Watch_Dogs – Review (PS4)

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Watch_Dogs burst onto the scene at E3 way back in June 2012 and immediately became the poster child for PS4/XBox One games. With stunning graphics and some clever gameplay ideas, gamers marked it as a must buy purchase.

Unfortunately because the specs for PS4/XBox One weren’t finalised at the time, the trailer ended up showcasing a graphical fidelity that wasn’t possible to run in an open world environment. This led to lots of focus on how the game didn’t look as good as that demo. As it’s been such a big talking point I wanted to address this first – Watch_Dogs is a great looking game with some excellent animation. Does it look as good as that E3 trailer? No. But I rarely experienced any drop in performance when playing hectic sections so for me it’s a trade off I’m willing to accept.

The story focuses on Aiden Pearce and his desperate search for the people that murdered his niece while targeting him. While it was definitely nice to see a story like this from a slightly different perspective (it’s his family in danger but not his own wife/children) I still felt the damsel in distress trope didn’t need another airing at this stage. It probably didn’t help that it felt like each time the developers started crafting an interesting relationship for Aiden, the other character would then just disappear for ages. Nicky and Jordi were either underused or wasted and sadly most of the other characters were either a cliche or not that interesting (Aiden included). My favourite character in the game was probably T-Bone and that brings me onto the music of Watch_Dogs.

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Aside from one great moment involving T-Bone and a junkyard (I’ll say no more) that had a killer soundtrack, the rest of the game just felt… disjointed is probably the best word for it. There are no radio stations, just tracks, which means you never know what you’ll get next. While that works in a way, the good thing about the radio station mechanic games usually use is that you can at least tailor the vibe of music you’ll get to suit your mood. I also thought the selection was a bit too eclectic and could’ve done with some more focus.

A strange issue I had with Watch_Dogs was the fact that you can’t move doors once they are open! So if I ran into somewhere to evade an enemy the door to the room would just stay wide open and no amount of running into it/frantic button presses would have an effect. A master hacker/vigilante who can’t shut the door behind him?! It’s not a big issue but it definitely broke the immersion for me at times.

Something I did have a big problem with was the driving in this game – cars shoot away at the smallest hint of pressure on the accelerator and general control of vehicles is poor. This led to several ridiculous moments of (great) intense chases being ruined by my vehicle massively over/understeering (usually into a wall). Admittedly each vehicle did have a slightly different feel but for me personally none of them felt reliably comfortable, or fun, to drive.

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One of the good things Watch_Dogs does is give you control of the city’s huge technological infrastructure, allowing you to hack into security cameras (for a better view and also to hack other objects not in your line of sight), change traffic lights, burst steam pipes, explode electrical outlets and generally cause chaos. This can be done while driving or on foot, which lends chases and firefights a tactical edge. My only issue with this is that sometimes the game gives you the illusion of variety when really it just wants you to complete a mission in a very specific way. When the illusion works though it’s pretty damn cool. As well as hacking things to gain an advantage on the battlefield you’ll also be tasked with accessing computer software for information on targets and the like. This involves a fairly fun (and usually quite simple) mini game where you direct power to cells by turning corners in the mainframe to make the stream flow where you need it to.

Along with the single player component there is also a full multiplayer suite of options though aside from the ‘Invasion’ none of these were of real interest to me. Invasion basically involves the stopping of your single player game (not in mission) because you are being hacked by another (real life) player. They need to stay close enough to you to download your data and you need to track them down and stop them/take them out. It’s a fun mechanic and if you find it annoying it’s optional so you can just switch it off. There is also plenty of side mission stuff and random crime occurrences to keep you busy. I really enjoyed the side missions involving shutting down a human trafficking ring and discovering a crime was occurring in the vicinity and taking down the offender was pretty good fun.

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Watch_Dogs has some genuine moments of great gameplay throughout it’s (quite long) campaign. Unfortunately it shoots itself in the foot by making escaping from the police a chore that is only made worse by some really wonky checkpointing. Making me restart the mission from the beginning every time rather than just checkpointing from the moment I complete the objective and have to escape the cops became soul destroying towards the end of the game. It’s not just escaping from the cops either, several times I had to restart a lengthy firefight from the beginning, which is bad enough but to restart me *before* unskippable dialogue is almost unforgivable.

