Console Obsession My Wordpress Blog 2016-06-28T17:47:54Z http://www.consoleob.com/feed/atom/ Louise Biddle <![CDATA[SteamWorld Heist PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25181 2016-06-28T17:47:54Z 2016-06-28T17:47:54Z Publisher: Image and Form  Developer: Image and Form  Players: 1  Age Rating: 7+

Genre: Strategy, Action-Adventure

 Other console/handheld formats: Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U


SteamWorld Heist is the third instalment in the SteamWorld series, and if players are looking for more of the same as in the previous SteamWorld Dig, then they will be sorely disappointed. The focus here revolves around turn-based strategy and skill, and whilst the game has many familiar SteamWorld elements, it still manages to bring something fresh and new to the series.

Taking place after the planet of SteamWorld Dig has been destroyed, the story follows Captain Piper Faraday, a smuggler/pirate/space traveller whose mission it is to gather together a ragtag team of steambots, looting cargo from their enemies and trying to bring down a bigger foe. In all honesty, I didn’t care much for the story; it is one that didn’t really hold my attention and I didn’t really care much about what was actually happening. The characters are well designed, but have personalities that you expect from a bunch of ‘ragtag’ robots, and even though they try to come across as outlandish, they aren’t characters that are truly breaking the mould, and lack any depth. You have your soldier, your ex-circus traveller, your shyster, your farmer, but none are really memorable and are just there to broaden the universe. They are basic, but give you a bit of variety when it comes to the gameplay, with each having their own special abilities.

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It is truly satisfying aiming up a shot and striking an enemy.

The gameplay is where it is at its most interesting. A side-scrolling game, you take turns to move a character around a level, blasting away enemies and completing a set goal. There are five difficulty settings, from Casual, Regular, Experienced, Veteran and Elite, and even set on Regular, I found the game to be quite hard. I replayed many levels to upgrade the steambots, though didn’t realise you could adjust the difficulty of a mission before you begin. On the lower difficulty settings, it isn’t really so much about strategy and skill, but more about chance and luck, but if you really want to put your skills to the test, then the true essence of the game shows when set on higher difficulty settings and makes for an altogether more rewarding experience. However, I mostly played on the lower settings as I prefer playing games for fun rather than for the challenge, though as mentioned, it still doesn’t give you much of an easy ride, with enemies respawning at times and still overwhelming you.

Before starting a mission, you have to access a map in which you can manoeuvre your ship to your next destination. Many spaceships are dotted about on-screen, with you following a path to whatever ship – or mission – you wish to begin. Depending on the mission criteria, you can choose a set number of steambots to play as, and your loadout, including weapons, health packs, and other types of ammo. As mentioned, you can also set the mission difficulty. There are a number of steambots that you can choose from, with only Captain Piper Faraday and her teammate, Seabrass, being the only two available at the start, with others being added later when you find and hire them. Each character has their own abilities that will give you advantages depending on the type of mission, and you can decide who you would like based on their statistics, from health, movements, how good they are at shooting and strength. Levelling up your character will increase these statistics and you can also upgrade them, by collecting Experience Points upon mission completion, increasing what abilities will be available to them.

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There’s a lot of background details in the games universe, making it feel vast.

After choosing your loadout, you will then start the mission, your character running onto the enemy spaceship and taking their starting position. From there, you move about by taking turns with the AI enemies, doing everything you can to complete whatever the goal may be, from looting swag, destroying generators or defeating a boss. A successful mission will give you the aforementioned XP, which is divided between the chosen characters, though any characters that are destroyed during the mission will lose their share of the XP. A successful mission will also give you Reputation in the form of stars, which are collected and used to access certain areas or allow you to buy certain weaponry or other items, and also allows for you to hire other steambots looking for payback. A mission failure, however, can result in a penalty, with you losing a chunk of your swag, and any robots destroyed during the mission will also need repairing, which swag is also used up on. Most of the mission objectives aren’t very varied, with you mostly needing to collect swag, though it does leave a gratifying sense of achievement if you manage to collect 100% of the swag located in the mission area.

As I played on the lower difficulty, the gameplay was very steady and easygoing, and I found it to be an enjoyable pace, rather than causing me any frustration by having to constantly go back and replaying an area multiple times in the hope that I would luck out and complete the mission. The levels are randomised, though I found it doesn’t really alter the gameplay, at least the way I played it. Shooting enemies is also extremely satisfying, especially if you strike a certain point, with the action slowing down to show the enemy shattering into a million pieces; it was certainly gratifying to aim at an enemy and blow them to smithereens in one hit. A bit of a sore point of the gameplay, however, is that you cannot skip, or even speedup, enemy movement when it is the AI’s turn, so there is a bit of waiting around as you wait for the enemy to complete their moves.

