Super Mario 3D World Review

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Super Mario 3D World | Publisher – Nintendo | Platform – Wii U

As Mario now approaches his mid-30’s does this aging franchise still have a place amongst the gaming elite? He seen off the competition before. Let’s be honest, Sonic has seen better days and whilst Bubsy the Bobcat and Crash Bandicoot, to name just a few, have forced to take early retirement. There stands Mario, with is ever faithful band of comrades, standing tall in a celebration of everything that gaming should be. This is a masterpiece, Super Mario 3D World is above all else, FUN.

The story begins with Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach (who for once has not fallen victim to the evils whims of Bowser!) exploring the Mushroom Kingdom when they come across a strange clear pipe. It is from this said pipe that a Sprixie emerges, imagine a rather odd looking fairy and you may have some idea what a Sprixie looks like. Suddenly, Bowser appears, captures there new found friend and disappears through the pipe. Our heroes give chase and our adventure begins.

Those familiar with Super Mario Bros. 3 will have some idea of the layout of each world, of which there are seven and of course a few bonuses at the end with I am certainly not going to spoil for you. The aim is to guide our heroes through various levels located within each world until the eventual showdown with one of Bowser’s minions. Once defeated, a Sprixie is freed and it’s on to next the world, rinse and repeat until the final showdown with Bowser himself. Defeat him and glory will bestowed upon you and legendary status achieved and what fun you are going to have in the process.

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The goal remains the same, make it to end of each stage, raise the flag triumphantly and it’s onto the next. Each world acts a hub, anyone familiar with Super Mario Bros 3 will appreciate the layout. It offers a little more freedom to explore but, essentially progress is made by completing various levels along a set path. Whilst the layout remains familiar it is the sheer variety on offer that truly astounds. From using a large dinosaur as a makeshift surfboard to playing though an entire level when all one can see is shadows. It never becomes tiresome. New ideas are constantly thrown at you. You truly get the sense that the designers were given free reign. Some stages will require the use of the touch pad, some will have rushing frantically. Nothing feels overused or drawn out.

The graphics and attentional to detail are genuinely stunning. Colours are bright and bold. Everything feels solid and purposeful. This not design over substance, a world has been created that you would want to spend a serious amount of time exploring. Accompanying the excellent visuals is the superb soundtrack. Each level has its own composition which sets the tone perfectly. It is a true assault of on your senses.

Those who have experienced past games from the Mario franchise will recognise elements from previous titles. Mushrooms and fire flowers, to name just a few, make a welcome return. The introduction of the new cat suit is a stroke of genius. The ability to scamper up walls opens up a whole new dimension. The cherry power up, which also makes its debut, is quite simply hilarious. Collect one of these and your chosen character duplicates. There is now two on screen for you to control. This can be stacked so, potentially, there can be up to five clones all running around at the same time. Each one mimicking the movements of the other. Add the multiplayer aspect to this and it becomes truly chaotic.

Mario 3D world Review

There are four characters on offer, with a secret fifth hidden later on for you to unlock. Each with their own abilities. Mario, the typical all-rounder. Luigi and his super high jump. Princess Peach and her ability to float and of course Toad, who is quicker than the rest. Your chosen character can be changed at the start of each level. This makes changes to the play style seamless. Using extra Wii remotes the game supports up to four players. You can either work together as a team or make each level a flat out race to the finish. If someone has rushed ahead and your character falls off screen the game compensates for this by allowing you to catch up in the form of a bubble. You are magically transported back onto the screen and a simple button press and you’re back into the fray.