My experience with Watch_Dogs was equal parts fun and frustration. I’m glad it sold so well because I’m genuinely excited to see what Ubisoft come up with for the next Watch_Dogs title. I hope they can iron out the kinks and make the same kind of leap they did from Assassin’s Creed to Assassin’s Creed II. Watch_Dogs doesn’t live up to the hype but it’s a solid, entertaining game with some messy flaws.

Rating: 7/10

Thief – Review (PS4)

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The first Thief game arrived on PC back in 1998 and was very highly regarded. There have been another two games in the series since then but this years title is the first to hit Playstation consoles and even makes it to the new generation as well.

The game tells the story of Garrett, the Thief of the title, who finds himself attempting to unravel a mystery after a catastrophic event leaves him in a coma for a year. Upon waking he discovers the city is on lockdown because it is being crippled by a disease known as ‘The Gloom’. As Garrett tries to get to the bottom of what has happened you’ll be making your way through lots of different areas of the city.

The game is viewed from a first person perspective and you are given a lot of tools to fulfill your role as master thief. Stealth is usually the favoured option, with lots of different routes in, and out, of places giving you plenty of options to plan your mission. You have lots of different arrow types (fire, exploding, water etc.) to help you either take out or unsettle enemies.

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As part of a stealth approach, distraction is a decent option but it’s a lot less forgiving than straight up sneaking – when it worked it was great but a lot of the time it was just too easy to get caught by guards etc. Fighting is also viable but if you find yourself against more than one enemy you’d probably be better off retreating and regrouping.

Garrett also has a focus mode that you can enter to highlight objects you can interact with in the environment. It also helps improve the accuracy of you bow skills and increases your fighting abilities. These can be upgraded via a skill tree so you can cater your focus towards the playstyle you favour. I definitely found that focus was a big help, mostly when stuck on where to go next or if rumbled by a guard and I needed a quick takedown!

I liked the setting of Thief, the city has an oppressive air that suits the story and at times it looked fantastic but unfortunately on occasion it looked distinctly last-gen. I suspect this is just down to the game being released in the first 6 months of the new consoles lifecycle and having to be available on PS3 as well. Animation was pretty good for the most part and some of the stealth takedowns were cool, though it would’ve been nice to have a few more variations and they really should’ve made a custom one for enemies sitting, usually asleep, in chairs. As it stands you just sort of slap the air in front of them and they fall heavily out of the seat!

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The game controlled well and I did feel it was just about forgiving enough (on Normal) for players like me that often mess up the stealth element and have to improvise. Enemy AI was fairly clever, checking around potential hiding places but not usually finding me. There were a couple of times that I ended up getting really frustrated but that wasn’t really during open world stuff, it was mainly during closed area ‘boss’ type encounters.

I didn’t really find the story that engaging and the ending actually passed me by – I had to look up a Wiki to piece together what had happened. I liked some of the side stuff that fleshed out the world though and some of the side missions where you actually had to steal things rather than kill a target were cool. Thief was a rewarding play when everything came together, there were several main missions that went (almost 100%) smoothly and they were probably the highlight of the game for me.

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The elephant in the room of course is that 2012’s Dishonored essentially ‘out-Thiefed’ Thief and did it better in most senses. With more powers and some better implementation I would recommend going with Dishonored if you are choosing between the two but Thief is also a solid stealth/action game. There were flashes of brilliance during my playthrough but unfortunately, for me at least, at the end of Thief I felt confusion more than anything else.

Rating 6/10

E3 2014 – The GregHorrorShow Round Up

Mordor E3

So another E3 has been and gone. 2014 was not quite as dramatic as last year’s XBox One Vs PS4 launch shenanigans but there were plenty of great games to see.

So in no particular order, here are my favourites from the show:

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RAINBOW SIX: SEIGE

I have been waiting years for a new Rainbow Six game and while we had seen (the now defunct) ‘Patriots’ game last year, Ubisoft have revealed their newest Six title in the shape of ‘Seige’. Looks very shiny and could be quite tactical if playing with the right people. I’m in!

