Gamestyle on Telegram Messenger

We’re hard at work behind the scenes at Gamestyle; sharpening our pencils and our wit. We’ll have a few new reviews for you soon, but in the meantime, here’s something new:

Gamestyle now has a channel on Telegram Messenger. You can follow us for impromptu and unscheduled updates about video games. Get the goods at

Telegram Messenger Logo and Gamestyle Logo

For those that aren’t familiar with Telegram Messenger – it’s an alternative to WhatsApp. It’s an alternative to any messenger app you could be using, but Telegram focuses on privacy.

We aren’t recommending you use Telegram. But if you do, you should follow @gamestyle.

Gamestyle isn’t dropping scores

First Joystiq, now Eurogamer. It seems that dropping review scores is the new fad in gaming media. A way for some sites to show they are serious and that they have integrity, that they ‘respect’ their readers, listeners, viewers, etc.

Well we at Gamestyle respect our followers, no matter how you get your content from us. We have been independent for 15 years and have never had anyone to answer to. We are keeping scores, because that is how we started, and it is how we are carrying on.

There are two things we should state though in this current climate.

1. We have no revenue or ad support

Why is this important? Well take a look at pretty much every other major outlet and you will notice something. They are full of ads, whether that be small banner ads, or full site sponsorship, there they are, getting in the way of your content. You then hear someone at some point telling you that using ad blockers makes you the scum of the earth, because how dare you want your content.

Well this is where we stand firm. We have no ads, it is you and your content, nothing more, nothing less. We actually generate no revenue, so there are no ads on our Youtube videos, or podcasts and certainly not on any written reviews or articles.

We may look at premium content and Patreon subscriptions one day, but that isn’t why we do this. We are here to provide you guys with content, just because we love what we do. There is no payment and no revenue coming into Gamestyle, which means we can be honest all the time. Whether you agree with our opinion is another debate altogether, but hey, it’d be dull if we all agreed right!

2. It’s about the individual

The one major change we have decided on, is that we are switching from third person reviews representing the site, to first person reviews, where what you get is the opinion of the writer themselves.

We did this because we don’t expect you to take in our opinions as a site wide thing, what one person thinks of a game, will differ from what another thinks. We don’t expect you to think this is just Gamestyle’s opinion. So we encourage you to look at who the author of a review is, build up a trust of one who may share your opinions of said games, rather than wondering, who had what opinion of a certain game.

We also encourage you to join in debate on our various social networks, which you can see linked at the very top of the site, but we will not tolerate abuse of an individual, because there is a difference between have a disagreement and outright abuse. Be decent to one another and remember we aren’t paid for this.

We are moving in various new directions that we hope are for the good of the site and will bring you even better content down the line. We hope that by remaining 100% independent, we can continue to offer honesty with whatever we write about.

Here’s to the next 15 years.

MovieStyle: Alone in the Dark

This is the fourth in the MovieStyle series, but it’s the first where I genuinely started to question what I was doing with my life. So you can probably guess what I thought about Uwe Boll’s second attempt at a game adaptation.

Normally I’d start by explaining the plot, but quite honestly I have no idea what was going on for large portions of the film. What I can tell you is it involves paranormal investigator Edward Carnby, mysterious relics, an army of horrible CGI monsters and an archaeologist who is evil for some reason. Honestly, the villain of the story seems to have no motivation for his actions. I think he’s just insane.

The plot does attempt to go a little deeper, involving Edward as a child being experimented on along with the rest of the orphaned children, but as a whole, it feels held together by string.

Really you know what you’re in for with the films hilarious opening action scene. A car chase that soon develops into a fist fight with some of the most face palm inducing stunts ever committed to film, probably none more so than when Edward does a Guile-like flip kick for some reason. There’s also a section in said fight where the demon inhabited henchman jumps from a building and clearly starts to pivot, you know, as if he’s attached to some sort of safety rope. This is the first fifteen minutes. We haven’t even been introduced to Tara Reid yet.