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You can visit shops to buy more weaponry and other equipment, though make sure you have enough space in your inventory.

The graphics of the game are nicely done, with very reddish, yellow and brown hues to mimic the old west, of which the game, once again, takes inspiration. I like how the art-style is a combination of sci-fi and old west, as was the case with SteamWorld Dig, and it certainly makes for an overall unique universe. The animations are well done, with each robot having their own particular set of movements and the cutscenes are nicely presented in an old-timey fashion, again, mimicking the old west. I also enjoyed humming to the music, which also has a very western – with a slight militaristic – vibe, music that was also used in SteamWorld Dig. I also liked the sound effects in the game, from the clanking of the robots running, to the guns popping and tearing apart enemies, to the ‘thum, thum’ sound when you open your swag at the end of a mission. Whilst trawling around the map, you can also visit saloons and other places where you can chat to the locals and buy weaponry, hire other steambots to join your crew, and even buy hats. Lots of hats. As far as I can tell they don’t affect the character or give them any extra abilities, but are there as a bonus collectable item.

I very much enjoyed playing SteamWorld Heist, and whilst it doesn’t have the addictiveness of the previous SteamWorld Dig, it still kept me coming back to play more. There’s a fair amount of detail to be found in the games universe and it manages to feel vast without being open-world, and there are definite graphical improvements over SteamWorld Dig, with characters having more human-like proportions and more detail in the design, leaving behind the comic book-like style from the previous game. Even though it is set in the same universe, it definitely feels like a new experience, but also manages to feel familiar. SteamWorld Heist also has a lot of replayability, allowing you to go back and play previous missions to improve upon them, something that you couldn’t really do with SteamWorld Dig. All in all, a great addition to the SteamWorld series.


8/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[Mighty No. 9 PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25206 2016-06-26T11:39:05Z 2016-06-26T11:39:05Z Publisher: Deep Silver Developer: Comcept, Inti Creates  Genre: Action Platformer 

Players: 1-2  Age Rating: 16+  

Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, Vita


Keiji Inafune is an ex-Capcom employee and was once very much involved in the seminal Mega Man series, and his new game, Mighty No. 9, takes heavy inspiration from the Blue Bomber. It’s almost as if the legendary game designer was unable to – or didn’t want to – leave his past behind him, although his newest game is no simple Mega Man clone.

Following the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 and his departure from Capcom, Keiji Inafune intended to make a spiritual successor to Mega Man, and over 67,000 Kickstarter backers made the game possible. Announced back in 2013, Mighty No. 9 was funded through a highly successful campaign, which resulted in developer Comcept having a total of $3.8 million to play with.

Let’s start with some Mega Man comparisons. The protagonist Beck does kind of look like the Blue Bomber, the game is a 2D action platformer with a brutal difficulty, and while there’s a diagonal jump shot, the emphasis is definitely on shooting left or right. In spite of everything I have mentioned, Mighty No. 9 does have some ideas of its own as well. One of the main differences is Beck’s AcXelerate dash ability. Once you have done enough damage to destabilise enemies, this ability allows you to dash into them to finish them off. Not only do you kill the robotic foes by dashing through them, but you also absorb Xel, which gives you temporary boosts to things such as your speed, armour and power.

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If you are wondering about the title of the game, the Mighty No. 9 are a team of combat robots, and the protagonist Beck is one of them. As the other 8 have been taken over by a computer virus, you’ll come face to face with them in the games’ boss battles.

The dash ability can also be used to string combos together. To start a combo you have to first dash into an enemy as quickly as possible once they are stunned, and then continue to do this same thing with other enemies in order to build your combo. It’s a great system that makes for satisfying play, and skillful players will be able to finish levels with impressive grades.

As you might expect, the dash manoeuvre is also required throughout the levels in the game. It will get you across some of the tougher and tighter gaps, and sometimes even must be used during a plummet. The levels are largely well designed for making use of this dash mechanic at certain points.

Levels include everything from an oil rig to a power plant, and being that a lot of people that were involved in the game have previously worked on Mega Man, it’s with little surprise that many of the levels have some tough sections to deal with. With its trial and error gameplay, Mighty No. 9 is very much a game of the old school variety. It is a game that is largely aimed at the Mega Man fan, so the level of frustration that can be experienced from time to time isn’t overly surprising.

Luckily, in the options you can adjust the number of lives that you start with at the beginning of each level, and, if you so wish, you can even choose as many as 9, which helps ease the frustration. Still, some of the tougher sections may see your lives start dwindling, and once you lose the lot of them, you are sent back to the start of the level. If you want a true challenge, you can start each level with as few as two lives and turn off Patch, a support robot who drops you handy power-ups from time to time. Toggling such options is definitely for the bold amongst us.