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UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END

We knew this one was coming but we had no idea just how good it would look. The above was from in-game assets running on a PS4. Aside from looking amazing, Sully was *confirmed* which makes it a must buy for me immediately :) They kept saying ‘one last time’, I’d love to see Drake go out with a bang. The series deserves an amazing send off.

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THE DIVISION

Another big hitter from last year, The Division is still a way off but this gameplay demo showcased just how great this title could be. Fingers crossed it can live up to the hype.

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NO MAN’S SKY

Speaking of hype, another title I’m hoping doesn’t drown under the hopes/dreams of the gaming community is No Man’s Sky. Initially revealed late last year it still looks super cool and different to most other stuff out there. The world is procedurely generated so there will be plenty of surprises in store!

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ASSASSIN’S CREED: UNITY

Black Flag won me back over after III’s poor showing and the switch to 17th Century France really appeals to me. Four player co-op will be awesome if implemented well and keeping this just on the newest consoles means we should see a big improvement in AI and graphics (hopefully).

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FAR CRY 4

This looks superb. More of the same in a different location and better graphics. That’s fine with me! Hopefully the story will last the distance this time out rather than collapsing in on itself half way through.

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THE WITCHER 3

The first two Witcher titles were very well received and this is the first time Geralt has appeared on Playstation – fortunately you don’t need to have played the other games to enjoy this stunning fantasy epic. I look forward to exploring the world CD Projekt RED have crafted.

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RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Tomb Raider reboot – looking forward to more of the same and hopefully some more character development. Maybe skip the multiplayer though Crystal Dynamics?

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DESTINY

This one has definitely snuck up on me a bit as I wasn’t massively keen but Destiny had a good showing at E3. It helps that I got into the Alpha over the last weekend and that it was especially awesome :smile: Coming on like a cross between Borderlands and Mass Effect… well, do I need to carry on?!

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BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT

I never played the non-RockSteady made Arkham game from last year, so I am definitely ready for a new Batman game and this one looks gorgeous. Hopefully RockSteady can keep the gameplay fresh and nail a great story as well.

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THE ORDER: 1886

Unfortunately this was a game that ended up delayed into early 2015 but I still think this will be a stand out PS4 title. Graphically it looks excellent and the seamless interchange between gameplay and cut scene is super impressive. Victorian London Steampunk? Yes please!

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BLOODBORNE

I never played the Souls games on PS3 so my hype for this game is mainly based on a combination of how great it looks and the fact that MisterOggy has been raving about the Souls games recently. Seems as good as time as any to jump in and this is being made by the guy who created the original ‘Souls’ title.

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There was plenty of other great stuff on show including Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe), Dead Island 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. I also thought Cuphead, with it’s old-skool cartoon vibe, looked fantastic. I was pleased to see Mass Effect 4 confirmed but there wasn’t much they could show. Same goes for Star Wars Battlefront. Ubisoft’s WW1 game Valiant Hearts continues to interest and is actually out in a few weeks.

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Another one that looks great is 5 player Evolve, where it’s 4 v 1 but the 1 is a huge monster :smile: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was as insane as ever but it looks great and I will definitely be picking it up. I thought Fetch was one of the best (and underused) characters in Infamous: Second Son so the standalone DLC ‘First Light‘ could be really interesting. I liked the look of Inside but I did feel it felt a bit too similar to Limbo for my liking, at least from that trailer.

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Overall I thought it was a pretty great E3, although it’s a bit disappointing that a lot of the best games shown are not going to be out until 2015. There is still plenty to look forward to though – what did you guys like the look of? Was there anything not listed about that you thought might be cool?

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Infamous: Second Son – Review (PS4)

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I am a big fan of the Infamous series and Second Son was one of my most wanted games for the new generation of consoles. With Sucker Punch’s Playstation expertise, could this be an early killer app for the PS4? I wish the answer was a resounding ‘yes’ but despite some fantastic high points, and coming 6 months after the release of the PS4, Second Son still suffers from early console-cycle jitters.

Let’s start with a positive. Graphically I’m not sure I’ve seen a better game… ever. The lighting, the rain, the neon. I could go on and on and before I do stop, I must mention the cutscenes – Infamous: Second Son has some of the most well crafted scenes I’ve ever seen – a testament to the amount of facial motion capture they did. They are also among the best acted, with some great, believable performances.

