Reviews

Once again I find myself sitting in front of a new Magic game. As a Magic The Gathering card player I have a soft spot for the game. I love the artwork and complexity of the game but these days I struggle to find an opponent to spa with. So the video games are my way of getting my Magic fix, or at least in theory. So far I have been rather disappointed by the series but still get excited every time to see if they’ve got it right.

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Rather than creating your own deck or being forced to use a single deck the first thing you will do in Magic 2015 is choose your colours, and therefore your deck. I’ve always been a fan of white so that was my first choice but then for some reason you are required to pick another colour. Not such a problem as I don’t mind a White/Blue mixed deck but for some reason you have to use a mixed colour deck.

So with my White/Blue deck I proceeded to work through the tutorial. It does a very good job of teaching you everything there is to know and lucky for those who know the game, either from previous video games or the card game, can skip it. Oh rejoice! I don’t have to spend an hour learning how to play a game I already know very well. If you skip you go straight to your first duel which you must first pass in order to proceed. You can also reselect your deck colours so it functions well as a testing duel to make sure you’ve got the right deck for you.

As ever with Magic it’s a tough fight. Especially as you have no options to edit your deck at this point. It can be slightly frustrating as Magic is so heavily reliant on deck building and you’re left against a superior deck with very few options but to retry and strive on.

But as you fight and defeat opponents you earn booster packs with cards to improve your deck. It’s a simple but effective reward system that ensures you deck keeps improving. One of the biggest problems I’ve had with previous Magic games is the lack of new cards to keep altering your deck with. It seems easy to give you a way to grind out for cards and improve you deck but for some reason the Magic games always seem to resist it.

When you get past the tutorial to the main campaign map you will have a series of Planeswalkers to duel with. Each time you defeat one you unlock another until you finish the zone and move onto the next. But Magic 2015 provides you with a repeatable area for each zone that you can grind out to acquire more cards. There’s a small selection of enemies you may fight but you can keep coming back, getting more booster packs and ultimately improving your deck to take on the real threats. This does make Magic 2015 quite ‘grindy’ but I like that.

It also means that eventually you can craft yourself a single colour deck if that’s what you want. I don’t really understand the focus on mixed decks. Sure they’re good but I don’t really want a mixed deck as I always find single colours more effective. I wonder if the game knows this and makes you wait but either way after a couple of hours you’ll have a decent handful of cards to properly make your deck with. The selection of cards is reasonable and there’s just enough to keep you altering and shifting your deck to take down your often superiorly equipped opponents.

But even though the card selection is enough to craft a reasonably potent deck the overall selection is disappointing. Mainly because you’ll need to pay to access some cards. They’re not attainable in game at all. And while you don’t need them it makes online play a tricky concept. If you pay you’ll have a better chance to win. That’s called pay to win. Also for some reason certain cards that your single player opponents use are not attainable either, regardless of if you pay or not.

There’s also not much in the way of game modes either. I usually play the core game single player anyway so it wasn’t too much of a problem but those who enjoyed the challenge modes will be disappointed. Even though I didn’t play them much I still enjoyed them every now and again and the option would be nice. Especially the clever puzzle style modes.

It’s impossible to finish this review without pointing out how irritating the menu is. It’s 100% focused on mobile platforms and it’s obvious. I fumbled around for ages before I understood how to properly use it and the transition animation every time you select something is just plain annoying. If I click something I want a response as quick as possible, not a fancy animation.

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I enjoy the grind. I enjoy the single player. But the pay wall is just unnecessary, even though it wouldn’t cost you that much to acquire all the cards, it’s not what the game should be about. I don’t understand why the game modes are missing. I can’t think of a single reason to remove something that people enjoyed. And while the single player is great I want more cards. Why aren’t there more? WHY?! There’s a lot of different cards in Magic and the relatively small selection in Magic 2015 seems arbitrary. I haven’t collected new cards in years but I probably own more actual cards than are in this game.

However, I am really enjoying Magic 2015 and will be playing it long after this review. But I’d rather pay more for the game and have access to all the cards, even if I’d have to grind out for hours to get one. Those who enjoyed the other game modes will be disappointed with Magic 2015. Some of the negative reviews out there are, I think, overly harsh but it really depends what you want out of Magic. I wasn’t a fan of 2014 and actually prefer this one, despite its flaws. Either way, yet again, so close yet so far.

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition finally makes its debut, wrestling pretty much every platform it can get its hands on. This new edition features all of the original DLC, plus some extras thrown in for good Luchadore measure. Is a case of selling the same game twice? Or have Drinkbox Studios created a package that’s worth revisiting?

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This is actually fairly sedate as far as some of the fights go

Due to it being a collection, albeit with some tweaks here and there, the gameplay and storyline largely play out similarly to the standalone title released in 2013. You control Juan Aguacate, an unassuming farmer who’s hopelessly in love with ‘El Presidente’s’ daughter; needless to say, when the evil Carlos Calaca attempts to lay waste to the small, humble village, our hero has no choice but to try and put a stop to it. Unfortunately, Juan is but a simple farm hand and is inevitably no match for Calaca, who subsequently pokes him to death. All is not lost however, despite the love of your life being kidnapped for use as a sacrificial lamb, and you residing in the land of the dead, it could be worse.

Luckily for us, Tostada, yet another mysterious luchador, turns up and swings fate around for us with a dashingly magical mask. Once donned, Juan becomes more than just his namesake; subsequently turning into a luchador capable of many great things. As is the style in these types of games however, Juan can’t do everything straight off the bat, in the classic Metroid way, you’ll find areas that are currently inaccessible, puzzle rooms that require more than the standard jumping ability and more coloured destructible blocks than a Lego game.

Along with puzzle hunting, the moves you’ll learn help greatly in combat too. Aside from punches, grapples and throws, you’ll have access to moves that can quickly and dutifully dispatch enemies in one well thought out string. Despite there being relatively few moves at a glance, experimentation is key; regularly employing the dodge command on top of uppercuts, juggles and throws in hectic battles can lead to some spectacular combo counts. Whilst it may not contain the sort of command list you might find in a Tekken title or indeed require the deft timings of a pro Street Fighter duel, the combat still remains to be a clever blend of the two. It rewards complexity, timing and by the end of the game, a full understanding of enemy behaviours, attacks and required techniques.

