John Cal McCormick Avatar Image

John Cal McCormick

Durham, UK

Favorite Games:
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Mass Effect 2

98 games reviewed
63.3 average score
60 median score
40.8% of games recommended

John Cal McCormick's Reviews

There's a good chance that while you're reading this, John is in his pyjamas with a PS4 controller in his hands. He loves music and movies from the '80s, considers cheese to be the most important major food-group, and has no regrets about the amount of time he's spent chasing platinum trophies.
10 / 10 - INSIDE
Aug 22, 2016

As far as puzzle platformers go, Inside is the new benchmark. This is a game that manages to spin a compelling yarn without uttering a single word, and one that is designed so meticulously that the puzzles it contains never once become rote or frustrating. It's beautiful to look at, and the minimalist sound design complements the almost greyscale aesthetic perfectly. But beyond the technical proficiency on display, the true genius of Inside is in the feeling that it left us with once it was all over. This is a game that will probably stay in your thoughts for days once you've finished it.

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10 / 10.0 - God of War
Apr 25, 2018

God of War is one of PlayStation 4's most wonderful exclusive games, and undoubtedly one of the great games of the generation so far.

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Oct 6, 2018

Red Dead Redemption II is a mind-boggling technical achievement. There has never been an open world video game crammed full of so much meaningful content, and one in which every facet is polished to such an exceptional degree. The outstanding mission design, consistently brilliant writing, and acting, and superlative long-form storytelling make this Rockstar's best ever game, and the defining game of the generation so far.

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9 / 10 - XCOM 2
Oct 4, 2016

While the occasional technical issues might hamper the experience somewhat, XCOM 2 remains a superb strategy game that expertly weaves stellar mechanics and emotional story-telling into an engrossing campaign in which every choice that you make feels genuinely important. It can be both brutally difficult and depressingly ruthless, but the scant moments of joy that you'll experience in your attempts to overthrow the alien regime should provide more than enough incentive to keep fighting the good fight.

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Pillars of Eternity is a wonderful role-playing game, expertly weaving deep, tactical combat and captivating writing - a combination that will appeal to unabashedly old school gamers, but will also yield abundant rewards for players new to the genre. What Obsidian has crafted here, ostensibly as a love letter to the isometric computer role-playing games of the late '90s, is not merely an exercise in tickling the nostalgia itch of those pining for another Planescape: Torment or Baldur's Gate, but a contemporary to those classics, and one that will surely be held in as high regard in the years to come.

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Jul 27, 2018

The Banner Saga 3 is a fantastic tactical role-playing game that confidently concludes the overarching storyline of the series in a manner entirely befitting with what has come before. Little has changed on the combat front - although this game does perhaps feel a mite easier than first two Banner Saga titles - but it's the storytelling where the release truly excels. The stakes are high, and after two and a half games spent getting to know dozens of wildly different characters, watching their fates unfold during the superb finale can be both exhilarating and soul-destroying.

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Sep 10, 2018

Valkyria Chronicles 4 has the unenviable task of reinvigorating a series that hasn't seen a mainline home console entry in over a decade, as well as washing away the bad taste left in players mouths after the dreadful Valkyria Revolution. That it succeeds so comfortably on both fronts is at once a surprise and a delight. The storyline is thoughtful and engrossing, the cast is varied and likeable, and the combat is challenging and rewarding throughout. This is the game Valkyria Chronicles fans have been waiting for, and one that newcomers to the series should be equally excited for.

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With stellar writing, challenging combat, a compelling central quest, and dozens of worthwhile side activities, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the finest role-playing games available on PlayStation 4. There's the occasional small issue and some scant technical hiccups – particularly when playing online – but these are minor quibbles. This is a dense, engrossing adventure, packed to the hilt with stories worth hearing, conflicts you'll want to resolve, and secret treasures just begging to be discovered.

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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a wonderful love letter to Castlevania fans. It's gothy, camp, and unabashedly old school. But it's also a meticulously crafted game that constantly rewards players for exploration and offers unbridled options in combat. For long-time Metroidvania fans, Ritual of the Night is an unmissable celebration of the genre from the mind of one if its chief architects, while for newcomers it's an accessible entry-point that's easy to pick up and oh so difficult to put down. Let's hope the next one doesn't take quite as long.

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Civilization VI is an excellent strategy game that offers numerous ways to play, and all of them are viable options. You can lead a peaceful nation or a war-mongering empire and still have an engrossing and rewarding experience like few others on PS4. Excessive load times, grating music, and some occasionally irksome controls are the only real downsides to what is otherwise the system's best strategy game, and a title that strategy fans can scarcely afford to skip.