Gameplay-wise the enemy AI is robust and will not hesitate to flank you and hide behind cover when necessary. Encounters felt challenging but enjoyable for the most part, although there were a few frustrating boss fights thrown into the mix. Luckily, Second Son does a decent job of giving you different options so that you can change tactics on the fly. You begin the game with smoke powers and as the story progresses you’ll unlock neon and a few others (which I won’t name so as not to spoil it). The powers each have a distinct look which is really cool but unfortunately all of them are essentially just the same set of attacks in a different art style. It’s a real shame because it feels a bit like a wasted opportunity – if they had given the powers a genuinely different feel it could’ve been a game changer. As it is they are still fun but you’ll likely find yourself finding a favourite and just sticking with that.

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Second Son tells the story of Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist turned superhero. Delsin is, unknowingly, a conduit for superpowers – having the unique ability to absorb and use other conduits powers. Conduits have been labelled ‘Bio-Terrorists’ by the government and the D.U.P (Department of Unified Protection) are sent in to capture any conduits they can find. When the D.U.P endangers the local people, Delsin and his brother Reggie (a sheriff) find themselves thrown into a battle with this dark, government force. Along the way you’ll meet other conduits that Delsin can nurture or prey on as you look to sort out the situation he’s found himself in.

The story is fun and the characters are definitely memorable which is why it’s all the more disappointing that great side characters like Fetch and Eugene are barely used. I would have loved to see more missions with accompanying characters so you had a chance to get to know them better. This for me was probably Infamous: Second Son’s biggest crime, especially with how well crafted the characters felt. It felt like a mis-step to introduce these cool characters and then just brush them aside until the final act.

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Infamous: Second Son is a graphical powerhouse that I had a lot of fun playing. It tells a good story in a concise timeframe (around 10 hours) and the animation in cutscenes is something to behold. In spite of all that I do feel that the side characters could have been developed more and while the gameplay is decent, it is more of the same from the last two games. That isn’t a big issue for me but people should be aware it is not with fresh gameplay that Second Son makes it mark… graphically however, it stomps most other titles into the ground.

Rating: 8/10

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MXGP – Review (PS3)

*This piece originally appeared on TheSixthAxis and can be viewed HERE*

MXGP is the officially licensed game of Motocross, featuring all the bikes and riders of the sport. The names were unfamiliar to me as I don’t follow Motorcross but by the time I’d created a custom rider and hit the track I was trying too hard to stay on my bike to worry!

As you would expect from a licensed product, the game has a full suite of modes that enable you to jump straight into a random race, hold a Grand Prix (race weekend), take part in the Motorcross Championship (as your favourite rider) or even start a career with a created rider. There are also online options for a single race, ‘Seasons’ mode or Time Attack, so you are well catered for across the board.

The racing itself is fun with a different take on control – here the left stick controls the bike, with the right stick distributing the rider’s weight. It’s an interesting system but you won’t need to use it much when on the ‘Base’ setting that the game starts you on. Even on the highest level of ‘Pro’ I found it wasn’t really needed for cornering but I definitely had to balance my weight to the front or back going uphill or downhill. If you don’t strike the right balance you will find yourself face down in the mud.

MXGP creates some great crash moments, where your rider will tumble realistically off his vehicle and hit the ground. However I do feel this could be a little bit more refined – on some occasions a very slight knock would see my rider thrown in a very over-the-top pratfall that just didn’t make sense in the context of the crash. Another issue I stumbled across on more occasions than I would’ve liked, was my rider coming off his bike without good reason. This was especially problematic at the edge of the track and caused me a few frustrating moments.

Graphically, the game looks good and you get a nice sense of speed from gameplay. The track deforms as you ride around it, which is a great touch because it can slightly change the racing line in later laps, and even the effect of the wind rustling under the rider’s shirt gives an impression that you are tearing around a racetrack. Unfortunately, on the PS3 version I played, there was some noticeable pop in – I suspect this may be down to the game having to keep track of the deformed race area. It wasn’t a game breaking issue but it did take you out of the moment at times.

