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issue 118 january 2016 £5.99 gamesradar.com/opm

street fighter V | uncharted 4 | horizon zero daw n | r atchet and cl ank

Ps4’s best year eVer Previewed! The 65 PlayStation games that will define 2016

mass effect andromeda | dark souls iii | dreams | hitman | no man’s sky

the year of Ps4?

2015: the year in reView Relive the highs and lows of a rollercoaster 12 months for PlayStation

the oPm awards

the future is here

Virtually Perfect Ten mind-blowing new projects coming to PlayStation VR in 2016

readers’ game of the year Your votes are finally in! What game did you crown ‘best of the best’ in 2015?


iSSUe 118 / Jan 2016

Future Publishing Ltd, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA, United Kingdom tel +44 (0) 1225 442244 fax: +44 (0) 1225 732275 email opm@futurenet.com twitter @OPM_UK web www.gamesradar.com/opm

welcome B

efore we started working on this issue I flicked through last year’s 2015 Preview Special, and I was struck by one thought: 2015 didn’t match the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a fantastic year for PS4: amazing sales, a dream e3 show (FFVII remake! Shenmue III!) and bonafide future classics such as Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, MGS V, Fallout 4 and Life Is Strange. Just look at this year’s GOTy feature (p70) to see how great it’s been. yet when I returned to that old issue, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of pain knowing how many of our most wanted games (uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky, The Division, etc.) ended up slipping into next year. Here’s the good news: we’re on the cusp of something truly special. Between the delayed greats, all the blockbusters originally planned for 2016 and the launch of game-changer PlayStation Vr (p54), 2016’s lineup is the best PlayStation has ever seen. So enjoy our peek at the next 12 months, and I’ll see you again in the new year for something ridiculously exciting…

eDitoriaL editor Matthew Pellett @pelloki managing art editor Milford Coppock @milfcoppock production editor Andrew Westbrook @andy_westbrook staff writer Jen Simpkins @itsJensim staff writer Ben Tyrer @bentyrer contriBUtorS words Jenny Baker, Alice Bell, Ben Borthwick, Matthew Clapham, Matthew Elliott, Ben Griffin, David Houghton, Leon Hurley, Jordan Farley, Ben Maxwell, Dave Meikleham, Louis Pattison, Matthew Sakuraoka-Gilman, Justin Towell, Ben Wilson, Iain Wilson design Rob Speed aDvertiSing commercial sales director Clare Dove advertising director Andrew Church account manager Steven Pyatt advertising manager Michael Pyatt for ad enquiries please contact michael.pyatt@futurenet.com marketing group marketing manager Laura Driffield marketing manager Kristianne Stanton proDUction & DiStriBUtion production controller Vivienne Calvert production manager Mark Constance printed in the uK by William Gibbons & Sons Ltd on behalf of Future distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT, Tel: 0207 429 4000 overseas distribution by Seymour International

game of the month Star Wars Battlefront Street fighter v pick Cammy

circULation trade marketing manager Juliette Winyard – 07551 150 984 SUBScriptionS uK reader order line & enquiries 0844 848 2852 overseas reader order line & enquiries +44 (0)1604 251045 online enquiries www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk email pom@myfavouritemagazines.co.uk LicenSing senior licensing & syndication manager Matt Ellis matt.ellis@futurenet.com +44 (0)1225 442244 Fax +44 (0)1225 732275 management global content & marketing director Charlie Speight head of content & marketing Declan Gough group editor-in-chief Daniel Dawkins group art director Graham Dalzell Deputy group art director Mark Wynne The ABC combined print, digital and digital publication circulation for Jan-Dec 2014 is

27,582 (print 24,317 Digital 3,265) A member of the Audited Bureau of Circulations

“BeTWeeN THe BLOCKBuSTerS aND PS Vr, secure your copy 2016’S LINeuP of opm #119 + a free ps4 decal IS THe BeST matthew pellett PLaySTaTION’S editor matthew.pellett@futurenet.com @pelloki eVer SeeN.” Subscribe on p78 by 29 Dec

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this month’s street fighters…

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief financial officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)207 042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 (Bath)

All contents copyright © 2015 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored, transmitted or used in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price and other details of products or services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any changes or updates to them. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

Jen Dhalsimpkins

ken tyrer

andryu Westbrook

m coppock

game of the month Star Wars Battlefront Street fighter v pick Karin

game of the month Beyond: Two Souls Street fighter v pick M Bison

game of the month Star Wars Battlefront Street fighter v pick Chun-Li

game of the month Star Wars Battlefront Street fighter v pick Ken

staff writer Two weeks of Battlefront testing have frazzled Jen’s brain. She can’t stop wildly glancing at the office door, afraid it’s a Jar Jar.

staff writer Poor Tyrer’s trying to calculate how much he has to spend on games each month of 2016, but he just can’t work out The Division.

production editor Our own Nathan Drakealike is strangely convinced Street Fighter V will top our Hall Of Fame. He claims a little Birdie told him.

managing art editor Milford wanted even more Street Fighter covers, but Matt said no to his white, art-free concept. “Why?” Milf protested. “It’s Blanka!”

003


Contents highlights The big 10

006 Ps2 emulation 004

Confirmation that PS2 classics will soon be replayable on PS4 presents one major question – when will we get TimeSplitters 2? pREVIEW

032 street Fighter V We start our 65-game, 37-page 2016 preview special by dishing out the blows with this in-depth look at the year’s essential scrapper. preview

040 the witness Jonathan Blow’s latest melts our minds as we judge his spectacular follow-up to Braid. preview

060 unCharted 4 Drake’s back for one final adventure, and he’s brought some old friends (and foes) with him. feature

070 game oF the year 2015 The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, MGS V? Did your pick make it into the OPM readers’ Top Ten? review

082 star wars battleFront Find out if this is the Star Wars game to Endor all Star Wars games, or just a Hoth mess. review

088 Just Cause 3 Parachuting in at just the last minute, we see if Rico’s return is a Cause for celebration.

January 2016


sUBsCRiBE NOW

ever wish your copy of oPm could just magically appear in your house or on your device every month? we can make your dreams come true on p78.

officialplaystationmagazine.co.uk twitter.com/OPM_UK facebook.com/OfficialPlayStationMagazine

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s E c T I o n s aT a G l a n c E

THE bIG 10

pREVIEWs

006

030

Latest info, screens and playtests All the hottest news

fEaTuREs

REVIEWs

nETWoRk

RETRo sTaTIon

To-the-point, detailed analysis

In-depth verdicts on every big new game

Max out your PS4, online and off

Classics revisited

070

081

097

106

THE Games index 056 adr1Ft 090 among the sleeP 070 assassin’s Creed syndiCate 070 batman: arkham knight 095 beyond: two souls 092 bloodborne: the old hunters 098 Call oF duty: blaCk oPs iii 052 dark souls iii 069 detroit: beCome human 058 doom 046 dreams 099 driVeClub bikes 070 dying light 104 Fallout 4 043 FirewatCh 093 game oF thrones s1e6 056 gran turismo sPort 048 hitman 044 horizon zero dawn 088 Just Cause 3 094 kromaia omega 100 lego dimensions – doCtor who leVel PaCk 070 liFe is strange 068 mass eFFeCt andromeda 070 mgs V: the Phantom Pain 064 mighty no. 9 058 no man’s sky 050 oVerwatCh 109 Persona 4 golden 094 PonCho 091 Primal Carnage: extinCtion 014 Push me Pull you 051 ratChet and Clank 066 rise oF the tomb raider 019 shenmue iii 082 star wars battleFront 032 street Fighter V 093 suPerbeat: xoniC 094 sword art online: lost song 057 the london heist 070 the witCher 3: wild hunt 040 the witness 060 unCharted 4: a thieF’s end 055 until dawn: rush oF blood 011 Valkyria ChroniCles remaster 045 what remains oF edith FinCh 065 wild 099 wwe 2k16

005


The emulaTion Tech has plenTy of Tricks up iTs sleeves when STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT iT comes To beauTifying golden oldies.