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In chess, the pawns go first

If there’s one thing Guacamelee does right (admittedly amongst the many other things) it’s the constant feeling of progression. Whether you’re storming through the main plot, dabbling in the many sidequests on offer, hunting down those fiendishly elusive secrets or attempting to achieve gold medals in the Inferno rooms. Everything you do seems to reward you with either XP of which you can spend on upgrading the damage of certain moves and gaining extra health and stamina, or money which you can use to purchase new outfits. More than a simple cosmetic change, the costumes can also bestow helpful effects too. Fancy constant (but slowly) regenerating health at the expense of less stamina? Just slip into the chicken outfit. How about a dashing suit with the bonus of life steal upon hitting enemies? There are many outfits, all with a bonus effect that’s countered by a wince inducing negative, find what works for you however; you’ll feel even more powerful.

If you feel as though the enemies aren’t taking enough of a pounding, there’s always the ‘Intesno’ power. Charging in the usual means by achieving combos and activated by pressing L3+R3, it gives you greater health regeneration and makes your moves and specials more powerful for a limited time. However, as per usual with activated powers such as this, they’re often unnecessary and; aside from some sections on hard mode, all of the fights can easily be won by paying attention to the enemies.

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Yep, you can still turn into a chicken!

As far as the length goes, Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition almost makes up for the length of its title. Focusing on the story missions will get you to the credits in around 6 hours, but sinking some time in to acquire all the collectibles, complete the Inferno challenges and resolve the side missions will roughly take twice as long. Unfortunately there’s no real replay value due to you already knowing the best ways to defeat all the enemies and also having previously discovered where all the secrets are.

Something special that might keep you coming back however, are the gorgeously unique visuals. Inspired by classic Mexican lore, the enemies, bosses and combat all ooze original mythos and really add to the overall art styling. The music will also twang in that form too, offering subtle musings whilst wandering the villages and towns.

With relatively little changed between the original offering and the ‘Super’ edition, it’s both easy and difficult to recommend the new and improved Guacamelee. For those who’ve not experienced the pleasure of Juan and his lucha-lore tale, it’s quite simply one of those games you must play. For those who’ve previously beat the original into submission, I’m not convinced there’s enough to warrant a second round. Having said that, if you’ve been hankering after another playthrough of Drinkbox’s instant classic, there’s no better place to jump back in.

This is going to be a difficult review. Blue Estate is an on the rails shooter based on the graphic novels of the same name. As with any rail shooter your character will be guided automatically from area to area as you blast away countless enemies. Back in the old days that would probably be done with a Light Gun. In Blue Estate it’s done with the PS4’s Sixaxis. There are several slight problems that sour Blue Estate’s otherwise mediocre gameplay.

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We’ve seen quite a few implementations of the Sixaxis over the last generation and more often than not it was merely an afterthought that was forced into a game somewhere. On the rare occasion it was used more fully however I never actually felt that the Sixaxis tech let me down. Regardless of the fact I would probably just rather not use it, the Sixaxis is quite a capable bit of tech.

Well in Blue Estate it just simply doesn’t work well enough. I can’t help but feel the problems lie in Blue Estate’s design but whatever the cause it doesn’t matter. When me and Sam from here at Connected Digital World ventured out into the first level in co-op the sight that unfolded was, I imagine, both ludicrous and hilarious. Over time your cursor will become completely out of sync with your pad to the point were you’re having to figure out which direction is now up, down, left or right. I ended up with my pad completely backwards and Sam with his upside down.

Truth be told we eventually found the centre button (up on d-pad or ‘L1’) which returns your crosshair to relative normality so you can carry on blasting your targets. At the absolute centre of this game is your ability to aim at targets. In fact it’s all you do because it’s a rail shooter. Having to constantly wait and get shot at repeatedly while you find your cursor is just ridiculous. I curse anybody that actually saw how this game works and thought it was OK. After another go we both quickly got intensely sick of having to fix the game for the developer as we played and quit in frustration. I pushed on with solo to get this review done but that is the only reason I had to play Blue Estate.

You will be bombarded with constant humour and stereotypes that we could all live without. It’s not particularly clever and at times it’s just patronizing. For instance Blue Estate seems to think that women are strippers. End of story. I’ve got nothing against ‘exotic dancers’ but the tasteless assumption that all women are just sex objects is not good or wanted in any way. The jokes are something that even a 10 year old would cringe at. It’s not charming at all, although it seems to think it is for some reason, and it certainly isn’t clever.

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Blue Estate is just a mess. Rail shooters aren’t exactly the most inspiring platform to begin with but when that platform is entirely comprised of jokes that range from bad to almost offensive even a 20 year old arcade game would look appealing. On top of that the gameplay isn’t even entertaining. The auto aim is seriously strong and it seems it needs to be just so the game functions at all. But I’ve never seen the Sixaxis perform so poorly and I can’t escape the feeling it’s Blue Estate at fault. You spend just as much time having to centre your crosshair as you do shooting. This is a game to avoid at all costs. I couldn’t recommend it to anyone under any circumstance.

Once upon a time skating games were all about button pressing and just a little timing. Then it all became about intuitive controls and feeling more connected with your avatar rather than just controlling a rolling combo machine. Well OlliOlli takes us back to a simpler time, or so it seems. And it does it with style.

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After a warning that the game was made to be played with a pad, a little odd if playing on a PC, you get to have a go and learn the basics. Although this warning is worth heeding because if you do use a keyboard (as I did for a while) you will essentially be mimicking a thumbstick using the WASD keys. As you can imagine that doesn’t really transfer very well.

After performing you’re trick of choice you will need to press either ‘A’, ‘X’ or the down arrow to land properly. The closer to the ground you are when you press land the higher the combo will be for the trick(s) you just performed. Miss it and your 2D friend will be put off balance and you will score next to nothing.

You don’t fall off with a ‘sloppy’ landing but it’s often difficult to recover from a bad landing as it takes you a huge amount of time to get back on your board correctly. Before you know it there’s a small drop that, due to your unbalanced state, leads to a face grind. Or it will become apparent that you no longer have the space to perform the next jump. Landing correctly is important and one wrong landing could end your run early. Get used to failure.

There’s a satisfying simplicity to OlliOlli that relies more on timing than remembering overly complicated button combos. The other trick to mastering a level comes from remembering the area’s layout. It’s a lot like a much less punishing Impossible Game. Except my score actually improved after each failure. Learning a level also means you’ll be doing less sloppy landings and getting that score up while making sure you don’t end up leaving your skin all over the concrete.

