Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 6 (2013, PS3 exclusive) – 9/10 driving game review

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Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Kazunori Yamauchi

Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator 6 aka GT6 (2013)

9/10

Whether coaxing an unwanted Prius into 1st, manhandling a Stratos, marveling at the grip on a Mazda Roadster Touring Car or experiencing cornering speeds that seem beyond human comprehension in the Red Bull X-Series, GT6‘s driving experience is sublime. Every car is a joy to drive and this trumps every shortcoming the game has. On easier difficulties the AI let you win by ostentatiously slowing down (though I’m they removed this from Seasonal Events), the sound is highly variable, the track editor still doesn’t exist eight months after release, none of the career races feature standing starts or qualifying or racing exactly, the ultimate endurance races have been cut short by about 23 1/2 hours and they shouldn’t have wasted processing power on the worthless damage modelling. On the plus side, the graphics are astonishing for PS3, the lighting is wonderfully improved over GT5, the dynamic weather and time of the day is exemplary, the photo mode is as engrossing as ever, the track list is unmatched in quality with a superlative selection of original tracks backing up the old real-life stalwarts (Grid: Autosport is close), the car list is unmatched in quantity, hundreds of the car models are unmatched in quality and the (Dualshock) driving experience is totally unmatched: exquisite, an unending treat, a masterclass in response and communication.

Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.

Links

Grid 2 (2013, Steam on Windows PC) – 7/10 racing game review

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Cast / crew
Chief Game Designer: James Nicholls
Lead Programmer: Gary Buckley
Producer: Iain Strachan Smith
Producer: Toby Evan-Jones
Design Manager: Matthew Horsman

Grid 2 (2013)

A new racing series, World Series Racing or WSR, is looking to make it’s mark on the international stage and needs a driver to start making headlines with his preternatural skill and achievement. Your time has come.

7/10

There is a problem with all the cars feeling like they go at the same speed (a billion miles an hour) and there is not much differentiation in handling between cars meaning you don’t really develop an understanding with particular cars. On top of this potentially-bland driving experience, most of the non-driving aspects of Grid‘s single player game have been moved to the multiplayer or sidelined; I feel that this loses the extra interest, atmosphere, identity and personality of the Race Driver series and it isn’t restored using a flashy video with your name on it here and there. Fortunately, the driving experience just escapes blandness by making every car on the knife-edge of control and the racing experience is never less than completely thrilling. That’s not to say that it’s always fun or ever convincing. The handling is unpredictable, always, and as soon as you start getting into the faster cars it is a largely miserable if still heart-pumping experience. The game looks fantastic with a nice range of infuriatingly forgettable and interchangeable locations (Chicago, Miami, Barcelona and Paris, specifically; the real tracks are fine). There are plenty of race types (including a great overtake challenge mode) and there is a mammoth career mode to go through as well as a satisfying online mode.

Links

Infamous: Second Son (2014, PS4 exclusive) – 6/10 open-world superhero fantasy action game review

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Cast / crew

Infamous: Second Son (2014)

Seven years after the death of Cole McGrath, the problem of conduits didn’t go away but, thanks to the D.U.P. finding and imprisoning all the new conduits (now labeled bio-terrorists), things seem to be under control. One day during a D.U.P. prisoner transfer, three bio-terrorists escape and one of them comes into touch with Delsin Rowe. Literally. Rowe responds by absorbing some of the conduit’s smoke powers and heroically passing out.

6/10

How important is atmosphere? Ask Infamous: Second Son which, without it, is just a shopping list with game systems that feel well-designed but just aren’t engrossing, a muted echo of a city that doesn’t feel big enough, and a meaningless morality system that is embarrassingly unconvincing. The combat is only moderately engaging. There’s effort to keep you on your toes but it fails to be fun by being more disorienting than anything. Infamous: Second Son never asks the player to do anything; you just follow the markers on your map and your stupid moral choices are stupid and transparently meaningless and change only the game’s coda. So, without best-in-class combat, you have nothing to engage your brain. On the plus side, the Good run-through cut-scenes with your brother are excellent; fun, convincing and snappy with neither party doing anything particularly unbelievable. (On an Evil run-through they’re the same and, so, shockingly unbelievable; don’t play this on Evil.) The Good coda is quite touching. Second Son‘s major calling card is, however, the graphics. They are fantastically crisp and intricate with the effects work on Delsin’s powers routinely wonderful. Pulling the neon out of a sign is gorgeous and you never tire of seeing it.

This game contains strong fantasy violence, unpleasant scenes, adult dialogue, sensuality, bad language

Classified 18+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for adults who have reached the age of 18 or over..

