Platinum Games making The Legend of Korra

Despite already working on Bayonetta 2 and Scalebound, that’s apparently not enough work for Platinum Games as today they have released an announcement trailer for The Legend of Korra.

Based on the animated series, The Legend of Korra will be released as a download for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.

IGN have the first trailer which you can view below:

Blue Estate Review

Remember the days of Time Crisis on the PS1? Using the Guncon, playing on-rails shooters, just like you did in the arcade, but in your own home? Well those games sort of dried up over the last few years, with only half-hearted Kinect games attempting to bring them back, to varying degrees of success.

Step forward Viktor Kalvachev’s Blue Estate, a game based on the comic of the same name, which is a pure lightgun on-rails styled shooter. Arriving on PS4 a little below the radar which left us a little skeptical of what to expect.

The first issue is how a lightgun game could work using just the controller, not having any move support, nor needed any kind of camera. Within minutes of starting any fears we had were alleviated, thanks to an excellent use of the  accelerometers in the Dual Shock 4.

There is no complicated setup needed, just hold the controller naturally, tap the L1 button and it will center the reticule on the screen. You then move the controller to aim around the screen and then hit the R2 trigger to shoot, using L2 to cover and reload. Basically if you have ever played a lightgun game before, then you should feel right at home.

What you may notice it that at times your point of center may move, simply because we aren’t all robots who sit perfectly still and whilst we originally thought this may be an issue, all it takes is a quick tap of L1 at any point to re-center your aim. This very quickly becomes second nature, pretty much resetting the center point with every reload or when taking cover. Simply put, the control mechanism works wonderfully.

It’s not just the shooting mechanics that form the base for the game, as it makes use of the the Dual Shock 4 touchpad, using gesture swipes to open doors, collect health, ammo, perform melee actions, etc. On the whole this works well, but at times it can get a bit clumsy, especially being rushed by an enemy and need to swipe instantly. It’s not something that will ruin your game, but it just removes from the fluidity of the shooting somewhat.

Getting an on-rails shooter to work and be enjoyable isn’t easy, anyone who played the recent Rambo game will know just how awful they can be. It isn’t very often you’ll get something of the quality as Time Crisis, or House of the Dead, but Blue Estate manages to do just that.

The action is constant and more than enjoyable, with a really decent challenge to it. The tutorial level itself if fast paced and doesn’t take things too easy on you and playing in co-op only ramps up the action even further. Another thing that adds to the enjoyment is the humour, which whilst being sexist, juvenile and at time insulting, it fits well and makes sense in the world the game is set.

There are bosses to take on, that once again offer up a solid challenge and feel like proper bosses which need some degree of strategy to beat, even early bosses are difficult, but that doesn’t matter, because you will have a blast playing through levels, which you will want to do more than once.

There are leaderboards and a score mechanic, which rewards you for different types of kills, similar to how Bulletstorm worked, but with less variation. The game will introduce new ways to kill enemies as the game progresses, such as shooting the stereotypical explosives that are dotted around for no reason whatsoever.

Blue Estate isn’t a long game and despite the leaderboards, it is unlikely to be one you’ll revisit time and time again. However, it is genuinely fun to play and in the short time you spend with it, you’ll get a great deal of enjoyment. If you have any interest in lightgun style games, then pick this up.

Battle Princess of Arcadias Review

Towards the end of the life of the PS2 two very different games were released. Odin Sphere, a majestic 2D side scrolling fighter and GrimGrimoire, a beautiful looking, 2D side scrolling strategy game. Both incredibly niche and very Japanese they didn’t sell well but proved to be a couple of the best and most unique games on the system. Battle Princess of Arcadias attempts to merge the two different forms together with a mixed level of success.

Let’s get a major annoyance out the way right from the off. The game has an auto save but it’s turned off and nothing in the game will direct you towards it. Of course this means that it’s likely that you will lose hours of game if you aren’t careful as the game never saves unless you tell it to. It caught us out and it’s bound to catch some of you out as well.

The game breaks itself down into a number of different sections and play styles. The central hub area allows you to stock up on items, buy new weapons and also enhance them. Forging isn’t new to this type of game and you can upgrade and build new weapons to your hearts content and you’ll need to because the game has an incredibly tough difficulty level that requires a serious grind at points.

Once out in the world you can undertake missions which split themselves into different types of formats. The most standard mission involves taking your party of three chosen characters to a level and simply clearing it of any monsters. It’s likely you’ll need to revisit levels to level up and gather money and items. It’s also likely you’ll need to do this because you’ve forgotten to put the auto save on.

