Dishonored: Death of the Outsider Review, (Xbox One)

The Dishonored games are arguably the best stealth titles created in recent years. I actually struggle to think of any other stealth game series that allows players to move so fluidly through open levels and allows them the freedom to take on levels in interesting or unpredictable ways. The five year journey Arkane Studios have taken us on is coming to a close and to put a bow on the story of Corvo, The Princess, Duad and the all-important Outsider…is Billie Lurk.

Billie Lurk has actually been a constant throughout the Dishonored universe, first appearing in a very minor way in the first game. She is in fact Dauds (The man who killed the Empress in the first game and was the lead in ‘The Knife of Dunwall’ DLC) second in command, and later under an alias of Megan Foster, captained the Dreadful Whale, helping Corvo and/or Emily through Dishonored 2. She is an interesting protagonist for this stand alone DLC as she is neither good or evil, Billie is just a lethal product of a harsh world. She is probably best described as a career mercenary with no loyalties – except for one, the killer Daud – the legendary ‘Knife of Dunwall’.

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Knack 2, PS4 Review

Game mascots have become the touchstones of each generation of Playstation consoles. The first Playstation had Crash Bandicoot, PS2 had …well a heap of them, Jak, Sly, Rachet and more, while the PS3 had the lovable Sackboy.

Playstation 4 has been out for almost 4 years but lacks a mascot character, perhaps Sony have seen fit for Knack to return in a sequel, to fill that illusive ‘Generation Mascot’ gap for the PS4.

PS4 launch title Knack had pretty mixed reviews, and was generally considered a bit of a let-down, especially considering the genius of Mark Cerny was directly involved in its creation. That said, many gamers, including KCs very own Richard, did in fact love the relic riddled adventure and probably thanks in part to these vocal few, we now have Knack 2.

Overall it’s a great game, however some qualification is needed as there is an audience I have in mind, ie: the younger gamer, that is likely to get the most out of this romp, especially if they intend to play Co-Op.

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Yakuza Kiwami, PS4 Review

During the last few months I have been playing a raft of PS4 exclusives that are remasters or remakes of deservedly beloved Playstation I.P. I recently reviewed Wipeout Omega Collection which was brilliant fun, I replayed The Last of Us: Remastered …for the 4th time. Now I have had the pleasure of diving into a remake of Yakuza 1, which was a Playstation 2 classic that I never actually got to play back in 2006.

Titled Yakuza ‘Kiwami’, it is a full remake of the original PS2 title, with new character models, environments, gameplay and Japanese voice over. For those new to the Yakuza series, think of a love child from a JRPG and a compact Grand Theft Auto. There is still the depth of character and plenty of side activities to do, but it doesn’t feature a large open world or vehicles.

It is set in Kamurocho, a fictional district within Tokyo, telling a story of the series long-term protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu. He’s a gravelly voiced, well respected sub boss and heavy hitter for the Yakuza. In Kiwami, Kazuma takes the rap for a murder to protect a friend and after 10yrs in jail he is released to find the Yakuza in turmoil.

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, PS4 Review

The King of the action adventure genre has retired……Long live the Queen!

Nathan Drake and the Uncharted series have been at the centre of the Playstation universe for 10 years. Drake bowed out in Uncharted 4, so in the new Uncharted: Lost Legacy, fan favourite Chloe Fraser has taken up the leading role…….and she has smashed it!

Set not long after Uncharted 4, Chloe and Nadine Ross have reluctantly teamed up to find a rare Indian artifact, the Tusk of Ganesha. In a somewhat clichéd yet forgivable fashion, there is also ‘a baddie’ who too hunts for this treasure, to pay for his civil war. The 7-8 ish hour campaign is entirely set in India, amidst lush jungles and impressive ruins.

In a first for the Uncharted series, there is an open-world element. Ruins can be located and explored in any order by driving around in a 4WD jeep. There are three main temples that push the story forward and then numerous smaller sub-quest type ruins, which are up to the player to locate and explore.

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DeadCore, PS4 Review

I often think back to the gaming days of my youth. I thrashed my Atari 2600 and later my Sega Master System for hours, banging my head against the ‘wall of difficulty’ in classic titles… and I loved every minute.

However these days, I am use to AAA games holding my hand and making sure every minute is enjoyable.

When I sat down with DeadCore I was met with the prospect of a pure puzzle game…and I got a bit worried.

