Dark Souls II (2014) – 10/10 fantasy action RPG game review

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Cast / crew

Dark Souls II (2014)

Drangleic is way past it’s glory days and, without it’s king, has transformed into a remarkably dangerous place. Bring the family; all falls included!

10/10

It took a surprising couple of hours before I died in Dark Souls II. This certainly doesn’t have the dank, morbid atmosphere of the endlessly and rightly lauded Dark Souls but it does have the wonderful unfurling exploration for which, remarkably, you don’t need a map; we learn the lay of the land just like we learn our own streets by travelling them every day. This is another way the Souls games are, possibly, unique among open-world games. While some of the boss battles feel like extra large normal dudes, there are some true highlights including Executioner’s Chariot and, in Royal Rat Authority, a boss that may require you to change game-long tactics (SPOILER disengage lock-on and get under his feet) and teaches you through emergent gameplay rather than a loading screen tip. As for the not dying… well, I sure made up for that later. Dark Souls II is a spectacular, immersive, ridiculously generous game but, aside from a much better user interface and vastly improved PC performance, it’s a hair less effective and atmospheric than Dark Souls. A hair, I say, and still a masterpiece in it’s own right. P.S. The DLC is all fully amazing.

This game contains violence

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

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Tomb Raider (2013, PS3, PC, Steam) – 9/10 brutally violent action adventure game review

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Cast / crew
Director: Noah Hughes
Director: Daniel Chayer
Director: Daniel Neuburger
Producer: Kyle Peschel
Producer: Alexander W. Offermann
Programmer: Scott Krotz
Artist: Brian Horton
Writer: Rhianna Pratchett
Writer: Susan O’Connor
Lara Croft: Camilla Luddington

Tomb Raider (2013)

Lara Croft is the archaeological brains on a TV documentary but their expedition aboard the Endeavour goes horribly wrong when the ship happens upon a violent storm and is broken onto an island. Everyone seems to survive the shipwreck but then an island inhabitant knocks Lara out and she regains consciousness hanging upside in a room of unimaginable gruesomeness.

9/10

This is a really, really good game which does suffer a bit from having to get a good amount of gameplay into it. This translates to, essentially, obliterating an entire nation of bad guys too many and moving the franchise from teen-rated platforming to one of the most violent third-person shooters ever released. It’s an exceedingly good third-person shooter, though, and you just want to play the whole thing through in one sitting. In an important way, it is also extremely ambitious in character. It fails, almost completely, but what it is trying to do is place you in the shoes of Lara Croft and get you to go on her journey from boffin babe to Rambo. It never accomplishes this because the player is in Rambo mode from the start and so it is absolutely no problem for them to start decking dudes left, right and center and you’re never given the choice to do what you would actually do in the circumstance, i.e., dribble some wee down your leg and evade them. I mean, I don’t know how to strangle someone with a bow. Lara did.

This game contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue, sexuality, extremely gory and extremely unpleasant scenes, extreme, graphic and gory violence

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

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PS3 vs PS4 vs Xbox 360 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: Alien: Isolation and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

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  • PS4 logo 75x16  Alien: Isolation
  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

Seventh Generation

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  • 360 better Alien: Isolation

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.

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PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face off: Wolfenstein: The New Order and Watch Dogs

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  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Watch Dogs
  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Wolfenstein: The New Order

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

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

Seventh Generation

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  • 360 WiiU PS3 equal  Child of Light

PC vs PS4 Head-to-Head Face Off: May 2014

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  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 is better than Xbox One  Child of Light
  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16  Daylight
  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Watch Dogs
  • PS4 is better than Xbox One  Wolfenstein: The New Order

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

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  • 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

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: The Lego Movie Videogame

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  • PS4 / Xbox One equalXbox One / PS4 equal  The Lego Movie Videogame

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

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

Seventh Generation

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  • 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

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

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  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 logo 75x16  Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

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  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 / Xbox One equalXbox One / PS4 equal  LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

