BACK TO THE FRONT
CALL OF DUTY: WWII
No more expansions; Bungie teases the sequel we need
Can a return to its roots save the FPS franchise? First details inside
More ships, more characters, more battles… It’s the biggest Star Wars game ever made!
ISSUE 136 / JUNE 2017 Future Publishing Ltd, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA, United Kingdom Tel +44 (0) 1225 442244 Email [email protected]
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hile I’m a huge Star Wars fan, there was something a little disappointing about DICE’s last Battlefront, what was it? Oh yes, no single-player campaign. But that’s changing with the eagerly awaited sequel. This issue Ben flew to Florida to meet DICE, Motive, and Criterion, the three developers behind Star Wars Battlefront II. He discovered that not only will there be a solo mode, but we get to play in a postReturn Of The Jedi universe. Add in Darth Maul and it’s fair to say the Force is strong with this game. Read it all on page 56. From one space opera to another, news broke that Destiny 2 is coming to PS4 as early as this September. Can Bungie bottle the magic the second time around? Yes. Finally, we all got to explore the final frontier in PS VR. The team headed to Ubisoft Towers to play the – surprisingly brilliant – Star Trek: Bridge Crew. So, it looks like we’ll all be seeing stars on our PS4s very soon.
EDITORIAL Editor Ian Dean @IanDean4 Managing art editor Milford Coppock @milfcoppock Operations editor Miriam McDonald @crinolinerobot Games editor Jen Simpkins @itsJenSim Staff writer Ben Tyrer @bentyrer Shaming editor The Goat Of Shame @TheGoatOfShame CONTRIBUTORS Words Anne-Marie Coyle, Alex Dale, Zoe Delahunty-Light, Jordan Farley, Matthew Gilman, Corey Gittins, Ben Maxwell, Kirk McKeand, David Meikleham, Louis Pattison, Chris Scullion, Ed Thorn ADVERTISING Commercial sales director Clare Dove Senior advertising manager Lara Jaggon Advertising manager Mike Pyatt Director of agency sales Matt Downs Head of strategic partnerships Clare Jonik Advertising director – Games Andrew Church For Ad enquiries contact [email protected]
MARKETING Marketing director Sascha Kimmel Marketing manager Emma Clapp PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Head of production UK & US Mark Constance Production controller Vivienne Calvert Printed in the UK by William Gibbons & Sons Ltd on behalf of Future Distributed by Marketforce, 2nd Floor, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU
GAME OF THE MONTH Starblood Arena FORCE POWER The ability to move deadlines
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“NOT ONLY WILL THERE BE A SOLO MODE, Dean BUT WE GET TO Ian EDITOR PLAY IN A POST- [email protected]
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T H I S M O N T H ’S S TA R K I L L E R S
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GAME OF THE MONTH Everything (the game) FORCE POWER Force choke
GAME OF THE MONTH Rocket League FORCE POWER Stop time
GAME OF THE MONTH Lego City Undercover FORCE POWER Compel faster writing
GAME OF THE MONTH Little Nightmares FORCE POWER Mind control (tea please Ben)
GAMES EDITOR News of Battlefront II’s space battles gave Jen the jitters over those small X-wing cockpits… she’d need to Wedge herself in.
STAFF WRITER Ben became pun with the Force and flew off to Star Wars Celebration in sunny Florida. He found American bacon a little Chewie.
OPERATIONS EDITOR This month Mim lost her favourite Star Wars mug. It’s still missing. We think she’s been looking in Alderaan places.
MANAGING ART EDITOR Milf got lost in his own Star Wars world this issue. “Remember the time two Jawas walked under the bar…” No Milf, no we don’t.
HIGHLIGHTS The big 10
006 DESTINY 2 The Cabal is fearsome. The Tower’s in flames. Most horrifyingly of all, your loot’s gone. The big 10
011 CALL OF DUTY: WWII We shall fight them on the beaches… this November, when we all head to Normandy. Preview
032 TEKKEN 7 The latest instalment of the brawling series is nearly here – we test the Arcade mode. feature
056 STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II OPM flew to Florida to take a peek at the brand-new game, which sees you siding with the Empire. This is the info you’re looking for! Feature
066 NEX MACHINA We chat arcade magic with gaming legend Eugene Jarvis and Resogun pro Harry Krueger. Feature
072 GT SPORT GT’s latest iteration is set to dominate online racing, will you be on the starting grid? review
088 STARBLOOD ARENA Hold onto your headset – this PS VR multiplayer shooter has its sights set high. review
090 LITTLE NIGHTMARES There’s nothing scarier than being a little kid in a giant world. Except maybe spiders. And taxes.
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S E C T I O N S AT A G L A N C E
THE BIG 10
Latest info, screens and playtests All the hottest news 006
To-the-point, detailed analysis
In-depth verdicts on every big new game
Max out your PS4, online and off
THE Games index 042 AGONY 102 BLACK 087 BLACKWOOD CROSSING 098 CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE 011 CALL OF DUTY: WWII 110 DESTINY 006 DESTINY 2 050 DIGIMON STORY: CYBER SLEUTH – HACKER’S MEMORY 044 DIRT 4 093 DRAWN TO DEATH 092 EVERYTHING 010 FARPOINT 092 FATED: THE SILENT OATH 112 GET EVEN 096 GHOST RECON WILDLANDS 072 GT SPORT 048 GWENT 050 INNERSPACE 092 KORIX 087 LATE SHIFT 084 LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER 097 LEGO WORLDS 090 LITTLE NIGHTMARES 016 LOST SOUL ASIDE 097 MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA 049 MOVE OR DIE 066 NEX MACHINA 099 NIER: AUTOMATA 078 OUTLAST 2 087 PARAPPA THE RAPPER REMASTERED 052 PREY 016 PROJECT BOUNDARY 040 PROJECT CARS 2 019 SHADOW WARRIOR 2 083 SHINESS 105 SILENT HILL 4: THE ROOM 082 SNAKE PASS 014 SONIC FORCES 039 SONIC MANIA 088 STARBLOOD ARENA 036 STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW 056 STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II 050 STEVEN UNIVERSE: SAVE THE LIGHT 032 TEKKEN 7 050 THE HUNTER: CALL OF THE WILD 086 THE SEXY BRUTALE 012 UNCHARTED: THE LOST LEGACY 043 VALKYRIA REVOLUTION 050 WIPEOUT OMEGA COLLECTION
Titan, Hunter and Warlock classes remain. Helmets off here: a health and safety nightmare.
TAKE ONE LONG, LAST, LINGERING LOOK AT YOUR LOOT: IT’S ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR FOREVER.
10 LOST IN SPACE
A VR battle to get home in Farpoint.
11 CALL OF DUTY: WWII
The FPS goes back to its roots.
16 O (SHANG)HAI!
Sony’s supporting Chinese devs.
TheBig10 STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Destiny 2 officially confirmed, new content revealed
Bungie’s massively multiplayer space adventure continues this September Oh yes. It’s happening. You already knew what was coming if you read our Destiny: Rise Of Iron cover feature in OPM #127. But Bungie has now let the whole world know, in no uncertain terms: Destiny 2 is coming on 8 September. For anyone with a penchant for unreasonably gorgeous guns and slick space combat with friends, the MMO shooter quickly became an obsession after its 2014 release. Three years and four expansion packs later, the original Destiny is making way for a full sequel. And we do mean ‘making way’. Steel yourselves, Guardians. Take one long, last, lingering look at your Ice Breaker, your Gjallarhorn and your Thunderlord (maybe kiss them a bit. We won’t judge). They’re about to disappear forever. In the interest of a totally fresh start for newcomers – both on PS4 and now on PC, too – and incurable
hoarders alike, Destiny 2 is popping all of your stuff in the fire. Well, technically, the Cabal is. Led by brand-new big bad commander Ghaul (and probably a bit annoyed about all that fuss you kicked up on its big nasty spaceship back in the original Destiny), the Red Legion is out for blood, and has laid waste to the Tower. The Vaults. Where you keep all your loot. WHY, GOD, WHY Okay, so we’re finding it hard to let go of that bit. Fortunately, Bungie has explained that although we’ll be waving goodbye to “power, possessions, and Eververse-related items and currency”, we’ll be able to carry any characters above level 20 (and who’ve completed the Black Garden story mission) over to the sequel. There’ll even be “honors that reflect your Destiny 1 accomplishments” for the veteran Guardians among us. You won’t be going to war stripped of everything, then. Just most things. And hey, at least you won’t be alone! Everybody’s fave
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Exo Hunter Vanguard, Cayde-6, returns to guide you through this brave new era in the Destiny-verse. Okay, so the recently released story trailer also features Titan leader Commander Zavala and Warlock head Ikora Rey, but it’s Nathan Fillion’s wise-cracking charmster who’s the star of the show, setting Destiny 2’s fresh new tone. Destiny always had a sense of humour hidden away in its drier whole, but there’s more than a whiff of Borderlands or Deadpool about Bungie’s promotional trailers so far, with the focus firmly on Cayde. His playful disregard for the fourth wall during his motivational speech is brilliant: “Everything is gone. Your stuff. My stuff. Most importantly, my stuff,” he laments, before finally rousing a cheer with the promise that “There will be a ton of loot!” WIll be seeing a serious injection of humour in the sequel? Here’s hoping. One thing’s for sure: a new game and a blank slate means loads of new locations, new weapons and enemies to fight. Let’s start with taking down the Red Legion Cabal – although it’s difficult to figure out exactly how, as the fighters are tricked out in some nasty new gear. The hulking metal rhino dudes seen in the reveal trailer are carrying shields, much like the Phalanx from the first game, but
these seem extra fancy, unfurling into barriers of yellow energy. The same kind of citrine light crackles off the dual blades of another Cabal enemy – this time, he’s a colossal red guy. But it’s the dogs we should probably be worried about. DOG OF WAR If you’ve ever played a Souls title, chances are that brief flash of a leaping, four-legged beast sent you gibbering to the safety of the nearest blanket. Every gamer worth their salt knows these kinds of enemies are a real pain, and often run in dangerous, speedy, skill-testing packs. Looks like we’ll be going hand-to-snout with the spiky crimson alien hounds – fingers crossed our characters are equipped with tasty new closequarters abilities to fight ’em off. And while Bungie is keeping quiet on whether there’ll be any alterations or additions to the nine combative subclasses, there are clues that we may still be able to play as the original lot: Stormcaller Warlock abilities, for example, look
A GLIMPSE SUGGESTS SHIPS MIGHT BE PROMOTED FROM LOADING SCREENS TO FULL BATTLE VEHICLES.
VEX MARKS THE SPOT We’ve already seen some of Destiny 2’s new treasures: the real-life goodies in the Collector’s Edition, including two future expansions and a Frontier bag. The £ 220 price tag hurts worse than a bad day at the Cryptarch’s, though.
set to stay as we see one shot where Ikora Rey gives a Cabal grunt a faceful of lightning fist. Perhaps we’ll have a touch more than magical punches on our side this time. One scene in the trailer shows gigantic Cabal warships under attack… by a very Guardianesque craft firing blue lasers. Ship combat confirmed? It’s far too early to say for sure, but this tantalising glimpse suggests that Destiny 2 might well promote our spacewhips from mere loading screens to potential battle vehicles. LIGHT KNIGHTS How’s this for an intriguing idea, though: what if there’s a bit of philanthropy involved in Destiny 2? The story trailer shows quite a few shots of Guardians pulling your regular, average, non-guntoting civilians from the rubble of the ruined city. Could this mean more interactions, maybe sidequests, involving the non-military folk in Destiny’s solar system? It’d certainly be a big change for the series – and would surely require far more varied and detailed areas. Many of the particulars are up in the air for now, but we can already confidently say we’re rallying the old Fireteam for this one. Eyes up, Guardian: we’re bringing you hands-on Destiny 2 thoughts next issue.
Commander Zavala very much plays ‘serious cop’ to Cayde-6’s ‘goofy cop’ in the reveal trailer.
Q Bungie is still planning to support
Destiny 1 “for the foreseeable future”.
Q A mix of new armour and old? We spy
Reef Queen Mara Sov’s symbol here…
Expect these fellas to behave similarly to the Thrall. Who’s a terrifying boy?
Q All that conflict means the world’s a bit worse for wear, but we reckon it’ll be expanded. Too much to hope for bars in social hubs after that teaser? Probably.
Two expansions are confirmed for Destiny 2, coming this Winter and then Spring 2018.
Giant spiders and killer robots. Of all the places to get stuck in…
A PS VR shooter that’s aiming high
Farpoint brings more blockbuster gaming to Sony’s headset There are plenty of brilliant bite-size experiences on PS VR, but full-fat games are, at this point in time, at a premium. Step forward Impulse Gear, whose exciting sci-fi blaster provides a timely reminder of what your headset is capable of. The hands-on we’re getting with Farpoint’s co-op mode is an addictive score attack mode, and promises the type of experience PS VR has been crying out for. The newly announced multiplayer lets you and a mate take on waves of alien spiders, killer robots, and other threats while trying to rack up a high score. The more enemies you kill, the
higher your score multiplier goes, but taking damage or not blasting quickly enough sees your ticket to the big scores shrink. With this in mind, we and our partner charge into battle on an unknown planet. It could double for Mars thanks to the red dust that covers the terrain, but we’re paying more attention to the faceful of projectiles flying in our direction. Time to turn tail and take cover behind some fortunately placed rocks. Using the specifically designed rifle-shaped PS VR aim controller is an intuitive doddle. To aim down the sights, you simply pull the fake gun closer to your face. To move in the environment, a thumbstick rests near the business end of the
TO AIM, YOU PULL THE FAKE GUN CLOSER TO YOUR FACE.
dev talk With direct one-toone tracking, you aim in Farpoint just as you would in real life. How you hold and where you point the controller are directly matched in the game. This allows you to do things in Farpoint that are not possible in a standard FPS game. It gives an unbelievable sense of presence in the virtual world. Seth Luisi Founder and designer, Impulse Gear
makeshift weapon, and it’s no strain to use. This peripheral is an expertly designed piece of equipment that lands on the right side of weighty. It’s not just the controller that makes this one of the most immersive experiences in VR. Want to take cover? Squat down. Impulse Gear co-founder Randy Nolta explains, “It’s been a challenge, but we’ve been able to replicate a lot of what your body is doing in the real world, and you’ll see your character doing it as well in the game.” STARSHIP TROOPERS The good news is the action is as impressive as the tech. A shooter lives and dies on its weaponry, and the rifle and shotgun pack a real punch, with aiming as smooth as your arm movement. There’s also a good variety of enemy tactics that keeps the action flowing. While
SE3 YOU THERE
Heading off to E3? The multiplayer will be playable on the show floor for press and public alike. Of course, sorting out a ticket for LA is easier said than done…
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT Call Of Duty is returning to World War 2 this November, and it looks like a good decision.
Once more unto the beach… Sledgehammer reveals Call Of Duty: WWII
spiders try to rush you, snipers in the distance will pin you down, which makes our hands-on an enjoyably chatty affair as we bark instructions about which threat to focus on. On top of the four co-op maps at launch, there’s a single-player campaign that promises a heavier narrative focus, catering to fans who don’t fancy hopping into shootouts with a mate. This doesn’t seem like the usual proof-of-concept VR experience, but a giddy sci-fi blaster that just happens to be in VR. According to Nolta, the developer wants to make “games which shooter fans would appreciate as games, and not think of them as pulling away from something they would expect from the genre.” It’s making a strong start. The PS VR coverage continues on p88 with our Starblood Arena review.
After a decade of modern and future wars, Activision’s series is going back to the Second World War. Yes, the one with the angry German man with the tiny ’tache. Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer is back in the hot seat, and its focus is on delivering an accurate portrayal of history’s largest mechanised war. That means a campaign that takes place (mainly) during the years of 1944-1945 along the Western Front, with missions taking in the liberation of Paris, the push into Germany and, of course, storming the heavily fortified beach at Normandy. We got a chance to witness the D-Day landings. Clearly inspired by Saving Private Ryan, it’s a frantic dash up the beach after escaping
the crimson sea, and watching a never-ending number of soldiers get caught by the ceaseless fire. Later in the level, we squirm as new hero Red Daniels defends himself from an attacking Nazi by bludgeoning him with a helmet laying nearby Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey explains “Capturing the brutality and the sacrifice was really important to the story.” Sledgehammer is tighter-lipped on multiplayer details but revealed a few things. First, Divisions will be a new approach to create-a-class, with Condrey hinting at different types of role. There’ll be a new narrative-driven game mode called War, described as a more linear and asymmetrical experience. Finally, Headquarters is a social space where you can meet other players between rounds.
CAPTURING THE BRUTALITY AND SACRIFICE WAS IMPORTANT TO THE STORY.
We’ll take a deeper look at COD: WWII next issue, on sale 6 June.
ANYONE WHO PRE-ORDERS THE LOST LEGACY WILL GET JAK AND DAXTER FOR PS4 COMPLETELY FREE.
NATE TO THE PARTY
Naughty Dog has released a new game mode for Uncharted 4’s online multiplayer. Now you can assemble your team and take on a rival group of gamers in the excellent King Of The Hill.
Q Chloe is after the Tusk of Ganesh, which was her father’s obsession.
STORIES EVEERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Q Pre-order Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and get Jak And Daxter for free.
Action-filled Indian summer for Chloe Uncharted: The Lost Legacy lands in August Got any plans for the summer? Well, get ready to cancel them because Uncharted: The Lost Legacy finally has a release date. The standalone title will be rope-swinging on to PS4 in Europe on 23 August. The DLC is said to be roughly 10 hours long and will cost you the pretty price of £29.99. Bargain. Chloe Frazer’s journey through India, which has been presented as “a true Uncharted game” by developer Naughty Dog, will be available at no extra cost to anyone who purchased the original Uncharted 4 Triple Pack (or its replacement, the Explorer Pack), as well as the Digital Deluxe Edition. So relax, you can breathe now. The news came direct from Naughty Dog, and a shiny new trailer teased what’s to come in India. The Riverboat Revelations trailer gives us a glimpse into Chloe’s story, and her relationship with her father, as she hunts for the Tusk of Ganesh. Ever the opportunist, Nadine Ross is
along for the ride as Ms Frazer’s right-hand woman. The trailer teased how their relationship will create tension on the journey and could offer some interesting narrative surprises. JAK OF ALL TRADES If all these tantalising details, and the news of a set release date, weren’t enough, Naughty Dog has decided to shower us with more gifts. Anyone who pre-orders The Lost Legacy will get Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy for PS4 – which also neatly launches on the same day, 23 August – completely free. However, those who are going to get The Lost Legacy free of charge via the Triple Pack deal will not get Jak And Daxter. Either way, you’re getting a free game. It won’t be long until we’re scaling long forgotten cities and ransacking ancient artefacts with our favourite Aussie and he new gal pal. Better keep that winch at the ready. Itching to watch the trailer? Catch it on the PlayStation YouTube channel.
the big shot
Sonic forces a new perspective The Hog-verse never looked better Sonic Team is back with Sonic Forces, and it’s running the same lines as we played in Sonic Generations, but made on the Hedgehog 2 Engine. This now means real-time reflections and lighting effects, at 60fps, making Forces, technically, the bestlooking Sonic game to date. Where Generations featured two playing styles, Forces will manage a trio of gameplay modes. While Modern Sonic sees
a return of the third-person screen racing and chained reticule combat, Classic Sonic is our pick – it’s our beloved side-running Sonic in crisp 3D, and it even borrows the Drop Dash move from Sonic Mania. We like this retro fat-Sonic look. The third, all-new, game mode will be revealed very soon – we’ve seen it in action, and it’s safe to say it’ll change everything about how you play Sonic games. Turn to page 39 to read about Sonic Mania, the Hog’s pixel art return.
We love the speedster’s ‘classic’ Sonic look. That means a ’90s-looking, short, fat Sonic. When the camera is in close, it can make it hard to anticipate enemies. You can’t control the camera.
number game we do the maths
The sky isn’t always blue in Modern Sonic mode – but in Classic Sonic it’s a lovely azure all the way.
Sonic Team is still ruminating on whether to enable you to collect any rings Sonic drops when hit.
140 Cars confirmed for GT Sport, releasing at the end of this summer.
25 04 Million copies (and counting) sold of games in the The Witcher franchise.
1,500,000 JRPG Persona 5 is out to steal hearts, as this many copies are shipped.
Jak And Daxter games getting remastered for PS4.
Green Hill Zone, as piped through the Hedgehog 2 Engine. Dusty Desert looks properly dusty in it, too.
1.05 The patch number for Mass Effect Andromeda’s latest fix.
130,000,000 Final Fantasy games sold worldwide – and Stormblood will add to that.
13.5 Height, in inches, of Overwatch’s official Widowmaker statue.
Action-RPG Lost Soul Aside has an air of Devil May Cry about it, with its flashy fantasy combat.
Ones & zeroes to heroes
Sony announces support for promising Chinese game devs As OPM’s fave colourful herobased shooter (no, not Battleborn, you joker) likes to remind us: the world could always use more heroes. We wouldn’t say no to a few new videogames, either. Fortunately, Sony Interactive Entertainment Shanghai is on the case, having launched the ‘PlayStation’s China Hero Project’. Initiated back in 2016 to seek out and aid China’s brightest game dev talents in creating PlayStation’s next smash hit, over 400 game demos were submitted during the registration process. Just ten titles reached the
end of the project, and were shown off by Sony via some impressive demo footage in its recent press conference announcement – nine of them had never been seen before. China’s not usually considered a force in the world of gaming. Home consoles were even banned in the country between 2000 and 2014. Now free from the shackles of a PlayStation-less society (how would we survive?), keen devs are clearly producing some brilliant stuff. We’re treated to glimpses of gorgeous titles, plenty of which are in the final stages of development. Any real standouts? But of course. Studio Surgical Scalpels’ VR-optional space-set shooter Project Boundary, which
OVER 400 DEMOS WERE SUBMITTED – JUST TEN TITLES MADE IT.
dev talk “About the story: ten years ago, there was a war between two kingdoms. The war ended but monsters kept killing people. Kazer rarely had a smile on his face again since the accident of his family… until he was accidentally combined with one of the monsters.” Yang Bing Developer, Lost Soul Aside
pitches players into anti-gravity combat with just a gun and their poor unfortunate inner ear, has caught our eye. So has The Walker, a surreal first-person VR adventure from Haymaker Studios that looks set to terrify us. Strange spooks, supernatural powers, giant knives, and guns… What could go wrong? X AND VIOLENCE There was a more chilled-out virtual reality experience in the form of The X Animal, a casual and colourful treat that has you bumble a weaponised menagerie around Katamari-esque worlds to a kooky German soundtrack. And just in case our retinas weren’t already drooling (ew), Code: HARDCORE boosted onto the screen with the slickest 2D animated graphics we’ve seen in a long time. All in service of mechsuited shooting and brawling, its
OASIS OF CHARM
Don’t want to wait to play some of China’s newest games? Oasis Games has already published Chinese titles like Koi and Dying: Reborn – check the Store.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
info patches update your brain
Q Project Boundary has you play as an armed astronaut in online 8v8 battles.
floating in endless skies; a strange pet dragon dancing around the player; gloomy pine forests; manic bullet-hell-style battles; and even the power of flight – it’s packing everything a triple-A release might boast, and more. Now a timed PS4 exclusive, Bing hopes to have Lost Souls Aside finished by 2018 (a date we’re taking with a mountain of salt).
hundreds of hand-drawn elements and deep tactics have sent it rocketing up our ‘ones to watch’ list. But one particular China Hero Project is a bit special, with a heartwarming backstory that’d doubtless have Disney stamping its little mousey feet that it hadn’t dreamed it up first. Behold the fairytale of Lost Soul Aside: inspired by Final Fantasy XV, developer Yang Bing decided to pay homage with an action-RPG of his own… and all on his tod. What’s more, the Unreal Engine-powered jewel he’s polishing looks so darn promising that he’s had Sony, Epic Games and more knocking on his door, offering to lend him a hand. With Sony (and a few more devs) on his side, Lost Soul Aside is sure to flourish. The demo Bing’s shown off is already remarkable. Vast, blossom-strewn vistas; islands
BING IT ON The response to Bing’s personal creation has been overwhelming – he even considered packing it all in, rather than continue the project with help. He explains on his Facebook page: “I realised that the real reason [I wanted to refuse the help] is the fear of sharing my world. I begin to be like a little boy protecting his toy.” But Bing continues: “I have thought about this for a long time and I realised that I am no longer lonely and nameless because of you. If you think my world is good then I should share it to you, even if it may turn out to be another one when it becomes commercial.” Whatever worlds Lost Soul Aside and the other China Hero Project games turn into, we can’t wait to explore them.
HONOUR AMONG THIEVES What do you mean, you haven’t played Dishonored 2 yet? Time to rectify that for absolutely free, as you slink on over to the Store and download the new trial. It’ll let you play the first three missions. Upgrade to the full game and you’ll even get to keep your saves. Go on. Go! 017
BAFTA THE FUTURE Team PlayStation cleaned up at the BAFTA game awards. ‘Best Game’ went to Uncharted 4, naturally – but The Last Guardian picked up ‘Audio Achievement’, while Overwatch snagged ‘Best Multiplayer’ and Inside walked off with an incredible four accolades. We bet 2017’s haul will be even better…
Which of the ten China Hero Project titles excite you? Let us know @OPM_UK.
PITCH TO COURT?
Q The animation on Code: HARDCORE is stellar. Those mechas feel weighty.
Uh-oh. Footballing (handballing?) legend Diego Maradona has a bone to pick with Konami after discovering that Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is using his likeness without permission. A statement on his Facebook page reveals he’d like to “initiate legal actions”. Please don’t, Diego: you’re the best player in the game.
Covered in blood and mud, could Alicia Vikander look any more like Square’s rebooted Lara?
Lara rises on the big screen
Tomb Raider film pic is a revelation Currently filming in South Africa, this rebooted Tomb Raider actioner starring everyone’s favourite psycho-android, Alicia Vikander, looks like it could break the curse of game-to-film horrors. By sticking closely to Square’s own mature reboot, it ensures we’re going to get a grown-up take on the source material. The brilliantly named director Roar Uthaug tells us why, this time, it’ll be okay. “What’s different about this Tomb Raider movie is that it’s an origin story for the big screen, focusing not only on Lara’s strength and physical accomplishments but her humanity. We see Lara as a young woman, smart and capable but largely unfocused, and follow her on a dangerous journey that will push her to her limits in every sense, and allow her to hone the skills she needs to ultimately become who she was meant to be.”
Getting the casting right was key to making the Tomb Raider reboot work. Producer Graham King, who has worked on awardwinning films including The Departed, tells us, “Alicia Vikander is a gifted actress who brings so much to this role.” Uthaug agrees: “As Lara Croft, Alicia Vikander is brilliant. She brings great depth to a complex role that is both physically and emotionally demanding.” King says filming in South Africa and using real locations rather than CG will “give a grounded sense of reality” that past game-to-films have lacked. “It’s our goal to make a film that will not only delight fans but enthrall a worldwide audience.” It’s going to be gritty, mature and emotional, and judging by this first film still of a dusty Alicia, climbing hook in hand, Vikander’s perfect in the role. What more could we ask for?
