The premise of Call of Duty: Ghosts is a lot like that of 24 Season 6; the calamity isn’t prevented, the nuke goes off, and a load of people are blown up, although in the case of Ghosts it’s technically a giant space laser used to fry California. Think the Hammer of Dawn but bigger and you’re halfway there. Infinity Ward’s latest game combines a grim future with familiar gameplay, and takes the series in an interesting, if slightly confused, new direction.
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.
Was I the only person who saw this fighting game crossover coming? I mean if we can have Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games then we can have Street Fighter X Tekken. Still, you’ll only be playing five minutes before realising that this Capcom developed game is essentially Street Fighter IV with Tekken characters, and we’ll have to wait until next year to see Namco’s take on the series.
When it comes to niche games, Armored Core is about as specialist as they come. Developer From Software may have found their breakthrough series with Dark Souls, but even after fifteen years of Armored Core, the hardcore mecha simulation genre still has a limited appeal. Verdict Day is not much more than an extension of Armored Core V, and does little that will change anyone’s opinion of the series.
Phantom Breaker Extra is a 2D fighter by Japanese developer 5pb. Whilst at a glance similar to the likes of BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, it doesn’t take long to realise that this game fails to match the quality I’d almost began to expect as a standard for the genre. In fact, 5pb’s latest title reminds us that Arc System Works have been spoiling us with fighting games these last few years, and Phantom Breaker Extra is both underwhelming and unenjoyable.