The Big10

006


12 MEMORY LINE

The best playstation moments of 2015.

14 MAN OF WORMS

we open up push me pull you.

16 MIKE DROP

Talking ps4’s future with mr denny.

TheBig10 STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

emulation station: ps2 classics arrive on ps4

sony brings emulated star wars games to current-gen; more classics to come what if we told you that somewhere, deep within the inner workings of your ps4, a secret treasure was buried? put down the hammer, please, it’s a figure of speech. get a load of this – ps2 titles are already running on ps4s all over the world. Thanks to the new star wars battlefront bundle, the secret’s out: your current-gen console now runs old favourites. stealthy sony has quietly slipped us ps2 classics while we weren’t looking. psn codes for star wars racer revenge, Jedi starfighter and bounty hunter are included with the ps4 battlefront bundle. when announced, it was suggested these were being remade for ps4. however, closer examination reveals this is actually ps2 code, emulated by ps4: a big difference. The implications are huge. can our current console play all of our favourite ps2 games. please?

01

If PS4 can run The Order: 1886 without batting an eyelid, what could it do to PS2 faves?

well, sony is as enigmatic as ever. “we are working on utilising ps2 emulation technology to bring ps2 games forward to the current generation,” it told us. “we have nothing further to comment at this point in time.” pleeease, sony! Just a couple of words? Two syllables, even! repeat after us: god. hand. at least online tech wizard digital foundry has plenty to say about this new development. in a breakdown video, it pulls up side-byside gameplay footage of the ps2 and ps4 star wars titles, detailing the differences between them. RENDER US SPEECHLESS The contrast is crystal-clear. even a blindfolded naked mole rat could see how smooth those pesky sixth-gen edges have become. The substantial visual upgrade is probably down to post-processing filters, but the ps4 emulation tech has a few more tricks up its processing sleeves when it comes to beautifying golden oldies. The resolution of games has been upped from the ps2 norm by about

007


The Big10

CORE BLIMEY

According to a recent developer changelog, Sony has unlocked PS4’s seventh cPu core. could we see even better console performance with the increased horsepower? One thing’s for sure: devs are now in seventh heaven.

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

four times, and while it’s not turning ps2 games into The order: 1886, an upscaled 1296x896 render is not to be sniffed at. podracing retains its nostalgic ps2 style, then, while looking more fluid and high-octane than ever thanks to a mighty impressive rate of 60 frames per second. That’s twice the original standard, keeping up with lightningquick ps4 titles. now, that’s a race.

008

GEM-ULATION and winning them will bag you some sweet, sweet silverware. yes, you did read that right. make room in your cabinets, because trophy support is fully integrated in the ps2 titles. we’ve technically known about this one for a while, actually, as sony patented the tech for this all the way back in early 2013. who knows what kind of ingenious sorcery is going on in our pensive parallelepipeds to achieve this – the best guess is that the emulator is recognising a number of actions that happen as you play your game. when certain things occur in the correct sequence, sony’s tech most likely picks up on it, pinging you a trophy notification when you’ve earned that elusive award. we should blimmin’ well hope so. we want our trophies for killing bruce the shark all over again if we get an emulated viewtiful Joe.

There can be little doubt, of course, that the ps2 titles are emulated rather than remastered. The star wars games boot up with that lovely, lo-res playstation 2 logo that makes our hearts and eyes go all fuzzy. what’s more, the left and right side of the ds4 touchpad are mapped to those long-forgotten start and select buttons. in-game prompts about the old memory cards appear, as do ps2 button prompts. all of this would be a no-go for ported titles – it’s evidence that sony is using emulation on these games, spilling the beans on future ps2 classics releases. if it’ll be a simple matter of running them through sony’s emulation tech, it should be a piece of cake to get our thumbs on the best of the legendary ps2 library. There’s just so much to relive on ps4: the checkpoint-stingy, flaming monkey madness of Timesplitters 2; the neon egomania of gTa: vice city; burnout 3: Takedown’s combos and crashes that showcase the cinematic ‘aftertouch’ mechanic; and gambits galore in final fantasy

Xii, just for starters. we’ll be needing all of these gems, and more – even the offerings of playstation now could not satisfy our mighty appetites. our wishlists for titles are already hundreds of lines long – we’re actually quite worried that playing them all would take us right up to playstation 5’s launch…

MAKE ROOM IN YOuR cAbINETS – TROPhY SuPPORT IS INTEgRATED IN ThE PS2 TITLES.

AND DISC-USS… before you start gathering up armfuls of old ps2 discs, however, take a few deep breaths. consider the fact that these star wars ps2 games made their merry way onto consoles via downloadable psn codes. as much as we’d love to print the words “backwards compatibility” all over these pages in jubilant, glittery ink, all signs point to the games being released as downloadable titles. The dream would be to feed our consoles some wonderfully mature disc cheddar to play direct or download a digital copy… but for now it’s just that: a dream. we’ll settle for cross-buy for titles purchased on ps3, though… whatever the case may be, we couldn’t be happier with how this is shaping up. as to which additional titles will be released and when, we can only speculate – but check in next issue as this story develops. got any emulation predictions? A PS2 game you need on PS4? Tweet @OPM_uK.

■ utterly insane and way ahead of its

time, TimeSplitters 2 is a PS2 legend.

Shredding powder in the open-world playground of SSX 3 would be great to relive on PlayStation 4.

■ god hand’s bonkers anime brawling

earned our undying affection.


Who wouldn’t want to enjoy those rolled-up suit sleeves in glorious current-gen detail?

009

■ What do Tony hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and burnout 3: Takedown have in common? An emphasis on chaining together sick combos. Yeah, that wasn’t a joke.

PS2 podracing feels a lot zippier on PS4 – and it foreshadows great things for the future.


Designed by Ueda, the last guardian’s half-cat, half-dogbird trico has game devs all a-flutter.

The Big10

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

010

Devs place bounty on most wanted The biggest names in games reveal their 2016 picks PS4’s year ahead looks so good, it’s almost criminal. There’s so much to be excited about that asking anybody to come up with an answer to the question, “What’s your single most wanted game?” could be considered evil. So, of course, we pitched it to a whole bunch of developers. Fortunately, they were happy to oblige. Street Fighter V producer Yoshinori Ono chooses Tom Clancy’s The Division: “Apologies to the Ubisoft guys who make these games, but I feel like it’s a chance to make up for the disappointment I had with Watch Dogs!” he laughs. “I get the feeling that The Division

02

is going to actually be the Watch Dogs I wanted to play.” Dragon Quest’s Yosuke Saito, however, only has eyes for robodinosaurs. “Horizon,” the Square Enix producer responds firmly. “I’m not interested in anything else, just that. Oh, actually, another game I’ve forgotten of course – Final Fantasy XV. I’m very much looking forward to that, too.” It’s easy to forget about old favourites when there’s so much fresh meat. Taro Yoko, creative director on the upcoming Nier: Automata, settles for a brand-new title. “Matterfall. It looks really intriguing. [Housemarque] make really great shooting games, and this one’s to do with red and blue blocks and shooting at outposts.

it’s been in my scope for years – finally, it’s coming!

