5 New Games From Last Week: A Solid Bunch
1. Borderlands 2 (PlayStation Vita)
Since its launch in 2012, Borderlands 2 has become the best selling game ever for publisher 2K Games, and has spawned a “Pre-Sequel” that’s slated to release this fall. Now the game has landed on the smaller PlayStation Vita, a significant move because it’s an impressive shooter-meets-RPG that requires powerful hardware to run it.
Unfortunately, the move to the Vita seems to be the only problem. As this is a port of a widely beloved game made for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, it naturally shares all the quality that went into those games. But the Vita didn’t have the same power to run the game, and that resulted in a major critical dip. IGN criticized the games technical issues, including frame-rate drops and reduced visual quality. Game Informer doesn’t consider it a winner on the Vita, because its demands are too much for the small device. All in all, the game was mired by the technical weakness of the Vita, though held afloat by the quality of the original.
2. Soul Sacrifice Delta (PlayStation Vita)
Consensus: Looking good so far
This is an updated version of Soul Sacrifice, an action RPG from Keiji Inafune, the man behind the beloved Mega Man series. You start the game as a mage who’s locked in a jail cell with a magical book that also happens to be alive (bear with us.) Using the book, your character relives events from the past, and each time you play through a new piece of history, you get new skills and information that will help you escape your imprisonment.
Reviews so far seem to consider this a successful improvement on the original version, even if it is very much the same game, though it does have a very sizable chunk of extra story and gameplay tagged onto the end of the original. Hardcore Gamer Magazine applauds the game for some of its additions, such as enhanced character customization and new faction gameplay. Gamers’ Temple also commended the game for its additional gameplay, counting it up to between 10 and 20 hours — the downside being that this just isn’t a sequel and is only a little better than the original.
3. Super TIME Force (Xbox One and Xbox 360)
Here’s a game that looks completely nuts — but in the best possible way. It’s a retro-style shooter (kind of like Contra for NES) with way more going on onscreen than in most games. You start with thirty lives and a set of characters to choose from. When you die, you can choose a different character if you like, and you restart the level. But here’s the kicker: the ghost of your previous attempt is now fighting beside you. Multiply that times thirty, and you’re looking at a lot of firepower.
That firepower turned on critics and impressed them, leading to good reviews. Hardcore Gamer Magazine gave it a 5 out of 5, saying that it has “arguably the greatest ‘fun factor’ of any 2014 title.” IGN was enthused by some of the novel elements of the game, like the powerful combinations of characters that could be made, but a bit frustrated by some of the problems that can arise from so much chaos.
4. Minecraft (PlayStation 3)
Consensus: Great, but not the best
Minecraft is one of the most popular indie games of all time, and has made creator “Notch” more than a pretty penny since it was first released for PC back in 2011. Now the game has been made available on most platforms, but only last week did it land on store shelves for the PlayStation 3. As good and loved as Minecraft is on its own merits, ports tend to detract from a game, and this was no exception.
The game keeps up the endless crafting mayhem of the original, because it is the same as the original, more or less. Unfortunately for people who played it on PC, it runs into a bit more trouble on the PS3, and many have complained about the controller. It does manage to score higher marks than the Xbox 360 version, but it still falls short of the PC version. Unfortunately, users don’t seem to agree with critics, as the PS3 version has the lowest score of the other versions mentioned, coming in at 6.6 out of 10.
5. The Last Tinker: City of Colors (PC)
In this action platformer you play as Koru, a monkey who has to save his town from “the Bleakness” in order to bring color back to the city. The challenge doesn’t come from making tough jumps, though, because Koru automatically leaps over gaps, creating a good sense of flow as you traverse the terrain. The real obstacles are the enemies you fight and the puzzles you have to solve. For fans of games like Banjo-Kazooie and the like, think of this as a spiritual successor.
The game’s colorful visuals and exciting music won over GameRevolution. On the downside, the youthful charm that the game won over some critics with turned off others. While the childishness of the design made for a beautiful game, it’s fighting mechanics and simplicity didn’t wow. Kill Screen was underwhelmed by the combat and the parkour-like platform of the game, and the apparent lack of any need to improve your skills by the end of the game left it feeling too much a child’s game and not an all-ages game. That said, it still managed to mostly win over favor, if not everyone’s.
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