As I mentioned above, aside from one off races or championships, the main crux of single player action is the Career mode. This allows you to create your own custom rider and work your way up from MX2 racing to the big time of MX1. This mode will be a big time sink for players because of the way MX rules work – as well as Practice and Qualifying, riders also race the track twice within the weekend (with points awarded for both races).

So, even if you decide to skip the preliminary rounds you’ll still need to get through two races to complete each event. My one complaint about the races was that at times they felt a little too long (especially having to do each course twice) but that’s a personal preference.

The Career mode is good fun though, with you starting out as a wildcard before receiving offers for different teams as the season progresses. You will get team objectives and an additional bonus if you finish ahead of a pre-chosen ‘rival’. The team manager and your agent will often drop you an e-mail to give you updates or set an objective. In addition to this there is also an option to check social media and see what the fans and other riders are saying about you. It’s a nice touch and, along with the post race info on how many fans you’ve gained/lost, lends some depth to the MXGP world.

As well as solo play there is also the option to take on fellow gamers online with a single race or ‘Season’ mode. In a single race you will be battling it out with up to 11 other racers and you will race with whatever number of people are in the lobby. The game also allows players to mix settings in single race, so riders are racing with whatever set up they feel comfortable with. This seems like a smart move as it won’t split the userbase straight out of the gate (excuse the pun).

For Season mode, if you don’t have 12 people in the lobby it will fill the race with AI riders so there are always 12 of you. Points are then distributed accordingly after races. The online was stable, I had one lost connection in 10 races, and there was no slowdown or other visual issues.

Rating: 7/10

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Review (PS4)

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Truth be told the Assassin’s Creed series has been in decline of late. Brotherhood was, for me at least, the pinnacle of the series with both Revelations and Assassin’s Creed III failing to live up to expectations. With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag can Ubisoft arrest the slide?

Following the conclusion of the Desmond Miles arc in Assassin’s Creed III, here you take control of an unnamed protagonist who has taken a job at Abstergo Entertainment – a games company making historical adventures. As you’ll know if you played any previous titles, Abstergo is a present day front for the Templars. What’s interesting in this title is that you are able to spend time exploring this game company even outside of missions that require you to do so. Your job involves using the Animus (a kind of virtual reality system) to explore the memories of people from historical periods. And for Black Flag that is 18th Century pirate Edward Kenway who also happens to be the grandfather of Connor, the player character from Assassin’s Creed III.

The first thing I noticed was a definite shift in tone following III’s bratty Connor and serious story. Black Flag indulges in pirate lore and gives us a cast of fun, if at times sinister, crew mates and fellow pirates. Kenway falls into the assassin fold rather than trains for it but luckily he’s a natural and it doesn’t take long for you to get caught up in the ever raging Assassin v Templar war.

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The game looks fantastic, certainly on the PS4 version I played, with rich foliage and some great water animation. The cutscenes are nicer looking versions of the PS3 ones and you have to consider how much better Black Flag could’ve looked if it wasn’t spread across current and last generation consoles.

Naval combat returns from III but here it is a main facet of the game, rather than the side activity it was in the previous game. It is easy to get to grips with and I found that I hardly used fast travel while playing – I was happy to just sail wherever I needed to go. As well as enemy ships you will now also need to deal with storms and you’ll have the option of deep-sea diving and hunting sea life, if you wish to.

Gameplay has been refined and Kenway’s animation is much improved. There is still the odd bit of clipping through objects but for the most part you are in a believable recreation of the Caribbean of the time, even docking in Kingston for a while :smile: Climbing has been streamlined and there are lots of ways to take on enemies. Life bars on assassination targets, one of my biggest criticisms of Assassin’s Creed III, seem to have been fixed. So you can sneak past guards and kill a target without raising the alarm.

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Main missions still have a similar feel to others in the series and are beginning to show their age a little at this stage. For example, there must be a more interesting way of structuring an eavesdropping mission? For the most part I didn’t mind the missions but there were a few that felt a little repetitive and unoriginal. There are a wealth of side missions and collectibles though, so you won’t be short of something to do if you want to take a break from the storyline.