It looks good.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. But the one game PlayStation developers covet the most? It’s The Last Guardian…

team talk “back at e3 in June, Horizon Zero Dawn had every developer’s tongue wagging. ‘Have you seen it yet?’ they’d ask me during interviews, pretty much without fail. six months on and guerrilla’s robo-rpg is still riding very high on the wishlists of developers, but clearly the reality of the last guardian’s existence has set in.” matthew pellett editor

TRICO TREAT Ian Dallas, creative director on What Remains Of Edith Finch, is captivated by Ico director Fumito Ueda’s latest project. “I think the movement of the boy and the creature is so interesting and emotionally rich that it’s exciting to me. The gameplay so far looks somewhat conventional, but I’m optimistic it’s going to go off in different directions.” Uncharted 4 writer Josh Scherr agrees. “I’m a huge fan of Fumito Ueda’s other games,” he says, before also name-dropping Rise Of The Tomb Raider, The Witness, Hyper Light Drifter and Abzu, then diving into No Man’s Sky. “Honestly, they could release it now with no


RevolutionaRy Road

Desperate for a peek at the new direction of the Valkyria series? chronicles remaster will come with a demo of azure revolution so you can discover just how radical a departure it truly is.

The Big10 STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

the ps3 original still looks great. We’d be happy if the new games just looked like this…

Valkyria marching back to PlayStation The cult series to deliver two new entries in 2016 Good news for fans of games that deserve a second chance. Despite the last two sequels being PSP exclusives – and the third entry not even making it out of Japan – 2016 will see forgotten classic Valkyria Chronicles getting a lick of remaster paint, and an entirely new entry in the series. What do they say about buses and waiting again? We gave the original an 8/10 waaaay back in OPM #25, so we don’t blame you if you want a little catch-up on the series. With a striking hand-drawn art style married to a turn-based strategy that you’ll actually enjoy, the game is set in an alterna-Europe – named Europa, for fans of subtlety – and sees you command Squad 7. Your merry militia gets dragged into a war between the East Europan Imperial Alliance and

03

objectives or gameplay and I’d probably spend hours just flying around.” What happened to just one?! But Uncharted 4’s creative director Neil Druckmann has no doubts about his pick. “Oh, that’s easy,” he answers. “The Last Guardian. That’s been in my scope for… how many years now? And it’s finally coming out! I’m a huge fan of Ueda-san and Ico – I think if you just look at our games, you can see it’s been a huge influence for me and Bruce [Straley], and I’m sure a bunch of other people on the team. Shadow Of The Colossus, likewise, is just a phenomenal game in as far as just letting you play as someone who’s morally grey. I just know Ueda-san’s going to break my heart with The Last Guardian, but I can’t wait.” Hunting info on 2016’s biggest titles? turn to p30 for our previews special.

Atlantic Federation, when the Imperial Alliance attacks the neutral Gallian homeland for resources. Then… well, it all gets a tiny bit complicated. Details about 2016’s entries are few and far between, but Japanese mag Famitsu has confirmed that Valkyria Chronicles Remaster will be launching on PS4 in February 2016. It’s currently only confirmed for Japan – but we reckon that won’t be the case for very long. New entry Valkyria: Azure Revolution, which is more of a spin-off than a straight follow-up, is going to shift its gameplay focus to enter the RPG genre, but still retain the quasi-hand-drawn art style that makes the series so recognisable. A prequel focused on the country of Jutland, expect it to greatly broaden the series’ fiction later next year.

Valkyria cHronicles remaster Will laUncH on ps4 in feb 2016.

Want to get a better look at the ps3 original? Head over to p106.

011


The Big10 STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

A fond farewell to 2015 We reminisce on the year that PS4 came of age 04

One moment you’re blasting into the New Year with Dinklebot in Destiny, the next you’re running around Hoth in Star Wars Battlefront. It went fast, right? It’s hard to believe just how much gaming goodness 2015

delivered. So, to prove you didn’t hallucinate Bloodborne, Rocket League and that E3 presentation – sadly, Tony Hawk’s 5 isn’t a fevered dream, either – we’ll walk you through the talking points of the past 12 months…

SileNceD HillS

Konami may have saved us from some intense nightmares, but we’re gutted to see Silent Hills’ cancellation and, later, P.T. getting yanked off PSN. A Kojima horror game is something we’re still desperate to see.

012

Spotify SpotteD

pArt Deux

Deus Ex announces itself to the world via the mysterious Twitch channel Can’t Kill Progress, before releasing a full-blown trailer showing that Adam Jensen is still into his gravelly voice monologues.

fiNAlly, A fANtASy

April

pHoto fiNiSH

Screeching onto PS4 is ultra-realistic racing sim Project Cars, which dazzles us with some amaze-o graphics and punishes us with go-karts. While it’s not the arcade racer we’ve been dreaming of, petrolheads will love its no-nonsense racing.

WitcH A riDe

May

January

The Witcher bursts onto current-gen, astounding us with its gripping story and staggering world, but major early issues with bugs and framerate mean it bags an 8/10.

Giving us the ability to turn our PS4 into the best jukebox ever, the Spotify app launches. You can even use your phone to control what music gets piped through. Yes, Vengaboys are acceptable.

The release of FF Type 0-HD brings mass excitement – every copy comes with a demo of decade-in-themaking Final Fantasy XV. To celebrate, we bag an early world exclusive playtest.

poWer of e3

No faffing around. Sony drops three huge reveals, with The Last Guardian jumping to PS4, Final Fantasy VII enjoying a proper remaster and the completely unexpected announcement of Shenmue III *cough* getting a Kickstarter.

June

Bruce pAiN

Arkham Knight glides onto PS4 and astonishes with the mix of (back) cracking graphics, hefty combat and the biggest Gotham playground to dispense justice in yet. It scoops a battastic 9/10.

V.A.t.S AMore

uNcHArteD 4 MultiplAyer

The open Beta for Uncharted 4 launches and you get your first taste of what it’ll be like when the full game finally arrives in March. We’ve already spent hours playing – read our thoughts on p60.

plAyStAtioN experieNce

So nice, they did it twice. PlayStation Experience moves to San Francisco for this year’s celebration of all things Sony. OPM is there now, so we’ll report back next issue, out 15 January.

December

Colossally big and with shooting that feels more in tune with your in-game actions, Bethesda launches another assault on our free time with Fallout 4. The Wasteland has never felt as vibrant. Maybe it’s the extra colours?

HotH to trot

After the Beta turned us into sound effect machines for a week, Battlefront drops to ensure that the office will never have to endure another day without hearing us go “PEWPEWPEW.” Lucky colleagues.

November


The Big10

tHe epiSoDic yeAr

If you like your games bite-sized, then 2015 has been your year. Telltale almost dominated with Tales From The Borderlands (yay!), Game Of Thrones (hmm) and Minecraft Story Mode (nah), but episodic newcomers Dontnod stole our hearts with Life Is Strange.

