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Sammy Barker

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

210 games reviewed
67.2 average score
70 median score
28.3% of games recommended

Writes for:

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.
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Push Square
Sammy Barker
8 / 10 - Blood & Truth
May 28, 2019

Blood & Truth pushes PSVR to its absolute limits, with a Cockney crime drama that's as amusing as it is explosive. There are moments where Sony's motion controllers can't quite match its ambition, but when you're scratching records with one hand while firing off a sub-machine gun in the other, there isn't a single shooter on the PS4 that's more entertainingly tactile than this.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
May 20, 2019

Everybody's Golf VR loses a little of the series' trademark accessibility as part of its transition to PSVR, but putting in some practice is a worthwhile endeavour, as this is a seriously rewarding arcade sports game. The presentation is top-notch throughout, and while the package is a little light on content, everything that's included has been polished to a sheen. This is the second time Clap-Hanz has reinvented its legendary PlayStation property for the PS4, and once again it's delivered a Nice Shot.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
May 13, 2019

A Plague Tale: Innocence deserves respect for daring to be different, funnelling you through a bleak European backdrop that's seldom seen. Despite some neat ideas, though, the stealth and puzzle mechanics drag, and the story can't quite make up its mind about what it wants to be. Furthermore, while the presentation is spectacular, the project lacks polish in key areas and overstays its welcome at times.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
7 / 10 - Snooker 19
Apr 28, 2019

Snooker 19 cues nicely, and all of the licensing will delight fans of the real-world sport. The game does feel a bit barebones in terms of modes, but it's also retailing at a budget price point. All in all, when it comes to niche sports, this is one of the better executed packages on the PS4.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
7 / 10 - Days Gone
Apr 25, 2019

The story can drift, and the overall package isn’t quite as polished as its PS4 exclusive counterparts – but as far as gaming comfort food goes, you could feast on much worse snacks than this.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Apr 2, 2019

MLB The Show 19 doesn’t appear all that enticing on paper, but step up to the plate and its gameplay is still pretty much unparalleled.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
6 / 10 - The Occupation
Mar 4, 2019

The Occupation is bold, ambitious, and a bit of a mess. Its bugs and occasionally obtuse storytelling severely detract from the overall experience, and yet it will live longer in the memory than the average game. There's something fascinating here: a real-time thriller that puts genuine political power in the palm of your hands. But it's strangled by its own ambition, and that's as inevitable as it is unfortunate.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
7 / 10 - Trials Rising
Feb 25, 2019

The physics are still phenomenal, and the series has retained its addictive quality, but it can occasionally feel like a game looking for answers to questions that didn't necessarily exist to begin with.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Feb 9, 2019

Spike Volleyball's gameplay loop isn't atrocious, but poor animations and ugly visuals demonstrate the low-budget nature of the project. With glitchy online play and a rudimentary career mode, it's extremely difficult to recommend this release – especially when you consider that it's retailing at a price point five times greater than what it realistically deserves.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker

Life Is Strange 2 feels like it's flying under-the-radar, which is unfortunate because this sequel has all of the hallmarks that made its predecessor a success. Episode 2: Rules is slow, but DONTNOD is still easing its new cast of characters in. There's definitely something good brewing here, but for whatever reason we can't shake the feeling that the developer has utterly failed to capture the imagination of Arcadia Bay's biggest fans.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Dec 18, 2018

There's clearly a lot of effort been invested into bringing Borderlands 2 to PSVR, and that's appreciated. The gameplay does feel dated these days – and the lack of DLC and co-op is a real shame – but there's still fun to be had with the loot-shootin' loop, and Pandora scales well to virtual reality. The PS Move control scheme is cumbersome but the game plays fine with a DualShock 4 in hand, and an array of comfort options mean that you can tailor the experience to your exact needs.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
9 / 10 - Tetris Effect
Nov 9, 2018

