, and Air Conflicts Collection.