Hi Team 24 I am back with another review. I do apologise for the lack of content lately. I had been tied up in Balan WonderWorld and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise. There will be reviews of them to come, once I get over how poor they were to play. So it’s with great pleasure that I get to review this PS5 exclusive title from Sony and Insomniac.
The Ratchet and Clank series is one of Sony’s most valuable and most loved IP’s. Ever since its inception on the PS2 way back in 2002, we have seen a number of games and sequels released on all Sony’s hardware since then. The tried and tested formula of 3D Platforming combined with a third person shooter has proven to be very successful. In addition to that, we’ve been treated to a great cast of characters over the years to fill out the great stories which have always been fun.
We knew that Rift Apart was going to be one of Sony’s flagship titles within the PS5’s first year of being available to the masses. Its debut on the PS5 Showcase, gave us a small insight as to what we were able to expect in terms of the graphics and the new rift function which would essentially pull players into new dimensions and areas of the map instantly without any slowdown, pop ins or load times. Truly showing that this was a next generation game and showing off the power of the PS5.
Our story here once again pits our favourite Lombax Ratchet and his buddy clank against the evil Dr Nefarious who once again is plotting to take over the galaxy. Nefarious this time is trying to use a tool called the Dimensionater in order to cause chaos all over. We are also joined this time in the alternative dimension by another Lombax call Rivet and her partner Kit. In unison they must stop the evil Doctor to restore balance to the galaxy. A simple story but well told throughout.
One of my friends had the game and played it before I had (usually the case with my backlog). I wanted to gauge his opinion of the game before I started it. I always ask my friends if they have the game what they think of it. Just to get a different perspective or opinion and try and appreciate the little nuances that may matter to them, but not matter as much to you. So I said to him “What’s it like?” His response “It’s amazing, like playing a Disney Pixar movie". That is a pretty bold statement. After five minutes of playing I could see exactly what he meant. This is a truly wonderful game in my opinion.
Visually this game is a treat. You cannot tell the difference between the actual gameplay and the cinematics, it looks so good. The planets, the areas, the maps, the texture, the character design and models. Bang on the money. There are no issues at all with frame rate or processing even when you are in the height of battle. Believe me there is a lot going on the screen at any one time in battle and then when you use the new rift mechanic to pull yourself to new platforms and areas it is seamless. It truly is.
The gameplay mechanics haven’t altered much over the years, run around clear the baddies with your wrench for melee attacks, but the number of weapons and upgrades have definitely increased in this game. As usual you pick up your bolts as currency and your raritanium to upgrade each weapon your purchase from the delightful Ms Zurkon ( I love her accent by the way). Some of the weapons here are just downright insane. My personal favourites to use are the Lightning Rod (mainly for how funny it is when the enemies are being electrocuted) and The Executioner which acts like a highly powered shotgun. In total there are over twenty different weapons you can collect during the game, bear in mind for you achievement trophy hunters you will require multiple play throughs to get them all. The power ups and weapon also cross over between Ratchet and Rivet as well, so if you upgrade/purchase with one then the other will have it as well.
There are puzzles as well during the game where you can use Clank to make a kind of circuit board to ensure that you can access certain areas. In addition Ratchet needs to clear viruses from time to time, he does this with the help of his buddy Glitch. She essentially does into motherboards and clears the viruses with the aid of her little guns. The puzzle elements are really fun and just offer a little difference to the overall arc of the story and require the player to think a bit more, rather than frantic run and gun action. In addition to this, if you don’t want to do these puzzle sections or they get too annoying then you can always skip them which was quite welcome towards the end of the game.
It has so many collectables such as armour suits, guns, weapons, artwork to keep the achievement hunters happy and it definitely warrants further play throughs of the game to get them. I would say that this an absolute must buy for any PS5 owner. It really is that good. I’d go as far as to say it’s the best PS5 game that I have played.
Overall Rift Apart is a fantastic addition to the PlayStation library. Once again Insomniac have smashed it out of the park for me on this one. I often say “If it’s not broken don’t fix it”. This is so true of this game. A truly wonderful experience to be had. Thank you Sony and Insomniac for producing such a high quality game which I am dying for another sequel to. There is no doubt in my mind that Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a 10/10 game. Another wonderful title in the PlayStation eco-system.