A performance like no either, portraying archaeologist and museum curator Aline Cedrac, Tara Reid puts in a performance that is so bad even Uwe Boll himself has said it was terrible. Not that she’s alone mind, Christian Slater as our hero Edward Carnby is at a career low here, the action delights of Broken Arrow seem like a distant memory. The only actor who comes out of this with any sort of credibility is Stephen Dorff who as Commander of Bureau 713 is trying to make the most of an atrocious script.

It’s probably worth mentioning the hilarious ‘love story’ between Edward and Aline. They already knew each other before the movie opens, Edward went travelling around the world without saying anything, so Aline hates him, greeting him with a punch. Then about half an hour later he’s instantly forgiven and they’re in bed together in one of the funniest sex scenes you’ll see. Not for the actions, but for the fact that the song “7 seconds” starts playing. It’s all very surreal.

And while I’m on the subject of music, the audio mix in this film is just weird. For large parts of the movie the audio obscures the dialogue so it’s hard to hear what people are actually saying. This ranges from the orchestral arrangements to the audio of things like helicopters. Then there’s this scene below, which actually made me burst out laughing.

And yes, the CGI is as bad throughout the film. Whenever you get a clear shot of the monsters it’s laughable. I’d say it was like watching a made for SyFy movie, but that would be too harsh on the SyFy Channel.

This whole movie is just weird, I mean, were people really crying out for an Alone in the Dark movie? And what an odd time for the film to come out, pretty much smack bang in the middle of two releases in the franchise. Four years after the quite well received New Nightmare and three years before the reimagined atrocity that came out in 2008.

So how closely it follows the source material? Honestly, I have no clue. Being in a modern setting and certain characters make this more in line with the recent entries in the franchises, but as for overall story, who knows? One thing it does lack when compared to the games is actual horror. As a series that is often mentioned as being the father of the survival horror genre, this is quite bizarre. A few bloody moments aside, there’s not one moment of actual horror in the film, no jump scares, nothing.

I’m going to wrap this up now because the more I think about it the more my brain hurts. In case you haven’t figured it out by this point, then no, no you should not watch this movie. Alone in the Dark has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, but the sad thing is it must’ve done okay because there’s ma sequel. They made a sequel to this movie!

And with that I’ll see you back here for the next MovieStyle feature, Uwe Boll’s In The Name of the King. I hate my life.

Adam’s Best of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close I’ve decided to look back on what my favourite games of the past twelve months were. It’s been an absolutely fantastic year for gaming, with a whole heap of great games across all platforms. There are a ton of games that I would’ve loved to put on the list (Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite being two of them), but I finally managed to whittle it down to a Top 5. So, in no particular order as I’m incredibly indecisive, here are my favourite games of 2013.

Persona 4: Golden

While the US and Japanese markets managed to get Persona 4: Golden in 2012, us Europeans had to wait till February 2013 before getting our hands on the Vita’s greatest game. Now I’m not a huge JRPG guy, having tried a number of Final Fantasy’s and their like, but there’s something about the Persona series (mainly 3 and 4) that bring in those who aren’t fans of the genre.

Everything about Persona 4 Golden is masterful in its design. From the deep, yet simple combat, to the insane and gripping story. The original PS2 version of Persona 4 was great, yet with Golden they’ve took what criticisms the original had and the ironed them out to perfection. New characters with their own sub-plots that play into the overall tale, new special features (our favourite being songs played at Persona Live concerts in Japan) and even new locations to explore. This is the reason you need a Vita.

Grand Theft Auto V

I was a little late to the party with GTAV, having only completed it a couple of weeks ago, and I’m glad I eventually went to it before the years end. The world of Los Santos is just so wonderfully realised that it’s an absolute joy to cruise along the streets to each mission. It’s probably the best open world sandbox ever created. The only downside came from the dialogue between Lamarr and Franklin. Maybe I’I’m just getting old, but the constant swearing became stale after the second cut scene.

Rockstar clearly getting the last bit of power out of the current consoles, it’s going to be interesting to see what they manage on PS4 and Xbox One.