The bosses are undoubtedly where the game is at its toughest though, and you may find yourself losing most of your lives in these battles. In fact, with attacks that can kill you in a single and unexpected hit, you could even say that some of these encounters are cheap. Apart from this, each boss fight is reasonable enough in its design, and you’ll have to make use of the dash attack from time to time in these battles in order to stop the boss from healing. Beating each boss also comes with a reward, as you’ll unlock a new transformation ability, which can then be used in other levels, and some of these powers even come in handy against certain bosses.

Speaking of the levels, the tutorial and the first eight stages are available to you right from the start. I like this structure in the way that if you are stuck on one level, you can have a break from it and try to succeed on some of the other levels instead. This open-ended approach is taken from Mega Man, and it’s one that is very welcome here. Once you complete the first eight levels, three more then become available to you. It’s just a shame that some of the levels in the game are overly bland, and some could even be called rather soulless.

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The visuals look like a PS2 game, although they do have a retro charm. Some of the music is also quite catchy.

Other than the main mode, the game has a pleasing amount of extra content. There’s a challenge mode, which is split into single player and online co-op. Challenges include some that remove your shooting and dashing abilities, others that have you killing all the enemies in the stage, and so on. It’s just a shame that the challenges take place in such a boring environment, which is basically a big wireframe. There’s also a Boss Rush mode as well as unlockable difficulty levels in the game.

Offering a good challenge and moments of satisfaction, Mighty No. 9 is a game that is likeable enough and is a nice throwback to more traditional game design, but it’s the frustrating trial and error gameplay and cheap bosses that may not sit well with certain players today, and some of the more boring backdrops let the game down as well. Those looking for a challenging and rewarding game, however, might just enjoy this retro-styled action platformer.


6/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25162 2016-06-23T15:57:16Z 2016-06-23T15:57:16Z Publisher: EA Developer: EA DICE  Genre: Action Adventure  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One


Many people wanted a sequel to 2008’s Mirror’s Edge, and I was definitely amongst those eager folk. Following the desire for a sequel, another thing that I very much craved was an open-world follow-up. I always imagined that Mirror’s Edge’s Parkour themed gameplay would work very well in a larger environment. I’m happy to say that the sequel now exists. As it turns out, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is also an open-world game, which means that you can use your amazingly athletic moves to explore the brand new urban environment, going here, there and everywhere. With all the latter said, the game definitely ticks a number of important boxes for me.

For reasons I cannot entirely comprehend, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is an origin story for the heroine, Faith Connors, a Runner fresh out of jail. The story is a decent enough one, although it’s loaded with clichés, and, as the characters waffled on and on about different things, I must admit that I found myself zoning out from time to time. There are worse narratives, but there are also a lot more skilfully written stories out there, and the same could be said of its predecessor as well.

The story may not be up to scratch, but the open-world that Catalyst takes place in is a marvellous creation. I already fell in love with the neo-futuristic world of the original game, and I’m glad that the sequel shares these same themes, but in a larger open-world than the linear levels featured in the original game. The city of Glass is your Parkour playground in this sequel, and it’s a beautiful modern place with a futuristic slant. You can tell that DICE knew exactly what they wanted with the city design, and if it was a real city, it’s the kind of place that would probably have close to unlimited funds to play with. Everything looks pristinely clean, and bright colours once again look striking against the less colourful environments, and there’s certainly plenty of interesting architecture to be found all over the place. It’s a beautiful game, and one that is extremely memorable in its choice of design.

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If you are a fan of the 2008 original, then you may feel lucky to be seeing this screen right now.

Dashing around the futuristic utopian playground is once again an absolute joy. Runner’s Vision makes its return, which highlights objects, turning them red, to give you an idea as to where to go. If you’d rather not have the assistance of Runner’s Vision, you can turn it off entirely. If you do decide to keep the feature turned on, you can opt to have it holding your hand tightly, in which it basically shows you a direct route to follow, or you could always switch to the classic mode. As the name suggests, the classic mode has more in common with the Runner’s Vision that was present in the original game, giving you only a basic idea as to where to go. My preference is definitely the classic mode, as it helps out but doesn’t hold your hand too much. With classic mode on or Runner’s Vision turned off entirely, the adventuring element of the original game does remain for those who want it. If you don’t want to use your brain, however, and just want to run, then having the full Runner’s Vision turned on is definitely the best option for you.

The Parkour itself is very much like the first game in the series, which means that you can run up and along walls, make gigantic leaps of faith, break your fall with a well timed roll, and climb up and down pipes. It’s all enormously satisfying, and the first person Parkour feels as responsive, enjoyable and natural as it should. Being open-world, the difference here is that there are often more routes to your goals than there was in the original game, and the sequel also introduces Focus. As you run, you’ll build Focus, which is basically a protective shield for Faith. Whenever Focus is available to you, this takes damage before her health. Stop running or take damage though, and the Focus meter starts dipping, which means that the emphasis has once again been placed on making swift movements in the game as opposed to the typical first person shooting seen in many other games.

