Shenmue 3, Review

I never played the original Shenmue, released 18 years ago on the Dreamcast, nor did I play Shenmue 2, so I went into Syu Suzuki’s (crowd funded) third Shenmue game (Shenmue 3) without rose-tinted glasses on or a feeling of nostalgia.

I’ve decided Shenmue 3 is a strange mix of old gaming mechanics wrapped up in a modern, shiny new skin – and I’m not sure it works entirely well in today’s modern gaming landscape.

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Halo Reach (PC): Finishing the fight on a new platform

There’s no denying that Gregorian chants are a cornerstone of the Halo series. They’re unmistakable identifiers for the Master Chief and the fight against the alien covenant. Halo Reach is no exception.

So when the Gregorian chants fired up on the menu screen of the PC version, it brought a smile to both my face – and my ears (if my ears could smile, that is).

I’m not the world’s greatest Halo fan but I’ve played them all. Reach was always at the top of my list as my favourite of the series. Maybe it was because the story told of the close-knit camaraderie between the six members of Noble team. Cat, Emile, Jorge, Jun, Carter and Spartan B-312 (that’s you, by the way). As they take the fight to the covenant on the planet Reach, or maybe it was because Reach wasn’t about Master Chief. Whatever it was, Reach just resonated with me.

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Neo Cab review (Nintendo Switch)

Essentially, Neo Cab is a taxi simulator set in the future.

Where automated cars dominate the ride share business and you drive the only human-driven cab in the region. You play as Lina. A driver for Neo Cab who has uprooted her stable life and moved to Capra City, all for the sake of friendship and maybe love.

Neo Cab’s slow-boil story is not going to be for every gamer. Especially for those with itchy trigger fingers crafted through years of Call of Battlefield or other first person combat games. Neo Cab is a snail’s pace game, one that develops the more you progress.

Worth a look if you like games that try something a little bit different.

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House of Golf (Nintendo Switch)

House of Golf is exactly what it says on the game cartridge: A mini-golf course set within the confines of a house.

From the main menu you choose to either play the championship or a single  hole (there are also options on ball selection and how to play). There is also a multiplayer mode.

On paper, the Nintendo Switch is perfect for a mini-golf game and House of Golf is a good time-waster when you’ve got a few moments to spare. However, there isn’t enough here to capture your attention for too long.

Especially with some of the other great games out for the Switch at the moment.

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MediEvil review: Arise, Sir Dan, zombie hordes await

The older we get, we tend to look at things we loved or admired from the past through rose-coloured glasses. Thinking they’re better than they actually were. I think this is the case with MediEvil, a game from the era of the first PlayStation and now been lovingly remastered for the modern PlayStation.

Off the bat, MediEvil seems a strange PS1 game to remaster when there are better candidates that could have received the remaster treatment.

I remember playing a MediEvil game on the now long forgotten PSP (PlayStation Portable), and from memory it wasn’t that well received.

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The Witcher Complete Edition: Geralt of Rivea in the palms of your hands

I’m not really sure what alchemy and magic potions CD Projekt Red & Saber Interactive have evoked to enable one of the finest action RPGs of this generation – The Witcher 3 – to run on Nintendo’s handheld console the Switch but, my God, they’ve done the seemingly impossible and made it happen.

The bottom line here is that yes, The Witcher Complete Edition on Nintendo Switch doesn’t look as good as its console and PC counterparts and pureists will recoil in horror at that, but The Switcher (or Henry Cavil Sim 2019) is an outstanding port of one of the finest action RPGs of all time that is feature complete and I just can’t put it down [I’ve played for hours and hours over the past week].

It’s just perfect for when my better half is marathoning her soup operas and I need something to occupy me.

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Greedfall: Colonialism in the New World

When it comes to games from publisher Focus Interactive, you sometimes expect things to be a little rough around the edges. Greedfall is no exception, an action RPG set in the 17th Century where colonialism is spreading through the new world.

Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges, but it does have charm that grows on you as you progress.

I guess Greedfall could best be likened to a game like CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher series. Where combat and diplomacy play key roles as you explore towns and other locations in the New World of Ter Fradee. Discovering its secrets – and the cure for a strange affliction called the malichor.

Players control diplomat De Sardet, an emissary of the congregation of merchants. He’s a likeable chap, if I’m being honest, with a cheeky charm and attitude that is instantly endearing.

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Erica: The return of the FMV game

I didn’t know what to expect when I was offered Erica, a PlayStation-exclusive full motion video game, to review.

It’s not often I go into video games cold, with no idea what I’ve let myself into, but I did with Erica. A full motion video game like we had in the ’90s but better.

Those of us who gamed during the ’90s will know FMV games like Phantasmagoria and The 7th Guest but Erica is nothing like those games.

Firstly, it’s better. Much, much, much better.

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Judgment review: Treading the streets of Kamorucho again

I absolutely love Sega’s Yakuza games, a rich, slightly quirky crime series set in the fictional Japanese city of Kamurocho, so it’s no surprise that I have fallen head first into Sega’s Judgment (PS4 exclusive), a game not directly set in the Yakuza universe but there’s some elements that the two games share, nonetheless.

It’s hardly surprising there are similarities in game play, though: Judgment’s made by Ryu Ga Gotuku Studio (Ryu Ga Gotuku is actually Japanese for Yakuza), the same studio behind some of the latter Yakuza games, and while there’s no appearance of the Dragon of Dogma Kazuma Kiryu in Judgment, the setting is a familiar one for fans of the Yakuza series: Kamurocho, a fictional Japanese city modelled on the real-world Kabukich?, Tokyo’s most well-known “red-light” district.

I have to say, it’s great to be wandering the streets of Kamurocho again with it’s bright lights and streets layered with signs and craziness.

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Observation review [PC]: When a sentient AI goes bad …

Previously posted at Gerard’s own blog GameJunkieNZ, here’s his view on Observation.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the team behind sci-fi thriller Observation – were fans of movies Alien, Event Horizon and 2001 A Space Odyssey.

The game opens aboard the international space station Observation which is above Earth’s orbit after suffering a catastrophic event. The ship’s medical officer Dr Emma Fisher eventually manages to reboot the ship’s AI Sam [System Administration Maintenance] but Sam receives a strange transmission telling him to “BRING HER”.

Fast forward a bit and after a second event, the Observation finds itself above Saturn, Sam’s core functions compromised and the rest of Observation’s crew missing. Emma tasks Sam with finding out what has happened.

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