Saints Row IV

While GTA V is the semi-serious sandbox world, Saints Row has gone in the complete opposite direction. From its initial beginning as a straight up GTA clone it’s morphed into something entirely different, with the latest release Saints Row IV being the craziest game yet. The end of the world is just the beginning as your character (The President of the United States) is thrust into a virtual reality world once Earth gets blown to bits in order to stop a bunch of evil aliens.

Comedy is a subjective thing; I feel Saints Row IV certainly hit more times than it missed, with some of the best use of licensed music you’ll find this year. And we should probably mention that while you are the President, the Vice President is none other than Keith David playing himself. It’s a weird game that feels like it was made by a bunch of crazy people in some sort of drug induced haze.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The third open world game to make my list is from an unusual source. Even with the PS4 and Xbox One released around the same time, this was the game I was most interested in.

Essentially giving the player the ability to buy or rent all the items needed near the beginning of the game is a genius move. Allowing you to tackle the dungeons in whichever order you wish. This unfamiliar structure matched with the familiar world of Hyrule from A Link to the Past makes this one of the best handheld Zelda’s you can buy.

The Last of Us

One of the most anticipated games of the year did the unthinkable and actually lived up to that expectation. A post-apocalyptic world where a fungal disease has infected the majority of the human race turning them into zombie-like creatures, your job as Joel is to take Ellie on a journey across the country to hopefully a find a cure.

The relationship between the main characters Joel and Ellie is really the driving force behind the game. Acted superbly by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, never before has there been such a lifelike, human interaction between two game characters. It’s a journey that I was thinking about well after the credits rolled. A sign of a great game if ever there was one.

Why the Wii U is my Christmas console of choice

It’s early December and the Xbox One and PS4 are selling in their droves with no doubt many people expecting one of these consoles sitting under the tree come Christmas Day. Not me. Despite having a PS4 pre-order up until a month before release, this was cancelled around the same time as the Watch_Dogs delay, simply because I had a sudden realisation that there are actually no games that interest me, at least not enough to spend around £400 on a new console.

So in the end the only reason I’d be buying it is simply to have something new and shiny. Something I’ve done with consoles before and regretted it when I realised I could’ve picked it up cheaper down the road with a larger and more diverse catalogue of games. It seems like the excitement of ordering a launch day console, tracking the order online, and joining many other people on forums shouting “OMG IT’S DISPATCHED” is more exciting than the moment the console arrives at your door. Or in the case of Yodel, a bush across the street.

So why will I be receiving a Wii U this Christmas? The answer is simple, games. It may not have the greatest of third party support (and that’s putting it lightly), but it does have something no other console does, that Nintendo magic. And while Xbox One and PS4 fans were at each other’s throats over resolution and graphical power, Nintendo threw out Super Mario 3D Land to critical acclaim. Weird that, it’s almost as if it’s the games that matter the most! Of course, one game doesn’t make it worth putting down hundreds of pounds on a new console and Nintendo’s other prime franchise is on hand.

Everyone remembers the furore that occurred once The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was announced right? They turned it into a kid’s game they cried! Obviously under some illusion that the previous games were like Nintendo’s version of Grand Theft Auto. If you managed to overcome this and stopped weeping into your Ocarina of Time bed sheets you’d discover one of the best Zelda games around. Personally I’d actually rate it second only to Ocarina of Time in the “Best Zelda” stakes, I loved it that much. I even enjoyed the triforce quest, which was so derided it’s actually been ‘fixed’ in the Wii U version. I don’t know why, I just loved the sailing, the open ocean as you search for that last triforce piece. The only downside was using a song to change the win direction. Something which has also been fixed if what I hear is correct.

So there you have two major, critically acclaimed releases and then there’s also the games you can pick up on the Virtual Console. No doubt I’ll end up buying Mega Man X for about the fifth time due to it being the best Mega Man game ever made (yes it is, shut up) and then there is also the back catalogue of Pikmin 3, ZombiU and Wonderful101. All of which are unique, and best of all, exclusives. These are games designed for the system, making best use of the consoles capabilities and not a watered down 360 or PS3 port.