Guest Blog post by Adam Foster @AngelicWiganer / @snoopfozziefozz
Up until this review, I had never played a Dragon Quest game at all in my life. In Japan this franchise is essentially a cultural phenomenon, it’s massive. I read articles where Enix and later Square Enix would only release a new Dragon Quest game on a Saturday. This was due to prevent kids skipping school and adults skipping work, just so they could play the latest release. I’d had the game for a while in my backlog, I picked it up on a whim and thought it may be worth a go. My inspiration for buying it and playing it was from YouTuber Happy Console Gamer.
Johnny speaks so highly of the franchise and how much joy it had given to him from his early years in gaming when the game was known as Dragon Warrior (due to a trademark issue) on the NES. So we are now up to the eleventh game in the series. All of them have followed the traditional JRPG formula over time, except for Dragon Quest X which ventured into the MMO universe. Various spinoffs have been released such as Dragon Quest Builders. But as I said this is my first foray into this IP and before I go into depth about the game, I say this. Why did I wait so long???
Before we go in depth into the review, I need to say I am reviewing the original version of the game. I am NOT reviewing the definitive edition which was released a year or so after this one. I also want to add that I will try to review this without spoilers. No one wants their experiences ruining. The old saying in life goes as follows. “If it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.” That’s exactly how I feel about this game. Dragon Quest XI is probably the most cookie cutter JRPG game I’ve ever played, it feels like a pair of old slippers, that fit perfectly even after a long time. That is not a bad thing. You can play this game, leave it for a week and seamlessly go back into it where you left off. I didn’t ever at any point struggle with getting back in to it because the gameplay is simple and effective.
Nobody can deny that Marvel and all of their IP’s have been flying high in a numerous media tie in’s over the last twenty years or so, and it certainly peaked with the Avengers. I’d go on record to say that even if you aren’t a comic book fan, all of the films in the MCU have been good to fan bloody-tastic. It would make sense that for AAA films we get AAA games wouldn’t it? Now before we proceed; I was lucky enough to get the PS4 version of the game of Marvel Avengers but you get the PS5 Upgrade for free as a digital download as soon as you pop the disc into the PS5 which was nice!
The basic premise of the story initially focuses on a young protagonist, Kamala Khan who attends a fan appreciation day to celebrate all the Avengers and all they have contributed to the world. During the celebration, an attack on San Francisco occurs putting thousands of peoples lives in jeopardy. We then flash forward to a number of years later and it’s shown that during this attack and the years following that Kamala has developed powers that manipulate her limbs, such as increased reach, stretching, punching and so on.
The Avengers are nowhere to be seen having all split up as the world blames them for the recent attack. The baddies in question are intent on taking over the world and there have been a spate of missing people (who also have new abilities). Kamala decides she needs to reunite the Avengers in order to stop AIM from taking over the world and prevent its immediate destruction I would describe the game as an Action game with elements of RPG’s. As you make your way through the storyline and each subsequent chapter, collecting Avengers along the way, you will gain XP which will obtain you Skill Points which can be used to increase levels of combat and new moves to use. There is also the options to increase and modify armour and accessories along the way. Each new Avenger also becomes playable as you progress through the game, but you will realise and also learn to pick which character suits you best which is a nice touch.
Cast your minds back to just a few months ago. All the hype regarding E3 and the upcoming Nintendo Direct we was about to see. The rumour mill going wild. Would we see Metroid Prime 4? Would we see Bayonetta 3? However, the main one swirling around the gaming community was would we see a revision of the Switch? Would Nintendo finally dip their toes into providing a Switch which would provide 4K visuals when in docked mode, and an overall more powerful version? Sadly, the answer to all of these three questions was No.
Was I disappointed? I would have to say No, for me I have a PS5 and an Xbox One which can provide those ultra-smooth visuals and processing power for the bigger badder games which are out now and the future ones which will be released. The Switch and Nintendo in general for me has always been about software. Nintendo we have seen over time, never follow the norm, they always want to be innovative rather than just follow the normal trend which is out there. Side Note, I would LOVE Nintendo to do a Stars gimmick for their in game achievements similar to Trophies and Gamerscore. Again don’t hold your breath.