There is so much on offer here that you will certainly get value for money. Each level has three green stars and a magic stamp to collect. The latter is used when posting messages using Nintendo’s Miiverse. These can be genuinely tricky to find and will take real skill to find them all. Couple this with excellent controls, manic multiplayer and enough hidden surprises to put most games to shame. Nintendo have, once again, outdone themselves. Super Mario 3D World is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

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Reviewer – Mr Baddog

Super Mario 3D World is out now for Nintendo Wii U

 

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review

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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Publisher: Capcom/Developer: Capcom
Nintendo DS/iOS

Why would anyone want a book when there’s Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective? Books don’t have 2D rendered sprites of hand drawn 3D models, you could have animation by flipping through the pages quickly but it would have to be an absurdly huge book to be anywhere near as cool. You would definitely drop a book that big on the bus and lose your place; drop a Nintendo DS on the bus and it’ll snap shut and save your place internally just because it loves you so very much. The point of this ludicrous opening paragraph is not that books are rubbish, but just that Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is really really good.

It starts off with a murder; a detective called Lynne stumbles across a corpse in a junkyard, before a hitman bursts onto the scene and shoots her down for unknown reasons. After an enchanted lampshade informs the ghost of the discovered corpse (that’s you) of your “Ghost Tricks” it’s up to you to use these tricks to save Lynne. The catch is that you have no memory of who you are or why you were killed tonight; and Lynne is your only potential lead on unlocking this mystery before your time runs out at dawn.

That probably all sounded fairly straight and narrow before the stuff about ghosts and the enchanted lampshade cropped up didn’t it? Ghost Trick comes to us from Shu Takumi, best known as the creator of the also slightly insane Ace Attorney series, and those familiar with his work will see his fingerprints all over this outing too.

It’s hard to discuss the story in too much detail as even the smallest piece of information could have 100s of spoilers attached to it, but Takumi games often have really “out there” nonsensical plots. This is sometimes too much for some gamers; a lot of people especially get grumpy about the Ace Attorney series regular inclusion of spirit mediums into the plots, but Takumi gets away with it because he grounds everything with the characters.

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Takumi views his characters as the foundation of the craziness not crash test dummies that the craziness just happens to slam into, and as nuts and convoluted as Ghost Trick gets you’ll come out of it remembering the people more than the events. The ending of this game really doesn’t work for some people, but gosh darn it, it’s such a pleasant ending and so wrapped up in this worlds own logic it’s impossible to hate despite how silly it is. A lesser game wouldn’t get away with it; fortunately Ghost Trick is anything but.

As the comparison to books at the start and this review’s absolute refusal to discuss (or ruin) core plot points might imply, the main event of Ghost Trick is the story but this isn’t just an interactive novel, there is gameplay afoot. You spend the game moving around with your “Ghost Tricks”, these allow you to hop a short distance between inanimate objects and manipulate certain objects, such as chiming a clock or swinging a pendulum. Much more spectacular however, is the ability to communicate with recently deceased spirits and rewind time back to four minutes before their death.

The core element of the puzzles in this game are these “four minutes before death” sequences, where you have to toy around with objects in a room to avert someone’s fate. It’s a clever mechanic in how the designers choreograph a death sequence, sort of as a “what if” scenario and give you limited tools to change it, as it also gives your ghostly spirit an excuse to actually communicate with all the other characters in the story. The one downside to it is it does mean basically everyone in the plot has to die at some point as part of one evening’s events, Lynne especially is a bit reckless as you’ll be saving her about six times in the game, you really get the feeling that as soon as your spirit fades away at dawn all these clutz will trip over their shoelaces and all die in one big pile and it’d all been for nothing.

Anyway, the actual puzzles are fairly trial and error in nature, but that’s not the smarmy criticism that it sounds. What the game does is give you situation and a whole bunch of toys to play with, you’ll probably spend your first attempt playing with them and getting everything wrong, but you’ll figure out what to do. Time is frozen when moving around in the Ghost World, and you rewind to the start as many times as possible and the game is never a douche about it, stuff just goes wrong in Ghost World sometimes. Solving a puzzle in Ghost Trick is more like completing a Sudoku grid than solving a crossword clue, you keep clawing away at it until eventually you get all the pieces in the right place and it all becomes obvious.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a beautifully presented story full of heart and spirit (hey this was a joke thanks for reading). Anyone who likes adventure or story-based games but gets frustrated at the structure of classic PC point n’ click ones should really love this, and anyone who is a fan of Ace Attorney or Professor Layton will be all over this as well. Whether you like, love or hate it, it’s guaranteed that you’ll never forget it.