Aside from simply getting stronger you need to level all your characters up so that they can lead more powerful troops into the skirmish section of the game. These types of levels are like a simplified version of GrimGrimoire. Your character fights on the front screen with defeated enemies filling various morale and special move bars. The real battle in these sections goes on at the back of the screen. Your troops go charging forward and attack the enemy while you issue commands. You have a number of different soldiers to pick from and they act out an elaborate game of rock, papers scissors with you needing to keep swapping different types in and out.

In truth, though it’s an interesting concept it doesn’t really work as well as it could. In practice, trying to issue commands on a spinning wheel while fighting on the front screen is awkward and the amount of grinding required to get your troops up to a decent level is annoying. Something that works a little better are the boss battle ‘siege’ levels. Here a big beastie like a dragon invades a village and you lead a militia against it. This section allows you to issue orders to your troops to assist you take it down.

These fights can drag as you have to get the monsters shield down before being able to do any damage to its already sizable health bar. Do enough damage and the monster will become stunned allowing you to dish out a super damaging special attack. You can set your troops to attack and defend and also to retreat if needed. You need to be careful as losing all your militia will result in instantly failing the level. It takes some time to get used to and even the tutorial levels are tough but it’s an interesting system.

Battle Princess of Arcadias is not a game for everyone. There’s very little learning curve and it can be incredibly obscure about what you need to do or even how to do things. That said, it’s beautiful to look at and there aren’t many games out there like it. If you can break through the walls it puts up for the player then there’s a rich and rewarding experience to be had. You’ll need to be ready to make the investment though but players ready to take the plunge shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s not as majestically beautiful as Odin Sphere (what is), or as in depth as GrimGrimoire but it offers something different and works the majority of the time.

GRID Autosport Review

We at Gamestyle are huge fans of the TOCA series, we’ve made no bones about that. In fact one of our all time favourite racers still has to be TOCA Touring Car Championship. Through the Race Driver and then GRID versions of Codemasters’ famous series the structure has kind of been lost, but the games themselves were still a delight to play and delivered a racing ‘experience’ like no other. 

GRID 2 whilst technically a good game was a bit of a mis-step for the series, doing away with the famous in car views and having a story driven career mode, that whilst not new to the series, lacked the cohesion of the original Race Driver. However, they are back with GRID Autosport, which promises to be a return to form.

The big surprise is that is only coming out on PS3, PC and 360 with no next-gen releases, which is a shame when PS4 espeically is crying out for a proper racer. That being said though, it is good to see continued support for last-gen systems.

Upon first loading the game, the first thing you’ll notice is that the fancy ‘living’ menus have gone. Replaced by stylish traditional menus that go for function over aesthetics. There is no glorified living area, or garage for you to navigate to customise your car, or find races or such. What we have here is a clear menu system that does exactly what it needs to and whilst not a selling point on a game, it is nice to see nonetheless.

Another area where the game has received an overhaul for the good is in the career structure. In GRID 2 you were thrown into and between various racing disciplines, meaning you had to take on events that likely weren’t your thing just to progress. In GROD Autosport, those various disciplines are still there, from Touring Cars and Endurance, to Street Racing and Drifting, but it is now up to you which of those you want to focus on.

There is a main goal that will reward you for participating in all the events across each discipline, but you are never forced to take part in any you don’t fancy. Not a fan of Drifting? Then put it on the back burner, it isn’t going to get in the way of your over all progression. This is more than welcome and hopefully something Codies stick with for any future releases.

It is on the track though where GRID (and previous racers from Codemasters) have really stood out. Whilst they walked a line between sim and arcade, favouring the arcade side more than anything, they were able to produce that feeling of being an actual racer better than most simulations could. Forza and Gran Turismo may have done better at recreating real world car physics, simulating perfect handling, etc, but if we are being honest, they felt like they lacked that something. You lacked the exhilaration of what it felt to be a real racer, or at the very least, what you believe it felt like to be a real racer.

Back in 1997 TOCA Touring Car Championship blew our minds. As fans of the real life championship, the game was the closest we could get to taking part for real and with the in-car views, the real championship structure, real teams and what felt like amazing AI, races were close and competitive each and every time. The AI were aggressive and seemed to react to your style in a realistic way.

Now that may be us looking through rose-tinted glasses, but that is how it felt and it continued through to Race Driver, with the story mode feeling like it worked because certain drivers had their own attributes and raced in a believable way. Now whilst GRID lost the characters, it still had that feeling of pure racing, with the ability to force no restarts, no flashbacks and locking the camera to in-car only. This produced some amazing races, knowing you had to battle through a field and that any single mistake could blow your race and your season, with no chance of retrying over and over.

