[PS Plus Reviews] February 2016- GRID Autosport

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

This is an apology game.

UK-based developers Codemasters have a reputation of leading the charge of racing games with a “simcade” handling. Part simulation, part arcade. They have always been respected by fans of racing for their ability to walk the tightrope of both without any huge compromises for both the hardcore and the casual racing gamer.

As the 360/PS3 generation dawned, Codies launched their two racing franchises with a bit of rebranding. Collin McRae Rally was called Collin McRae Rally: Dirt. The subtitle continues as the main brand of off-road and rally games of Codies, especially after the passing of the namesake, a great rally driver he was. TOCA Race Driver ditched the TOCA license and and was called Race Driver: GRID. Again, the subtitle would be the main tarmac racing title.

It was a long gap between Race Driver GRID and GRID 2. For GRID 2, released in 2013, Codies were changing a lot of what made the first GRID so appealing and scuff it away. The interesting build a race team angle was gone. Seasons as progression was gone. Even certain features, like the interior cockpit cam was gone. Loyal fans were angry, but Codies didn’t listen, as they are aiming what Dirt 2 did- making it more appealing to the mainstream.

GRID 2 flopped commercially as well as critically. GRID Autosport is then released the next year after GRID 2 and attempted to rectify the biggest of faults that fans clamouring for. Hence, why I called it the apology game.

Is it a good apology? Read on to find out. What I can assure you for now that it is a bloody good game.

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[PS Plus Reviews] January 2016 Quick Round-up

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January 2016’s line-up of free PS Plus games is… interesting. A remastered classic and a surprise sequel to an old almost-forgotten game on the PS4, AAA titles by EA on the PS3 and games that fit right in the PS Vita’s handheld form.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the titles available, free for PS Plus subscribers for January 2016.

PS4

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Hardware: Rivals

A car combat game, a sequel of sorts to one of the earliest online multiplayer game on the PS2, Hardware: Online Arena. Jeeps and tanks duke it out, with weapon pickups, interesting stage gimmicks, and wacky style.

I wrote a full review on this, noting it’s lack of content on launch, but could be better in the future.

[link to review]

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Grim Fandango Remastered (also available on PS Vita)

Grim Fandango used to be criticised for how hard the controls were. Now with this remaster, you can experience it with an easier one. Surprisingly, this classic adventure game aged well, with some negligible issues.

[link to review]

PS3

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Medal of Honor: Warfighter

I did not get the chance to experience this FPS, but this is a full AAA shooter. It didn’t perform well on launch due to heavy competition, but from the looks of it the singleplayer campaign is a decent experience to go by.

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Dragon Age: Origins

Played this game on PC years ago. Loved it. This is Bioware’s take of a grim high-fantasy RPG. A long and engrossing intro depending on your chosen race and origins (hence the title) with a deep tactical combat and branching paths based on dialogue. I cannot say for sure how this game plays with a controller though. A good timesink of an RPG.

PS Vita

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Futuridium EP Deluxe (also available on the PS4)

I strongly believed this game, a space shooter with puzzle-like, short-burst levels, works best on the Vita, hence being catagorised here. Despite that, I gave the PS4 version a go. I don’t like it as much, but a well put together game that someone will genuinely like it.

[link to review]

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HISTORY Legends of War

This is an odd choice, but understandable. All in all, this is a tactical strategy game, think XCOM without grids, based on World War II. Obviously I have never played it and unable to since I don’t have a Vita, I only watch footage from YouTube for info. For what I see, I have mixed feelings on this. But maybe give it a go?

What do you think of the line-up this month? I personally have mixed feelings, but give them a shot? Shoot your opinions in the comments below.

[PS Plus Reviews] January 2016- Futuridium EP Deluxe

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

I am no fan of arcade bullet hell. I am also not a fan of one rougelike element- permadeath, as in no checkpoints in between long stretches of gameplay.

So Futuridium EP Deluxe should not be a game for me to enjoy from the start. It is a spaceship shooter, but it’s not a bullet hell shooter. It’s an arcadey spaceship shooter with short bursts of levels, cleverly designed, and rewards smart manouvering rather than twitch reflexes.

It’s not bad, but I have reasons why I don’t enjoy it as much, but maybe it tickles your fancy, as it is, at the end of the day, a very well-put game regardless of its indie status.

Do note this game is available for both PS4 and the PS Vita. This review is based on the PS4 version.

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[PS Plus Reviews] January 2016- Grim Fandango Remastered

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

Well this is a surprise. Grim Fandango is known to be one of the last great adventure games of the now-defunct LucasArts. Released in 1998, it’s actually the first foray of LucasArts into complete 3D games, leaving the legacy SCUMM engine, pixelated 2D graphics and point-and-click controls.

This game is directed Tim Schafer, now known for his company Double Fine, famous for Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, running the biggest crowdfunding game on KickStarter at the time, and an interesting Let’s Play series. Somehow Double Fine managed to recover this IP from the demise of LucasArts after Disney purchased LucasFilms- and its sub company LucasArts- and now re-released in a remastered form.

So, with some HD retextures and some changes made, does the Remastered version able to capture the nostalgia of the original, and make it accessible to the new generation of gamers? Read on to find out. Continue reading

[PS Plus Reviews] January 2016- Hardware: Rivals

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

This January there’s supposed to be a release of a PC game called Hardware: Shipbreakers. Thankfully, the developers, who used to work on the Homeworld IP, managed to get in touch with new owners Gearbox and officially brand their game as a proper Homeworld game instead of a spiritual successor. The game then changed names to Homeworld: Shipbreakers before finalised as Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.

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Thank goodness the developers opted to not use Hardware as their series name, else people might get confused that Hardware: Rivals is also of the same IP. Instead, Hardware: Rivals is an online-only multiplayer car combat game, a successor to Hardware: Online Arena, one of the first online games on the PS2. Yes, this is no indie game, a sequel of sorts, and it’s a first party game developed in-house by a new team at Sony.

Car combat used to be a genre in the PS1 era, with titles like Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 leading the charge.

So, a modern day online-only multiplayer car combat game? Is it as fun to play nowadays? Read on to find out.

Note: This game is available for free for January 2016 PS Plus subscribers.

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