Through my scope, I watch a neon-lit dinosaur shoot laser beams from its face in a fierce battle with evil robots. When it’s done roasting our mutual enemies, I blow the beast up with sniper-rockets. Suddenly, there's a 16-bit style sex montage. Nobody in their right mind would create something as wonderfully absurd as Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – so I’m glad someone in charge at Ubisoft is at least a little nuts.
There aren’t many surprise successes anymore in the risk-averse world of console gaming, but last year Dragon’s Dogma was one of them. It’s an ambitious action-RPG with an excellent combat system, a great sense of adventure, and a suite of technical foibles that make it harder to love than it should be. But at this lower price and with many extra hours of late-game content, which show off the abilities of one of Capcom’s most talented in-house development teams in a new context, Dragon’s Dogma is considerably more attractive this time around.
Gameloft’s official Iron Man 3 tie-in game gives fans of the Iron Knight the opportunity blast away A.I.M. foes, dodge incoming rockets and plenty more – all for free. The trade-off for this free fun is that Iron Man 3 – The Official Game is a simplistic and sometimes awkward endless flier that occasionally oversteps its in-app purchase bounds.
PlayStation Vita may be capable of console-quality gaming, but its largely untapped strength rests in its potential to provide those experiences in commute-friendly, time-sensitive bursts. Soul Sacrifice straddles the line between delivering the depth typically found on console and the on-off-on-again routine of handheld gaming, and the result is something that will likely please Vita owners hungry for a quality, grind-heavy RPG.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger can be considered something of a reprieve for Techland’s hard-bitten FPS series. While 2011’s The Cartel wasn’t entirely without merit, it shot an otherwise enjoyable franchise full of holes and left it to bleed-out on its modern-day sidewalk. Fortunately, this stubborn old dog has managed to drag itself back to where it belongs so that it might rise again in America’s Wild West.
Thomas Was Alone does an incredible thing: it makes you care about characters that are nothing more than coloured rectangles. It’s a great example of the way decent writing can elevate the simplest of games to something really memorable. As a puzzle-platformer,Thomas Was Alone is unique and entertaining, but it’s the confluence of art, sound, characterisation and gameplay that makes it something more.
If anyone can restore essence to the genre, Mikami can. The characteristically subdued Resident Evil creator is returning to his old stomping ground with the debut game from his Tokyo-based studio Tango Gameworks, the third-person survival horror The Evil Within. And while the game may not adhere to all the ideals we recognize from the genre’s golden age – which, let’s face it, were shakily defined in the first place - it’s built around Mikami’s own definition of the genre he helped create.
It’s tempting to simply paste the original Dead Island review here and call it a day. A sequel to 2011’s first-person zombie-dismembering co-op role-playing game, Dead Island Riptide adds a new character, some additional zombies, and boats, but otherwise largely reanimates the same hours of gory decapitations and corpse looting. The action is here in spades, but Riptide doesn't lift a finger to address the original Dead Island's failures.
I admit, I was a little worried. After all the hubbub surrounding Star Wars: The Old Republic's rocky transition to free-to-play and the departure of much of its creative team, I was half prepared to boot up the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion and hear BioWare developers filling in for actor David Hayter's original voice work for the Jedi Knight. Happily, that's not the case. The last year might have been rough for BioWare, but Rise of the Hutt Cartel reveals refuses to flinch on the promise to deliver entertaining, fully voiced stories that shame the writing and production quality of its competitors.