Rise Of The Tomb Raider – Review (PS4)

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I was quietly confident that Crystal Dynamics would be able to deliver a strong follow up to their 2013 reboot of Square Enix’s beloved franchise. The sequel arrived on XBox One a year previously as a console exclusive and it got great reviews so I was excited to get a chance to play it. The initial reboot provided a good story paired with familiar but fun gameplay. So did they manage to better this with Rise Of The Tomb Raider?

Graphically the game is stunning and while it can’t match Uncharted 4 it certainly has some sections I thought were beautiful to look at. The level design and more open ended areas give the game some nice spaces to explore, although it suffers from that age old open-world issue of giving you ludicrously low stakes side quests while the end of the world approaches.

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In this instance Lara is chasing an artifact that can grant immortality but the supernatural side of things doesn’t really come into play before the final third. Until then you are taking out an army of mercenaries and trying to beat their leaders to the artifact. The story is so-so to be honest and I saw the main twist coming a mile off but overall it’s an enjoyable campaign to play through.

In addition to the main missions there are also bigger open world parts of the game which contain the optional side missions I mentioned above. The return of puzzle based Tombs is welcome as the ones I completed were a nice distraction from the main path but didn’t take too long to finish.

There are robust skill and crafting trees, which is cool and lets you build your own version of Lara that can play to your own gameplay strengths. Likewise Lara has a selection of different outfits that each come with a stat boost, 10% more melee damage for example, so you can really shape the character to your playstyle.

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While Rise of The Tomb Raider doesn’t have the impact of the original, it builds on what came before and delivers a really good experience with amazing graphics. Unfortunately it suffers a little from hitting the PS4 after Uncharted 4 and can’t quite match the heights of Nathan Drake and co. Nevertheless it’s a strong title which I’d recommend checking out.

Rating 8/10

E3 2015 – The GregHorrorShow Round Up

E3 2015 MAIN

E3 used to be the pinnacle of the gaming calendar but it’s star has faded somewhat in recent years with events like Gamescom and The Games Awards stealing some of its thunder. 2015 is the year E3 made a comeback – lots of great announcements and two really strong conferences from Microsoft and Sony! And people have the cheek to say there are no games coming!! So let’s start with Microsoft. As you probably know if you’re reading this, I’m not an MS console owner so most of the exclusives weren’t of that much interest to me. A couple of the multiplatform games really stood out though. .

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RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER

I really enjoyed the reboot of Tomb Raider a few years ago and this looks like more of the same. My only concern is that a lot of my enjoyment last time out came from Lara being inexperienced and seeing her develop through the story. Hopefully they can make the follow up as interesting.

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CUPHEAD

I’ve been banging on about Cuphead for ages and it still looks amazing! Although currently only listed for Xbox One and PC the game studio’s twitter account recently confirmed these were the initial platforms and they’d be exploring others at a later date. I’d love this on my Vita!

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THE LAST GUARDIAN

And so it lives! The most hyped, requested game of the last few years – seen at E3 2009 and then quiet until now, The Last Guardian looks gorgeous and sees you take on the role of a kid who teams up with a giant beast. Together you’ll solve puzzles and work your way through the story. .

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HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

I love Killzone and so when I heard Guerrilla Games were working on something fresh I was excited to see what they’d come up with. Then a few bits leaked about robot dinosaurs. Excitement levels were building but nothing could’ve prepared me for the trailer they showed. Wow. What a great style and look. A strong female protagonist who is hunting robot dinosaurs among the remnants of mankind. I’m in.

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UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END

The absolute highlight of the show for me. My expectations were so high and yet Naughty Dog exceeded everything I’d hoped for. The graphics, the banter between characters, the set pieces… I could go on and on but set aside 7 minutes and watch the full clip above. Outstanding. .

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FIREWATCH

I didn’t know much about Firewatch before E3 but having watched the trailer I like the art style and adding a bit of story to an exploration game is pretty cool. I’d probably need to play it before committing fully but I’m keen to see more.

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CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III

I’m a little burnt out on Call Of Duty, despite the fact Advanced Warfare was one of the better entries in recent years. Having said that I’ve always favoured Treyarch’s Black Ops series and the fact that this instalment has a four player co-op campaign has piqued my interest. Should be fun!

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DREAMS

Dreams was very weird – I’m still not sure how much of it is a game but when a studio with the pedigree of Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet / Tearaway) is behind something, I’m always willing to give it a shot. Have a look at the above to see what I mean, it’s difficult to describe but looks beautiful.

