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Gal*Gun 2 is an interesting experience, to say the least. I can’t say it’s a bad game, but it isn’t a great one either. I can say I am not the target audience and that’s fine, for those who the game is targeted at, will have a grand time. Judging this game, mechanically, it works, and the concept of rail shooters still works in 2018 despite being popularized over a decade ago. At an asking $60 price, it’s hard to justify but I did have fun with it for what it is. The story and soundtrack are poor, the former by design and the latter because of lack of care. The voice acting is great, and the graphics do well to imitate manga and anime. In the end, it all comes down to if this experience is what you want.
Dark Souls Remastered is a special experience. With almost no narrative or direct story the game somehow utilizes combat to force the player to feel true emotion, you’ll feel victorious, devastated, inspired, distraught, confused, powerful and so much more. The world really works well with the story that’s available to convey a quest of epic proportion. You know what you’re doing is important. You feel the stakes. It’s this gauntlet of emotions that a player feels that makes Dark Souls so unique. There’s no doubt that this is an incredibly challenging game, but it’s a challenge well worth undertaking. There is no way to describe the sense of personal achievement this game will give you, experience it yourself and you’ll feel an addiction creeping in that you won’t be able to escape. This Remaster really is the definitive Dark Souls experience and a brilliant way to make one of the best games as accessible as possible.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a fantastic 2D platformer that is challenging, filled with collectibles, and has a nice handful of characters to choose from. The game is beautiful, and the soundtrack is spectacular. The co-op element is wonderful, and the game is a ton of fun. Judging the Switch release without taking the Wii U version into account, this is definitely worth a purchase. However, here is the problem... Other than the higher resolution, the faster loading times, and Funky Kong, it's the same exact game that can be picked up for Wii U and a fraction of the price. Donkey Kong Country fans will not need convincing but for those who own the game on Wii U, the only reason to get this game is for the portability aspect of Switch. It was enough to warrant another purchase for me, but will it be for you? Other than that, this release doesn't add any incentive to double dip. For those who love challenging 2D platforming, this is definitely worth the purchase because of its extremely high fun factor and the challenging difficulty. Regardless of platform or year released, this entry is still a wonderful showcase of Retro Studios creativity and talent, a near masterpiece of exceptional gameplay and design.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is exactly what the title states; it is the ultimate version of Hyrule Warriors. The game has everything that was available on the 3DS and Wii U combined and runs at 1080p and 60FPS. For those interested in the series but never took the chance, this is the perfect opportunity. The game is loaded with more content than more games with full series, it looks good and the music is pretty great. There is no stuttering, no pop-in, and no performance issues that I’ve encountered. The game offers couch co-op and the story is surprisingly good. For those who have already played it... well, then it might be more difficult to recommend. 3DS players will see a vast difference in visuals and performance and Wii U owners will find an experience similar to what they’ve previously experienced. For you, I imagine portability will be the defining factor. For me, the portability trumps everything else because of my hectic lifestyle. Regardless, one thing is for sure, and that’s that the best version is the Switch version.
Rogue Aces is a cracking little game that’s great fun and has plenty to do. Its graphics and sound design are decent but it’s the addictive gameplay hook that will keep pulling you back for “just one more go”. It’s perfect for portable gaming, so its presence on both the Vita and the Switch is very smart thinking by the developers. So while it’s still fun on the big screen at home, its short play design loop makes it an ideal purchase for the commuting gamer on the go. Plus it’s less than a tenner so what are you waiting for?
Aside from being upset about the US not getting a full nude version of Conan Exiles on the console, this game is pretty damn good. The crafting system is extremely complex in regards to the variety of things you can make and their uses. The access to those recipes and the actual creating of the items is easy and even a brain dead horse would be able to manage it. The thrall system (Servants) makes this even easier and speeds up the process of everything as well as beef up your base defense. The single player is great for people who prefer solo play but it takes some fun out of the game in my opinion.
As a massive Streets of Rage 2 fan (still my favourite game of all time) I have been looking forward to play Raging Justice from the second I learned of its existence. Now while I can’t say that this knocks SoR2 of the top spot (the nostalgia alone meant it never had a chance), what Raging Justice does do is bring the forgotten genre into the modern day and it does it well. With the addition of challenges and the GoodCop/BadCop system, MakinGames have added longevity to a game that is short by design (as most brawlers were). There are some annoyances such as those mentioned previously, along with some collision detection issues involving a steel girder that manages to hit you whether or not you’re actually under it when it comes down. Also some of the boss fights feel needlessly drawn out due to the small window given to inflict damage during the gameplay loop (boss is vulnerable for a short time, boss becomes invulnerable during his attacks, boss calls for gang of regular enemies then sits in the corner, invulnerable again, while you take them out, repeat). These niggles aside, Raging Justice is just pure fun. It harkens back to the classics that inspired it while adding enough to give it it’s own identity. Its simple gameplay combined with its challenges and leaderboards give it the “one more go” factor that will keep genres fans coming back for more. Even for those who haven’t played this type of game, there’s plenty of fun to be had. As my non gaming wife put it, after we played through the campaign, “it’s repetitive but addictive” and who am I to argue with her?
City of Brass is an amazing rogue like title. It really captures the spirit of the genre and understands what the strengths and weaknesses of this style of game are. It addresses these superbly by allowing players to customize their experience. The gameplay is fun but does start to feel repetitive after extended periods of play, considering the price of the title though, the hours of fun you’ll get well outweighs the eventual grating. If you are in anyway interested in rogue like titles like The Binding of Isaac, City of Brass shines as brightly as the best of them.
