I’ve been intrigued by golf games since Leaderboard on the Atari 8-Bit, and I sank a fair few hours into Microprose Golf on the Atari ST, wowed by its then-revolutionary 3D polygonal courses.
However, the games that truly cemented my love of this genre of games — although not the actual sport itself, which I find impossibly difficult to play and rather tedious to watch — were Camelot’s Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64, and Bottom Up’s Tee Off on Dreamcast. I didn’t play the Everybody’s Golf series on the early PlayStations — my first encounter with it was the Vita game — but I’m certain it would have appealed to me, because it tickled those same happy places that Mario Golf and Tee Off did by providing friendly, accessible and surprisingly fast-paced arcade-style golf action.
With that in mind, then, let’s take a look at the new PS4 installment, the latest in the line of long-running series to ditch numerical suffixes and subtitles in favour of just being called what it is.
Everybody’s Golf, then.
Continue reading Everybody’s Golf: First Impressions
Today we’re going to take a closer look at Final Fantasy XIV’s combat mechanics, and how they’ve been refined between the original release of A Realm Reborn and Stormblood.
For those who’ve never played a massively multiplayer online RPG before, Final Fantasy XIV’s mechanics may require a bit of an adjustment, as they’re rather different from the various systems the series has used in the past. But for those familiar with other popular MMOs such as World of Warcraft, the game will quickly become second-nature — with a few important distinctions from the conventions of the genre.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Final Fantasy XIV’s mechanics is that, although clearly inspired by the way a popular Western title has done things, there’s a strong feeling of “Japaneseness” to them that gives the game a very strong sense of its own identity, making it a unique experience even to MMO veterans.
Continue reading Stormblood: This Ain’t No Action RPG
Those with a longstanding interest in the worldwide shoot ’em up scene may well be familiar with German developer Hucast Games.
A developer primarily known for helping resurrect Sega’s defunct Dreamcast platform for modern audiences through the release of original, new arcade-style games for the system, Hucast’s work has had mixed reception over the years — though not necessarily entirely due to the quality of the games themselves, as this article from Segabits in 2015 explains in more detail.
As we move further into the “digital age”, however, it becomes a lot easier for developers such as Hucast to ply their trade — and, should mistakes occur, to correct them. Which is how we now find ourselves, two years after its original Dreamcast release, with an HD version of Hucast’s shmup Ghost Blade for Windows PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One.
And hey! It’s really good.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Ghost Blade HD
The original Gravity Rush was an important release for Sony’s Vita handheld: it was a high-profile, first-party release, which the system has not, to date, seen all that many of, and is unlikely to see any more.
It was positively received at the time of its original release by press and public alike, but Sony’s consistently poor marketing of the platform — coupled with a general sense of apathy by the more “mainstream” parts of the gaming community — meant that it passed a lot of people by.
And that’s a great shame, as it was an excellent game. Thankfully, Bluepoint Games managed to give it a second chance on the much more popular and widespread PlayStation 4 in the form of enhanced port Gravity Rush Remastered, so a whole new audience can discover the joy of swooping around Hekseville.
Continue reading Gravity Rush: A Hero is Born
Gravity Rush is an interesting series. Originally intended as something of a flagship title for Sony’s Vita handheld, its first installment was well-received but passed a lot of people by.
Fortunately, it managed to get a second chance at success thanks to an enhanced port for PlayStation 4 by Bluepoint Games, the company previously responsible for the PS3 versions of God of War and Team Ico’s classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. And, from there, it did well enough to spawn a true sequel, this time specifically designed for the PlayStation 4.
The two games are both excellent, but both suffered somewhat from poor release timing and, in the case of the first game, the somewhat niche-interest status of the Vita as a platform in the West. Consequently, they haven’t had nearly as much love as they deserve from the general public.
What better reason to take a closer look at where this series came from and why you should check it out, then?
Continue reading Gravity Rush: Introduction and History
Showcase PlayStation VR title Summer Lesson recently got a physical release in Asia with English subtitles, so I decided to grab a copy and investigate.
As you may recall, the idea of using VR to simulate interpersonal interactions and intimacy is something that I find very interesting indeed, so I was keen to try out this unusual title, and excited to have the opportunity to do so in English.
This morning I strapped on my PlayStation VR, sat comfortably and prepared to spend a virtual week in the company of Hikari Miyamoto. My headset didn’t come off until I’d finished an entire playthrough, at which point I was thoroughly convinced of the value of VR.
Continue reading Summer Lesson: First Impressions
Puyo Puyo Tetris is cause for great celebration, particularly for those of us who have been missing certain aspects of “the good old days” of gaming, whenever those might have been in your personal opinion.
Why is it noteworthy? Well, numerous reasons: it’s one of the few Puyo Puyo titles to have made it West without significant modifications or complete rebranding; it’s a reinterpretation of Tetris that doesn’t suck (EA and Ubisoft, pay attention); and perhaps most importantly, it’s a standalone puzzle game that not only isn’t a microtransaction-riddled, play-throttling mobile phone game with infuriating touch controls, it also got an actual, honest-to-goodness physical release. In fact, in the case of the PlayStation 4 version, the physical release is, oddly, the only way to get hold of a copy.
It’s also an absolutely cracking game, so let’s take a closer look at what it offers to puzzler aficionados.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Puyo Puyo Tetris