Judgment is basically Yakuza crossed with Ace Attorney, the perfect combination of Power, Corruption, Crime and Mystery. Expanding upon everything we’ve seen the developer do previously, what we have here is a game which is so familiar yet different at the same time – familiar surroundings and places combined with new games, events and people to interact with. Although the game is heavy on the tried and tested mechanics of the Yakuza series, Judgment brings a lot of its own unique gameplay elements such as investigative segments as you stalk your prey, searching for evidence, and even dressing up in various disguises. Judgment has a deep and intriguing story encased within a multitude of separate narratives, not many games can pull that off yet Judgment did it flawlessly. I honestly can’t recommend this game enough to both Yakuza fans and people new to this style of game.
For a simple remaster, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel looks and plays great. I say ‘simple’ because there’s not been that many enhancements outside of the visuals. Sure, we get a perfect 60fps, a crystal clear 4k, and the heavenly ‘turbo mode’ which makes traversing the world so much more satisfying, but there’s no extra content, no new chapters, no enhanced backstory, or platform-specific dungeons/areas to visit. However, a game isn’t as good as it looks, it’s as good as it plays; The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is a bloody brilliant JRPG game which I’m quite ashamed I’ve never actually played before grabbing it on the PS4. The story is very interesting, with lots of separate stories and events going on which all combinate into an intriguing and exciting narrative, combined with very satisfying and strategic combat. The combat itself may look generic and simple from the outside, but once you’ve cranked up the difficulty to eleven, it’s time to turn on your little grey cells as you swap your students on the fly and link them together in order to maximise their efficiency.
There are some clever and innovatively retro-feeling features in Back in 1995 that I must give a lot of credit to Throw the Warped Code Out for. The game has a heart-warming incentive behind it that makes it very likeable but unfortunately, it just doesn’t stand out as a game in its own right. I think the story is eventually the strongest part of this game but it just doesn’t feel fun to play, neither is it scary, so I can’t really recommend it. Developers are releasing remakes now (the recent Resident Evil 2 Remake was fantastic) and removing the tank controls and static cameras for more modern mechanics, which shows that maybe some of these were limitations of the hardware rather than reasons that made the classics great. Personally, I think Back In 1995 didn’t need to replicate everything, it would have been good to see it improve on them.
Trover Saves the Universe is the funniest game I’ve played all year, both in and out of VR. I think it’s the first time in a while where I’ve laughed so hard I almost cried whilst wearing my headset. The narrative is brilliant, with its simple plot that has been twisted into something so much more thanks to the comedic genius, Justin Roiland. Although you can play the entire game in both VR and Flat-mode, VR adds a whole new level onto the immersion as you take the place of the silent ‘Chairtagonist’ in your quest to save the world with your purple slave. This is a ‘must buy’ for everyone who owns a PS4 or PC.
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs is a short game, yet one of the best physics-based VR puzzle games I’ve played. It captures the thrill and enjoyment of the original Angry Birds game and perfectly replicates the concept within a Virtual Reality space for you to play with. Every single character, be it friend or foe, has it’s own personality and charm – it’s a shame that hardly anyone is left alive by the time you reach the end credits! Created as a simple game for everyone to enjoy, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs can be played by people of all ages, both Left and Right handed people, people of any skill level, and those new to VR thanks to the static nature which causes no nausea at all. If you like the Angry Birds franchise, or even if you just love physics-based puzzles, then check this game out today!
Bullet hell games are meant to be challenging because when you beat that boss you’ve been struggling with it can feel highly rewarding. Witch Thief doesn’t feel like that though because the amount of frustration that you go through just really isn’t worth it in the end. The story is underwhelming, the dialogue confusingly unfunny and the characters are generic and unlikeable. It feels fun to play at times, weaving between the waves of attacks is the highlight of the experience but you never feel like you give anything back. Instead, you just have to survive long enough for the health bars to disappear out of boredom rather than you being good. There is too much emphasis on luck and what makes this game unique is also its biggest letdown which makes it an unworthy addition in the bullet hell shmup genre.
Yuppie Psycho is an entertaining horror survival game within a new genre I’m calling: survival at the workplace. I wasn’t expecting a serious plot between the zany happenings, yet the creative narrative kept me playing right until the end when everything started to finally make sense to me. Yuppie Psycho had so many great little touches which helped it stand out from the crowd, for me it was the fact you have to investigate and learn your foes patterns in order to survive, rather than running at them with a weapon. Although I found the save function a bit annoying, there should be no problem finding enough resources within the game. That being said, I can easily recommend Yuppie Psycho to anyone who appreciates an atmospheric horror game with a nice plot, great character building, adorable artwork and soundtracks which will give you goosebumps. Yuppie Psycho is a special game which is much more than your everyday survival horror game.
HELLMUT: The Badass from Hell is a wonderfully crazy and exciting 2D bullet-hell dungeon crawler with an eclectic mix of weapons and upgrades or transformations to play as. It’s hellish in its design but heaven to play, especially when you nail sections without taking damage or timing your powers just right. There is a surprising amount of depth here, with the balance between exploring for treasure and killing to reach your goal, or the choices you make in the store, all adding layers to what makes a very addictive and fulfilling shooter.
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa was both a fun and intriguing Visual Novel which had me hooked right until the end. The spin on the ‘Match-three’ formula worked really well and delivered an ‘interesting’ method of breaking down the characters lies and unveiling the truth hidden underneath (as well as their naked bodies). The way the game links the various mysterious events together was really well done, prompting you to relive the same week in order to use your prior knowledge to progress in a different direction. How to unlock the True Ending was a little confusing, but with a little nudge, I was able to achieve it with no issues.