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Reviewer: Matthew Leslie

 

All Format Chart – Week ending 8 February 2014

chart

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 2
2 CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 3
3 FABLE: ANNIVERSARY MICROSOFT
4 TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION SQUARE ENIX 1
5 LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 5
6 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 8
7 BATTLEFIELD 4 EA GAMES 4
8 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 7
9 KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL SONY COMPUTER ENT. 10
10 ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG UBISOFT 6
11 GRAN TURISMO 6 SONY COMPUTER ENT. 11
12 NEED FOR SPEED: RIVALS EA GAMES 9
13 BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 19
14 MADDEN NFL 25 EA SPORTS
15 NBA 2K14 2K SPORTS 12
16 WWE 2K14 2K SPORTS 13
17 ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES SEGA 16
18 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 14
19 LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 17
20 FORZA MOTORSPORT 5 MICROSOFT 15

Frugal Gaming Scroogecast Episode 17 – Strain & Rinse [Eplicit]

Show Details

Daz and Lee return for a record seventeenth show, shaking off the dreaded curse of the sixteenth show. This week we talk about what we’ve been playing as well as bringing you the latest gaming news. Frugal With The Truth also makes a surprise return, with another selection of filthy tales from Daz.

Reviews and Ratings

Please help by leaving us an iTunes review and rating as this really helps to promote the show to new listeners

As usual, adult content and strong language from the very start!!

Show Links

Frugal Gaming Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/FrugalGamingDeals

Frugal Daz Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/frugaldaz

UglyGeezer Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/uglygeezer

Contact us : podcast@frugalgaming.com

Download Links

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Direct Download : http://traffic.libsyn.com/frugalgaming/Episode_17.mp3

Podcast RSS : http://frugalgaming.libsyn.com/rss

Spreaker : http://www.spreaker.com/user/frugalgaming/episode-17-strain-rinse

Sticher : http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/frugal-gaming-scroogecast

Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohf-edp05kM

 

Resogun Review

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Genre: Side scrolling shooter

There was a lot of pressure on Resogun when it was released. There are two big reasons for this, firstly it was a launch title for the much hyped Playstation four and secondly it was a free downloadable game thanks to the superb Playstation Plus service. This made it available to all new adopters of Sony’s brand new console and as such under the microscope. This game was developed by Housemarque in Finland who are perhaps most famous for their Super Stardust games which clearly have a similar visual style to Resogun.

A side scrolling shooter doesn’t sound like the most likely game to showcase a new systems graphical leap but Resogun really is impressive to look at. There are five different levels for you, all of which are cylindrical, meaning that the background is actually the middle of the world. The particle effects when blowing up enemies and the background crumbling as the level progresses really are amazing to look at. When the screen fills up with several enemies and you are firing frantically to stay alive this game really does look incredible and I feel it does show off what the PS4 can do visually, at times in the later levels the colours, sounds and animations on screen do look like art and just couldn’t be produced on older hardware.

The main appeal to me though about this game is that it is so simple to pick up and play, as I have already mentioned there are five levels in total, you can either go at these one at a time or play arcade mode and progress through each level in order getting harder as the game goes along. There are four levels of difficulty starting at rookie and ending in Master if you are good enough to unlock it. Sadly I struggle to survive long on this setting to really comment about it.

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The simplicity of the game play is for me its strongest asset, you can only fire left and right with you standard weapons that upgrade the further you get into the game. There are only three different ships to choose from all with varying attributes from quick agile but lacking fire power to slow but as powerful as a tank. Finding the ship that suits your style best is part of the fun in this game, personally I like the Nemesis as it is the most agile which is a huge help as I seem to spend most of my time just trying to stay alive.

