Dragon Ball FighterZ (Closed Beta Impressions)

As far as fighting games in 2018 go, the centre of attention is undoubtedly on Dragon Ball FighterZ. Being one of the most pleasant surprise reveals at Microsoft’s E3 conference this year, Bandai Namco have been so far excellent in terms marketing their new fighter. Attendees of any big name games events these past few months would have likely gotten a chance to try out various builds of DBF–myself included, at Versus Fighting in Birmingham. While Bandai Namco are no slouch at developing fighting games themselves, the ever-reliable Arc Systems Works have been given the task here. This makes sense as DBF is a 3 vs. 3 tag team fighter of the very same ilk as Marvel Vs Capcom 3; mixing some mechanics from ArcSys fighting games, like the high-octane Guilty Gear series.
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Zoomaka (Board Game Preview)

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and yet you can build a complete zoo in Zoomaka in about 20 minutes. Zoomaka from designers Tove and Pablo Jomer, being published by Worldshapers, is a card game that lets you live out that childhood dream of opening up your very own zoo. With the Kickstarter going live on the September 10, I was able to get my hands on a print and play version for a preview of what is to come.
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Samurai Shodown V Special (Playstation 4 Review)

SNK continue their run of HD ports of their classic titles (which has included The Last Blade 2, Garou: Mark of thee Wolves and Windjammers) with Samurai Shodown V Special, which has been ported by CodeMystics. Although one could argue that SS2 and SS4 would have been better choices, SS5 Special is seen as one of the most balanced and best SS titles for competitive play, and boasts a roster of 28 characters; one of the largest seen in the series.
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Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (PlayStation 4 Review)

Following on from Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, Mask of Truth barely skips a beat. To truly appreciate it, players must first complete Mask of Deception—released just five months ago. Any readers interested in this title should first read a review of that release and probably play it, and then come back. Mask of Truth is ultimately just the same game set sometime after the previous’ events. Discussing it requires touching on some spoilers.
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Destiny 2 (Xbox One Review)

Ever since Yuri Gagarin first explored the black night sky, space has offered countless possibilities. Even before then, we dreamed of whatever lay beyond the stars, often concocting magical alien races that would one day befriend or befall us. For years, we had delighted in the works of H.G. Wells and latterly explored space in the likes of Alien and E.T. There has always been a fascination of something “out there” and whether or not they wanted to wear our mother’s clothes. So, can Destiny 2 instil the same fear of the unknown as well as the wonderment of dressing up in wonderfully colourful outfits and making odd gestures at friends?
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Songbringer (Playstation 4 Review)

With the continuing popularity of The Legend of Zelda, there are plenty of devs out there that wish to pay homage to one of the most popular games to come from Nintendo. Enter Wizard Fu Games, who have taken the Zelda formula and gave it their own individual spin, with a few added extras, in the form of Songbringer.
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Time Recoil (Xbox One Review)

It has never occurred to me before but Twinstick Shooters are a rather generous and forgiving genre. Player health is usually plentiful and ammo reserves are near infinite. It wasn’t until I played Time Recoil that I realised I’d taken those limitless health pools and bottomless magazines for granted. Now I needed to make every shot count, one miss fire from my itchy trigger finger would see me undone for as my own character was as fragile as a glass vase, one touch and i’d be one the floor in pieces.
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Distrust (PC Review)

Inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing, Distrust is the debut title of Cheerdealers, a company that seems to only have around 18 employees. I know that because the Distrust credits only take about 15 seconds to run through. The Thing stands as one of the greatest sci-fi horror movies of all time, so can Distrust live up to it’s inspiration, or have they set themselves an impossibly high first hurdle?
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Dead Alliance (Playstation 4 Review)

Multiplayer FPS has gone the way of the Hero shooter lately, with Overwatch dominating and games like Lawbreakers attempting, and failing, to take the crown away from Blizzard. There are, however, some developers that are keen to keep things a bit more interesting. Dead Alliance is one of those games, and it has a pretty interesting hook to it.
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Absolver (Playstation 4 Review)

Oscar Wilde said that if you give a man a mask, he will tell you the truth, but nobody ever said the truth would be delivered by a sharp elbow to the jaw. Hiding your face from the opposition not only hides the jitters of anticipation as you collide, but allows the user to focus their personality into what really matters, their own fighting style. And imbuing your own personality into your fighter is exactly what Absolver is all about.
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Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1 (Xbox One Review)