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NO MAN’S SKY

No Man’s Sky continues to impress and this was a nice glimpse at what you’ll be able to do in the game. Looking forward to discovering some planets and alien species! Still no release date but I’d expect it to be coming in early 2016 – surely we can’t have another E3 with No Man’s Sky there!

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HELLBLADE

I really enjoyed Heavenly Sword and Enslaved so Ninja Theory’s new game was already on my radar. Based around mental illness, it’s being made in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust – I really hope they manage to handle the subject sensitively while delivering a great gaming experience.

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MIRROR’S EDGE CATALYST

We’ve been waiting a while for this one! Mirror’s Edge came in at number 39 on my Top 100 PS3 games and the follow up looks to be a refinement of the formula that worked so well previously. The game is actually set before the original game so we’ll get to see more of Faith’s origin story.

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FALLOUT 4

Wow. Just wow. This one pushed Uncharted 4 all the way as my biggest/best showing at this year’s E3. I cannot wait to lose myself in this world. The graphics are a step up and hopefully there will be less technical issues than the last few titles. And they even threw in a free mobile game to tide us over! (IOS only for now, coming to Android in the next few months)

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DISHONORED 2

Dishonored 2 was another title that looked great and continued this E3’s theme of empowered female characters with the news that Emily Kaldwin from the original will now be playable with her own set of powers/abilities. Great news and a really cool series, I’m glad this is getting another game.

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METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN

The Metal Gear games have always been special to me. A mix of completely insane story and superb gameplay, the latest instalment looks to be more of the same as creator Hideo Kojima signs off on his last ever Metal Gear Solid title. It’s sure to be some ride, with a huge game world and plenty of memorable characters and I’m looking forward to getting my tactical espionage on later this year.

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UNRAVEL

Unravel looks like a super cute, cool title that sees you take on the role of a yarn feline. You’ll be going on adventures throughout the game world, which seems to be based around puzzle platforming. This is another one I’m hoping might come to Vita further down the line.

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MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA

I am a big fan of the Mass Effect series, which signed off Commander Shepherd’s trilogy a few years ago. Back with a new protagonist and a new set of worlds to explore, I can’t wait to jump back into the Mass Effect universe. Although it’s all new characters I do hope a few old faces show up 🙂

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RAINBOW SIX SIEGE

I’m really excited about Rainbow Six Siege. This is tactical first person shooter at its purest. 4v4, small environments and tense objectives. Each team is based around the best special forces teams from across the globe. This could be awesome – my only concern is how many levels the game ships with. If it’s only 4 or 5 this might not be worth the full price investment.

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STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT

What can you say about Star Wars? The idea of a Star Wars game made by the people behind Battlefield pushes the right buttons for me. It looks and sounds amazing. While there isn’t a single player component, I imagine most gamers will be picking this one up!

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JUST CAUSE 3

Another game I enjoyed the previous instalment of and word on the (E3) street is that this is one of the best games being shown at the event, which is a little surprising but satisfying nonetheless. Rico Rodriguez is back, this time going home to the motherland to liberate the masses from another dictator.

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GHOST RECON: WILD LANDS

I really enjoyed the last Ghost Recon game. It wasn’t spectacular but what it did right felt good and so this surprise announcement was positive news for me. Hopefully it’ll have lots of variety in mission structure so the game has some longevity.

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HITMAN

A full on reboot of the Hitman games was unexpected but a good move in my opinion. After the previous title, Absolution, was the most accessible yet it makes sense to revisit the earlier adventures of Agent 47. The idea of targets appearing for a short time and then disappearing altogether is fascinating, if a little daunting!

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THE DIVISION

The Division has been floating around for a good few years now and while the main topic of conversation in the last few days has been the visual ‘downgrade’ (has there been one?) it still looks good to me and I’m excited to check it out when it finally gets released.

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DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a pleasant surprise a few years ago so a new title following on the story of Adam Jenson is very welcome. And boy, does it look good! Hopefully the game will retain the freedom of the previous title and we’ll be able to approach missions however we like.

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So there you go – what a year. It’s been a while since I had such a great bunch of games to choose from. It was really hard to narrow it down at all – titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Persona 5 and Need For Speed all looked great and of course the returning FIFA will be excellent I’m sure. So what did you guys rate? What was your favourite trailer and what are you most excited for?

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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 🙂 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.

Cuphead E3

Another one that looks great is 5 player Evolve, where it’s 4 v 1 but the 1 is a huge monster 🙂 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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