Your primary weapon varies in power and speed with each ship but the bombs you have are identical regardless of ship. These bombs destroy everything on the world in one fell swoop, great for clearing a congested screen of enemies but these are in limited supply and can only be collected by saving humans that are dotted around the world. These humans are an integral part of the game as they help you build up not only lives, bombs and shields but also points. Yes this game really does hark back to the old days, points are an integral part of this game you will want to be as high up the leader boards as possible and the difficulty you play at massively affects this.

How you collect points is simple, keep hitting your enemies and save the humans. If only it was as simple as it sounds, the more enemies you destroy the higher your multiplier gets but if you go a few seconds your multiplier resets meaning you have to plan how to kill the enemies so that you don’t leave a gap between the waves. Saving humans can help you keep your multiplier giving you a few moments before you hit something else. The more humans you save means more bonus points at the end of the level too as well as the rewards that they give you through out the level in the form of bombs, lives, points and temporary shields.

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The end level bosses are superb, the varying difficulty levels really do make each fight different. On the easy levels it seems that the early bosses aren’t that hard to beat but on the harder levels you have to rethink the strategy you used before and most likely come up with a new one to succeed. This also applies to when you use different ships, each one means you have to tackle the bosses in a different manner to get to their weak points.

Of all the launch titles for the PS4 this was definitely the most successful exclusive in my opinion. Whilst on the surface it looks likes a simple side scrolling shooter that you think you have played several times before it is not until you have played it that you realise that it is much more. The simplicity of its game play proves that sometimes less is more this game doesn’t try to over complicate things making it so easy to pick up and play but, for me at least, impossible to master. It is great fun and the points system ensures that you do want to give it just one more go to try and beat your top score.

I am going to give this game an 8/10. I have played this game as much, if not more, than my other PS4 games, the only aspects that could be improved are the number of worlds and ships but otherwise this is a great fun game that everyone with a PS4 should play.

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CastleStorm Review

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Developer: Zen Studios

Type/genre: Strategy (Angry Birds meets medieval ages with castles, knights and dragons.)

The controls for the game when you first pick up the controller feel a little fiddly, but within ten to twenty minutes tops you’ll fully understand and be using the controls like a professional. Using the left stick you control and adjust a ballistic weapon, which is your most important tool in defending your castle. Using the right stick enables you to control the camera pan the environment and keep a eye on all the action. Both the bumper buttons let you select options to aid you in battles while the letter buttons confirm or cancel actions and issue additional commands. Generally although the left stick seems a little over sensitive and the controls a little confusing at times they do feel responsive, lag free and overall a pleasure to use.

The game has a cartoon like RPG feel to it, with the good guys fighting in blue and the baddies ranging from Vikings to Orcs and dragons fighting in red. Characters seem easy to pick out during the carnage with the camera picking out every individual no matter how far zoomed out. Cut-scenes carry along the story whilst clearly showing what is happening, not only does this make the game more enjoyable as you know what your doing but also can lead to some humorous and comical happenings to make you, the player smile.

Backgrounds are a pleasure to look at with something always going on while you play, these can range from weather elements happening i.e clouds moving or thunderbolts striking the ground to birds flying past with funny results from stray arrows.

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Right from the start you know you’re in for a treat music wise, with a horn of war sounding then a medieval sound playing in the background. The menu music changes from time to time but is nothing more than a tune sadly, it does do the job though and helps the game feel complete with Zen Studios going the extra mile to add minor details. Voices during cut-scenes are sharp and clear with a narrator speaking over the top explaining everything that’s happening to help you through the carnage. During the campaign sometimes you hear characters shout “CHARRGE!” as they rush into battle, they also let you know clearly they have spawned with a simple “I’m here”.