GRID 2 to this effect was too focus-group tested and lost a lot of what made those previous racers the adrenaline filled experiences they were, but still kept up the over all quality. Autosport feels like a return to the days of the original TOCA games to a degree, with drivers having behaviour patterns, reacting properly to how you race, making mistakes if put under pressure, or trying to push too hard.

Each race again feels great to take part in, if you start towards the back of the grid, or find yourself in the middle of the pack, you can expect a totally different race to if you were leading from the front, but at no point does it ever feel like a simple progression from start to finish.

Start from the back and try to ovetake half the grid in the first corner, you will more often than not find your race to be over, or at least severely compromised. Take it too easy into the first corner whilst leading and you will see your lead swallowed up and find yourself going backwards as you drop down the order.

It is this balance of fun and pressure that made previous games stand out and it is back to its best in Autosport. There were races where we were at the back of the grid and needed to finish ahead of our main rival to maintain a championship lead, which meant we’d finish 6th to 10th, but those races were just as fun as those we won.

The biggest issue with GRID Autosport comes from the individual championship sizes during career mode. Whilst they have done a decent job of not making it a win at all costs type affair, it does feel like you if you don’t do well, then you may need to restart and by default the races are short, which promotes an overly aggressive style. This can be altered for race lengths, but it would be nice to see some attention to the championship structures here.

Also making a return to the series is the in-car view. This was taken out of GRID 2 after statistics showed it was used by very few players. Yet those very few were also the most vocal, therefore it is back for Autosport and it is more than welcome.  There is a bit of a compromise here though, as the visuals for the interiors aren’t wonderfully modeled, up to the level of those in a Forza or Gran Turismo. That being said though, Codemasters have used a nice blur technique here that pulls your focus to the road ahead and actually works really well in giving that driver’s eye experience without having to go overboard on the visuals. Again, it is grea to have this view back, it wasn’t the same without it.

If GRID Autosport is to be the last major racer on the PS3/360 then it is seriously going out in style. If you haven’t ditched your old systems yet, then make sure you pick this up, strap in and enjoy one of the best racers in years.

MotoGP 14 Review

The PS4 hasn’t exactly been awash with racers since its release in November. We have had Need For Speed Rivals and… Well that’s it. Driveclub is coming, but has been delayed and there is the upcoming Project Cars too, but for petrol heads the genre has been rather empty the past few months.

Step in Milestone and MotoGP 14 and whilst not a racer for fans of four wheels, it should at least scratch that itch.

We at Gamestyle will admit we aren’t hardcore fans of the two wheeled variety of motorsport, but we do watch it occasionally, enough to know the top stars of the sport, such as Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, etc. Why do we mention this? Well because we couldn’t tell you if the bikes are acting in 100% the precise nature they should, or if they have perfectly modeled handling. So we come into this as casual fans more than anything.

One of the things that stood out instantly was the presentation of the game, it is very slick and doesn’t need any second introductions to show off the stars of the sport and their bikes. Each track has it’s own video introduction that shows off the area as well as the tracks and gives the whole game a pretty decent broadcast type presentation.

Visually it is easy to tell that MotoGP 14 is a cross generational title and whilst it doesn’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination, it doesn’t exactly show off the power of the PS4. That being said, it still does look the part and is one of the best looking bike racers we have seen.

There are a wealth of options available within MotoGP 14, from the usual instant races and time trials to career mode and more. The Career mode is the bread and butter of the game, seeing you create a rider and start from the bottom tier to try and make it all the way to the MotoGP itself.

You start in Moto3 for a lower ranked team, having to meet objectives to move up to better teams, better series and eventually the MotoGP. What was impressive here was that objective weren’t unrealistic and even if you find yourself starting half way down the grid, your objective would be to finish 15th, or beat a team-mate. Winning wasn’t everything and only really came into play as you progressed to better teams with higher expectations.

The bikes seemed to perform at a level you’d expect based on your objective and with the right settings you can happily be battling it out 10th place in a race with a bunch of other riders and not being overly bothered by the leader racing off into the distance.

Again what worked here, was even on a medium setting, the races feel tight and competitive with the AI not simply going slower because they were of a lower difficulty, instead they are just more cautious under breaking, taking less risks accelerating out of corners, or defending a line. You felt you still had to push them to overtake or even defend a position. Milestone have managed to get the difficulty balance spot on in this respect and you honestly feel like you are in a race from the moment the lights go out.