AS LARA CROFT, ALICIA VIKANDER IS BRILLIANT.
Read the latest news on the new Tomb Raider movie at gamesradar.com.
the rumour machine our sources understand…
Will it be called Assassin’s Creed Empire? Will you travel on ships and horses and have a pet eagle? Will it be out in October? We hope so. All those rumours are doing the rounds.
Red Dead 2 dated? UK retailer Base.com updated its listing with a 26 Sep release date. Persona-Potter Rumour squirrels tell us Shadow Of The could be real, Tomb Raider as Warner could be Bros may released be working early in on a Harry 2018. Potter RPG.
Remedy is now making games for PS4, which could include Quantum Break and the new title, codenamed ‘P7’.
Shadow Warrior 2 is described as a “loot-shooter” by Kowalewski, and the inclusion of a four-player co-op mode has us anticipating a tussle over dropped weapon mods, gems, and damage orbs.
You’re in for a bloody good time Shadow Warrior 2 could be a cut above the rest
Q Go full R-rated Wolverine on your foes and slice them into procedural pieces.
the month in mouthing off
“If I had read Neogaf at the time the game probably wouldn’t exist.” Rime’s creative director, Raúl Rubio reflects on hateful comments posted on the game forum.
Everyone needs to move with the times, which means modern ninja use chainsaw.
It’s a “bloodbath festival,” according to Flying Wild Hogs’ game designer Pawel Kowalewski. That got your attention? Well, it should. Shadow Warrior 2 is a sequel to the rebooted Doom-esque FPS that puts you in the lace-ups of ninja commando Lo Wang on a bloodsoaked mission to save the world from evil ninja and mystical beasts.
“In Shadow Warrior 2 we’ve implemented the procedural cutting system that allows players to dismember enemies however they want, chopping them to tiny little pieces,” says Kowalewski, with worrying satisfaction. “We’ve also utilised this feature in firearms damage, allowing players to rip off huge chunks of an enemy’s body, or carve a hole in its chest that you can see through.” Missions are procedurally generated, with weapon mods and loot drops coming randomly enough to keep interest high. Lo Wang can be upgraded too, meaning earlier out of reach paths will become accessible, adding depth to the oldfashioned run ‘n’ gun gameplay. If saving the world one torn arm and severed head at a time ticks your bucket list, then Shadow Warrior 2 could be for you. Shadow Warrior 2 releases 16 May. Check back next issue for a full review.
“Back in LA, shooting some video game. I think it has zombies in it.” Actress Ashley Johnson on The Last Of Us Part II. Shambling Infected ahoy!
“Ultimately Crash fitted into the PS1’s memory with four bytes to spare.” Former Naughty Dog VP Dave Baggett on PS1’s Crash game.
instant opinion strong vs wrong
FREE FANTASY Final Fantasy XIV is free, until you reach level 35. Sure, it’s a Square’s way of getting you hooked on Eorzea for Stormblood’s release, but, y’know, it’s free.
RESIDENT EVIL RISES The success of Resi 7 means Capcom is already talking about sequels. Executive producer Jun Takeuchi says he sees Resi 7 as “the start of a new horror series”.
KOJIMA BLOCKHEAD 020
Hideo Kojima took time out from not saying anything about Death Stranding to share his very own official Lego mini-fig. Legooooo!
BAD PERSONA You support one of the best games of the year with your hardearned cash, and then Atlus tells you to stop streaming… and also what you should be streaming. Bad Atlus, very bad Atlus.
MASS EF-FIXED While we’re sad Andromeda released with so many bugs, we’re happy EA has released a new patch to fix everything, including wonky eyes.
Jen’s already ordered a pink and white Scuf pad to improve her Overwatch stats.
New pro pads prove handy Scuf’s new paddle controllers have us gripped You may think you’re happy with your official DualShock 4 controller – but you might change your mind when you catch sight of the paddles on the new Scuf Impact and Infinity Pro controllers. The pads feature twitchy paddles under the pad: two for the Infinity Pro and up to four for the Impact. The ergonomic design means you can reach around to access the paddles, ideal for quick gear-shifting in Driveclub. An electromagnetic remapping switch enables you to assign paddles to
IDEAL FOR QUICK GEARSHIFTING IN DRIVECLUB.
COD MOVIE-VERSE Activision is planning an all-action Marvel-style cinematic universe for its globe-trotting, era-shooting shooter franchise. So, erm, that’s happening.
face buttons as you play. And the pad comes wrapped in ‘military grade’ texture grips. Both controllers feature Scuf’s new trigger tech, which includes: quick-shift trigger stops, shortening the travel distance on a trigger pull; mechanical tuning of the trigger latency; and clip-on trigger covers and extenders. The Scuf Impact is 6mm wider than the Infinity Pro, and has been in devlopment for 15 months, Duncan Ironmonger, founder of Scuf Gaming explains to OPM: “We have totally re-engineered the extremities and curvature of the controller to offer an alternative for multiple hand sizes, whilst creating space for four paddles.” There’s a lot of red meat jargon flying around the reveal of Scuf’s two new pads, but lurking behind the military overtones and micro-switch techno-babble are two impressive looking controllers – if you can cover the cost: £99.00 for the Infinity Pro and £109.99 for the Impact.
Q You can customise most of the pad, including stick colours and patterns.
Discover more on these controllers at the official site: scufgaming.com.
MAUL YOU COULD WANT
None of the team picked Darth Maul as their dinner date, but they’ll be meeting him soon as he’s popping up in Star Wars Battlefront II. Skip to page 56 to read our exclusive feature.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
just one more question… 10 the team debate this month’s burning issue Which Star Wars character would you love to have dinner with?
IAN DEAN EDITOR
MIRIAM MCDONALD OPERATIONS EDITOR
JEN SIMPKINS GAMES EDITOR
BEN TYRER STAFF WRITER
IT’S GOOD TO TALK, BUT IT’S BETTER TO SHOUT. BOBA FETT WOULD GET BOTH BARRELS.
HAN SOLO STRIKES ME AS SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THE BEST DRIVETHROUGHS IN SPACE.
THE OBVIOUS CHOICE IS JABBA THE HUTT. THAT SLUG KNOWS HOW TO PARTY.
I’D LOVE TO KNOCK BACK A FEW GLASSES OF BANTHA MILK WITH OBI-WAN.
Sometimes you just need a sounding board to exorcise the day’s demons and get all that frustration out there, in the open. Meat, three veg, and an almighty rant; that’s what dinner time is made for. And who better in the Star Wars rank-and-file to sit opposite for a spot of dinner-therapy than Boba Fett? Despite being so memorable, the guy only has five lines of dialogue in Empire Strikes Back, including the succinct “As you wish”. He may not be a good conversationalist but I bet he’s a great a listener, for a price. (Note to self: don’t mention any daddy issues; Boba’s liable to lose his head.) Q
No character in Star Wars strikes me as able to provide a particularly good meal, with the possible exception of Lando, whose Cloud City home looks a bit swanky and upmarket for a guttersnipe like me. So I’ll choose Han Solo for my dinner date, as besides being hot sauce he’s probably visited a decent space diner or two on his smuggling journeys. Cheeseburgers are pretty much a universal constant, right? And if it’s not possible to find a stellar burger or hot space dog anywhere, we can always stop off for a liquid lunch at the Mos Eisley Cantina – shots, Han first, of course. Q
They say you should never trust a skinny chef, so I’m applying the same logic to my dinner date. A princess-napping crime lord he may be, but at least I know Jabba isn’t going to judge me when I go for my fourth helping of paddy frog. The finest spread in the galaxy, rat-jester Salacious B. Crumb to provide the giggles, and ace dinner table anecdotes from a slug who’s seen 600 years of the Outer Rim’s craziest criminal action. (Granted, I’d have to learn Huttese to understand them – but it’d probably be more useful than that German A-level I did). The only potential downside? If the dress code’s strictly “gold bikini”. Q
Old Ben – Obi-Wan if we’re being formal – Kenobi’s legacy makes him the perfect dinner date. Wouldn’t you want the inside track on how he rose through the Jedi ranks? Or how about discovering what he was up to in the years between relieving Anakin of his legs and messing around on Tatooine? As the night grows long, what I’d really want to glean from him is how he carried himself with such calm composure. Don’t forget, this is a man who once sported a rat-tail with zero shame. If that’s not the ultimate act of old-fashioned composed self-confidence, I don’t know what is. Q
F facebook.com/OfficialPlayStationMagazine T @OPM_UK W gamesradar.com/opm E [email protected]
#135 Crash Bandicoot, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and The Lost Legacy.
competitions are UK-only for legal reasons – they comply with UK law, but competition law varies between countries, and it would be immensely difficult to run a competition that would be compliant with the laws of every country in the world.
CAN I GET A RT? The most pleasing tweetings from the @OPM_UK timeline
@theflightmusic Nice piece on the music of #HorizonZeroDown in this month’s @OPM_UK. Thanks guys! @byronb1986 It [Battlefront II] has prequel stuff in it i really hope i get to kill Jar Jar over and over again
‘Mix Max’ via email
For our money, Paradise was the best Burnout – we loved the open world element – but if EA fancies reviving the series on PS4, or even PS VR, we’d love to give it a go. And in the meantime, check out our preview of Dirt 4 (p44) and our close look at GT Sport (p72), as it
Play to win
I have known this magazine thanks to Twitter, I love it! I’m Italian, I wait every month this wonderful magazine. One thing I want from you: some contest when we all (also Italian people) can win something. Lara Ottieni via email
It’s great to hear you found us via Twitter. Our
I’ve just bought Steep, which I love. But what happens when Ubi decide to not run the servers any more? And do players without a good internet connection have to say ‘I can’t buy this’? I can’t understand why any game should be online only. I appreciate there’s probably more content available when online, but having paid £40-£50, surely it can’t be up to the developers as to whether I get to play the game or not and be held to ransom through their decisions whether to run servers or not? Ben Colley via email
When companies decide not to run the servers, that will almost certainly be it, as things are at the moment. But there will always be another great game coming along; you’ll never be gameless.
@scott_gamer Another great issue this month. Loving the article about remastered games. :-D
Nathan Downes via email
It would be great if you could get rewarded – but every one of those Platinum trophies represents so much fun, and so much gaming
WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF THERE WAS A WAY TO TRADE TROPHIES EARNT FOR PS STORE CREDIT?
Star letter Online gaming: why?
@TheRealFazeMilk Bo2 on xbox and not on playstation wtfff man disappointed :(
troll of the month
The last instalment of the great Burnout Racing series was one of the greatest games of its year. But, do you think it was as addictive as the previous games Dominator, Revenge, and Takedown?
sounds like they’re your sort of game.
Was just thinking to myself as I sit there with nearly 80 Platinums, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to trade trophies earnt for PS Store credit or games, like one new game is equal to ten Platinums or 100 Gold or 1000 Silver or 2500 Bronze? Then my trophies would mean something instead of just a reminder of hours lost.
@sam__preen Little behind in picking up this months issue but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in love with the cover. @@JosephNewton27 MGS is shouting for a series to be made. So much in each game. Wouldn’t work as a movie.
skill, not just time spent. Be proud of them.
No Nate, no play
I don’t see how Naughty Dog can release an Uncharted game without Nathan Drake. Bring him back or I’m not playing! Ed Gibbons via email
Ah, but if you don’t play, you never will see how well an Uncharted game can work without him. Flip to page 10 for all the latest news on The Lost Legacy – you’re going to love it!
@paddybee Another fantastic issue @ OPM_UK loved the article about remastered games, can’t wait for locoroco!
@vehollehraptor Thanks for making my controllers look awesome @Carnello316two Read many mass effect andromeda reviews, but as usual @OPM_UK nails it with accurate opinion.
best comments from facebook.com/officialplaystationmagazine
“There were rumours of a Last Of Us movie, but I think a series would be better. For starters, you’d have to cut a lot out for a movie.”
“Kratos doesn’t smile. That’s the only thing that can kill him.”
netflix’s Assassin’s creed show has got Mike booth thinking
keep smiling, Amanda richardson
READERS’ MOST WANTED Which games are bleeping loudest on your radar?
Red Dead Redemption 2 There’s still no definite release date for Rockstar’s Western epic, but as it creeps closer, a posse of PlayStation gamers are getting ready to round it up.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Fire up the barbie, because the furry Aussie will be with you this summer. And from our hands-ons to date, it’s going to be a summer of fun, fun, fun.
FORMAT PS4 ETA AUTUMN 2017
FORMAT PS4 ETA 30 JUNE
The Last Of Us Part II
A constant presence on the Most Wanted list since it was announced, you’re as keen to get your hands on Joel and Ellie as any Infected.
Tell us the five games you can’t wait to play at [email protected]
FORMAT PS4 ETA TBC
Days Gone Proving that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, you’re still keen on this despite silence from Sony. Expect a big reveal at E3 this summer. We’ll be there.
Shambling, diseased, infected zombies? Nope, not The Last Of Us, but Bend Studio’s gritty American survival story. Let’s hope it’s a case of Days Come Soon.
FORMAT PS4 ETA TBC
FORMAT PS4 ETA TBC
Our Facebook fans answer a final question
Which car on PlayStation would you like to get behind the wheel of?
21% Fancy skidding round in Tanner’s Dodge from Driver San Francisco.
18% Think any decent car that has a harpoon, like the Mad Max’s muscular Magnum Opus.
24% Want to drive
Arkham Asylum’s Batmobile.
15% Want to hit the road with Noctis and chums in the Regalia. 12% Sensibly opt
for a real world car: Gran Turismo’s Mazda Demio.
10% Choose ‘The Homer’ from The Simpsons Hit & Run. Doh!
We love the Dinklebot. But what’s your favourite robot on PlayStation?
GAMES LAUNCHING IN RICKETY STATES CAN’T WHOLLY BE BLAMED ON DEVS AND PUBLISHERS IF WE STILL BUY THEIR TITLES ON DAY ONE. We reap what we sow when it comes to shoddy launches
s I pointed out in my Mass Effect: Andromeda review last issue, playing it is an experience that can be coloured by its instability. I’ve a few horror stories – a ‘favourite’ bug sees Ryder take a swig from a non-existent glass – but the biggest shame is how familiar this scenario is. A big, ambitious game launches with problems and then a few weeks later the patches roll out. But don’t think all of this is Bioware’s fault. Despite plenty of pre-release evidence online of the technical issues that blight it, Andromeda debuted at the top of the sales charts in the UK. There are obvious reasons for this. The series’ name still carries a lot of weight, with the promise of a PlayStation 4-shaped leap forward enough to convince fans to go in on day one. While excitement rapidly gave away to disappointment, enough people took the risk to ensure it sold well. As yawn-inducingly boring as it is to point out, that’s fair enough from a business perspective. Developers and publishers are going to focus on what makes them the most cash. No, not all of our favourite experiences exist so a faceless executive can finally afford the Lambo of their dreams. But, as long as the pounds roll in from us, creators and distributors have little
WRITER BIO Ben Tyrer used to work at Game and is well aware of how painful a buggy release can be. When he’s not planning on how to best dismantle our consumerist shackles, he’s trying to save money so he can actually afford to buy games at launch.
incentive to ensure new releases don’t suffer from frustrating glitches.
BUGGING OUT Andromeda is hardly alone in this regard. Mafia III’s early weeks were buggier than a mafioso’s mansion and, most infamously, Assassin’s Creed Unity’s disappearing faces and performance issues are still living on in memes today. Now those are three wildly different franchises that you could (maybe) argue don’t have a lot of fanbase crossover, but it’s fair to say a significant number of us have become used to games not quite being right on release and still parting with our cash anyway.
Perhaps it’s because patches have slowly increased in regularity since the PS3 era. As they have, so has an acceptance that problems will eventually get a fix and the early investment is still worthwhile. This isn’t always the case and some communities are rightly angry if they fork out money for something that doesn’t work as they expect. But, until a line is drawn, a big enough group of gamers is enabling this cycle to continue. It’s like trying to fix a broken relationship by yelling about all the other person’s flaws, but still chucking presents at them. Credit where it’s due: Bioware is patching like crazy to sort out Mass Effect’s problems. A road map from general manager Aaryn Flynn promises patches that will add “more options and variety in the character creator, improvements to hair and general appearance for characters [and] ongoing improvements to cinematic scenes and animations,” among other additions. This poses a more awkward question. If Bioware can turn around these improvements so quickly, why was it not given the time to address these issues before launch? Of course, technical excellence shouldn’t be sacrificed for creativity. It’s also unfair to expect ambitious projects not to have a few hiccups along the way, and I’m sure plenty of people are going to wait for Mass Effect to sort itself out. However, if we really want to send a message about how annoying it is when games need time for fixing after launch, we should send it from our wallets – otherwise, there’s scant encouragement for the status quo to change.
FFVII MIGHT BE UTTERLY BRILLIANT. BUT IT WON’T BE THE SAME.
WE’VE NOT SEEN SOMETHING THIS GAMECHANGING SINCE THE LEAP FROM 2D TO 3D.
I did a jig like every other fan when the remake was announced… so why am I so apprehensive?
Give VR a chance; it may be the only revolution in gaming you’ll see in the near future
inal Fantasy VII is being remade and I can’t help but be excited. This game is a cultural touchstone for PlayStation gamers, and I have so many abiding memories of the hundreds of hours I ploughed into it in the late ’90s. Remember Red XII’s petrified dad crying a single tear during a sojourn in Cosmo Canyon? I do. Scarlet and Tifa having an actual slapping match on top of Junon cannon? That’s been etched into my long-term memory. I can hum the whole J.E.N.O.V.A. boss fight theme right now. You can’t hear me but I’m doing it. Promise. These are just a few of the hundreds of memories which I recall through a nostalgic haze. I finished FFVII five times before I played any other game. That’s something only a 13-year-old high on his first snort of actual polygons could do. I’m now 32 and the thought of loving a game, any game, as much as I adored FFVII back in the day is… Well, it just won’t happen. Which is why I’m terrified of the incoming remake. I love the original game far too much to just walk past a
PS4-powered redo. The moment it hits shelves I’ll have no option but to leap upon it. I will play it. It might be utterly brilliant. But it won’t be the same.
CLOUD STRIFE FFVII was not a game which aimed to please everyone. It was brave, abrasive, and made primarily for a Japanese audience. Look at FFXV. You might really like it, and that’s fine, but it’s a JRPG that’s been filtered through the modern, Western RPG machine. It’s an open world. It’s got streamlined everything. Every potential complexity has been planed away into a mass-market pleasing smoothness. It’s almost Ubisoft-ian. Argue all you like about FFXV’s merits, and I know there are many, but I literally played it yesterday and I can’t remember what I did or why. FFVII’s remake will be made off the back of the same tech, with a similar real-time combat system, and it’ll be designed to appeal to as many players as possible rather than doubling down on quirk. I’m convinced I’ll play it and be disappointed... And yet… and yet…
hen it comes to VR, we tend to ask the wrong question. It’s not a matter of ‘Will VR take off?’ but ‘What will it be when it finally does?’ VR in general, and PS VR in particular, is at the start of a ten-year curve. Developers are finding their feet and discovering the rules of this new tech. We’re in uncharted waters, and that should be cherished. It’s easy to want to race to the finish line and demand that killer app, the Grand Theft Auto of VR that will instantly unlock the potential of virtual worlds. Instead we should embrace the long game and enjoy the ride. We’re at a unique moment in history when something truly different is on the horizon. Think back – we’ve not seen something this game-changing since the leap from 2D to 3D, from SNES to PlayStation. So let it brew a little longer.
TOUCHY FEELY So what could PS VR evolve into? Well, I’d cast an envious eye over at Oculus Rift and the recently released Touch controllers. What if PS VR had controllers of that calibre?
Controllers so sensitive even a raised thumb is acknowledged in the virtual world, instantly connecting you with a brave new polygonal paradise. Now imagine such controllers on your feet, and a smaller headset that can mix VR and AR seamlessly. This could be the future of VR and PS VR, full-body controllers with a level of touch and fidelity that will not only place us in a virtual space, but also enable us to interact on a level where worlds merge; where our senses and idea of what is tactile are fully tested. To do this in PS VR would be a boon for the technology. In fact, just as Sony pioneered the DVD and Blu-ray formats, could it do the same for VR? Could PS VR become the new standard? Possibly, but we need to give it time to evolve. True VR will be more than games, more than experiences, more than movies, animation, and music – it’ll be all this combined. A totally new entertainment format, and maybe it’ll be down to Sony’s next PlayStation to deliver on the promise. For now, I’m just happy to be on the ground floor of the Next Big Thing with a ticket to ride.
Matt Gilman doesn’t want any of your real-time combat nonsense in his JRPGs. He’s tried bringing this approach to real life, too, which is why he always loses at his ‘turn-based’ variant on Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Editor Ian Dean loves his PS VR. His nose has even begun to deform under the weight of the headset. If society allowed he’d be stuck inside the thing all day, existing on protein shakes sucked through a straw.
Try pulling a pout with the slickest snappers PlayStation has to offer 1
WATCH DOGS 2
Ultimate millennial Marcus Holloway knows his way around a selfie pose. And when Marcus takes selfies at ScoutX locations across San Fran, he gains more followers. In Ubisoft’s open world, followers are the key to toppling evil corporation Blume. And to think your mum said taking photos of yourself would never change the world.
THE LAST OF US: LEFT BEHIND 2
Ellie might not be a normal teen – growing up in post-apocalyptic America is a valid excuse – but she gets the hang of pulling daft faces for a camera instantly. Discovering a photo booth in an abandoned mall gives her and Riley a chance to forget about the wandering infected. It’s so adorable, you’ll even forgive Riley for breaking out the bunny ears. 3
FINAL FANTASY XV
What’s a road trip with your best buds if you don’t have a strong Facebook album at the end of it? While the foursome at the heart of this JRPG look like a boy band who got knocked out of The X Factor early on, they know how to crack out a good selfie. Honestly, they take so
many selfies they make the Kardashians look shy. 4
Art imitates life here, with Francesco Totti’s selfie celebration sneaking into Konami’s footballing masterclass. Score with the ageless star and he’ll magic an iPhone out of thin air, peer into the camera, and flash a satisfied smirk. 5
LIFE IS STRANGE
If anyone on this list knows what they’re doing when it comes to cracking out selfie art, it’s Max Caulfield. Studying photography at Blackwell Academy, she documents life with her Polaroid. She even gets caught taking one during class. Frankly, if grabbing a modern portrait is wrong, we don’t want to be right. 6 GRAND THEFT AUTO V
Do you really think the narcissistic trio at the heart of Los Santos could resist a few for the ‘gram? Of course not. Whether it’s Michael humblebragging by showing off his mansion or Trevor posing with a fresh corpse, these lunatics aren’t going to let their life of crime stop them from attaining social media stardom.
Who can blame handsome Nathan Drake for whipping out his Sony phone (natch) when he’s rampaging his way through his swan song’s multiplayer because the light is just right next to his fallen foe? And to be fair, if you’re going to taunt someone writhing in agony by taking a selfie with them, you’d best have flattering illumination. 8 TEARAWAY UNFOLDED
The cutest game on PS4 gets even cuter when the Squirrel King gifts you a camera. It’s the perfect tool for Iota or Atoi to grab selfies. You’ll struggle to beat your first photo, though. The charitable critter who donates his camera also photobombs at the last second. 9 MIDDLE-EARTH: SHADOW OF MORDOR
“Hang on, cameras don’t exist in Middle-earth,” you’re probably thinking. While Mordor might be a smartphone-free zone, an excellent photo mode gives us the ability to create selfie magic. Getting one of your nemeses in a dignityextinguishing shot pops an extra-sweet cherry on top of murdering them up.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS Burnout Paradise
Smash an online rival and you could get a mugshot, a real-life selfie of the driver you take out. Pray they’re wearing pants.
As the credits roll on Campo Santo’s debut, you’ll get a quick glimpse of an unintentional Henry selfie. Worth the wait.
Finish a round of ‘Wanted!’ to get a chance to mug for the PS camera and commemorate your bandit-blasting days.
Did we miss your favourite photo op? Got an ace In The Mood For idea? Show and tell at twitter.com/opm_uk.
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32 TEKKEN 7
Seven’s a lucky number – so is this the fighter to beat the rest?
CONTENTS STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW 36 | SONIC MANIA 39 | PROJECT CARS 2 40 | AGONY 42 VALKYRIA REVOLUTION 43 | DIRT 4 44 | GWENT: THE WITCHER CARD GAME 48 | MOVE OR DIE 49 | THE HUNTER: CALL OF THE WILD 50 | INNERSPACE 50 | WIPEOUT OMEGA COLLECTION 50
Why is Akuma in Tekken 7? He’s helping Kazumi Mishima slay her husband and son. What a nice guy.
“THE OLD-SCHOOL FEEL IS DOWN TO THE ROSTER OF FAMILIAR FACES.” FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2 JUNE PUB BANDAI NAMCO / DEV BANDAI NAMCO
PlayStation’s legacy fighter is out for fresh blood on PlayStation 4 Forget all about Street Fighter: it’s this 3D, four-button brawling series that’s PlayStation’s true heritage. Once an exhilarating, spiky jumble of fists and polygons ported from arcade to PS1, the original Tekken laid the very groundwork of our favourite console series’ fighting history. 22 years later, despite the huge visual overhaul it’s been given for PS4, our latest hands-on reminds us Tekken’s still got that old soul. A lot of the old-school feel is down to the roster, fluttering out before us in a fan of familiar faces. Kazuya Mishima; Marshall Law; Nina Williams; Paul Phoenix; Ling Xiaoyu; yes, even the furry mugs of King and Kuma. For dedicated followers of the series, it’s thrilling to see the old guard playable in the latest entry. We immediately hover the selector over icecold, ice-blonde Irish assassin Nina, of course, keen to see if she’s still packing those killer pressure tools from Tekken Tag Tournament 2. That classic line sears onto the screen – ‘get ready for the next battle’ – and we’re soon dropped into our first round of Arcade mode. Our cool girl’s up against Chinese martial artist Feng Wei. Despite the series veteran looking as fearsome as a fair number of tigers, we’re secretly pleased. If Feng’s still as much of a highly defensive ‘turtle’ character as he ever was, he’ll be the perfect guinea pig. The round starts, and we’re soon wrapping our heads and thumbsticks around another classic element we’d
PREVIEW Left We have no idea how Eddy Gordo pulls off those moves in leather trousers. Right New face Claudio uses exorcism techniques to fight foes. We’re compelled.
Land a hit, and you’ll see lovely orange sparks fly. If your blow is blocked, they’ll fizzle white.
Eddy, steady, go
The series veteran and capoeira warrior returns
Tekken just wouldn’t be Tekken without Brazilian breakdancer Eddy Gordo. He’s confirmed for Tekken 7 – and he’s sporting a new look. Leopard print? Nice.
Why’s he back? Ed pledged allegiance to the Mishimas, hoping they could save his dying capoeira master. They couldn’t. He’s out for revenge…
He’s brill at capoeira, a martial art with elements of dance – similar to new character Lucky Chloe’s style. Expect kicks, spins and juggle combos galore.
Newcomer to fighting games? Fancy just mashing buttons until cool stuff happens? Eddy may be your guy, with accessible style set to dominate all over again.