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The levels are well designed and intricate. There’s always loads to see and grind on or jump over and loads of opportunities to horrendously smash your body all over the place. The pace is quick enough to create a challenge but I never started feeling like I was going to have a seizure at any point, again I’m looking at you Impossible Game. The areas are simple and the only real detail is on the objects you’re interested in, which doesn’t lead to impressive graphics but does allow you to play the game.

But that’s not to say that OlliOlli is limited or easy. Soon I was looking to to increase my score and go for some of the higher score objectives within a level. Once you’ve learned a level and feel comfortable completing it successfully there’s still a load of goals to achieve that mainly come from scoring higher. And inevitably to do so you’ll have to get complicated. I hope your pad gymnastics are up to scratch.

You’ll want to be performing more complicated jumps and flips that can all be find in the games move list called the ‘Tricktionary’. They’re not too complicated on their own but quickly rushing through one of the levels, remembering complicated jumps, avoiding hazards, making the most of each grind and landing them all perfectly isn’t easy. And then, in similar style to Skate, you’ll want to be spinning at all times if you really want to get that high score. At this point, and a little before if I’m honest, I struggle. But the point is the potential to improve is there supported by appropriate objectives if you want to push yourself.

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OlliOlli is relatively simple to complete, challenging to improve and practically impossible to perfect (at least for me). And all the time the scoring system rewards you for pushing your limits all be it only with another objective complete. There’s a simple control system that can be used to perform complicated tricks that shares a surprising amount of ground with games like Tony Hawks and Skate. The 2D style isn’t exactly blockbuster stuff but it looks fine and complements the gameplay well. OlliOlli is well worth your time even if it’s only as a ‘time waster’. It’s so easy to just throw it on and enjoy a few levels for 20 minutes. Or you can be sure there’s plenty to do for longer sessions. OllieOllie is just good simple fun.

If there’s one thing gamers like, it’s killing Nazi’s, a staple of video game entertainment for (console) generations. Bandai Namco and CI Games attempt to cash in on the Nazi gold with Enemy Front, a game they hope will give us more freedom with open-ended levels and the ability to complete objectives however you wish.

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Not representative of game footage…

Enter Robert Hawkins, who to most, is just a simple, everyday war correspondent, yet to the evil Nazi’s, he’s a stripped down Rambo with an eventual kill count to shame most 90’s action films several times over. Set mostly in Europe and heavily featuring the Warsaw Uprising, it’s of course only natural to have an American protagonist ruthlessly slaughtering anyone and everone he can find. You’ll meet up with other classic videogame tropes, such as the French resistance fighter who’s more fatale than femme, the generic commando and of course the German operative.

It certainly comes as a surprise that a game being developed by a Polish company, featuring the largely untouched (in gaming at least) Polish theatre of war, would chose to set out their game like this. It would be far more interesting, and perhaps unbearably harrowing, to see a game entirely and devoutly from the Polish perspective, instead of the usual American hero tale we’ve all come to expect.

The horrors of World War 2 were plentiful to say the least; Enemy Front does attempt a fair stab at representing these atrocities. Several times throughout the campaign, you’ll stagger across situations that you can step forward and intervene, inevitably at the expense of an otherwise, avoidable firefight. It does of course slightly pale into comparison however at the sheer number of Germans you’ll slaughter along the way.

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Again, it doesn’t really look like this on PS3

Despite the game feeling overly ambitious throughout, there is some semblance of truth to what they were attempting to accomplish. Areas are indeed open to experimentation in terms of stealth and covert affairs; with most missions being open to completion with minimal fighting. You can take the guns blazing approach, but you’ll often find yourself in one of two scenarios. Either you’ll alert the relentless assault of the German war machine and get shot in the back repeatedly from the suspiciously spawning Nazi’s. Or, you can let the atrocious enemy AI do the work for you and stand calmly in a doorway whilst they graciously walk towards you in single file.

It’s not only the AI that can cause difficulties in a gun fight either, the weapons feel inconsistent at best. Not far from the beginning of the game, you are offered the choice between a rifle and a sub-machine gun, should you pick the bolt action, (which comes without a scope) be prepared for confusion. Not only will hits not register even vaguely near the target, but due to the lack of any optical attachment, you’ll find ranged shots exasperate the problem. Fortunately for us however, you always come prepared for such an outcome; your trusty sidearm will see you through a majority of battles. Seemingly the perfect combination of more up close stopping power than the SMG’s and possessing more accuracy than the rifle at range, you’ll do most of your work with this.

Luckily for us, there are more than enough excuses to take the stealthy approach. It’s often just a matter of finding the correct climbable open window or the sneaky dusty trail to follow. Inevitably, stealth play has its downsides too however, the stealth takedowns can often be subject to the constant uncertainty and possibility of a hilarious glitch occurring. Whether it be the body of a recently stabbed Nazi disappearing into thin air after flying inside a wall or a guard periodically flopping to the floor in front of his superior, who incidentally, couldn’t care less that he just saw me crouching in front of him.

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These ‘in game’ shots are ambitious…

On top of the obligatory ‘explosive set-pieces’, Enemy Front also borrows heavily from other games too. You’ll find yourself breaching doorways in slow motion, alongside sniping using mechanics very reminiscent of their previous Sniper Ghost Warrior titles. Clocking in at around 5-6 hours for completion; not offering much in the way of replayability, save for the myriad of useless, obligatory collectibles doesn’t inspire much either.

The game’s multiplayer doesn’t offer too much in the way of reprisal, with a scant few modes and no progression system to speak of. Your interest would likely wane after a few matches, should you find any. Having such few people online, the blame can’t squarely be placed at the developers, but with nothing to draw you back in, there’s not much incentive to play when other games on the market better implement their ideas.

If all of these problems weren’t enough, Enemy Front still has one major kicker that you’ll likely notice straight away, its horrendous frame rate issues. It will regularly fall below 30 fps, even whilst there’s no discernable action on screen. Unfortunately, coming off the silky smooth, high resolution games of the PS4, it’s even more noticeable. Whilst the graphics are serviceable, except for some nice lighting effects dotted about, the voice acting, again, lets it down somewhat too. There’s a decent rousing score that kicks in at the right times, but in the end, it’s too little, too late.

Everything regarding Enemy Front screams of a high ambition that it’s not quite reached for whatever reasons. The premise is good, the setting will always appeal to gamers and leaving the style of play up to the user is always a good choice. There can be fun to be had; ‘outsmarting’ the enemies by sneaking your way around can feel rewarding, if not a little hollow. Unfortunately, unforgivable amounts of technical problems are hard to squint past and are inevitably, Enemy Front’s downfall.