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WipEout: Omega Collection Review, PS4

Wipeout as a brand is synonymous with Playstation, first spinning up in PS One disc drives back in 1995. Finally some Wipeout love is hitting the PS4, but it’s not a brand new game. Unfortunately it’s a remastering of 2012s ‘Wipeout 2048’ for the Vita and ‘Wipeout HD + Fury’, circa 2008 from the PS3. That said, Wipeout: Omega Collection in 1080p and running at a silky 60fps on the PS4, makes this uniquely Playstation experience….. an absolute blast to play.

Wipeout is a high-speed-arcade-sci-fi-racer based around antigravity ships with shields which use weapon pick-ups to get an advantage on the racetrack. There are a wide selection of ships to be used with different strengths and speeds depending on the race mode being undertaken. Each futuristic manufacturer has a range of ships and these unlock as you level up. There is something along the lines of 50 ships and 25 tracks across all the remasters, with many of the original electronic soundtracks being cleaned up too for the PS4 release.

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The Surge, Review (Xbox One)

High fantasy swords and shields combat in video games, is just not my thing…blasphemy I know. Personally I dig Sci-Fi settings, full of mech suits and advanced weapons.  So roll up ‘The Surge’ to tick some boxes! It does have to be said, under the hood it is essentially a Dark Souls wannabe, but to actually label it as such without qualification, sells it way short.

After an awesome and pretty disturbing opening sequence, where the main protagonist gets out of his wheel chair and into a new set of robo legs. You are chucked into a partially destroyed factory complex and taken through a few basic combat encounters to learn the ropes. Controls are straight forward and camera controls are great. Some initial audio logs and interactions with a holographic lady lets a plot begin to form.

That being said, after about 5 hours of playing I honestly couldn’t tell you what the story was or who the main characters were. However, that’s not the game’s fault. I was just so focused on gathering gear, tech materials (XP) and opening up shortcuts that I just didn’t care. The star of this game is its combat, everything else just became secondary.

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Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3, PS4 Review

In the open world of shooter games such as the FarCry titles, I am always looking for ways to play the ‘sneaky sniper’ type character.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has been designed from the ground up to offer this exact experience, with open world situations geared towards an elite military sharp shooter. Unfortunately some glaring technical miss-steps stand in the way of this game achieving its goal of a refined sniping experience.

Anyone who has played an open world shooter in recent years will know what to expect here, as Ghost Warrior 3 walks some very well-trodden ground. That’s not to say the open world design and mission structures are terrible, they just don’t stray far from the norm. Within each large open world region is a safe-house. These are the main character’s base of operations and have the traditional ‘Equipment’, ‘Skills’ and ‘Communication’ stations to help you prepare for each mission.

Skill points are earned by playing in a particular way, so sniper kills earn points in the sniping skill tree. Whereas a run and gun play style, will earn points to spend on assault skills. The skill tree will seem very familiar to most and frankly didn’t alter my approach to the moment to moment gameplay much as I leveled up. Once skills are chosen and gear has been selected, the mission always starts with driving the forever handily parked SUV, to the mission start point.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda, PS4 Review

I would hate to sit down and actually add up how much time I have put into the Mass Effect universe over the years. I could probably make a rough guess and say it would be in the hundreds of hours. And that’s not even counting the series of novels and comics I have also worked my way through.

Lets just say, it is safe to assume that I’m bit of a Mass Effect fan. Now after a 5 year hiatus, Mass Effect: Andromeda has arrived and it is wonderful to be back amongst the Biotics, grumpy Krogan and deep lore, that makes Mass Effect such awesome Sci-Fi goodness.

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Styx: Shards Of Darkness-Review (Xbox One)

I’ve always been a fan of stealth games and to my mind, the power of the current crop of consoles has afforded this great genre a bit of a resurgence. Styx: Shards of Darkness is probably best described as a ‘Tolkienesque Splinter Cell’. (Would never have predicted writing that in a sentence) Instead of a burly secret agent at its core, Shards of Darkness has a fowl mouthed, fourth wall breaking Goblin – who is short on stature…. and scruples.

Styx made his sneaking debut in 2014 in Master of Shadows, which I loved… until my 80% complete save file was ‘lost’ and I never had the gumption to start all over again. Master of Shadows was met with mediocre reviews which were in fact fair, due to a lack of polish and a bit of jank. Fortunately, Cyanide Studios have doubled down on Styx: Shards of Darkness and have built beautiful multi-path levels, unique skill trees and thankfully this time, enemies with functional A.I.

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