PREVIEW almost forgotten: the 3D arena movement style. Fail to block in 2D fighters, and you’re almost certainly toast. Praise the sidestep, friends, for it is just as glorious as we remember. Neatly dodging Feng’s latest flurry of punches and punishing the whiff at close-range with some chained blows of our own feels ultra-satisfying. Once we’ve taken firm hold of the fight’s momentum, new Nina’s offence burns as brightly as old Nina’s, something we’re delighted by. Pure, raw, hand-to-hand, foot-to-face combat – it’s wonderfully familiar, retaining the spirit of those PS1 polygons despite its flawless Unreal Engine 4 makeover. Tekken, just how it’s always felt… only this time, Nina’s trademark pokey kicks are being unleashed from under a wedding gown.
RED WEDDING Above Meet Lee Chaolan’s alter-ego (read: fancy palette swap), Violet. Notice his trademark silver locks have turned dark purple… details, details.
“THE MEAT IS IN THE MIND GAMES. GO FOR THE KO? HOLD ONTO THE RAGE ART? OR USE THE RAGE DRIVE?”
Our hero’s surprisingly silky new battle armour still has yet to be explained (we’re desperate to have a beefier hands-on with the story mode after our small sample at last year’s E3) but it’s fittingly symbolic of Tekken 7’s unexpected twists on its tried-and-true formula. It’s something old, something new: the latest instalment takes all that nostalgia fuel and sets it aflame with fresh mechanics. The most significant new addition? Rage Arts. Get beaten down to the last chunk of your health bar, and you’ll burn an angry FACTRICK red – ready to unleash a powerful move 1. ELIZA SURPRISE that’ll wipe out about the third of your Once an exclusive Tekken opponent’s HP. Ouch. Despite its beastly Revolution fighter, Eliza match-winning potential, though, it’s the narcoleptic vampire is Tekken 7’s pre-order bonus. simple to pull off. Although inputs differ for each character, they’re often as easy 2. BE OUR GUEST Tekken 7 will get two special as hitting two punch or two kick buttons, guest characters. Director making Tekken 7 very accessible. Katsuhiro Harada’s taking With the fiddly bits removed, and all fan suggestions on Twitter. Rage Arts able to be blocked and punished 3. JUKE IT OUT with the right reactions, the real meat of It pays to play on PS4: we Tekken 7 is all in the mind games. Your get an exclusive Jukebox opponent can see you’re ready to Rage – mode plus extra costumes for Jin, Xiaoyu, and King. should you try to go for the KO? Hold onto the attack for the psych-out edge? Or use the meter to execute a more complex Rage Drive combo, opening up your options?
CRUSH ON YOU
Above The stages are absolutely stunning in Unreal Engine 4. Expect breakable floors and realistic weather effects.
Above Check out baby Kazuya. We can’t wait to delve deep into some Mishima clan history in the single-player story mode.
It’s flexible and friendly. But there’s plenty of depth on show for veterans, too. Characters have built-in armour via the Power Crush mechanic. When we get bullied into a corner by returning bruiser Bob in the next round, we use it to absorb damage from his mid-level punches until we’re ready to counterattack our way out of trouble. And Tekken 7 just keeps catching us off-guard. A breakdancing, pink-pawed, cat-eared cosplayer named Lucky Chloe; Gigas, the humanoid cybernetic tentacle monster; even the Street Fighter series’ Satsui no Hado master Akuma, whose vicious cross-ups and hadokens we face down in the Arcade mode’s final round. There’s no doubt that this is classic Tekken – expect your typical familymembers-thrown-into-volcanos-tier madness. But with so many accessible mechanical refreshes, a roster sparkling with old faces made new and new faces made thrilling, and even a mysterious PS VR-compatible mode to come? It’s clear the latest Tekken is looking for some new challengers. And we’re itching to start fighting.
“TORPEDOES STRIKE, AND A ‘RED SHIRT’ THROWS HIMSELF OVER A RAILING.”
Boldly going where no players have gone before… into a good Star Trek game.
FORMAT PS VR / ETA 30 MAY / PUB UBISOFT / DEV RED STORM ENTERTAINMENT
STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW Making first contact fun
“Stop! No! *Blorp* it!” shouts an unworthy Federation OPM bridge crew as we attempt to guide the USS Aegis out of its space dock and into the uncharted stars beyond. It’s not going well. Our right hand frantically fumbles at the steering widget as we scrape past the Federation station. Looking around the bridge we can see our crew waving in distress, or in Jen’s case making obscene gestures with her virtual hands. We feel condemning gazes from the AI characters – it’s telling that everything in Star Trek: Bridge Crew feels real to the point that interpreting unfolding events on an emotional level, including AI FACTRICK 1 . S P A C E & B E Y O N D reactions, becomes second nature. “This woman in front of me has the worst A mission generator randomly creates co-op eye shade!” exclaims Jen, playing the role of events to play, based on Engineer. Her running fashion battle with Defend or Explore types. an AI red shirt threatens to steer us off 2. TREK TRAINING course more than our helmsman ever does. The training mission is the “Oh, look how cute my dress is,” coos Jen Kobayashi Maru test, the very same test Kirk cheats over the chaos. Yeah, our mission to explore on in Star Trek TOS. uncharted space is going to be fun. 3. CANDY LIGHT We’ve been in Bridge Crew ten minutes The original Enterprise’s and it already feels real, it’s our Star Trek buttons were created from bridge. In reality we’re four games journos sweet moulds, which is evident on the VR bridge. sat in a room wearing PS VR headsets, waving PS Move controllers around. In reality we look daft, but in VR we can be heroes. If we can organise ourselves, and Jen can make peace with her AI antagonist, then there’s a series of story missions to play through. For our demo
we have to reach a ship under attack and rescue its crew. There’s an elegance to the TNG-era Aegis that makes the game instantly accessible. Touchscreen consoles are familiar to our iPad-trained eyes, and in the heat of battle targeting enemies, performing sweeping manoeuvres, and disrupting shields feels natural. Switching modes to play on the bridge of the original series’ Enterprise changes everything. This is no simple reskin of the Aegis, but a one-for-one recreation of the ’60s show’s set. The user-friendly touchscreen controls of the Aegis are replaced by flashing lights and analogue switches. Which means it makes no sense whatsoever. As captain we pick up a tactical tablet. Tapping the map has no effect – but clicking the bottom switches cycles the lights on the map. This flip to analogue buttons is a real gamechanger. The fact it is tangible in a virtual space is even more impressive. Facing off against Klingons in the TOS universe feels harder, our teamwork from the Aegis evaporates with our shields. Torpedoes strike the hull, sparks explode from the ceiling, and a red shirt throws himself over a railing and lands under our console. Inside we giggle; our Star Trek dreams are being played out at our feet.
Above Bridge Crew is one of the better-looking PS VR games we’ve played; it’s pure Trek-porn.
PREVIEW Who’d have thought scanning gaseous clouds would be so much fun?
We teamed up with sister mag GamesMaster to fill out the roster
As Captain you’re in charge. GM’s Robin Valentine loves his Red Alert button: “Nothing like an alarm and some flashing red lights to keep everyone focused.”
Jen is our Engineer, toggling power to shields, engines, and weapons as well as doing repairs. “I’m the one quietly making sure it doesn’t all kick off,” she says.
The Tactical Officer gets to shoot stuff. GM’s Ben Griffin says: ”Remarking ‘Where’s that torpedo going?’ doesn’t fill my crewmates with confidence.”
Ian’s our Helmsman. He sets courses and pushes the big Warp lever. “Seeing, and feeling, the ship lurch under my control puts a smile on my CG face.”
Left The Captain can hit the Red Alert party button to sound the alarm and get everyone focused.
Above Now you and your mates can find the undiscovered country for yourselves in PS VR.
THE WORLD’S NUMBER ONE SCI-FI AND FANTASY MAGAZINE
ON SALE NOW!
“PLAYING SONIC MANIA REMINDS US IT’S BEING MADE BY FANS, FOR FANS.”
Sonic Mania is a smooth 60fps in full HD, which gives the classic pixel art a new dimension.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA SUMMER PUB SEGA / DEV HEADCANNON & PAGODAWEST GAMES
Sega gets back in the retro zone There’s a moment in Sonic Mania when everything changes, when despite the homely retro pixel art style we realise this is a new, different Sonic game. Reaching the end of Green Hill Zone, we beat a new boss – two large spiked balls with blinking eyes, linked by a chain – and the level doesn’t end. There’s no 16-bit fade to black. The screen scrolls on and we’re straight into the next level. Sonic Mania is one long, joined-up Sonic run. Above Each character has unique moves to find new map areas – Knuckles can climb and glide.
Spinning through the Studiopolis Zone is Sega heaven
The neon ‘Pink Bot’ sign in the background is a reference to a similar neon sign in Sega’s classic Streets Of Rage, which read ‘Pine Pot’.
The ‘Club Spin’ sign TV sets broadcast red, references the huge green and blue stripes. Japanese Club Sega These are similar to arcades that were a Mecca the coloured blobs used on for ‘90s gamers, Tokyo’s has the official Sega Game Gear over 200 arcade machines. logo. Small world.
Speeding into the Studiopolis Zone, one of Sonic Mania’s all-new levels, gives us a chance to test out the new Drop Dash move. Tapping q as Sonic is in mid-air puts our ’hog into a spin, meaning as he hits the ground he charges off, his speed untouched. This level is littered with fun interactive touches: we see Sonic beamed across the level as a TV signal; he floats around inside a giant popcorn machine; and glass shatters as he passes windows at speed. Hidden areas sprout from every wrong turn, too – finding secret giant rings unlocks bonus stages just like they did in Sonic The Hedgehog 3. Playing Sonic Mania reminds us it’s being made by fans, for fans (Christian Whitehead, Simon Thomley, and Tom Fry have previously worked on Sonic ROMs and 16-bit games) as the game is awash with fan-pandering wonders. For now, however, we’re just happy 2D Sonic isn’t fading away.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA WINTER / PUB BANDAI NAMCO / DEV SLIGHTLY MAD STUDIOS
PROJECT CARS 2
A championship contender for PlayStation’s best racer How do you make the hyperrealism that defines Slightly Mad Studios’ racing simulator exciting for people who think the barriers on tracks are there to help with turning? Whack in rallycross. A ferociously fast mix of track and dirt closecontact racing, rallycross sees you firing cars around corners raising two fingers to conservative wisdom, and praying that your tyres won’t wear out in the process. 040
Our first taste of it is on the Daytona rallycross track. In theory, it’s a short and simple track to warm us up. Starting at the back of the pack, we’re using this run as a chance to get a feel for the weight of the RX Supercar Lite. As you’d expect, taming the car is half the battle, but just as we start to find our groove, a few sharp turns give way to a midrace jump that we take at the wrong angle, swirling off the track. A sly restart while no-one’s looking, FACTRICK 1. RACING TEAM and our next lap is much better, with a satisfyingly twitchy back end that we fling Slighty Mad Studios raised €2,255,535 for the original out as we transition from dirt to tarmac Project Cars through its on a corner. That also sees a visually crowdfunding efforts. impressive mix of dust billowing into the 2. OMG OMSE air and smoke belching out from the tyres. Technical partner OMSE has It’s a breathlessly entertaining introduction. won 19 X Games medals
and every Rallycross championship title in the US. 3 . F A M I LY M AT T E R S
Next up on our rallycross crash course is taking a Honda Civic GRC around Lånkebanen. It’s a much tougher track, a quarry filled with peaks, troughs, punishing corners, and other racers we can shunt out of the way. That penultimate hazard also means there are plenty of humiliating spinouts waiting for us, but it’s worth learning for the joy of nailing the perfect drift around the dusty first corner. Speed isn’t the issue here, maintaining control is, and this plays into Project Cars’ authenticity, which makes this race feel like Burnout but with the laws of reality, physics in particular, applied to it. Slightly Mad Studios COO Rod Chong explains, “The style of driving is much more like how you drive a crazy arcade game. Because you’re pulling the handbrake, you’re sliding, you’re burning all four wheels, you’re going crazy, and entering the corners
British Touring Car Championship racer Nicolas Hamilton is reprising his role as a handling consultant.
backwards. You have to drive like a madman to control these cars.”
BEACH PLEASE We get to see more than just the rallycross in our hands-on. One demo puts us on the IndyCar city circuit in Long Beach – where we’re driving the clearly non-IndyCar Acura NSX GT3. The sharper-than-Wolverine’sclaws corners might be brutal, but the sense of speed is intoxicating when you’re flying down the final straight. Plus, this street circuit is the perfect showcase for the sound design, as it’s also hard not to love the eardrumruining roar of the engine as we accelerate under a bridge. Our favourite race, though, is on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Perhaps we’re just happy to see some greenery alongside the tracks for the first time in this playtest. It’s a five-minute session where we’re back in the Acura NSX GT3, and the smoother handling and long straights are the perfect antidotes to the bumpy mud tracks we raced on earlier. It’s more of a tense endurance race, as we discover when we take a corner too fast and recover by using an unfortunate AI driver as a buffer. We should really grab his insurance details. The appeal of Project Cars stems from the way it’s been meticulously put together. Every single element is calibrated to feel like the real thing, which in turn leads to natural variety in how cars perform and races feel across the different disciplines. Rallycross adds yet another layer of variety to this, but it’s one that has a broader appeal than some of the different motorsports from the original (karting, we’re talking about you, not to you). Along with Dirt 4 (see p44) and GT Sport (p72), 2017 might be the best year yet for serious petrolheads on PlayStation 4.
Lovers of beautifully rendered shiny surfaces will have plenty to coo over here. Just don’t forget to actually race these cars.
“YOU’RE SLIDING, BURNING ALL FOUR WHEELS, YOU’RE GOING CRAZY.” 041
Live Track 3.0 adds dynamic weather that will force you to consider rain, wind, and snow when razzing your car around.
Above Cockpit views give Slightly Mad another chance to show off its love of the tiny details. You should keep your eyes on the road, though.
on the box
“FLICKING OUR CLAW SENDS THE PATHETIC MARTYRS FLYING.”
judged only by their covers
YAKUZA: KIWAMI Humans have to hold their breath and hide. Demons make pain their priority. Fun.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA JUNE / PUB PLAYWAY / DEV MADMIND STUDIOS
In this whimsical, fun-filled title, you are an adorable girl playing ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’ with two grumpy uncles. Sneak up on them, freezing when they turn to look. Attach ‘Kick me’ signs to ’em or tie their laces together for a double KO. FORMAT PS4 ETA AUGUST
Hell is where the (still beating) heart is Ladies and gentledemons, please keep all hands, feet, and horns to yourselves for the duration of this tour. If you look to your right you’ll see a staircase made of human flesh. On your left there’s the doorway made of gummy teeth (and we’d advise you not to stare at the skittering shadow lurking beside it). We cordially invite you to direct any enquiries about finding a way out to the Red Goddess. Ahem. So there’s not a tour guide in Agony’s survival-horror world. However, imagining a softly polite voice talking us through what we’re seeing helps us deal with the hellish landscape of, er, Hell. As a wandering soul we’re somehow able to possess simple-minded demons and human Martyrs on our way to the Red Goddess – the only thing (we hesitate to call her a ‘person’) who knows how to escape. Oh, and she’s also rumoured to have created Hell. No biggie, then.
PREY FOR YOUR SOUL Simple, crushable Martyrs litter Agony’s fleshy hallways and disturbingly organic gardens. These sufferers can’t fight the demons prowling around, but they can hide from them. As the weakest of the bunch, we’re not content to possess one for long – so we set our sights on a demon with a toothy slit splitting its face in half. This is more like it. Flicking our claw sends the pathetic Martyrs flying, clenching a fist makes their insides burst into flames; almost as excruciating as shoving a hand through their chest, which we can also do. Worryingly, despite our new host we’re still far from invincible. Hulking
demons roar when we get too close, trying to smash us to smithereens. Slightly shaken by this, we blow a smaller demon to bits. It makes us feel a bit better. Back to finding the Red Goddess. She’s holed up at the Tree Of Life, and a mysterious blonde-haired demon is helping us out (to be honest, we’d rather not know why). Getting to the carmine monarch won’t be easy. Puzzles for us to solve are scattered through each winding location: gnarled gardens, or a mansion made of every body part imaginable (and some we didn’t even know existed). Gaps in the floor lead to the galactic netherrealm lying beneath, dotted with oddly beautiful stars. Agony sways between terror and intrigue as we try to guess why we’re here. There’s only one way to find the answer. We’re off to see the Goddess…
DANGANRONPA V3: KILLING HARMONY Pull off the ultimate heist as an artistic teddy bear warlock. Hop through your painted portal to nab Tokyo Fashion Week’s models for your own runway show. FORMAT PS4, PS VITA ETA 29 SEP
Above Why are we here? How do we get out? We’re hungry for answers (and blood).
You are The Exterminator – chainsawer of massive flying robot insects and wearer of elaborate power armour. Your mission? Sort your clients’ hi-tech, lifethreatening infestations. An honest day’s graft, basically. FORMAT PS4 ETA 16 MAY
“IT’S BEING PUT TOGETHER BY THE FOLK RESPONSIBLE FOR WILD ARMS.” FORMAT PS4, PS VITA / ETA 27 JUNE PUB SEGA, DEEP SILVER / DEV MEDIA.VISION
It’ll be all right on the Ragnite For PlayStation gamers of a certain vintage, this next sentence may well be one worth sitting down for. A sequel of sorts is coming to Valkyria Chronicles – one of the best JRPGs of the PS3 generation – and it’s being put together by the same folk who were once upon a time responsible for Wild Arms. Ooh, just typing that out has given us goosebumps. Valkyria Revolution will hit the West on 27 June, after a January release in Japan. The fact that it’s heading to our shores was no foregone conclusion, given that its immediate PSP-flavoured predecessor never made it out of Nippon. Revolution is a complete narrative spinoff, eschewing the WWIIinspired Not-Europe of the Chronicles games. The story is set against an Industrial Revolution backdrop, and sees two countries go to war thanks to the machinations of five central characters. Series fans will be concerned to hear that combat is no longer turn-based, being replaced with a faster realtime offering, though still with oodles of pre-combat tactical decision making to be done. But the iconic painterly art style is back, this time powered by the oomph of PS4 and accompanied by Chrono Trigger alumnus sound composer Yasunori Mitsuda’s tuneage. PS4 is indisputably the home of JRPGs.
Why fight? The ethereal power source, Ragnite, is once again the cause.
Above Permadeath is back, and features more prominently. Apparently a major theme for the game is ‘death’. Lovely.
Dirt 4 promises to be the everyman edition of the series, the perfect point between Rally and Dirt 3.
“CLICKING THROUGH THE GEARS… FEW RACERS FEEL THIS RESPONSIVE.” FORMAT PS4 / ETA 6 JUNE PUB CODEMASTERS / DEV CODEMASTERS
Codemasters’ classic rally series is back on track We’re in Hell. Or rather, we’re on Hell, the Norwegian rallycross track. Squeezed into a Playseat, we thump our Thrustmaster wheel and swear repeatedly. This Norwegian circuit epitomises Dirt 4: there are tight hairpins where braking is a must; long straights to open up the throttle; and a curvy chicane that’s satisfyingly smooth once the rhythm of rallycross is mastered. Up until we click with the game, however, we’ll be in hell a little longer, and it’s time to start a swear jar. Like Dirt Rally, which returned the racing series to its purist roots, Dirt 4 played on Simulation mode is a beast. It’s a twitch-racer’s paradise of hard-braking, powersliding, and fidgety controls as you wrestle your car around beautifully constructed circuits. Sitting at the starting line, holding the handbrake on i, revving the engine, and waiting for the lights to go green, we can feel our knuckles tightening around the steering wheel. Our fingers hover over the flappy gear paddles in anticipation. It’s tense; one wrong move and we’ll be chasing the pack. The lights turn green, and we flick off i, hit the gas, and start clicking through the gears… few racers feel this responsive, this real. We’re currently playing career mode, touring the world in the rallycross championship. A mix of circuit racing and rallying, we need to keep adjusting our racing style to maintain a narrow lead over our AI rivals. Circuit sections demand tight braking and
PREVIEW Left There’s a satisfying sense of momentum when hitting and landing jumps. Right The classic cars are a hoot to drive, and, as ever, Codemaster’s modellers are on point for detail.
Different driving conditions truly affect the car’s handling. Snow can be surprisingly grippy with the right setup.
A rush of blood
We love the return of Dirt 3’s buggy-focused Land Rush mode
Land Rush is Rally’s gumchewing cousin last seen in Dirt 3, who hangs around old arcades on his BMX offering advice on Sega Rally. But in a good way.
The familiar mode is now running on the new EGO 4.0 engine, so it looks suitably dusty. Plus, playing on Simulation mode is a real challenge.
Handling is very precise and because of the slippery, sandy surface you’ll need to be careful with the accelerator; these rear-wheel drives slide everywhere.
Swapping to Gamer mode is more accessible and gives us a warm Sega Rally feeling. If you want a quick simcade buzz, sign up for Land Rush and powerslide.
PREVIEW control, while rally corners layered with gravel are a powerslider’s paradise. The new physics tech means the layers of sand disperse and slide realistically under the car’s tyres. Overpower the car into a bend and you’ll spin like a whirling dervish into the siding. Such a move causes realistic damage that affects how the car handles. A blown tyre makes our car stagger across the track like a 3am drunk, prematurely ending the race… And that’s more money in the swear jar.
Above The new EGO 4.0 graphics engine developed by Codemasters chews polygons to deliver incredible, highly detailed car models.
“AI AGGRESSIVELY SWARMS OUR CAR – ONE BAD CORNER AND A WIN WILL BE OUT OF REACH.”
Above In Simulation mode a poorly taken corner could cause extreme damage to the car and end your race. Fudge!
Above Between timed heats and races you can repair damage to your car, but doing too much can result in a penalty bonus.
After four hours of racing in Dirt 4’s Simulation mode our swear jar has bankrupted us, so it’s time to switch things over and experience Dirt 4’s new Gamer mode – the racing equivalent of turning on aim assist. It means newcomers to Dirt can experience the pleasures of rallying without the pain of wrangling a supercar out of successive spins. “We’re trying to make sure it’s as accessible as it can be without compromising either end of the spectrum,” says Codemasters’ chief games designer Paul Coleman as we switch modes. “Traditionally we’ve picked a side. Dirt 3 was very much a simcade game, Dirt Rally was very much the other end of the spectrum; an uncompromising representation of rally as a sport. This really brings together both of those cohorts and many people in-between.” The reintroduction of Dirt 3’s Land Rush seems the best fit for Gamer mode. It’s the closest Dirt 4 gets to Sega-esque arcade FACTRICK rallying. Mud sprays over the screen as we 1. VIRTUAL DIRT push our 4x4 truck over countless humps After the success of Dirt Rally VR, Codemasters is and up and around banked corners of piled looking closely at a PS VR sand. Even in Gamer mode Dirt 4 puts up edition of Dirt 4. a fight; the AI aggressively swarms our car, 2 . T R A C K S TA R waiting for a mistake – one badly taken The final game will feature corner and a win will be out of reach. 50 tracks in total across Rallycross, Rally and The desire to appeal to more people than Land Rush modes. just returning Dirt Rally fans stretches to 3 . W O R L D R A L LY the Your Stage track generator, “a brain Competitive players will fart by me,” quips Coleman. It enables you be ranked on a global to create procedural tracks by spamming leaderboard alongside PC and Xbox racers. r. Each track can be saved and shared on RaceNet, to be rated and ranked by other players. Your Stage will come into its own when used competitively to even the playing field, even among hardened Dirters. Coleman explains: “Everyone will be going in blind. The challenge is how quickly can you drive that stage without seeing it, and not how many hours you’ve you put in learning every corner – everyone is in the same boat.” Testing Your Stage out, we create a simple track in Australia. It takes seconds. We hit r again and again to keep creating until we land on an eye-catching route. On the track you wouldn’t know this was created moments earlier. Graphically it’s the same quality as pre-made tracks, with no clear repetition, and the pacenote cue placement is tighter than on our first look (OPM #134). “It feels like a long time since, as a studio, we’ve innovated like this,” says Coleman as we push pause on our race day. What’s exciting about this entry in the Dirt series is, for maybe the first time, it’s a game everyone can enjoy. A racer you can tailor to your ability; it could be the most complete Dirt. The more you put in, the more you’re going to get out. We end our time with Dirt 4 with a swear jar Tom Jones would be proud of, but we’re keen to start a new kitty. We’ve been to Hell and back, but we loved every perfectly timed minute.
There’s also a singleplayer campaign that’ll explore some untold Witcher narratives…
“MOST CARDS OFFER EXTRA ABILITIES, MAKING FOR SOME SERIOUS BATTLES.”
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2017 PUB CD PROJEKT / DEV CD PROJEKT RED
GWENT: THE WITCHER CARD GAME Mini-game becomes big deal
Speak to anyone about playing The Witcher 3 and they’ll likely recall an allconsuming obsession with Gwent. Even though the main game offered superb RPG mechanics and an engrossing narrative, people were enthralled by its in-game card battler.
Above Crisp visuals and card animations offer a more polished experience than the original.
Follow the leader
Building the right deck is half the battle
Playable factions are Faction leaders each the Northern Realms, have individual skills Monsters, Scoia’tael that offer a tactical and Nilfgaard (from The advantage. These can mean Witcher 3) and the Skellige the difference between (from the Blood & Wine DLC). victory and defeat.
Leaders’ abilities vary greatly; some offer offensive bonuses, while others reduce your enemy’s score or allow you to redraw extra cards.
This standalone, free-to-play version has undergone expansion, but its core mechanics remain intact. Each round involves players engaging in one-onone battle, with victory achieved by amassing more power (read: points) than your rival across your three combat rows – Melee, Ranged, and Siege. Cards come in different tiers (bronze, silver, and gold), and most offer extra abilities, making for some devastating encounters. Multiplayer sees us take on real-world players for rewards. In addition to extra cards, winnings include ores and scraps that allow you to buy and craft your own cards. The added rules offer more complexity, but there’s been a clear effort to retain balance. Employing a cunning strategy frequently sees us turn the tide in our favour, even when we’re outmatched in terms of strength. The presence of microtransactions is concerning, but so long as it doesn’t fall foul of the pay-to-win approach, the added depth should ensure that Gwent remains as addictive as ever – if not more so.
PREVIEW In unlockable mode Jump Shot, you can only fire when you’re airborne. All jumps are front flips.
Above You’ll bag points depending on whether you finish first, second, third or fourth in each round. Rack ‘em up for a shot at that shiny crown.