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Jul 12, 2016

Where The Banner Saga stands head and shoulders above most other role-playing games is that the world created by Stoic Studio here feels truly on the precipice of collapse. So often when we play role-playing games we're given a rag-tag band of heroes who must join together to overcome a seemingly insurmountable threat. But for all the apocalyptic histrionics of games like Skyrim, Persona 4, or one of many Final Fantasy titles, there's always amusing side-quests to take part in or brief moments of levity to break up the tension. The Banner Saga 2 is a story about the end of the world, and few games do a better job of constantly reminding you of that fact.

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Aug 27, 2016

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is definitively the finest music game on PlayStation 4. It boasts a ton of replay value, and the mechanics are in a league of their own. Trying to better your own high scores can become incredibly addictive, and you could sink hours into the game without even realising it. If you know that you hate J-pop then this game won't be for you any more than a great football game like FIFA 15 would be for someone that hates sports. But if you're willing to take a chance on Hatsune Miku and her sugary sweet brand of pop, then you'll find an incredibly well-crafted rhythm game that is welcoming to new players while providing just enough of a challenge for veterans of the genre.

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The only area in which South Park: The Fractured But Whole can't compete with The Stick of Truth is surprise. There's nothing here that will rival the childish glee we felt seeing 8-Bit Canada for the first time. But it's still riotously funny from start to finish, and on top of that there are some genuinely poignant moments in the game that we weren't expecting. With a much improved battle system and a larger, more well-rounded cast of characters, The Fractured But Whole is practically everything you could want from a Stick of Truth sequel. And there's a bunch of fart jokes, too.

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The core Hatsune Miku gameplay has barely changed, so if you liked it before, you'll like it now. The most compelling case for picking up Project DIVA Future Tone lies in the options you're given as to how much of the game you want to buy. While the free, base package won't give you much to sink your teeth into, either of the reasonably priced add-on packs offer an awful lot of bang for your buck, and combined they make up the most robust and complete version of Hatsune Miku ever released.

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8 / 10 - Nioh
Feb 2, 2017

Nioh is about as approachable as a game of this ilk can be, and while that may offend the hardcore sensibilities of some Souls fans, it's a title that will likely appeal to many players who want a gameplay challenge but are turned off by the obtuse nature of Dark Souls' storytelling and the murky explanations of its mechanics. The experience is marred by some unfortunate difficulty spikes and lacklustre bosses, but the rich loot, levelling systems, and fast, often thrilling combat do more than enough to justify Nioh as a worthy contemporary to From Software's efforts – and an impressive return to form for Team Ninja.

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Mar 7, 2017

One part Persona, one part Ace Attorney, and one part Battle Royale, Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair are two of the very best murder mystery titles available for PS4 right now, together in one pack. While the games may move just a tad too slowly for some players, those willing to take a chance on a visual novel with a difference will find Danganronpa to be a fascinating, multi-faceted, frequently surprising story that's among the most compelling on the market, full of engaging characters, anarchic humour, and jaw-dropping twists.

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May 29, 2018

Yoku's Island Express is one of the most surprising games of 2018. The combination of pinball and Metroidvania is, on paper at least, a little like dipping your French fries into your milkshake; as good as the two elements are separately, they shouldn't really work together. But thanks to an array of smart design choices, a wonderful art style, and some genuinely inventive puzzles, Yoku's Island Express is a game that only rarely frustrates – and frequently delights.

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Jun 12, 2018

Jurassic World Evolution sits happily in the difficulty sweet spot: it's easy enough to pick up and play that park builder novices will likely have a good time, but it's involved enough that genre veterans should enjoy it as an amusing diversion between more hardcore titles. While there's a couple of tedious processes involved, building a park is generally entertaining, and dinosaur fans – who isn't a dinosaur fan? – will likely be enamoured with the array of creatures available, and the mischief they can get up to.

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8 / 10 - Hitman 2
Nov 19, 2018

Each mission in Hitman 2 is a treasure trove of wonderful emergent gameplay, excellent satirical writing, and lashings of delicious, jet-black humour. The targets you'll hunt are almost universally rotters which thankfully takes care of any lingering moral quandaries you may have about their imminent demise. It's better that way. We really don't want to feel bad about tinkering with an old man's oxygen tank so it blows up and kills him when he sparks up a cigarette, do we?

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Phoenix Wright has finally made his debut on a PlayStation console in the form of the Ace Attorney Trilogy, and you'll have absolutely no objections from us. This collection of three brilliant games is well worth the attention of adventure game fans, visual novel aficionados, or budding lawyers. The mind-bending, labyrinthine murder plots are far-fetched but engaging, the writing is consistently pithy and amusing, and the characters you'll meet are charming and unique. It's an open and shut case – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy rocks.

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