StrANge BegiNNiNgS

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

A tHief’S coVer Drake – Nate, not the Canadian rapper – is the star of our first 2015 cover, as we take a look at how Uncharted’s finale is shaping up. Brilliantly, as it turns out.

We aren’t sure what to make of Dontnod’s Life Is Strange, giving its opening episode a 7/10. But we get the feeling this episodic adventure might be a bit of a grower…

BASH for crASH

We ask you to tell us your favourite PlayStation icon – Sony’s original marsupial of mayhem, Crash, tops the list. Now then, where’s the remaster?

HeiStS AliVe

GTA V finally delivers what we’ve all been waiting for with online Heists, to once again tempt us back to the crime-riddled streets of Los Santos. Nobody moves, nobody gets lag.

reVolViNg Door

What’s better than tearing through alien jungles as a giant monster? Not much, when Evolve gets it right. But it doesn’t do enough to distract us from other online shooters for too long.

BorNe to ruN

Bloodborne slashes its way into our hearts. We fall so in love with Yharnam’s winding streets of almost certain doom that we hunt down a 9/10 for it.

July

013

february

DAWN-tiNg tASk

HoW SooN iS NoW?

PlayStation Now launches an open Beta in the UK, meaning those of you who bid adieu to your PS3 can suddenly replay old classics via the pixie dust magic of the cloud.

tAll orDer

The Order: 1886 doesn’t live up to our expectations, as we give Ready At Dawn’s graphical powerhouse a 5/10 for being criminally short and relying too much on QTEs. Easy platinum, mind.

terA-fic tiMeS

The 1TB PS4 launches in the UK. Deleting games off the hard drive to free up space for new ones is a thing of the past. Well, for a little while, at least.

cHAMpioNS leAgue

We’re routinely spoilt with goodies from PS Plus’ Instant Game Collection, but Rocket League’s launch hooks us instantly. The steady stream of free updates helps as well.

Surprise of the summer Until Dawn is a smart take on the ‘murdering horny teens’ genre – also known as horror. Keeping the cabin-visiting teens alive is no easy task, but you wouldn’t want a horror game without a bit of blood.

August

WitcH JoyStickS? The Golden Joysticks of course. Back for a 33rd year, the annual awards see The Witcher 3 run out as the big winner, nabbing five, including 2015’s Ultimate Game. But will it get our Game Of The Year? See p70.

piece of SNAke

recHArteD

While Uncharted 4 slips into 2016, The Nathan Drake Collection is more than a mere stop gap, with Bluepoint Games giving these seminal adventures the polish they richly deserve. Train dangling has never been so exhilarating.

october

BirtHDAy BoNANzA

PlayStation turns 20 and it’s presents time. Alongside our chat with Neil Druckmann about Uncharted 4, we have a bonus 20 Years Of PlayStation special mag.

We finally get our hands on Kojima’s final Metal Gear – and it certainly inspires some debate, as well as a very rare OPM 10/10. What we can’t argue with is the refinement of the series’ tactical espionage action, with the Fulton becoming our new favourite toy.

September


The the bigBig shot 10

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT eagle-eyed analysis

Shrinking and stretching tactics rule: long worms cover more ground, but small ones are stronger.

While 2v2 games are the main draw, Push Me Pull You also supports twoplayer games.

014

Nudecastle Utd signs for PS4 Meet Push Me Pull You’s win streak Calling all local co-op fans: have you grown tired of Sportsfriends and are seeking your next PS4 couchplay game of choice? Look no further than Push Me Pull You. The setup? Stretchy football snakes (shove off, Delph, you’ve been usurped) – created from attaching the top halves of two naked humans together – must cradle a ball with their bellies and score points by crawling it into a specific zone of the pitch. Really.

05

Indie developer House House describes its new multiplayer game as like “playing soccer with your small intestines” and that it “combines the best parts of local multiplayer with the worst parts of your last breakup.” Minus the pleading texts, natch. Despite the disturbing premise (the blend of Nidhogg’s victory worm and Sportsfriends’ Super Pole Riders is terrifying), we’re itching to set PES aside for some ‘crawlball’. For more of 2016’s top independent games, stretch and wriggle to p40.

Elongated bodies squeak and whine like balloons being rubbed together. It’s truly judder-worthy stuff.


number game we do the maths

$250,000

30 Total prize pool at the Capcom Cup, hosted at the PlayStation Experience.

Your wibbly flesh tubes sometimes sprout thought bubbles containing hearts, clocks and, um, cherries.

Million PS4 consoles have now been sold worldwide. It’s not slowing down…

59% Of Star Wars Battlefront’s physical UK launch week sales were sold on PS4.

650 Final puzzle count of The Witness, though the number could still change…

500,000

£8 Copies of Fallout 4 sold in its opening week. Oh, and that’s just in the UK.

PMPY was originally expected in 2014. Hey, those stretchy bodies take time to code, you know.

Increase in Dying Light’s season pass after The Following DLC grew bigger.

182 Days delay for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to ensure the game is polished.

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Mr Pointy TeethDenny is justis hugely Sony’s Michael dying to eat you inhave to dodge relieved to never PlayStation VR’s The another question about The Deep.Guardian. Last

The Big10 Caption

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

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A dream year for PlayStation Sony speaks out about entering PS4’s best year ever As 2015 slowly winds down, we’ve already got our eyes set on next year’s stellar surprises for PlayStation. We’ve been clamouring for Sony’s step into virtual reality, finding out what Media Molecule’s Dreams is made of, and investigating a thief’s upcoming end in Uncharted 4. But don’t just listen to us: SCE Worldwide Studios Europe senior vice president Michael Denny is here to discuss why 2016 is destined to be PlayStation’s biggest year yet…

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OPM: How excited are you by the advent of PlayStation VR? Michael Denny: Unbelievably. I’m like a kid in a toy shop. I think that for those of us who’ve been involved in the project for a number of years, the thought of VR has seemed a distant dream in some respects, but it’s here now and it’s exciting. OPM: What’s your personal virtual reality game highlight so far? MD: There are many experiences, and they’re all different in their own

degree as well for different reasons. I mean, there’s some really in-your-face obvious experiences. You look at the new Rush Of Blood demo, it’s like being on a rollercoaster – it’s immediate and it’s a thrill. But I also think [there are] experiences that are mixing narrative and action – look at the London Heist demos. The interrogation scene, and then going into the action scenes as well, puts you right in the middle of an action movie, and you do feel like you’re there. And then there are experiences that are exciting in their own way, but not because of the gameplay. An experience like The Deep, being the deep sea diver with the shark attack – sorry, that’s a bit of a spoiler there… Those experiences, they completely immerse you in virtual reality. OPM: How committed are you to cementing VR’s long-term prospects as a viable platform? MD: I believe it will be because I think the possibilities, the creative possibilities, are endless. And it’s

exec talk “We’ve shown some really innovative games for the future when you look at the likes of Dreams and you look at WiLD. I think that, true to PlayStation DNA, the strength, the depth and the quality of that exclusive lineup is always something that we want to deliver to our fans.” Michael Denny

Senior vice president, SCE Worldwide Studios Europe

fantastic to be working on a platform when there are so many new ideas coming in and people are learning all the time. There are some things you think are going to work, and they don’t, but there are lots of things that you don’t think are going to work and they just come out fantastically in the prototype. So I think that from what we’re seeing so far and the build up from some simple ideas… just being in the headset works. And then when you layer on interactivity and the great creativity of some of our Sony developers, there are lots of experiences to come on VR, some of those we haven’t even thought of yet. OPM: Are you finding that ‘traditional’ games and developers can quite easily incorporate VR aspects into what they’re doing? MD: I think developers are looking at it in a number of ways. A lot are looking at their existing games or existing creations and how that translates to VR – we’ve got a demo of Driveclub for people to look at as well, which just shows how you can


