The first time I played BlazBlue I was impressed by the game’s immense visual look and style. Few fighting games look this good, sound this good, and play this good. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was not only an immense game, but one that proved itself to be a worthy successor to the, also excellent, Guilty Gear series. But Ark System Works’ ‘if it isn’t broke’ attitude has resulted in several subsequent releases many have hailed as nothing more than expansion packs disguised as new games. Chronophantasma is the third main entry in the BlazBlue series, and proves to be slightly more of a step forwards than Continuum Shift was. We’re still taking about minor enhancements, tweaks, and additions, but the result is still arguably the best BlazBlue game ever created.
Assassin’s Creed IV is the fifth Assassin’s Creed game in five years, pretty crazy right? But whilst some of the past entries gained notoriety for offering little variation in character and setting, Black Flag takes to the seas with astounding ambition, and proves to be as much of a step forward for the series as Assassin’s Creed III was last year. This latest title removes a few of the previous game’s most notable flaws, keeps a few, and adds a couple of new ones, all whilst retaining the signature Assassin’s Creed gameplay.
Sequels can be a tricky business, although you wouldn’t think so from 2011’s Batman: Arkham City, the poster child for how to make a perfect follow up. But by successfully expanding upon the first game in a meaningful way, it also asked a very tricky question; what now? Progress must surely hit a brick wall eventually, and the whole ‘prequel’ angle may have been the first clue that ideas were running low. That and the fact that Rocksteady’s Batman baby had been snatched away from them and given to Warner Brothers to raise. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Batman: Arkham Origins is a fairly troubled child.
Back in 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an impressive game with plenty of ambition. It mixed together elements from several different genres, and gave the player the ability to complete each level in a number of different ways. It mostly worked, but on reflection the game is also remembered for a few of its flaws. The Director’s Cut, originally a Wii U exclusive that ended up multi-platform, fixes the game’s most noted problems, adds all of the DLC content, and refines some of the mechanics. The result is a finely tuned version of a modern classic.
Whilst once a series with the force to rival Super Mario, Sonic’s fall from grace isn’t exactly new news. I still remember when the game now known as Sonic 2006 was being hailed as the title that would revive the blue hedgehog to his former glory. But this (obviously) never worked out, and since then we’ve had eight years of SEGA throwing a random assortment of ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks. Sonic Lost World might not epitomise the last few years worth of slow progress, but it’s not inherently broken, and is really quite fun to play.
Hailing from an age of intense arcade racers, Re-Volt is a fast and exciting game. Often hailed as a classic multiplayer title, its substantial selection of cars and tracks makes for a game that’s great fun solo, but even with better with friends. With tight controls, a cool soundtrack, and addictive gameplay, it succeeds in providing a retro racing experience that has stood the test of time incredibly well.