If you enjoyed the first GRID it’s likely you were disappointed in some way by GRID 2. Many of GRID’s best features were unnecessarily cut. The entire game went too far down the arcade route and lost sight of why it’s predecessor was so great. Managing to remain simultaneously focused but still offering a chance to race across many disciplines with handling a nice hybrid of simulation and arcade. Well Codemasters appear to have recognised this and GRID: Autosport sees the return of many of the ideas and features that made GRID so great.

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Probably the most important change to Autosport is with the handling model. Autosport attempts to again find that sweet spot that is the balance between arcade and simulation from the first GRID. That satisfying sliding and skidding that would probably leave us critically injured in reality makes a strong return. But Autosport doesn’t let it get out of control and you don’t get those moments were you wonder whether you’ve started playing Burnout. As with the original GRID, Autosport dares to take itself seriously enough to become a racer but doesn’t require absolute perfection with every button press.

More than once I was reminded of how I felt during my time with the original. GRID is forgiving enough to encourage bravery at every turn but complicated enough that hitting an apex or being smooth with the throttle on the exit of a corner matters. It’s a fine line, and GRID 2 lost it’s way, but Autosport gets it right by looking back to the original for inspiration.

Car models help things by looking their best at all times, especially from the outside. I tend to play racers from the bumper cam anyway but the vehicles in GRID look great. And Autosport allows you to play from an interior camera too. Rejoice all those who will now briefly look at the interior of a car and then continue playing from a different view anyway! But it’s good to see Codemasters have included it anyway. The detail of the vehicle interiors isn’t quite as good as the rest of the game but I imagine statistically there’s very few gaming hours spent there and Codemasters’ attention has been correctly focused elsewhere.

During a bad collision that detail becomes obvious. The detail of the car models becomes clear as bits of car fly off, shatter and bend while the slow motion gives everything a cool weighted feel. There are some areas that don’t have quite the fidelity we might be looking for, particularly with next gen hardware around, but for a last gen title it looks very good.

One of my favourite things in GRID 2 were the tracks. There weren’t many of them and the tracks themselves weren’t always fun to race on but their detail was second to none. And the same goes for Autosport except there are loads of tracks on offer as well. There are a huge number of tracks for you to play on and each is detailed enough to stave off the boredom of hour after hour of grey tarmac rolling off the bottom of your screen.

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Autosport’s career mode yet again returns to old ideas and replaces constant, repeated, first place wins with realistic objectives. In your first season your goal isn’t to finish in first place. In fact you shouldn’t be finishing first place in your first race and Autosport encourages you to continue playing and improving as your position gets better with practice. It’s so much better not to be expected to overtake 20 or so vehicles even in your debut event. And the return of an AI partner as your teammate allows GRID to again feel like a team effort, which was one of my favourite features of the original. With the AI helping create excitement every step of the way you can be sure you’ll get to do some actual racing.

This time your career is split across multiple disciplines; Tuner, Touring, Street, Endurance and Open-Wheel. If there isn’t at least something for everyone in Autosport I’d be surprised. And each discipline feels unique and separated from the others. Touring races see you fighting wheel to wheel in huge packs. Open-Wheel races favour F1 like precision. The only disappointments for me were that the endurance races really weren’t long enough (but then I like the old Gran Turismo style that took many hours each) and the Tuner class wasn’t quite as enjoyable or exciting as the others. But some people will no doubt prefer the races I don’t like. The point is there’s a choice for you. On the whole the multiple class system works well and offers loads to keep you playing even long into your career. Just being able to change things up a bit occasionally makes a big difference.

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A lot of things were missing from GRID 2. And they’re all back in Autosport. Codemasters have really listened to what people want and actually made changes. The thrill of wheel to wheel racing the way only GRID knows how is so close to making a return. The handling model nearly finds that glorious balance between simulation and arcade. There are loads of tracks and plenty of good looking vehicle models. And then there are multiple race classes, realistic career objectives and a teammate. Although I would’ve still preferred to be able to fully manage a team, much like a more in-depth version of the first GRID. But some new features are what GRID needs now.

I wish I could have seen Autosport made for PS4 and Xbox One though as some nice next gen visuals would greatly increase the overall presentation of Autosport. It still looks good, especially for a last gen title but I’m still without a racer for my PS4 and GRID for some reason didn’t take advantage and fill that gap. Well done Codemasters for actually listening to fans but truth be told GRID Autosport is really just what GRID 2 needed to be. Still at least it’s safe to say GRID is back on track. What we need now is the next GRID to see were the franchise goes.

 

Well the name says it all really. You play as Buck Mann a glorified space delivery boy charged with quickly, and safely, delivering various goods across incredibly dangerous areas of space. I don’t know if there are any space police or whatever in Space Run but if there are they’re really bad. It’s a warzone even for a delivery company!

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Space Run is essentially a side scrolling strategy game that draws heavily from the ideas of a tower defence game. Your ship consists of various hexagons that allow you to place your precious cargo and any of the turrets, shields and thrusters available. You’ll need to ensure that your cargo is protected on a suitably defendable hexagon whilst making sure you have space for thrusters, to get through the level faster, and are able to aim your guns at incoming threats. It’s not always easy to fit it all in.

The exact size and shape of your ship will depend on the mission you take on so you will have to employ different strategies each time. And it gets more complicated when you need to use a power generator to power turrets correctly. There’s a lot to think about and usually there isn’t a perfect solution so there is a sense of just getting the job done rather than creating a super-death-delivery-ship.

After each mission you can spend your hard earned space credits on upgrades for your turrets, buildings and their abilities. There’s a good feeling of progression and you are handsomely rewarded for completing missions quicker. There’s a real incentive other than score to keep completing missions as fast as possible.

But unfortunately there isn’t really enough variation to keep the gameplay interesting past a couple of hours. The ship changes and levels become more challenging and tactical to a degree but there are only so many different runs that you can do. All too soon it becomes a case of repeating the same things over and over. It is challenging, especially if you go for the fastest time, which is where most of the appeal comes from but there isn’t enough strategy to keep things interesting past the 2 or 3 hour mark.

