The Phantom Pain is the kind of game that actually feels as if every seemingly insignificant gameplay detail actually has a real purpose. Every mission, side-op and minute spent assigning staff back at Mother Base makes a real difference to what can or cannot be achieved out on the field. At its core, it is still a stealth-action game, but it never ties you down to just being stealthy. Every mission can be approached in a multitude of different ways and it's left up to the player how to progress. The more manageable approach to storytelling may not seem true to the Metal Gear Solid series to date, but it fits in well with the game's more flexible approach, which lets people attack the game head on or play in smaller bites without needing to worry that at any moment they may have to set aside an hour purely to watch a surprise cut-scene.
As with many of Platinum's other game's, Transformers: Devastation can be a challenging experience, even on its lower difficulties, but once you become used to the enemies attack patterns and when to dodge incoming attacks, each fight becomes a rewarding flurry of colour and crunching metal. The cel-shaded graphics and classic voice acting cast make the title great for those looking for some nostalgia. Unfortunately, the short story and the sense of repetition hold the title back from being what it truly could have been.
This latest entry in the Need for Speed series seems to be a reboot in name only. It neither feels like a reimagining of earlier ideas or a refining of the series' roots, but more of a mishmash of parts from the franchise's long history. As such, it lacks any sense of real identity. Ventura Bay often feels empty, the story is inconsequential, and the AI opponents are infuriating at times. That said, vehicle handling is quick and responsive and makes driving a real joy, while performance upgrades and customisation gives players an almost unlimited number of ways to make their cars their own. Those looking for a racing title to surpass all others should look elsewhere, but fans of the series' earlier street racing scene won't be disappointed.
The Banner Saga paints a bleak world with its dialogue, artwork and soundtrack, one that engages the player with every tough choice that it presents. With each decision, the player helps to write their own story of survival against the odds, although the overarching storyline can at times pale in comparison to the struggles of the caravan. Thankfully, it also presents a tough tactical RPG that rewards the use of careful strategy and punishes those who rush in without a plan. Those with a penchant for a tightly woven narrative and tactical thinking will enjoy the deep layers that The Banner Saga provides.
Gunscape's aim to give users a simple way to create and share their own arenas and campaigns is no small feat, but Blowfish Studios has managed to achieve it using an editor that is already familiar to gamers. The main downside is that the game's stability issues can be a major hindrance and lead to more frustration. The main benefit of Gunscape is that there will always be something new to play and more levels to discover thanks to the online community, giving players a virtually endless pool of maps to try out. If you have a large imagination and will spend hours creating the perfect map, this game is for you.
The HITMAN "Intro Pack" tries to squeeze out as much gameplay as it can from a limited amount of content. While it succeeds in doing so, it also has a tendency to become quite repetitive and long loading times have a tendency to hinder the experience. What it does do is create a solid foundation upon which the rest of the content can build.
Stikbold! may not be as serious as the typical sports title to which we have become accustomed, but the game is easy to pick up and provides equal amounts of challenge, fun and off-the-wall ridiculousness. The lack of online multiplayer seems like a major oversight from the developer and the short story mode and limited numbers of stages might put players off who are looking for something to play by themselves for an extended period of time. However, if you get a few friends together, Stikbold! becomes the ideal party game that is just a good bit of fun.
Hard Reset Redux is a fairly competent FPS that channels the pace and tenacity of the old school shooters that inspired it. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough meat on the bone for it to be great. The world is largely repetitive, enemies aren't particularly interesting, and the story is almost non-existent. Although it does show its age and suffers slightly from some frame rate issues, it is a decent, challenging game that will interest those with a fondness for the classic FPS games of years gone by.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II builds upon the original foundation, but it is still an average Action-RPG that features the usual genre tropes. Unfortunately, there is very little to set it apart from its predecessor, let alone the rest of the ARPG crowd.
Team 17 has done a great job at balancing the power and weaknesses of the new mechanics so that they feel like natural additions to the Worms world, and while some of the old weapons haven't returned this time, the game never feels like it is reducing your tactical choices. Worms W.M.D continues to deliver exactly what we have come to expect from the series and fans will not be disappointed.
REUS presents the world as if the almighty was an accountant. It is as much a game about crunching numbers as it is about creating a paradise for humanity, but its beautiful setting helps to mask how logic-driven it really is. It's both confusing and addictive in equal measure and manages to find a great balance between continuously providing a challenge and not overwhelming players. Once you get to grips with the minutia, everything begins to make sense. It's not always easy to get everything running smoothly, but when you do it is immensely satisfying.
Underwhelming RPG elements and character customisation, poor loading times and a map screen that now seems to have a mind of its own do hold back the game from being something great. Those with a penchant for a tightly woven narrative and tactical thinking will enjoy the experience, but it is difficult to overlook some of the more glaringly obvious problems.
To this day Halo Wars remains the most accessible RTS game to have ever been released on a console, and while it may lack the depth of some of its PC brethren, as an introduction to the genre it is still at the top of its class. The addition of playing it on PC is a welcome inclusion and something for which many people have been asking since the game was originally released in 2009.
Doodle God: Ultimate Edition is the most complete version of the title to be released to date but compared to some of it predecessors that are available on other formats, not much has changed. It still offers the same addictive gameplay and hours of distraction. Its easy achievements might be enough to tempt some people, but it's £7.99/$9.99 price point is certainly questionable when compared to other, equally featured titles in the series that are available for free.
Exploring the facility and discovering the nuances of the plot are certainly the highlights of this game, but the lack of direction is a double-edged sword, giving players the opportunity to discover as much as they can but often leaving them unsure of what exactly they are supposed to be doing.
Clicker Heroes styles itself as an idle game in the body of an RPG, but it is really just all of the RPG grind without any of the interesting plot that helps drive you. In the end, the game, if you can call it that, pretty much plays itself. Despite this, it has a surprising amount of depth, though a lot of patience and a great deal of time is needed to uncover it all.
There are a few minor graphical issues, the experience is short and replayability is rather limited, but Four Sided Fantasy is a truly unique experience that's easy to pick up and just as easy to enjoy. It might not be a title players can return to again and again, but it is a short and sweet puzzle platformer that shows that there is still plenty of life left in the genre.