The Bioshock Collection (Nintendo Switch)

This is not a review about the Bioshock Collection games in the sense that I will tread the now familiar narrative ground. Bioshock 1 and 2 and Infinite have graced numerous platforms since the first game appeared in 2007. So gamers don’t need to be schooled on what they’re about and what’s going on.

No, this review is purely to take in the technical spectacle that is The Bioshock Collection on Nintendo’s Switch handheld. Make no mistake: This is a port worth having on the Nintendo’s portable. Especially Bioshock Infinite, perhaps my favourite game in the series.

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Zombie Army Trilogy, Switch Review

Zombie Army Trilogy on Switch, comes hot on the heels of last month’s spectacular Zombie Army 4. That’s a big pair of Jackboots to fill.

To be fair the Switch port does a good job and is a well rounded package, but really showing its age. The muted colours and old textures don’t do much to upgrade the experience. Although the sepia / grey-green landscape does a good job of highlighting collectibles.

As expected the game looks heaps better in portable mode. To be honest, that’s really why you want ZAT on Switch.

There are multiplayer options with Horde, on and offline, but being a stubbornly solo zombie killer I lack comrades.

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Saints Row IV Re-Elected (Nintendo Switch)

The Saints Row series has never pulled its punches and Saints Row IV Re-Elected is no different.

Any game that has an opening sequence featuring the future president of the United States climbing the exterior of an intercontinental ballistic missile as it soars into the stratosphere or has the aforementioned future president strutting through his suburban house as the star of his own sitcom called Leave it to the Saints, with a jaunty 1950s wholesome soundtrack in the background as he munches pancakes and fetches the paper is one that you know doesn’t take itself too seriously. All hail, Mr President.

And so it is with Saints Row IV Re-Elected (originally reviewed in 2015). A game you could rightfully call the anti-Grand Theft Auto thanks to its humour firmly tongue-in-cheek.

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Stranger’s Wrath HD. An old Oddworld favourite with a new lick of paint

When the esteemed editor of this fine online publication asked if I was keen to look at Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD on Nintendo’s Switch, I didn’t hesitate saying yes.

You see, dear readers. I had just finished watching a fascinating documentary from Ars Technica on the Oddworld series creator Lorne Lanning. Who regaled viewers about his journey from poor kid in New England (near New York) to concept artists in a US military company to co-founder of development studio Oddworld Inhabitants. (The documentary is well worth a watch (there is also a two-hour plus extended interview with Lanning), as are the remainder of Ars’ War Stories documentaries.)

Released on the original Xbox 15 years ago. Stranger’s Wrath HD is a mix of third-person and first-person action that doesn’t feature downtrodden Abe. The hero of previous Oddworld games. In his stead, a mysterious brooding stranger who must bounty hunt his way through the game world to earn enough Moolah (the in-game currency) to pay for a life-saving operation.

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Happy New 2020 and putting a pin in 2019

The rest of the team have had their turn. It is interesting to see that we have all been touched by different games over the last 12 months.

The standout for Guy being Control, although we do agree on Blood and Truth being a landmark title for PSVR. Whereas Barrie loved Outer Worlds, I tried it, but wasn’t in the right space. Maybe I need to give it another spin now the fuss has died down. Gerard plumped for Plague Tale, which is title I have seen often recommended, but never looked close enough.

The great thing is, it looks like my Pile of Shame is about to get at least 3 games bigger.

Right now, looking back at 2019 we had some great titles to play and it really is hard to pull out a shortlist of favourites. That said, here’s my take.

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2019 – How Did It Stack Up? (The Barrie’s Highlights Edition)

This years highlights for me are a bit tough. Basically because of all the older games I have been playing.

Thanks to Game Pass on the Xbox I have been enjoying a absolute plethora of classic titles and games I would otherwise not have looked at. And on the flip side many of the great releases in 2019 for me were actually remasters or re-releases.

So I will try and rattle off a few highlights, and of course a disappointment or two.

All these titles were played on the Xbox One X.

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New Super Lucky’s Tale, Nintendo Switch

New Super Lucky’s Tale obviously treads well worn ground, and the Switch is the place for cutesy platformers. I did not play Super Lucky last time around when it graced the Xbox. In fact I haven’t played many platformers for a good while. The simple crux is, Super Lucky does the job well, it’s a joy to play.

Everything the game does it does well, without layers of complexity. There is no need to add depth, New Super Lucky’s Tale is here to scratch the itch of the classic platforming addict. Nice to look at and fun to play in this high paced disposable world, here’s a few hours of pleasant-ness.

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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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PAXAus 2019, being there and slightly square

After all the build up and fervour PAXAus 2019 has been and gone. It was a first visit for me, probably not the last, but my old bones are currently arguing against it. Having become something of a big hitter on the gaming calendar I was keen to see this year what all the fuss was about.

As an eclectic gathering of Gaming, Pop Culture and Cosplay it does the job well, and you can see from the eyes of the consumer that wanders the floors glassy eyed that they are getting all the shiny things they need. I enjoyed the relative tranquility of the table-top game area and retro section, it was a relief from the pressing crowds squeezing through the aisles.

The main event was loud, brash and exhausting, especially when I flew in for a single day with a maximum of six hours on the ground.

But, that’s me, at PAXAus 2019, being there and slightly square.

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