Archive for the ‘Console Games’ Category

Rating:
EU Release Date: Nov 29, 2016 (for XONE and PS4)
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix

Cover Art

EDIT: I previously rated this game 7/8, but the end of the game has vastly altered my opinion. See Review Part II for more details.

ORIGINAL: POSTED 14/12/16

This is the game I’ve been waiting for.

If you’ve not played Final Fantasy before, XV is a great place to start. It even describes itself as “A Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers”. I absolutely love the Final Fantasy series and this is definitely one of the best. It combines the best aspects of FFXII, in particular the vast, open map and the real time battles and combines it with something similar to the battle controls found in Nier or perhaps Lightning Returns.

The game focuses on Prince Noctis and his companions as they try to retake their homeland Lucis from the world-dominating empire Niflheim. The plot is really that simple – a return to the basic narrative of the older games in the series where the characters are what matter. Prince Noctis and his buddies are definitely a strength of the game and a welcome change from some of the irritating and miserable protagonists of the series’ last few releases. Rather than just being a bunch of dudes you got lumbered with on a coach trip, they feel like your friends – people you might actually want to know.

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Rating:
EU Release Date: Sept 19, 1997 (Original)
Jul 23, 2014 (Remake)
Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants (Original)
Just Add Water(Remake)
Publisher: GT Interactive (Original)
Oddworld Inhabitants (Remake)
Total play time: 1:28:00 (Level 1)

Cover ArtOddworld: Abe’s Oddysee was a platform game in 1997 for the PlayStation and PC. The game focuses on a strange creature called Abe, a Mudokon slave in the Rupture Farms meat processing plant. After discovering that the farm bosses want to turn the Mudokon species into snacks, Abe begins an escape attempt, taking as many of the others with him as possible.

The gameplay is really quite straightforward. You move around the levels, getting the others to follow you to the escape portals while avoiding the armed-guards, traps, bombs, holes, motion-detectors, carnivorous creatures, gas clouds, electric beams and meat saws. Simple.
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Rating:
EU Release Date: Jan 30, 2015 (for Steam)
Total play time: 20:00:00 (approx)

Cover ArtLife is Strange is an episodic game from the makers of Final Fantasy. The story focuses on an eighteen-year-old called Max, an awkward photography student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. This ability is one of the game’s greatest features.

The effects of rewinding time start off quite small – say the right thing and get people to like you – but the further you go, the more dramatic the consequences until you’re the only one who can decide if another character lives or dies. And, to make things even more complicated, the actions that have positive consequences in the short term might have worse consequences later on. It’s like one of those choose-you-own-adventure books, but not quite so easy to just undo that bad choice you made ten pages back.

The game also tackles a lot of issues that few others dare. In a game that is essentially about teenagers trying to work out who they are and where they fit in, issues like sexuality, mental health and friendship are difficult to ignore. These are the issues that pre-occupy the teenage mind. Hell, these issues affect many of us well into adult life.

Of course, every game also has downsides and this is no exception. Sometimes, the dialogue is a little hammy and the lip-sync is frequently really bad. Sometimes, the choices you make seem pointless. The graphics seem a little lack-lustre (perhaps a super-high-end graphics card would perk them up, but I doubt it).What’s more, the whole time-travelling thing is completely skimmed over in the story. It’s almost as if the only reason she can do it is that she is the main, playable character.

Despite its flaws, Life is Strange is an excellent, thought-provoking game. I would recommend it to anyone. And I dare you not to still be thinking about it days later.

Rating:
EU Release Date: Oct 29, 2013 (for Xbox 360)
Total play time: 55:00:00 (100% Single Player)

Black Flag Cover ArtI can’t think of many things that would make this game better. Pirates, swords, an awesome soundtrack… this game has it all.

You play as Edward Kenway, a privateer-come-pirate with dreams of prizes, plunder and adventure. Along the route, you meet with a number of famous characters from history (as you would expect from an Assassin’s Creed game), including some of the best known pirates of the age. And, even better, it’s not all generic Hollywood pirates with the tired, clichéd phrases (although there is a cheat for that). What I probably love most about this game is that, with the exception Kenway himself, all of the pirates actually resemble their real life counterparts – Blackbeard’s showmanship, Black Bart’s love of fine clothing, Charles Vane’s cruelty… Sure, there were a few inaccuracies, but it all made for a good story and isn’t that what really matters?
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Rating:
EU Release Date: Nov 13, 2014 (for Xbox 360)
Total play time: Approx. 60 hours (story mode)

Assassin's Creed Rogue Cover Art I’m a total newbie to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Having only played the Black Flag demo before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this game, which is apparently the seventh in the AC series. The running, killing and hiding bit was obvious, but you get so much more than that.

You play as Shay Patrick Cormac, a young assassin working under the mentorship of Achilles Davenport, who I am sure will be familiar to fans of the series. After a literally earth-shattering experience, Shay defects, intent on stopping the plans of the assassins and willing to give his life in the course.

There is a huge free-roam element to this game, if not others in the series and a lot of hidden treasures to find, so although the story is quite linear, there is plenty to distract you from it, should you want to take the scenic route through the game. Warehouses to loot, gang headquarters and settlements to liberate, hunting, frontier clashes, citizens in distress… Even once you’ve finished the story, there will be other things to keep you playing, especially if you’re an achievement hoarder like me.
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Rating:
EU Release Date: Mar 9, 2010 (for Xbox 360)
Total play time: 48:14:05 (story mode)

FFXIII Cover ArtI’m fairly certain that everyone knows my views on this game. I did once say that I wasn’t going to play it, but after a fairly boring week, I changed my mind.

I do, however, stick by my other comments on the game. The gameplay is very dull. Most of the battles are either easy or rely on you levelling further. There is no problem solving and the free roam element is lacklustre. The fact that I like the story doesn’t outweigh these downsides. It’s a brilliant Final Fantasy movie, but a poor Final Fantasy game.

The story follows Lightning and the inhabitants of a world called Cocoon, terrified by forces from a world they call Pulse. The worlds are run by gods called Fal’cie, who use the humans to serve their tasks. These chosen humans are known as L’Cie. When a Pulse Fal’cie appears in Cocoon, the people demand that anyone who has been in contact with it are sent to Pulse.

Lightning, a former soldier, is among them, along with a man named Sazh and two kids, Hope and Vanille. Lightning busts out of the detention train, freeing all of the deportees. Sazh stays with Lightning to fight the other soldiers while another man, named Snow takes care of the kids. Although they take different routes and for different reasons, they all end up confronting the Pulse Fal’cie – united by Lightning’s sister and Snow’s fiancée, Serah. The Fal’cie then turns them into L’cie – setting them on a journey that makes them re-evaluate everything they’ve even known.

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Rating: 7-5
EU Release Date: April 23, 2010 (for Xbox 360)
Total play time: 34:58:29 (Normal Mode)


I loved this game. From the very first line of dialogue, this game was working its way into my favourites. And the longer I played, the more I loved it.

The tutorial level begins in 2049, in the ruins of a big city. You are introduced to your character (referred to by the game manual as “The Father”), struggling to protect his young, ill daughter Yonah from shadowy monsters. After a seemingly endless wave of monsters and a whistle-stop tour of all the magic available in the game, something happens and you find yourself 1300 years in the future.

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