So back to the present day, it’s a few weeks after E3, we’re happy in the knowledge that we’re getting a new Metroid in the form of Metroid Dread. We saw updates for Breath of the Wild 2 and there is so much more games to be looking forward to such as Shin Megami Tensei V. Then suddenly we get an announcement from Nintendo, a revision to the Switch. But not the revision we hoped for.
The New Switch is now the OLED version. It comes with a brand new, bigger screen of seven inches, which will provide sharper visuals when in handheld mode. It has a bigger stand and it has a LAN port. That’s It. Oh and for the privilege of having this model it will set you a pretty £349.99. That’s a £70.00 increase on the standard base model.
Back in 2018 Insomniac Games treated us to an epic piece of gaming. In my humble opinion Spider-Man was one of the finest games I’ve played. Not only on the PS4, but in all my years as an active gamer. Being a fan of the Marvel universe and all of its characters, I felt Spider-Man was as near perfect experience of how playing the web slinging superhero could be. The graphics were great, the music was a delight and most importantly the combat was spot on.
Roll on to 2021, we knew from Sony’s press launch that Miles Morales was going to be a launch title for the PS5, but also would be available on the PS4 as well. I didn’t get my PS5 at launch, (believe me not for the want of trying) I got it a few weeks ago, but I knew the one game I wanted to play first above all was this one. For some reason I felt drawn to it. The footage I had seen made it look so close to a real life Hollywood blockbuster in your living room, where the player had the control in their own palms.
I want to try and review this spoiler free, as I feel to get the most out of the game you need to avoid them. I believe it’s better for the player to make their own opinions and experience the storyline and twists first hand. That being said we do have a great cast of characters here who fill out a number of roles within the story.
Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean
Blinded eyes finally saw, after faceless streets and bolted doors, the dreaded hand conquers all. We watched a myriad of lonely smiles reflect our own, as isolations palm clutched our chest. And as the doors unlatch; let us embrace and socialise. Let us game together. Let us play Monopoly Gamer -- the Hasbro classic with Nintendo characters. But is this a senseless cash grab or does Nintendo’s design philosophy flow through it? I shall elaborate.
The usual Monopoly mechanics are here: go around a board earning money to buy properties (no houses or hotels) so you can charge rent. Nevertheless, the aim isn’t to crush your opponent economically. Instead, whoever has the highest score wins. Properties and money add to your final score, but so do defeating bosses. Each time you Pass Go, you can pay the Bank to start a boss fight. You battle via a die check displayed on the Boss Card, and if you’re successful, you keep the card along with its points. There are ten Boss Cards and when you defeat or fold the last boss, the game ends.
All the properties display levels from New Super Mario Bros, along with Warp Pipes, Coin Blocks and Thwomps. However, the Go to Jail/Just Visiting space remains the same. But where the Nintendo magic lies is in the Super Star spaces.
There’s four characters to choose from: Mario, Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong; other characters are available to purchase. Unlike traditional Monopoly, characters have unique powers. For example, if Peach lands on a Super Star, she collects from the bank rent for each property she owns. Yet Donkey Kong’s Super Star power is stealing three coins from every player. Likewise, players use a Power-up Die on their turn. This allows you to fire Green and Red Shells, send Blooper to steal coins or use a Pow. But each character has a unique Power-up Die bonus. So, as every player can fire a Green Shell forward, however Yoshi has the unique option to throw it backwards. So, is Monopoly Gamer a senseless cash grab? No.
COWABUNGA! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back! Well kind of! Let's just say that they will be back later in 2021 to Consoles and Steam. Yesterday, developers Tribute Games and Dotemu took to social media to showcase the brand new TMNT: Shredder's Revenge Trailer. Talk about exciting, especially given that these are the same developers behind the hugely successfulStreets of Rage 4.