In fact, Catalyst has removed the use of guns entirely, at least for the player. Enemies still have firearms, although they’re locked to the ID of their users, so the excuse is that Faith couldn’t even touch them if she wanted to. Those dissatisfied with the shooting in the original game will be glad of its removal in this sequel and, let’s face it, it wasn’t even that necessary in that game. Melee combat, however, does make its return but, sadly, it is rather underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s serviceable enough, but connected hits could have better feedback, and if only DICE had succeeded in making the first person combat as satisfying as the first person Parkour, then it could have been very special indeed.

Much more successful are the traversal attacks. These allow you to keep moving while taking out enemies at the same time, and it’s immensely satisfying to jump down and kick an enemy in the head or slide into their legs, all without stopping for breath. Again, this shows that Mirror’s Edge is at its best when on the run, and being that the city environments aren’t always designed to easily attack enemies this way, perhaps more emphasis should have been placed on these traversal attacks. With that said, sometimes the best thing to do is to just run away from any threats.

Also new is the upgradeable MAG Rope, which Faith is able to use to swing on in its simplest form, but she is also later able to quickly propel herself upwards, and even pull down certain objects. It’s a great little addition, and because it can only be used at certain points in the city of Glass, I’m pleased to say that it’s not overused in a way that makes the Parkour feel redundant. DICE have remembered where the focus of Mirror’s Edge should lie; that’s in feeling the thrill from running about, and hearing Faith’s footsteps echo and her shoes squeak on certain surfaces.

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There’s often a long way to fall in the city of Glass, and falling in Catalyst is one of the scariest things that I have ever experienced in gaming.

I mentioned that the MAG Rope is upgradeable, and speaking of such upgrades, Faith actually has three upgradeable skill trees for movement, combat and gear. The game follows the typical template of earning experience through your actions, and eventually earning a skill point to spend, of which allows you to unlock a new upgrade of your choosing. Some of the upgrades, however, can only be chosen when you reach a certain point in the story. Through upgrades, Faith gets stronger and faster, and she is able to later disrupt the communication systems of enemies, allowing her to stun them for a short while.

As an open-world game, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst has a high volume of content. There’s collectibles to find, time trials, carrier missions, billboards to hack, and fast travel to unlock in each area, as well as other side content. This is all outside the main storyline and, speaking of which, while there isn’t a huge amount of main missions, they are pleasing enough in their execution, offering a decent enough amount of variation for a game that has its major focus on movement. It’s the aforementioned movement that makes everything so enjoyable, although it has to be said that some of the side content can get a little repetitive.

As for the rest of the side content, this is actually player created. It’s possible to create your own time trials for other players to run, and you can take part in runs created by other players. It’s a nice inclusion, and it’s possible to create any run that you desire, and each and every creation has their own leaderboards. It’s the type of user generated content that may just have avid players coming back for more time and time again.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a welcome sequel to a game that always deserved to eventually become part of a series. The first person Parkour is fluid and responsive, and DICE have once again succeeded in making you feel as though you are actually in Faith’s athletic body as opposed to a mere passenger. The new open-world environment of the high-tech city of Glass is also a joy to behold, and certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like the original game, there are flaws to be found here, but this is still one exhilarating sequel, and hopefully one that won’t be as overlooked as the original game was in terms of its lifetime sales numbers.


8/10


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Louise Biddle <![CDATA[Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter PS4 Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25136 2016-06-19T13:22:04Z 2016-06-19T13:21:25Z Publisher: Bigben Interactive  Developer: Frogwares  Genre: Adventure  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One


Having never played a Sherlock game before, I was curious to know how one would actually handle. Now I’m no avid fan of the worlds most famous consulting detective, but Frogwares have dealt with Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter with much more pride than Artefacts Studios did with their attempt at Poirot, and with 11 Sherlock titles now under their belt, no other developer is more qualified to create a Sherlock game than Frogwares. The game has been done very well, with lots of unexpected moments to shake up the story and gameplay, from statues that come to life, to exploring a hidden Mayan temple filled with booby traps that you have to escape. The game certainly keeps your attention, with many details added to vary up the gameplay and making excellent use of all of Holmes’ special abilities.

There are multiple cases to solve and they all offer something different, from finding a young boys dad to finding out who attempted to blow up your famous home on Baker Street. The way the cases allow you to solve them are highlights, with Sherlock making use of his extrasensory vision to see where missing items previously were, or to see well-hidden evidence in the most discreet of places. Using Sherlock’s deductions skills, you can piece together all the evidence you’ve found; to do this, you first connect clues and see which ones go together, though you are given multiple choices as to which you feel is the right path. Once you have settled on a path, you can then make a Moral Choice, here deciding who the culprit is and whether you should condemn them – send to prison – or absolve. This allows for cases to have multiple endings, though there is only one correct choice, meaning you could send an innocent person to the gallows.