There is a thin plot forced in around Space Run’s missions but it’s really just a way for the game’s characters to be amusing. Or at least try. Sadly it’s almost impossible to feel much of a connection to Buck Mann. He’s about as generic as space scoundrel rip offs come and isn’t as funny as he thinks he is. You’ll have a few laughs, but not as many as are intended. There are some nice Sci-Fi geek references though. My particular favourite was the word ‘frak’ which reminded me how much I need to get a life after I laughed.

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Space Run is a good side scrolling adventure for a couple of hours but there isn’t much replay value to keep you coming back for more. The half baked characters and humour unfortunately don’t deliver as much entertainment as they needed to. With subpar characters and mediocre humour Space Run relies solely on its gameplay. Which is good fun for a brief period but doesn’t do anything to hold your attention for too long. But it is good fun while it lasts.

Even for the mighty UbiArt engine and Ubisoft Montpellier The Great War is a tricky topic to tackle correctly. Despite the abundance of WW2 period games out there WW1 remains relatively untouched. The sheer horror and weight of events make it difficult as a topic for any game. Valiant Hearts goes with an all out puzzler approach. There’s the occasional action filled moment but even then the puzzles are kept central to the gameplay. The point of Valiant Hearts isn’t to see how many men you can kill and how much gore there can be in a war. Thankfully.

But just because you’re not going to slaughter men on mass doesn’t mean Valiant Hearts pulls its punches. The Great War had a horrific death toll and Ubisoft aren’t afraid to make it known. Valiant Hearts doesn’t patronize and it doesn’t hold back. It covers the brutality of the first gas attack using Chlorine Gas. It covers the work of a medic performing triage after an attack. It covers a civilian population under attack from bombs, with people searching for loved ones and dealing with the destruction of their homes.

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There’s an appropriately solemn tone that never really lets up while you  play Valiant Hearts. It’s a strange experience to be entertained at the same time as watching the horrors of The Great War but I think it’s a fantastic way for us to commemorate the events that took place.

Great War aside Valiant Hearts is a great puzzler. There’s a fare share of simple tasks that don’t tax the brain too much but they are constant and keep you thinking until the next real puzzle. Which are clever. You’re canine friend has no name but he can squeeze through gaps and retrieve items, among other things, that allow the puzzles to be really creative. They kept me thinking and regularly had me stumped for a little while before I moved on.

The only problem I had was checkpoints which are few and far between. More than once when I quit the game I found myself playing the entire level again when I loaded it back up. It seems like a simple fix to me to just add more checkpoints especially considering Valiant Hearts has a slower pace that doesn’t make checkpoints difficult.

To compliment this are collectables that are carefully placed in every level. Some hidden, some require simple optional puzzles some are basically unmissable. But once you find and collect one you can press triangle and read more about the item. The nuggets of information make for interesting reading so it’s well worth stopping occasionally to take a look. Some are personal letters from soldiers on the front and some are interesting items like lighters or tools that provide some historical fact.

Valiant Hearts is a treat on the eyes and ears too, as if any of us doubted it. UbiArt has delivered again and the beautiful ‘hand drawn’ style creates the perfect atmosphere for Valiant Hearts. But musically Valiant Hearts has a simple yet powerful soundtrack that had me moved more than once. Even the piano piece on the main menu is truly beautiful.

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For me, the key concept that is a constant in Valiant Hearts is the issue of language barriers. Or more specifically the issue of nationality. Despite communication there’s no spoken language except the occasional mumble from the characters and a narrator on the loading screens. The most obvious example is your best friend in Valiant Hearts, your dog.

He starts out with his German handler, who’s a medic. But helps the French Emile when he’s in trouble early on. Emile and his dog then join with an American, Freddie and later even back with a German born French national Karl. On one occasion after Emile helps a German Soldier in need he will in return help Emile by letting him run from capture or death. Valiant Hearts does a good job of bringing to life the fact that all who fought in The Great War where ultimately still human, regardless of nationality. And your canine companion makes it all the more obvious as he doesn’t consider race or nationality when he helps people. He just helps those who need it. It’s also devastating when he gets in trouble and needs your help.

The Great War was certainly one of our darkest periods of history and it needs to be commemorated. And 100 years on it is all the more important that we make an effort to remember those who gave their lives for us. Valiant Hearts is so tastefully handled that I can think of no better way to remember those events. It’s a great puzzle game that makes you think infused with nuggets of history. More importantly Valiant Hearts packs a punch that doesn’t let us forget.

505 Games and Rebellion are back with their gruesomely satisfying Sniper Elite series, this third entry promises to be the largest of them all with vast open expanses to traverse and several new gameplay mechanics on offer. Can they expand on their ever improving series, or will this one be slightly off the mark?

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It’s not long before Karl Fairburne, the elite sniper, is called into action in the dusty, unforgiving plains of Africa. Mere moments after been given control of our stoic, chisel jawed American exterminator, we’re tasked with clearing out a few pesky snipers and spotters from the overlooking cliffs ahead. One justly lined up shot later; you’re introduced to the series’ famed x-ray killcam in all of its glorious destruction. Instantly shocking, gratifying and curiously addictive, these killcams offer a slow motion insight into the life of a fatally wounding bullet. Not only will you see skulls crumple under the sheer velocity, but also lungs puncture, hearts explode, and should you desire, testicles rupturing. The scope of horrendous bodily harm you can commit to an unaware, meandering soldier never gets old, despite the player seeing it potentially hundreds of times during the course of the campaign.

Making the local coroners life easier comes with its own problems however. It’s often either too easy or too difficult to get your snuff fix, turning the difficulty up will add magnified effects such as gravity and wind direction/speed to contend with, however one quick tap of the ‘empty lungs’ button will place a cursor directly on your bullets predetermined destination. Electing to ignore the empty lung/cursor of death button isn’t easy, but can make for a more rewarding experience knowing you’ve earned the kill yourself.

In terms of difficulty, the AI can certainly make life either a trauma or a walk in the park. Possessing the hearing of a bat or an ancient geriatric, depending on your actions, they will remain blissfully unaware as you take down a room with the Welrod (your handy silenced pistol) Or you can creep and stalk your your enemy for as long as you please, provided you’re crouched. On the other end of the spectrum, they’ll hear and pinpoint your position from a misjudged sniper shot, even if it’s mere milliseconds out of the sound cover range.