With this also, qualifying matters, it isn’t a case of skipping it, knowing you could nail five to six positions in the first corner, you once again feel you need to put a performance in during qualifying to get the best starting position possible. Career modes can often get boring quickly as you just go through the motions, but here, despite lacking the bells and whistles, Milestone have a career mode that feels pretty engaging.

There are other things that feel really good within the game too. A problem a lot of casual fans have with realistic racing games, is a lack of knowledge with regards to what is going on under the hood. Tuning a car to get the best performance isn’t always the easiest thing to do and with that in mind Milestone have solved that problem.

You can still go into your garage and fiddle with the sliders and tune the bike how you want, so there is no ‘dumbing down’ to speak of, but you also have the option of speaking to your mechanic and telling him what is wrong or what you feel you need to improve. After a short conversation in the form of multiple choice questions, he will then go ahead and make some technical changes.

It is as simple as telling him something like “my bike wobbles under braking” or “I am losing speed down the straights” and after a couple of follow up questions, you can test out the new settings. Of course if it doesn’t work, you can just go back, let him know and he will revert the bike to before the change were made.

Now whilst this is just a simple automatic setting for tuning, it is in the way it is presented that really works. It is how you’d expect thing to happen in a garage on race weekend, the rider will do some laps, go back and update their team on what is right, what feels off and then the team will work on the bike. The rider has input, but doesn’t do the work and here it adds to that feeling of realism.

Away from the career mode you also have the option to play through the a full championship season from MotoGP, Moto2 or Moto3, using either an official rider, or custom riders. There are generic options, the opportunity to relive the 2013 championship, or the Champions Championship which pits all the world champions from 1994 to 2001 against each other.

Real Events 2013 is a scenario mode, that allows you to either recreate or change events from the 2013 season. This is something that has crept into racers based on real world championships of late, as seen in recent F1 games and once again is a nice addition to the roster. Challenge the Champions is a further take on this, but instead of focusing on the 2013 season it takes scenarios from other periods and asks you again to recreate or change history.

The oddest addition to the modes is the Safety Car mode, which essentially has you racing the safety car around tracks in a time-trial mode. The issue here is that the car (a BMW M4 coupe) just doesn’t feel right in the handling, it is after all a bike racer and driving one single car in a separate mode just doesn’t fit. If you wanted to race cars, then you’d be better off buying a car racer instead…Unless Milestone are having a dig at the lack of next gen racers of course!

Over the years, the main issue with games such as MotoGP is that they have never been as accessible as their four wheeled brothers. The lines taken into corners, the way you brake for a corner, accelerate out and even attempt an overtake is all different. They do require you to spend a lot of time with them to even get the basics down .That said, when things do click they can be very rewarding and the same is true with MotoGP 14.

Starting with the lesser powered bikes in Moto3 allows you to get a feel for how a bike will handle and as you progress to the beasts rode in the MotoGP, you will start to feel a lot more comfortable and soon you will be challenging and getting a lot of enjoyment from the races.

MotoGP 14 won’t be for everyone, but during a time when the number of racing games on the PS4 is at a minimum, it more than scratches that itch. There is plenty of value for money in the game for those who want to dive in.

MovieStyle: Prince of Persia

You can always tell when a movie has had a lot of faith put into it, whether it is the budget, director or producer. In the case of Prince Persia it came with all three. A Jerry Bruckheimer produced blockbuster that was supposed to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean. This didn’t go according to plan and it failed both critically and commercially, sinking without a trace and its franchise potential evaporated immediately. However, it has to be said of all game adaptations thus far, Prince of Persia is actually the one that feels most like a movie.

Jake Gyllenhaal leads a surprisingly star filled cast as Prince Dastan, an orphan adopted by the King, with Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and a scene chewing Alfred Molina rounding out the frontline cast. It’s also worth noting that creator of the game Jordan Mechner came up with the story and was heavily involved in production, which probably explains why it’s rather faithful to The Sands of Time, the game in which it is most heavily based on.

The plot revolves around Prince Dastan being tricked into leading his army on an invasion of another city; it soon becomes apparent this was all to obtain the dagger of time. Then framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Dastan is on the run from everyone, joined by Tamina (Gemma Arterton), the princess of the city Dastan invaded, he now has to clear his name and stop the dagger from falling into evil hands.

The dagger working the same way as in the games, using it reverses time for a short period, which is quite cleverly utilised from a special effects standpoint. Dastan turning to sand as he sees the events that led up to that moment rewind before him. The one, major difference between the game and film would be the sand monsters who are noticeably absent, and rightly so to be fair. It would’ve been a bit jarring to go from a rather grounded reality to having zombie sand people attacking everyone.