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How you attain evidence is also done well. Upon entering a place, you can take a look around and examine the environment for clues. A circle will appear on objects you can look at; a green circle means there is nothing more to be found, though if it hasn’t changed colour or there is an exclamation mark, the area needs further investigation. Upon finishing your investigation, you can then follow up on clues you have found, by going elsewhere and searching there, or chatting to, or interrogating, characters of particular interest. With them, you can form a character profile by examining them. However, an improper character profile can affect the path of the case later and you can’t go back to change your choices afterwards, so you do need to make sure you have chosen correctly before validating the characters profile.

Back at Sherlock’s famous pad, you can add additional details to the investigation by using his vast collection of books and newspapers for reference. You can also work out your next moves by looking through Sherlock’s casebook. Here all the evidence you collect can be found, as well as the profiles of characters, the map of the area, and even a record of the dialogue from previous cut scenes.

As mentioned, gameplay is very varied, with lots of moments that keep the game feeling fresh. At times, you won’t even be playing as Sherlock, instead taking control of other characters to progress the story. One moment you’ll be controlling a young boy, from Sherlock’s homeless network, to trail a character of interest, another time you’ll gain control of Watson as you solve a puzzle. At one point you will even take control of Sherlock’s dog, Toby, as he sniffs out the trail of a missing item. As well as taking control of other characters, there’ll be some sneaking around for you to do, and there’s an interesting moment using Sherlock’s Mind Palace as he wanders around a hidden Mayan temple in order to put a series of events into chronological order. Sherlock will be shot at with arrows, perform a fake exorcism, and becomes involved in a confrontation that requires quick reflexes and decision making on your part. Sherlock can even use disguises to infiltrate certain areas to gain vital clues – never a dull moment for the detective.

The puzzles in the game aren’t the most thought-provoking, with the usual lockpicking, deciphering codes, jigsaw puzzles with letters, avoiding traps, choosing correct pathways, using the environment to reach places. But the puzzles are only one small piece of the pie, with other elements – such as investigating areas, using Sherlock’s sensory abilities, interrogating people, placing events in order – combining with them to make the puzzle-side of the game much more substantial. The game also allows you to skip puzzles – in some ways I wish the option hadn’t been there, as most of the time I found myself halfheartedly attempting the puzzles, only to then skip them, and this does reduce the sense of urgency. Still, if you can resist the urge to skip, it does leave a greater feeling of achievement.

Each case has it’s own full story, with some being better than others. As varied and exciting as the gameplay is, the stories themselves never seem to quite reach the same depths. The gameplay surrounding the stories themselves is the interesting part, though I never felt the stories were truly compelling, the same with the characters in the game. None of them are particularly well written, including Holmes himself. There’s enough there that you care about their predicaments, but not enough that you feel attached to the characters. Surprisingly, Holmes eccentricity seems to have been downplayed here, and because of this, at his most eccentric, he seems out of character… or maybe I’ve just got too used to watching Benedict Cumberbatch in the role. Whatever the case, the characters and story never quite live up to the gameplay, with generic revenge plots or money-making schemes by run-of-the-mill characters.

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As for the graphics of the game, there is a lot of detail in the scenes, though they aren’t the best that the PS4 has to offer. At times characters can look a little dead-eyed and lacking expression, though you can tell that a lot of effort has been put in to bringing the environment to life. The game uses a fast travel feature, though one sore point of the game is the long loading times. Frogwares was obviously aware of this, and so they have given you the option to change the loading screen to one of Sherlock travelling to his next destination by carriage, and here you can browse your casebook or make deductions as you wait. Unfortunately, not every time will you need to do these things, so often waiting for the next area to load can still be aggravating.

At times, I also felt the game would leave me in the lurch; there were times when I had no idea what I should do next. Referring to the casebook was useless as there were no clues as to where I should go next, other than the mission objective which is vague, and I couldn’t use the deductions as I hadn’t yet discovered what I needed and had already combined what I already had. These aimless moments were few and far between, though it was a little frustrating having to travel to multiple areas and search around to see if I had missed anything. At one point I even unintentionally discovered the correct way to go, and when you are lost, it shouldn’t be left up to chance about where you should be going next.

Still, the loading times and aimless wandering around are only a couple of bugbears I had with the game and it didn’t impact the overall enjoyment I experienced. Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter is certainly a well-planned and well-made game with enough there to keep you on your toes and your interest piqued, with an excellent twist ending.


