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Sammy Barker

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Favorite Games:
  • Shenmue II
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • Super Mario 64

308 games reviewed
66.8 average score
70 median score
35.8% of games recommended

Sammy Barker's Reviews

Sammy Barker is a product of the PlayStation generation. Having grown up with games, he decided to turn his hobby into a lifestyle. He's now the editor of one of the world's leading PlayStation publications.
8 / 10 - SUPERHOT
Sep 28, 2022

SUPERHOT is excellent. It may lack the physicality of its virtual reality alter-ego, but it makes up for this with a mind-bending story and an on-point menu system. The slow-motion shooting is still super satisfying, and the added locomotion makes for a different kind of cadence to the PlayStation VR version. Buy both editions if you can, as they complement each other nicely and are unmissable in our humble opinion. Now, tell all of your friends…

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8 / 10 - NBA 2K23
Sep 16, 2022

It may be easy to accuse sports games of offering the same experience year in and year out, but you simply can't say that about NBA 2K23. The game still has issues with its overemphasis on microtransactions in MyCareer and to a lesser extent MyTeam, but the new MyNBA Eras mode is a revelation – and the Jordan Challenge campaign is damn fun, too. On the court, 2K Sports has made some nice balancing tweaks and also improved the overall AI to make matches more dynamic and competitive, and when you pair all of that with all the new animations, you end up with a basketball sim that's the very definition of a slam dunk.

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Sep 12, 2022

Train Sim World 3 is the most immersive railway simulation from Dovetail to date. For the first time since the series debuted, the game really sells the illusion that you're on a journey – and impressively enormous routes like Schnellfahrstrecke Kassel-Würzburg help. While the release still has obvious visual flaws, the new lighting, volumetric clouds, and dynamic weather system take the presentation to the next level – and the user interface improvements should not be underestimated either. The target audience for a title like this will never be especially large, but few other franchises find a balance between simulation, virtual tourism, and zen-like relaxation quite like this one.

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7 / 10 - Madden NFL 23
Sep 5, 2022

Madden NFL 23 is the best gridiron game on PS5 to date, but the series is taking toe-taps forward rather than big, confident strides. There's no doubt that both Franchise and Face of the Franchise are better this year, and we like the improvements to the run game and the addition of precision passing. But is this enough for a series that's been accused of stagnation over the past decade? It feels like EA Sports is settling for the easy five-yard gains, rather than the deep ball down the field.

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Aug 31, 2022

At a more competitive price point, it'd be essential – as it is, it's a pricey upgrade on a bona fide classic.

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Aug 11, 2022

If you're nostalgic for the 90s and genuinely enjoy minigame compilations, Arcade Paradise is utterly essential. The title's tongue-in-cheek tycoon gameplay and simulator window dressing serve as the backdrop for dozens upon dozens of video game parodies, spanning a GTA-style Pac-Man clone through to an OutRun-inspired futuristic racer. Not every idea shines, but the sheer density of content alone means you'll never get bored. And with an addictive progression system that's forever tempting you with something shiny on the horizon, this release actually lives up to its name: it's truly an arcade paradise.

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Jul 16, 2022

The crossover between Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium and last month's Capcom Fighting Collection is bizarre, but there's more than enough additional content in this compilation to justify a double-dip. While we wish the publisher would have integrated more social features to make the pursuit of high scores more fulfilling, the reality is that retro game enthusiasts will want to revisit much of what this package has to offer.

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6 / 10 - Syphon Filter
Jul 11, 2022

Syphon Filter's unwieldy controls make it difficult to play today, but Bend Studio helped pioneer the third-person shooter genre with this memorable 1999 outing. A globe-trotting campaign with large open-ended levels make many of Gabe Logan's missions memorable, and while the story errs on the side of airport fiction with its ludicrous double-crosses and ham-fisted voice acting, there still aren't many games that make you feel like James Bond quite like this one does.

