Spoilers, You will die.
I love this sort of thing, a no frills but incredibly fun game which gets the player right into the action without a lot of faffing around with overly complicated story lines etc. Sometimes you just want your video games to get straight down to business and entertain you from the moment you press start ( or options or X or whatever button it is now there isn’t a start button anymore) and Not a Hero does just that, check out the video review below.
Back in’t olden times we used to have only 16 bits in our consoles, times were tough but we were ‘appy. We got through the long internet free days by playing games on our Super Nintendos, one such game which I happily played was Rock N Roll Racing. Rock N Roll Racing was a futuristic racer played from an isometric view point, with a cracking soundtrack and even more cracking gameplay. I am among those who are unfortunately old enough to have fond memories of this often forgotten masterpiece. It seems that BlazeRush developers, Targem Games, are among the small but vocal supporters of Silicon and Synapse’s game.
BlazeRush saw initial release on PS3, Windows and Mac at the tail end of 2014 and has just been ported to the PS4. Players take control of 16 different players each with their own vehicles to race and loads of different tracks spread over 3 planets. Each character has differing stats and at the end of each race you will have the opportunity to change your character. This game is all about your individual achievements, changing up characters to maximize your chances of success, there is an absolute ton on trophies and achievements to unlock as well as new vehicles and characters.
BlazeRush has 3 different modes, Survival, King of the Hill and Race. Survival sees you racing against your opponents all the while trying to escape from a massive steam roller which chases you around the track, the racer with the least number of deaths wins. King of the Hill mode is won by being the racer who spends the most amount of time in 1st position and Race is your average 3 lap race to the finish.
Each mode will come up randomly through out the 1 player career mode, with each race having certain criteria to fulfill in order to progress or to earn upgrades. BlazeRush also offers 8 player multiplayer, but there was no one online at the time of playing and so this mode could not be tested. Whether this was because no one is playing the game or a server error, I’m not sure.
BlazeRush plays brilliantly and you will not be flying off the track due to over steering etc, the weapons system is great fun as weapons only slow down your opponent and only coming off the track will see you lose any significant ground on the rest of your opponents. This leads to some really tightly contested races and I’m sure Blaze Rush will be an even better experience against human opponents.
BlazeRush is a real fun experience and fans of games such as Rock N Roll Racing will lap it up, if you’re looking for something a little different to play over the festive period you could do worse than giving BlazeRush a crack.
Blaze Rush is out now on PSN for £7.99
In order to complete this review we were given a Review Code.
So here we are in 2015 and once again Star Wars fever is gripping the world, not only do we have a new movie out on December 17th but we have a brand new Battlefront game to enjoy while we wait. It has been 10 years since both the last Star Wars movie (Revenge of the Sith) and the last Battlefront game (Battlefront 2) but it seems Star Wars is something to get excited about once again.
Back in 1997 it was a very similar story to now, Star Wars was back in the wider public consciousness with the release of the Special Edition movies and the announcement of a forthcoming prequel trilogy. Star Wars had never really gone away as there had always been new books, comics and video games to satisfy any fans Star Wars hunger, but the Special Editions got the world talking again. Video games, in particular had always served the franchise well, with a whole host of great Star Wars based games coming from Lucasarts; unfortunately Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi was not one of them.
The idea of a 3D, Star Wars based, one on one fighter in the same vein as Soul Blade, had many licking their lips with anticipation. Players could choose from a whole plethora of the galaxy’s finest including, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie, Leia, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and even Fett impersonator Jodo Kast. In principle the idea was solid, unfortunately however the execution was far from stellar.
The plot to Masters of Teras Kasi was a little thin (as is to be expected with the fighting genre), Old Darth has hired a martial arts master by the name of Arden Lyn to assassinate Luke and the other rebels in retaliation for the recent destruction of the Death Star; seems exciting, however things go downhill from here.
The fighting system was awkward and sluggish with only a few moves available for each fighter, lightsabres were used more like clubs or baseball bats so there were no limbs flying here there and everywhere. Characters with blasters had to wait to charge their weapon before firing, which left them open to attack and a quick death from their lightsabre wielding foes. Each character had a special move, which unfortunately were anything but special. Boba Fett could fire his rockets into the air, while the Gamorean Guard breathed fire and Luke did a few tricks with his sabre, but all in all the moves were disappointing compared to the potential held by the characters.