I should probably take this time to mention Alfred Molina’s performance. The standout moment of the movie is when Dastan and Tamina find themselves meeting Molina’s character running a weird, ostrich racing league. Yes, ostrich racing. In certain movies there’s one actor who appears to just be loving every minute, and Molina is that person. Stealing every scene he’s in, he’s given the best lines, and even comes with a knife throwing assassin to back him up. A definite highlight of the movie, I just wish he was in it more.

But on the whole, Prince of Persia proves that having the budget and the cast means nothing when the script itself is so pedestrian. The plot is so predictable that you’ll guess how it ends as soon as you reach the halfway point, and a moment in which the audience are supposed to be shocked when it’s revealed who the real villain is, something you’ll guess right from seeing the panto quality acting. Gyllenhaal while a proven leading man doesn’t really bring the Prince to life in any meaningful way. A rather lifeless character, who aside from a few game inspired acrobatics, doesn’t really have any stand out moments. An hour after viewing the entire film pretty much disappeared from my memory.

And that’s really the main problem. It’s not good enough to be entertaining or bad enough for everyone to laugh along with. I felt nothing after watching and I suppose that’s the harshest criticism you can level at a film.

Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate Review

One of the indie highlights of the PS3 catalogue, both Pixeljunk Shooter games have now been combined into one handheld package. And they’ve definitely not lost anything in the transfer.

Having “Shooter” in the name might be doing the game a disservice, as there’s a lot more to it than that. Yes, things need to be shot, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The aim of the game is to go through each level rescuing scientists who have become trapped, easier said than done with each level getting deeper and deeper into an increasingly unstable planet.

The fluid mechanics are what really set Pixeljunk Shooter apart. Through each level you encounter lava, water, oil and various other hazards. And the way each of these interact with one another is what really makes this such an enjoyable game. For instance, you may come across an impassable area full of molten lava, and above you might see some weak rock that has a layer of water trapped. Shooting said rock releasing the water cools the lava, turning it into rock which can be shot freeing the path to the trapped scientists. This is the most basic of puzzles, with levels getting increasingly harder as the game progresses. And as you get further into the game newer elements get brought in, ranging from new enemies to switches that open up other areas. Lava isn’t the only thing that needs cooling too, unless you’ve obtained a shield then getting too close to the lava also heats up your ship, get too hot and your ship shuts down crashing into the rocks below. The only way to cool it being a quick dip in any water you can find.

There are also additional suits for your ship that add a new element to the puzzles. Some reverse the effects of water and lava; others have a magnetic effect that pushes oil out of the way. All of these little things combined make some of the best, well designed levels you can find on the Vita.

It has to be said screenshots really don’t do the game justice. The way everything interacts with one another looks amazing. The fluid physics are just a delight to watch, drips going over walls, splashes as your ship flies through the water, all in a bright, colourful world. With each new area reached having its own distinct style and appearance.

If you fancy a break from the single player then there is also an online mode for you to try your hand at. An interesting concept, a one on one game where it’s split into rounds with you and your opponent taking turns at grabbing scientists and returning them to your “base”. It won’t hold your attention for that long, but it’s nice that it exists as a throwaway extra.

The major downside to this package is that Pixeljunk Shooter 2 can be considered the weaker of the two games. It’s by no means bad, far from it. But when you go from the first game seamlessly through to the second the game appears to hit a peak when the first game ends, before quality starts to slightly decline as the second begins. The addition of the Hungry Suit is probably where it went a bit wrong. Turning your mobile ship into one that can only move in four directions is not the best of design choices. While the levels themselves are quite cleverly designed, having to ‘eat’ the rocks and push them out the way, controlling the ship is not a fun experience.

While if you’ve already played Pixeljunk Shooter 1 and 2 on PS3 there is very little here to bring you back, if you’ve never experienced them before then this really is the perfect time to jump in. The Vita managing to further cement itself as the indie platform of choice.

Mario Kart 8 Review

Driving into the final corner, you jump and drift giving you a much needed boost. Victory is within your grasp, but at that moment a red shell appears. You are hit, coins flying, you are inches away from the finish, but alas cannot gain enough speed to make it across. As you finally come to the realisation that your victory is ripped away, out of the corner of your eye you see Luigi. He looks, glares at you with pure evil behind those eyes, and drives across the finish. Welcome to Mario Kart 8. Where the Year of Luigi lives on. Forever.