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Handily, Africa is packed full of easily malfunctioning generators, sporadically dotted about the map and often adjacent to elevated sniper positions. One quick sabotage later and you can mask your gunfire by timing it with the chugs of your ill mechanical friend, hopefully avoiding the new searching mechanic implanted into the local guards. Firstly, they’ll take cover from any other errant shots that might come their way, before attempting to locate your crafty position. Moving in flanks and small formations, they’ll push your last known/seen position, visually marked by a Splinter Cell esque outline of yourself. Relocating is the name of the game here, as escaping the radius of your crime will revert your foes to their initial patrols, despite them having to tiptoe over the corpses of their fallen comrades along the way.

Linear level design is slowly becoming a thing of the past now with Sniper Elite III’s larger open maps, however you do still have to complete objectives in a predetermined order, as they are marked along an obvious and plain route. Secret objectives can open up play a little as they are often not apparent until you’ve fulfilled a prerequisite requirement, such as searching a table for Intel regarding a passing through officer who’s ripe for early retirement.

Despite the main missions pointing you in the right direction, how you tackle them is left up to you and your imagination. Taking out key personnel could be achieved by anything from a silenced Welrod shot, to laying down a mine before retreating. It heavily encourages stealth, but doesn’t restrict you to it, letting you experiment with various methods due to the large sandbox style environments.

Gunplay is fairly solid, however strangely, what with the snipers being quite so heavily featured, the differences between rifles and their upgrades feels a little non distinct. The sub-machine guns feel as though they’re meant to be used only as a last resort, which in a stealth orientated game, is a plus point. Whilst the Welrod is suitably slow to fire and has a meagre ammo capacity at best, scavenging corpses and crates will often yield far more than is necessary. Despite not really knowing what sort of battle you’ll find yourself in, you can alter your load out pre-mission with anything you’ve unlocked via levelling up in the various modes. If you feel a silenced pistol is a little over powered, switch it for a revolver, love to go loud? Bring along a pocket full of dynamite and a few land mines at the expense of health packs.

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Whilst it may not be the prettiest game on the PS4, there are not only some very nice lighting effects, but the frame rate is consistently high, making it a much smoother experience than you might be used to. Add to this that each of the eight levels on offer usually lasts around an hour each, and you’ll become increasingly impressed.

That’s not to say it’s been completely smooth sailing however, Sniper Elite III does have it’s drawbacks too. The enemy AI, whilst in alert mode, can be fairly competent, but the transition back to their designated patrols despite half a squadron lying at their feet instantly takes you out of the experience. Some of the context sensitive prompts can grate a little too early as well, actions overlap all too frequently meaning that the wrong task is occasionally performed if you’re not careful. Searching bodies requires deft usage of the right thumbstick before the option can appear; silently knifing someone in the back can often take multiple button mashes before registering too.

Your time spent with Sniper Elite III will vary from either being too easy at the upside of being daft, visceral fun, or too difficult along with some of the more infuriating technical blemishes peppered about the place. If you’ve played the others and still can’t fill that sadistic void with anything but slow motion testicle battery, then you’ll more than likely enjoy this instalment. If not, and you’re hankering after some stealthy fun; alongside being capable of brushing aside a disappointingly clichéd narrative and the occasional technical hiccup, Sniper Elite III might just have found its mark.

With the UFC still donning the moniker of the world’s fastest growing sport, it was only going to be a matter of time before EA added another franchise to their already stellar selection of sports titles. Can they replicate their successes once more with a UFC game based around their Ignite engine?

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As a fan of UFC since channel 5 aired their pay per views late on a night and free of charge, I like many others, have been hankering for a true UFC experience. This rendition promises a slew of available moves, an improved ground and submission game alongside a fully-fledged career mode.

Jumping straight in, you’ll be prompted with a basic tutorial that’s designed to get you started on the game; it’ll inform you on how to flail wildly and that’s about it. With such a diverse moves list demanding control of your opponent in many areas of the octagon, you’ll be at a frustrating and instant disadvantage the moment you’re not standing toe to toe. Due to the bewildering lack of a practice mode against a dummy AI, you’re learning the hard way too. The game is not only difficult to master, but also seems reluctant to let you learn how to progress. There are a few incredibly helpful online tutorial videos hidden in the touchpad’s online menus, but why these weren’t moved onto the main menu instead is beyond me. A challenge mode is also available, but doesn’t explain the benefits of transitioning into certain mounts, guards or clinches. I’m all for having to figure things out for yourself, but it’s not fun when you’re on the cusp of losing because you didn’t know to also hold L1 whilst rotating the right thumbstick to get out of a full mount.

Fortunately, the days of the infinite standing elbows and the impossibly confusing ground game are behind us, fighters are blessed with an armada of standing strikes; all can be performed by the initially bewildering modifier buttons. With each face button dedicated to a limb, you can alter the type of strike by holding another button, for example, holding forward whilst pressing triangle will perform a straight or a hook in lieu of the standard jab, whilst pulling away from your opponent will change it to an uppercut. Holding L2 will always target the body; the L1 and R1 buttons are the more stamina draining but equally powerful flamboyant moves.

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As you might imagine, swinging at thin air will not get you very far; not only will it open you up to a counter, it’ll take a chunk out of your stamina bar too. The key to success, much like real UFC fights, is to not get exhausted during a bout. Not only will your strikes deal less damage and connect slower, but you yourself will also be more susceptible to taking heavy damage; becoming one step closer to that fabled flash knockout. The ground game, submissions and any form of transitions or posturing also use stamina, making the ground wars less of a button mashing affair and more a thinking man’s ordeal. It’s all well and good rushing to full mount only to discover you’re lacking any stamina to complete a submission, before getting swept and finding yourself at the mercy of your opponents crushing elbows.

Everything boils down to knowing your foes weaknesses and strengths, a kickboxer will be more at risk to a takedown than a decorated wrestler for instance; it’s here where UFC really shines. Executing a gameplan successfully is highly rewarding and achieving the victory whilst playing to your strengths is a glorious feeling. The submission system has been altered for the better this time too. Successfully tightening a choke or lock requires mastery of the mini-game involved. An octagon overlay will appear, with the defender having to fill one of the four gauges to escape, the attacker can impede their progress by holding the right thumbstick in the corresponding direction whilst looking for a left thumbstick prompt to advance the submission state. Despite being initially overcomplicated and confusing, once you’ve had a few attempts, (it really needs a practice mode) it can feel like an aptly anxious struggle.