On the plus side there are interesting characters to unlock and the graphics and sound are really quite polished, especially for a PS1 game, but none of these make up for a frustrating and disappointing experience.
It is not surprising then, that we never saw another Star Wars fighting game, however, now, 18 years on it could be the right time to give it another try. A Star Wars fighter on the PS4 could be excellent and with 7 films worth of characters at your disposal, a new game could be massive; if done well of course.
Those of us of a certain age will more than likely remember a time when the year 1999 seemed like the far off distant future, filled with flying rocket cars, space ships and laser blasters. Unfortunately all of these thing have yet to come to fruition, however it seems that Capsule Force developers Klobit still have fond memories of this 1980’s version of the future. Capsule Force has its feet firmly in the brightly coloured worlds of 1980’s space anime, with plenty of extravagantly coiffured heroes and heroines thrown in for good measure.
The story goes that it is the year 1999 and the ongoing galactic wars have forced the Earth world leaders to dispatch intergalactic forces to capture galaxies in capsules. It is your job to invade your enemies base and retrieve your stolen capsule, before they can do the same to you. The main aspect of the game is the 2-4 player local multiplayer, which is a hell of a lot of fun and shows how much we are missing in these days of online multiplayer games. Over the past couple of generations of video games, we have somewhat lost the pleasure of having a few mates round, a few beers and a good old fashioned multiplayer gaming session; Capsule Force gives us the opportunity to get our mates round once again.
In addition to the main multiplayer mode there are single player missions, which act as training for the main game. Firstly players must try and complete each level and gain a high enough grade to unlock the next set of missions, there are infinite lives to be had and unlimited attempts to clear the stage, however the longer you take the lower grade you will receive, making the player learn the most effective ways to clear the stage. The first set of missions sees you trying to destroy a certain number of targets in the fastest time, your character can hover using their multi directional beam so hitting targets is quite simple, however if you shoot your gun for too long then it will overheat leaving it useless for a short time. Achieving a minimum of C grades on all levels will unlock the next set of challenges, this time a race to the end of the level all the while dodging trip wire activated lasers and bouncing on bubbles to avoid floating mines. The single player mode is a limited but still fun to have a blast on every now and again, and trying to achieve a perfect A rating is definitely a challenge.
Capsule Force is one of those Retro Futuristic throwbacks to a simpler (and arguably more fun) era of gaming, the controls are nigh on perfect and the difficulty level is challenging but never unfair. Make no mistake though this game shines in multiplayer mode but while the single player mode is fun for a while, it isn’t a game you will come back to repeatedly.
Capsule Force was reviewed on PS4.
Developed by Klobit
Published by Iron Galaxy Studios
Disclaimer – In order to complete this review, we received a code for the game.
November 2006, Sony had won the 6th generation console wars with the most succsessful video game console of all time, the PlayStation 2. Sony were riding on the crest of a wave of unprecedented popularity and were the new kings of the home console market. The market leaders released their 3rd console in Japan and the US in November 2006 with the European launch following in March 2007, however the 7th generation would not be smooth sailing for Sony’s new machine. Microsoft had released the Xbox 360 a year in advance of the PS3 and was enjoying almost global success (apart from Japan) and Nintendo would release the Wii only 2 days after the PS3 in the US. Sony had to pull out all the stops to deliver quality titles from day 1, releasing 14 titles for the US launch and 25 titles for the European launch. Sony’s console was also £100 more than the Xbox 360 and £150 more than the Wii, the games would have to be great to convince early adopters to opt for Sony’s machine. Nintendo had a Zelda game at launch and packaged the Wii with Wii Sports (the most successful home console game of all time), could the PS3’s launch line up win people over?
Enchanted Arms (2006 From Software/Ubisoft)
From Software’s JRPG received a mixed reception on its release, hardcore fans of the genre should enjoy the tried and tested turn based formula; however there is little on offer to convert any new fans. The characters are the usual JRPG fair with various amusingly coiffured teenagers with magical powers and angsty looks on their faces, game play wise however, Enchanted Arms employs a battle system similar to that of Shining Force’s grid system. Characters in the game have an affinity for one of the elements (fire,water,wind,earth etc) meaning certain characters will be stronger against their opposite element, water being strong against fire for example. There is an element of strategy involved in battles as organising your team into the optimal formation of power and abilities will be far stronger than just random placement on the grid.