A console could in the grand scheme of things be considered an investment. You’re investing in a consoles lifespan and this is probably my biggest worry with the Wii U. It may have some great games right now, but can anyone really seeing this last any longer than two years? Even two years might be pushing it if the dire sales figures don’t pick up. There’s a new Zelda, Smash Bros and Bayonetta 2 on the horizon, but past that and it gets a little foggy. Maybe a new Metroid if Reggie’s stammering when pressed on the subject at the VGX is anything to go by.

So yeah, thus ends my little ramble. I truly hope other people have seen the light and realised there’s more to games than prettier graphics and shouting instructions at your console. Maybe the Wii U will actually pick up over Christmas, because as it stands, it deserves to be selling far better. Whatever the outcome, this could very well be Nintendo’s last holiday season to turn things around.

Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun has been a massively underutilised franchise when it comes to the world of video games. There are countless Dungeons and Dragons titles but only four set in the murky shadows of mega corps and monsters.

Of the four games, one of them was a Japanese only Mega CD title and another is a team based shooter which doesn’t really keep the ethos. The ones fans will remember are the excellent SNES version which saw Jake Armitage taking on a Dragon and the Genesis title that never made it to European shores. To say gamers have been starved of Shadowrun fun is somewhat of an understatement but that could all be about to change.

Shadowrun Returns is a turn based strategy game set in an isometric viewpoint and is about as old school feeling as a new game gets. It’s very close in mood and graphical style to the SNES game and benefits immensely from it. The areas of the city are dank and polluted and neon tinged signs cast light over the many citizens that walk the streets in this imagining of a dystopian future. 

Conversations are carried out via dialogue trees with pictures of the characters face to the side of them. There is no voice acting or animation here but it doesn’t really detract from the game and if anything adds to the retro feel.

The story goes that your friend has been murdered and now it’s up to you find out who the killer is. At first it seems a fairly standard tale but there are a few decent twists to keep you on your toes and what starts out as a neo-noir thriller will soon go off into all sorts of strange and gruesome directions.

You can build your character from scratch from five races and a host of different class types which at least on the surface adds some depth and replay value to the game. In practice we found the classes that deal with robots or computers had their skill sets somewhat underused (especially in the beginning), with the combination of magic and guns often the best way to proceed. We’re hoping future instalments will flesh these classes out a bit more as the basic rule set is solid.

The game is split into three different sections. There’s the part where you run around the area talking to people and looking for clues, the turn based combat sections and parts where you enter the matrix. The first part plays out like a point and click adventure, all be it in a confined area.  Combat can occur quickly and it’s always nest to be prepared and ready. When combat does occur your characters are given a number of action points to move, shoot and cast spells. It’s not ground breaking but it works simply and effectively enough. You also have to keep an eye on characters strengths with Trolls and Orcs better at taking damage than Elves for instance.

Most of the time you’ll have a team of four and you’re missions will generally be to get into somewhere, retrieve a person or object and get out. Sometimes you just have to kill people but it becomes a step by step process of running to cover, concentrating fire and carefully moving forward. Mistakes can be costly and if you die you’ll start the whole sequence again. This is one of the flaws of the game as missions can be around an hour in length and you’ll often have to go through all the dialogue and adventure part of the game again if you die.

A quick save would have been pretty useful as well in case you need to step away from the PC, but as it is we only have the auto save which kicks in at the start of each new area. Just make sure you are sensible with your gear as being auto-saved into a difficult place means there may be no way to get out alive if you haven’t brought the right supplies or team. This can be somewhat frustrating considering you won’t know what you need until you get there. All auto saves are stored though and players can simply go back a few steps if thigns get too bad.

The matrix sections of the game are also a little dry. They play out in much the same way as normal combat with the Decker moving around a virtual system setting up combat programmes and fighting drones. It would have been nice to distinguish this more from the normal combat but it works.

The game also comes with a detailed level editor and this is what is going to keep it going in the long term. The rule set is solid and there are already a ton of levels available that users have created. There are dedicated projects to bring both the SNES and Genesis games into the game as well. The standard game is a round twelve hours long and it’s likely you’ll be left wanting more so it’s well worth digging into some of the mission packs out there.