Remember Me (2013, PS3) – 8/10 third-person science-fiction action game review

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Cast / crew
Art Director: Aleksi Briclot
Art Director: Michel Koch
Technical Director: Jérome Banal
Producer: Nicolas Simon
Lead Technical Designer: Gautier de Souza
Lead Technical Designer: Jacques Trombini
Lead Environment Artist: Sophie Van de Velde
Lead Character Artist: Alexis Smadja-Fellous
Lead Visual Effects Artist: Timothée Letourneux
Lead Lighting Artist: Frédéric Cros
Lead Animator: Carole Chaland
Lead Animator: Alexandre Cuing
Cinematic Director: Jean-Luc Cano
Lead Designer: Philippe Moreau
Lead Designer: Marc Pestka
Music Composer, Orchestrator, Producer and Adaptor: Olivier Derivière
Director: Jean-Maxime Moris
Kezia Burrows: Nilin

Remember Me (2013)

Nilin is rescued from a memory-wipe facility by Edge and has little choice but to follow his instructions to stay alive. As she gradually remembers more skills he quickly sets her to work as a revolutionary but Nilin is conflicted about the chaos she is causing.

8/10

Remember Me deserved rather better than to be sniffed at by contemporary critics who moaned about stuff that exists in other more lauded games (such as the very mildly unruly camera and completely normal number of enemy types). The gameplay adds welcome wrinkles to the third-person brawler with its Pressen system. These are actions slotted into custom combos that can deal damage, heal, accelerate super-power cooldown or amplify the preceding Pressen; a combined effect that you design then execute during exciting, absorbing action. The gameplay is mixed up, as is the norm, with traversal and simple puzzles but a couple of riddles crop up and are something of an unexpected highlight. The cut-scenes are smoothly integrated and beautifully directed and edited, the art design is superb while Olivier Derivière’s music is unusual, effective and fitting. Remember Me drew me in and I wanted to see it through to the end. Well worth buying; don’t forget Remember Me.

This game contains sexual swear words, bad language, adult dialogue, violence

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

Alan Wake (2006, 360-exclusive) – 9/10 action horror game review

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Cast / crew
Conceptual Designer, Original Concept and Writer: Sam Lake
Conceptual Designer and Lead Game Designer: Mikael Kasurinen
Art Director and Conceptual Designer: Saku Lehtinen
Conceptual Designer and Producer: Jyri “Jay” Ranki
Conceptual Designer and Lead Programmer: Olli Tervo
Conceptual Designer and Lead Technical Artist: Sami Vanhatalo
Conceptual Designer and Lead Level Design and Envrionments: Jarno Wallgren
Additional Game Designer and Original Concept: Petri Jarvilehto
Screenplay Writer: Mikko Rautalahti
Matthew Porretta: The Voice of Alan Wake
Fred Berman: Barry Wheeler

Alan Wake (2006)

Thriller writer Alan Wake and his wife Alice travel to Bright Falls for a vacation but some kind of dark force takes Alice to the bottom of Cauldron Lake. The darkness soon turns its sights on Alan but he has light on his side and it turns out that Bright Falls has a more serious problem than even he can imagine. No, actually, it has a problem exactly as serious as he can imagine.

9/10

While I’m not quite clear on why Wake succeeds at the end and Zane didn’t, the story certainly dares you to make sense of it. There’s a spectacular coming together of gameplay with everything else – lighting, technology, graphics (running at PS Vita resolution, remarkably, but not looking like it at all), sound, story and ambition – to create a unified sense of atmosphere and engrossing fun. The combat is outstanding: interesting, thrilling, challenging and thoroughly satisfying. It requires you to use light to destroy a shield around every Dark One before you can eliminate them permanently with a gun. Brilliantly, combat is not even always necessary as you can try and run away. Especially on higher difficulty levels and with a lack of ammo, this proves to be a wise but challenging tactic. This is a great game and, arguably, Xbox 360′s best exclusive.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

PC vs PS3 vs PS4 vs Wii U vs Xbox 360 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: Child of Light

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 is better than Xbox One  Child of Light

Seventh Generation

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the publications icons for a very quick summary.

  • 360 WiiU PS3 equal  Child of Light

Motorstorm: Apocalypse (2011, PS3-exclusive) – 9/10 spectacle racing game review

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Cast / crew

Motorstorm: Apocalypse (2011)

The City is in the throes of natural disaster and the Motorstorm circus travel there to race in the most extreme environment possible.