8/10


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Louise Biddle <![CDATA[Resident Evil 7 Speculations]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25055 2016-06-20T19:17:32Z 2016-06-16T15:04:25Z Upon viewing the trailer for Resident Evil 7, admittedly it did leave me foaming at the mouth and I couldn’t wait to play the demo – has Capcom finally given us ardent fans the Resident Evil we have been waiting for? The answer? Sort of. While at this stage it is difficult to judge the entire game based on a few minutes of gameplay, the demo teaser we were given certainly says a lot in terms of where the series could be heading.

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The demo is set in a much more relatable environment; hopefully this will be the case with the main game.

After the recent action packed outings, I love the slower pace of the opening of Resident Evil 7. You awake to find yourself alone in a dilapidated house, and it is your mission to escape, but it’s not as simple as it seems. The tension and suspense is definitely back in those opening moments, though whether this continues throughout the game remains to be seen. I also love the realism of the game and how it is rooted in a reality that is much more relatable. With a lot of popular zombie games these days, the focus is very much on realism and ordinary people, and the Resident Evil 7 demo has captured that well. The demo also showcases an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere, something Resident Evil has been lacking for so many years. I felt emotionally joyous when I was exploring the house, picking up items, examining items, accessing the inventory that has now been much more simplified and is back to having a set number of slots as opposed to the attache that became popular in Resident Evil 4. It certainly gave me a sense that I was finally playing a Resident Evil game…. for the most part.

I would like to focus on other positives of the game, that being the gameplay. Not much was shown, though it does seem to have a new feature in which you are able to make multiple choices that affect the outcome. Upon starting the game, you explore the house, find some items and use them in some way, and you’ll get an ending and the demo will finish. You can then start the demo again, only this time upon exploring the house, you can try to do things in a different order and it will affect the outcome – will you get killed, will you survive? I’ve read articles, one of which you can read here, that also mention there are many smaller details that you can find, such as a ghost popping up here and there and mannequins turning to look at you or moving. A video you find serves as a type of time travel device and, as you watch the video, you control the main character as he and two others first enter the house, and it is certainly clever in how whatever choices you make in the video universe affects what happens to you in the present. There are many details to search for in the demo and it offers a lot of replayability to find all the little secrets and it strongly encourages exploration, with some puzzle solving, something that has also been lacking in recent Resi titles. At one point I was so immersed I was actually startled by a jumpscare (a good jumpscare), and it is extremely rare for that to happen to me considering I am an avid horror fan and have been pretty much desensitised to scares – at least I thought so.

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Ah, the inventory has been simplified and now plays more like the original Resident Evil games.

I was going to write about the similarities of the new Resi to PT Silent Hills, as most players of the demo have already done, though having read more articles regarding Resident Evil 7, it seems that the demo is more of a representation of how the main game will play, with Capcom confirming to Eurogamer that the demo is not actually part of the game itself and will feature a different story and lead character. The demo, it seems, is there to show off the different mechanics, such as the way in which you collect multiple items and use them, the aforementioned inventory, weapons that might be featured, the first-person view, the multiple choices. Capcom also told Eurogamer there will be a lot less emphasis on gunplay, meaning that you could be using whatever you find at your disposal to protect yourself, such as the axe you can discover in the demo. Fans will be glad to know that Capcom have also said the game will be taking place all in one location, in the wilderness of Louisiana. This means that there could potentially be many puzzles for you to solve, and lots of backtracking as you move back and fourth between different areas as was the case in the early Resident Evil games – because of this, I wonder if crimson head zombies will make a return… It has been confirmed, however, that herbs will also be featured once again.

As fun as the demo is, as mentioned at the start, it is difficult to judge the final game based on the demo, especially now it has been confirmed that what is featured here is not going to be in the main game itself. Some of the mechanics used in the demo will possibly be staying, though you can say goodbye to Clancy, Andre and the other unnamed guy. As for the villain in the demo, it is not confirmed whether he will be staying either, though it seems unlikely to be the case.

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A character resembling Oswell E. Spencer makes an appearance in the E3 trailer. Is Resident Evil 7 about the Spencer family?

It has also been confirmed that Resident Evil 7 still takes place in the same universe as the other games and is set after Resi 5 and 6, though whether the main characters will be making an appearance is not certain. However, if Capcom is looking to rebuild the game, as Koushi Nakanishi told Eurogamer, they probably want to keep the realism of Resi 7 and the outlandishness of the other games set apart, at least for now, so it is possible none of the other characters may feature. However, looking closely at the E3 trailer, and the fact the game ‘welcomes you to the family’, it seems Resident Evil 7 could be set around events involving the Spencer family.