GeT YOuR leAk On

how does Sony feel when announcements get leaked early, like with Driveclub bikes’ unveiling? “It’s not the end of the world,” shrugs Denny. “If the news gets out to the fans, that’s the main thing.”

translate a full game experience to VR. But then, because it’s such a new system, a lot of the creators want to build something ground-up that’s absolutely made to take advantage of all the new features. OPM: How do you guys make sure PlayStation VR is as big as PS4? MD: I think it’s to be true to what we’ve always stood for in terms of delivering great games, great experiences and – more than anything – new and innovative experiences as well. OPM: What would you pull out as a personal 2016 highlight for PS4? MD: Oh, there are so many, but Uncharted 4 is going to be massive and is looking better than ever. Horizon is super-exciting – I’m privileged to be able to visit the studio out there in Amsterdam often and the game is looking amazing, so I can’t wait for people to get their hands on that as well. As a year for a plethora of content, I think there’s much for people to look forward to. Dreams is going to be so exciting; it’s hard to really convey what a new experience the guys at Media Molecule are trying to create there, blending play and creation. Certainly with the Beta coming next year, people who are lucky enough to get on that are going to have a very exciting time.

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

info patches update your brain

■ Denny thinks Dreams is destined for great things when the beta hits in 2016.

OPM: What’s your, ahem, ‘dream’ for the future of PlayStation, knowing that you’re already on top? MD: We’re in a great place, as I said, in terms of the way PlayStation 4 has grown. I think what we showed [at Paris Games Week] – I mean, it was super exciting to share the stage with so many great creators who are creating exclusive content. But not only exclusive content – exciting, new, innovative content. Content that will differentiate PlayStation going forward, and I think what we always want to offer to our fans is that promise, whether it’s on current PlayStation 4 or on VR, that we’re going to deliver an experience to them that’s fantastic and truly differentiated.

VR SEEMED A DISTANT DREAM, buT IT’S hERE NoW AND IT’S ExCITING.

OPM: Dreams looks fascinating. Could it be a tool to find a new generation of developers? MD: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think the best thing about Dreams is everyone’s telling me what they think it is. At the moment it’s clear there are so many elements to it. People are drawing on what’s exciting them and I think Media Molecule would applaud that way of looking at it. It’s our job to make sure that what comes through is the fun of the experience to everybody. It’s ‘Play’ and ‘Create’ at the same time – it’s melding those two, it’s remixing other people’s creations, and it’s doing it all together in a multiplayer sense as well, so it’s going to be very exciting for people.

The Big10

OPM: Why aren’t you afraid to introduce new IP? It’s a risk, so how do you balance that choice between old and new IP? MD: No question there’s risk in new IP, but new IP is the lifeblood of the industry. People and players love new content, love new experiences and, at Worldwide Studios, it’s our remit to push the boundaries and keep trying to deliver new and exciting experiences for the players. OPM: So, given that every game in the world seems to be coming out in 2016, which is hugely exciting… you’ve also got some plans for 2017 and beyond, right? MD: (Laughs) You’ll understand the answer to that is that, when I’ve got so much going on in 2016, please let me concentrate on that for now! Turn over to p54 for a closer look at PlayStation VR’s most exciting projects.

A TOuR GuIDe’S enD Dreamboat Nathan Drake has quit pilfering artefacts to give you… a guided walking tour through London? Nolan North lent his tones to mobile app Recho, which plays audio clips at classic landmarks as part of a promotional Three treasure hunt. Warning: the goodies might already be snaffled, ending the fun… 017

2 ulTIMATe, 2 FIGHTInG No sooner had EA unveiled its cover star for the newly announced uFC 2, than the previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey started getting a taste of holly holm’s foot, followed by the octagon canvas. The EA Sports curse strikes again, but hopefully uFC 2 won’t fall at the first hurdle when it releases in spring.

euRO lOVe THIS Remember when you had to shell out real hard cash to get your virtual fix of the Euros? Well, this year the license rests with PES and, if you own a copy of PES 2016, you’ll get the uEFA Euro 2016 France content for free. In other PES news, a PlayStation-exclusive FreeTo-Play version is on the Store right now.


The Big10

What have we ear, then? STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

New in-ear PS4 headset arrives Gaming in a noisy household can be a tricky business. Whether it’s your partner, siblings, fluffy companions or failed genetic experiments (hey, we’re not here to judge), it seems reality is out to wage war on your immersive experiences. Fortunately, the solution has arrived, and it’s on sale right now. No, it’s not a weapon, you maniac. It’s an official wired in-ear stereo headset, imaginatively called the In-ear Stereo Headset for PS4, and it features AudioShield noisecancelling technology. Plug it into your DualShock 4 and revel in the uninterrupted squawks of Battlefront’s laser blasters, or the sweet sound of Just Cause 3’s mid-air Lamborghini explosions. Once you power-up this handy feature, the AudioShield tech and the rich bass produced by the 13mm speakers combine to ensure total in-game absorption.

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The noise-cancelling requires juice, with a full USB charge providing around 15 hours of aural pleasure. Interchangeable ear tips of various sizes mean you can really wedge them in there and block the world out. Bliss. SONIC REDUCER “But what if I miss an important call because I don’t hear it?” we hear you cry (we haven’t got them in right now, duh). Don’t worry, there’s an in-line call button, as well as volume controls and a built-in mic, so you can chat to your online friends while wilfully ignoring your real-life companions. They won’t mind. The earphones are compatible with PS4, PS Vita, smartphones and tablets, which makes them a solid choice for distraction-free gaming on the go. A set will cost you £77.99, which also gets you a protective pouch for storage.

A FULL USB CHArGe meANS ArOUND 15 HOUrS OF AUrAL PLeASUre.

The Sony PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 is an over-ear alternative.

The cable is made of woven fabric – less prone to damage than rubber.

the rumour machine

Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has all but confirmed more BioShock games.

our sources understand…

Koei Tecmo has hinted that Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3’s lack of EU release is down to conflicting Western attitudes regarding the representation of women in games.

Sources suggest From Software could be working on a PS4 JRPG.

PS Vita’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss on PS4? Maybe, according to Naughty Dog’s Arne Meyer.

Sony is pushing PS VR developers for a 60fps minimum, and a buttery smooth 90fps target, for upcoming titles.


SPoIl No More

Conscious of not wanting to ruin any potential surprises, YS Net is deliberately revealing screenshots using tight angles. Not that we can tell what’s going to happen anyway…

ThePlayStation Big 10 voices

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

“There’s plenty of time to save $300 before the game comes out.” Talking with Gamespot, Yoshinori ono tells Xbox owners to buy a PS4 for SFV. Low blow!

Stop pinching yourself. This is an actual, official, Shenmue III screenshot. For real.

To Me, To Shenmue: new details revealed Kickstarter update brings fresh info on revived RPG Since snagging enough dough to become the biggest-funded Kickstarter game ever (gobbling up more than $6 million), Ryo’s resurrected attempt to avenge his father’s death has been quiet as of late. But finally, Ys Net has dropped more details about the progress it’s making on one of the most anticipated games of… well, ever.