“THE FUSION OF EXISTENTIAL HOT POTATO, EASY-TO-PICKUP RULES AND TIMED, VARIED BOUTS MAKES FOR INSTANT HILARITY.” Getting to your opponent’s lovely, tender back in Chainsaw Backstab requires skill and cunning…
Above Use Mutators to modify your games with things like Spike Balls.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2017 / PUB THOSE AWESOME GUYS / DEV THOSE AWESOME GUYS
MOVE OR DIE
Bonkers party title will finally come to PS4, so prepare for a hot-footed hoot Now here’s a game that does exactly what it says on the (mildly threatening) tin. Imagine playing a four-player local and online party game where it’s not the floor that’s lava, but every cell in your avatar’s squat little cartoon body. Quite simply, you’ve got to keep moving, or you’ll end up dead. Not only that but, in a WarioWare-esque twist, the mini-game you’re competing against your friends in changes every 20 seconds. One third-of-a-minute, you’re dodging falling blocks in an attempt to be the last blob standing; another, you’re inflating yourself like a furious little balloon and bopping your wee mates toward certain death; the next attempting to squeegee the most colourful paint-splatter off the walls. Pause for even the briefest consideration during any of it, and your health bar plummets faster than an overweight lemming in lead shoes. The fusion of existential hot potato, easy-to-pickup rules, and strictly timed, varied bouts makes for instant hilarity. (We’re tickled by the details, too; the smug schadenfreude of the zoom to the winning player’s cheeky little face after every round is delicious.) With each bite-sized tournament lasting about five to ten minutes, it’s perfect for quick lunchtime skirmishes with your soon-to-be-ex-pals. Touting a rainbow-flavoured art style too – XPunlockable characters include a bow-wearing, hairybuttcheeked pink weirdo, a slice of toast, and Tiny Satan – this’ll be a multiplayer title to die for.
Above XP-dispensing Daily Challenges and Missions pit you against AI bots.
PREVIEW ROUND-UP We run the gamut of genres this month, as we’ve got JRPG Digimon Story rubbing shoulders with open world animal shooter The Hunter: Call Of The Wild, and the thrill of antigrav racing in WipEout Omega Collection.
THE HUNTER: CALL OF THE WILD FORMAT PS4 / ETA TBC PUB AVALANCHE STUDIOS DEV EXPANSIVE WORLDS
This open world hunting sim aims to set a new standard for tracking and shooting animals. There’ll be plenty of creatures to hunt, from manageable targets such as foxes and deer to more intimidating prey like black bears. It’s as freeform or as structured as you want: wardens give you missions to aid in the pursuit of slaughter, though you can ignore them and wander off into the wilderness by yourself. With a variety of weapons to master and eight-person online multiplayer, the call of the wild will be hard to ignore… Unless you’re a vegan.
DIGIMON STORY: CYBER SLEUTH – HACKER’S MEMORY
FORMAT PS4/PS VITA ETA 2018 / PUB BANDAI NAMCO / DEV MEDIA VISION
This follow-up to last year’s enjoyable JRPG has a major question to answer: how do you top the madness of finding a Digimon in an air conditioning unit? For starters, there’s a new hero, in the shape of Keisuke Amazawa. The poor lad needs to clear his name after being wrongly accused of a crime, which means hopping into the digital world, capturing Digimon, and pitting them in battles against others. Guess we don’t have to worry about the weirdness, then.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA SUMMER PUB ASPYR MEDIA / DEV POLYKNIGHT GAMES
This Kickstarted curio is a fascinating journey through bizarre worlds where gravity pushes outwards rather than pulls inwards. You’re The Cartographer, an explorer who is mapping out these places in a plane that can swoop through the sky or dive into water. Exploring the environments, you will discover relics that increase your understanding of the locations and help unlock plane upgrades. The woozy synth score and surreal design mark this out as an intriguingly different type of relaxing exploration.
STEVEN UNIVERSE: SAVE THE LIGHT
FORMAT PS4 / ETA SUMMER PUB CARTOON NETWORK GAMES / DEV GRUMPYFACE STUDIOS
The adored Cartoon Network show is stepping onto PS4, placing the residents of Beach City in a vividly colourful RPG where they need to stop a thief who’s nabbed a powerful weapon. Of course, doing that will involve a fair few fights, and there’ll be a mix of real-time and turn-based combat, plus a large cast of characters to cherry-pick for your travelling party. With an original story from creator Rebecca Sugar, expect this adorable tie-in to snare a few new fans as well as excite old ones.
WIPEOUT OMEGA COLLECTION
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 7 JUN PUB SONY / DEV CLEVER BEANS & EPOS
We finally have a date for the return of the AntiGravity Racing league. You can expect to be dropping onto the 4K tracks on 7 June, so there’s plenty of time to remember how to use the air brakes properly. Importantly, there’ll also be an entirely new soundtrack to help focus your mind, with The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and er, Swedish House Mafia’s futuristic beats all appearing. Plus, pre-ordering on the PlayStation store will also nab you a lovely dynamic theme, if you just can’t wait to see a Feisar on your TV screen once more.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB BETHESDA DEV ARKANE STUDIOS
Prey Ben Tyrer’s final advance look at the exciting sci-fi shooter We only review finished games, so in Viewpoint, we go hands-on with near-final code of a game that has just missed our review deadline. Ben Tyrer played two hours of a virtually complete version of Prey, and these are his final pre-release impressions.
That black transforming glob thinks it has got the drop on me. As I wander through the Psychotronics labs of Talos 1, eyeing every item with suspicion, a familiar soundtrack cue and wobbling gas cylinder indicate a Mimic is getting ready to pounce. Unfortunately for the shapeshifter, in trying to blend in, it’s made my life a lot easier. Shooting the cylinders triggers an explosion that sends the Mimic up in flames. Throughout my two hours with this pre-release build, I find catharsis comes in all manner of ways. As you’re probably aware, Arkane’s immersive sim, where you must tackle the Typhon on space station Talos 1, is already on shelves. While review code didn’t make its way to OPM Towers by the time the mag went to press, I did get a chance to sample a couple of hours that I absolutely have to tell you about. There’s a versatility that flows through every system. Take the Gloo Cannon as an example. It’s a gun that spits out quickly hardening foam, it can fix hazards like broken electric junction boxes, temporarily freeze enemies in their place, and even create makeshift stairs. The alien powers protagonist Morgan Yu unlocks can be just as flexible. The Mimic Matter power’s main use is blending into the environment by turning into smaller objects. But becoming a small item also means I’m able to squeeze through the bars in windows of otherwise inaccessible rooms. Stumbling onto answers by goofing around with the toolset provided is fantastic fun. This flexibility bleeds into the art design. The section I’m playing is a
jaunt through Psychotronics, to find an access point to the GUTS (the area running through the station providing essential services). Because it’s crawling with Typhon, every step I take is a tentative one, as I’m unable to be sure if the petri dish on the floor is a solid object or mimic. Not since Alien: Isolation’s Sevastopol has a spaceship made me equally eager and nervous to explore every nook and cranny. Where it has the potential to surpass Sevastopol is in the environmental touches that give Talos 1 a playful personality. One lab I stumble into is plastered with post-it notes, with the same message. “Not a Mimic.” A low-tech, logical solution to an alien menace that makes the space station feel like a real place.
PHANTOM MENACES What’s surprising is the tension from inching through Psychotronics doesn’t come from jump shocks, but the power of the aliens you face. Even with a solid amount of ammo for the silenced pistol, plus a wrench, the odds are stacked against me. The other enemy type I find here is the Phantom. These large human-shaped Typhon are roadrunner quick, and able to wipe off a chunk of health quickly. Combat can sometimes be too punishing for its own good in the early going. But, as I unlock more powers – such as the repair skill that I can use to fix turrets, and Kinetic Blast, which essentially acts as a telepathic grenade – different approaches reveal themselves. Rather than tackling the Phantom head-on with my weapons, I hide in plain sight as a microscope. As it stalks past me, I aim a Kinetic Blast at its feet and mop it up with a few shotgun blasts. Once you have the ability to put multiple plans into action or change
your approach mid-fight, the combat swings from slightly frustrating to challengingly moreish. As I make my way towards the end of the demo, I get a taste of the moral decisions waiting on Talos 1. I come across a man trapped in a glass cube. He begs to be released, promising the access code to the Armoury. On the console that could free him, however, there’s a rap sheet of the crimes he has committed, and the option to let a Mimic that will kill him into his cell. Doing so will give me materials to harvest and turn into health packs and neuromods that can unlock more skills. It’s a morbidly dark decision – I decide to free him, only because I read his list o’ crimes after the fact – that promises longer-reaching consequences than the ones I experience here. In the two hours I’ve played, Prey offers the sort of rewarding invention and systematic experimentation that separates brilliant immersive sims from good ones. There’ll be a full review of the entire experience next month, but if it maintains the compelling mystery and engagingly malleable systems, then expect great things.
“IF IT CAN MAINTAIN THE ABSORBING MIX OF COMPREHENSIVE ACTION AND TENSE PARANOIA THAT THE TWO HOURS I’VE PLAYED ARE FULL OF, THEN IT’LL BE ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST.” Check back next issue to read our full in-depth review, on sale 8 June.
2 3 053
1 You can steal the Typhon’s powers, but that also means having to get close enough to scan them with the psychoscope. Best of luck with that. 2 Morgan Yu’s role in studying the Typhon is shrouded in mystery. It’s fair to say we can expect some meaty revelations about his involvement. 3 One of the key strengths is the variety in Talos 1’s design. From greenhouses, and labs, to a simulation of your apartment on Earth, don’t expect to be bored at what you’re looking at. 4 This poor man is Ingram, and his fate rests in your hands. He’s voiced by Walton Goggins, best known for his roles in The Shield and Hateful Eight. His distinctive voice is recognisable the second he talks.
Welcome to the dark side. Ben Tyrer heads to Star Wars Celebration to discover Star Wars Battlefront II’s single-player campaign and enhanced multiplayer
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II
laster fire zings all around an Imperial grunt on the Forest Moon of Endor. As he frantically reloads his rifle, rebel soldiers swarm from every direction. These should be his final moments. But every time he tries to aim at one of his attackers, they’re struck by mysterious (and shockingly accurate) shots of plasma and crumple to the ground. The elite Inferno Squad step forward and make their presence known. Of course, their efforts are in vain, as they all witness the end of the war with the Death Star exploding above them. In Return Of The Jedi, this is an historic victory for the Rebellion. The start of Star Wars Battlefront II’s story is a sickening catalyst for a different type of hero’s journey. Step forward Commander Iden Varsio. Leader of Inferno Squad,
Iden’s red-eyed droid lives on her back. It’s handy if you’re in a pickle.
a troop of top stormtroopers created for this story, she’s the star of debut developer Motive’s bold single-player campaign that has us taking the fight to the Rebellion after the Death Star II’s destruction. She’s just one of
many tweaks and changes that DICE, Motive, and Criterion are making to ensure the sequel to Battlefront improves on the first game in every way imaginable.
IMPERIAL PLEASURES Let’s start at the top of nearly every Force lover’s wish list for the sequel: the single-player story that puts you at the heart of the Galactic Empire. After years of Star Wars stories that revolve around the Rebellion, we’re now getting a different perspective on the battle for the galaxy. So why the change? Motive’s game director Mark Thompson explains. “Sometimes, the Empire is
“THE SINGLE-PLAYER STORY PUTS YOU AT THE HEART OF THE GALACTIC EMPIRE.”
from t h e show floor
ANTHONY FARESE What would you like to see from Battlefront II? “Galactic Conquest, ground-to-space battles, more customisation options. They said they were bringing eras, so that leads into things like customisable clone trooper armour and different stuff that personalises the clones, that kind of stuff.”
Say hello to new lead Iden Varsio, played by Janina Gavankar. Inferno Squad’s leader has been in True Blood and Sleepy Hollow.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II
presented as this cold façade, this front. You never really understand who they are as people, how the organisation works, what’s it like to grow up in the galaxy and have the perspective that the Empire is about order and stability and that the Rebellion is about chaos.” This means seeing new planets, and Thompson describes one created for Battlefront II, Vardos. “As a city, as a world, it’s an Imperial utopia. This is the place where citizens of the Empire could grow up thinking the Empire is good.” The concept art we see doesn’t exactly scream idyllic. Grey, brutalist buildings dominate the landscape, all draped with flags bearing the Empire’s insignia. At least red cherry blossom trees add a little colour to the picture. But this is Iden’s home, and the epitome of perfect order under the galaxy’s de facto rulers.
ONE WITH THE FORCE Nothing represents a bigger danger to that than the second Death Star’s destruction, and it’s here where our journey with the elite stormtrooper begins. Motive producer Paola Jouyaux explains what Motive is aiming for: “In terms of the structure of the level, we really wanted to bring the open sandbox to the single-player because that’s very much about the possibilities of freedom.” With the story spanning the distance between ROTJ and The Force Awakens, this sandbox philosophy
also extends to how Iden will take on the rebels. Thompson describes Iden as a TIE Fighter/ commander hybrid, which means she’s as handy at the controls of an Imperial craft as she is with a blaster in her hand or infiltrating the Rebellion. Plus, in the form of a little droid on her back, she’s also got a nifty mechanical ally that can shield her or take down enemies, making R2-D2 look like a bucket o’ rust by comparison. Even at this early stage, Iden is a flexible character who possesses the ideal mix of skills for taking the fight back to the rebels. Which makes it even more surprising the entire campaign doesn’t belong solely to her. Certain moments in the story will let you inhabit iconic characters such as Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren, which Jouyaux reasons “provides a great training ground for the multiplayer, and in the same way [the films] switch the protagonist and antagonist, it allows you to have a different perspective on the situation.” In many ways, it also captures the thrill of the multiplayer. You’re in the thick of the action, before
We’re already counting down the days until we can drop proton bombs and dodge TIE Fighter/X-wing fire.
from t h e show floor
HEATHER STEPHENS What would you like to see from Battlefront II? “Oh, all the characters. You love playing as the clone troopers and all the soldiers, but the best part is playing with the Jedi and the Sith and going out to crush your opponents!”
“IDEN POSSESSES THE IDEAL SKILLS FOR TAKING THE FIGHT BACK TO THE REBELS.”
from t h e show floor
ALEX BURNS What would you like to see from Battlefront II? “Darth Maul. Honestly, when I played the originals, Darth Maul was my go-to character, so it’s honestly just cool to see that they’re bringing him back, and he’s my favourite Sith of all time. I’m excited to play as him with the modern graphics and modern technology.”
getting your chance to turn the tide of it.
MAUL OR NOTHING Of course, Battlefront’s not-sosecret sauce is the fact you’re living the dream of being a Star Wars hero, and when it comes to the multiplayer, DICE is well aware of what worked and what didn’t in the first outing. Take the hero characters you could become by finding tokens in battle. Creative director Bernd Diemer offers a blunt assessment of this system. “We found the pick-up system favours the more skilled or the lucky players, so it’s not really fair.” For Battlefront II, you can now earn the chance to trigger a hero through a resource-based system. While the specifics of this are still being ironed out, the idea
Iden’s a capable TIE Fighter pilot, as well as being an adept squad leader.
Split-screen co-op will be in Battlefront II. We’re not sure how it will factor in yet, but we’re looking forward to offline blasting.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II
“HAVING FOUR CLASSES OF TROOPERS GUIDES PLAYERS TOWARDS TEAMING UP.” 063
is that players can be rewarded for what they do, rather than where they’ll find a pick-up. These aren’t the only changes to how heroes work, with Diemer promising that they have more weight and heft in the world this time round. This change came about thanks to their work on bringing Darth Maul into the game. Diemer tells us, “He drove a lot of that just by his personality; he needs this very direct and impactful physicality, otherwise he wouldn’t be Darth Maul.” We’re looking forward to seeing how
much heft Yoda will have when he zips around the maps. On top of that, every hero, trooper, and vehicle will have a progression system that will allow you to give them a personal touch. Heroes will have ability modifiers that can, for example, extend their reach, or let them move faster. Whatever you’re playing with has its own career progression, and Diemer says “The upgrade system was another one that was born out of desire to give the game not only more scope, but also to give it more depth.”
OBI WAN-SHOT While the presence of iconic characters on the ground will be increased, you’ll still spend
most of your time playing as a trooper, and there are big changes here too. This time out there’ll be four classes – Officer, Assault, Heavy, and Specialist – which guides players towards teaming up. Diemer elaborates: “The cool thing was this was a consequence out of the decision we made to have heroes more present in the game. All of a sudden it turned out we needed to give the troopers something to become better. Upgrading is one thing, but the other thing is teamwork.” It should make for very different encounters when
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II
we don our Imperial armour and return to the killing fields. So where will the battles take place this time? The good news is that Endor and Hoth are returning (there’s no word on whether Ewoks will be killable), with Yavin and Mos Eisley also coming in from the original trilogy. On top of that, there’ll be a healthy spread from the other trilogies. The capital city of Naboo, Theed, and the watery planet of Kamino are representing the prequels. Showing up from the new series is the forested planet from The Force Awakens, Takodana, as well as the wintry ‘Death-Star-but-bigger’ Starkiller Base. Already, there seems to be a bigger-is-better approach to what will be available at launch, which we’re glad to see considering the paucity of maps in the original Battlefront. Which is where Space Battles come in. Executive producer Matt
Webster explains how previous work on Battlefront’s X-Wing VR mission helped with designing Space Battles for the sequel. “It starts with how these ships feel, and in your mind, delivering on your fantasy of being in combat.“ Considering how much fun it was
Pre-ordering will get you exclusive Kylo Ren and Rey Last Jedi-inspired outfits.
to fly the X-wing in VR, we’re very excited about these 24-player space battles, which also include hero ships. No prizes for guessing that the Millennium Falcon will be one of them. It all adds up to an impressive proposition. There’s the meaty story that offers a thrillingly unexpected story with insight into the oft-ignored people who wholeheartedly believe in the Empire. The multiplayer tapping into what makes DICE’s Battlefield so special by placing a greater emphasis on teamwork without sacrificing the Star Wars moments of wonder. Hell, there are largescale dogfights in space made by the developer who gave the world Burnout. The time of the Jedi may be coming to an end, but the era of Battlefront II looks set to be a long one – 17 November can’t come soon enough.
from t h e show floor
“THE 24-PLAYER SPACE BATTLES EXCITE US.”
NICOLE WILCOX What would you like to see from Battlefront II? “More lightning; I want to be Palpatine the entire time! I think being a character is great and the immersion [from that], but when you can actually be a hero or villain more often, that’s something I would be into.”
There’ll also be a tie-in novel that sees the Inferno Squad take on Rogue One’s Saw Gerrera’s militia.
THE OPM INTERVIEW Q
Nex appeal How Housemarque’s latest is rocketing arcade shooters back to the top on PS4
ugene Jarvis and Harry Krueger know a thing or two about twin-stick shooters. The former’s an industry legend, the man behind the arcade games Defender and Robotron: 2084. The latter’s proven his mastery of the genre on PS4, heading up programming on Resogun. You couldn’t pick a more perfect pair to develop Nex Machina – an unapologetically brutal and beautiful ode to arcade joy. Resogun’s twin-stick, top-down, voxel-drenched followup is set to be stunning, from what we’ve played so far. We caught up with Jarvis (creative consultant) and Krueger (game director) to find out the secrets behind creating a challenge no PlayStation fan can resist…
OPM: How long have you been working on Nex Machina? What’s it like to finally see people playing your new game? Harry Krueger: We started working on this when we completed Resogun, so it’s been about two years now. It’s really satisfying. It feels like all of the hard work we’ve put in with the team and Eugene over the last couple of years, it all just culminates in this one moment. And this justifies all of our hard efforts. Eugene Jarvis: It was a kind of a long voyage, and we did a lot of experimental things. A lot of things didn’t work out or they led to another thing that was better. So it was a little frustrating for quite some time – we just couldn’t get the game to mould to
Your brain needs to be as fast as your trigger finger to play Nex Machina.
THE OPM INTERVIEW
COMBINE URGENCY AND HIGH-PACED ACTION WITH SOME OVER-THE-TOP EXPLOSIONS AND YOU HAVE A PRETTY TIGHT ARCADE EXPERIENCE. the vision we had. It had fun elements and certain things were interesting, but it was just not advanced enough. The last few months have been this huge breakthrough, it’s from working day and night. 068
When he created Defender, Eugene Jarvis made one of the most important arcade games of all time.
OPM: What was your vision for the game? HK: Making a spiritual successor to Robotron was one of the original drives. At Housemarque we have our own kind of style – arcade-style gameplay. I think you can definitely recognise a bit of Resogun’s DNA in Nex Machina as well. But the goal has been to create this intense, fast-paced, pure kind of arcade experience. EJ: Yeah, and I think the purity of the old classic arcade games with the 2D presentation, the single screen was – in this format, the twin-stick shooter – the sense of confinement. Where you’re just cornered, you’re surrounded, you’re fighting your way out, you’re running away, and shooting as you’re running toward them. Just complete panic, all this adrenaline, emotion, and crazy stuff. It’s always been that problem, because then you go to this 3D world and then the world’s too big, you just start running around in this huge world. HK: You need constraints. EJ: Yeah. You have cool immersive 3D graphics, and so how can we take the confinement of 2D but then have the amazing 3D graphics? And I think we have finally figured something out. This voxel thing – in the original Robotron it was just pixels, and now the voxels have gone into 3D, and it’s almost Minecrafty.
OPM: How do you make a game that’s so demanding feel fun? Does the satisfaction of seeing those voxels explode help? EJ: It does, otherwise you would just quit. It’s like this torture and you have to reward. You can do a cool effect that’s always the same every time, like, ‘Oh that’s so beautiful’, but after you’ve seen it a hundred times it’s not beautiful any more, it’s just the same. Here,
Middle Harry Krueger led the programming on PS4’s best launch title, Resogun. Left Shoot the laser turrets, or tackle enemies? Right The laser beams confine you.
every time you shoot something, where you shoot it, what angle you’re coming from, the velocity, even the edge of the cube because there’s four different edges of the cube, the gravity affects the effect, and so everything is different. It’s like throwing rocks at the ocean… It’s this chaotic continuum but there’s some order to the chaos, it’s mesmerising. HK: But I think ‘satisfaction’ is the keyword. That’s what all this cool new tech allows us to really do, because gameplay-wise, we’re playing withtried-and tested timeless gameplay values. That allows us to focus all of our tech to make that core experience as satisfying and rewarding as possible, and it’s just about improving that second-to-second feedback
THE OPM INTERVIEW N E E D
K N O W
HOUSEMARQUE THE EVOLUTION OF THE STUDIO’S PLAYSTATION SHOOTERS
2007 SUPER STARDUST HD QHousemarque takes a running jump at PS3 – and later, PSP – with its unique three-dimensional shooter. The first 3D game for the console to run at 720p and 60fps, it’s well-received by gamers and critics alike (we give it 8/10).
and experience for the players. When you shoot an enemy it needs to feel good, when you destroy a boss it needs to feel f**king awesome. You need to have a lot of this stuff that feels interactive and dynamic. It’s not just this canned, static cutscene that’s always the same. EJ: You’re a part of everything, you’re affecting everything. But it’s interesting how we’ve taken the confinement by using the laser beams. It’s a dynamic confinement, rather than just a standard confinement.
OPM: When we were playing, it was about priority – if we took time to shoot the turrets producing the lasers, we had less of a problem with enemies. Was this planned? EJ: The long-range, short-term thinking. It’s
like, ‘I’m dying right now, but if I somehow kill this then I don’t have a problem.’ ‘My life will be erased here forever but somehow I’m going to have to really do something crazy to do that and put myself in great danger – but my future is safer.’ All these decisions… there’s strategy and tactics as well as just pure twitch, so it RESOGUN makes for a really rich experience. QThe studio’s next HK: Yeah, because I think the best gameplay twin-stick, twitch-based gem kicks off PS4’s launch isn’t what you see on screen, it’s what’s in some style. It’s generally happening inside your head. It’s all about agreed to be PS4’s best micro-goals and micro-decisions that the game launch title (this time, it presents but you also make for yourself. It’s gets a 9/10 from us). like, ‘Yeah I started this level, I need to save the humans, destroy this turret – but if I spend time on this, then I lose something on the NEX MACHINA other side’, so that creates a sense of urgency. QHousemarque’s newest blaster on the block is, er, And urgency and frenetic, high-paced action are on blocks. Levels are series two things that go hand-in-hand, so combine of flat arenas. Destructible that with some over-the-top explosions and I environmental hazards, tons think you have a pretty tight arcade experience. of secrets, savage AI and persistent voxels to splash EJ: Another cool thing that the team came up about in mean it’s pushing with is the surround dispatch, where you’re the genre to its technical running around, you think you have everything limit. (Can it keep up that under control – and then all of a sudden a score trajectory, though..?) complete circle around you beams down 20 enemies. It’s this dynamic confinement, you thought you were free… HK: You need to keep the player on their toes. You can’t let them get too comfortable because then it gets predictable and boring. But it’s the gratification that creates gameplay. Actually it’s really interesting because there’s even a few secrets in the levels that nobody has found.
OPM: Oh, go on – tell us one secret… HK: For example, in the level 1-6, in the bottom right corner, there’s these layers of breakable blocks. There’s this extra one at the end that seems to take a lot more damage than the others, but if you insist on it you get this balloon, and you get this cool sound effect that’s like ‘Secret found’, and this extra path with lots of humans. And that’s part of our philosophy as well – that you want to have this depth but without complexity. The levels are pretty aggressive with how they throw enemies at you and the levels automatically end when all the enemies are killed. EJ: So, you have to milk everything before you kill the last enemy. But that puts you in more danger. HK: And once again it goes into these multiple goals for the player, because even if you know where the secret is, it’s not like ‘Oh I’m just gonna go there and it’s gonna feel like work’. You still need to be on the edge of your seat to save the humans, open the secret door, kill the enemies, dodge those beams and still come out in one piece in the end. EJ: There’s also materialising bridges that actually get materialised out of voxels to hidden levels.
OPM: Nex Machina feels really solid. Do arcade shooters need stable framerates? HK: Of course, when you’re creating this kind of arcade experience then you have to go for an uncompromising 60 frames per second. EJ: You can’t have it be unfair, or not your fault. Probably the greatest thing working in games is watching someone enjoy your game and to think, ‘Wow I had a part in giving someone that enjoyment’. HK: Having that kind of stability in the build and having that kind of nice, smooth framerate makes the overall feeling much more satisfying. Sometimes it’s not really something that your eyes pick up or your ears, it’s just this feeling that you have. It’s just that something wasn’t right there, like the game skipped a beat. But when you have everything working consistently, fluidly, reactively, you get into this zone of feedback… It’s like this sensory overload, it’s almost like being hypnotised.
OPM: What’s the ideal outcome for you when Nex Machina launches? EJ: I did the original Robotron game back in 1982. To me it’s still one of the classic 2D games as far as action and decisions per second, and kills per second, and explosions per second. It’s super-frenetic and totally involving. There’s been a lot of games since, a lot of Robotron sequels. A lot of them haven’t even captured the magic of Robotron, much less moving things forward. My greatest dream would be that we actually make a game that is taking the best of 2D and 3D, dynamic environments too, taking the new technology, making something simple that we actually maybe almost forget about – and this becomes a new standard that people think about now for the next 30 years. HK: That’s a pretty noble goal. EJ: That people would just enjoy it so much, you know? It’s just great to watch people enjoy the game. The other objective is we really want to directly challenge and push the player into an uncomfortable zone. That uncomfortable, challenging zone – there has to be a dimension of play within that. It can’t just be, ‘You’re dead’. HK: Honestly, I think ultimately we’re talking about the same thing. For me, it was almost down to just making the best possible game. I know that sounds a little bit clichéd, but a good game is something that does stand the test of time. It is something that people will not only fondly remember but also want to replay 10 and 20 and 30 years down the line, just like Robotron. Hopefully the same thing will happen with Nex Machina. In the short term we want to make a game that’s worthy of, of course, Robotron and Eugene’s legacy. We need to make a game that’s worthy of Housemarque’s namesake and a game that’s worthy of all our fans out there that are expecting quality. I’m just hoping we deliver on that. Forget the delays – if you release a s**ty game then you’re kind of stuck. Now you can patch it, but you only get one chance to make a good first impression. EJ: A good game is forever.