All in all Enchanted Arms is a decent enough JRPG which filled the gap for those awaiting the next Final Fantasy instalment, however there are better examples of the genre out there.
Fight Night: Round 3 (2006 EA Chicago/EA Sports)
The Fight Night series came exploding out of its corner for its first round of the 7th generation fight, with Fight Night: Round 3. EA’s celebrated heavyweight champion of boxing sims had been incredibly successful on the PS2 and this 3rd instalment didn’t disappoint. Boasting 26 boxing greats from all weight classes (Evander Holyfield was omitted from the PS3 version of the game) including Ricky Hatton, Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Oscar De La Hoyer and Manny Pacquiao to name but a few, Fight Night: Round 3 had more than enough pugilists for boxing fanatics to get their hands on.
The game featured classic fight and career modes with the PS3 version including a first person mode missing from all other versions of the game. Critics at the time praised the game’s graphics, game play and overall presentation but criticised the overuse of product placement (which went as far as to use the Burger King as a trainer in the game) but this was a small concern next to the overall quality of the game.
Fight Night: Round 3 would be followed by Round 4 in 2009 and Fight Night Champion in 2011, however fight fans are still waiting for the long rumoured Fight Night: Champion 2 for the PS4.
Call of Duty 3 (2006 Treyarch/Activision)
Ah Call of Duty, I wonder what happened to that franchise?… Yes the multimillion selling behemoth started life in 2003 on the PC with subsequent sequels being ported to the PS2 and other consoles, however it would be on the PS3 that the franchise really took off. Call of Duty 3 would be the final game to be set in World War 2 and the final game before the all conquering Modern Warfare and Black Ops series would take over (for comparison Call of Duty 3 sold 7.7 million copies world wide in 7 years, where as Black Ops sold 7.5 million copies on launch day in the US alone).
Call of Duty 3’s single player game is set over 4 separate campaigns including British/French, Polish, American and Canadian campaigns. Each campaign focuses on the characters of the respective armies as they try and capture the French village of Chambois from the forces of the Axis. As with previous instalments there is a multi player mode, pitting the Allied forces against the Axis and allowing up to 24 players to play simultaneously.
The game received mostly positive reviews from critics gaining an average score of 8/10 in most publications, and winning awards for sound design and best shooter of 2006.
Sonic The Hedgehog (2006 Sonic Team/Sega)
If it had been 1992 and you had been told your new console was launching with a Sonic the Hedgehog game it is highly likely you would be jumping up and down with glee, alas however this was 2006 and this wasn’t your dad’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic 2006 was a disaster of epic proportions, the game featured awful character control, dire camera physics and a Hedgehog/Human love story which made the Howard the Duck movie seem like Romeo and Juliet. There simply wasn’t anything to recommend in Sonic 2006 and unsurprisingly it regularly features in the worst game of all time lists.
The trouble with Sonic 2006 and most of the Sonic games post Sonic Adventure is that they strayed from the series’ routes. Sonic Team created a cast of supporting characters which were quite frankly crap (Big the Cat, Rosie the Rascal, Silver, Rouge) and which no one really cared about and designed a game world based solely of speed with no thought for game play whatsoever. Gone were the expertly crafted 2D levels of the Mega Drive Sonic games and in came poorly thought out 3D worlds and a plot which was convoluted and down right weird in places.
One of the worst launch games of all time and a possibly the biggest stain on the very mixed career of the once brilliant blue hedgehog, avoid at all costs.
Resistance: Fall of Man (2006 Insomniac/SCE)
From one of the worst launch games on the PS3 to one of the best, and indeed one of the most talked about prior to the console’s release. Resistance: Fall of Man was a first person shooter from Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank/Spyro the Dragon) where players had to defend Europe from a deadly alien threat.
Set in the late 40’s and early 50’s, Resistance tells the story of Sgt Nathan Hale as he leads an American task force to locate and retrieve a secret weapon which can be used to defeat the alien Chimera. Sgt Hale is subsequently attacked by the alien invaders but instead of perishing, gains special powers similar to that of the Chimera.