Overall, Shadowrun Returns is a positive return to form for the series. It’s not perfect but everything is in place for a bright future. The game as it stands now is solid, well written and will provide a good few hours of gameplay. A few more side quests and a bit more variety wouldn’t have gone a miss but it’s an easy world to get drawn into and any fan shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s a streamlined turn based strategy game set in an interesting world and we can only see it getting better and better in the future.

Persona 4: The Animation

For the past couple of years I’ve become obsessed with the Persona series. And oddly it didn’t start because of any of the games themselves. It started with a little video series called the “Endurance Run”. A video series produced by Giantbomb where two guys (Jeff and Vinny) played through the entirety of Persona 4, the series ending after 100 hours. My two weeks off work were completely dissolved by this wonderful commentary on the most bizarre yet intriguing game I’ve ever seen. I had to play it, yet being mainly a Nintendo/Microsoft guy I didn’t own a PS2. It was a couple of years later when I would finally own an enhanced and upgraded version on the Vita, Persona 4: Golden, and it would quickly jump into my top three games of all time.

My Persona passion would continue when I would finally go back and play Persona 3: FES. Not ideal considering the mass improvements that the fourth game had over 3. Still, I loved the craziness of the story and excellent characters. And now I come to the point of this little blog ramble, the Persona 4 Animation. Released in three blu-ray sets (or “Boxes” as they are called on the blu-ray spine), across 26 episodes, this tells the story of Persona 4 in its entirety, from comedy antics to epic battles. But how does it work as an animated series?

Persona 4: The Animation is quite an odd one. On the hand someone who loves the series will get a huge kick out of seeing all their characters in animated form, most with the same voice actors as the game, newcomers however will wonder what all the fuss is about. It can be said that at times it follows the games story too closely and those rare moments where it slightly deviates from it are its best moments. A specific highlight being the insane battle with Mitsuo. One way it most certainly does deviate from the game is with the protagonist or now as he is called, Yu Narukami. Essentially the character in the game was you (“Yu”, get it?), you gave him his name, you made the choices, and not having a voice made it even more personal. Here Yu has a voice, and despite initial reservations, it’s pretty good.

Instead of having Yu be the boring, straight man hero, instead he has some of the best comedy moments in the series. Those that have played the game will be all too familiar with the infamous Kings Game section, well it’s here in all its glory and Yu loves it just as much as the audience did.

Now I’ve come to the sudden realisation that I haven’t even explained what the story of Persona 4 actually is, well, it basically follows the story of the transfer student Yu who gets sucked up into a murder mystery that involves a world inside the TV. That’s the basic set up; though it gets far crazier the deeper you go.

With Persona 4: The Animation there are two types of episodes. The “Social Link” episodes and the “Battle” episodes. Social Links are where Yu helps out the characters many personal problems and the Battle episodes are, obviously, where the real action happens. Often they are spread out quite evenly, but some of the Social Link episodes don’t translate all that well and can be incredibly boring. For instance the Nanako episode is excruciatingly awful where the episode follows your cousin trying to solve the mystery of what Yu gets up to during his days all the while pretending to be a detective. The battle episodes though are a dazzling spectacle of colours, drama and action, even having the great battle music playing over the top. In fact, all of the music from the game is present and accounted for.

Something I did find quite strange is the way the series handles the games multiple endings. Obviously it doesn’t end with the “bad” ending, that would be stupid, but in the main episode list are 25 episodes, the 25th episode ending with the “good” ending. Then stumbling onto the Extras menu and you’ll see “Episode 26”, this being the “true” ending. Why they couldn’t just have them play in order I don’t know, but at least it’s there and doesn’t end with episode 25’s quite anti-climactic final battle.

Personally, despite the odd duff episode and minor annoyances, I loved the animation, but then I would as I loved the series. It would be interesting to see the perspective of someone going into this cold with no prior knowledge of the game it’s based on as I suspect it wouldn’t be quite as glowing as my little write up. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start a new Persona 4 playthrough.

Team17 Announce Worms™ 3 for iOS!

