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How do you follow up one of the most successful debut games of all times? Well, by making a sequel of course. But what about after that? How does messing around as a co-developer on a few spin-offs strike you? Hardly taxing though, is it? Regardless at the rising sense of apprehension you may feel, sooner or later you're going to have to strike out and make something new, become innovative again, create rather than repeat. Developers Media Molecule have only just reached this final phase, having spent the last five years playing around with LittleBigPlanet iterations and derivatives. Their first steps with a new intellectual property have been brave ones, leading them onto the Vita and into the paper world of Tearaway.
Outside of the new social features Pokemon Y and its counterpart do largely stick to the traditional JRPG formula and mechanics that have made the series the global phenomenon it has become. Hardcore Poke fans will still find a lot to like in this instalment and even players who may have lost their way with the series might find the new features and major visual upgrades worth jumping back on the wagon for. It may be iterative and lacking in radical innovations but Pokemon Y is still immensely fun, even if catching them all from a fresh start does feel more than a little daunting.
It's Lego, it's Marvel, it's pretty awesome - a must for any kid who loves The Avengers, X-Men, Spiderman, hell there is too many to name! There are still some issues that have come across from previous Lego games preventing it from being a perfect experience but its audience won't care one little bit. Hulk smash!
If you're upgrading your console soon you may want to hold off as a next-gen version is due to drop shortly, but if you're into hoops and plan on sticking with your current machine into the new year and beyond, this is a must-buy, even if you already have the previous game in the series. Who knows what the next console generation will bring, with 2K marching triumphantly onwards and EA bringing back NBA Live for the first time in five years, but for now, this is just the best version of the best video game basketball experience you're going to find.
Battlefield 4 puts up a worthy fight for the title of this generation's top first-person shooter. The innovative features are nice touches, but ultimately don't give us the glimpse into the future that we'd all hoped for. Instead, EA and DICE have put all their eggs in one basket with an unbalanced package that shines with its multiplayer, but flounders with its single-player.
Redshirt isn't going to appeal to everyone, but those who like the balancing act and resource management that go with management sims will find this is a solid game. There will be feelings of repetitiveness during the all too brief periods when you've managed to juggle everything into going well, and you'll find yourself just going through the motions to advance time until your next social or career crisis. Whilst you'll need to be a sci-fi fan to get a lot of the humour, this will actually be less important to your enjoyment of the game than a jaded view of the inanity appearing on your Facebook wall on a daily basis. To fans of turn-based management sims this is an entertaining insight into a future in which social networking rules every aspect of our lives rather than being a place just to quote song lyrics. Although, in Redshirt's vision of the future, people are still spending a lot of their time doing just that as well.
Yes it screams "I used to be a Kinect game," yes it's limited in story as well as combat and yes, you've played many, many games like this previously, better games with more systems and gameplay but...but...crucially, Ryse: Son of Rome looks breathtaking. The perfect launch game, doing nothing new, arguably less so than current gen games but adequately showing off the new hardware - think of it as a tech demo with quick time event executions and you will not be disappointed.
XCOM: Enemy Within should be an essential purchase for fans of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, or even those who have not experienced this brilliant remake. With its many additions and changes it provides fans with a revitalised campaign filled with clever nuances and potentially increasing the game's lifetime by several magnitudes. It is not without its blunders, however.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is easily the best handheld Zelda title since the days of the Game Boy Color, as well as being the strongest and most focused entry in the legendary series for easily the last ten years. It's entirely feasible that in the future the game will be mentioned alongside the likes of A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time as part of the series' greatest hits. The game feels fresh whilst still remaining true to the series' roots, filled with nostalgic throwbacks and making you genuinely excited for what direction the series will head in next. Going back to the drawing board, Eiji Aonuma and his team have crafted a truly amazing game that reminds you why you were a Zelda fan in the first place.