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■ Will Lan Di be hiding in the back of this thatched house? Probably not.

the month in mouthing off

With the story supposedly done and dusted, the team is moving into working on map testing so that Ryo isn’t a giant who can get through areas in one step or is dwarfed by a kitchen table (though we would still definitely play that). Defining the Goldilocks zone, Ys Net explains how it’s aiming for a perfect balance with the map testing: “For example, an outside area may feel too open. That space may be reduced by 20%, and the number of people there increased from ten to 16, to affect the proper consistency and density of the area.” The developer has also been delivering some new screenshots for us to pore over. Don’t get too attached though, as they confirm the model of Ryo is an old one. Still, with testing underway, Shenmue III is getting ever closer to reality. 2017 can’t come quick enough. We’ll bring you much, much closer to the Shenmue III project later in 2016.

“I’m good about keeping secrets.” Mark Hamill on how he never revealed Luke’s parentage before The Empire Strikes Back came out.

“It’s almost like asking me which of my children is my favourite.” The Mighty No. 9 stars are all equally loved by Keiji Inafune (creator/ dad).

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instant opinion strong vs wrong It’s AlIve!

Much whooping in the OPM office at the news Life Is Strange will get a limited edition boxed release in Jan, including the soundtrack and an art book. Hella cool.

FrIdAy FeelIng

Jason is grabbing his machete and heading to Camp PS4: a Friday The 13th game has reached its Kickstarter target. That means you’ll get a chance to neuter randy campers from October.

OdeOn KenOBI 020

By the time you’re reading this, Team OPM will be down to the nearest cinema to see The Force Awakens. If anyone asks, we’re all ill…

rAIn d’Oh sIx

Rainbow Six Siege’s season pass gives us a headache. With every map due to be free, £22.99 gets you gun skins, XP boosters and early operator access. It seems… expensive.

CrOCK BAnd

We’re loving Rock Band 4, but it hits a bum note for all the missing DLC from the originals. It’s been painless on other platforms…

PlayStation finally gets Avat…arghs! A plague of awful profile pics swamp PSN PSN is usually our favourite virtual store, but unfortunately, PS3’s avatar eye-sore section is squelching its way onto PS4, bringing along a cavalcade of awful memes that look like they were made by a caffeine-addled first-timer on MS Paint. Behold these avatars, ye mighty, and despair. This section is a landfill of headache-inducing visual crimes that are offensive on so many levels. For instance, you can buy one that merely reads “Pimp” – you know, a person who profits from the

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SOny’S OfficiaL deSignS LOOK decent and are OnLy 20p.

COld shOwers

Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3 won’t be hitting UK shores, but Japan’s Strongest Package collector’s edition includes nine ‘bathroom posters’ – handily waterproof. Er, yep.

misery of sex workers – in a garish, Word Art-esque font for £3.99. Yep, it costs the same as the original Crash Bandicoot on PS3, observant reader. Why not buy that instead? Then you’ve got the sort of avatars that look like the saccharine garbage an elderly relative tags you in on Facebook. Ones that inspire you to “Dream It, Wish It, Do It” and “Don’t Dream Your Life, Live Your Dreams,” which each cost 79p, or seven minutes of work if you’re on the minimum wage. Your time is worth more. Really. Unsurprisingly, Sony’s official designs – which include avatars for Uncharted, inFamous and other franchises – not only look comparatively decent, but are also the cheapest at 20p. But if they’re the suave friend on a night out, they’re rubbing shoulders with one that’s slurring “Dare to dream!” (79p) and one that’s spilt ketchup down their top and is staring aggressively at anyone who makes eye contact, finally belching, “This Is An Ironic Avatar” (99p).

■ Like Sky’s ‘900’ channels, pretend this part of the Store doesn’t exist.

Should you glimpse more of these horrors, tweet @OPM_UK your, er, ‘faves’.


The Big10

NO IFS, NO BUTTS

It appears Capcom’s already cracking on with one of its own resolutions: the latest Street Fighter V demo cuts down on ‘sexy shots’, with Rainbow Mika’s iconic butt-slap close-up nixed.

STorieS everyone’S Talking aBouT

pristinely

just one more question… 10 the team debate this month’s burning issue What new year’s resolutions should the games industry set?

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Ben Tyrer Staff Writer

MaTThew PelleTT editor

andrew wesTBrook Production editor

Jen siMPkins Staff Writer

more inclusive representation is getting closer, but more should be done in 2016.

When did doubling a game’s price for a vague promise of dlc become okay?

please let 2016 bring an end to the extortion. the ransom must stop.

somebody give ps vita the chance to astonish us this year.

so the industry ignored my cries about unrealistic release dates 12 months back (this last month alone saw mirror’s edge catalyst, battleborn and deus ex: mankind divided delayed). i’m not angry, just disappointed. this year my grumble involves season pass content. since when was it okay to announce and sell season passes, then openly admit you don’t know what it’ll contain? i’m fine with certain dlc options, but i draw the line at laying down up to £40 extra at launch for a piece of art that says ‘season pass’ and a shrug from devs when questioned on its content. until you share concrete details, i’ll continue to pass. n

pah, i’m not stopping at season passes. i’m a tight-arse, and let’s face it, games ain’t cheap. i grimace through my buys, hoping the hours of enjoyment will be worth it. fortunately, they normally are, but it needs to stop there. Which is why i rarely get dlc, preferring to save for a whole game. sure, there’ll always be people willing to buy extra threads, cars or whatever. i’m content for them to live peaceful lives, but it’s not for me. yet when it comes to dlc for critical story content (as noted by one of our readers last month)? no, no, no. please let 2016 bring an end to the extortion. the satisfaction ransom must stop. n

since when did ps vita become the kid in the corner that nobody wants to play with? sony’s got the whole world in its handheld, and nobody seems to be taking advantage of that. sure, we’ve got cross play and some indie gems are coming – but it’s not enough. i want to see developers build massive titles for the dinky console. tearaway and gravity rush proved that portables can change the game: ps vita’s motion sensors and double touch zones are crying out for even more gameplay innovations. that unpopular kid could be the future… What do you mean, he’s eating glue?! he’s a genius, i tells ya! n

my favourite moment in black ops iii was returning to the campaign menu. there’s an animated model of your soldier, chomping a cigar and prepping their pistol. having gone for the woman, it’s awesome to see that her gender is less important than her cigar, eschewing teenage titillation for just a typical badass soldier. but 2016 needs to go bigger and do more. We should be seeing every spectrum of gamer getting representation. it leads to more people enjoying the games we love, and richer experiences for us all. Who can honestly say that’s something they don’t want? n


rePlies F facebook.com/OfficialPlayStationMagazine t @OPM_UK W gamesradar.com/opm e opm@futurenet.com

Fallout’s fallout

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I was wondering: how do you decide which one of you reviews each game? It’s because you gave Fallout 4 8/10, as I know a lot of people who have the game – we all love it and say it’s probably the best thing on PS4. What happens if the person reviewing the game doesn’t like that genre, which would affect the score you give? Would it be better to get an overall score from a few of you? Robbie clark via Facebook

every time you see a review in OPM, you can be sure that we’ve picked an expert – we’d never assign a reviewer

to a genre they didn’t like (that’s what Don’t Make Me Play on p109 is for). as for averages, we do debate scores inside OPM towers, but sadly there just isn’t the time for us all to complete multiple 50+ hour games every issue.