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Matchpoint: Tennis Championships gives you the tools to play realistic tennis rallies, and it feels pretty good on the pad overall. The problem is that a real lack of enthusiasm on court pairs with a stodgy career mode to sap your enthusiasm. There's fun to be had here, and a large animation library allows the gameplay to look relatively realistic from afar, but tennis fans will still have to wait for a real winner to topple the legendary Top Spin 4.

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Jul 5, 2022

As an accessible, arcade sports game, Hot Shots Tennis is a winner. However, the game is basic and bare bones, and was ultimately surpassed by its superior PSP successor, Hot Shots Tennis Portable. If you go in with the right expectations then you won't be disappointed with the fare on offer here – but for Clap Hanz, it's a clear case of its second service of tennis being the true ace.

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Jul 4, 2022

Hot Shots Golf has hardly changed in the years since it released, and that's because Camelot hit the sweet spot with its very first swing. While later entries refined the gameplay and ultimately made it more forgiving, the series' sickly sweet centre is still present and correct in this inaugural instalment. Importantly, it'd go on to form the foundation for dozens upon dozens of arcade golf games afterwards – including, perhaps most notably, the many Mario Golf titles.

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Jul 3, 2022

Cycling enthusiasts may find something to enjoy in the unique, tactical gameplay, which is all about picking your moments and pedalling like there’s no tomorrow.

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Jun 23, 2022

Pocky & Rocky Reshrined's ability to seamlessly segue from what seems like a simple remaster into a full-blown remake is brave – and it does it beautifully, too. This looks and sounds like you remember the Super Nintendo release, but is bursting with vibrant flourishes that elevate it beyond mere nostalgia. For purists, it'll no doubt be perfect – but newcomers may scoff at the archaic control scheme, which purposefully limits your capabilities and leads to significant pain.

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Jun 20, 2022

Atari, in its current incarnation, seems setup solely to profit from its past classics. Gravitar: Recharged, though, actually does justice to the original – and even if you weren’t around in the 80s, there’s fun to be found in this sprightly shmup at the right price.

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Jun 17, 2022

Final Vendetta wears its heart on its biceps: it’s a burly and brutal beat-‘em-up that serves as a love-letter to the 16-bit greats from a bygone era. Ass whoopins have never felt quite this good.

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Jun 8, 2022

Overall, this is a handful of games and a legal settlement away from being comprehensive, but it undoubtedly gives you a flavour for Pac-Man’s storied career – and between the ups-and-downs, there’s plenty to chew on.

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8 / 10.0 - Sniper Elite 5
May 25, 2022

Sniper Elite 5 knows exactly who it's aimed at, and Rebellion is on target as always. The developer's dense French sandboxes are hugely replayable, and look fantastic to boot. There are some sloppy gameplay mechanics, like the climbing and twitchy camera, but these are easy to forgive. A wide array of difficulty options mean both super-agents and rookies can eke something out of this title, and with the release accommodating so many different play styles, it represents a real bullet to our heart – or should that be balls?

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Apr 29, 2022

It’s a valiant effort, and an impressively authentic recreation all-in-all, but it just doesn’t hold up from a modern perspective – especially without a lightgun in-hand.

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Apr 8, 2022

It'd probably be reductive to describe many of MLB The Show 22's improvements as the kind of thing you'd expect to find in patch notes, but it's still somewhat true. The gameplay feels great as always, and we really like the additions to March to October as well as the Mini Seasons mode in Diamond Dynasty. But while this is undoubtedly a streamlined, enhanced version of the already excellent MLB The Show 21, casual players will struggle to spot the difference – and, frankly, some aspects of the series are really beginning to tire.

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7 / 10 - Slipstream
Apr 6, 2022

The gameplay feels great, with those aforementioned 90-degree drifts requiring you to dance on the analogue sticks delicately, and there’s a lightning fast pace to the action which is trance-inducing. The core course design isn’t particularly inspired – you’re either sliding or going straight, with little variation in between – but the tracks here aren’t supposed to rival the Nurburgring: this is pure nostalgia, with scorching synthesisers and optional scanlines. It’s a tantalising ode to a timeless era of arcade racers, and one we reckon even Yu Suzuki himself would be proud to put his name on.

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