It Doesn’t Strike…Thrice – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Review

LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII (2014) – SQUARE ENIX

'We now return to The Return Of Lightning Returns...'

‘We now return to The Return Of Lightning Returns…’

From the outset, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a very difficult game to analyse – after all, how can one generate an opinion on a game that for all intents and purposes shouldn’t exist in the first place? If you had said when Final Fantasy XIII originally came out that it would get a trilogy, most people would have laughed. But then Final Fantasy XIII-2 came out of nowhere, and whilst it was a marked improvement over the first game, the ending of the story almost guaranteed another installment. And the sad thing is that while LR:FFXIII is the final act of a story that few people wanted to be told, it still suffers the same setbacks that have affected its predecessors. Continue reading

“Forget It Bigby…It’s Fabletown” – The Wolf Among Us: ‘Faith’ Review

THE WOLF AMONG US: EPISODE ONE – ‘FAITH’ (2013) – TELLTALE GAMES

"We all know who you are...Big Bad Wolf..."

“We all know who you are…Big Bad Wolf…”

There is perhaps no hotter property in videogames right now than TellTale Games – not only are they currently busy crafting a second season for the 2012 critical hit The Walking Dead, but they also have projects adapting Borderlands and Game Of Thrones on the horizon too. Before the latter two games come to fruition however, there is The Wolf Among Us to savor in the meantime. Only the first of five planned episodes is available at the moment, but the small taster offered up thus far (for free on Xbox Live if you were sharp-eyed during the Christmas offers) is a delicious, if somewhat familiar treat. Continue reading

The Last Attempt At The ‘Biggest GTA Ever’ – Grand Theft Auto IV Review

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV (2008) – ROCKSTAR NORTH

Apparently, there are over 25 million copies of this game to be found around the world - it was a sales phenomenon

Apparently, there are over 25 million copies of this game to be found around the world – it was a sales phenomenon

With Grand Theft Auto V coming out in just mere days, now is the ideal time to offer a quick retrospective look at the last big budget game hailed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread; the well hyped fourth main installment into the series released five years ago. Around the time of its launch, you couldn’t move for the sheer amount of praise that was heaped upon GTA IV by the gaming press – anything less than 10 out of 10 seemed to be sacrilege. I remember thinking at the time after playing IV that these scores were perhaps overrating the experience a bit, and time has done little to change my opinion. While GTA IV remains to this day a stunning feat of technical ability, it lacks that special something that made Vice City and San Andreas the must-have games of their day. Continue reading

Top Dog Or Hounded By Mistakes? – Sleeping Dogs Review

SLEEPING DOGS (2012) – UNITED FRONT STUDIOS

Took me a while to realize the whole split personality thing on the boxart: left for the Triads, right for the cops

Took me a while to realize the whole split personality thing on the boxart: left for the Triads, right for the cops

If I had to make a relatively useless comparison, Sleeping Dogs is like one of those fancy cocktails you find hidden on the menu at a bar: it has all the delicious ingredients and initially it has quite a kick, but pretty soon you are left wishing you had ordered something with a bit more substance and volume – like a large pint of (insert favourite drink here). It has the potential to become much more than the picked up remains of a True Crime game, but in the end is unable to quite fulfill its high ambitions. Continue reading

The Game For Stephen King – Alan Wake Review

ALAN WAKE (2010) – REMEDY SOFTWARE

When an episodic game feels like it could be good TV, you are generally onto a winner

When an episodic game feels like it could be good TV, you are generally onto a winner

The announcement of Quantum Break, the latest project from Max Payne creators Remedy, was intriguing for the reaction it created – a day later, creative director Sam Lake appeared in a video and apologised that the team was not working on a sequel to its last game, Alan Wake (which received critical acclaim but did not sell enough on the Xbox 360 to encourage a sequel). The side effect of this was that Alan Wake was offered as part of a weekly Humble Bundle; it was through these means that I recently played through the game for myself to see what I missed out on three years ago. Continue reading

A “Beary” Good Fighting Game – Persona 4: Arena Review

PERSONA 4: ARENA (2012/13) – ATLUS & ARC SYSTEM WORKS

Yu and Labrys square off while General Teddie watches on

Yu and Labrys square off while General Teddie watches on

When the announcement was first made that there was going to be a fighting game based on the universes of Persona 3 and 4, I was eager with anticipation. And then we got news of a delay…no problem, I could wait a bit longer. And then America got it with region locking so no one could import it – and the buzz for the game kind of fizzled out. After almost 9 months since its original release, Persona 4: Arena has finally come out in Europe. Has it been worth the very long wait? Continue reading

Catch-A-Revieewwww!!! – Borderlands 2 Review

BORDERLANDS 2 (2012) – GEARBOX SOFTWARE

Ever had your mind splattered against a wall? Didn't think so...

Ever had your mind splattered against a wall? Didn’t think so…

If you are the sort of person who imagines one day “wouldn’t it be cool if a shotgun could fire rockets?”, then you’ve probably come across Borderlands. A space-western centred around the core idea of ‘shoot and loot’, it was a surprise hit upon its release in 2009 and sold over 4.5 million copies, driving demand for a sequel. Last year we got that game in the form of Borderlands 2, promising a bigger and better game with over ‘a bazillion guns’. While the game’s armoury can’t quite match that lofty figure, it makes up for it with a humorous, colourful world that forms the backdrop for one of the best games in recent years. Continue reading

Insert Relevant ‘Defintion Of Insanity’ Quote Here – Far Cry 3 Review

FAR CRY 3 (2012) – UBISOFT MONTREAL

'Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games...'

‘Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games…’

It’s quite difficult to accurately describe the mayhem that can occur in Far Cry 3, but I’ll give it a go – most games nowadays ease you into proceedings, taking about an hour to really to really get going. Within 30 minutes of starting Far Cry 3, I had been mauled to death by a Komodo Dragon and killed by smacking into a cliff whilst on a paraglider. Ubisoft’s Montreal’s open world adventure, released at the end of last year, is one of the recent highlights of the gaming world; a game which at it’s best is an enormously fun adventure through a gigantic sandbox world. Continue reading

Kids, Windbags And Old Narrators – Bastion Review

BASTION (SUPERGIANT GAMES) – 2011

Fun fact – a bastion is the part of a fortification that sticks out at an angle. Trust me – the internet told me so

Imagine walking around all day with a voice in the background narrating your life – it would get annoying quite quickly don’t you think? It’s surprising then that having played Bastion (the third part of my Humble Indie Bundle V review block), that I’m not quite so adverse to the idea now. However, it’s not just a fantastic narrator that makes Bastion one of the most impressive independent titles of recent times; this beautifully styled game has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Continue reading

13th Season Syndrome? – FIFA 13 Review

FIFA 13 (2012) – EA Canada

If Messi doesn’t take your fancy, there are custom covers available from the EA Sports website

To the casual eye, FIFA 13 is same old same old; to the extent by which I could probably copy and paste my FIFA 12 review and get away with it. Fans of the series will know however that it’s the subtle changes that make FIFA a different experience each year. The last installment was one of the most vigorous changes of the series yet, with the implementation of a whole new defending system and new player physics. FIFA 13 has brought a whole host of new tweaks to the engine this year to ensure that it remains ahead of Pro Evolution Soccer, but it is noticeable that the gap between the two series, which was a vast gaping chasm only two years ago, has shrunk dramatically. After a quite lengthy amount of time playing FIFA 13, I get the feeling that for the first time in years, the series has taken a step back. Continue reading