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Sammy Barker

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

318 games reviewed
66.8 average score
70 median score
36.5% 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.
Jan 11, 2023

Each level feels unique, and goes through phases that ensure the gameplay remains interesting and engaging. And it’s all complemented by a jaw-dropping art style, which can feel a little grungy on occasion, but has some true standout set-piece moments – like the boss enemies that fill the entire screen. A CRT toggle is available for true retro enthusiasts, but we preferred to play with unfiltered, razor-sharp 4K pixels. And we loved every minute.

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Jan 10, 2023

Nevertheless, we like this little collection. As a game, Breakers and its refreshed Breakers Revenge re-release does little to set itself apart from its peers of the era, but its simplistic gameplay and vibrant aesthetic still manages to ensure it’s an entertaining time.

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Jan 6, 2023

Firefighting Simulator: The Squad takes an underrepresented concept and delivers a rousing co-op experience. Despite its name, the game doesn't get too bogged down in details, making for an entertaining gameplay loop that's oddly relaxing – despite the intense scenarios on display. Some shoddy AI and repetition mean we wouldn't recommend it solo, but there's undeniable fun to be had with friends.

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Dec 20, 2022

Not all of the mechanics work: we like scoring strikes in High Velocity Bowling, but MotorStorm’s route selection rails are a bit of head-scratcher. But there’s a thoughtfulness to all of the tables that’s easy to appreciate – especially if you’re fond of this very specific era of PlayStation’s first-party games.

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Dec 11, 2022

Marvel's Midnight Suns is a hero on the battlefield, where its card-based combat is a hit. The release's more adventurous social aspects are conceptually interesting, allowing you to candidly interact with a spectrum of personalities, but the writing and cutscene direction simply isn't up to scratch. It means that you'll spend long stretches of gameplay itching to get back to the action, but the lure of the tactical battles with pull you through. It's an unusual, unfocused title at times, but one with character and ambition that's easy to appreciate.

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Dec 11, 2022

The core arcade fighting, with its persistent clothing damage and blend of vivid 2D and 3D visuals, makes it a compelling curio for fighting game faithfuls. But the package as a whole falls short of expectations, and will either need major updates or a chunky price drop moving forwards.

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5 / 10 - Soccer Story
Dec 1, 2022

But ultimately, this game misses the target. If you’re itching for some footie amid the World Cup, and you absolutely can’t stand sims like FIFA 23, we suppose you might eke some mileage out of it. Otherwise, leave this one on the bench where it belongs.

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Nov 21, 2022

Outside of the online – which adopts a seasonal format and sees you unlocking new cosmetics as you work through the ranks – there’s a modernised version of single player Arkanoid which includes new power-ups and a combo system, as well as the 1986 original, both with online leaderboards. There’s also a rounds-based versus mode for four-person local multiplayer play. As a whole, the package is well executed, but with an asking price of £24.99/$29.99, it feels a little too light overall to overcome the sticker shock.

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While many of the included games may border on unplayable from a modern perspective, the painstaking attention to detail in Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration is extremely easy to appreciate. The museum-like carousel of content, from interviews through to original artwork, is presented so handsomely that you can't not get swept up in Atari's dramatic story. And the fact that there over 100 of the company's most famous titles, emulated excellently with their original instruction manuals available to pore over, adds playable context to a lot of the content. This is just an impressive overall experience that will appeal to those who lived through the rise (and fall) of Atari, as well as younger players eager to learn a little more about one of the industry's true pioneers.

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7 / 10 - FIFA 23
Oct 4, 2022

The tweaks to FIFA 23's gameplay make for a more deliberate, physical representation of the beautiful game – and while it won't be to the taste of sweats who are used to five-star skilling their way up the ranks in Division Rivals, personally we appreciate the commitment to authenticity. As an overall package, this is a strong end to an impressive 30-year run, but an overemphasis on microtransactions and some cumbersome UI decisions underline everything that's been frustrating about this franchise for the past decade or so. Make no mistake, with crossplay and a wealth of things to do, this is the best shape the series has been in – but we hope EA Sports FC, unshackled from the overbearing eyes of governing body FIFA, brings a little bit more to the field.

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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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