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GT Sport is a gear shift away from eSport dominance. Find out why this is the only racer your PS4 needs this year
ize doesn’t matter. Or at least that’s the view of Mr Gran Turismo, Kazunori Yamauchi, when it comes to GT Sport, the first Gran Turismo on PlayStation 4. While PlayStation 3’s Gran Turismo 6 crammed a staggering 1,197 cars into its garage, GT Sport has a more humble 140 speedsters to push to their limits. Numbers don’t mean a thing to GT Sport, though. After all, this isn’t GT 7, this is Sport.
Porsche has escaped the clutches of EA and made a speedy getaway to appear in GT Sport. Lucky us.
There are 26 tracks in total, a mix of new circuits and real-world raceways.
With that Sport name comes a change in approach, a reaction to the chasing pack, which includes the eSports favourite Project Cars. GT Sport puts racing, and online competition in particular, above bumper-to-bumper colour-coded versions of Nissan’s Skyline GT-R cruising around Tokyo Expressway. This latest entry in Sony’s flagship racing series is about depth and competition. It’s about taking a smaller selection of cars and fine-tuning them, tweaking and tinkering under the hood to edge seconds off your lap times. Ticking a box marked ‘put Project Cars in its place’, Sony has managed to get its online racing competitions – Nations Cup and Manufacturer Fan Cup – certified by the FIA. This is a first for a racing game, making GT Sport’s online tournaments the only current eSports events accredited to the real-life racing body. Naturally, the finals of both championships will be broadcast live online to a baying crowd.
THE SKYLINE’S THE LIMIT To get more from the game you’re going to need to embrace your inner car geek and start tinkering. It was noticeable that the best players in the recent closed Beta were those who embraced the game’s incredible number of tuning options – settings that go far beyond fiddling with brake assist and steering sliders, and stretch to adjusting camber and ride height, weight distribution, power ratio, traction control, and countless tyre types. As you mess with the vehicle’s settings in an attempt to pick milliseconds off your lap times, fun little graphs (you never thought you’d read those words in OPM, eh?) show how your alterations will affect the car’s behaviour. The ‘sport’ aspect affects everything, bleeding into
every piston and pipe of this new Gran Turismo. If studying stats and charts or reading a Haynes manual before bed isn’t your thing, then GT Sport comes with a handy choice of Sport and Arcade modes. Arcade is the slightly more simcade racing experience with enough driving assists – steering sensitivity, stability management, ghost car, and driving markers – to get you through the first bend without exploding into a plume of dust and engine smoke. Choosing Arcade may be more accessible, an instant hit of fun, but it won’t help online, which is where GT Sport will excel. No, we’re afraid you’re going to have to burn your training wheels and fully embrace Sport mode. Sport is the name and nature of this GT, and to experience its purest racing fun you’ll need to put in some practice. Luckily, on the track it’s not as daunting as you might believe. While you’re twitching the sticks to remain on course, behind the scenes physics
Car interiors are immaculate. We can’t wait to try out GT Sport’s PS VR mode.
A LICENSE TO REMEMBER The inclusion of the 911 license is so good you’ll be Bodyshakin’ You can click a menu in any Gran Turismo game and find it’s authenticated by a well-placed license, and GT Sport is no different. For example, lap times, we’re regularly informed, are courtesy of TAG Heuer. New to the license party is Porsche, which has revealed the new 911 GT3 RS will feature in the game. This is a big deal, because until 2016 EA held the Porsche license. The German legend has now jumped ship to GT Sport. (Pedants will point to Porsche being in past Gran Turismos, but those were the RUF versions, as RUF is a manufacturer in its own right). You can enjoy your lovingly modelled Porsche 911 GT3 RS this November when GT Sport releases.
calculations are whirring away faster than any Lotus Evora could ever match. You press play on a Gran Turismo game knowing you’ll be in for a hard time, but here real-life accuracy doesn’t mean spinning uncontrolled doughnuts at the first bend on Brands Hatch, it means replicating the experience of real-life driving on your PS4. GT Sport doesn’t feel as complex, or as painful, as pulling off the grid in Project Cars, for example. The goal of GT Sport, even on its toughest settings, is to make you feel in control, not in a fight with the game’s physics. You’re not simply manipulating numbers on a maths calculation, you’re handling a powerful race car, and it’s responding to decisions you’d expect to make in real life in a lifelike way. If you know the basics of racing lines and brake timing then you’ll be able to race in GT Sport – you may not win, but you’ll get around the circuit in one piece (after some practice).
CLOSE THE GAP To be accessible and realistic is always the challenge for any competition-focused racing game, and arguably more so for Gran Turismo – it’s Sony’s premier racing brand, after all. It’s a game that needs to be playable out of the box for everyone. But it also needs to offer enough scope for purists so Sony can close the gap
Left Away from the race track you can indulge yourself in the TAG Heuer GT Sport Museum, packed full of interesting notes on motor racing’s milestones.
The new oval circuit, Blue Moon Bay, is one of a number of imaginary, tracks coming to GT Sport.
1080p/60fps and even Jeremy Clarkson would shed a joyous tear, just a small one. If you want to chest-beat about the power of PS4, or better still PS4 Pro and PS VR, then boot up GT Sport and hit the feelings.
The in-game HUD has a ton of info, and some players have found it too cluttered.
on Project Cars. GT Sport needs to have enough depth, a broad learning curve, to appeal to serious racers and Sunday-game drivers who are counting the laps before they can admire the replays. One way this is achieved is through GT Sport’s new online matchmaking system, which uses two categories to judge racers by: Driver and Sportsmanship. The former essentially tallies your qualifying and race results to judge how fast you are. The latter is more interesting; your overall Sportsmanship rating is derived from how you behave. You’ll earn points by meeting particular rules of the road – for example, avoiding colliding with other cars, paying attention to race flags, and staying on the track. Combining the categories should result in some even racing experiences; eSports racers on the rise don’t want to be slammed off the track
“YOUR SPORTSMANSHIP RATING IS DERIVED FROM HOW YOU BEHAVE.” by a newcomer fumbling through the gears and drooling over the game’s stunning visuals.
RACE DAY As the 20 cars line up on the grid, and the lights turn green, any pre-race fiddling is pushed aside by the sheer beauty of the game. There’s always been an air of posturing about the Gran Turismo series; if you wanted to show your friends what a PlayStation console could do when flexing its graphical muscle, you wheeled out Gran Turismo. This PS4 outing is no different. Enable HDR and take to Big Willow with the sun casting through dust clouds at a smooth
Developer Polyphony Digital knows this too; that’s why it’s gone to incredible lengths to make sure every car model is perfect to the tiniest detail, and why it’s one of the few racing games still loaded with real-world, diverse licenses (see ‘A License To Remember’). It’s also a reason why the Photoscape mode exists. Love your new, finely tuned car? Well, in GT Sport’s Photoscapes feature you can treat that shiny hunk of aluminium the way only a car lover knows how, by placing it in one of 1,000 locations, setting the mood lighting, and taking some lovely snaps. Your car photos can be shared online for the world to admire – just don’t get upset if people criticise the love of your life, or, worse, descend into the seedy world of car revenge porn. While there’s no longer thousands of cars to choose from, the depth of options and choice, and the pursuit of competitive eSports purism, filters into all aspects of GT Sport – from online racing to Photoscape playtime. Numbers, you see, don’t matter to GT Sport. What does is depth and detail, and this Gran Turismo has it by the mile.
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90 LITTLE NIGHTMARES
This quirky survival horror could be the game of your dreams.
GOLD AWARD GOLD AWARD
Awarded to a game that’s brilliantly executed on every level, combining significant innovation, near-flawless gameplay, great graphics and lasting appeal.
EDITOR’S AWARD EDITOR’S AWARD
Not at the very highest echelon, but this is a game that deserves recognition and special praise based on its ambition, innovation or other notable achievement.
10 INCREDIBLE The kind of phenomenal experience rarely seen in a console generation.
9 OUTSTANDING Unreservedly brilliant – this
should be in every collection.
8 VERY GOOD A truly excellent game, marred by just a few minor issues.
7 GOOD A great concept unfulfilled or
the familiar done well, but still well worth playing.
6 DECENT Fun in parts, flawed in others, but more right than wrong.
5 AVERAGE What you expect and little
more, this is for devotees only.
4 BELOW AVERAGE Any bright ideas are drowning in a sea of bugs or mediocrity.
3 POOR A seriously flawed game with little merit on any level.
2 AWFUL Disgraceful: the disc would be more beneficial as a coaster.
1 HORRIFIC Own this and you’ll be swiftly,
justifiably, exiled from society.
CONTENTS OUTLAST 2 78 | SNAKE PASS 82 | SHINESS 83 | LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER 84 | THE SEXY BRUTALE 86 | BLACKWOOD CROSSING 87 | PARAPPA REMASTERED 87 | LATE SHIFT 87 STARBLOOD ARENA 88 | EVERYTHING 92 | KORIX 92 | DRAWN TO DEATH 93
“SOMETHING IS AMISS, AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE YOKELS WHO KEEP TRYING TO KILL ME.”
CULT, BUT NOT CLASSIC
A bold new vision for Outlast that often forgets to be enjoyable
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utlast is scary for a number of reasons. It’s a tense journey through the cult-run wilds of Arizona. Its central story is a bleak tale that bravely, but humanely, tackles some taboo subject matter. It’s pretty dimly lit, too. But the scariest thing about it is how far it strays from the successful ideas of its predecessor in favour of mechanics that can feel considerably less dynamic. Very early on it becomes clear that something is amiss. I’m not talking about the half-naked, gibbering yokels who keep trying to kill me, but rather Red Barrels’ enthusiasm for subjecting the player to trial-and-error scenarios. The first of these comes only a few minutes into the game as I face a tall, hooded woman wielding a cobbledtogether axe. She looks majestically menacing, and as she looms into view the situation is terrifying. Having fumbled an attempt to turn tail and run, I’m swiftly cut down. On my second attempt I realise that her arrival is triggered by me crossing an invisible line in the dirt. I die again. A few attempts later, I still haven’t managed to find the exit from this small space, and the rather effective atmosphere has all but disappeared. Instead, I’m just triggering the scripted arrival of a now-irritating AI presence, then making a dash into the darkness – scrappily illuminated by the night vision mode on my video camera – and failing to spot the shallow trench under a barn wall that could provide my salvation. Worried that I am being disastrously unobservant or particularly stupid, I rope in Ben Tyrer – who’s almost as partial to the first game as I am – to give it a go. My fears are confirmed: six or seven attempts later, the now-exasperated Ben has failed to find a way through and is as confused by the poorly judged difficulty spike of this early encounter as I am.
PAIN AND LONGING My inability to escape the axewoman isn’t an isolated problem, either. These kinds of vexing
Lynn Langermann is an investigative reporter. As her husband, Blake, you must find her when she goes missing.
Left Outlast 2’s lighting is exceptional. Some scenes are beautiful enough to make you linger despite your innate terror.
Right Blake has a troubled past, represented by regular – and disturbing – sequences that see you wandering the halls of a Catholic school.
encounters show up regularly throughout the game, the enforced feeling of repetition sapping the game of atmosphere and undermining its surprises. This design ethos isn’t limited to the headline creatures, and many stealth sequences end up feeling claustrophobic for entirely the wrong reasons, as you try to chart rather specific paths through them and die over and over again until you find the one the designers intended. The first Outlast also offered up claustrophobic spaces in which nightmarish, murderous presences patrolled, of course, but crucially it allowed enough breathing room for players to clumsily improvise and messily freewheel their way through to a conclusion. There is one sequence that repeats the first game’s excellent (if arguably overused) trick. It comes late on in Outlast 2 and has you wading about a flooded basement trying to disconnect some live wires while avoiding the attentions of a torch-wielding pervert. A perfect Saturday night in, in my book. But it also highlights how linear and directed much of the rest of
“THE BRILLIANT LOOK-BACK MECHANIC FROM THE FIRST GAME MAKES A RETURN.”
the game feels. Don’t get me wrong, the game is far from on rails, and there are some smartly designed sections that revolve around disorientation in corn fields or pitch-black forests. But you’ll so often find yourself experimenting and dying in order to fathom the way forward that all the fearinducing mystery is sucked out of proceedings by the time you succeed. One bizarre sequence sees me pushing a heavy cart towards a wall so that I can leap over it, moving it in fits and starts as I take breaks to do laps of the area in order to lead a pursuing enemy away and gain enough time to come back and ease the trailer forward another foot or so. Repeatedly drawing them away – it’s just not… fun.
IT FOLLOWS At least the brilliant lookback mechanic from the first game – where you squeeze a button to look over your
shoulder at whatever horror is gaining on you – makes a return, and it’s given a good workout in the numerous chase scenes that pepper Outlast 2. But the balance of the actual pursuits feels a little off as, yet again, you’ll find yourself dying once – maybe twice – before managing to pull off a run that keeps you just ahead of the spitefully swift enemies. These dashes end up feeling more like something from a score attack game than a horror one, but without the score and with a lot more attacking. Red Barrels’ masterly use of night vision as a gameplay mechanic – and, of course, scare tactic – still has plenty of mileage left in it, however, and the studio toys with this aspect of the game to an even greater degree. Chase sequences through darkness might be interspersed with brightly lit areas that blind you and force you to switch between the two modes as you desperately try to
REVIEW THE OPM BREAKDOWN W H AT Y O U D O I N… O U T L A S T 2
5% Finding batteries for your camera’s thirsty, thirsty night vision mode.
15% Wondering if you’ll ever be happy again after reading diaries.
sections after someone hacks your penis off with an axe.
8% Looking for really hard-tospot exits or trying to figure out just what to do next. Blah!
Above Not every person you encounter is out to kill you. But most of them are.
21% Running away from things that want you dead, or find you sexually attractive. Much like real life. 11% Hiding in other peoples’ cupboards. Much like real life.
S TAT PA C K
100 17 2 0
Right Ideally, at this point, you’ll want to hide. Maybe have a little cry while you’re at it.
The percentage Pages in your you’ll want video camera’s your telly’s memory for brightness slider storing pictures set to if playing of documents at night. and recordings.
Roughly how The ideal number many minutes of sheds filled one battery will with the remains last when using of children any every feature of game should your camera. include.
L O V I N G / H AT I N G
Above Outlast 2’s inventory is smart, seeing you look down into your pockets.
establish in which direction it would be best to flee.
SOUND IDEA There’s also a new tool at your disposal in the form of a sensitive microphone attached to the camera. You can use this in conjunction with the night vision, or save some battery and use it on its own to maintain a slightly patchy mental picture of where enemies are loitering. Its advantage, of course, is that it can pick up noise in pitchblack areas, and even through walls, making it particularly useful when you’re trying to find your way through a new area. It’s a brilliant idea, and comes into its own during the cornfield sequences, but the microphone is underexploited for the most part. Thankfully, the talented cast is not, and the voice actors deliver some haunting performances that elevate an already strong script and some
wonderfully-written diaries. The game’s dark themes can be difficult to deal with at times, and some players may find it all becomes a bit too much, but even at its most extreme Red Barrels’ horror never seeks to appal at the expense of the very human tragedy that underpins everything. Whether that’s enough to carry players through the game’s mechanical and structural missteps is another matter. Red Barrels has tried to create something rather different to the first Outlast, which is a commendable notion, but the result is a game that, while feeling undeniably grander than its forebear, is considerably less enjoyable.
This second game makes even better use of the idea of filtering the gloomy environments through a video camera’s night vision.
Some enemies can kill you in a couple of hits. They mostly move too fast to allow for mistakes, there’s no room to thin… oh, I’m dead again.
COMPEL-O-GR APH An atmospheric opening sets up a horrifying story.
That was… draining.
Ooh, this bit’s like The Descent. Hello axe lady. 0
IS IT BETTER THAN?
A scary adventure that sacrifices as much gameplay as the cult in its story does followers. It also, unfortunately, suffers when compared to Resident Evil VII. Ben Maxwell
Red Barrels’ first game was a lesson in horror design and improvisational gameplay.
Outlast 2 has nicely-designed environments… and a reason to exist. Can’t say either for Daylight.
Capcom borrows many of Red Barrels’ ideas, but executes them with greater precision.
REVIEW You can change Noodle’s expression with the D-pad, LittleBigPlanet style. It’s charming.
MAMBA NO 5
Hiss-terical hijinks in a solid snake platformer
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or some unknown reason, there haven’t been many games featuring snakes over the years. There was Rare’s NES classic Snake Rattle & Roll, and that Nokia mobile phone one – can’t remember the name of it – but other than that, the slithering squamates (look it up) don’t often get a chance to take the starring role. Sumo Digital has decided this reptilian drought needs a toe up the rump, and Snake Pass is the result. You play as Noodle, a stripy snake who lives in a lush jungle paradise. The aim is to find all the keystones in each of the game’s 15 levels so you can open the exit portal and progress to the next stage. As you’d expect, you do this by wandering around each level in search of said shiny stones. What makes things interesting is the way you control Noodle since, because he’s a snake, he moves very differently from your usual leaping, climbing, platforming hero. You aren’t really in control of Noodle’s entire body, just his head. The i button is a sort of ‘accelerator’ which makes him pull his body forward, while holding q has him raise his head. Climbing to higher platforms, then, involves
“IT MAY TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO BEFORE THE CONTROLS FEEL COMFORTABLE.”
using the environment – particularly the bamboo frames conveniently dotted around – and wrapping yourself around things to gain extra leverage and pull yourself higher.
THE BOA THE MERRIER There’s a bit of an adjustment period here, and it may take an hour or two before you feel totally comfortable with Noodle’s controls. Once you learn how to use p to give yourself extra traction, and get into the habit of gripping and releasing to climb the bamboo better, things get a bit easier. The same can’t be said for Noodle’s ground movement, sadly: he slinks and slides at a frustratingly slow pace, and while you’re supposed to coast left and right to pick up speed it never really feels satisfying and he never quite gets as fast as you’d like. The real challenge is simply navigating the environment, and the fact there isn’t a single enemy in the game makes that obvious. Once you accept that slithering around is supposed to be a
struggle, it’s easier to enjoy the game’s puzzle platforms. It looks lovely too, with colourful landscapes and great animation on Noodle himself (as well as his slightly annoying bird friend Doodle). The core framerate could be better – it’s 30 frames per second on a standard PS4, while Pro owners can choose between 1080p and 60fps or 4K and what seems to be lower than 30 – but that aside it’s a delight to watch, especially if your TV supports HDR and can get the most from its bright landscapes. Snake Pass is a game you’ll get a lot of enjoyment from, but one that makes you earn your pleasure first. Put the time into it and get used to its unconventional controls and it’ll eventually wriggle its way into your heart. VERDICT
A fiddly one to get to grips with, stick with Snake Pass and everything will eventually click. When it does, it’s a decent platformer that should raise a smile or two. Chris Scullion
The gorgeous art style occasionally suffers from more pop-up than a Shoreditch market. FIGHT OF THE FURRIES
SHINESS: THE LIGHTNING KINGDOM
From Naruto to Ninja Gaiden: noughties nostalgia in a nutshell
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he action kicks off with two vaguely pirate-y cat-men piloting an airship – your first clue, perhaps, that this isn’t going to be the tonal kick-up-thebackside the cliché-ridden RPG genre needs. Indeed, within moments of pressing the start button, our heroes crash-land in a kingdom plagued by magical imbalances. An RPG Cliché Event Horizon is triggered, dooming us all to a lifetime of fighting bats in caves and naming our firstborn things like ‘Kain’ or ‘Cid’. But while Shiness’ plot might be about as original as the Klimt painting in your gran’s spare room, this indie effort still manages to push the genre forward in its own small way, blending game styles to provide a punchy, streamlined alternative to the bloat of 100-hour mainstream RPGs. Particularly slick is the way overworld exploration smoothly transitions into one-on-one battles. Once you’ve been spotted by an enemy (or, preferably, when you deliver a pre-emptive strike), you’re immediately enclosed in a circular arena with your new playmate. The combat is deceptively simple, consisting of a few punch and kick attacks, plus a roll, but RPG elements are introduced via the ability to assign support functions to the rest of your party. There are hidden depths, too. Certain attacks work best at certain ranges, while the arena
itself changes colour as it cycles through the elements, amplifying magic attacks when they’re in sync with their surroundings. Your performance is scored at the end of each round, like in fighting games such as Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, and S ranks bag you rarer loot, which can be used to forge powerful equipment.
BRAWL FOR ONE Comparisons to such games are unkind at best, however. While hack-and-slashers empower you to carve a swathe through huge armies, Shiness has to remain true to its RPG core, meaning it has a vested interest in ensuring your enemy gets its licks in too. To retain balance, dodges are stodgy and parry windows stingy. You can never just get stuck in like you’d want to, and that can feel frustrating. Overworld puzzles, too, often fail to tax or delight. You can only take three
of your five members along with you at any time, and this often leaves level design feeling hamstrung, as it’s unable to explore each character’s powers as ingeniously as it might. A patchwork offering sewn together from various influences from the early 21st century, Shiness is a nostalgia trip. It inherits much of the clumsy design and storytelling that plagued noughties-era RPGs, yet it’s peppered with modern concessions that ensure it doesn’t drag on or overload with padding like the genre can at its unchecked worst. The result is a charmingly clunky yarn that doesn’t wow, but has more to offer than clichés alone. VERDICT
Draws intelligently from numerous influences, yet fails to craft an identity of its own. A snack-sized RPG that’s a serviceable side-quest to tackle between epics. Alex Dale
Free-roaming in Lego City Undercover is the family-friendly GTA you imagine.
BLOCK ‘N’ LOAD
LEGO CITY UNDERCOVER GTA-a-like sandbox is studded with plastic personality
generic mobsters, and more as he works his way up the lawbreaker ladder. It’s all presented with Traveller’s Tales’ trademark humour, incorporating slapstick comedy as well as witty, absurd dialogue and painful puns. During one conversation, Chase is trying to convince a mob boss of his criminal credentials: “I stole some pens,” he says. “A thousand pens… from a child… with a limp.” If you’ve played a modern Lego game, the fundamentals are the same: there’s a sandbox hub you’re free to explore, and there is a set of linear missions to tackle. Both missions and the world have secrets tucked in every corner, and you’re encouraged to replay each
You play as Chase McCain, a supercop with a name that’s suspiciously similar to John McClane. McCain returns to Lego City to help put his nemesis, Rex Fury, behind bars… again. To do this, he must infiltrate the criminal underbelly of this blocky urban sandbox, posing as a crook and making nice with the Triads,
“MCCAIN RETURNS TO LEGO CITY TO PUT HIS NEMESIS, REX FURY, BEHIND BARS… AGAIN.”
ere in videogame land, Lego is best known for its wacky takes on established universes. That’s why it’s more than a bit of a surprise that this – a prettied-up former Wii U exclusive that owes nothing to Hobbits, caped crusaders, metal men, or space wizards with laser swords – is actually the best game Traveller’s Tales has ever put out. Other Lego games have a safety net: an embedded fan following. Lego City Undercover is instead based on Lego’s unbranded City line of toys, and forced to stand on its own. It nails it. This crime caper is still crammed full of grownup pop culture references – Columbo, Starsky & Hutch, Sherlock Holmes and even the Shawshank Redemption are riffed on. From a line of plastic bricks, Traveller’s Tales has created a fresh universe that’s as fun to exist within for adults as it is for kids. It’s GTA via CBBC.
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section in Free Play mode, letting you use characters you unlock later to reach new areas. The main difference here is that you’re always Chase McCain – though he can don various ability-granting disguises. For example, the robber disguise allows him to jimmy doors open with a crowbar; the miner lets him place dynamite; and his police uniform allows him to grapple up specific hook points. Character unlock tokens are cosmetic. Another big distinction is the combat. Usually in Lego games you mindlessly spam attacks or fire off projectiles. Minus a paint gun, there aren’t any firearms here, but combat takes a page out of the
REVIEW Right This PS4 remaster adds split-screen coop, so you can snuff out crime with a friend.
THE OPM BREAKDOWN W H AT Y O U D O I N… L E G O C I T Y U N D E R C O V E R
10% Spotting the many references to movies peppered through the game.
Below Some missions are daft. Here I’m getting a pool party pumping.
17% Driving around the city in an assortment of vehicles.
12% Laughing at the fun, snappy writing in and out of cutscenes.
Smashing things to scoop up the studs and Lego pieces within.
18% Battling Lego goons with a simplistic but serviceable combat system.
20% Searching for Super Bricks so you finally have enough resources to progress.
S TAT PA C K
65 1 17 2
Super Builds to Annoying shark complete. Some guarding certain you’ll need to ‘out of bounds’ progress, but waters. take a some are just dip there and he for fun. will eat you.
Moggies to rescue after you’ve got the firefighter disguise. Gold bricks await…
Players can enjoy playing the newly-added local co-op mode. It’s serviceable.
THE FIRST FIVE HOURS… 1
HIT THE ROAD Despite those similarities to GTA, Lego City Undercover is as family-friendly as games get. There are no guns because nobody dies. Try to run someone down while driving and they’ll dive out of the way, and even if you do run a civilian over – which you probably will, with the twitchy handling model being what it is – Chase will shout “Sorry!” and you’ll see them jump right back up. At one point you even break a criminal out of jail – it turns out he was locked up for non-payment of 700-odd parking tickets.
Freed from the restrictions of big-name licences, Traveller’s Tales tackles the open-world crime genre with personality and gusto. Of all the many Lego games, this is the most distinct and enjoyable. Kirk McKeand
TROPHY CABINET ENS
O ING M DEL C I
Throw in co-op and it’s the perfect game to play with your kids. You’ll both get equal enjoyment out of it, though the split-screen co-op does feel tacked on compared to other Lego games, with every puzzle requiring just one player, and with player two being a Chase clone who’s conveniently never mentioned. Still, co-op wasn’t in the game originally, and it’s good fun nonetheless. If you’re looking for a refreshing take on the Lego formula, Lego City Undercover is well worth grabbing. Visually, you can tell this is a fouryear-old game with a fresh lick of paint, but the pure joy contained within is timeless.
Batman: Arkham playbook. It lacks the satisfying crunch, but each takedown has a lovely animation, and you can counter enemy attacks with a welltimed press of w. You can also grapple enemies, take hold of them and throw them into each other. Once down, you have to slap on the handcuffs.
1 Okay, I’m in Lego City and I have to get into my squad car. It’s all very GTA. 2 For some reason I’m ignoring my objective and I’m pumping iron in a gym instead. 3 I’m chasing down and arresting a bunch of clowns. Yes, actual clowns. 4 Now I’m doing parkour across some rooftops to apprehend a crook. 5 I’m about to head undercover to infiltrate a criminal organisation, hence the stripy burglar’s jersey.