Despite the repetitive and monotonous nature of American Fugitive, I really enjoyed the story and the unique gameplay aspects. Rather than a simple twin-stick shooter or GTA classic clone, the developers introduced realistic mechanics such as breaking and entering and having to avoid being seen whilst carrying out criminal actions. There’s a lot of game to play through, although you’ll instantly feel the strain of the limited amount of gameplay mechanics on offer after a few hours. As such, I’d say this game is perfect for playing in small bursts as the missions aren’t too long, doing that will eliminate any monotonous and déjà vu gameplay.
Effie is a fun 3D puzzle-platformer which pays homage to the classics of yesteryear perfectly. The vivid and luminous contrast between the choices of colours the developers have opted to use, really makes the games visuals pop out of your screen as every single scene is like a child’s colouring book where they’ve gone crazy with the bright primary colours! If you’re not hovering around the overworld at 100MPH, you’ll be fighting evil fiends, solving simplistic puzzles, or traversing perilous platforming. Although the story is a combination of tales we’ve heard before, it’s fun to play through and held the game together nicely.
Neon Caves is a fun arcade shmup with a lot of personality and uniqueness to make it a standout shooter. It has a very strange, but interesting mechanic that allows it to separate itself from others in the genre. It is a little repetitive as there is only one mode, and there is a steep learning curve right out of the blocks, which may put people off. However, the leaderboards and the addition of a list of challenging achievements should keep hardcore players coming back for more and more because of how addictive it can be.
Killing Floor: Incursion is a fantastic showcase of how good PSVR can be. When gunplay is done that smoothly and in such a badass way, it’s an absolute treat and needs to be experienced by all fans of the FPS genre. I can honestly say it’s the most awesome I’ve felt in a VR headset. While there are other games that use VR in more innovative ways, Tripwire Interactive has made a game that truly feels like you’re playing the lead role in an action movie like Hardcore Henry.
Killing Floor 2 is now, for me, the standard to beat for survival-based multiplayer shooters. The shooting has no right to feel as good as it does and Zed time is highly gratifying and adds to the addictive feeling the game provides. While the progression system and perk system take a long time to get going, they eventually add a deep and meaningful reason to keep playing. The soundtrack is awesome and feels like it narrates the action as opposed to playing over it. The characters also add some charm to the gameplay with quotes and interactions that are funnier than you might expect. The developers have promised to keep supporting the game for at least the next year, which is a testament to how they value their player base. While the game lacks a campaign and a huge variety of modes, it never truly feels repetitive. Killing Floor 2 is a wonderfully done shooter that makes a Zed-infested apocalypse feel like a playground rather than a situation to fear
Dollhouse had me from the get-go with its fascinating ‘Noir’ design and interesting story of mystery. Creazn Studio went into this game with amazing ideas, and where some of them paid off well, others seemed to have fallen on their face. I felt that by the time I was up to the third chapter, everything felt very repetitive, the visuals may be different but the core gameplay mechanics of what to do in each level was very much the same. I do feel the game could be salvaged with updates but it would take quite a bit to turn this into a game which is solid from start to finish.
With its twenty-one tracks, multiple voice-over languages, interesting gameplay mechanics, and colourful locations, Team Sonic Racing is by far one of, if not THE best Kart-based racing game of the generation. When you’re not playing the long story mode, which is fully voiced with an actual story, you’ll be spending your hard-earned Credits on car upgrades or racing friends and strangers for street cred. The only issue I had was the aggressive butt-hurt AI who can’t stand it when I’m way out in front, launching lots of offensive abilities my way and trying to knock me out of the competition. However, I don’t give in to losers, I picked myself up and showed them who’s boss!
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is such a lovely turn-based tactical RPG which I can easily recommend to anyone who is into the genre. I was amazed by its storyline, high customisable appearances, numerous classes and its various unique features. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a challenging TRPG with a gripping story and optional character events for better character development to top it off, all of which managed to utterly entertain me and had me sympathising with the characters while playing it.
I honestly don’t think you’ll find a more stunning looking 2D puzzle-platformer on consoles then Unruly Heroes. Whether you’re playing it with up to three of your friends locally, or on your own and swapping between the four unlikely heroes, you’re sure to find hours of entertainment as you try and beat your best times and collect all the coins and scrolls. Each new area you venture into presents you with a new gorgeous environment filled with enemies, puzzles and platforming, as well as a lot of one-hit deathtraps which can get a bit frustrating. However, the overall experience you get is like no other game within the genre which has been released in the last few years, it truly is a delight to play.
Should you buy Resident Evil 4 again? If portable Resident Evil 4 is something you are even mildly wanting, then yes. If you have never owned Resident Evil 4 before, then yes. If water is something you can't live without, then yes. See what I'm trying to say here? Sure, there is nothing new added to the game, but does it really need anything new? This may be the eleventh time that Resident Evil 4 has been re-released, but that's fine. The game still holds up great today and plays perfectly on Nintendo's console, albeit without motion controls.
I’m glad I finally got around to playing Resident Evil, a lot of mechanics still hold up and the overall experience was challenging and suspenseful. Despite issues I had with the nineteen-year-old mechanics not adapting very well to modern games, such as pre-rendered backdrops with set camera angles, a very limited item stash, and awkward combat, I enjoyed the experience. With options for both new and old fans of the series, Capcom has adapted to everyone without altering the core-gameplay of the original game – Difficulty settings, visual ratio and prefered control methods will allow everyone to play the game whichever way they feel the most comfortable.