Whilst you may chug about a little slowly in relation to your real life counterparts, the defensive game is pretty well implemented. Blocking works surprisingly well, holding R2 becomes a weak but still useful guard. Yet if you wish to make the most out of it, timing an opponent’s high or low strike with one of the face buttons will make them whiff and leave themselves open to a more powerful counter. Dashes can be executed by flicking the left thumbstick; if timed well, can leave your foe vulnerable and floundering.

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Sublime fighting mechanics aside, how does EA’s UFC fare outside of the octagon? In truth, not quite so well; feeling very much like a first stab at the franchise, it gets a lot right, but misses out on what could have been a more enveloping career mode. The addition of the required Ultimate Fighter tournament before being let loose in the UFC is a welcome touch yet it has two major drawbacks. The first being that you can’t skip it, despite how many fighters you’ve inducted into underwhelming Hall of Fame, which consists of a short video featuring Dana White and a generic email essentially stating ‘that’s enough, start again’. The second, implausibly odd reason being that The Ultimate Fighter bouts are by far the most difficult fights you’ll have in the career due to you having unalterably dire stats.

From each successful training session in the career, your created fighter will earn approximately 200 upgrade points to spend on whatever you feel is necessary, probably stamina though if you’re being honest. Compare this to the UFC fights when you often gain in excess of 1000 points for a victory and you can see how your character becomes exponentially more powerful, even against the greatest in the division. Points can be spent on moves or attributes, but don’t fret as you’ll have points left over before your career ends; attaining max stats all around is easily achievable unlike previous UFC games.

Aside from the constant barrage of videos peppering your screen after each KO, submission or fight of the night, showcasing highlight reels of classic UFC moments, there isn’t that much involvement outside of the fights. There are no rivalries, you can’t choose a training camp, there’s no threat of not making weight, there’s no advice from your corner in-between rounds and the ‘guest’ appearances at the gym make little to no differences aside from a nasty potential boxing spar with Nate Diaz.

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Some other generic problems that seem to plague EA titles of late being the horrendous menu load times that can make altering sponsors, stats and appearances a drain. During the career mode, there’s a useless ticker across the top of the screen either notifying you that you have no new notifications or displaying now out of date items of interest. There’s an almost sarcastic use of a game manual option in the menus too which instead displays a link to a website, of which you can’t even select to open in the PS4’s browser. Why bother putting it there then?

If there’s one thing EA Sports titles do well time and time again however, it’s the presentation aspect. They’ve really nailed the broadcast feel of the fights, what with Bruce Buffer’s fantastically over excitable introductions alongside Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg screaming at each and every knockout.

Graphically it’s excellent; EA’s Ignite engine provides a showcase of what should be achieved on PS4 and Xbox One. Beads of sweat drip, blood flows and spatters onto the mat, muscles are seen tensing and the character animations are equally impressive too. In terms of audio, it lets itself down a little however. Despite the impressively looking equaliser, there’s no way to alter the sound levels to your preferences. You can’t turn the music entirely off either unless you deselect all the tracks in the main menu; for some reason, the punches and kicks lack a little meat too.

However, once the overly complicated controls are mastered and start to make sense, it’s utter brilliance. Get over the woeful tutorial hump; don’t expect much outside of the octagon and there is no greater game for combat sport aficionados. Every punch is deliberate, every kick is measured, every takedown punishing and every win immeasurable.

I have this idea in my head that at some point I’ll play an MMORPG that changes something significant. Not a new combat feature or new way of interacting with other players but something a bit more fundamental. Wildstar looks like it could be that MMO. So I eagerly jump into the world of Nexus searching for my white whale.

Initial character creation is the usual case of ‘who the hell is that?’ and ‘what the hell are those?’ but cutting through Wildstar’s take on a sci-fi world helps you get your character set up, although the lore of Wildstar is full and well written so it’s only worth avoiding if necessary. It’s Rebels vs The Empire with the rough and ready ‘Exiles’ playing the part of The Rebels and ‘The Dominion’ donning the stomping boots of The Empire. There’s a decent back-story to each faction so everything feels fleshed out and central to Wildstar’s world. The character styles are noticeably different too and together with the different classes there’s loads of choice.

And further down the road after a good few hours of playing and levelling up you won’t be disappointed no matter what class you pick. You never feel particularly ‘locked in’ by a class or character and each has more than enough abilities to let you create the character you want. It doesn’t matter if you want a damage carry, tank, support or medic class. It’s all possible and allows for you to be free and creative with your build.

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One of the most important things in Wildstar is its impressive lore. Characters, factions, locations, weapons and just about everything has a story. Think codex from Mass Effect except the information is used to help present the game rather than just something to read when you’re bored. Although you can do that too. It’s all these little nuggets of information that make Wildstar what it is and stop its missions and quest lines from becoming supremely mediocre. Or nearly anyway.

Sadly cutting through the fun, but unnecessary, lore reveals that the quests are just what we’ve come to expect from any MMORPG. Unfortunately Wildstar doesn’t try and move away from the tradition of fetch quests and reused objectives that plague the genre. Very early in the game you’ll be killing enemies, collecting items and sometimes even returning those items to a quest giver. Wildstar’s comedy is genuinely funny and does a good job of keeping things from becoming dull but given how deep quest design is cemented at the core of any MMORPG it’s not quite enough.

But it’s nice to see some jokes in a game and that humour is present in more than just the things characters say and the objectives they give. For instance earning yourself a double kill (or more) will earn you an overly enthusiastic announcer booming out your accolade. Its all very Unreal Tornament. And the same goes for levelling up too. The on screen text looks like something straight out of Brutal Legend. Wildstar certainly doesn’t get bogged down with trying to be serious. I don’t think it’s possible to have a deep voice loudly announce ‘triple-kill’ without smiling just a little. It certainly reminded me of a time when games could concentrate on just being entertaining.

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A fair amount of the questing will rely on combat. The bar at the bottom of the screen will get a vast majority of your attention. Even your basic attacks will come from the hot bar. When your character starts his/her attack a target box will appear on the ground that indicates where the attack will hit and also conveniently fills up as you charge the attack thus doubling up as an indication of cast time. It’s methodical but entertaining and strangely didn’t find myself getting sick of the combat even some hours into the game.

And as the objectives are more often than not location specific random players that appear alongside you usually share a common goal. Almost every time I went looking to kill mobs of enemies for an objective people would join in, be it on purpose or just incidental it didn’t matter, it helped make WIldstar feel connected.

