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All told, Assassin's Creed Unity is a great game that's been let down by some technical issues. It's a shame that Ubisoft drew attention to themselves with the quotes earlier on this year by implying one version had been held back, which judging on the PS4 version of the game simply isn't true. It's even more annoying to think that this will be the talking point when really it should be more about how Ubisoft Montreal have nailed the key things in the game and brought the best things from previous games to the table whilst whittling away some of the less well received parts. If you're a fan of the series, Assassin's Creed Unity is an absolute no-brainer. It distills the essence of the franchise into a campaign of decent length, with more variety than before and a much-needed revamp of the mission structure, and adding in a surprisingly deep and fun co-operative mode has revitalised the online side of things for the franchise. Much like a couple of other high profile franchises this year, Assassin's Creed has its best entry in years with the release of Unity. If the technical problems can be patched out, then add a one onto the score.
I said in my original review that Rockstar dropped the mic on the previous generation with the release of GTAV. If that's the case, this feels like a remastering of a classic album. The fact that this isn't known as "GTAV: Definitive Edition" speaks volumes to the attitude Rockstar have taken with this release. It's GTAV, and it's on the new systems. There is an absolute treasure trove of content to dive headfirst into, and with its fresh coat of paint, GTAV on PS4 is one of the best looking open worlds that there has ever been on a console. I fully expect the PC version to be modded to the moon and back when it's released in January, but for now, this version of Los Santos will remain the pinnacle. If you've yet to play Grand Theft Auto V and own a new system, there is absolutely no excuse for not picking up this release. If you're thinking about double-dipping, then it's a slightly more difficult proposition, but I would recommend it. Admittedly that's because I was looking forward to taking my time with the game rather than mainlining the story campaign in a few days like I did with the review last year. There are still parts that I've yet to touch on the last generation, so with everything to do all over again plus all of that? It's one of the best value propositions on the market right now. Hopping on a scooter and riding down to Vespucci beach during the sunset never felt quite so good.
Grim Fandango is very much a product of the late 1990's. It's an extremely well put together story, with interesting and funny characters that you begin to care about as the tale unfolds. It's an absolute stone-cold classic of gaming history, and is a title that everybody should play. The remastered character assets and re-recorded audio simply look and sound great, and whilst the overlaying of these on the classic VGA level of backdrops is sometimes disjointed, it never feels "wrong". In fact, Grim Fandango Remastered holds up so well it's a little scary. I would like to think this isn't nostalgia clouding my judgement, but it was hard to suppress a smile the first time I bumped into Glottis and he knocked together the Bone Wagon for me. If you've got the patience to deal with some devious puzzles, and want to experience the final hurrah of the LucasArts point and click legacy, this reissue is more than worth the download. Vita cross-save bug aside, I absolutely loved the chance to get back into Manny's Land of the Dead, and I can now proudly say "Grim Fandango? Yeah, finished it. Great game."
All in all, Evolve is going to be a game that gives back what you put in. If you can team up with some friends, or some random players that know what they're doing, you'll have a fun time with the hunters and it'll lead to some intense battles. If you get one or two that want to play it like Call of Duty, however, you're going to find it a frustrating experience. Hopefully as time goes on, the player base will collectively learn the "right" way to play the game, and as they do, it'll become a much more robust environment for everyone. It's the same issue with every online-focused title, and Turtle Rock seem to be committed to ensuring that the playing field remains level. Hopefully they will prove to be just as committed in keeping the game fresh with new maps and modes as well! Arguments about DLC structures aside, Evolve is a fun take on traditional class-based multiplayer. Whether you decide to be the hunter or the hunted, there are plenty of moments in Evolve that will have you on the edge of your seat, and as long as you play to your class, you'll have a good time. Whether the legs are long enough to keep the game running for an extended period of time remains to be seen, but as long as they can keep it as fun as this, I've not got many complaints at all. And that, I'm proud to say, is an entire review without saying that "Multiplayer has evolved", or any other terrible puns.
Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is thoroughly successful in its attempts to build a disconcerting world to play through. Its tendency towards being somewhat on the easy side doesn't detract from the experience – by having puzzles that can be figured out through logic or trial and error, OhNoo allow even the most unskilled point and click players to progress through their twisted tale.
Hotline Miami 2 was in a very difficult spot. Had it solely done more of the same as the first, it would have endured criticism for not evolving. Instead, Dennaton has taken some of the formula that made the first game brilliant, and literally expanded pretty much everything in the game. Sometimes to its credit, but often to its detriment, Hotline Miami 2 hasn't quite managed to live up to the hype of the first game, and will often leave you feeling unfairly treated as a single bullet will come from literally out of nowhere. It's gone from a tightly paced action puzzle game, to a slightly flabbier paced action puzzler that relies much more heavily on the firepower that the first one encouraged you to shun so much. It's worth playing, if not for the soundtrack alone, but this is really the only area that it surpasses the original title. All in all, a shaky sequel that is built on extremely solid foundations.
All being said, if you've yet to play DmC, it's worth picking up the definitive edition. It's being sold in some places at around £25, which is a great price. The 1080p/60fps makeover has helped the gameplay (and should hopefully have wiped clean any memories of Ninja Theory's "It feels like 60fps" comments regarding the original), but you won't be mistaking this for a new generation game any time soon. It's an enjoyable romp through a world infested with Demons, harpies and masked creeps with swords, and has potentially the most fun boss fight I have ever encountered in the form of Raptor News Network's anchorman, Bob Barbas. If you're still hung up on Dante's redesign and refuse to let the game speak for itself, then there's not much I can do to convince you otherwise, but you're missing out!
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is a great entry point into a series that has now even spawned a Telltale Games episodic spin-off. The games included now look and play better than they ever have, and even a few performance do little to detract from that
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a simple game, yet at the same time an incredibly complex coming-of-age story about fraternal love, loss, the conquering of fear and the importance of family. It's the kind of game that will leave you wanting to go and find someone you love, hug them and never let go. It's not perfect, and the control system will irritate at first, but it's worth persisting with it for the chance to roll with the punches that get thrown all around at the end of it. If you've yet to play it, it's impossible not to recommend it, and if you have then it all comes down to whether you want to experience it all over again.
Until quite late on in the game, I struggled to figure out what I thought about Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. An absolutely stunning piece of visual art, it's somewhat let down by its impossibly slow pace, and the ease of which key plot points can be missed. It felt at times like I would rather have been "in the moment" of the apocalypse, experiencing the titular Rapture first hand, rather than piecing together the events after the fact. A game in which you sometimes struggle to find yourself caring about some of the people involved, but with enough atmosphere to enable life on the Moon, Rapture really is a mixed bag. If you want a change of pace from the regular "shooty bang" fodder, then it's worth a look, even with its (very obvious) flaws.