Resistance also featured a 40 player online multi player game which allowed players to create their own clans and custom games or join ranked matches. Many of the maps used in the game were based on real life UK cities such as Nottingham and Manchester and these recognisable locations added to the fun of online battles. The online multiplayer along with the single player game received high praise from critics and players alike.
The leaders of the Church of England made several legal threats to Sony due to the games representation of Manchester Cathedral in the game, saying that a violent game shouldn’t be set in a house of god (and indeed a city with a high gun problem). This controversy however only added to the games popularity and Resistance would go on to be the PS3’s first million selling game.
Of course there were more than the 5 games featured here released on day one for the PS3, the full list below:
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
Call of Duty 3
Def Jam: Icon
Fight Night Round 3
Formula One Championship Edition
Full Auto 2: Battlelines
Genji: Days of the Blade
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight
NBA Street Homecourt
Need for Speed: Carbon
Resistance: Fall of Man
Ridge Racer 7
Sonic the Hedgehog
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Tony Hawk’s Project 8
The Godfather: The Don’s Edition
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Virtua Fighter 5
Virtua Tennis 3
World Snooker Championship 2007
The PS3 launch lineup was a mixed bag with some cracking titles mixed with some absolute garbage with nothing really justifying the £100 extra consumers would be forking out. The 7th generation ended with Sony losing out to both Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s all conquering Wii, could Sony get back on top?
Sony must have been rubbing their grubby little paws with glee, their first foray into the console market had been a rousing success. The original PlayStation had sold over 50 Million units by 1999 and had won the fifth generation console war by soundly trouncing Sega’s Saturn and Nintendo’s N64. However by 1999 the then 5-year-old console was starting to show its age, and Sony would set about releasing its super powered successor.
The PlayStation 2 arrived in Japan on March 4th 2000 (that was my 19th birthday!!) with the North American and European consoles launching in the October and November of the same year. The PS2 had a lot to live up to, Sega had already launched its 128 bit Dreamcast in 1999 and both Nintendo and Microsoft had hinted of their next generation offerings. It was unfortunate then, that the Japanese launch roster was rather disappointing, with only Street Fighter EX3 and Ridge Racer 5 providing solid day one thrills. The European launch was a different story however, with some absolute corkers available from day one.
Fantavision (2000 SCE)
Sony’s unique firework based puzzler, was seen as nothing more than a tech demo to show off the PS2’s impressive lighting effects, however those that have played it will concur that it is an addictive and highly satisfying game. The aim of FantaVision is to string 3 or more fireworks of the same colour together before detonating them into the night sky. Players are awarded points for creating long chains of fireworks, with undetonated flares disappearing after a short while. Additionally players can detonate “Starmines” which upon detonation will reward the player with a letter, collect enough letters to spell out S.T.A.R.M.I.N.E and a bonus round will begin giving the player a plethora of fireworks to detonate, and of course, rack up more points.
FantaVision is an absolutely lovely game, which has almost unlimited replay value, a simple but addictive game which was a fine game to launch alongside Sony’s new console.
Dynasty Warriors 2 (2000 Omega Force/Koei)
Dynasty Warriors 2, the sequel to 1997’s weapon based, one on one fighter, was a departure gameplay wise from its predecessor, taking the series into the now more familiar hack and slash territory. DW2 offered 2 modes of play, Muso Mode, the main story mode where players took control of characters as they fight their way through various battles to unify China. Free mode offered players the opportunity to play through battles previously completed in the Muso Mode.
Like FantaVision, Dynasty Warriors 2 was a showcase of the capabilities of the PlayStation 2, with vast amounts of individual characters on-screen at a time, something that could not have been done on the previous PlayStation hardware. Dynasty Warriors 2 proved to be a worthy addition to the PS2 launch lineup, both showcasing the new console’s power and delivering an enjoyable game at the same time. Subsequent Dynasty Warriors games would improve on the formula, adding more battles and on-screen characters as well as multiplayer modes, making the series ever more popular with gamers and kickstarting a franchise which has seen many sequels and spinoffs over the past 15 years.