The game feels smooth and fluent with the basic principle of physics being used to stop people attacking your castle. You start off with a basic ballistic arrow firing weapon that can be upgraded with the more kills you gain with it, eventually making it into a lean mean rapid firing machine. Levels start off easy with only a few enemies trying to attack your castle (of course) and you are learning how the game is played it only means things can and will only get harder. Fear not though as the more you play the game, more items and abilities are unlocked and buyable from coins you gain through the levels, in turn making your castle and forces grow stronger faster and generally more badass!

Levels range from defending your castle to killing so many people with headshots or destroying the enemies castle, these link well with the story explaining that basically everyone hates you and you must do anything possible to look after your castle, while stopping the on coming from taking your land.

Enemies vary from vikings, evil dogs and orcs together with dragons, giants and enemy “champions” to not only vary what your defending your castle from and killing but adding something different to game-play, ultimately forcing you to change your defensive stance and learn some new tactics.

Conclusion: In all honesty I never really enjoyed defend the tower style games, but with so many unique features being bought in to change the stereotype, CastleStorm really wants to push the boundaries of not only the players enjoyment but the game in general. With tongue in cheek storylines, endless customisation of your castle and unique little twists on missions. A very enjoyable experience that will no doubt make you keep coming back for more.

THE GOOD:

  • Endless customisation
  • Feels tailored to the player
  • Easy to pick up and play

THE BAD:

  • Weapons can be a little over sensitive
  • Sometimes unclear on what to do
  • Sadly hardly anyone plays online so long waiting times for a game.

Link to Zen Studios: http://blog.zenstudios.com/
Link to CastleStorm (Xbox 360) : http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/CastleStorm/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d8025841129a
Price: ($9.99 or £6.75)
My Twitter: @Stemo666

Get a 25% discount code for Green Man Gaming by completing a quick survey

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The nice folks at Green Man Gaming have teamed up with the equally nice people at Yogcast to create a survey that once completed will bag you a 25% discount code that can be used on virtually all PC download titles on the Green Man website. In what is anticipated to provide one of the biggest ever insights into the playing habits and game media preferences of YouTube viewers, this timely survey will not only focus on increasing audience engagement, but will be a chance to reflect on the current power and effectiveness of YouTube.

“It’s amazing how successful The Yogscast has become as a platform in such a short space of time,” says Rich Keith, General Manager at The Yogscast. “We understand what the audience wants and we deliver it. This survey will help us define their key motivations, which will feed into the continual improvements we make to the channel. We could think of no better partner to help us reward people for taking part than Green Man Gaming.”

“We are proud to be associated with The Yogscast and rewarding engagement is something we really value at Green Man Gaming,” says Darren Cairns, EVP Marketing at Green Man Gaming. “By way of thanks, anyone who completes the survey will receive a whopping 25% discount code towards virtually all PC download titles on  greenmangaming.com

The survey is now LIVE at  www.greenmangaming.com/yogscast

These codes are valid until Valentine’s Day (1600 GMT 14th February to be precise!) so make sure you use it before then!

Dungeon Keeper Review

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Dungeon Keeper
Pub:  Electronic Arts / Dev: Mythic Games
Android/iOS

Approaching this review, you may have heard one or two things about terrible gameplay, predatory business models and a shocking disregard for gamers shown in this title. These things are all true –  Even stuff you might have made up in your head, on the spot, just then. Dungeon Keeper is probably the greatest example of how the mobile game market needs a radical overhaul – and that action needs to start with you, today.

I knew this game was in the pipeline but had forgotten about it around release, so I was surprised to see a couple of YouTubers suddenly coming up with videos about one of my favourite older game franchises. I was not ready for what I saw on screen and – despite their warnings – went ahead and downloaded the game from the Play Store.

Dungeon Keeper does not fail because it is an inherently bad game. The IP of Dungeon Keeper is strong; you play the villain who builds a dastardly dungeon filled with traps and minions and you must defend it against the incursions of pesky ‘heroes’ and other ‘Keepers vying for power. The original concept came from Bullfrog Games who were responsible for many classics in the 90s (that have since been shat all over by EA – I’m looking at you, Syndicate) and was full of character and interesting gameplay mechanics. Essentially a realtime strategy game, you design and dig out your dungeon and interact with monsters to gather resources and fight battles. Playing from the bad guy’s point of view was novel, but the humour was what made the games shine.