Tetris Effect takes you on an emotional rollercoaster through oceans and to other worlds. While its striking audiovisual achievements sing on a standard screen, virtual reality elevates the experience to euphoric new levels. And yet, for all the chatter of spiritual awakenings, there's a damn good game of Tetris here, bursting with inventive modes and beautiful visuals which will keep you hooked for potentially hundreds of hours.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Oct 1, 2018

Astro Bot Rescue Mission is an imaginative and innovative platformer which plays to the strengths of PlayStation VR and delivers an immersive experience that isn't easy to forget. Stunning presentation elevated by insanely good animation ensure that you always feel present in the release's virtual world, while tight controls and genuinely clever level design will keep you engaged. This is the kind of game that will leave you beaming long after you've taken the headset off – and we can't give it higher praise than that.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker

Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 – Roads has the same je ne sais quoi as its predecessor, but it's a different kind of game. This isn't a series about teenage angst anymore – it's about survival in a contemporary United States that's more hostile than it'd like to think it is. Larger, more detailed environments and inconclusive moral decisions that have a direct influence on key cast members make for an impressive, brave opening.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Sep 11, 2018

The Golf Club 2019 Featuring PGA Tour's foundations are built upon a rock-solid simulation, with tight swinging and tough greens making for a stern challenge that's difficult but fair. The addition of licensed courses means that this year's game has a much better campaign, but it doesn't feel like HB Studios has had quite enough time to capture the sense of occasion that real TPC events can have. As such, with 2K Sports now also on board as publisher, we reckon it's the next instalment that's really going to impress. The building blocks are all in place, though, and if you're in need of a serious golf game on your PS4 right now, then this edition very much finds the green.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Aug 27, 2018

Pizza Titan Ultra has a strong identity and a delicious gameplay loop, but the title actively works against you in later levels, sapping your momentum in a desperate attempt to inject some difficulty. It's a frustrating flaw, because between its high-octane arcade action and punchy personality, there's a slice of something nice here – you've just got to pick off all of the bits you don't like before you can truly enjoy it.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
Aug 26, 2018

There's no doubt that Firewall Zero Hour's tactical combat works well in virtual reality – in fact, the fledgling medium adds a lot to this FPS, allowing you to naturally gesture to teammates and intuitively check your corners in a way you couldn't on a standard display. But while there are some structural and technical issues that we have confidence First Contact Entertainment will be able to fix, it's the question marks over its community that make it a tough sell. It's a chicken-and-egg situation that's unfortunate for everyone involved, but it's something that the developer would have been aware of when it embarked on creating an online-only multiplayer shooter for an install base of a few million headsets. Good as the game may be, it's something you need to keep in mind as well.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
7 / 10 - Shenmue 1 & 2
Aug 26, 2018

Shenmue I & II divided players and critics on the Dreamcast, and will continue to do so on the PlayStation 4. These games are an acquired taste, but there's nothing quite like them, and if you can overcome some of their more awkward idiosyncrasies, you'll be rewarded with a set of revolutionary sandboxes that impress even today. The ports are let down by a handful of recurring bugs, but are otherwise presented authentically, and while the voice acting is no less embarrassing today, there's a charm to both the script and performances that can be endearing to an open mind. There's no question that these titles deserve their place in the annals of gaming history – but whether you'll love them or loathe them will ultimately come down to personal taste.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker
5 / 10 - Wailing Heights
Aug 14, 2018

Wailing Heights' presentation is perfectly in-tune, but its gameplay is out of time. While it neatly repurposes some old point-and-click tropes, it doesn't quite have enough quality to match the ambition of the classics it's so clearly inspired by. There are some laugh out loud moments and some real ear-worm audio, but it's not quite enough to demand front-row seats for The Deadbeats' reunion tour.

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Push Square
Sammy Barker

It's practically impossible to make any firm conclusions about The Walking Dead: The Final Season in its first episode, but the engine improvements have really helped step up the storytelling, while the new cast of characters seem interesting at this early stage. While we could take or leave the gameplay tweaks, particularly in the combat department, it's already clear that the stakes are going to be much higher in this concluding season than the series' previous disappointing outing – and for now, that's enough for us.

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