To be honest that’s how I’d recommend playing Black Flag. If you just mainline the main story you’ll likely find yourself doing a lot of similar stuff whereas doing some side stuff between each mission, for me at least, kept the game fresh and I had a thoroughly enjoyable playthrough that clocked in at just shy of 24 hours. If you don’t like the Assassin’s Creed games there isn’t much new to tempt you into picking up Black Flag but if you haven’t ever tried a title in the series this is the most accessible yet.

Multiplayer returns and once again has been refined. I really enjoy the mechanics and gameplay of the online offering for the Assassin’s Creed games and it finally seems like Ubisoft have ironed out some of the kinks that were frustrating users previously. The main one is the stun mechanic which now seems to be less about confronting your attacker and is now deployed when you’ve fooled your pursuer into killing the wrong target.

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If you spot a pursuer now your best bet is to try to escape and if you can’t do that your other option is to trigger a ‘contested kill’ where you are still assassinated but your killer only gets a handful of the normal points they would for a more subtle kill. This remains, for me, one of the most underrated online offerings out there.

Overall Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a step in the right direction for the series. The lighter tone and interesting setting make for a very fun experience. As I mentioned above you can’t help but wonder though, if this version was held back slightly by being across all consoles (including PS3 and last gen hardware). I can’t wait to see what Ubisoft deliver this year with Assassin’s Creed Unity, which is only being made for the new consoles.

Rating: 8/10

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MOST WANTED 2014 – PS4 EDITION

MW PS4 2014

A few weeks ago I took a look at the upcoming slate for PS3 and Vita to give you a taste of the titles you should be keeping an eye out for. Well, as promised, here’s another look at upcoming games – this time focusing on the shiny PS4.

This is a much bigger list with a LOT of titles to talk about – so grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and prepare to get hyped about what’s coming up this year (and maybe beyond).

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Infamous: Second Son

I loved the last two Infamous games on PS3. Both were great fun, with good characters and a cool comic art style for cutscenes. Well now that Cole McGrath’s character arc is done, Infamous is moving to the PS4 and we have a new hero/villain in Deslin Rowe – voiced by the ever fantastic Troy Baker (of Bioshock Infinite and Last Of Us fame). Firstly the graphics look stunning – check out the video above. I can confirm it does looks that good, having seen it first hand at a Sony event last year. Secondly we’re promised more fun with moral choices and the decision to be a good guy or a bad guy. Infamous: Second Son is the first *big* PS4 exclusive game release since the console’s launch and it’s shaping up to be a great one. Roll on March!

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect was on my list for PS3 games I was looking forward to, only for Square Enix to confirm a few weeks ago that the game would also be coming to the PS4! Soul Suspect focuses on Detective Ronan O’Connor who must solve his own murder from beyond the grave. As if this wouldn’t be difficult enough he’ll also need to fight off various demonic enemies as well. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out as I think it’s a really cool idea for a game.

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Galak-Z – The Dimensional

At first glance Galak-Z seems to be another bullet-hell shooter in the mould of old classics like R-Type or the more recent Sine Mora. However there is a lot more going on here than is readily apparently from screenshots. AI plays a bigger role than usual for a game of this type – for example, enemy ships will fall back and radio for assistance if they get the chance. Despite appearances this isn’t a twin stick shooter – Galak-Z controls much more like old arcade games with a button for thrust rather than stick movement (think Asteroids). Add to that a superb cartoon art-style and you have a pretty interesting concept.

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Child Of Light

Child Of Light is another game with an interesting art-style and it sees you taking on the role of Aurora in an RPG with some platforming elements. Aurora is a young girl from Austria in the year 1895 who contracts a mystery illness, falls unconscious and awakes in a fantasy world that she must fight her way out of. I’m not a huge fan of RPG games (aside from Persona 4 Golden) but this game looks beautiful and has the potential to be really fun and challenging.