Above left Fighting isn’t the focus, but there are plenty of scraps.
Unlock all eight disguise Lego City Undercover’s slots and customise super builds are a them all to look exactly highlight of the game. how you want. As long Why wouldn’t you want as they’re Lego men. to see all 65?
You have to really like smashing stuff for this gold Trophy. Collect 4,000,000,000 Lego studs. No biggie.
HOW TO… LEARN KUNG FU Eventually you’ll come to a mission set within a dojo. Here martial arts masters teach you improved hand-to-hand combat. Once this mission is over, you’ll be able to counter-attack, grapple enemies, and even throw them at each other.
REVIEW There’s a fun consistency to the world. If someone gets shot at a certain time, it’ll be heard all around the house.
TIME TO KILL
THE SEXY BRUTALE
Bringing sexy back. Then bringing it back again. And again…
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he conceit of this stealthy puzzler is easy to fall for. It’s a jazzed-up slice of opulence, all turned-up collars on extravagant dinner suits and frilled masquerade masks hiding the faces of wellto-dos. We play Lafcadio Boone who, while attending an evening of entertainment at the titular mansion, snuffs it. Rather than depart this mortal coil entirely, however, ol’ Laffy is caught up in a seemingly endless time loop. Handily, this gives him the chance to save the lives of the other guests invited to the ball… The twist? While you can wander around solving inventory puzzles and the like, you’re unable to enter any room which is occupied by another character, be they friend or foe. Do so, and their creepy masks will hover towards you, heralding a failstate and a kickback to the start of the day. Part murder mystery, part doll’s house, and smothered in a sleek burlesque presentation, The Sexy Brutale is too unique to not want to love. Unfortunately, however, it suffers from serious problems that will dim your affections. The most egregious of these is the central mechanic of rewinding time. The game is divided
“ASCERTAIN HOW PEOPLE WILL DIE, AND FIND CLUES TO HELP YOU SAVE THEM.”
up into sections, each one dominated by a particular character who you must find and save before time runs out. You have to find them and observe them through keyholes, or listen to them through walls, in order to ascertain how they will die, and find clues that’ll help you save them. An early example sees you tinker with a rifle hanging on a wall in order to prevent an actual, life-ending bullet firing out of the nasty end later on.
ATTACK THE CLOCK Here’s the rub. Each time you begin a new area, or find a new person to save, there’s a time period during which you have no idea where to go or what to do. Anything you do stumble upon is due to luck or trialand-error. This might not be so tut-worthy if the puzzles ended up being doozies. In fact, they are usually obscure enough, thanks to the bizarre setting and unmoving isometric camera angle, for you to often accidentally solve them before you’ve had a chance to even
ruminate on what the answer to the riddle might be. Gathering up all the scattered information surrounding the story and characters might lure you onwards, if the mansion weren’t such a fudgy place to move through. Your character’s running speed is slow, very slow, presumably to ramp up tension as the clock ticks down. But this dissuades exploration. I don’t want to go down a corridor I don’t have to; if there isn’t anything at the end (and this happens a lot) then I’ll have to trudge back, wasting a chunk of this day and forcing myself to start over again. Smooth jazz and bopping saxophone ditties delight, sure, and the art style is one to coo at. But no mask – no matter how flamboyant – can fully hide The Sexy Brutale’s faults. VERDICT
It seems to have all the right ingredients on the outside looking in. That’s before you start trying to unravel its awkward puzzles via its tedious time mechanics. Matt Gilman
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB VISION GAMES PUBLISHING DEV PAPERSEVEN
BLACKWOOD CROSSING All aboard for Gloomsville
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SONY DEV NANAON-SHA, EPICS
PARAPPA THE RAPPER: REMASTERED This bum note’s hard to believe
eath is evident in some form in most games, but rarely is it as keenly felt as in Blackwood Crossing. While most virtual experiences are preoccupied with providing players with an arsenal of deathdealing devices, Brighton-based developer PaperSeven has crafted an adventure that’s firmly focused on coping with loss. This tale takes place on a train, its sole passengers two orphans. Events are seen from the perspective of teenager Scarlett, who’s attempting to mend her strained relationship with her younger brother, Finn.1 Tender moments between them, like crafting paper butterflies, are heart-warming – but, like their childhood innocence, fleeting. They are pursued by a Donnie-Darko-esque rabbit that adds to the game’s dark tone. Characters give emotive performances that are backed up by some goosebump-inducing musical tones, resulting in a powerful portrayal of love, fear, and guilt. The sombre narrative is blended with minimalist gameplay. Much like Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, small snippets of retrospective dialogue are offered and it’s up to you to piece together events. Characters appear as still figures and must be paired up correctly to unveil the story. Aside from that, progression largely involves searching for the items needed to solve the game’s rudimentary puzzles.2 Given the modest visual style, loading screens seem unnecessarily long, and the indicator for interacting with objects is sometimes unclear or requires too much precision. Still, this bittersweet narrative adventure will play your heartstrings like a fiddle. Anne-Marie Coyle
es, he’s back. One of the first rhythm action games released in the West – and the first to bring the genre to a wide audience – the likes of Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution owe a debt to PaRappa. It’s a shame the bar-spitting beagle hasn’t starred in many games since. But this 4K remaster, made to celebrate the original’s 20th anniversary, isn’t the new PaRappa many fans were hoping for. In fact, it isn’t really the old PaRappa many were hoping for either. There’s only really one area in which the game impresses, and that’s the brilliant graphics: you’ve never seen the paper-thin pup so sharply defined. Everything else is a disappointment, though. The cut-scenes all come from the PSP version1 and are extremely low-res, it still only has six levels, and very little else has been added. No behind-the-scenes galleries or videos to celebrate the game’s past 20 years, no new songs, nothing (except for the PSP version’s alternate backing tracks). Worst of all, there’s input lag. Years ago, we were all playing on CRT televisions, and when we pressed buttons the response was near-instant. These days every TV has some form of input lag, and for a rhythm game – especially one with such harsh timing – not having a calibration setting is criminal. The infamous fourth stage,2 which used to be merely tricky, is now infuriating as you try to second-guess how early you have to press buttons for them to be registered properly. PaRappa will always have a place in my heart, but if the original game was Snoop Dogg, this disappointing upscale is Lil’ Bow Wow. Chris Scullion
FOOTNOTES 1 Conversations offer dialogue options, but your choice doesn’t impact on the overall narrative. 2 Otherworldly aspects see you manipulate fire or bring objects to life.
FOOTNOTES 1 Even the end credits are the PSP ones. Anyone who worked on the PS4 remaster isn’t there. 2 That’s the one with Cheep-Cheep The Cooking Chicken. She’s one bad motherclucker.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB WALES INTERACTIVE DEV CTRLMOVIE
LATE SHIFT Take an early bath instead
or one eventful night, your choices decide the fate of Matt,1 a gangly student settling into a sleepy night shift as a car valet. What happens next is up to you. Apart from the whole ‘getting kidnapped and forced to take part in an elaborate heist’ thing, that is. That’s nailed on, I’m afraid. It unfolds so naturally on the first playthrough. Following up a CCTV anomaly sees you stumble upon a bungled car theft; soon, you’re sucked into a world of danger that seems to hinge on your whims. Late Shift is the purest example yet of the ‘interactive story’ genre; discarding the walk-around-y bits that bog down the likes of Walking Dead or Life Is Strange, interaction is limited to either/or choices and so developments escalate quickly. Although the plot forgoes graphics for professionally-shot film footage, the various plot permutations are spliced together so expertly it’s difficult to find the seams. But within 90 minutes it’s over, and on a second playthrough, the suspense deflates with a pop and a hiss. Ignore the CCTV, run out onto the street,2 throw your PS4 into a canyon; despite the illusion of agency, you find yourself hurtling towards storyline bottlenecks as if they were black holes. Is that an unfair criticism? The games namechecked above wilt from repeat exposure too, but they go to lengths to discourage repeat playthroughs, weighting decisions and forcing you to stand by them. Late Shift invites it, structuring itself more like one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books that were passé by the ‘90s. The result is an unsatisfying yarn, where returns diminish as rapidly as the stakes escalate. Alex Dale
FOOTNOTES 1 One minute he’s delivering soliloquies about maths, the next, killer lines like “I know what I know, yeah?” 2 If you make it outside, you’re scooped up by an apparently clairvoyant accomplice.
Motion sickness is reduced with some clever tricks, like using a central HUD to focus on.
PS VR REVIEW 088
GAME OF DEATH
Spaced-out game show shooter makes VR fun again
omplete 360 degrees of freedom in a shooter for PS VR means there’s only one question you want answering: does Starblood Arena make you want to burble a little bit of sick into your mouth? The answer is, thankfully, no. But wait! Don’t leave, there’s more to this multiplayer shooter than the (crucial) plus point of not making you dribble bile over your DualShock. For a start it’s fun. Brain-fizzing, E-numbers, Star Mix fun. There’s no soul-searching millennial angst, no grand narrative with one eye on a BAFTA. Sat inside my APEX Battle Pod I get a giddy joy out of the simplest of things, like how my oversized cartoon cannons move and track targets with the turn of my head, or how I can customise my dashboard with bobbly gonks. Once I push and thrust into the first arena – a complex weave of narrow tunnels leading to an open cavern fittingly called Catacombs – the real joy of Starblood Arena kicks in; it just feels good to dodge and weave about in this space. Using the sticks to move, and o and u to skim up and down on the x-axis, offers complete freedom. Primary cannons are on i and missiles on p – targeting is achieved by looking at an enemy and tracking its position. Getting used to 360-degree freedom in VR takes some adjustment. But once I accept there is
INFO FORMAT PS VR ETA OUT NOW PUB SONY DEV WHITEMOON DREAMS
no up or down, ground or sky, and a kill is a kill regardless of where I am in this space, Starblood Arena clicks. There’s a nuance to the controls that adds to the fun. Holding o and u enables me to spin the ship; adding thrusting after this move means I can effectively spin around an attacker’s shots and start a counter-strike. Each Carnage deathmatch boils down to this tug-of-war between me and the seven other players (or bots in singleplayer) as we chase scores and XP. This structural familiarity threatens to dampen my spirits; character classes are easily identified and exotic sci-fi weapons boil down to sniper rifles, shotguns, and cannons. There’s a twitchy rhythm to the
combat that starts to feel trite after prolonged play – missiles are tapped away, backed by a steady stream of cannon fire; dodge, weave, respawn.
BACK TO REALITY What drags Starblood Arena back to reality are the limitations of the genre. It’s an FPS deathmatch with little in the way of a single-player campaign. You’ll be spending all your time battling bots in the offline 10-match Burn Circuit. It’s a good way to get some practice in, and XP rewards mean you can churn through developing each of the nine characters and their ships with new loadouts. Playing as the balanced steampunker Alice, I tweak mine to include
“EFFECTIVELY SPIN AROUND AN ATTACKER’S SHOTS AND START A COUNTER-STRIKE.”
REVIEW Right Are we up, down, or sideways? Who cares when it’s this much fun?
THE OPM BREAKDOWN W H AT Y O U D O I N… S TA R B L O O D A R E N A
7% Wondering what
is happening, it’s so fast and chaotic!
Below Using heavy weapons, such as this laser, can turn losses into wins.
new gonks and nonsense to decorate your ship’s cabin.
13% Finally sussing the tricksy controls and starting to win games.
Spinning and scooting around in 360 degrees.
10% Learning to play as a team in Grid Iron, proving a fun break from Carnage.
21% Tinkering with your ship’s loadouts to find a new winning balance for the deathmatch Carnage mode.
FRIENDS & ENEMIES AL
Steampunk Alice is an all-rounder armed with cannons and grenades.
Buck is your classic tank. His frontal shield is impenetrable.
A sniper, expect Dregg players to camp like the ’90s never passed.
L O V I N G / H AT I N G 089
Above left It’s insanely fast, but slow weapons like grenades can be effective. OFFLINE INVADERS Playing online team modes, like Invaders, offline is rarely good, and Starblood Arena welcomes our low expectations. VR setting saves it.
S TAT PA C K
90 9 4 2
The number of matches you’ll need to win in order to complete the single-player.
Playable characters to choose from, including sexy space cowgirl Apollonia.
Oddball sci-fi commentators. The robot J3-RY and alien Grox add colour to the FPS chaos.
BI T OR
A RS ST
AC TIC SUPE
Traditional FPS gameplay is given a new spin with PS VR as the frighteningly fast, wide-eyed fun of flying in 360 degrees is matched by tight controls and a welcome lack of motion sickness. Ian Dean
Game modes to master, which are Carnage, Team Carnage, Grid Iron, and Invaders.
KE ’EM FRO
As I put more hours into online matches of Carnage and Team Carnage, the genre limitations that threatened my fun are now making more sense. In a game this fast, where your sense of spatial awareness is being tested at every turn, having some familiar gameplay tropes to hang my gun belt on is a welcome advantage. I know snipers will be found lurking in holes and hidden corners of each map. There are
SHIP UPGRADES You can use XP to purchase ship mods and gear from commentators J3-RY and Grox. I’ve added a cute green gonk to my cockpit.
some surprises for me too. For example, players who choose the quirky Toy Story-like aliens Tik Tak Toh have access to a heavy weapon that, for a limited time, reflects shots off their shields and back at the attacker. I make a mental note to avoid these guys when they’re powered-up. On first glance Starblood Arena is your run-of-themill arcade shooter. But piped through the PS VR headset these gameplay staples are transformed into a frenetic, competitive FPS. One with enough trickery to feel like every match is a step closer to mastering the game, which it does on a settled stomach.
Quicklock, so missiles lockon faster; Amplify for more powerful mines; and Tesla shields that charge faster for 10 seconds. Back in the online fray I start to pick up more wins. This only serves to cement online deathmatch as Starblood Arena’s standout feature. If you do crave a change of pace then Grid Iron and Invaders offer some team-based fun; the former is 360-degree football, the latter a co-op horde mode.
Go cheap and carry on camping! Make 25 kills playing as Dregg, the game’s default sniper character class.
Reach the 20th wave playing co-op mode, Invaders. We love it just because it references Aliens.
Complete the single-player Ultimate Burn Circuit with every character in the game and also win gold skins.
Sadly, two out of the four enemy types boil down to “angsty fat people”. 090
YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE
Dreaming of a peculiar puzzler? Don’t sleep on this
hat yellow raincoat is already tugging at the trouser-leg of ‘iconic’ status. Winking out of the grey gloom of this platformer, the colour of Six’s mackintosh is as brave as the kid herself. Dusty libraries; grisly kitchens; rooms where outsize showerheads loom like predators: Six will face it all, and throughout it all, that coat is a little light in the darkness. Tarsier Studios’ macabre art direction is spoton. You find yourself imprisoned in a strange, sea-bound vessel: The Maw. It’s a dim, dank hodgepodge of rooms that sways uneasily from side to side. Dust clouds shift and resettle, shafts of light throw odd shadows, and the camera gently pulls focus at timely moments to let you peer through the otherworldly fuzz. And this is all before you discover the lighter in your pocket. Tap e, and Six produces the tiny flame, casting flickers of gold to investigate dark corners. It’s the ability to veer off-course that slightly separates Little Nightmares from Playdead’s similarly creepy fare, Limbo and Inside. You’re not bound to left-to-right running. With the trusty lighter in hand, poking about the threedimensional planes is encouraged. Haul yourself onto oversized swings for the fun of it, or hunt down hidden collectible statues to smash. Even in such a bleak setting, with escape the goal, there’s
a sense that childlike curiosity is the crux of the game – a small, clumsy body navigating a world that’s not quite the right size for her yet. INFO FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB BANDAI NAMCO DEV BANDAI NAMCO
SCARE PACKAGE But as the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat. Hungry Six is tempted into traps by morsels of meat, and horror is slowly revealed, like rows of sharp teeth in the grin of a bobble-headed, stubby-legged, spindly-armed man. Does that simile sound oddly specific? It should: this weirdo is one of the enemies Six must elude. Squeezing the left trigger lets our hero tiptoe quietly between desks and under floorboards (Mr. Tickle’s nightmare cousin is blindfolded with bandages,
so even if he hears you, freezing in place may save your skin). Next, you’ll meet screeching, wheezing chefs with gelatinous quadruple chins, and diners who don’t understand the concept of personal space in a level that’s reminiscent of Japanese animated masterpiece Spirited Away. But, barring a supremely unsettling final foe, that’s about it. There are just five levels in Little Nightmares, each around an hour long. If you’ve been keeping an interested eye on this title, be warned: you’ve probably already seen a significant chunk of the game, so don’t expect much fresh hell. This goes doubly for the puzzle-platforming gameplay. The conundrums tend to be
“SIX’S JOURNEY IS ABSOLUTELY DRIPPING WITH ATMOSPHERE.”
REVIEW Right Moments after this, he tucks me gently into a gutted fish. Wonderful.
THE OPM BREAKDOWN W H AT Y O U D O I N… L I T T L E N I G H T M A R E S
5% Wishing the narrative had a bit more to say for itself.
Below Careful, mate. That’s how you get square eyes.
10% Picking up bars of soap and flinging them. Just because.
around, trying to spot the next climbable object.
10% Noticing new goosebumps in response to some stellar audio design.
20% Holding your breath under a table and praying you won’t be seen.
15% Screaming when irritating controls screw you over for the umpteenth time.
S E C O N D O P I N I O N D AY D R E A M B E L I E V E R
Tarsier’s intriguing puzzle-platformer mixes eerie atmosphere with challenges that don’t quite match the creepy design. That’s because this is a vivid world populated by creatures who’ll slip into your own nightmares, but the puzzles lean towards the trial-and-error end of the spectrum. We hope we’ll be getting Maw from Six. Ben Tyrer L O V I N G / H AT I N G
Above left The ramshackle environments are painstakingly crafted.
simple hide-and-seek, key-inlock affairs – there’s little of Inside’s sophistication here, and your grey matter isn’t likely to be truly taxed. What is, however, is your patience with the fudgey controls. The combination of some strictly timed puzzles, the need to hold down i to keep gripping objects (such as keys) and r as both your sprint and action button makes for infuriating fumbles. Checkpointing is also too variable: a real annoyance given that trial-and-error reigns supreme in The Maw.
SIX TO DEATH It’s a flaw that tends to suck the spooks out of the experience: that tense chase or thrilling lift sequence just isn’t as scary on the seventh or eighth go round. Nevertheless, although it’s not the smart psychological horror I would have liked, Six’s journey is absolutely dripping with atmosphere
(and various unidentifiable icky liquids). There’s a cute, brief sequence in a room full of shoes that reminds me of Amnesia: The Dark Descent’s awful ‘water monster’, and a couple of puzzles towards the end involving mirrors convey – using no words at all – both story and solution with remarkable elegance. Ultimately, Little Nightmares doesn’t disturb anywhere near as much as it could, whether that be the conventions of the genre or the depths of horrorlovers’ psyches. What this horribeautiful indie does have to offer, despite its stumblings, is something a bit different: a spirited little spot of light.
The DualShock vibrates and thumps to a remarkably realistic heartbeat when enemies move closer and further away. Wicked stuff.
Too many puzzles involve sprinting one way, hitting something to make distracting noise, then legging it in the opposite direction. It gets old.
COMPEL-O-GR APH Interesting ending…
PLEASE DON’T SEE ME!
Bored at the feast.
IS IT BETTER THAN?
Lacklustre puzzling, fiddly controls and a brief runtime disappoint slightly. It’s not a must-play, but Six’s beautifully realised trip through The Maw is worth the small asking price and your afternoon. Jen Simpkins
This monochrome masterpiece outsmarts Little Nightmares (but design is a close call).
A unique-looking puzzle platformer. Little Nightmares outperforms it in terms of charm.
The current gold standard for the genre. Six’s story can’t hold a lighter to Playdead’s finest.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB DAVID OREILLY DEV DAVID OREILLY
FORMAT PS VR ETA OUT NOW PUB FRIMA STUDIO DEV FRIMA STUDIO
PS VR REVIEW
EVERYTHING All things to all people… and more
oo boy. Talk about a monumental task. I’ve taken on daunting reviews before; from once-in-a-generation classics to games so crushingly dull I’ve had to slap myself awake. What I’ve never done? Review a game that encompasses the vastness of the universe… in 275 words (approx). Eek. What an astonishing experience.1 ‘Videogame’ doesn’t cover it. You’re looking at an ambient adventure that does Everything. Undeniably arthouse, this is a game where you can listen to the musings of the late philosopher Alan Watts while you glide around the ocean as an entire continent. You can control and switch between hundreds of variants of flora and fauna – from single-celled amoebae to an entire lenticular galaxy – all with a tap of q. There’s no goal, per se. Everything is a vast sandbox of interconnected planets where you can ascend until you control the Solar System, then descend back to inhabit a scorpion. Sure, you can follow markers to complete bizarre objectives, like grouping together as a herd of mammoth, then making them sing. Really though, you should just absorb a sensory experience like no other… even if the engine is a tad ugly. But graphics be damned. You can exist as so many objects,2 from pebbles to shoes, it’s easier to list what you can’t be. You can’t be a PocketStation; or some Jelly Babies; or a VHS with that episode of Neighbours where Harold returns from the dead. Otherwise, you can pretty much be Everything. Weird yet wonderful, baffling yet beguiling, silly yet symbolic, this is a piece of art to make you appreciate the amazing absurdity of creation. Safe to say, it’s worth 12 quid. Dave Meikleham
FOOTNOTES 1 Creator David OReilly’s last game, Mountain, let you control a big hill. He’s become more ambitious. 2 Like in No Man’s Sky, you can catalogue every life form and planet you come across.
FATED: THE SILENT OATH Look who’s (not) talking
et me reel off some scenarios and see if any appeal. Dashing through a mountain pass as an ogre lurches out to smash your horse-and-cart. Crawling through a tunnel full of spiders (my inner arachnophobe is still furious with me). Walking at the pace of a sloth for an hour. You’re on board with Choice Three, right? Fated: The Silent Oath is an inoffensive VR adventure that becomes pretty darn offensive by being infuriatingly slow. Evolution moves faster than mute lead Ulfer. Said Viking has lost his gift of the gab due to mystical reasons,1 and over the course of 60 minutes this ponderous tale does its best to engage you with heartfelt interactions. Screw the earnest chatty bits, though. Ulfer’s tribe may be starving, yet you won’t care a jot. Most characters are overly stern archetypes. Ooh, what’s this? A disapproving father-in-law? I never! The trite plot2 centring around faith and the occasional 100-foot monster leaves me cold, but the action interludes are a little better. Hunting deer with accurate aim – Fated’s head-tracking is on-point. Tiptoeing over a log as massive axes try to shish-kebab Ulfer. Squinting at symbols as you push through a floor puzzle ripped straight out of Uncharted 3… and a heck of a lot of other games where the devs watched Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. Set-pieces are well choreographed, and the chunky cartoon aesthetic feels wholly believable in VR. Do these set-pieces justify it? Not quite. Fated is well-meaning but hollow. The VR is convincing – shame you can’t say the same for the paint-by-numbers Norse nonsense. Dave Meikleham
FOOTNOTES 1 Nod or shake your head with PS VR, and you can give yes or no responses to questions. 2 More episodes of Fated are promised. Let’s hope the story improves.
FORMAT PS VR ETA OUT NOW PUB STELLAR VR DEV STELLAR VR
PS VR REVIEW
KORIX Tower to the people
layStation VR has served up some eclectic experiences in its young life. Games where you cause grievous bodily harm to pieces of fruit. Surviving a rollercoaster ride run by a homicidal clown. A retro RTS where you command adorable troops that look like pieces of Lego. Guess which one I’m about to talk about. There’s a lovely story behind Korix. This tower defence throwback was developed by Mark Taylor, who quit his job to fulfil his dream of making games… with backing from Sony. His first game is pretty good, too. It’s a little muddled and overly complicated,1 but there’s some endearing execution on show. Your goal is to conquer the AI’s base before it can obliterate yours.2 You send out workers to gather energy, which can be spent on building walls, manning your defences with turrets, or sending out soldiers to attack the enemy’s HQ. There’s a demanding tactical tightrope to tread here. Spend too much on defences, and you won’t be able to amass enough forces to take down the opposition. Go gung-ho, and you leave your base vulnerable to counterattack. There’s an enjoyable ebb-and-flow to battles when you acclimatise to balancing assets. The start of the campaign is offputting, mind. Korix throws several metric tonnes of info at you, and getting your head around the truncated menus can be perplexing. Thanks to the panned-out view, virtual reality doesn’t add a tremendous amount to the experience, either. As PS VR games go, though, Korix is one of the more cerebrally taxing experiences you can wrap your headset around. There are tactical treats to be had if you can channel your inner Patton. Dave Meikleham
FOOTNOTES 1 Korix really is a little too keen to hit you with all the information when you first start off. 2 The AI is a challenging foe, but the game’s four-player online battles can prove more daunting.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SONY DEV THE BARTLET JONES SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVE AGENCY
LAST MONTH ON PS PLUS @itsJenSim
DANGER! Ha, made you flinch. But you’ll have to forgive me: I’m just setting the tone here, as danger is what April’s Instant Game Collection was all about. Not only did we contend with the multiplayer arena chaos of David Jaffe’s sketchy freebie, but we entered a very perilous spacetime with friends and got up to some very swift, very risky shinobi shenanigans. @itsJenSim
RIP IN PIECES
DRAWN TO DEATH
Take note of this fold-school arena shooter
alk about looking sketchy. On paper, it’s probably difficult to see why you should care even one jot about this obnoxious ’90s-style brawler. But you shouldn’t rule out this notebook-set PS Plus title: it’s a pulpy pleasure. And it’s anything but twodimensional. (Okay, I’m done with the paper puns.) Run-andgun online multiplayer-only battles are simple in concept – 2v2 clashes or Deathmatch free-for-alls – but are made deep and dynamic in design. Each of Drawn To Death’s launch roster of six weirdos boasts unique abilities. Some are mobility-based (robo-vamp Cyborgula’s power of flight) and others are for splitting heads like scribbly melons (animatronic mouse Alan’s chainsaw-lob). A rock-paperscissors mechanic means each ’toon has specific strengths and weaknesses against others. Alan’s melee deals bonus hurt to Diabla Tijuana – but if Johnny Savage smacks her with Devil’s Riff, she’ll absorb it as health. Manic action feels tight: movement around secretstuffed arenas is nicely bouncy, while attacks connect with meaty squelches. Tactics bleed through to the arsenal, too. Pack your chosen psycho-doodle’s loadout with fast-firing FU-47s, superaccurate sniper rifles named
Suzanne, or Uncle Joe – fire his corpse out of a coffin for a one-shot kill, but not before you’ve loaded the thing. Slowly yanking it out of the soil to an organ riff is a dead giveaway. There’s also fun in deciding when to bust out The Hand, a riotously meta, once-a-round deus ex machina.
