I said in my original review that Rockstar dropped the mic on the previous generation with the release of GTAV. If that's the case, this feels like a remastering of a classic album. The fact that this isn't known as "GTAV: Definitive Edition" speaks volumes to the attitude Rockstar have taken with this release. It's GTAV, and it's on the new systems. There is an absolute treasure trove of content to dive headfirst into, and with its fresh coat of paint, GTAV on PS4 is one of the best looking open worlds that there has ever been on a console. I fully expect the PC version to be modded to the moon and back when it's released in January, but for now, this version of Los Santos will remain the pinnacle. If you've yet to play Grand Theft Auto V and own a new system, there is absolutely no excuse for not picking up this release. If you're thinking about double-dipping, then it's a slightly more difficult proposition, but I would recommend it. Admittedly that's because I was looking forward to taking my time with the game rather than mainlining the story campaign in a few days like I did with the review last year. There are still parts that I've yet to touch on the last generation, so with everything to do all over again plus all of that? It's one of the best value propositions on the market right now. Hopping on a scooter and riding down to Vespucci beach during the sunset never felt quite so good.
Uncharted 4 is an exceptional game. Naughty Dog have knocked it out of the park in pretty much every area, and this truly does feel like the sequel they've wanted to make for years. They have taken elements from the previous Uncharted games as well as The Last Of Us, honed and refined them, and created quite possibly the best action game I've ever played. A tight story with superb pacing, incredible set pieces and simply unbelievable visuals, Uncharted 4 should be mandatory if you own a PS4.
ABZU, to put it bluntly, is a bit special. A stunning example of game design, allowing you to dictate your own pace through an ocean that gets more complex in both design and feel as you descend, with some moments that, in my opinion, surpass some of Journey's standout points. A beautifully simple game in terms of mechanics, ABZU's strength lies in its world and the emotional resonance it has with its player. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, this game should be made available on the NHS. It is, quite simply, wonderful.
Playdead have taken everything that Limbo offered, and expanded it exponentially with Inside. Crafting a sublime 2D platformer with another unique art style, they take so many unexpected turns with the game that they may as well ship it with a sat nav. A game that starts you off as a boy in the wood will immediately draw comparisons to their 2010 debut, but the connective threads between Limbo and Inside are slowly pulled apart as the latter goes on and begins its descent into something all the more disturbing. A fantastic example of polishing a game until it’s done, Inside may only be around 4 hours long but it’s been well worth the 6 year wait.
Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most critically revered games of the PS2 era, and with this remake, Bluepoint Games have shown that it can stand head and shoulders above most games that are released today. A wonderful experience from start to finish, and a game that is considered to be a landmark in the medium, and with good reason. A phenomenal game that has not only stood the test of time, it has become an absolute must-play in anyone's PlayStation 4 library through a simply staggering amount of work from Bluepoint. A seminal game that should not be missed.
The Last of Us Part 2 makes some bold moves. Whether it’s from a story perspective or a gameplay one, Naughty Dog haven’t been afraid to make some big leaps with this game. Fortunately, it’s almost all for the better, and the result is a game that is as diverse as it is challenging, with visuals that I can’t see being beaten until the new consoles hit, and a story that will raise some eyebrows but ultimately sticks the landing, in spite of how dark it can get. A magnificent example of what is capable in the medium of video games. We absolutely needed this sequel.
Death Stranding is a weird game. It won’t be for everyone, but if you can find something to like in the relatively slow start, you’ll love it by the end. Typically Kojima for better and for worse, it’s a story about reconnecting people through the eyes of a bystander that becomes much more than that. Technically and visually outstanding, it’s going to be up there on my Game of the Year list for sure. A weird, but wonderful game.
Grim Fandango is very much a product of the late 1990's. It's an extremely well put together story, with interesting and funny characters that you begin to care about as the tale unfolds. It's an absolute stone-cold classic of gaming history, and is a title that everybody should play. The remastered character assets and re-recorded audio simply look and sound great, and whilst the overlaying of these on the classic VGA level of backdrops is sometimes disjointed, it never feels "wrong". In fact, Grim Fandango Remastered holds up so well it's a little scary. I would like to think this isn't nostalgia clouding my judgement, but it was hard to suppress a smile the first time I bumped into Glottis and he knocked together the Bone Wagon for me. If you've got the patience to deal with some devious puzzles, and want to experience the final hurrah of the LucasArts point and click legacy, this reissue is more than worth the download. Vita cross-save bug aside, I absolutely loved the chance to get back into Manny's Land of the Dead, and I can now proudly say "Grim Fandango? Yeah, finished it. Great game."
To cap this all off, I'll address the "Exo Suit feels like Titanfall" thing mentioned at the start of the review. To the untrained eye, this may well be the case. Jumping up and boosting through a window to take down a player shooting from the other side of the room is possible in both of the games, but the key difference is this. Titanfall was designed like that from the ground up. Advanced Warfare has taken the core Call of Duty mechanics and enhanced them with these new fangled suits. They feel totally different, and frankly, who cares if they've taken an idea from another game and implemented it? That's what video games have been doing since day one, and although I doubt it's been ripped wholesale from Respawn's new baby, it's done more for Call of Duty than anything has done over the past 4 or 5 years. Considering how much I was down on the series as a whole, Advanced Warfare has turned me round on it. Maybe not quite to the level I used to, but it's done enough to get me back on side again.
All in all, in spite of its flaws, New 'N' Tasty is well worth a purchase. If you've never played Abe's Oddysee and have a PS4, go and buy this immediately. It's a chance to play one of the all-time classic platform games with up-to-date graphics, as well as keeping Abe's unique sense of humour and mischievous ways intact. It couldn't be clearer that the love and commitment to Abe at both of the teams at Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water is huge, and this really is a remake that's worth picking up.