9/10

What happened to the sound and the fury? Pacific Rift and the first Motorstorm are sonic powerhouses; demonstration-level audio experiences. The de-emphasis on engine sound effects make Motorstorm: Apocalypse sound initially underwhelming. However, it is clear where the processing power went: astonishing, smooth, crisp 1080p30 graphics. This is arguably the most impressive-looking 1080p console racing game of it’s generation with spectacular environmental showpiece destruction. (If memory serves, there were four 1080p racing games: Ridge Racer 7, Gran Turismo 5/6, this and Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad) The looks are backed up with a heart-poundingly thrilling racing experience carried across highly-satisfying single- and multi-player modes including dual-login split-screen available both online and off. Motorstorm: Apocalypse is a very generous racing game with plenty of stunning environments, lots of great, highly customisable vehicles and as much quality racing action as your heart can stand. This is the best game from Evolution Studios to date but it’s commercial success was undermined by too-similar events in the real world in the shape of the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

This game contains violence, dangerous activities (for example, racing down collapsing bridges and across fallen skyscrapers)

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: April 2014

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16  Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 is better than Xbox One  Lego The Hobbit
  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 is better than Xbox One  Trials Fusion

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2014, PS3) – 7/10 fantasy RPG game review

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Cast / crew
Director: Motomu Toriyama
Game Design Director: Yuji Abe
Main Programmer: Naoki Hamaguchi
Art Director: Isamu Kamikokuryo
Graphics and Visual Effects Director: Shintaro Takai
Main Character Designer: Tetsuya Nomura
Music: Masashi Hamauzu
Music: Naoshi Mizuta
Music: Mitsuto Suzuki
Lead Scenario Writer: Daisuke Watanabe
Level Design Director: Takeshi Iwabuchi
Lead Application Programmer: Daiki Hoshina
Lead Planner: Kazuyuki Shindo
Lead Planner: Masahiro Ishihara
Lead Planner: Daisuke Inoue
Lead Planner: Yui Sawada
Battle Design Director: Nobuyuki Matsuoka
Lead Battle Programmer: Satoru Koyama
Character Model Director: Masaaki Kazeno
Lead Technical Engine and Rendering Programmer: Shuichi Ikeda
Producer: Yoshinori Kitase
Lightning aka Claire Farron: Ali Hillis
Hope Estheim: Vincent Martella
Jessica DiCicco: Lumina

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2014)

Lightning awakes from crystal stasis by the almighty god Bhunivelze and endowed with great power and a skimpy outfit and a mission to save as many souls as she can before the end of the world. Which will be in 13 days. Making things even harder is that the world has been frozen in immortality for the past 500 years and the length of time has crushed some of their souls. These are the ones God wants rescuing and Lightning will have to do whatever it takes to help restore light to their lives and save their souls.

7/10

"You’re just making things up now." – Lightning

While Lightning’s succinct statement applies to most JRPG’s (and most video game bosses in particular), it applies with such eyebrow-raising accuracy to all of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII’s story sequences that you feel that the makers must be doing it deliberately. While the story does get around to sort-of explaining why Lightning has been such an overly-focused near-automaton for three games, that’s about your lot. Everything happens because it does and thanks to good production values, especially the superb voice work and outstanding music, I was happy to break out my wry smile and watch all the story scenes in their majestically daft seriousness. You see, did I mention that you can be wearing a giant hat or silly glasses or a precariously balanced afro or a tail or big bunny ears and an impractical suit of armour or next to no clothes during these world-changing sequences. It’s got to be deliberate. The game itself is generally a lot of fun and marks the first seamless 3D open-world environment for Final Fantasy. It’s easy enough to bumble through for the experience but it has enough depth in the battle system that, on Normal and Hard difficulty, preparation and strategy will be required to succeed. There’s lot to do and you will be happy helping people with their problems, ‘solving’ mysteries and swatting cactuars in the face with a sword that is twice the size you are. I’ve grown rather partial to Lightning and the fact that I can name the entire hero cast of the FFXIII universe and some of their defining character traits and arcs speaks volumes about the quality of this much-maligned trilogy.

This game contains violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..

Links

PS3 vs Xbox 360 and PS4 versus Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

Seventh Generation

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the publications icons for a very quick summary.

  • 360 better  Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

PC vs PS3 vs PS4 vs Xbox 360 vs Xbox One: Strider and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16Xbox One / PS4 equal  Strider

Seventh Generation

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the publications icons for a very quick summary.

  • 360 PS3 equal and better than Wii U  Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2
  • 360 better  FIFA 14
  • 360 better  Grand Theft Auto V
  • 360 better  Strider

Brave: A Warrior’s Tale (2009, 360) – 5/10 action game review

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Cast / crew

Brave: A Warrior’s Tale (2009)

HD remake of Brave: The Search for the Spirit Dancer

5/10

An HD remake of a PS2 game (Brave: The Search for the Spirit Dancer) before people really took care over them, this keeps the graphics and ups the resolution but messes up the frame rate. This technical inadequacy coupled with poor camera programming and a few bugs (one requiring your save to be restarted) can give one a poor impression and certainly contributed to the fairly hateful contemporary review scores. Shame, as the core game design is fine; a Native American God of War without the gore. It’s mostly fun enough, it’s always giving you something to do with a little tweak on what you’ve already learned, the story is good enough, the lead character Brave is enthusiastic, the art direction is good and it remains one of the only games to even attempt to use the striking potential of Native American mythology. It also has the joint most valuable achievement on 360 with 500G for completing the game.