ORIGAMI KILLER It’s one of the rare jokes that lands. While the idea of a game set between the pages of a 12-year-old’s notebook is inventive (the art style readable even in hectic firefights), the downside is that 80% of the “comedy” is cringey obscenity with more than a spattering of puerile poo gags. Busty halfshark, half-lady Ninjaw is my fave pick, with her wonderfully snappy grapple-hook and shield-producing aerial backflips – but the repetitive, offensive butchery of her fauxJapanese grates. Earning free Mystery Boxes is too much of a grind, launch modes are samey, and balanced matchmaking in Ranked battles is currently non-existent. All right, the new Overwatch it ain’t – but it’s far from tearable. (Sorry.) VERDICT
It’s ironic that a game so wilfully, tonally idiotic can be this cleverly designed. A smart, slick, and striking multiplayer curio that’s worth the digital paper it’s printed on. Jen Simpkins
I’ve noted down my full impressions of scribbly shoot-‘em-up DRAWN TO DEATH (PS4) over to the left, so let’s skip the remedial classes and jump straight into LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS SPACETIME. The other PS4-only offering this month was a two-to-four-player delight, and determined to test our relationships with its bonkers spaceship piloting. Steering its ridiculous craft through campaigns to rescue cute critters was a teamwork-based scream. No, really – my throat still hurts from yelling at my pals to “MAN THE BLOODY TURRETS!” The rage continued with ALIEN RAGE: EXTENDED EDITION on PS3 – and not just because of the name. The first-person sci-fi shooter was infuriating, thanks to its unnecessarily punishing difficulty and utter lack of anything original in its UFOswarmed endless corridors. At least it made us feel something: thoroughly average PS3 title INVISIMALS: THE LOST KINGDOM and its bland brand of collect-a-thon platforming made it all but, well, invisible to us. Another Plus-sized disappointment of a month for PS3 owners, then – and another opportunity for PS Vita to rescue us from mediocrity (with PS4 Cross Play to boot). Precision speedrun platformer 10 SECOND NINJA X had us addicted to shaving seconds off level completion times, while CURSES ‘N CHAOS’s adorably brutal 8-bit beat ‘em up made for a lovely portable timesink. Procrastination levels: critical.
Taking you closer to the games, movies and TV you love
Don’t miss our coverage of The Last of Us Part 2, with all the latest news, features, exclusive access, videos and more
this month online
on the store 98 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Continuum It’s back to the ‘70s with Infinite Warfare’s latest Zombies map set, and we get Pam Grier, too. Far out!
how to… 99 Get 2B an Engine Blade
on your xmb 100 The Great Wall A reminder that ‘Great’ can refer to size as well as quality. Still, there’s lots more to watch this month.
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Enjoy a bit of cartel-busting action with your mates – it’s the best way to play. #squadgoals
music 101 This month’s hottest tunes
online tests what we’re playing now
MULTIPLAYER MODES PUT THROUGH THEIR PACES BY OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS
Jen Simpkins has her foes bugging out Spider tank, spider tank, does whatever a spider tank does… which I can now confirm is “shred an enemy team”. Orisa is a lovable robo-beetle – but on the battlefield, she’s a terror. It’s not the rattle of her decently ranged Fusion Driver, nor the deployable, objective-defending shield I keep taunting my enemies with. Nope – it’s the ‘Halt!’ ability that proves to be the real winner. On a whim, I shoot this mini version of Zarya’s magnetic Graviton Surge over the edge of the bridge on Lijang Tower… and see it yoink a Mercy, a Mei, and a Reaper over with it. Oh, my sides.
PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2017 Ian Dean tests out the idea that you should ‘never go back’
I stopped playing PES 2017 last month because I had an 11-game winning run and didn’t want to lose that good feeling of playing ‘in the zone’. But you can’t avoid the inevitable, and so I returned to my winning 11 side… and failed miserably. Defeat after defeat was met with condemning looks from my cat. When your moggy looks at you with a regretful stare you know it’s time to question your life choices. PES is on pause for another month.
Ben Tyrer finds he’s now a league behind It’s been almost a year since I went cold(ish) turkey from Psyonix’s wonderful soc-car sim and I decide to dip my toes back in the water to see how it’s come on since my self-imposed exile. Turns out my skills are rustier than the underside of an ’80s Astra. One-on-one duels see me ship eight goals to my opponent. A round of doubles has my partner openly mocking me via the in-game chat, a pleasant reminder of how lovely the community isn’t. While Rocket League goes from strength to strength, my days of bicycle goals are in the rearview mirror.
INFO FORMAT PS4 PUB UBISOFT DEV UBISOFT PARIS REVIEW #135, 5/10
Ghost Recon Wildlands
It’s better with buddies – cartel your friends
bisoft’s latest open-world romp allows you to soar through the sky in a plane, skim over water in a boat, hover in the air in a helicopter, drift on a parachute back to earth, and tear across muddy roads on a dirt bike. Despite all these options, one of my friends refuses to conform – wherever we go, he always travels in the boot of our car. It’s absurd. Everything is better with friends. Teaming up with a bunch of pals and parachuting into Ghost Recon Wildlands’ Bolivia is no different. When you’re equipped with a headset, a microphone, and a good mate, even the bugs are funny. Dunking your pal in a river while he’s curled up in the boot of your car is downright hilarious. Hell, even the weird physics that happen as a result will elicit a chuckle, from dunkee as well as dunker. This co-op shooter’s flaws are more bearable when shared.
There’s no mistaking it – online co-op is the only way to play Wildlands if you want to have any fun. This is still a buggy mess of a game, but with a headset strapped to your face you’ll be able to share a joke or five about its jankiness. Like with my friend curled up in the foetal position in the back of a truck, you’ll revel in the game’s more ridiculous moments. There’s nothing quite like seeing a team of special
forces soldiers sneaking through a coca field, all supposedly working without the official backing of the US, each with the American flag painted across their face like a true, highly identifiable, patriot. The extra fun you’ll have in co-op isn’t all unintentional, though. The game is quite clearly designed around a team of pals co-ordinating attacks. It might be infuriating when your
IT FEELS INCREDIBLE WHEN YOU ALL WORK AS A TEAM AND YOUR PLAN GOES OFF WITHOUT A HITCH.
X MARKS A LOT
Things can get confusing when playing Wildlands online. The basics are: get enough intel from a region to draw out a boss, then murder them. Don’t let map clutter bog you down.
Here he is, laid in the boot like an absolute plum.
P Lego Worlds
Two customisable heads are better than one INFO FORMAT PS4 PUB WARNER BROS DEV TRAVELLER’S TALES REVIEW #135, 5/10
laying with my son, it’s almost possible to mistake this for a good game. Hearing him giggling down the headset because he’s bounding through the jungle on the back of a shark, you’d think he was playing something completely different. The thing is, my son is six. I played Zool on the Amiga when I was six, and I thought that was good. Zool! [It was good - Ed.] Lego Worlds is worth buying if you have kids, or the attention span of a six-year-old. Either way, you’ll need a responsible adult to deal with the issues: hard crashes, syncing problems, convoluted menus, and more. It took me 30 minutes to realise how to let my kid join me online, and even split-screen is a hassle to set up, requiring two accounts. VERDICT
Building and exploring with another player certainly improves Lego Worlds, but it only multiplies the potential issues you might face. Kirk McKeand
friend who’s bad at games keeps alerting a compound to your presence, but it feels incredible when you all work as a perfect team and your plan goes off without a hitch. There’s something novel about taking aim at an enemy soldier just in time to see a cloud of red mist spray into the wind, all thanks to a well-placed shot from a sniping buddy eliminating him for you. Night-time infiltration of bases via helicopter elicits similar thrills, with one player dropping off their squadmates via parachute at strategic locations as another sits on a nearby mountainside calling out targets. After a while, though, you’ll still get ground down by the game’s repetition and lack of mission variety (outpost clearing ad nauseam), if the long driving sections and inconvenient bugs don’t get to you first. Crucially, in a game as grimy as this, at least co-op lets you set the tone. VERDICT
Wildlands benefits from being played online, but it’s still far from an essential purchase thanks to bugs and design issues. You’ll have some fleeting fun. Kirk McKeand
T Mass Effect: Andromeda Kett a load of this INFO FORMAT PS4 PUB EA DEV BIOWARE REVIEW #125, 7/10
here’s no denying it feels weird for a story-driven RPG to have a fun multiplayer mode, but that’s the trick Bioware pulls off for the second time. A simple premise – four players work together to take out waves of enemies and survive until they can be extracted – facilitates frantic firefights and empowering moments of co-op gratification. Small maps make the most of the improved movement, which produces impressive improvisation. There are a few problems: it’s brutal in the early waves as you grind to level up characters, and there’s a heavy focus on supply boxes that can be bought with microtransactions, which will never be welcome. But, on the whole, there’s fun to be had here once you’ve saved the galaxy. VERDICT
While it won’t keep you away from the single-player for too long, this enjoyable diversion is a welcome showcase for the new combat controls. Ben Tyrer
on the store
EMPTY YOUR WALLETS NOW WITH THE LATEST DOWNLOADABLE DIVERSIONS expansion
SNIPER ELITE 4 – DEATHSTORM PART 1: INCEPTION Keep your eyes peeled in the first part of this campaign follow-up. You have been tasked with infiltrating the Rocca sul Mare naval base to get the “Deathstorm” package. With a name like that, we forecast a shower of bullets.
Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Continuum 098
Never fear, ’70s superstar Pam Grier is here
irst Call Of Duty gave us an ’80s theme park of terror to try and survive. Then we had to make it through a ‘90s rave without succumbing to the zombie horde. Where to this time, then? Instead of taking us forward, Infinity Ward is sending us back in time to ’70s New York City with Shaolin Shuffle. In the words of Ashley J Williams, “Groovy”. Jackie Brown herself, Pam Grier, is joining the Spaceland foursome, as they continue to try to escape from inside Willard Wyler’s films. They’ll have new melee weapons to decorate with undead brains, including katanas and nunchucks, while era-appropriate monsters mean you’ll see rollerskating zombies and more afros than you’d find in a struggling fancy dress shop.
Want more? There’s more. Get ready for four new maps for the main multiplayer: Scrap, which takes place on the moon, has clear sightlines that make it a sniper’s delight. Meanwhile, the threelaned Archive places you in a future art gallery, and Turista boasts a huge waterfall we’re definitely going to chuck
ourselves down. Y’know. For science. Finally, Rust from Modern Warfare 2 gets reimagining with Excess. While the shiny penthouse is much prettier to look at than the original’s oil yard, we’re glad to see the large pipe on the back of the map is still in place. If you don’t agree, then 1v1 us, skrub.
ROLLERSKATING ZOMBIES AND MORE AFROS THAN YOU’D FIND IN A STRUGGLING FANCY DRESS SHOP.
Get ready to storm the pitch with big bad Vin’s latest toy. The Ice Charger comes with a set of exclusive wheels and six unique decals. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you win by a single goal or ten. Winning’s winning. £7.99
NIOH – DRAGON OF THE NORTH
Also on PSN
ROCKET LEAGUE – THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS™ ICE CHARGER
Want more Ghost Recon Wildlands? Sure you do. How about going ‘full A-Team’ in 15 missions featuring stunt planes, monster trucks, and team skydiving? Treat yourself.
Race The Sun, an exPlaystation Plus freebie and endless runner, is getting full PS VR support, and this update also includes a relaxing new mode, Sunrise.
Minecraft: Console Edition’s new flying minigame asks you to swap the pickaxe for elytra wings and see how fast you can swoop through race tracks.
PERSONA 4 COSTUME & BGM SPECIAL SET
DUKE NUKEM’S BULLETSTORM TOUR
Persona 5’s throwback costume pack is perfect for fans who are willing to pay a fair chunk to show they’re Yasogami High for life. [Jen! – ed]
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition gets a guest in the form of everyone’s ‘favourite’ FPS relic. At least it’ll be better than his last tour...
Been hankering after some more demon slashing? This story add-on has hero William travelling to the Oshu region to tackle the growing Yokai threat there. Fortunately, he’s getting a new weapon – a whopping great odachi – and armour to aid in his new boneshatteringly tough fight.
how to… doctor playstation Our console medic fixes your tech woes with actual science
Demystify Nier: Automata Uncover the enigmatic sequel’s coolest secrets STEp 1 TREAT YOURSELF TO AN ENGINE BLADE
STEp 2 GO TOE-TOTOE (TWICE) WITH EMIL
STEp 3 TRIGGER THE BEST ‘JOKE’ ENDINGS
the problem Oh, Yoko Taro. The daddy of all things Nier is as maniacal as the Doc, with his penchant for meta tricks and Easter eggs. Fed up with his cryptic nonsense? I’ve got the info you need.
I never go anywhere without a blade handy; you just never know when a Mafia boss is going to pop up and demand repayment. (I needed that top-of-the-range blender. For… medical reasons.) You’ll want to hook up Nier: Automata protagonist 2B with a big ol’ protective knife of her own – why not make it Noctis’ Engine Blade from Final Fantasy XV? The secret weapon in question is found towards the endgame in the ‘Twisted Religion’ mission. As you escape from the Factory, head past the conveyor belt, up into the nearby tower (taking care to dole out hot, nasty murders to the enemies inside) and through the door on the left. Go left again and up the stairs, and you’ll find a break in the railings. Double jump out and left across the platforms to another tower, where you’ll find a chest containing Nocty’s special sword. (Oh, you are incorrigible.)
Emil’s a moon-faced weapon boy after my own cold, dead heart: he loves a jolly ol’ punch-up. Back from the first game, he’s not spoiling for one fight… but two. First, make sure you’ve finished Emil’s ‘Lunar Tear’ quest. Find him in the overworld and he’ll invite you to his underground gaff. Fancy. While you’re there, channel your inner ‘Doc PlayStation one week before payday’ and start nicking stuff. Find him again in the overworld and he’ll lament the theft, then go back to his house for round two (you’ll need your white-haired pal 9S for hacking). Emil will catch you red-handed as you leave, thoroughly ticked off to the tune of a level 99 boss fight. And if that isn’t enough for you? Collect and upgrade all weapons in the game to at least level four – it’ll unlock a side-quest to another unexpectedly emotional level 99 Emil boss fight.
There are a whopping 26 endings for Nier: Automata. Yep, 26. That’s more endings than I’ve had successful surgeries! Some are good, some are bad, but most are just plain silly. Here’s how to get a few of my faves. Instead of battling the machines trying to break through the gate on the way to Pascal’s Village, run away from the ‘operational area’ to trigger Ending L. You’ll need 2B’s ‘self-destruct’ function activated to see Ending U. Fight against, you know, every instinct in your body and set it off while inside the space-bound Bunker. Ending K will play out if you do one of two things: fish at the coast and catch a mackerel to eat – or check your email. You’ll have a message from a resistance member named Jackass. Meet her at the Desert Camp and she’ll give you the fish, suggesting you scarf it down for “science”…
Ain’t no videogame virtuoso gonna mess with your mind. You’ve got one-up on Taro-san, ready to expose even his most deviously hidden treasures and traps with your new knowledge. And in heels, no less.
Show your online competitors who’s the real King Of The Iron Fist with the Doc’s hottest Tekken 7 tips.
on your XMB
coming soon DAREDEVIL SEASON 2
Marvel’s Man Without Fear meets The Punisher, with Elektra-fying consequences, in the second season of the superlative Netflix series.
LA LA LAND
15 MAY Infamous Oscar loss aside, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s musical romance is a swoon-some love letter to Golden Age Hollywood. A must.
Far from perfect it may be, but Michael Fassbender’s big-screen Creed does an admirable job of taking its subject seriously.
22 MAY The X-Factor meets Zootopia in Garth Jennings’ family-friendly CG toon about anthropomorphic animals who take part in a local singing competition.
XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
Fifteen years after outrunning an avalanche on a snowboard, Vin Diesel’s unlikely super-spy is back.
The Great Wall Built on poor foundations
O This is currently the most expensive movie ever shot in China, at $135 million.
ne of the biggest man-made constructs in human history, the Great Wall of China is over 13,000 miles long, and is said to be visible from space. Matt Damon was presumably presented with a cheque of similarly colossal size to star in this hopeless, CGI-saturated snore-fest about the soldiers who defend China from an invading army of psychic lizard monsters lurking beyond the Wall. Set in the 11th Century, during the Song Dynasty, Damo stars as a weary mercenary travelling to China in search of gunpowder. At the Wall he discovers a squad of soldiers in aesthetically pleasing, colour co-ordinated armour, known as the Nameless Order, who are engaged in a last-ditch attempt to save China, and the world, from the invading monstrous Taotie. A disaster in almost every respect, The Great Wall is built on the shakiest of foundations, with a risible script that makes almost no sense from the first
line to the wearisome finale. Character development is nonexistent, the creatures so bland you forget what they look like as you’re looking at them, while the action is as pulsequickening as a lazy Sunday in front of Gardener’s World. There are moments of beauty, as you’d expect from a director of Zhang “Hero” Yimou’s inarguable talents – with acrobatic soldiers bungee jumping off the Wall in formation, or a sequence set in a stained-glass tower that bathes every scene in a rainbow glow – but it’s a wonder this wall ever got planning permission. Jordan Farley
UNDERWORLD: 29 MAY BLOOD WARS The fifth(?!) film in the Underworld series sees Selene once again mired in the ancient war between werewolves and vampires.
29 MAY Greasy-haired welldweller Samara has been exhumed from her cinematic grave for this unnecessary, and ultimately frightless, American Ring reboot.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US
Asa Butterfield falls for a girl on the internet – so far so 21st century. The twist here: he was born and raised on Mars!
Twenty years after the original Trainspotting, Ewan McGregor and co. choose a sequel that sees the boys stuck in the past.
5 JUN James McAvoy plays a child abductor with 23 distinct (and often unpleasant) split personalities in M Night Shyamalan’s spellbinding return to form.
FORMAT ALBUM ETA OUT NOW PRICE £7.99
Hacksaw Ridge shot its war scenes on the same location as Mad Max: Fury Road’s Citadel.
Hacksaw Ridge Andrew Garfield goes gunless
ased on the remarkable true life tale of American soldier Desmond T. Doss – a Seventh Day Adventist and conscientious objector who won the Medal Of Honor, the US’ highest military honour, despite never firing a single shot – Hacksaw Ridge features the most ferocious on-screen battle scenes since Saving Private Ryan’s beach landing. And the soppiest love story since The Notebook. It’s this strange mix of saccharine romance and ultra-violent war movie that gives Hacksaw Ridge its peculiar power. Former Spidey Andrew Garfield plays Doss with a cheesy grin and Gump-like Southern charm. In the first half he woos his nurse sweetheart Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) before enlisting for battle after the outbreak of World War 2. In boot camp Doss is bullied for his beliefs, his fellow squaddies understandably terrified of going into battle with a man who’s so opposed to violence, he refuses to carry a gun. It’s in the hellfire of Okinawa that the film’s slow build pays off; you’ll be sincerely invested in, and
affected by, the brutal on screen bloodshed. And boy is it appalling, the camera unflinching as human bodies are ravaged by chunks of incendiary metal. Relentlessly intense, and with sound designed to terrorise, simply watching the battle proves a physically draining experience. Director Mel Gibson may lack restraint when it comes to the film’s Christian symbolism – Doss’ heroics are labelled a “miracle” shortly after he’s glimpsed in a crucifix pose. And the romantic first half won’t sit well with anyone expecting a ballistic war movie. But Hacksaw Ridge is a timely reminder that war really is hell. Jordan Farley
Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s virtual band returns after six years away. On the guestlist: rappers Danny Brown and Vince Staples, dancehall king Popcaan, and on We Got The Power, backing vocals from Albarn’s old Britpop nemesis, Noel Gallagher. www.gorillaz.com
SIGRID DON’T KILL MY VIBE FORMAT TRACK ETA OUT NOW PRICE £0.99
The latest Scandinavian pop export is this 20-yearold from rural Norway. Don’t Kill My Vibe is a blend of teen sass and vulnerability, presented with a whooshing emotion that suggests Sigrid might follow Robyn into the charts’ upper echelons. facebook.com/thisissigrid
SLOWDIVE SUGAR FOR THE PILL FORMAT ALBUM ETA OUT NOW PRICE £7.99
In the ‘90s, Slowdive were leading lights of shoegaze, an ethereal brand of British rock music. Now they’re returning with their first LP in 22 years, and Sugar For The Pill indicates their skill for dreamy atmospherics is untarnished by time. facebook.com/slowdive
ALGIERS THE UNDERSIDE OF POWER FORMAT SINGLE ETA 23 JUNE PRICE £7.99
Post-punk, hip-hop and soul power meet in the debut album from Atlanta’s Algiers – perfect for songs like Cry Of The Martyrs and Death March that address racism, police brutality and the rise of Fascism. It’s hard to think of a record that feels more timely. algierstheband.com
CL AS SI C GA ME
Guns, guns, guns… and more guns. There’s one thing Black did well, and that was to turn pulling a trigger into an art form.
INFO PUB EA DEV CRITERION GAMES RELEASED 2006 GET IT NOW AMAZON, £ 0.99
NEED TO KNOW
1 2 3
Gun noises took cues from Arnie’s True Lies Uzi. Real-time blur effects are used when reloading. Oscar winner Michael Giacchino wrote its theme.
To p G u n CL
Every month we celebrate the most important, innovative or just plain great games from PlayStation’s past. This month, we burst our ear drums and ruin our trigger fingers firing PS2’s most devastating firearms…
AS SI C GA ME
e should all thank The Matrix on a daily basis. Oh sure, Morpheus using one of those Nokia flip-out phones now looks roughly as cool as trying to make a long distance call from a slab of cement with a coat hanger antenna. But c’mon, without the Wachowskis’ classic sci-fi that lobby scene would never exist. And if Neo and Trinity had never turned those office pillars into Swiss cheese, Criterion would never have made a game with the best guns on PS2. That statement probably seems a touch too definitive, right? After all, there were a lot of first-person shooters on PlayStation 2. What exactly makes Black so special? We’ll tell you, buster: guns… lots of gu… Ahem. Plenty of games have virtual firearms, of course, but up until 2006, no shooter had treated the primal act of firing them quite as fetishistically as the Burnout developer. When Criterion co-founder Alex Ward originally did the press junket for his studio’s one and only FPS, he came out with some belting quotes. None more so than the gem that Black was going to, “do for shooting what Burnout did for racing – tear it apart.” Now that’s
a quote. Turns out, it was a soundbite with real teeth, too. Criterion promised Black would give gamers “Gun-Porn”, and short of dressing a Colt revolver in a PVC catsuit, then asking it to seduce the pizza delivery guy, it could not have delivered on that promise in more emphatic style.
Don’t misunderstand what Black is. It’s not a narratively rich shooter. It’s not a clever shooter. Hell, it’s not even a particularly interesting shooter. No, it’s just a game where you could blast away at a brick wall for five minutes, and be genuinely enthralled by the result. We kid you not. Firing a gun in Black is so exciting, even the process of hitting a brick wall and admiring how the mortar gets chipped away, endures in the memory 11 years on. Criterion wanted to make a game where you’d be, “able to have fun with a gun in an empty room,” and Ward and co. certainly achieved their
EVERY GUN IN THE GAME HITS LIKE A SLEDGEHAMMER SWUNG BY KING KONG.
QTake too many hits, and Black goes into slow-mo.
QThose walls will stop a bullet, right? Nuh-uh.
mission statement. Whether you’re unleashing shells from a Remington 870 shotgun, blasting away with a Beretta, or unloading round after round with an Enfield L85A1 assault rifle, every gun in the game hits like a sledgehammer obliterating meringue… a sledgehammer swung by King Kong. And that’s entertaining. Everything in Black was built to showcase those guns. Weapon handling felt supremely weighty. The BAFTAwinning sound design was impeccable – some guns were so loud, you worried they would make your speakers implode. And on top of all that, the selection of primarily Chechnya-based levels were so deliciously destructible, so temptingly blastable, they could only have been built by the same shoddy contractors who put that Matrix reception area together. Picturing Black without its environment-shattering guns is like imagining a fully-fledged Uncharted sans Nathan Drake. It doesn’t bear thinking about. If Criterion’s shooter didn’t have its fabulous firearms, it would be a very empty experience indeed. The completely forgettable plot about CIA black ops makes your average Call Of Duty story look like a Casablanca-beater. It didn’t really do setpiece spectacle. Oh, and the guards were thicker than old porridge. But… the weapons are ruddy amazing. Even a decade on, Black is still “the game with the guns”. With Criterion scheduled to play a big part in developing this year’s Star Wars Battlefront II, let’s hope it still remembers how to shoot first.
QEvery guard acts like a Hollywood stunt double.
TI ME MA CH IN E
Name that game Guess the four games, and their scores, from these review quotes
OPM TIME MACHINE
5 YEARS AGO
The cover of OPM #71 was dark, but the future was bright, as our world exclusive look at COD: Black Ops 2 showed
IT’S GOOD AT CHANGING THE PACE BY INTRODUCING LENIENT STEALTH BITS TO SOOTHE YOUR TRIGGER FINGER.
3 ONE SCENE, WHERE YOU’RE CREEPING ACROSS ROOFTOPS AND STRINGS OF RED LANTERNS, IS SO PRETTY IT WOULDN’T LOOK OUT OF PLACE IN A PIXAR FILM.
Above The thing that really excited us was sandbox gameplay coming to Call Of Duty for the first time – but the new weapons and advanced tech was nearly as mouthwatering. As the game is set in 2025, shouldn’t we have some of it by now?
Below left Louise Blain took on pop star Ladyhawke. The winner? Let’s just say the Goat was called in. Below right We loved Prototype 2’s 9/11-meetsCloverfield vibe. Shame there’s never been a sequel.
4 A CONCENTRATED BLAST OF RHYTHM ACTION GOODNESS… ITS TRIPLE-NOTE, MULTI-LANE SETUP’S A JOY FOR THE FINGERS. 1. Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, issue #104, 8/10. 2. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, issue #83, 3/10. 3. Mini Ninjas, issue #36, 7/10. 4. Amplitude, issue #119, 8/10.
THIS TENVOLUME CATALOGUE OF FUGLY WOULDN’T NECESSARILY HAVE BEEN A COMPLETE DEAL-BREAKER HAD OFFING THE UNDEAD BEEN FUN.
Far left What’s more important: a creative vision, or pleasing the masses? In the case of Mass Effect 3’s ending, we couldn’t agree. Left News of FIFA 13’s more realistic ball control left us fearing our PlayStation games would mirror our five-a-side ones.
DON’T MAKE ME PLAY!
SILENT HILL 4: THE ROOM Don’t like it. Never tried it. Every month we force one of our team to play their most feared game
WHAT? INFO PUB KONAMI
DEV KONAMI RELEASED 2004, PS2 GET IT NOW EBAY, £10 (SECONDHAND)
Silent Hill 4 puts you in the role of Henry Townshend, a man living in a town neighbouring Silent Hill, who awakes to find his flat chained up and spawning portals to different dimensions.