Thursday 11th July 2013 – Today marks the fourth anniversary of Team17’s first venture onto the App Store with Worms™ and what a journey it’s been! On iOS, Worms™ 2: Armageddon alone has amassed a frightening set of statistics. Did you know there have been over 120,000,000 games, played totaling over 1,900 years of game time?

Now the chart-topping, award-winning, #1 turn-based strategy game is back and better than ever! Worms™ 3 includes gorgeous new graphics, worm classes, strategic playing cards and all new weapons! What’s even better is that Worms™ 3 has been designed and developed exclusively for mobile platforms.

Jam-packed with awesome features, Worms™ 3 includes:

  • PLAY online with asynchronous multiplayer warfare. Enroll in ranked or friendly matches and show off your prowess. Remember, with async you don’t have to commit to a full session at a time. Take your turn then go beat your friend’s score in the single player Bodycount mode!
  • CONQUER 27 single player missions across 4 themes: Beach, Spooky, Farmyard and Sewer.
  • BATTLE in multiplayer Forts or Deathmatch modes and challenge yourself with the increasingly difficult Bodycount single player game.
  • Local Pass N Play multiplayer for up to four players!
  • INCOMING! New weapons such as Nora’s Virus, Black Hole Grenade, Canned Heat and the return of fan favourites such as the Old Lady, Homing Pigeon and Boggy B!
  • DEAL yourself the advantage with a new, game-changing enhancement. Turn on the card mode and alter the start and end of each turn by the playing of strategic cards.
  • COLLECT in-game rewards that allow you to purchase bronze, silver and gold cards. Build your deck from 41 fiendishly designed cards!
  • ENLIST your perfect battle combination as you choose your Worms from a new ‘Class’ system – Heavy, Scientist, Scout and classic Soldier. Each has its own unique skill and ability. Which will fit in with your style of play?
  • GO LARGE with the fabulous Airplay feature. Link up to Apple TV and play on one device with up to four players on the big screen. The active player can plot their move secretly on the iOS device while the waiting gamers can witness the move on the TV screen!
  • CUSTOMIZE your squad and make them unique with a huge amount of customizable elements new to iOS!
  • GREATER CONTROL for players who can now choose between an all-new D-Pad control system and the original touch controls.
  • MARVEL at the glorious streamlined menu system. Gamers can now enjoy a much more pleasant and navigable menu system with a quick access player HUB for all updates and information!
  • BE THE BEST and Worm your way to the top of the Leaderboards across all major game modes including single player as well as asynchronous online ranked matches.
  • Show off your skills by earning Achievements! A delightful blend of the simple and complex, these goals have been deliberately engineered to push you and your Wormy skills to the limits!

Exclusive to mobile, Worms™ 3 is due for a Q3 2013 release and will be available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch via the App Store.


Why the Playstation Vita is the best thing to happen to me this year…

Well in a gaming sense at least. Life has been pretty busy this year, I have a six year old son who does hockey training twice a week, as well as playing hockey games. It means I spend more time away from home at this point in my life, than I ever did before. That in turn means less time to sit down with a home console or PC.

That is the only reason my gaming time fell away. However, I found I wasn’t enjoying it as much, I was playing games out of habit more than anything, or for the purposes of review. I had a reasons to play, but none of the reasons were for fun, or because I absolutely had to play the latest and greatest. That isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed the games I have played. Far Cry 3, Trials Evolution and one or two others have really stood out and have been fine experiences. Yet still if I hadn’t had to review them, I likely wouldn’t have spend as much time with them as I did.

It’s hard to put a finger on why I have had a change of heart in 2012, I still don’t watch TV, I still have no interest in Pop Factor, Celebrity Jungle, Essex thingy or any of the other popular TV programmes that friends and family always mention. I still have plenty of time to myself, when my son is in bed and my partner is at work, I would still turn on the XBOX and play some NHL 13, Forza, Rayman Origins, etc. Again more through habit than anything else. That all changed when I finally acquired a Playstation Vita.