Whatever the case may be, it seems Resident Evil 7 is certainly going to make for a refreshing change to the series, and a much needed one at that. Hopefully this will pave the way for new characters to take centre stage and will take the story in a different direction, offering something new but also going back to what made Resident Evil so great in the first place. I have concerns that perhaps some elements of the game could be so different that it will be at the other end of the scale now – trying so hard to get away from its emphasis on action and becoming too much like Silent Hill instead – that it still won’t feel like a Resident Evil game once again. Still, Capcom seem to be making a lot of effort to appease old fans and bring in new ones, and this could just be the Resident Evil to do that, and revive the series as a whole.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – The next Zelda game gets a title and a new trailer]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25111 2016-06-15T16:34:56Z 2016-06-15T16:28:48Z The next game in The Legend of Zelda series has finally got a name. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is coming to both Wii U and Nintendo’s NX console, and the company has released a new trailer to show off what is easily the most ambitious game in the long running series yet.

Breath of the Wild is looking very pretty, and is the first open-world Zelda game in the history of the series, with a map that is said to be twelve times the size of the overworld map that was featured in Twilight Princess.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild evolves the series in ways that make sense, but sadly we’ll have to wait until next year to play it. For now, you could always watch the new trailer below, and there’s also plenty of other videos of the game to be found on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. One more thing: Now that we have the final name for the new Zelda game, Nintendo, could we also have the final name of your new console? Considering that the Wii U successor is launching in the March of next year, some actual information would be nice also.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Xbox One Review]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=24855 2016-06-15T14:52:42Z 2016-06-15T14:52:12Z Publisher: Activision  Developer: PlatinumGames  Genre: Action  Players: 1-4  

Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4, PS3, Xbox 360


Transformers: Devastation was a game that showed that developer PlatinumGames had a real respect for the licence, and many lived in hope that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan would be treated with the same respect by the famed action game developer.

Penned by comic writer Tom Waltz, Mutants in Manhattan doesn’t have too much story, although if you expect a narrative with lots of depth, then you obviously don’t have any prior knowledge of the Heroes in a Half Shell. There’s a likeable sense of humour, with camaraderie also shown between the four turtles, and there’s just enough motivation for all that hacking and slashing as well.

Firstly, you might be wondering if the game features cooperative play, and I’m happy to say that it does. On the less positive side though, it’s online cooperative only, which means that there’s no local multiplayer options. This will obviously come as a major disappointment for those who prefer playing with others in the same room, although with support for up to four players, at least the online side of things has been well covered.

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When a turtle takes too many hits, and he isn’t revived by a team mate in time, he ends up back in the turtle’s lair, and must eat pizza in order to recuperate before he is able to rejoin the fight. If all the turtle’s end back up at the lair at once, however, you are then forced to use one of your continues to return to the game.

The lack of a local co-op option was apparently because the developers wanted to assure that the game was kept at a consistent 60fps. This is odd, however, as the finished game is actually locked at 30fps. Those used to the silky smooth 60fps action of previous Platinum titles will be disappointed in this. The game isn’t quite as responsive as some of their other titles and there’s occasional slow down, although with its bright, cel-shaded visuals and turtle designs based on Mateus Santolouco’s art from the comics, it’s still very eye-catching, and the over the top action is still fun to watch.

Taking place across nine levels, Mutants in Manhattan is mostly comprised of hacking and slashing your way through, with random objectives such as protection missions and fetch quests popping up. In single player, you can choose the turtle you want to take control of at the beginning of a level, and you can also switch between characters during the game itself. The three turtles that aren’t under your control are AI controlled, and they do a decent enough job in inflicting damage as well as reviving you when you take too many hits, although, largely, the most reliable teammates are other players, and online is definitely the recommended way in which to play the game.

The combat itself is fast and fun, and there’s some depth and combos to be found. If you are expecting Bayonetta levels of depth here though, then you are going to be very disappointed, as this is a game that doesn’t rely on strategy as such, and button mashing will get you a long way. Upping the difficulty, however, does result in a slightly superior experience that is less about button mashing and more about skill, but on whatever difficulty you are playing, the combat can actually be a confusing jumble at times that you can’t help but rely on button mashing. There’s often so much going on with so many participants on screen that you are forced to play the game in this manner, although, when you are actually able to see what’s going on, skill and strategy do come in the form of dodging and parrying attacks.

The turtles also have special Ninjutsu moves, which do damage to enemies or help you out in various ways. Each turtle can have four of these equipped at once, and each time you use one of these moves, there’s a cooldown period in which you have to wait for it to recharge before you are able to use it again. Ninjutsu moves can be switched between on the loadout screen before beginning each level. Each turtle has one Ninjutsu move that is unique to them, which includes Leonardo slowing down time, Raphael becoming invisible to enemies, Donatello restoring health to the entire team by lobbing slices of pizza at them, and Michelangelo restoring all his brothers Ninjutsu moves using, amusingly, a pair of motivational pom poms. If you use Michelangelo’s Ninjutsu at the correct time, this means that you don’t have to wait for the other turtle’s moves to be fully charged, which is chiefly when important Ninjutsu moves are locked in the cooldown period. There are also plenty of other moves that all four turtles are able to make use of, with some needing to be unlocked first with Battle Points that you earn in the game, and others being able to be upgraded. Ninjutsu moves are certainly the cause of plenty of confusing chaos in the combat, which young fans may enjoy, although older players may be overwhelmed by all the mayhem. During all the bedlam, April O’Neil is on hand for support, informing you if one of the turtles has been knocked out or offering words of encouragement. The turtles also spout dialogue throughout the fighting, and a bit more time could have been spent recording more dialogue as what they all say gets very repetitive very fast.