Arriving on the Wii U to much fanfare, and incredibly solid sales for a struggling console, is Mario Kart 8. The granddaddy of the karting genre has returned and shows once again why it’s always been on top. On the surface it’s very much like any other MK game, but get deeper and you’ll find a number of key improvements that make it actually one of the best in the series. And not just because of the abundance of Luigi gifs that have appeared across the internet.

Tracks once again split between classics and new, however even the classics have had something of an overhaul. Less a copy and more of a remake, classic tracks are now adorned with a number of new features, none more so than the anti-gravity sections. Tracks like Toad’s Turnpike now come with added jumps and drivable walls to navigate. It adds a different layer to each track, and with the new graphical grunt of the Wii U they look simply magical. Despite being vastly more underpowered than the PS4 and Xbox One, Nintendo still manages to make their game look glorious, simply because they put art style before anything else. This can proudly stand alongside the likes of Infamous and Ryse and that is a testament to Nintendo’s ability at getting the very best out of their hardware.

MK8 really feels like it’s had pure joy injected straight into the veins. Even in 150cc where the difficulty really ramps up, and you’re left reeling from hit after hit, we very rarely stopped smiling. The difficulty being something that has definitely been raised since the last iteration. In 150cc this may be the most challenging Mario Kart game since the original. This is a good thing.

As frustrating as it can get when on the final lap you’re hit by anything and everything, it never became controller smashingly annoying. Our loss was accepted and we simply retried until those final championships were conquered. And you’ll need to beat all the championships to unlock everything, and there is a ton to unlock. Hidden characters, new kart parts and Miiverse stamps are all waiting and will take a lot of time, skills and luck.

Where Mario Kart 8 really shines is, believe it or not, online. Nintendo are finally getting to grips with online play and it’s a joy to see. Okay, they may not be on the level of Sony and Microsoft, but they’re trying! Able to either race in Grand Prix’s, Tournaments or Battle Mode, joining games is incredibly seamless. Choose a room and you’re pretty much good to go. Battle Mode however is quite a disaster. Gone are the arenas that made the SNES and N64 versions so fun, instead you just get the standard tracks featured in the main grand prix. It’s an incredibly lazy cop-out, which is something you rarely ever see from Nintendo. The tracks are designed for racing and it shows.

Much like Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 shows that nobody makes games quite like Nintendo. A master class in design that shows how tragic it is that the Wii U finds itself in such dire straits. A sure fire system seller that everyone who owns the console should buy, and if you don’t, now’s the perfect time to buy one.

Codemasters Release New GRID AUTOSPORT Open-Wheel Video

Wednesday 4th June (2pm UK) – Today Codemasters® revealed a new video showcasing the Open-Wheel racing discipline, one of the five unique styles of racing set to star in the game’s new world of professional motorsport, now playing below

In the video, gameplay footage of GRID Autosport’s Open-Wheel racing discipline reveals purpose-built racing thoroughbreds going wheel-to-wheel in events where racing with precision at high speeds is essential for success. The video also features real-world racing drivers explaining the appeal of the discipline and how to succeed in cars which ‘take a bit of holding onto’, including British Racing Driver Club Rising Stars Jake Hill and Alice Powell, Danny Keirle from the Young Racing Driver Academy  plus Arden International Motorsport’s GP3 racer Patric Neiderhauser who explains that at “almost 200 mph, side by side, [it’s ]the best feeling in the world – it’s like being on a rollercoaster but you’re driving yourself.”

In GRID Autosport’s Open-Wheel events, players must race smoothly and shave seconds off each and every lap in lightweight racing cars designed for a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio. Slipstreaming and picking the correct line around each corner is vital in a range of series typically featuring a single car class. Open-Wheel race cars are masterpieces of racing engineering where contact can quickly lead to the end of a driver’s race, so players must execute clean passes at high speed in order to win. Codemasters has consulted with drivers who have competed in Open-Wheel races to bring the experience of racing these cars alive authentically.

GRID Autosport features a range of cars and series in the Open-Wheel category. Players will get to test their skills in stunning examples of automotive excellence, including the Dallara F312, Ariel Atom 3.5, Caparo T1, Dallara Indycar and many more. Open-Wheel events and championships in career mode and online are set on the game’s beautifully recreated circuits, including Circuit Mont Tremblant, Indianapolis, Spa Francorchamps and many more.