I couldn’t afford one upon release, much to my dismay. I wanted one, I wanted to be there day one in the queue to pick my unit up. However having a family means there are always other priorities, therefore it wasn’t to be. I kind of ignored it after that, not wanting to be green with envy. That’s not me though, ignoring it didn’t last long, so I checked various threads on forums, looked at the games, checked out the opinions of others. What I found was more negativity towards the system than I expected, lack of support, lack of games and generally not living up to expectations. I felt like I had dodged a bullet in many ways.

In November however I was given the chance to get one, as a reward for doing a bit of  work for someone. It was a second hand unit, but hell, it was kind of free. It only came with Reality Fighters and Resistance, both games that didn’t exactly convince me the masses were wrong. Neither game was all that great, Reality Fighters in particular was awful. So a quick trade later and I picked up Everybody’s Golf and Wipeout 2048, because even if there was nothing else, it could at least be my Everybody’s Golf machine. It has become much, much more than that though.

Literally days after getting the machine, Sony outlined what was coming for PS+ and all of a sudden things looked bright. I was getting Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Mutant Blobs Attack and Chronovolt, all for free (well the cost of my sub, which I had anyway). For a start, Everybody’s Golf and Wipeout 2048 are fantastic games, the former being just what one would expect and the latter being stunning on that OLED screen, honestly just wonderful to see.

Uncharted was a bit of surprise too, I had heard mixed reviews about the game, yet when I finally played it, I was blown away, aside from the odd crappy QTE boss, it played so well on the Vita, it look all kinds of wonderful too. Bend (not Naughty Dog) were off to a perfect start for a launch title. It was that good in fact, that I played through every day and finished it within a few days. It wasn’t the visuals or the actual gameplay that stood out for me, it was the structure. it managed to keep the epic feel of the PS3 Uncharted games, but I found I was able to play either a few moments before setting the Vita down, or play through a few chapters. It was a lesson in how to do a handheld port of an existing major franchise.

Next was Gravity Rush, which was a brand new IP and that too really struck me in just how good it looked. It wasn’t as stand out as Uncharted, but again I was drawn in to the game and playing a bit every night. Then something hit me, I wasn’t doing this out of habit, out of some kind of obligation. I had no reason to have to play these games. I hadn’t put down any of my hard earned money, I wasn’t even having to review the games. I was playing because I wanted to, because I was having fun. Somehow this machine that is supposedly set up for failure, had given me back something that had been missing for a while.

I had my passion for gaming back. I would look forward to finishing work, so I could get some time with the games. Enjoying the time I had on my own so I could get a proper session going. My collection was growing too, having already completed Rayman Origins on the 360, I wanted it again on the Vita, so I picked up the game. Then there was Little Big Planet, which for me is the best of the franchise to far, a game that felt like it was created especially for the system. Hustle Kings, Virtua Tennis 4, Lumines and other PSN titles were added. I had promised myself that for this system I would make sure I played one, before even entertaining a new game, but a few bargains later and I have enough games to last me beyond a year already.

It’s not all good though, Modnation Racers is a bit of a let down, something that should thrive on the Vita, just doesn’t work. Poor frame-rates, really slow loading times and a clunky UI means it does just sit there, like the ginger stepchild, unloved and unplayed, it is the one game that feels like it would be a chore to play. Maybe one day when I have absolutely nothing else to play. Which for a system that ‘has no games’ should be soon right?

Wrong, as I said above, I have a enough content to last me at least a year. Because I own Wipeout HD on the PS3, I automatically get that content for free as DLC in Wipeout 2048, I have all my PSP and PSOne titles that I can play, then there are the Cross-Buy titles that already exist and that are also coming. Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, which allows not only Cross-Buy, but also Cross-Play. I can play on my Vita, against my partner or son who are on the PS3, it works amazingly well too. Games like Motorstorm RC and Hustle Kings, also add to my PS3 library thanks to Cross-Buy, there is so much to be happy with.

