You have to hand it to the creative minds behind Dragon’s Crown; their decision to produce a side-scrolling, multiplayer focused game akin to the arcade titles of yore is a bold one. With big-budget action releases all vying unashamedly for your last remaining coins, it takes a team with real nerve to attempt something so retro while still shooting for the full price at retail. The world of Dragon’s Crown is not for the faint of heart any more than it is for the single player, so you’ll want to buddy up right away if you wish to see the journey through to its end.
There’s nothing quite like a bit of crafting to while away an hour… or five. The simple joy found in sourcing resources, deducing item combinations and crafting your very own world from nothing is one that has firmly grasped onto the minds of gamers everywhere. TownCraft is the latest game to hone in on our craving for creating, this time taking the process one step further by encouraging you to carve out your own little town, complete with shops, taverns and a bevy of citizens.
This enjoyable adventure into furniture making and workforce management is the first title from Flat Earth Games, a Sydney studio headed by brothers Rohan and Leigh Harris. If those names already sound familiar to your gaming ears, it is likely you have come across their work in other areas of the field; Rohan is a contributing writer to Player Attack and BigPond Arena, while Leigh is also known as the founder of the Australian and New Zealand games industry and trade publication MCV Pacific.
With the holiday season fast approaching, bored children will again be ushered off to cinemas around the country to watch the latest animated feature offerings, one of which is DreamWorks’ Turbo. As is often the case, a movie tie-in video game has been produced to coincide with the movie release, yet Turbo: Super Stunt Squad isn’t quite what you would expect.
It’s easy to see why Rayman Origins earned critical acclaim when it was released back in 2011. Colourful visual, tight controls and a host of outlandish faces made it a unique adventure that was ignored by all too many. It’s a real shame too, as Origins brought our whimsical, limbless hero into the spotlight without the Raving Rabbids in tow. Astonishingly, this year’s Rayman Legends takes what came before and improves upon it in almost every way possible.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 returns for another pirate adventure on the high seas. The fantastical charm of One Piece collides with the addictive gameplay action of the long-running Dynasty Warriors series to create an all-new video game concept fans have been dreaming about. Riding the wave of success from the original 2012 One Piece: Pirate Warriors, it’s only natural a sequel would eventually be produced. With only a year in-between releases, is there enough to make Pirate Warriors 2 a game worth plundering?
The legendary Sam Fisher is back and the stakes have never been higher. With America under attack from a terrorist group called the Engineers, it’s up to the grizzled hero and his band of Fourth Echelon pros to bring them in or take them down. Fans will instantly notice that Sam has undergone something of a facelift, with his youthful and muscular appearance only bolstered by the change in voice actor. Despite looking like a battle-worn Commander Shepard, our hero still has all the skills needed to bust some heads and ultimately save the world.
Suda 51 returns with Killer is Dead, an outlandish and thoroughly bizarre title with all the hallmarks from the Grasshopper Manufacture School of Design. Oozing with originality and a cast of weird and wonderful characters, Killer is Dead borderlines on amazing and mediocre, the tipping point being how much its intended audience can handle the overly abundant levels of blood, violence and sexism. A midst all the controversial themes, there’s actually pretty decent gameplay to be had.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has suffered from a development hell of sorts and the fact it made it to release is a test of perseverance. Originally announced back in 2006 as a spiritual sequel to the original XCOM of the late 90s, the working title was apparently in the capable hands of BioShock developer Irrational Games. Years later at the 2010 E3 Expo, the title was revealed to be a first-person shooter and now under development by 2K Marin. Given XCOM‘s strategic heritage, the change in genre didn’t go down well with fans and as a result was again overhauled in 2011 to feature more strategic elements but at its core remained a first-person shooter.
Resurrecting a cult classic is never an easy task, and one that is likely to be met with a series of cheers from its fans. What people tend to forget, however, is that just because a game can be brought hurtling into the modern era with a shiny new paintjob, doesn’t always mean that it should. Case in point is Flashback; a rotoscoped adventure hailing from 1992 that, without a good deal of tinkering, would prove too frustrating and unwieldy to stand alongside the side-scrollers of today.
Payday 2 as the title suggests is the sequel to Payday: The Heist, released back in 2011 for the PlayStation Network. The original Payday allows players to live out their fantasies as a member of a highly-skilled and well-oiled crime unit engaging in carefully orchestrated hits, complete with custom latex mask and all. Developer Overkill Software had a sound concept, although could have been executed better. Payday 2 steps things up for a fuller, more complete experience with added features and beefed-up content to eliminate all the problems of the original. Still not perfect, but certainly speeding away in the right direction.