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

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

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  • 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

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  • PS4 logo 75x16  Call of Duty: Ghosts

Seventh Generation

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  • 360 better  Call of Duty: Ghosts

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

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  • 360 better  Call of Duty: Ghosts

PC vs PS4 vs Xbox One (and 360 vs PS3 vs PC) Head-to-Head Face Off: Battlefield 4

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  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 logo 75x16  Battlefield 4

Seventh Generation

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  • 360 better  Battlefield 4

360 vs PS3 vs PC Head-to-Head Face Off: FIFA 14 and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

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  • 360 better  FIFA 14
  • No console winner  Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Crash Time IV aka Alarm for Cobra 11: The Syndicate (2010, Games for Windows Live PC) – 8/10 action racing game

Cast / crew

Crash Time IV aka Alarm for Cobra 11: The Syndicate (2010)

A crime syndicate has sullied Ben and Semir’s patch and they’ll need to employ informants and surveillance cameras and car chases to rack up the arrests and get their city nice and clean again.

8/10

I love these games. I love that the prison transport driver is a total lunatic. I love the fact that I was slightly disappointed that Synetic’s menu was completely intelligible and usable. In this particular outing, I also love the handling and would claim it is some of the best in an action racer ever. Why? At all speeds, it allows you to do what you’re trying to do, specifically you can consistently drive between traffic, even oncoming traffic, at any speed without crashing. This is extremely impressive (and produces some amazing moments); for a test, try doing the same in the much-lauded Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from the same year. You can’t, Hot Pursuit’s handling isn’t precise enough. But Cobra 11‘s is. It also has a terrific car roster. Cars with caravans seem to have disappeared from the roads but in the forty-vehicles we get to drive are a monster truck, a golf cart and one of those ginormous dumper trucks alongside the usual array of passenger and sports cars, SUV’s and, still uniquely I believe, articulated lorries. It even has an amusing ending where Ben and Semir SPOILER get sent on a two-month holiday so the city can recover from all the damage they cause.

This game contains violence

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PS4 vs Xbox One vs Xbox 360 vs PS3 vs Wii U vs PC Head-to-Head Face Off: Rayman Legends

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  • PC DVD ROM logo 75x16PS4 / Xbox One equalXbox One / PS4 equal  Rayman Legends

Seventh Generation

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  • Wii U better than 360 or PS3  Rayman Legends

Xbox 360 vs PS3 vs Wii U vs PC Head-to-Head Face Off: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

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  • 360 PS3 equal  Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Xbox 360 vs PS3 vs Wii U vs 3DS vs PC Head-to-Head Face Off: Resident Evil: Revelations

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  • 360 PS3 equal and better than Wii U Resident Evil: Revelations

F1 2012 (2012, PC Windows Steam) – 10/10 Formula 1 racing game review

Cast / crew
Executive Producer: Ian Flatt
Creative Director: Stephen Hood
Game Director: Paul Jeal
Technical Director: David Percival
Technical Art Director: Stephen Johnson
Art Manager: Andrew Watt
Designer: Jason Darby
Designer: Lee Mather
Designer: Mark Lewis
Designer: Mark Russell
Nick Barber: Race Engineer
David Croft: Presenter
Anthony Davidson: Hot Lap Voice

F1 2012 (2012)

10/10

This remains the best racing series of it’s generation and a number of small tweaks and the new Austin track enhance the experience yet further. The inclusion of unpredictable weather was a masterstroke and Codemasters have also made the evolution of the car throughout a weekend with it’s differing tyre and fuel components even more distinct than before. Harsh penalties are still a minor issue, though; AI cars cannot receive penalties and their mistake / mechanical issues do not scale for shorter races meaning they never make mistakes. F1 2012, astoundingly, remains the only major racing title to feature all the principle elements of racing: practice and setup, qualification and racing with pit stops; something Forza and Gran Turismo have ostentatiously failed to deliver in the 360 / PS3 generation.