How can I forget to mention Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, a lesson in how to port a full console title to a handheld. It is identical, every level and character is reproduced to perfection, with only the slightest trade off in graphics. It’s a shame there is no Cross-Save with the main game, but it is that good, I don’t mind playing twice over. Need For Speed: Most Wanted too, I only have that for the Vita, purely because it is better than the console versions. It plays like a full blown home release, but here it is in the palm of my hand. There are also some fine free to play games too, with the absolute stand out being Treasures Of Montezuma, which is essentially a clone of Bejewelled, however is a clone that is more than welcome and if I am being honest, has a levelling up system that makes it more enjoyable than PopCap’s effort. Honestly, if you have a Vita, try it.

Another let down though is Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, it’s not awful as such, but it feel like a missed opportunity, released more to have the brand on the console, rather than for a great gaming experience. As I mentioned in my review, it felt like the team who made it, were doing so based on old ideals of handheld ports, rather than trying to bring something that was designed for the Vita itself. However on the whole there are more excellent games, than there are let downs.

Even moving forward, my most anticipated title of 2013 is Persona 4 Golden, a Vita title. P3P on the PSP was probably my favourite game of the system and hearing other’s experiences with P4G has more then whetted my appetite. I could of course get it on import, but I have enough to get through as it is, that I can wait until my will power fails me, upon seeing it on a shop shelf.  The naysayers will continue to predict the death of the Vita, however, should Sony decide to kill the system early, I will feel I have more than had my monies worth, just based on everything available already.

I have barely scratched the surface, I am yet to play Virtue’s Last Reward, WRC 3, Assassin’s Creed III, Disgaea 3, Escape Plan, FIFA, Frobisher Says, Jet Set Radio, MGS HD Collection, Ratchet & Clank, Mortal Kombat, New Little King’s Story, Pinball Arcade, Sound Shapes and more. Those are just the released games, there are bound to be some that will come that are yet to be announced, plus as previously mentioned a whole load of classic PSOne and PSP titles.  Who can tell which of those will also see PS+ releases.

Let us not forget too, that the Vita isn’t even a year old yet. For my money it has the strongest one year catalogue of any system before it. Sure the hardware has lacked the sales Sony had hoped, but I honestly believe that is mainly down to some awful marketing more than anything. With PS+ onboard, Sony should really be pushing the system now, creating bundles which include a subscription and making sure the world knows about it. It needs to show off the potential of the system, show it isn’t just another PSP, that it is now a whole lot more. Show off the games properly, shout from the rooftops… THIS IS THE VITA!

Up until November, I was considering how much longer I can continue gaming for, it is an expensive hobby when you just aren’t feeling it anymore. Now though, I feel I am back, I look forward to new releases, I look forward to playing games again. It is all down to my Vita.

Same old Gamestyle, fresh start.

Unfortunately, for the second time in Gamestyle’s history, we recently fell victim to hackers. The Gamestyle server was the target and it resulted in losing everything; the website source code and the database of content and users.

Of course, like any sensible website owners, we had backups of all our content and our code on a separate server. Alas, that was targeted too. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have a local copy of the database — only the source code — so we saw, overnight, around 13 years of video game reviews, previews, interviews, articles, and discussion wiped.

For those of us who have concentrated so much time and effort into making Gamestyle, it’s absolutely heart-breaking to see this happen. We don’t write about video games for money. Gamestyle is non-profit and stands as an ad-free alternative to the convoluted gaming journalism industry that exists today; a source for an impartial voice in the video game community, written by aspiring writers. It’s a shame that someone would want to try to destroy our efforts.

If you’re reading this as someone who is familiar with the website, thank you for supporting us throughout the years. Please be patient with us, as we sit here scraping the cache of Google, Bing, and the Wayback Machine, whilst we attempt to salvage what data we can from the past iteration of the website and restore what we can of the Gamestyle name.

Thanks to our friends at Thunderbolt Games — a site that stands on the same underlying principles of Gamestyle — for offering help when needed. Thanks also to all the previous writers from years gone by, for coming out of the shadows and offering up copies of content that was written for the site. With the collective team effort, together with a little time and elbow grease, we hope to have the site back on track once again.

It may not look like the Gamestyle you’re familiar with, but it will be made with the same passion and dedication of the past 13 years.