Fast & Furious Crossroads is the closest the series has come yet to delivering an experience worthy of the blockbuster movie franchise, but skids off track with dull missions, frustrating mechanics, and lonely multiplayer lobbies. Crucially, the driving itself just isn't fun, resulting in a bland experience interchangeable with any other street racing franchise.
The plot of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is, as Shaq says himself "convoluted and full of holes". A poor Chinese orphan, Shaq Fei Hung, is forced to face up to his destiny when it becomes apparent that some of the world's biggest celebrities are actually demons plotting to keep the people in a state of moronic subservience. As dictated by The Prophecy, Shaq must use the skills taught to him by his kung-fu master, Ye-Ye, to travel the globe, take down the celebrities and save the universe.The game itself is a simplistic scrolling brawler. As Shaq, players take on wave after wave of drone-like enemies. Mashing attack builds up a combo, before ending it with Bayonetta-style giant boot finisher, Shaq also has a shoulder charge, a ground pound, and a fairly useless jump-kick. Various weapons can be gathered from the streets or dropped by opponents. Once you reach the end of a stage, you face a celebrity boss, who must be defeated to progress.The problem is, the game is just so numbingly repetitive. Despite the fact it is a mere six stages long, and can be completed in about three hours, it becomes so drawn out, due to the endless waves of villains - non of whom put up a decent fight - and tiresome sequences designed for variety, but are just tedious. For example, one stage has you push boulders down a hill onto enemies for what seems like an eternity, before you move to another hill and do the exact same thing again. Occasionally a stage will lock you into an area, power you up (such as with the "Big D" Mech suit) then force you to defeat, literally, 200 baddies before you can move on. Even though you can mow through them with ease, it's just really boring to do so.
For a title set far into the future, Terminator: Resistance remains disappointingly locked into the past. With lackluster design, story, dialogue, AI, and combat, Terminator: Resistance is a genre example generations out of time. A full-price game offering a budget-price experience just makes it harder to recommend. No one can accuse Resistance of lacking potential, even ambition, but even the most dedicated Terminator fan should wait on a discount, or perhaps say Hasta la Vista altogether.
Video games have really changed as a storytelling medium. what was once a casual dash from left-to-right, dropping baddies and collecting shiny objects, opened up into new realms of drama, narrative and even philosophical messages. Of course, that doesn't make these games immediately any better than the goofy platformers and shmups of gaming's formative years, but it has been amazing to see the many different ways gaming has been adapted by talented designers to tell all manner of dark, abstract and inquisitive tales.Into a busy market of chin-stroking titles such as The Missing, Gris and Gone Home comes Vane, a new PS4 adventure from Tokyo outfit Friend or Foe. Vane, like its brethren, eschews typical action gameplay to present a mood-piece adventure, not dissimilar from the work done by Team ICO. Vane wants to put freedom back in the hands of the player, letting them engage in a strange, mystical journey - without hand-holding - and with player-led discovery being the ultimate prize.
For whatever it's worth, I like Night Trap. It is a bad game, but I like it. Screaming Villains' love-letter to one of the most notorious video games of all time has to be the most oddly-conceived re-release in gaming history. But I can't think of another game, that's so bad, that somehow deserves the recognition so much.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood proudly wears the reverence for White Wolf's lore on its furry sleeve, with a dark-but-interesting universe and a fierce pro-environment/anti-capitalist message. But behind its wild, bloody carnage and well-meant intentions lies a dated and sorely repetitive stealth adventure that, among its contemporaries, fails to stand out from the pack.
There's a nugget of an excellent game located deep within G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout, but this outmoded third-person shooter doesn't have the resources, scope, or variety to expand upon its unmistakable potential. With repetitive objectives, frustrating controls, and a lack of online multiplayer, G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout isn't fun enough to stand out in a crowded shooter marketplace, despite the obvious and heartfelt passion showcased for the '80s franchise.
Kandagawa Jet Girls delights with its boisterous, glowing presentation, cast of vibrant characters, and array of fun side-attractions. But the jet-ski action itself is mostly dull, struggling to offer a decent challenge or a genuine sense of speed. Jet Girls rides waves of goodwill thanks to its infectious personality, but this eventually gives way to tepid, monotonous gameplay, hampering what could have been one of Marvelous' best releases yet.
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is built upon a highly inventive central concept and smartly dressed in an authentic audio/visual package that accurately captures the dangerous world of The Shelby Family. The inventiveness of this core element is not captilised upon, however, which results in very repetitive and robotic gameplay. Die-hard Peaky Blinders fans might find a few hours of entertainment but, overall, Mastermind is a missed opportunity.