Ridge Racer V (2000 Namco)
The 5th installment of Namco’s popular arcade racer launched alongside the PS2 just as the original Ridge Racer had launched with the original “Station” back in 1995. Ridge Racer V featured a number of different game modes including Grand Prix, Time Attack and Free race, the primary mode being Grand Prix. Players could select from 6 different vehicles from the get go, with further vehicles to be unlocked by completing different races (remember kids we didn’t always have to pay for extra items) including Pac-Man and Ghost vehicles.
Gameplay wise, RRV kept true to the arcade style action of the previous games, with power slides and drifting the order of the day and as such the game is as fun as it had ever been. There are 7 tracks for you to bomb around on, and a 2 player mode to keep the replay value high making Ridge Racer V a solid addition to the franchise and well worth a look.
Smuggler’s Run (2000 Angel Studios/Rockstar)
Angel Studios’ (now Rockstar San Diego) 1st game for the PS2 could be seen as a forerunner of sorts to the 3D driving segments of GTA 3. Players take control of a smuggler who uses a variety of different vehicles in order to smuggle assorted cargo through open world landscapes. The game has 3 different modes, Smuggler’s Mission, Turf War and Joyriding. The Smuggler’s mission (career mode) involves successfully carrying the less than legal cargo to its destination, whilst avoiding the police and rival gangs. There are a total of 3 different levels and 34 missions to be completed on the career mode, taking place in desert, forest and snow locales.
The Turf War mode consists of mini games where you must smuggle cargo against rival gangs, and the final Joyriding mode is basically a free roaming, training level where players can get used to the controls without having to worry about enemies etc.
Smuggler’s Run is a decent enough game, which, although a little frustrating and repetitive, has enough good points to warrant repeated plays. Angel Studios/Rockstar San Diego, would go on to create some of the most iconic games on both the PS2 and PS3 including Midnight Club,Red Dead Redemption games and of course GTA5.
Silent Scope (2000 Konami)
Konami’s arcade shooter was originally released in the arcades in 1999 with the pretty impressive home port following on the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 in 2000. The game is an on rails shooter, players ride on a helicopter as they try to take out terrorists with total accuracy. Unfortunately the PS2 version of Silent Scope did not come packaged with the sniper rifle light gun which was the main selling point of the arcade version, and the game definitely loses a lot being played with a control pad.
However the game is still playable and very enjoyable, but it does boggle the mind why Konami would not give light gun support to a game which was obviously made for peripheral.
TimeSplitters (2000 Free Radical Design/Eidos)
Amazing to think, that TimeSplitters was Free Radical’s first game, the 1st person shooter would be the most pleasant surprise and arguably the best of the PS2’s launch titles. TimeSplitters shared some of the same gameplay mechanics with Rare’s GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, due to the game being designed by several of the GoldenEye development team.
The story mode is excellent, with an entertaining time travel mechanic and a choice of 2 different characters for each mission. The story mode can be played either 1 player or 2 player cooperatively, with a total of 9 locations in varying time periods from 1935 to 2035. TimeSplitters, as with all good 1st person shooters, has a multi-player battle mode, and this one is an incredibly fun experience. 4 human controlled players and 10 bots can battle it out individually or in teams and there is even a level editor to further enhance the replay value of the game.
TimeSplitters and its sequels are still excellent fun 15 years later and are well worth getting a few mates round and plug-in the multi-tap for some brilliant 1st person shooty action.
Tekken Tag Tournament (2000 Namco/SCEE)
Namco’s first Tekken game for the PS2 was originally developed as an update kit for Tekken 3, however the PS2 port featured upgraded graphics. Tekken Tag was the first in the series to feature a tag team mechanic, allowing players to select a team of two fighters who could tag in and out at will. There are 21 main characters with a further 18 fighters which can be unlocked throughout the game. There is even a bowling game in the shape of Tekken Bowl which is surprisingly entertaining for a secondary game, with all playable characters having different bowling attributes.
Although Tekken Tag is not canonical in the Tekken series, the game was an entertaining diversion for players who had a two-year wait for Tekken 4.
The full list of PS2 launch titles:
Dynasty Warriors 2
Gradius III and IV
International Superstar Soccer
Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
Ridge Racer V
Tekken Tag Tournament
Wild Wild Racing
So in retrospect, the PS2’s European launch games were excellent with some stellar games amongst the 16 strong lineup. Honourable mentions go to Gradius III and IV and SSX as both were excellent fun but what were your favourite launch day titles?