The trailer starts off with a very 80's cartoon vibe with the classic theme tune blasting out over the action. The crippling nostalgia soon set in. But wait, there's more! We had some delicious Alpha gameplay too! On runs Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo to take on Foot Soldiers galore! Imagine Streets of Rage meets Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and we have Shredder's Revenge. I could not be happier.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most hyped video games since Grand Theft Auto V back in 2013. The success of The Witcher 3 on PC and all major consoles left big boots to fill when it came to CD Project Red’s (CDPR) next adventure. Fast forward to December 10th 2020, and after Cyberpunk’s multiple delays the gaming universe was finally graced with the release. Sadly that release has fallen flat on its face and us gamers are not happy. Cyberpunk 2077 has been branded “a buggy mess” and even more so on base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It warrants the question; why did CDPR bother releasing such an ambitious game on base consoles? Why not exclusively release on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X? I believe money is the most obvious answer. Not everyone has been able to acquire the latest generations’ consoles which would have meant a very large portion of the market not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077.
So here we are, two days after launch as I write this! I have been live streaming Cyberpunk on my PS4 Pro. The textures seriously lack, rendering takes quite a few seconds (especially on vehicles), the city feels drastically empty and the combat is very lethargic. In summary, I completely agree that Cyberflunk is a broken mess. Gamers unable to see the console performance prior to launch too. All previews and reviews showcased PC footage. CD Project Red also provided reviewers with the actual review footage. That’s right!! The embargo did not allow reviewers to capture their own gameplay. That is a red flag right there. I would go as far to say that this is very misleading in the marketing of Cyberpunk for console gamers. To cap it off Cyberpunk 2077 is rocking an eye watering and painful Metacritic score of 2.3 on PS4 as I write this. For a game studio as big as CDPR this is unacceptable. In fact I believe it is heartbreaking for gamers that are trying to play on base consoles. With most other game developers I would be worried that the game would be broken forever but as we know, CDPR are a dev team that show long term support for their games.
As I write this the Resident Evil 3 Remake has a 6.3 Metacritic score for the PlayStation 4 and an even more shambolic 5.9 on the Xbox One version. This forces me to question just how much of a miss the long awaited Resident Evil 3 Remake was for Capcom. This comes after last years Resident Evil 2 Remake; making a much bolder impression on the series' fans. At the time of writing this Capcom's Resident Evil 2 Remake rocks a bold 8.8 Metacritic user score. I am unable to fully explain why Capcom clearly missed the mark in delivering the Resident Evil 3 Remake to its full capacity but what I can do is share some of my feelings in playing through the game twice on stream. Having played through it twice I feel like I'm in a position to navigate towards answering whether or not the RE 3 remake is worth buying today?
The first thing I noticed about this remake was just how beautiful it looked. Even the darkest and greyest corners of Raccoon City seemed to ooze charm. From the crackling of small fires in the dilapidated streets of Raccoon city to the warm neon glow of Moon Donuts. Resident Evil 3 shines in the aesthetics. The constant backtracking provided an opportunity to take in more of the gorgeous details each time I went by. One point worth noting in regards backtracking, was just how small Raccoon City felt compared to Police Department in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. That's right, Raccoon City Police department felt larger than the entire geographical layout of Raccoon City. Now this is not a scientific fact! I can, with certainty, memorise the streets in the latest Resident Evil 3 remake but if you asked me what was on the second floor of the East Side of Raccoon Police I would not have a clue. It felt as though Capcom had rushed the world known as Raccoon City to a point where I felt disappointed. After all, the amount of missing content in the remake is frustrating enough (Raccoon City Park, Graveyard, The Press Office and more), let alone what was there; felt a like it needed a bit more meat on the bone. Needless to say, Raccoon City, and surrounding areas, look totally lush.
Performance wise, Resident Evil 3 Remake did not feel too bad. As I write this I do not recall any painful glitches and the general mechanics felt okay. Bosses comprised of mutated variants of Nemesis, each feeling slightly more difficult as time went on. My first playthrough was on a normal difficulty to which it actually felt a little too easy. My second playthrough, however, felt more punitive. I played on the hardest difficulty setting which almost brought me to tears on stream during the rooftop Nemesis battle. Nemesis had a flamethrower mounted to his back. In any normal circumstances a flamable barrel would be easy to ignite and essentially would destroy anything in the blast radius. Not on hardcore mode! I must have spent three hours jostling with this immensely difficult variant of Nemesis. The step up in difficulty from my first playthrough to the second seemed like worlds apart. It felt like there should have been a difficulty mode in the middle.
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