Lode Runner Legacy is loaded with content and open freedom for individuals to dabble into their creative sides with little restrictions. Puzzles increase in difficulty as you progress through the levels and the gameplay does still hold up after 35 years, but the gameplay is where I can see gamers getting turned off. Unfortunately for Lode Runner, we live in an era where dynamic gameplay is prevalent and new ways to play are being discovered constantly, so players may see this simplicity and not give it a shot. That would be a shame. I’ve really grown to appreciate and enjoy Lode Runner Legacy and I think others could too; I definitely recommend this game.
God of War is the game that will define this entire generation. It takes great ideas from multiple games and doesn’t just improve on them, it brings a unique twist to make those ideas shine brighter than they ever had. The story has epic moments of brutal, stylish combat like any God of War game should have, these are tempered by emotional moments that Oscar winning movies can’t compete with. The world and characters are brought to life in a way that no other video game has matched, Midgard truly feels real as you are totally immersed in the journey. To call God of War the Game of the Year in 2018 is really not doing the title any justice, there are very few games that have ever been made that stand close to this game’s brilliance. Sony Santa Monica have crafted something totally unique here and deserve every single sliver of praise that players have to throw their way. If I could condense this two thousand word review into three words, these would be: Play This Game.
It is easy to see why Hellblade received universal acclaim when it released on PlayStation and PC back in August 2017 and also why it swept 5 Baftas at the recent 2018 awards. It is a triumph of mature story telling, incredible audio design and meaty, visceral combat. What is even more impressive is that this game was created by a mere team of 20, released at a low price point and has production values that easily rival most AAA games on the market. A definitive must have for Action-Adventure Fans.
The Adventure Pals may not have been a big release but it has now became one of my favourite games I’ve played this year. It’s completely my type of game. Cute characters, funny wording and breath-taking art style. I love it all. It’s a simple game that doesn’t require an expert gamer to master and allows you to purely enjoy the masterpiece you’re pulled into. All whilst being able to share this with someone else using local co-op. It is ram packed with content lasting a lot longer than I had originally thought, usually indie games can be short-lived. Not this one, please play it. I promise you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. This charming platformer needs to be shouted about.
Attack On Titan 2 is a solid title that will impress players with its ambitious high paced combat and stunning visuals. It has some minor flaws such as some poor game design choice regarding Daily Life gameplay, but overall it’s a pleasant experience for any AOT fan and, probably, a great discovery for any newcomer.
Time Carnage VR has some truly exceptional moments. Staring down hordes of spiders, raptors and mutants with two mini guns in an abandoned street is cool and fun in the best kind of way. However the repetitive gameplay in the Campaign really drags the package down. If the campaign’s levels had been half the length this would have been an excellent content package. Instead the repetitiveness of the gameplay will really turn you away from the rest of the brilliant content.
Overall the game is pretty fun and definitely a choice for the hardcore gamer out there that likes solving puzzles and enjoys a challenge that matches that of some of the hardest games out there. You’ll definitely find yourself in a challenging environment unlike any other and you’ll have to stay one step ahead of your current movement to know exactly what to do next in order to evade the enemy and have time to perform an action. I wouldn’t suggest this game for the casual player though as you will likely get frustrated and never attempt to finish the game again. For the price however you may be tempted to give it a shot no matter what.
The American Dream VR is a decent take on gun culture in the USA. It really does lampoon some traditional American experiences very well, the only issue is that the game only really has one joke. While the joke absolutely works, it also wears thin. The game does try to bring more elements in near the end, shifting the focus to the nature of capitalism rather than the second amendment. However, this felt tacked on and was never properly explored. The gameplay is generic enough that it will get you through each area without a lot of effort or without you feeling bored. Luckily Michael Dobson’s Buddy Washington absolutely pulls you through the game. If you go into this looking for something fun with guaranteed laughs you will be pleased. If you’re desperate for some absolutely biting satire that digs into the roots of the problems in the United States of America while also getting to play an over the top action game like Far Cry, you’ll be disappointed.
Guilt Battle Arena is an entertaining, fun filled bundle of joy. It is the perfect game when you have friends around and you want to prove once and for all who is the boss. I would’ve really liked to have had more solo options and for that reason I would say if you very rarely have friends around or you prefer to play games alone, then it may be wise to give this one a miss. However, if you’re a fan of the party game genre then you oughta give this a go. It will not disappoint.
This game is one of frustration...in so many ways. The way your truck moves at a snail's pace along the seemingly neverending mucky paths, the way the external camera never sits quite right, the fact that the most enjoyable experiences in the game (the challenges) are such a small part. So while there is some enjoyment to be had and the physics engine and graphics are both notable, the core game ultimately feels more like work than fun.
It’s hard to believe that this hasn’t been made into a physical card game or that Dead Exit wasn’t inspired by a real card game. For £7.99 you cannot go wrong. Although it is a little overwhelming at first it is incredibly satisfying when you defeat your first opponent or escape the city for the first time, and it continues to be satisfying and exciting. With 3 different single player modes and a multiplayer mode (when it works) you have plenty of ways to mix it up. Each time you play through a mode you will have a different experience than the last. Although I would have liked there to be a deck builder of some kind in there so I could take on opponents in my own way I still thoroughly enjoyed this unique table-top card game and if you’re a fan of strategy card games then you will too.
Mario Odyssey, in it's most simple description, is a triumph. How Nintendo manages to take a tried and successful formula, mould it into something fresh without breaking it is an outstanding achievement. However, Odyssey is much more than that. When Mario 64 launched in 1996 the world gasped; how did Nintendo manage to craft such an amazing experience? Well, now 21 one years later they seem to have done it once again. From the precision crafted gameplay mechanics to the beautifully created 3D worlds, Odyssey excels on all levels. It also offers incredible value for money with the sheer amount of content on offer. In a landscape where traditional single player games are becoming more scarce, Mario leads a shining example of what can be achieved.