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Lily Bergamo

Coming from Suda51, the man behind titles like Killer7 and Shadows Of The Damned, Lily Bergamo is a bit of an unknown quantity. We know it’s a Playstation 4 exclusive and that it has a wicked cool look that contrasts colour and black ‘n white. The above is all we’ve seen of it but I can’t wait to find out more – the game is scheduled simply as 2014 so hopefully we will get more info at E3 in June.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Here’s one for the gamers jaded by the recent Assassin’s Creed games – a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe that seems to be influenced in all the right ways by Ubisoft’s Assassin juggernaut. The video above is lengthy but gives you a great feel for the game, which will be set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You’re back from the dead as Talion (a ranger) and you are trying to track down whoever killed you (and your family). The trail leads to Mordor and who knows what you’ll find there!

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Helldivers

Helldivers is a top down shooter in which you are part of the Helldivers unit, tasked with battling the alien enemies of mankind. Battlefields are procedurally-generated so you won’t come across the exact same level twice, which should help add to the longevity of the game. Helldivers features a single player campaign and (up to) 4 player co-op content, so this will be a good title to jump into with friends. One of the great features already confirmed is the ability to play cross platform, so whether you have the PS4, PS3 or Vita version you should always have someone to play with! Helldivers is cross-save as well as cross-play so if you’re making good progress on PS4 and want to transfer to your Vita to carry on during your commute to work/lunchtime then you can. This is definitely a title worth keeping an eye on.

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Transistor

Transistor is a turn-based strategy game in which you take control of Red, a singer who has found herself in possession of a sword, the Transistor of the title. Over the last year lots of people have being going missing from Red’s world and she feels this sword may have something to do with it. She now finds herself being pursued by a band of assassins who also want Transistor, an impressive weapon who can talk to Red and help her out along the way. Transistor mixes the ability to move as you wish in real time with the ability to stop time and plan your next attack. When Red’s ability bar is full you can pause the action and set up a succession of moves to take out enemies, which are then played out at super speed. Which is totally badass.

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Watch_Dogs

Ah Watch_Dogs – delayed and pushed back. Doesn’t always bode well (especially after that really terrible trailer was accidentally released looking like a PS2 game) but I have faith in Ubisoft, particularly having played the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV on PS4. In Watch_Dogs you are Aiden Pearce, a man not afraid to use his hacking talents to get what he wants. In a surveillance heavy world you’ll be doing your best to fend off the authorities and complete your mission. Regardless of hold ups and a lack of recent news on the title, the video above still fills me with hope. Come on Ubisoft, make it as awesome as it can be and we’ll all be happy :smile:

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Deep Down

Deep Down was one of the graphical highlights from the PS4’s reveal event and since then we’ve learned some facts that have changed our idea of what this title is. Initially thought to be a single player game it turns out that Deep Down is, wait for it as it’s a bit of a mouthful… a free-to-play fantasy online role-playing game. Got all that? So firstly it’ll be free to play – great news. It will be an online RPG – again, great stuff. Deep Down also had another trick up it’s sleeve. After convincing the world it was going to be a Skyrim-a-like fantasy game it takes places in both that environment *and* also New York in 2094. Well, it certainly won’t be boring!

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Destiny

When the guys behind Halo have a brand new game coming out people tend to take notice. And Destiny is no different. Coming on like a bigger and more social version of Borderlands the game takes place 700 years into the future, after the collapse of what was the golden age of space exploration and colonizing of planets. Now we share Earth with various alien races and as one of the last Guardians you and your team will be asked to investigate and stamp out alien activity. The game is a first person shooter with some role playing aspects and it looks like it’ll be great fun with friends.

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Alien: Isolation

Ok! Ok! Let’s clear the elephant from the room. Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the lowest ranked games I’ve ever reviewed. This is *not* made by the same people or is it even the same type of game. Replacing Colonial Marines run ‘n gun playstyle with the horror of the original Alien film, Isolation puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley – daughter of series stalwart Ellen Ripley. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before the events of Aliens. You will be investigating your mother’s disappearance and getting hunted by a Xenomorph while you do it. I think this looks pretty cool and at some stage someone will have to make a good Aliens game this century. Right guys? Right?

