Next Gen BaseHomepage
After the huge letdown that was Absolution, iO Interactive have emphatically delivered by returning to their most successful formula – giving players the choice to kill however they want to. Cinematic gameplay and complex plots work well for some games, but Hitman certainly didn’t need it and the overall experience was diluted by it. The Complete First Season of Hitman successfully reboots the series by going back to its roots, but also by making it at once both more accessible than ever to newcomers and also a deeper and more challenging experience for seasoned fans – a thoroughly difficult balance to strike. The fact that the missions are constantly evolving and growing with added content and variations only expands its appeal further and provides hour upon hour of murderous play. This silent assassin has returned with a bang.
A more accessible yet still challenging take on the tried and tested Souls-like Action RPG, Nioh adds enough nuance and depth to the formula to make it feel fresh and provide a new challenge for players coming out of the back of last year’s Dark Souls 3. With a compelling story, bright visuals and new and interesting locales to visit, Nioh is a must have for Action RPG fans.
For a fan, this is an essential purchase and it comes with a sense that this nearly 15 year old series is drawing to a logical conclusion. It’s also a great opportunity to not only unpick some of the more convoluted areas of the lore, but look to the future with its reveal of the sumptuous looking Kingdom Hearts 3 engine. It’s a shame that Square didn’t see fit to release a complete collection alongside the forthcoming reissues of the rest of the games in the series; casual fans and newcomers who are interested in getting into the series would do well to hold off til April and pick up both this and the 1.5/2.5 double pack.
Yakuza 0 still won’t be to the taste of everyone, what with its pretty misogynistic view of life and very Japanese sensibilities. It doesn’t provide the perfect fighting experience, the best open world adventuring or the strongest writing we’ve ever seen in video games, but it does a great job of combining all of these elements in a really fun and entertaining way. Although the main story is very po-faced and violent, the side quests and diversions keep the atmosphere from getting too heavy. You always have a different choice as to what you turn to next, depending on your current mood, and the options don’t often disappoint. Yakuza 0 should be the game that finally allows the series to breakout with Western gamers, but I sadly won’t be holding my breath.
Overall, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard is a worthy successor to the series and the game we have all be craving if you’ve been a fan since the original game. It’s incredibly scary, creepy and chilling and yet I cannot stop playing, opting to face my fears than run away. The game gives me no excuses to stop playing and I love it. While there isn’t much longevity past the story I truly believe that this is one of the best Resident Evil games since the original
Subject 13 is certainly not a highly-polished release and its lack of length and abrupt end gives the impression that either this was at one time intended to be a longer experience, or it feels like the first episode of a series. A point and click game certainly doesn’t need to break new ground or be visually stunning, but Subject 13 is disappointing in most respects – even the most basic puzzling mechanics. Kickstarter has brought us some fascinating re-imaginings of classic genre titles, or new, original graphic adventures to play, but Paul Cuisset has regrettably failed to deliver a new classic to add to his resume.
Gravity Rush 2 is a great neon-infused romp that, whilst not perfect, does everything right by fans of the original. Mechanically complex whilst never feeling overwhelming, the feeling of floating round the sky at high speed before landing a devastating combo on one of your enemies feels incredible, and whilst the story suffers from some pacing issues, it’s a game that’s as fun as it is fast and furious.
Final Fantasy XV is not only my favourite game of 2016, it is up there as one of my favourite games of all time. I could of easily used another 2 or 3 thousand words to describe this game, but if you are reading this, get out and buy this game now! With 100 hours easy of gameplay packed in, including hundreds of sidequests, fishing, chocobo racing and more, Final Fantasy XV will keep you very busy this Christmas period. Square Enix put at the start of the game, Final Fantasy XV is a Final Fantasy for newcomers and veterans of the series, and they are right. Perfection is hard to get, but this comes as near as you're ever going to get.
For all of the expectation, all of the hype, and all of the anticipation, The Last Guardian is a wonderful game. Infusing the best elements of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda and his team have created something gloriously unique, with unparalleled ambition that has been realised almost perfectly. If you don't find yourself falling head over heels for Trico, then there's something wrong with you. Whilst there are a few moments in the game that do make it feel slightly dated, and the frame rate dips here and there, the scope, narrative and sheer beauty elevate this above anything that Team Ico have put out before. Does it live up to the impossible hype? To me, it comes exceptionally close.
As an open world sandpit to explore and sink your time into, Watch Dogs 2 provides a lot of content and opportunities to have fun. How much fun you can have depends on your capacity for exploration. Things start to fall apart once you are forced to take part in the very structured main missions and the glaring mechanical issues come to the fore. A refurbishment and a lick of paint can work wonders – but if the foundations aren’t solid, then the results won’t be fantastic. Watch Dogs 2 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, but if a stealth game isn’t fun to play in a stealthy way, then you know something isn’t quite right.