Unlevel field

Is it me or have games gotten harder? Since the new generation of consoles I am finding an increase of difficulty

Isn’t it about time retailer exclusive bonuses are just gotten rid of? I just ordered Fallout 4, and I was forced to choose between Amazon’s Fallout book and (probably partial) soundtrack, and GAME’s steelbook. As a huge fan of books, soundtracks and steelbooks, this was a deeply traumatic experience, and I’ve now resigned myself into trawling eBay to see if anyone will sell an unwanted steelbook. It’s a really consumer hostile practice and a nightmare for collectors. It should have been ditched a long time ago. Mark Dorney via email

We agree that the process stinks, with fans forced to choose between physical or digital benefits and rarely given the chance to own everything. at least you’ll own *all* of OPM this year with a free sub.

Tweet gold (and one troll) from this month’s @OPM_UK timeline

@Stevium ‘Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On’ by Big Maybelle from the Fallout 4 OST is stuck in my head on a loop. @Northlander74 Fallout 4 is a good game but it’s not the superb masterpiece that all the hype makes it out to be. @ChaChaShakalaka Everyone’s already celebrating Christmas, but I’m still just waiting for Street Fighter V.

Liam Dungate via email

Difficulty and balance are two very different things. For the most part, solo games are getting easier (the likes of alien: Isolation and Bloodborne are notable, brutal exceptions), but multiplayer game balance is a big issue. the pool of pro-gamers with early access is relatively small, but with eSports on the rise and devs keen on fostering communities, many

WOULd IT BE BETTER TO GET aN OVERaLL REVIEW SCORE FROM a FEW OF THE TEaM MEMBERS INSTEad?

Star letter Sting in the retail

can I get a Rt?

online experiences are being pumped with gear that only rewards the most dedicated.

Face facts

Maybe if we don’t mention the impending Quantic Dream, Kara/Jennifer Lawrence likeness lawsuit, it won’t happen… No? John Fraser via email

Kara’s likeness is based wholly on the actress playing her. Don’t worry John, J-Law won’t call up the lawyers because of Valorie curry’s looks…

@Nykanykanyka Until Capcom un-bans R Mika’s Iconic Butt Slap, I am forever boycotting all videogames 4 infinity.

troll of the month

#117 2015 Awards special, Xmas gift guide, Fallout 4 and Detroit.

when playing games. New multiplayer games are too unbalanced and more in favour of pro-players or hardcore gamers, rather than the not-so-gifted gamers like myself. There appears to be too much social media pre-release support with bloggers and Youtubers that allows a lot of pro-gamers to have early access to games before they release, and therefore gives them a massive advantage.

@DarkRoastFranta I played Life Is Strange and I’m so mad at the ending. Neither one is good. I hate everything. @papajinn You ever think about how tragedies like Sonic Boom happen but Yakuza 5 still hasn’t been released? @trevhrd Only a matter of time before @OPM_UK cease printing just like @ZOO

@MCMProds Guitar Hero made me glad I was able to play 84% of Free Bird. Pity I can’t play an actual electric guitar. @SanatanaMishra Pretty awesome to see PlayStation 4 sell 30 million units quicker than PlayStation 2. @roz061 Just subscribed!!! That Shadow Of Mordor sold me!!!


best comments from facebook.com/officialplaystationmagazine

“everybody’s Gone To The rapture – so different to anything i’ve ever experienced before. Heartbreaking and stunning looking.”

“Hate hearing Dogmeat crying when he gets hurt.”

Joseph Mitchell’s GOTY pondering can’t split fallout 4 and egttr.

jordan kell’s a codsworth man.

ReaDeRS’ MOSt WanteD Which games are bleeping loudest on your radar?

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5

Uncharted 4: a thief’s end

another month in the top slot for Nathan drake, and it comes in the wake of the Uncharted 4 multiplayer Beta. Those of you who picked up The Nathan drake Collection have been busy in the upcoming online offering. Head on over to p60 to read our multiplayer impressions.

FORMat Ps4 eta 18 mAr

2

T minus six months before we blast off into the biggest, most ambitious game in PlayStation history. You clearly can’t wait to lose yourself in asgood-as-infinite space, voting the colourful planet-hopping adventure into second.

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Tell us the five games you can’t wait to play at opm@futurenet.com.

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FORMat Ps4 eta JUne

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We’ve dragon punched our way into the new year with this issue’s cover story on p32 – and clearly the legendary fighting series has fireballed its way into your hearts as well. as launch approaches, not even M Bison could prevent it from entering your Most Wanted list.

FORMat Ps4 eta 16 FeB

VOte nOW!

no Man’s Sky

Street Fighter V

Final Fantasy xV

horizon Zero Dawn

That ‘new’ demo at Paris Games Week was actually a glimpse at our behind-closed-doors action way back at E3 in June. The good news? There’s tons that Guerrilla has yet to show – this one’s going to be very special indeed.

FORMat Ps4 eta 2016

exIt POLL

Our Facebook fans answer a final question

The duscae demo seems like a distant memory now, but let’s all enjoy this milestone moment: after all this time waiting, we’ve finally entered Final Fantasy XV’s launch year. We know – we can hardly believe it either. The countdown starts now…

FORMat Ps4 eta 2016

Playstation Vr is mere months away – what one game has you most excited?

20% Want to act out Jurassic Park fantasies in Crytek’s robinson: The Journey. 25% Are eager to smash a few eggs (and lungs) in Capcom’s exciting horror tech demo known only as Kitchen.

9% ready their

33%

Will pretend Ps Vr is a racing helmet in Gran Turismo sport.

finger guns for ace moody shooter The london Heist.

4% Think sports game riGs will turn FiFA and Pes into relics. 9% Can’t wait to

revisit the cheesy Until Dawn with rush Of Blood.

next MOnth

A new challenger approaches! street Fighter V’s release is almost here, but which character will you pick when it hits?


OpiniOn

Ben Tyrer

There are so many exciTing possibiliTies for a coD campaign, so why reTrofiT a new iDea onTo a sTanDarD narraTive? Fixing the fumbles of Black Ops III’s Netflix narrative

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lack Ops III’s approach to its campaign could have been a defining moment for the series. Everything is unlocked, so pick your starting point and go wage your non-linear war, robo-soldier. Alas, it doesn’t quite work like that. Black Ops III basically gives you the option to play any chapter, anytime you want. But the story’s still the same linear narrative – it just makes more or less sense, depending on the order in which you tackle it. There are so many exciting possibilities for a COD campaign that understands how to make a non-linear structure and story equal, so why bother retrofitting a new idea onto a standard narrative? And, look, it won’t take the second coming of Dickens to make this happen: there’s an easy fix. Let me take the start of Black Ops III. It opens by revealing a montage of all the wetwork that you and partner Hendricks wade through for five years, before the story begins. Now, imagine that kaleidoscope of killing wasn’t a cutscene, but the actual game itself. Give us an opening tutorial level, sure. Then, treat that montage as a level select. Each memory is a level, and since it’s all in the past, you and your pals won’t need to play them in the ‘right’ order; there isn’t one. You work your way through different countries and missions without the writers contriving against logic

WRITER bIo When he’s not sticking knives between his fingers, pretending he’s the Black Ops specialist Spectre, Ben Tyrer will be bleeding out on a campaign mission, begging for his teammates’ help. But he never skips the cutscenes, so they usually decide not to.

to make it work. There are 15 levels in the game, you say? Bam – 13 of them are self-contained trips down memory lane, rehashing events from the past and filling in story gaps to bring us to present day. And once they’re all complete, the game can conclude with its final showpiece level, bringing the tale to its hugely explosive finale. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: 400 Days plays with this idea, offering different perspectives that slowly come together to build the full story. It might be confusing at first, but there’s a greater payoff as we realise the full scope of the grand tale. Or why not a grander reimagining? Let’s tweak

Advanced Warfare, so you’re in the disgustingly expensive loafers of Kevin Spacey, the campaign placing you in a quest for world or market domination. After an opening tutorial mission, you set up tactical operations for your PMC army to carry out. Twist: you then drop into the boots of individual squads to see if you can effectively execute your own plans. The narrative reacts to your actions, so, should you fail missions, Atlas Corp will become weaker and eventually bought out by a really evil corporation. (Let’s call it Apple.) Succeed and you’ll be diving into a pit of money that would make Scrooge McDuck’s reserves look like a paddling pool. Each success and failure effects not just the following missions’ intel and supplies, but the game’s end.