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Gaming industry legend and MGS creator Hideo Kojima is drip feeding us Metal Gear Solid V – first up is Ground Zeroes, due for release in March. MGS V: Phantom Pain comes after that but it’s likely that will be 2015 at the earliest. Anyway, you know what you’re in for with Metal Gear Solid – crazy, fun, stealth action. Unfortunately, the series veteran voice actor David Hayter has been dropped so Keifer Sutherland is lending his dulcet tones to Snake. If you’re not a fan of MGS this game isn’t likely to get you on board but it looks amazing – check out the graphics in the video above – and I am a fan of the series so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I haven’t played any of the other Witcher games but the developer has reassured newcomers they will be able to get straight into the game regardless (don’t they always!). Hopefully that will be the case as the previous titles are very highly thought of and I haven’t heard many people talking negatively about the series. You will be playing as Geralt Of Rivia, the aforementioned Witcher, as he travels across the world in the concluding part of his story. This game looks amazing and should have the gameplay to back it up as well.

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Mirror’s Edge 2

A collective sigh of relief occurred when a sequel to the wonderful but not commercially successful Mirror’s Edge game was announced. Rumour has it that this will actually be a prequel to DICE’s title and will tell the origin story of Faith, the first game’s protagonist. Not much is known about this one but the first game was really cool and pretty innovative so I’m looking forward to seeing what EA bring to the table this time out.

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Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division is one of those games that I use to show people how good games on the PS4 can look. With improved graphics and a huge amount of destructability, The Division looks like it’ll be a powerhouse when it hits the new consoles. Based on real world research that estimates a global pandemic would see society fall apart in just 5 days(!), the game takes place after just such an event and you’ll be fighting for survival against other players as well as the game’s AI. It certainly looks like an interesting set up and seems like another title that will be great fun with friends.

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The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 is one of the games on this list I’m most excited about – graphically it looks amazing and I love the sound of the story. Set in London, in an alternate steampunk-esque universe, The Order: 1886 sees you take on the role of Galahad – one of a handful of knights from an ancient order that are sworn to protect mankind from all kinds of mutants that roam the city. This is a third person action adventure game with an interesting take on QTE events. It is thrilling to have a game set in London, with a stylized Whitechapel recreating the old days of city life.

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No Man’s Sky

Hello Games that made the wonderful Joe Danger titles are a small team. So imagine everyone’s surprise when No Man’s Sky was revealed unexpectedly at the VGX awards late last year. This is a game in which you travel on foot and by spacecraft to explore a procedurally generated world. The idea is when you start the game you will have no information on your surroundings and will need to investigate to find new planets/territories. Sounds really interesting and it has a cool art style.

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DRIVECLUB

DRIVECLUB is a racing game with a difference. The entire game is laced with social aspects that permeate through races as you drive. For me this is a really smart idea and means that as you race for position against other drivers you will also be compared to your friends via PSN. Not in terms of race time or position but more abstract things who took this corner best, or who was fastest in this stretch of track. It should, hopefully, lead to a much more immersive game because even if you’re losing a specific race you can pick up some XP by beating your friends along the way. A reduced version of this game is planned to be released free for Playstation Plus subscribers so keep an eye out!

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Uncharted

I absolutely love the Uncharted series so I was stoked that Naughty Dog announced a new game, which will be exclusive to the PlayStation 4. The trailer above shows us a map of Africa, specifically Madagascar, so if the game takes us there it could be a really interesting setting. Because the voiceover wasn’t Nathan Drake people are undecided as to whether he will actually feature in the game or if we’ll be playing as one of his ancestors in an earlier time frame. I hope it does feature Nate, Elena and Sully (at least!) but I have faith in Naughty Dog and can’t wait for whatever they deliver!

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Cyberpunk 2077

Unfortunately it looks a lot more likely that Cyberpunk 2077 will hit in 2015 but it’s definitely one to keep on your (long term) radar. It’s an RPG title based on a tabletop RPG game and is unsurprisingly set in a dystopian cyberpunk universe. The developers have said the game can be played in first or third person view and will feature a highly customizable main character as well as a varied and interesting game world. Count me in!

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Still with me? Yep, it was a touch on the long side BUT it is a great time to be a gamer and these ‘new’ consoles have kicked off a boom in gaming.

If you haven’t jumped aboard the PS4 train yet this year will give you plenty of gaming reasons to consider it – I think for most people the end of this year will be the tipping point, as great games continue to be revealed.

So is there anything from the list you guys are excited for? Or anything I missed that you’re looking forward to?

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