The chaotic nature of the game also drips into the items you are able to find, including bombs, rocket launchers and turrets, which assist you during the combat. Other pick-ups include pizza, which restores health, and there’s various other stat-boosting pick-ups. Unlike the Ninjutsu moves, these items can only be used once, but they are very capable of turning the tide of battle in your favour. Items are awarded to you during levels, but they can also be purchased and switched between back at the Turtle’s lair as well.

The boss fights are a highlight, and you’ll be going up against iconic villains from the Turtles universe. Like the rest of the game, these big battles are often chaotic, and some of them can be a bit of a struggle, particularly on the tougher difficulty levels. All the villains that you might expect are here, which means that the game will appeal to younger fans as well as others, like me, who might have been familiar with the universe when it first became popular in the late 1980’s.

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When turtle’s are close by, more powerful cooperative attacks are possible.

The nine levels are sadly rather repetitive in nature, and not just because one corridor looks like the last one at times. There isn’t much variation to hacking your way through enemies either, and the levels are also repetitive because you return to areas, such as the sewers and the rooftops, which look similar to earlier levels that share the same theme. With only nine levels, this is definitely a misjudgement, and possibly a sign of a game that was made on a shoestring budget.

The rather small number of levels, and the fact that each one of them only lasts for around a maximum of 30 to 45 minutes, is merciful; in this way, the game doesn’t outstay its welcome too much. The story can be completed in as little as four hours; however, the fact that publisher Activision decided to charge £40 for the game was another misjudgement, as many may not be happy paying such a price for a 4-6 hour game. There are collectable comic covers to find, and even secret bosses on every level, and if you want to be fully upgraded, own all the Ninjutsu moves, and unlock all the emblems, then all of these things do help extend the longevity of the game, but some of them do depend on if you can tolerate playing the game again. Me? I’d be happy enough to.

Being a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles when I was growing up and knowing the talents of PlatinumGames as a developer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is a game that I was looking forward to playing, although it has ended up as a bit of a disappointment. True, there’s chaotic enjoyment to be found for the few hours that the game lasts, but there’s too many flaws that hold the game back from true greatness. Better to wait for this one to come down in price, or rent.


6/10


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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – Star Trek: Bridge Crew takes the universe into VR]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25080 2016-06-15T14:07:09Z 2016-06-15T08:43:12Z Star Trek: Bridge Crew has you teaming up with others to help run a new ship, the U.S.S Aegis, as you explore an uncharted area of space.

Being that they’re actors, I’m not sure if the enthusiasm for the game that the likes of Karl Urban, Levar Burton and Jeri Ryan show in the below video is entirely real, but a game that has you teaming up in such a way does seem promising enough, as working together is very important for success in the multiplayer mode.

There’s captain, Helm, Tactical and Engineer roles to be filled, although if you are playing on your own, you’ll always be the captain.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be available this autumn on all major VR devices, including the PlayStation VR.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – Eagle Flight gets a multiplayer trailer]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25077 2016-06-15T08:20:20Z 2016-06-15T08:20:20Z Ubisoft’s first stab at VR games, Eagle Flight, has had a new gameplay trailer released for it. The video showcases the multiplayer in the game, which can be played by up to six players at once.

Taking place in a human-less world, Eagle Flight VR has you taking control of, you guessed it, an eagle and flying over Paris and past recognisable landmarks. The game looks to be fast and fun, and is said to work well as a VR game.

The game will be available for all major VR devices this autumn, including the PlayStation VR.

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Chris Wigham <![CDATA[News – South Park: The Fractured but Whole release date revealed]]> http://www.consoleob.com/?p=25074 2016-06-15T08:05:30Z 2016-06-15T08:04:45Z Superhero parody RPG South Park: The Fractured but Whole will be released on December 6th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Despite the change in developer, the Fractured but Whole is looking to be more of the same, but if it’s anywhere near as much of a labour as love as The Stick of Truth was, then a good time with the game can certainly be expected.

Predecessor South Park: The Stick of Truth was a hugely enjoyable RPG, but good news for those who haven’t already played it, Ubisoft have announced that those who purchase The Fractured but Whole will also receive a free copy of The Stick of Truth.

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