Chris Scullion fancies himself as a bit of a horror B-movie expert. If you haven’t already seen Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, he doesn’t want to know you.
ack in 2006 I bought The Silent Hill Collection on PS2, which consisted of Silent Hill 2, 3 and 4. Although I loved the second and third games, I decided within five minutes that I hated the fourth and never played any more of it. I think it was because it opened with a first-person section, which threw me a bit. Being an entitled sod at the time, I dropped a NotMySilentHill hashtag (well, I would have if hashtags existed) and vowed never to play it again. And yet, here I am now. Annoyingly, playing it properly for the first time, I realise I was an idiot, because not all of the game is in first-person, only the sections in the titular room (Henry’s boarded-up apartment, which acts like a sort of hub between all the normal third-person bits). The majority of gameplay is your typical Silent Hill style.
THE WEIRD TWOHEADED CHERUB HAD ME SQUEALING LIKE A HELIUM JUNKIE.
QGiant creepy heads, mutant baby things, evil toadstools on sticks, angry ghost women… it’s safe to say there have been more subtle games on PlayStation consoles over the years.
I’ve decided this fourth entry is probably the scariest game in the series, too. Silent Hill’s monsters are pant-churningly creepy at the best of times but some of the swines in this game – the weird two-headed cherub thing being a particular ‘highlight’ – had me squealing like a helium junkie. It isn’t perfect, though. The increased emphasis on combat compared to the other Hills is annoying, and I hate that the only place in the entire game where you can save or arrange your inventory is the room, meaning playing is a constant back-and-forth where you head off to a certain location, get so far, have to come back so you can save and store some items, then head out again. There’s a lot of faffing around. It isn’t the best game in the series, then – that’s still Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, in my eyes. But despite its flaws Silent Hill 4: The Room isn’t anywhere near as bad as I’ve assumed it is for well over a decade.
HA LL OF FA ME
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CURRENT-GEN’S GREATEST GAMES
PS4 HALL OF FAME 1
UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END
Nathan Drake’s swansong is a daring evolution. It combines seriesdefining set-pieces, quietly devastating storytelling beats and sprawling levels that make you feel like a real-life explorer. This franchise finale retains its signature charm, with the wisecracks flowing as fast as the bullets, while the new characters each justify their inclusion. With an astonishing attention to detail, it’s Naughty Dog’s best yet.
THE LAST GUARDIAN
METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN
STREET FIGHTER V
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
DESTINY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
After a decade in development, Ueda’s PS4 debut is both a technical marvel and emotionally devastating. Trico’s mannerisms make it feel like a real creature – one we truly care about – while escaping The Nest is a captivating test. Some things are worth waiting for.
While retaining that distinct storytelling and sense of wonder that defines an MGS title, MGS V offers a level of freedom and creativity unheard of in any sandbox. Grand, majestic and bittersweet, it’s an instant classic.
Laughing in the face of other cross-gen ports, GTA V on PS4 is more than just a mere HD remaster. Upped to a glorious 1080p, it weaves everything that made the PS3 original great, with new music, more dynamic weather and a game-changing FPS mode.
RESIDENT EVIL VII: BIOHAZARD
Capcom’s greatest series returns to terrifying form thanks to a trip to Louisiana to meet the Baker family, who stalk you around their mansion. While the second half of the game doesn’t match the intensity of the first, this is a must for any horror fan.
Mechanically, this is as close to perfection as any fighter on console – everyone from hardcore fans to first-timers can grab a pad/fightstick and have serious fun. The launch game’s lean, but with free add-ons coming all the time, it keeps getting better.
Bundling the base game and all four expansions (September’s Rise Of Iron included) into one bumper package, this is the most complete and moreishly satisfying shooter any PS4 owner could wish for.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
HORIZON ZERO DAWN
THE LAST OF US REMASTERED
Atlus’ anime wonder dazzles thanks to its mix of friendship building, stylish dungeons, and speedy turn-based combat. Add a story oozing with darkness and taboo-busting confidence and you have the new gold standard for JRPGs on PS4.
The White Wolf’s epic journey is an RPG experience like no other on PS4. It’s been made even more spectacular with this gigantic pack stuffed with DLC, making this a must-have part of any gaming library.
A staggeringly large world that condenses cracking combat, accessible systems and uncut eye-candy into an action RPG that will please anyone. With Aloy, PlayStation might just have a new icon. Come for the robo-fights, stay for the exquisitely dense mythology.
With the finest third-person melee combat in gaming, drool-worthy art design and the most twisted monsters imaginable, this is a gorgeously Gothic must-have. The Old Hunters expansion adds enough nightmare fuel to make a Yharnam return essential.
This strong follow-up to one of PS3’s greatest mixes a creative skillset with impressive level design to create a Kaldwin-ning immersive sim. From the shifting rooms of The Clockwork Mansion to discovering how to link your powers, there’s near-endless scope for experimenting.
Respawn’s mech masterclass crashes onto PlayStation, bringing an inventive single-player story (including some of the finest levels ever to grace PS4) and a fluid multiplayer that rewards creative thinking. This is now the gold standard for pure shooters on PS4.
This modern masterpiece just gets stronger with age, like a full-bodied stilton. A starkly brutal, emotionally honest take on the end of the world, Naughty Dog’s stealth shooter is quite simply one of the best games ever, even if this PS4 port doesn’t add much to it.
PS4’s best multiplayer shooter bursts with colour, character and charm. At its core, Overwatch is a pleasing mix of empowerment and teamwork, enhanced by a raucous roster. Expect to become obsessed with landing Play Of The Game. Boop.
Using the story of William Adams as the basis for a mash-up of Japanese folklore and sadistically punishing combat, this bruising adventure will push your skills as far as possible, especially in the boss battles. A potential heir to the Dark Souls crown.
TES V: SKYRIM SPECIAL EDITION
Last-gen’s best RPG gets a remaster that will shave months off your life all over again. All manner of graphical upgrades breathe new life into Tamriel, while bugs are a much rarer occurrence. Mod support’s sadly limited by Sony, but it’s still ace.
Alternative picks We mine PS4’s library for gold. This month: games with film/comic links P IC K
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT
DARK SOULS III
Rocksteady’s hanging up of the cowl is the Batman game of Ben Tyrer’s dreams
Offering heady nostalgia for veterans, as well as one of PS4’s most well-realised worlds for first-timers, From Software’s masterpiece is one of PlayStation’s most rewarding challenges. It’s a fitting conclusion to a mesmerising and engrossing RPG treasure.
Batman’s PS4 debut rarely gets the love it deserves, considering the immense juggling act it pulls off. Improving on the series’ fantastic fighting, nailing the open world of Gotham, and finding a powerful conclusion to the trilogy’s main story all at once is no mean feat. And skidding into crumbling walls in the Batmobile is sheer brilliance. Could do with more Catwoman, mind.
The ultimate puzzle game? Thekla, Inc’s behemoth boasts one of PS4’s most stylishly inviting, and resolve-testing, worlds to explore. It then crams it so full of secrets that even the platinum isn’t the end of the adventure. It’s a true original.
P IC K
ATTACK ON TITAN: WINGS OF FREEDOM
Jen Simpkins recommends an anime tie-in that’ll turn anyone into Slash Gordon
The best gets better. PES 2017 improves on all the bits we love: crisp passing, natural animations, blasting shots. A rejuvenated Master League recaptures the brilliance of the PS2 era, meaning solo sessions are just as fun as couchplay matches.
By going back to the start of Kazuma Kiryu’s tale in the ’80s, the action-RPG series turns out its best entry yet. A new fighting system allows you to change styles on the fly. The perfect starting point for newbies, a resounding success for veterans.
Six years in the making, the follow-up to Limbo is a harrowing adventure that resonates long after it’s finished. The 2D trek through an oppressive and dangerous world is crammed with cunning puzzles, horrifying deaths and a stunning end sequence.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
The definitive edition of an excellent sequel, giving PlayStation players the chance to wander the halls of Croft Manor in VR, fight off zombies, survive the wilderness in co-op and, you know, enjoy the main course that is Lara’s Syrian and Siberian caper.
When this cannibal giant-slaying sim (based on one of my all-time fave animes) was announced, I feared it’d be more tie-in tat. But the grappleflying movement system feels as good as it looks on the show, and lopping off Titan limbs with your dual blades is a gratifying gore-fest. It even does a stellar job of recounting the story for new fans.
LOPPING OFF TITAN LIMBS WITH YOUR DUAL BLADES IS A GRATIFYING GORE-FEST. P IC K
INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US
Ian Dean gets reacquainted with Warner’s first DC spine-snapping brawler Put down your DualShock and turn your gaminggaze to Injustice: Gods Among Us. It’ll remind you why the forthcoming sequel should be top of your summer playlist. Cookie-cutting DC characters onto Mortal Kombat’s gameplay shouldn’t work, but it does. After all, who doesn’t love a headmelting Trumpian Superman? It’s camp, it’s violent, and you can play as Shazam. Flawless.
The premier current-gen racer leaves its rivals for dust due to gorgeous graphics, strong social features and great handling. Major add-on Driveclub Bikes is also the greatest bike racing game on PS4, thanks to making driving on two wheels fun again.
Explore Ridley Scott’s original vision of a horrortinged future in startling fidelity with an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive. It’s time to remember what made the xenomorph so scary in the first place… and then get killed by it.
QSupes always seems a bit overpowered to us. As well as
stultifyingly dull. The whole of the OPM team are on Team Bats.
HA LL OF FA ME
THE VIRTUAL REALITY HITS YOU HAVE TO PLAY
PS VR HALL OF FAME 1
Fifteen years after the original’s release, the psychedelic rhythm rail shooter has achieved its final form. In PS VR, creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s vision becomes reality, the glittering polygonal tranceworld and pounding techno inspiring total synaesthesia within you. Its crowning achievement? New level Area X, powerful enough to bring players to tears. Deserving of its name, this is a truly timeless title.
KEEP TALKING AND NOBODY EXPLODES
PLAYSTATION VR WORLDS
RESIDENT EVIL VII: BIOHAZARD
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT ROGUE ONE: X-WING VR MISSION
RIGS: MECHANIZED COMBAT LEAGUE
JOB SIMULATOR: THE 2050 ARCHIVES
BATMAN: ARKHAM VR
I EXPECT YOU TO DIE
THE PLAYROOM VR
Make no mistake: the brave chrome beetle gave Rez a run for its money for our top spot. Hurtling down a violently kaleidoscopic track, pounding notes and scraping round corners is exquisitely tough – and the manic magic is enhanced and perfected in PS VR.
Who knew bombs could bring people together? With one headsetted Defuser, and as many Experts as you can fit around a 23-page manual, no other VR game comes close for inclusive, endless multiplayer fun.
Can you can go eye-to-eye with the Bakers? Playing in VR raises the tension to almost unbearable levels and has gameplay benefits such as face-aiming, which makes shooting a lot easier. A brilliant example of how VR can improve already great games.
Climbing into the cockpit of an X-wing is one of the most potent bits of wish-fulfilment on PS VR. It may only be 15 minutes long, but this free Star Wars Battlefront DLC is a magical portal into the movies.
No-one can resist a freebie, least of all when it’s this adorable. The Playroom robots return in a multiplayer mini-game collection designed for all, besting many premium titles with its quality. (Play ace platformer Robot Rescue; pray for a full-length sequel.)
An ingenious mix of party game and paranoia-fuelled investigation, your group needs to chat to identify which of you is the werewolf. Getting the right mix of chums is essential, but you won’t even notice the full moon rising as you figure out who is the monster.
The demo disc that ate all the other demo discs and absorbed their power. This impeccably crafted (but occasionally puke-inducing) five-game variety show has you pull off heists and go face-to-face with sharks in some of VR’s most immersive experiences.
With its sassy robot, pinpoint-accurate motiontracking and block-stacking brainteasers, the virtual reality version of the PS3 physics puzzler is utterly absorbing. Multiple modes including lasers, mines and ticking timers make it PS VR’s smartest entry.
The headset’s most complex treat hides fiendish systems under the minimalist glow of its art style. Looking for hours of smooth, satisfying tank warfare? If you’re strong of stomach, you’ll find it in the immersive cockpits, roguelike campaigns and co-op.
The distant future; the year 2050. The 9-to-5 is history, so this hilarious sim lets you simulate your wildest, funniest grafting dreams of chucking eggs at punters and photocopying your own brain.
Mech-suited, shooter b-ball where you dunk yourself through the hoop? It might sound goofy, but it’s PS VR’s most elegant team sport. Potential nausea aside, this is the future of competitive gaming.
Not only is the training mission an unparalleled exercise in wish fulfilment (Wayne Manor! The Batcave! Batarangs!) but the defiantly sharp, if short, campaign is the epilogue to Arkham Knight we needed and deserved. Bats off to you, Rocksteady.
You’re a ’60s-esque super-spy taking on escape room challenges in this stylish puzzler. Your secret agent might not be able to move, but a handy control scheme allows you to psychokinetically control objects. Worth it for the Bond-aping opening credits.
Shepherding young Bess through a candy-coloured world in the clouds is made nausea-free and constantly fresh by this puzzler’s innovative controls. Switching from third- to first-person perspective is a clever twist, making this one of PS VR’s sweetest.
YOUR EVERY NEED FOR ON-THE-GO GOODNESS
PS VITA HALL OF FAME 1
Peerless crafty platforming from Media Molecule, this time using PS Vita’s raft of touchscreen/ touchpad controls to surprise and delight you in new ways for hours on end. Full of whimsy, charm and enough personality to put most games to shame, Tearaway’s papercraft world remains Vita’s most vibrant title.
PERSONA 4: GOLDEN
This thoughtful and unique JRPG epic gives you another stab at high school – only this time with intrigue and superpowers instead of nerves, acne and an unpredictable vocal register.
Rather than losing its lustre on the move to PS Vita, Ray’s second slice of sumptuous side-scrolling is even better on handheld. Touchscreen gestures make this fine platformer all the sweeter.
METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION
Two of PlayStation’s finest adventures scale down beautifully, with enough cutscenes to fill a transatlantic flight. Even less excuse not to play, then.
With more than a subtle nod of its fedora to a certain whip-wielding Dr Jones, Spelunky’s procedurally generated dungeons and platformer/roguelike mashup shines brightest on PS Vita.
SUPER MEAT BOY!
CRYPT OF THE NECRODANCER
A ludicrously enjoyable puzzle/platformer hybrid that should come with a health warning. So joyous is the side-scroller’s twin-stick teleporting, there’s a danger you’ll smile your face clean off the bone.
Sackboy’s back, smaller but just as lovable as ever. His platforming antics work perfectly on Vita, and the new control inputs complement the level creator brilliantly. Also: d’awwww.
The new music doesn’t match up to the classic tunes, but Meat Boy’s longawaited PlayStation debut is the finest, fleshiest twitch platformer of all. An essential, thumb-destroying masterpiece.
Part puzzler, part top-down murder-‘em-up that’s as brutal as almost anything else on PlayStation. It’s hard but never frustrating, with instant restarts and lightning-fast gameplay.
Take Guitar Hero and Spelunky, then whack them in a blender. You’ll get this gem, with its addictive soundtrack and moreish rhythm-action monster-slaying.
FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER
UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS
Two examples of JRPG royalty, lovingly restored to their former glory for your portable pleasure. Their new touch controls are – gasp! – a welcome addition.
This mind-bending, tongue-in-cheek visual novel takes something as simple as a mobile phone and turns it into a timetravelling extravaganza that’s fit to bursting with comedy and drama.
Use a gravity-defying cat to break the laws of physics and zoom across the skies of a floating steampunk city. With stylish comic-book looks and a sassy heroine, this is a rush to remember.
There’s an engrossing simplicity that powers Moppin’s surprise hit. All you can do is move left and right and fire your gunboots, yet hours later, we still can’t turn it off. Fair to say it’s gone down well.
Drake proves he’s just as adept at adventuring on the go. A prequel story plump with classic jungle action, and crammed full of typical Uncharted charm.
PARTING SH T
Celebrating PlayStation’s finest moments
Snark at the moon Destiny’s deadpan Dinklebot delivers meme gold
Last Month Broken Sword 5
The point-andclick puzzler really gets our goat with an unexpectedly “shameful” cameo.
FORMAT PS3, PS4 / PUB ACTIVISION / DEV BUNGIE / RELEASED 2014 / SCORE 9/10
e’ve just heroically shotgunned our way through Skywatch, taken down several waves of Hive baddies, and blasted a powerful Wizard into space dust. The least our wee robot pal could do is try to sound enthusiastic. Maybe Game Of Thrones star Peter Dinklage was having a bad day in the recording booth, but his performance as friendly Guardian tech-compass Ghost in Destiny’s public alpha was flatter than a steamrolled pancake. The hilarious syrup on top of this stack of vocal mediocrity? A mission called ‘The
Dark Within’, in which P. Dinky closes out a frantic firefight by snoring the immortal line “That Wizard came from the moon.” Cheesy writing and laughably lacklustre delivery combined to create the perfect internet memestorm. Dance remixes. Fan art. Even Bungie-approved T-shirts made an appearance, to the delight of Guardians everywhere. Sadly, all unintentionally hilarious things must come to an end in the name of quality, and the beta build came with newly-recorded lines from Dinklebot. But the MMO shooter is nothing if not excellent
at preserving its history (those whispers in the once-noble Loot Cave, anyone?), and it was soon discovered that the line had been sneakily added back in with The Dark Below expansion. There were even rumours that Tower vendor Eris Morn could be heard cracking wise about the lunar lunacy… Dinklebot was eventually patched out completely in favour of Nolan North’s likeable Light – but we’ll always have the memories. And the T-shirt. And, until September, Dinklebot’s most famous line will pop up as an Easter egg in the Age Of Triumph in-game event. Q
Next Month Uncharted 4
A PlayStation icon turning up in Nate’s latest adventure? Boulder dash! *wink*
O N S A L E 8 June Subscribe on page 70
HELLBLADE EXCLUSIVE We go behind the curtain at Ninja Theory to see how the magic is made.
How The Farm 51 is rejecting videogame conventions to create its fresh, and disturbing, vision lance over the shoulder of somebody playing Get Even, and you might think you know what it is. But if you were then to compare notes with someone else who did the same thing a minute or two after you, you might be surprised at how different their interpretation is. Is The Farm 51’s game a first-person shooter? A horror adventure? Some kind of puzzle game, perhaps? The confusing answer is that it is all of these things, and none of them. “Get Even is a completely different game to what you might expect,” producer Lionel Lovisa explains. “We’ve called it a psychological thriller, and it is heavily influenced by incredible movies such as Memento, Inception, and Oldboy. It’s a mixture of gameplay mechanics, sound, and storytelling that delivers on many levels.” The game follows protagonist Cole Black’s nightmarish struggle with amnesia, imprisonment, and
This is supposed to be part of Cole Black’s treatment. Maybe we should’ve gone private.
disorientation. Black remembers nothing from his past except for what appears to be a botched hostage rescue attempt. He awakes to find himself in a partially repurposed, run-down asylum filled with deluded, dangerous, and mistreated inmates. The person who has brought him here, a mysterious presence who only communicates via TV screens installed around the building and uses a male and female voice, explains that everything that will happen is part of Black’s treatment. But to what end, and what it will involve, is left unsaid.
ALL THE FEELS “The goal here is to deliver an emotional journey that the player will not expect at first,” Lovisa continues. “We wanted to have a game that will speak to a mature audience, something that has meaning, something that will move you, and where you must do something other than save the world. It’s an emotional rollercoaster: we will put you in the cart and make you feel many different things. It’s like when you watch a
moving film – you feel excitement, intrigue, tension… Get Even delivers this in an experience which is unlike anything else.” That doesn’t mean you won’t recognise some of the mechanics, of course. While Get Even isn’t a traditional first-person shooter, it’s certainly a first-person game. At times, you’ll even be armed with a gun and find yourself in the midst of a firefight. And Get Even’s headline weapon, a rifle that can be folded to allow it to shoot around corners, is a memorable toy, too. When you first use it to peek out of cover and land a headshot without ever putting your own head in the line of fire, it’s a revelation. This powerful piece of kit is put to good use in some environmental puzzles (shooting the lock off the back of a gate you can’t otherwise reach, for example), and makes the sections where you’re exchanging fire with enemies feel as riotous as they are polished. But these moments represent distinct bubbles of action
“GET EVEN’S HEADLINE WEAPON IS A RIFLE THAT CAN SHOOT AROUND CORNERS.”
GET EVEN EARS FOR FEARS
Using music and sound effects to raise tension et Even’s sound design is overpowering, emotive, and innovative, whether it’s mixing Cole Black’s panicked breath with the beat of a tune, matching a descending bass drone to your own descent into a buildings depths, or terrifying you with the rhythmic chanting of asylum inmates as you make your way towards a madman’s lair. Here, the game’s composer and sound designer, Olivier Deriviere, explains how he uses sound to maximum effect.
OPM: How would you sum up your approach to Get Even’s sound design? Olivier Deriviere: What if I tell you that a water drop hitting the floor can sound like the press of a piano key? What if you hear the typical sound of a train passing by that becomes a rhythmic motif? What if the bass drum reminds you of a heart beat? That’s the direction we took for Get Even. Everything is connected with reality, but in a musical way.
OPM: The music seems like a particularly important aspect of the game. OD: As a gamer I am always after new experiences, and music can really elevate your immersion, sensations, and emotions. When I first saw the concept of the game I couldn’t believe it – it is a very mature story told in such a mesmerising tone, with no world to be saved, no zombies to be killed. So the music didn’t have to be epic, poetic, or illustrative. The main purpose of the music in the game is to grab the player and touch their heart and soul, because the game is about guilt and regret – things we all feel. But it won’t only be through dark and sad tones – you need to think of the music as a layer cake, and then you start understanding that each layer has its own role in revealing the bigger picture. OPM: Could you talk us through some of the techniques and technology you used? OD: For the past decade I
that play out within a much grander vision. “Get Even is set within the first-person genre, but it’s not a straightforward FPS – it’s so much more,” Lovisa explains. “It’s an FPS made by people who’ve made and love FPS games, and wanted to use that experience to create something more than a game where you just have to kill people. We’ve taken
went as far as I could to provide the best experiences with interactive music but I think Get Even is, to me, a big milestone. For the very first time players will experience real-time generated music. That means tempo, intensity, rhythm, and melody that can be generated in real time and aren’t prerecorded. In the very first level you have a room tone in the key of C and buzzing light in the key of C. Players probably won’t notice this, but the more you progress through the building, those elements will gradually morph into a drone in the key of C. This drone will have a specific accent, and the closer you get to your objective the bigger it becomes, eventually reaching a climax. This can last between one and ten minutes depending on how quickly the player moves through the sequence, but there is only one bar of actual written music. It is completely different from anything you have already experienced and I believe it is very effective!
real, believable characters – not your typical ‘dude-bros’ that you see in a lot of other games. Even though the setting is fantastical, we wanted to explore some really human themes. Many of those themes, such as memory, were already present from the dev team when Iain [Long, fellow writer] and I began work on the game. Memory is something we’ve explored at length in our past work [see ‘Mind
“AS YOU ATTEMPT TO PIECE TOGETHER YOUR PAST, YOU’LL DIVE INTO YOUR OWN MEMORIES.” inspiration from everything, whether that’s The Matrix, The Butterfly Effect, revenge movies or even [personal] emotional journeys. It’s a difficult one to explain for sure, but it all makes sense in time.” “Get Even is a game about loss,” writer Stephen Sharkey adds. “The loss of family, the loss of purpose, even the loss of your mind. Character-wise, we wanted to create
Your phone, plus shonky recollections, can help you uncover new paths and shortcuts.
The music used in the game connects with the reality that Cole experiences, heightening your emotions as you play.
Games’, opposite], and what fascinates me most about it is not only how it’s the basis of almost our entire identities – with past experiences, thoughts, and opinions coming together to create a sense of ‘us’ – but also how inaccurate and fallible it is.”
FATAL RECALL Indeed, the decisions you make, and how you deal with situations like this throughout the game, will change the way you experience Get Even. As you attempt to piece together your past, you’ll dive into your own memories using a specially designed headset and attempt to recall what really happened. In doing so, you’ll build a collection of clues and establish links between them in a sort of Sherlockstyle mind palace, and you can play each memory as many times as you like and tackle it differently each time. As such, firing a weapon in Get Even takes on a little more weight than it does in most games. On an early playthrough we execute a patrolling guard who we think is in our way – it turns out we don’t need to go down that route at all.
GET EVEN You don’t have to kill – but who wouldn’t try using a gun that shoots around corners?
While your memories get you through things, you can never be sure they’re reliable.
design – which we’d prefer not to spoil for you here. For the puzzle sections, you’re armed with a rather capable mobile phone that’s packed with various apps. A thermal camera will help you track pipe systems and electronic wiring; an evidencegathering app vibrates when you’re near articles of note, which can then be captured using the standard camera; there’s a map that shows the positions of enemies; and there’s even a UV light that will reveal grisly trails to follow.
HIDDEN THOUGHTS The thermal camera app in your phone will help you navigate through the asylum.
The guilt stays with us for some time afterwards – and the enigmatic individual in charge of our so-called treatment will become noticeably irritable if we keep going off-script and murdering. In another example, we kill someone we’ve identified as a terrorist while they’re speaking on the phone, only to hear their nowwidowed wife asking about dinner through the now-blood-splattered speaker grille. It’s entirely possible,
we’re reliably informed, to complete the whole thing without ever killing anyone, not a single soul. The moments when you aren’t deciding whether or not to kill someone are taken up by puzzle solving, storytelling, exploration, stealthy avoidance, investigative research, and some unbearably tense escalating situations – carried, in no small part, by Olivier Deriviere’s remarkable compositions and sound
Toying with players’ perceptions and expectations riters Iain Long and Stephen Sharkey also worked together on Derren Brown’s Trick Or Treat series, in which a volunteer picks a card and then receives a good or bad experience. In building these situations and stories for the subjects of the show, the writing partners gained plenty of experience that came in useful for
Get Even. “In the Derren stuff, there’s very often the sense that you don’t quite know what to expect – that the rug could be pulled at any moment,” Long tells us. “We’ve always loved creating that feeling of uncertainty, and Get Even was the perfect game to explore it.” Sharkey adds: “Overall, I think the skills we’ve developed in our
past work – a lot of which involves creating an interactive experience for a single person – are directly transferable to games, only in a game you’re obviously not doing it live. The idea of guiding people through a narrative experience is something we’re well-versed in, with all the elements that brings, such as manipulation of choice to achieve a desired effect.”
Your unstable memories can also be used, in conjunction with the phone, to open up shortcuts, passageways and hiding places that may or may not have been there the first time around. And your deeper, hidden memories of childhood and growing up will percolate and rise to surface in intriguing ways that can help you progress. It’s more fun to discover such things for yourself, but one early example involves birthdays and a door passcode. Get Even’s bold disregard for genre conventions, and the game’s willingness to change tack and rhythm in its own esoteric way, promise to deliver a unique, and decidedly dark, adventure. If it can maintain the pace and originality of its opening hours, Get Even could be something very special indeed. “I cannot wait for players to experience how unique Get Even is,” Sharkey says. “I truly believe that Get Even offers something fresh and exciting – there’s a real sense of mystery in its DNA. And the idea of experiencing something in which a player honestly has no idea what’s coming next is something that I hope will become a talking point when people play the game.”
ISSUE 136 JUNE 2017 £ 5.99 gamesradar.com/opm
Unrivalled access! We journey deep inside Namco’s genre-bending psycho-thriller