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Dungeon Keeper does fail because it treats you, the player, like an idiot. The redesign of the game needs you to be a hyperactive cash-cow, randomly clicking everything and throwing money at the screen – or it requires you to not really enjoy playing games at all, and instead merely check-in once or twice a day to tap a flashing button.

Like the original games, you still dig out your own dungeon. Again, like the original games you send your imps to dig out rock to make space for rooms. What makes it slightly different to the original is that some rocks take 4 hours or dig out.

Or a day.

So if the idea of ponderously digging out a 5×5 room over the course of a month appeals to you, then great. Go ahead and download.

Alternatively you can take what the game itself calls ‘quite the polarizing solution to make the timer disappear’ and pay. The game knows it is being exploitative. The game knows that it is cashing in on what are hopefully the final death-throes of a monetization model designed to mug, and mug heavily, a few people who get caught in its trap.

To put it simply, you can pay quite a lot of money to progress more quickly. Without paying, there is basically no game to speak of. Everything has a timer and nothing is fun. If you want to make the slightest change to your dungeon, the game sticks out its grubby paw and asks for payment – like a drunken busker stumbling his way through some of your favourite tunes and demanding cash in return for silence.

I don’t care that they got the original voice actor back to play the games’ narrator. I don’t care that there are a couple of moderately funny one-liners. Dungeon Keeper 2014 is NOT A GAME. It is a cynical and manipulative title that gives you no reason to play it. Were it to have been released at £15, with  no additional micro-transactions tacked on, it might have been worth a look – but I have neither the time, inclination nor bottomless pockets to discover what the ‘end game’ of this particular title might be.

I’d like that to be the end of it. It would have been nice if we could just turn away from Dungeon Keeper and never speak of it again. This is however, one final aspect that I have to bring up – just in case you come across this title in the app store and get confused by the ratings. Like many other titles, this game will ask you to rate it and – again like many other titles – it will ask you to give it five stars. Here’s the thing about that – if you choose 5 stars from the in-game options it will take you to the store page to rate it. If you choose 1-4 stars it will ask you ‘send feedback’ to them EA instead.

Sneaky. How many people do you think actually follow up, find the game page in the store and rate the title from there? I would suggest a great deal fewer than the ones who just click ‘5 stars’ to get rid of message.

I don’t know how to put it more plainly than this: do not download Dungeon Keeper – it sucks.

Do not tolerate ‘free-to-wait’ games that offer you virtually nothing in return.

Hell, even Flappy Bird offers a complete experience.

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Reviewer: Karlos Morale

Dungeon Keeper is out now for Android and iOS

Dungeon Keeper is ‘free to play/wait’

 

Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry Announced as stand-alone title

Today, Ubisoft announced that single-player adventure, Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry, will be available as a stand-alone game exclusively for download on PlayStation4 and PlayStation3 computer entertainment systems on February 19 and PC on February 25. Originally released as an add-on adventure for Assassin’s CreedIV Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry will not require the purchase of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.

Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry tells the story of Adewale, a man born into slavery. Once a pirate and now a trained Assassin, Adewale is shipwrecked in 18th-century Haiti, home to the most brutal slavery in the West Indies. In an effort to get back to the sea, Adewale assists the locals in exchange for a crew and a ship. The more he fights for freedom from slavery, however, the more he is drawn into the Maroon slave community, forcing him to face his vicious past. In the game, Adewale will take his new crew and set of weapons, including a machete and a blunderbuss, to assassinate enemies and free slaves, delivering merciless justice in plantations and cities alike. No stranger to the sea, Adewale will command a fearsome brig to take down slave owners in the Caribbean.

