A strange thing is currently happening to one of my all-time favourite genres. Wipeout is no more, there hasn’t been a F-Zero game in over a decade, and Rollcage II came out in 1996 – the future of the futuristic racer is now a race between new IPs. Redout is the game that’s taken an early lead, and although heavily influenced by the aforementioned titles, it also throws some compelling new ideas into the mix.
DoDonPachi Resurrection is one of CAVE’s best shooters, and as anyone familiar with CAVE will already know – these guys are the masters of their genre. Originally released for the arcade in 2008 and then ported to Xbox 360 in 2011, DDPR has now arrived on Steam, and comes complete with enough modes to stand out as the definitive version of the game.
It’s easy to forget that Sonic Adventure was once an all-round hit. These days the 3D Sonic games are at worst seen as a collective mess, and at best still come up inferior to the 2D classics. Yet SEGA’s first attempt at transitioning dimensions was surprisingly competent, and Sonic Adventure largely succeeds at retaining the qualities that made the Mega Drive games so great. Just like before, the most fun you can have in Sonic’s Dreamcast debut involves running really, really fast in a straight line towards a giant loop-the-loop.
There’s really a lot to like about Uncharted 4. This is an adventure that jumps between genres in much the same way that Nathan Drake leaps between crumbling structures, swinging around around on his grapple hook without a care in the world. You are shooting stuff, climbing stuff, solving puzzles and traveling the globe in search of treasure. It’s a thrilling and cinematic ride that concludes the Uncharted series on a high note.
In balancing retro aesthetic with modern mechanics, Hyper Light Drifter stands out as a notable success. Its striking visuals, open ended design and fast, punishing combat makes for a unique experience, but the comparisons to other great videogames are also plenty. Think Fez meets Dark Souls meets The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past, and be very excited.
Until Dawn is a well-crafted tribute to classic horror films such as Halloween, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare of Elm Street and many more. In turning the premise of a slasher movie into a Heavy Rain style interactive adventure it largely succeeds, although shoehorning every cool idea from an anthology of Wes Craven and John Carpenter films into a single narrative does’t fully work.
Whilst widely regarded as one of the PlayStation 2’s best games, there’s also a sense that no one really knows what to make of Persona 3. In many ways it’s an accomplished title, and one of the underground hits that defined the final years of the PS2’s lifespan. But it’s also slow, repetitive and unrefined. It’s easier to define what’s bad about Persona 3 than what’s good about it, yet it is good. It must be good, they make movies about this game.