What keeps the combat interesting are the markings on the floor created by performing a move. The key is that you can also see your friend’s and foe’s cast boxes which means you know when, and where, an action will happen. This is were Wildstar’s tactics come from. In some fights its a case of simply moving out of range of an attack. Or making sure the timing is right so that you go first and hopefully kill the creature. But when more enemies show up that isn’t so easy. And if you add a healer into the equation you now have several boxes to time and/or avoid and even an area you need to aim for. It’s simple but adds a strategic layer to fights and I’m a big fan.

Wildstar’s visual style is that of a very stylised, cell shaded sci-fi world. It doesn’t just seem like ‘style for the sake of style’ but everything has a bubbly cartoonish look. It goes hand in hand with the humour to create a very inviting world. The sci-fi setting allows for some extravagant creativity and each area is rich and full. I never got bored looking at my surroundings in any of Wildstar’s environments.

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Wildstar is a very solid MMORPG. It takes lessons and ideas from games that came before it and improves and builds on them. The mechanics are solid and there’s a lot to do and see. The humour adds a Borderlands feel to the characters and quests and the art style somehow makes Wildstar seem like it was personal to Carbine Studios and not just ‘MMO 0138′.

But it’s still ‘just another MMO’ for me. It’s funny, it looks good and the lore is fantastic but ultimately it’s various fetch quests with some 3rd person combat. And if that’s what you’re after Wildstar does a fantastic job of being the next great MMO. And I imagine there are a lot of people that do want that. But Wildstar remains a solid MMO based on already overused foundations.

Once more, Team 17’s classic Worms franchise returns, this time on the PS4. Can they once more recreate their magic and deliver a banana bomb of excitement or has their lack of progression granted them too little wriggle room?

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From the first time I booted up my brand new, shiny/dull grey PS1, and popped in a fresh copy of Worms, I was hooked. Every single device I’ve owned since then that is capable of running Worms in one form or another, has been taken over by the pink little blighters. This time around, it’s the turn of the PS4 to keep the disc warm for a presumably long while.

Upon starting it up, you are greeted by the voraciously sarcastic and demeaning Tara Pinkle, excellently voiced by Katherine Parkinson of IT Crowd fame. She’ll soon regale you with the basic but serviceable storyline regarding a certain Lord Crowley-Mesmer, a worm of course, who’s hell-bent on the ol’ world domination via acquiring the Stone Carrot. Needless to say, it’s up to you to put a stop to this madness by unleashing all kinds of wanton destruction inside various exhibits of a museum, all the while being scolded for not running off with everything in sight by Lady Pinkle.

Serving as a base for newcomers to the series, the story mode lets you get to grips with the fundamentals of movement and general platforming, as well as learning how to use the various landscapes to your advantage. Instead of covering the absolute basics of dispatching worms in varying hilarious manners, the story missions play out like puzzles instead. You’ll often be tasked with getting to a certain area of the map whilst picking up the required tools on the way. However, due to the different classes of worms at your disposal, it can sometimes take a fair amount of thought on some of the latter stages in how to progress. Luckily, Team 17 thought it prudent to incorporate checkpoints into the main missions, letting you try again from whenever you activated it. Probably a good job too seeing as some of the missions can certainly rack the time up.

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Along with the 25 story missions that should set you back a fair few hours, there are also ten Worm Ops to try your hand at. Acting as challenges, you can post times on leaderboards to see how bad you are at the game, alongside it teaching you some of the more advanced tactics in the process. One of the earlier levels is a great example of when you should move and when you should stay put, it plonks you down in the middle of the ‘map’ with infinite rockets and seldom jetpacks. Inherently, the objective is to destroy all the enemy worms dotted about and whilst you can eventually kill them all from your starting position, it will require either a deft aim or plenty jet pack scavenging from the surrounding utility crates to win in a reasonable time.

Of course there’s the old classic ‘local play’ to get your eye in with the AI before challenging the intimidating internet horde, but there’s also a rather solid, yet easy to use, clan system to get stuck into as well. From here, you can create or join a clan to rank up, climb the leaderboards and assert your dominance. For the less competitive, there are unranked matches too to either whet or satiate your appetite.

It wouldn’t be Worms without a veritable armada of weird and wonderful weapons at your disposal and with 65 varieties of armaments on offer, you should never be short of an idea or two. Also adding many a potential spanner in the works are the physics objects and their resultant contraptions, ranging from creating a bridge by knocking something over, to useable doors and platforms.

Of course, it’s not only weapons and utilities you have to worry about now, as besides the standard Soldier worm, who can detonate grenades at any point during the timer, there are also others to test your tactics. Returning from Worms Revolution are the Heavy guys who deal out more damage and create a massive explosion upon death at the unfortunate, extreme handicap of movement speed and jump height. There’s the Scientist, who can not only heal nearby worms for 5 health a turn but can also remove the poison affliction too, and lastly, the ever useful Scout. He’s is the nimblest yet weakest of the lot, trading damage dealt and suffered for vastly increased movement and jumping speed. Oh, and being able to see what’s in a nearby crate at the start of a turn; the ability to crawl into tiny spaces and also to never set off a landmine are all envious traits too.

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Creating your own team of squishy warmongers is always half the fun, and again, Team 17 and Sold Out have delivered once more. Customising your worms with spectacles, aviators and all manner of headdresses is great fun, but it’s the sound banks where the franchise has always shone. It often becomes quite the bewildering dilemma, having to choose between the classic angry Scotsman, the nature watcher and the advertiser due to the genuine hilarity of their responses.

There are some nice, exclusive touches to the PS4 version too, in exchange of the Xbox One’s SmartGlass interactions. The light bar on the back of the controller lighting up when danger is abound, worm voices coming through the controller speaker and the incredibly useful, if not a tad unresponsive, assignable weapon quick select using the touchpad.

Whilst there are plenty of plus points going around, Worms Battlegrounds does also have its share of negatives too. The backgrounds and the landscapes can often seemingly blend together, giving little indication of whether terrain is physically there or not. The ninja rope feels unnecessarily difficult to land with, and for a PS4, it’s hardly stretching the boundaries of its capabilities either. To offset these however are the surprisingly punchy and gratifying audio effects and the inevitable intricacies of learning how to master each and every tool in the arsenal.

Despite them appearing to have fallen towards the darkside; cowering under girders and blowtorching their way to ‘safety’ in regards to a possible evolution of their game, it’s instead a constant refinement process that still keeps them feeling fresh nearly 20 years on.

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This years entry to the Magic franchise. Have they got it right this time?

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