Relationships, when depicted well, are some of the most interesting and compelling experiences to explore – even in games. When there’s more on the table than just a high score or a nameless planet, we find ourselves falling in love with the faces that colour the worlds we explore. Yet, Life is Strange: Before the Storm seems to capture all these elements but fails to hit the dizzying heights of its source; stripping away the rather obtuse end of the world  Life is Strange presented while exploring the unseen relationship between Chloe/Rachel.
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Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PlayStation 4 Review)

Adol Christin returns as a part-time sailor in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana—the first Ys on the current generation of home consoles. It’s been seven years since the last numbered release, but the influence of the 2013 remake release of Ys 4, Ys: Memories of Celceta, is noticeable.
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Conan Exiles (Xbox One Preview)

Conan Exiles is an action/adventure game with survival gameplay at its core. Hand in hand with that, of course, comes crafting. It’s all something we’ve seen a hundred times before. So what makes Conan Exiles stand out from the crowd? I went hands on with the Early Access version on Xbox One to find out.
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Warriors All-Stars (Playstation 4 Review)

It’s a well-known fact that I’m a Musou enthusiast. I’ll jump at the chance to swing as big a sword I can find in the name of Shu, Sanada, or even Schierke without question. So, when Koei Tecmo announced that they would be combining several of their most popular modern franchises into one package, I was elated. But could Warriors All-Stars ever compete with the legendary Orochi series of years gone by?
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Windjammers (Playstation 4 Review)

Released somewhere between Pong and Lethal League, and costing the GDP of a small country, DataEast’s Windjammers on the Neo Geo holds a special place in the hearts of many.A game that could reductively be described as Frisbee tennis, Windjammers’ arcade trappings of bright colours, chunky sprites, loud noises and simple controls made it an appealing choice in the local arcades and the living rooms of the smug bastards who could afford the home version (oh, how I secretly hated you, David).
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F1 2017 (PC Review)

Formula 1 has gone through a great and lengthy transition, from the thundering v12’s to the current era’s hi-tech v6 engines. Formula 1 games on the other hand were all pretty much the same, until F1 2016. Last year’s F1 2016 took a large step forward in integrating, balancing, managing the team/resources and allowing you to drive around these full scale Scaletrix. Will this year’s installation into the series be continuing the progress made last year?
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Starcraft: Remastered (PC Review)

Crikey, do I feel old… There was a time in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s where RTS games reigned supreme on PC; nearly everyone who was running Windows 98 had the likes of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Populous: The Beginning, or Age of Empires II somewhere on their 2.5GB HDD. But few series have had the tenacity to live on for so long as StarCraft has, and even fewer are as well loved even today. This has never before been more apparent with the recent release of StarCraft: Remastered, which just shows how respected a 20-year-old game can be when it is as well crafted as this one is.
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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PC Launch Review)

Now that it’s been nearly four years after the miracle that was the rebooted, subscription-based MMO Final Fantasy XIVFinal Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has been released as its second expansion pack. While the first expansion pack—Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward—was a tale of both revenge and of peace between two almost-eternally warring people, Heavensward was also a tale of the development team (lead by the rising star Naoki Yoshida) finally taking complete control of their property after the disastrous original Final Fantasy XIV in 2010. However, Stormblood is about breaking down the security of the present for something new and better, while respecting tradition at the same time.
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Yakuza Kiwami (PlayStation 4 Review)

As the koi struggles against the stream, it may eventually pass through the Dragon Gate and become a dragon. Yakuza Kiwami is the follow-up of the recently localized Yakuza 0, but its place within the franchise is interesting. The title is a remake of first entry in the Yakuza series—known as the “Like a Dragon” series in Japan. Despite its origin as a strong, standalone title, Kiwami feels like a necessary response to the prequel.
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Sonic Mania (Playstation 4 Review)

It’s no secret that SEGA have more than once attempted to capitalise on the nostalgia that many people have for their flagship franchise; to both positive (Sonic Generations) and not-so-positive (Sonic The Hedgehog 4) results. Lesser known of these attempts was from fan game creator Christian Whitehead, who developed official mobile ports of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, as well as a HD port of Sonic CD for PS3 and Xbox 360; all of which were very well-received. With a bunch of other well-known people in the grassroots Sonic fandom, such as Tee Lopes for his re-arrangements of iconic Sonic soundtracks, old-school Sonic fans have been presented which seems like a dream come true that they’ve waited for over 20 years.
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Dragon Ball FighterZ (Closed Beta Impressions)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Neil gives us his initial impressions from his time with Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Zoomaka (Board Game Preview)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

When the virtual world fails you, play in the physical one.

Samurai Shodown V Special (Playstation 4 Review)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Shogun Shodown.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (PlayStation 4 Review)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Following on from Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception, Mask of Truth barely skips a beat. To truly appreciate it, players must first complete Mask of Deception—released just five months…