In GRID Autosports huge career, gamers will specialise in their favourite racing discipline or conquer them all; players will feel the aggression of the pack in Touring Cars, race into the night in Endurance events, race Open-Wheel cars with precision, show car control in Tuner events and react on the fly in Street races. Each unique category features series dedicated to different classes, including Touring Cars, Hypercars, Endurance GT Cars, Prototypes, Single-Seaters, Super Modified vehicles, Drift cars and many, many more. Bursting with content, GRID Autosport features over 100 routes across 22 incredible locations and the world’s most exciting contemporary and classic high-performance racing cars to collect, tune and upgrade.

GRID Autosport is set to ship on June 24th in the USA and release on June 27th in Europe for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC and for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. A limited edition of GRID Autosport featuring exclusive additional content including the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series, GRID Autosport Black Edition, is available to pre-order from GAME in the UK. Fans can keep up with all the latest updates straight from the studio by speeding over to www.gridgame.com and www.facebook.com/gridgame or follow the team at www.twitter.com/gridgame.

Murdered: Soul Suspect Review

We’ll admit, we have been intrigued by Murdered: Soul Suspect since it was first revealed. A new IP that looks like trying to mix genres is always going to be risky, but can this be a new cult classic, or will it find itself a victim?

Players take on the role of Ronan O’Connor, a former criminal turned cop, who whilst on the trail of the infamous Bell Killer, finds himself the victim. After being thrown through a window, then shot multiple times with his own weapon, Ronan discovers he cannot pass to the other side until he works out his unfinished business.

It is an interesting setup and with the game being set in Salem, it plays off many of the myths and folklore of the area. The early sections of the game could easily be a pilot episode for an AMC or NBC type series, needing to leave a little bit of reality at the door and buy in to the general ideas.

Ronan is a very interesting lead character and one that you instantly connect with. He is a little cliche and you know he was a former criminal by his tattoos over his arms, because as pointed out by another cop in the early scenes…That is a criminal thing. That aside though, Ronan is rough around the edges and despite having a decent moral standing, he isn’t perfect. Again something you would expect of a lead character in a TV series.

That’s the second time we have mentioned a link to TV and you may be asking why that is? Well there are two things that became obvious during Murdered: Soul Suspect. One, it is set up with an almost episodic feel to it, with minor cliff hangers after each area, before a bit of a reveal of where the story is going next. That and some of the additional ‘gamey’ bits felt a little out of place.

Because Ronan is dead and is now a ghost trying to solve his own murder, you get some very interesting mechanics that as a whole work really well. You can walk around a crime scene freely, find a log all the clues and then use these clues to possess and influence witnesses, cops and other characters to solve that area. Now, if the game was simply that and that alone, it would have been a nice game with a decent story.

That being said, it does fall down a little with some of the mechanics. Because you are sort of stuck in Limbo, there needs to be some kind of threat to keep you on your toes and here it is ghostly demons that seem to share a lot in common with the dementors from Harry Potter. These demons will stalk areas and if they see you, they will find you and suck your soul.

The issue here is that they feel completely out of place with the tone of the game and the usual slow paced and deliberate nature of crime solving. You can hide from them in trails left by other ghosts or sneak up on them to exorcise them. The problem is, that they just take away from the general pacing of the game and are more of a nuisance than anything. If they had to be written into the story, you feel there could have been a better way.

There are plenty of other things away from the main story-line though and these thankfully fit in well. Again feeling much more like a long running TV series than anything. Imagine something like House, or X-Files where each episode will have a side case to pad out the episode along with the main theme and you get the idea of what is trying to be achieved here.

It works too, the side cases in Soul Suspect are often interesting and help you to improve your own solving abilities. They are however completely optional and have no bearing on the overall outcome of the game at all, which is nice to see. You won’t want to miss them though, as they are worth playing.

The main game isn’t overly long at all and feels like it was set up to be a long running series, maybe in the episodic nature and to be quite frank, we’d enjoy a proper episodic game about the ghostly adventures of Detective Ronan O’Connor. It is a system that can work with certain types of games, such as Telltale’s output and Murdered: Soul Suspect certainly fits that mould.

Murdered: Soul Suspect is far from a perfect game, especially with some of the mechanics it has, that feel out of place. However the story and characters, along with the setting do a great job of entertaining and we’d definitely like to see more in the future.

PlusCast June 2014

The PlusCast is a monthly podcast by rllmuk members talking about the Instant Games Collection provided by Sony as part of their PSPlus subscription service.

Every month, rllmuk members talk about the games that have been available that month and the games available next month on the service. Listen in to hear about the games that you have been playing on the service and to hear about what lies ahead for you next month. Other discussion includes DLC, other games in the series and general gaming design.