Killzone: Shadow Fall (2013) – 9/10 science fiction FPS game review

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Cast / crew

Killzone: Shadow Fall (2013)

About thirty years after the end of the Second Helghan War with Helghan rendered uninhabitable by a Vektan bomb, Vektans and Helghans have been living on Vekta; each occupying half the planet, separated by a massive wall. As tensions reach boiling point, New Helghan makes another attempt at taking out their enemies once and for all.

9/10

Oddly received with a desultory sniff by contemporary critics overeager to prove themselves unswayed by beautiful graphical fidelity and excitement over a new console, this is the best in the series to date. Shadow Fall features an expertly balanced campaign with some varied, thrilling, kinetic battles and enough exploration, easy sections and down time to allow you to savour the intense bits. The main criticism seemed to be that this first-person shooter was a first-person shooter and, to be fair, it is absolutely a first-person shooter. For me, it sometimes gave me the good feeling of earlier PC shooters where there would be more to the level than your objective and numerous strategic options for getting into and out of skirmishes. The ridiculous end credits crawl is unquestionably the longest for any entertainment media ever at over half-an-hour; it’s possible every human being on the planet is listed but you’ll have killed yourself before it reaches your name. Or skipped it; whatever.

This game contains strong gory violence

Classified 18+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for adults who have reached the age of 18 or over..

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2012, PC) – 8/10 racing game review

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Cast / crew
Additional Design and Head of Studio: Ian Bell
Additional Design and Development Director: Andy Garton
Additional Design and Chief Operations Officer: Stephen Viljoen
Creative Director: Andy Tudor
Producer: Suzy Wallace
Technical Director: Ged Keaveney
Audio Director and Composer: Stephen Baysted
Sound Designer: Greg Hill

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2012)

8/10

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is yet another game unlovingly belched out by Atari before it was quite ready. Yet despite the sometimes iffy frame rate and PS1-era pop-up on Spa, a rough diamond shines through. This is a challenging but visceral and satisfying game with fun handling on Normal, attention-demanding on Pro; communicative on both. It really showcases the differences in performance characteristics between road and race cars and between generations. There is also an unusually accurate sense of speed in that your speeds feels different when you are travelling fast or slow. A lot of car games always feel like they’re going at a million miles per hour regardless of the car you’re in (see Grid 2). There are a number of tracks we’ve never driven in an officially licensed commercially available product such as Rouen and Enna Pergusa; there’s a welcome return for old Hockenheim, sort-of old Imola, old Silverstone and a top fantasy track in Misty Loch. The career mode throws up a pleasing variety of tasks and is surprisingly satisfying, especially once Mansley shows up. On Hard difficulty and Pro handling, this is an entertaining handful and a very stern challenge but there are three difficulty levels and two handling models to ensure that your time with the game is satisfying and fun.

This game contains

LEGO® Lord of the Rings (2012, PSVita) – 8/10 action game review

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Cast / crew

LEGO® Lord of the Rings (2012)

8/10

Successfully imbuing adorable tiny LEGO characters with the feeling of their big-screen counterparts (Gimli always raises a smile running into walls and I love the thwang of Legolas’ archery), this is a wonderfully honed jaunt through Middle-Earth. TT’s usual problem with communicating what you’re supposed to do in boss battles is present and correct but otherwise this is a slick, delightful experience. Interestingly, this game contains a bonus Big Head mode and it shows just how well designed all the characters are; giving them Big Heads makes them look awful. It demonstrates what a knife-edge there is between charismatic, cute, charming and off-putting and uninvolving. The designs and animations of the characters are genuinely perfect.

This game contains

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: Launch titles update

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 logo 75x16  Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 logo 75x16  Battlefield 4
  • PS4 logo 75x16  Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • PS4 / Xbox One equalXbox One / PS4 equal  FIFA 14
  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 / Xbox One equal  Need for Speed: Rivals

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One and PC vs PS3 vs Wii U vs 360 Head-to-Head Face Off: Call of Duty: Ghosts

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PS4 logo 75x16  Call of Duty: Ghosts

Seventh Generation

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the publications icons for a very quick summary.

  • 360 better  Call of Duty: Ghosts