Like any good racer, the Need for Speed franchise never stops moving. They've come a long way since the early '90s, though the last few years' releases have been more about refinement of the formula than anything else, moving...
There aren't many games out there that deal with children and their struggle to cope with situations that we take for granted every day. While there are some stories out there like Papo & Yo, the market isn't exactly filled with them, leaving a rather sizable gap for others to take their place.
Here to answer the call on the launch of the PlayStation 4 comes Contrast, the adventure of a young girl named Didi and her imaginary shadow friend Dawn. Contrast isn't a system-seller by any means, but it's a great little distraction for a rainy afternoon.
Roguelike elements have been steadily gaining popularity in the past few years, especially among independent developers. Titles like The Binding of Isaac, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Spelunky have taken the ideas of random level generation and short games usually ending in permanent character death, and applied them masterfully to each of their own gameplay genres.
Risk of Rain follows in those footsteps, applying the same roguelike mechanics to an exploration-based sidescrolling shooter. Like the aforementioned games, it can be brutal, with punishingly impossible scenarios and quick defeat for those who are not prepared. Unlike them, Risk of Rain suffers from a few technical issues that detract from what is otherwise a great experience.
In recent years, Zelda games have gotten a tad too flowery. What was once a true open world adventure involving a hero thrown into the great unknown with the ability to explore to his heart's content, has become something else entirely. With lengthy intros, gated content, and other trappings, there's more action than adventure in some Zelda games.
As a direct sequel to the SNES game A Link to the Past (my personal favorite Zelda), A Link Between Worlds seeks to rectify these issues by letting you get on with it as soon as possible. At the core of this concept is the "item renting" system, that lets you obtain every key item in less than an hour of playtime, opening up the world like never before.
But one great idea doesn't make a great game, and A Link Between Worlds is lacking one major ingredient -- heart.
Every system launch needs a good platformer, right? Knack is a bit different from, say, Crash Bandicoot or Ratchet and Clank, but it does feel like it takes a bit from both games. Of course, that has a lot to do with the its creator, Mark Cerny.
Cerny worked on both Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank, as well as other top PlayStation platformers like Spyro the Dragon. It’s great then that the PS4 has a launch game with such solid PlayStation platforming DNA.
But is Knack strong enough of a platformer to lead the way into next-gen?
For franchise sequels that accompany system launches, it's not uncommon to see the reuse of assets or game engines. We've come to expect a simple turning up of the graphics, if you will. The good stuff? The brand new stuff? That usually comes later.
Killzone: Shadow Fall does not follow that pattern. Guerrilla Games went back to the beginning, starting fresh with its first PS4 game. Sometimes a fresh start is the best thing.
Housemarque already had my heart as the creators of Super Stardust. Their latest, PS4 launch title Resogun, shares some of Stardust’s spirit, but it’s a new experience -- a shoot-em-up in a cylindrical loop, built entirely from thousands of voxels.
Eight years ago when Microsoft kicked off this generation with the Xbox 360, the concept of downloadable arcade titles on a home console was nothing more than a vision. With the Xbox 360 came the Xbox Live Arcade and one addictive title that I still play to this day: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Sony and Nintendo followed suit, with their respective services and a digital generation from the comfort of the couch was born.
Along with downloadable titles, one other prominent trend that this generation can lay claim to (and hopefully move on from) is that of the zombie game. There are too many titles to list, and while some were great -- one even earning our game of the year for 2012 -- most were forgettable.
Well, as we wind down to Sony’s and Microsoft’s next console launches, and usher in another era of high-definition gaming, it’s only fitting that we begin to wrap up this generation with one more zombie game.
As I finish this review, English Premier Division side Tottenham Hostspur, managed by Andre Villa Boas, sit fourth in the league, despite some inconsistent performances. In Football Manager 2014, Tottenham Hotspur, managed by myself, are just inside the top half of the table and are lucky to still be involved in the Europa Cup.
Videogames often criticized for being power fantasies, letting players live out unlikely dreams of being heroes and warriors. Football Manager doesn't do that; it overwhelms you with information and makes you eat all drunken armchair punditry you've spewed whilst watching your favorite team. No, you couldn't do a better job and Football Manager 2014 is going to prove it.
For whatever reason, the Ratchet & Clank series never really grabbed me during the PlayStation 2 era. Maybe I was spending too much time playing Jak and Daxter (or perhaps I was adverse to games with ampersands in their titles) and the million other mascot platformers at the time, but it took me quite a while to get into it.
Once I did however, I found out I was missing quite a bit. Over the years I've seen the Ratchet series acquire more and more outstanding titles, and Into the Nexus is no exception.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of my favorite games of 2012. As a fan of the original franchise back in the '90s, I felt like it did an excellent job of not only re-introducing the once-beloved franchise back into the fold for newcomers, but also providing veterans with a fulfilling strategy experience. Developer Firaxis is now revisiting the XCOM universe with Enemy Within, a new expansion pack set to augment the original game.
Leaping back in, I immediately jumped at the prospect of creating an Exosquad-esque mech soldier with the new Within content. I named him Duke Nukem, gave him a blonde buzz cut, and pumped tons of credits into his loadout -- I even had a brief vision of completing the game with him, sticking through the thick and thin. Then he promptly died on the very next level.
Yep, this is still XCOM alright, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
BioShock Infinite was one of the most polarizing releases in recent memory among the gaming community. While a number of critics lauded it as an apex for Irrational, many fans were left feeling underwhelmed by certain facets of the design, some of which felt like a regression for the franchise.
I really enjoyed Infinite myself, but I'm also fully willing to admit that there were a number of design flaws that detracted from the experience. Some of those issues are directly addressed in Burial at Sea, but in the process, others are created. Uh oh!
The prospect of Mario and Sonic appearing side by side in the same videogame was once a near-unthinkable fantasy. But it happened. Thanks to the demise of Sega's console business, the bitter rivals eventually put aside their differences and joined forces to create a novel assemblage of Olympic sports minigames for the Nintendo Wii.
That was six years ago. In the interim the unlikely pairing has since spawned a biannual franchise with three entries across as many systems. And like clockwork, just in time for February's international competition, the iconic mascots have reared their heads for fourth.
Rayman Jungle Run was a perfect example of how to adapt a console game to a touch interface. It gorgeously preserved the sharp visuals from its console counterpart, and best of all -- it used a control scheme that actually worked, without pissing off fans of the original.
Instead of relying on a messy virtual d-pad and a host of buttons, Jungle Run kept things simple, and allowed you to tap the screen to jump, among a few other basic functions. While Rayman Fiesta Run tries to meddle with this winning formula a bit too often, it's still very much worth your time.
Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman (later the entirety of DC), Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings -- arguably a majority of the world's largest entertainment properties -- have all been brought to life in videogames after being passed through the adorable LEGO filter by Traveller's Tales. And, well, they've handled each franchise masterfully and created some truly great games with each of them over the years. What could possibly be next?
I can't be the only one who's been dreaming since LEGO Star Wars that we would one day see LEGO Marvel make its videogame debut, but, seeing as Traveller's Tales is a subsidy of Warner Bros., it was seemingly never going to happen. However, by some remarkable turn of events (due to the magic of licensing), here we are with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.
It's nothing short of a miracle this game was even made, but it's something we can only be happy about.