This month Barry and Bradley are joined by Jimmy as they talk about Stick it to the Man, Puppeteer, Everybody’s Golf, Pay Day 2 and Murumasa.

Enjoy

Mortal Kombat X Announcement Trailer

The last Mortal Kombat game brought the series back from the brink of death, and showed that MK could still hold its own in today’s fighting game market. Now Kombat has returned with Mortal Kombat X.

The announcement showcases the classic feud of Scorpion and Sub Zero as they do battle in the forest. “Mortal Kombat has always been about over-the-top, visceral fighting and with Mortal Kombat X we wanted to utilise the power of new-gen consoles to give players our most intense game yet,” says NetherRealm Studios chief Ed Boon.

“The team has worked hard to make sure Mortal Kombat X delivers everything fans expect along with new characters, new game modes and an all new graphics engine.”

Looking at the trailer and the use of environments makes us wonder if players will be able to make use of the stage in a similar way to last years Injustice: Gods Among Us. The trailer is below:

Mortal Kombat X is due out on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 sometime next year.

 

Mugen Souls Z Review

Where to start with Mugen Souls Z. Buried beneath its use of alarmingly young and busty characters, it’s borderline hentai imagery and woeful amount of crashes (did this even get tested?) there is a solid JRPG trying to escape. But by the end, we just gave up digging.

A direct continuation from the first Mugen Souls, after conquering the seven worlds the incredibly annoying Chou-Chou now sets her sights on another twelve worlds to make her “peons”. And that’s about all the set up you get really, and bear in mind, yes, this is the hero of the story you’re playing as. A hero who turns people into slaves and conquers worlds. Go team!

Mugen Souls Z appearing to deploy the kitchen sink approach to game design. Mechanics on top of mechanics, most of which we forgot for large portions of the game, resorting to the tried and tested method of hitting things with swords till they all fell down. If we were to explain all of the battle system intricacies to you then this would be the longest review in Gamestyle history, so let’s try and be brief.

Battles taking place in a 3D arena where characters in your party can be moved, albeit only in a circle dictated by various stats. Also on this field are floating crystals that when in range produce additional stats or skills or whatever. As at its core Mugen Souls Z is still a JRPG so the standard skills, attacks and items are all present and accounted for. But that’s really the only thing that can be called “traditional”.

A large portion of the plot revolves around gods that can be found on each world, and the first one you encounter Syrma has the ability in battle to change appearance mid-battle in what the game calls, wait for it, fetish poses. These are used by Syrma to seduce enemies, which brings various rewards. Then there are the G Castle battles, one on one turn based battles where your giant robot battles another. It sounds a lot more interesting than it is, as the fights basically just become rock, paper, scissors, albeit one that takes forever to end. Also during battles Damage Carnivals can be triggered (damage increases), there are chained special moves, blast offs that can send enemies flying into others, and so on. Confused by all this? So were we and we played the game. If only the developers took one of these ideas and developed it into something worthwhile instead of throwing in a bunch of half-baked ideas.

Now let’s talk about the rather creepy content of Mugen Souls Z. A lot, if not all, of the characters are rather child-like. And there are portions of the game where Syrma who needs to find all gods, throw them in her coffin that she awoke from in order to combine their powers, or something, it’s not quite clear. So with each character getting briefly thrown in the coffin an image pops on screen of said character getting groped by a white-ish slime that appears to be pulling their clothes off. Who says video games can’t be art? Each scene then followed by a trip to the bathhouse, cue more dodgy imagery. You honestly have no idea how hard it was to find an actual image from the game to use at the top of this review that wouldn’t get blocked by a porn filter.

But the creepy, half naked anime girls aren’t the game’s biggest problem, it’s that technically the game is incredibly poor. When exploring pretty much every environment the framerate is just shocking. It’s embarrassingly bad, particularly when it’s neither the prettiest or biggest game. Environments while colourful are a little bland, and the dialogue is mainly presented in 2D cut outs with zero animation. But the main issue came with the crashes. There’s one section of the game which is ridiculously buggy, that when the glass smashing animation before each battle occurs it becomes a flip of the coin as to whether the game will just die or not. It happened four times to us in a couple of hours. It’s a known issue (we checked the forums), but NIS don’t seem to be doing much about it. Very poor form.

With technical issues, an uninteresting world and a creepy aversion to young, half naked girls it makes us hard to recommend Mugen Souls Z to just about anyone. There’s an interesting battle system in here that with a little more focus could’ve shone, but as it stands, there are far, far better JRPG’s available.