 

Long Live the Queen Review

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Long Live the Queen
PC
Hanako Games

How is it that the animals are always first to know?

Look at almost any horror film you can name and the little barking doggy or the startled cat is the first indication, to any character willing to see it, that misadventure is about to befall. Animals, it would appear, have some kind of preternatural sense of impending doom – it’s just we humans who are too dumb to recognise it. Trouble is, as soon as our animal friends – whom we feed and protect for years – sense anything dangerous they give the most useless warning signals going. Oh, puppy is barking at the door? Well it could be that the old man outside is a hideous were-beast from beyond the veil, or it could be that puppy needs a piss. Thanks for making that clear, pup. Now we’re all dead.

Well, great news if you enjoy obscure animal signals leading to your untimely demise, because Hanako Games has brought us what I can only imagine is a world’s first ‘useless animal sign of death’ simulator, under the charming name of Long Live the Queen.

In this game, you play as Elodie, a 14 year old princess with gigantic eyes whose job it is to survive long enough to become queen – just 40 short weeks are all that separates you from the crown that your mother vacated by virtue of ‘magical mishap’. It would be nice to think that your soon-to-be subjects are all rooting for your in your bid to take control and have a bit of sympathy for you as a young girl who has suddenly lost a parent. Unfortunately, life in the court of Nova is a dangerous place and basically everyone has an agenda of some kind. Only by harnessing the skills necessary to be queen will you survive long enough to take the throne.

Long Live the Queen is a story that you read, with some game-y elements that make it feel very similar to a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ story. You make choices based on the information you have (or have learned from previous playthroughs) and hope that you are choosing wisely.

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Given that most people you meet seem to either subtly or openly hate you and want to see you dead, and that violent murder can come suddenly from any direction, you swiftly need to get Princess Elodie up to speed on how to manage the affairs of the kingdom. This is done by attending classes in various topics to increase your skills (hey, that’s a lot like life!) which could be things such as Public Speaking, Animal Handling or World History, amongst many others. Being a teenager, Elodie’s mood is up and down like a yo-yo in a hurricane and her mood effects her ability to learn certain skills at certain times. Happy Elodie wants to go running and swimming whereas lonely Elodie prefers more cerebral pursuits.

All of this is done in the vain hope that one day, your skill in accountancy or dancing will prevent you from getting stabbed, poisoned, blown up or any of the other fail-states that punctuate your story.

Fear not however, as death doesn’t exactly mean the end of your tale – rather that you begin it again – and try to make better decisions to prevent your demise.

In fairness, murder doesn’t always come out of the blue. Sometimes you might get a piece of text that describes a falcon flying over head and dropping a twig. Other times you might hear a dog barking. These are clues. And if you don’t have the necessary skill to interpret them, they are f*cking useless clues which – as you expire from eating poisoned chocolates or whatever – you realise it would have been better if you’d have picked up on.

Although there are multiple paths to victory, there is definitely an optimal way to play through the game. A wiki guide can take you straight through to the end with zero effort on your part besides a little clicking and reading.

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So here’s the kicker – will you care enough to want to see Elodie’s story played out through to the end? Unfortunately, I’ve got to say probably not. At £7 on Steam, it really is hard to recommend this title when there are so many other games vying for your attention and hard-earned cash. Although Long Live the Queen is certainly an interesting title, there is little variation (the story can be virtually identical from playthrough to playthrough) and, once beaten, little incentive to return. It is certainly a charming game, with relaxing music and undemanding visuals that are pleasant to look at – stats screen aside – but I have to say that you’re probably better off watching one of your favourite YouTubers do a Let’s Play of it than play through it yourself.

Long Live the Queen simply doesn’t offer enough fun to make it a worthwhile purchase.

Now I am off to keep a close eye on my dog, in case she is trying to warn me that the new bowl which has appeared in my house is a bomb by going to sleep on the stairs and shedding exactly the same amount of fur as normal.

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Karlos Morale

Long Live the Queen is out now for PC

Try the demo here