TESTING THE WATER

There’s no reason why COD can’t have its non-linear narrative structure and eat its massive stakes cake. It could artfully pilfer from Mass Effect 2, present you with a checklist of objects to achieve, MacGuffins that need hunting down and targets to take care of before a massive showdown… while also giving you the chance to rush to its end woefully underprepared for all the lead-based pain waiting for you. Black Ops III dangles its feet out to take some tentatively interesting steps forward for the series. If its future is to involve four-player squads roaming through bombed-out, sprawling war zones, then it needs to marry its ambition with structure. Preferably one that won’t leave you scratching your head and heading for the Wiki to find out your motivations, besides “the shooting’s alright, isn’t it?”


OpiniOn

Alice Bell i neeD assassin’s creeD To break up wiTh me because i’m noT sTrong enough To enD iT. Loving a game shouldn’t make you feel like you need couples counselling

P

lease. Somebody. Help me. I’m currently in a long-term relationship and it’s in a bad place. We’re stuck in a rut. We first met when I was a teenager – just 17 – and it was new and different. But now I’m finding it hard to remember the good times. It hasn’t been really exciting for years, and I’m coming to terms with the fact it’s going nowhere. The other party in my tortuously extended metaphor is, of course, Assassin’s Creed. Every year a new one comes out. Every year I buy it. Every year it’s a little less interesting. And every year I complain loudly to my actual husband about how much I’m not enjoying it while simultaneously playing it until 5am. It doesn’t have to be like this. Assassin’s Creed used to do some genuinely exciting, innovative things. Remember how good the horse’s animation was in the first one? Phwoar. But now I’ve let it move in, and it’s stopped trying. These days, being an Assassin’s Creed fan is like being into a really specific

kind of porn. Not many of us dare to talk about it openly, but there must be loads of us, otherwise they wouldn’t keep spaffing it out. I desperately want to love the series again, but ever since ACIII, the magic has gone. The games have instead had the air of a cool history teacher trying to make learning fun for the kids (well, if the teacher stabbed every third person he came across while doing so).

LovE HuRTS

Instead of using the tried and tested formula, Ubisoft urgently needs to spice things up if it wants to keep me interested. I hoped Syndicate would do that, but it’s just more of the same, only with a Cockney accent and a badass female lead free-running over a really nice build of the Thames, teasing at what could have been. Something might happen if a load of us stop buying them, but I’m part of the problem because I can’t. I know if I let Ubisoft get away with it, it’ll never change, but I need Assassin’s Creed to break up with me because I’m not strong enough to end it. I can’t wait for the next one.

Andrew Westbrook i’m Thinking ToTal immersion. wi-fi-connecTeD nerve enDings anD replayable memories. PlayStation’s progress in the last decade is immense. So what will 2025 deliver?

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ards on the table, there’s a fraudster in OPM’s midst. An imposter from gaming’s past. Alas, that time-travelling hustler is me. Like PlayStation’s prodigal son, I’ve landed in current-genland after a wander in the wilderness. And wow, is it good to be home. Gaming’s progress in my absence has been truly staggering. But best of all, we’re at a point where the future promises so, so much. Trying to imagine where the tech will be at in a decade is a mind-blowing proposition. My critical life skills were developed in PlayStation’s formative years – honing killer couchplay instincts with Circuit Breakers; discovering ancient civilisations with Lara; and, of course, conquering the kickflip with the Birdman. But then life took over, with work and play sweeping me to remote parts of Africa, the Americas and Australia, as I followed my own Drake fantasy for year after year. It was a life spent with a bag half-packed, so gaming experiences were sparse. Strange sofas in even stranger lands; a night of FIFA here, a week of GTA there…

The arrival of an ankle biter inspired my return and the chance to properly reacquaint myself with my old pal Sony, racing through the best that PS4 has to offer. From GTA (again) to Rocket League, and Arkham Knight to TowerFall, I was blown away by how radically PlayStation had moved on in not very much time – graphics, depth of experience, connectivity. All improved, drastically.

GENERATIoN GAME

But what next? The run-up to New Year’s is always a time for reflection, but my recent return has me pondering not just the 12 months past and pending. A decade ago we were playing PS2. So what about a decade from now? PlayStation VR is already just months away and it’s likely to start transforming pretty much everything. The potential for virtual reality to revolutionise how we live, let alone game, is near impossible to overstate. So, a couple of generations down the line, in 2025? Hey, I’m thinking total immersion. Wi-Fi-connected nerve endings, replayable memories… who knows? All I know is that I can’t wait to find out. I’m going nowhere.

WRITER bIo

WRITER bIo

New Videogamer recruit Alice Bell’s favourite assassin is Edward Kenway. She owns at least one Assassin’s Creed novelisation and enjoys long walks in the Third Crusade-era Holy Land. Turn-offs include being stabbed in the throat.

Production editor Andrew Westbrook discovered his penchant for prophecy after a strange encounter with some Scottish shamans. At least, he thinks they were shamans. It’s a bit weird that they kept chanting “Ebeneezer Goode.”

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crunchyroll

Crunchyroll PlayStation 4 now has a dedicated anime app. Here’s what you need to watch… 1 Naruto ShippudeN

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The most popular anime on Crunchyroll with more than 400 episodes, it’s like a big bowl of noodles topped off with a runny egg – the anime equivalent of comfort food. Naruto, a boy from Hidden Leaf Village, wants to become a ninja so he can lead his people and reunite with his childhood friends. 2

durarara

Halloween might be over, but it’s never too late for an urban legend. Set in a fictionalised Ikebukuro, where criminal and supernatural underworlds intertwine, Durarara sheds light upon some shady citizens: an information broker, an abnormally strong bartender, an internet gang, and a biker who’s searching for her stolen head. Spooky! 3 Sword art oNliNe

Fancy a shot of virtual reality gaming goodness before PlayStation VR hits? We’ve got you covered. Sword Art Online tells the story of Kirito and Asuna, sword-wielding lovebirds trapped in a fantasy VR-MMO. To escape, they must clear all hundred floors of a floating castle, Aincrad, without allowing

their HP to hit zero – an event that triggers real world death. 4 toNari No Seki-kuN

Playing cards, toy robots, octopus-shaped wieners – each episode is only seven minutes long, but full of surprises. A cute and creative classroom comedy about a boy who invents elaborate ways to pass the time, while a girl observes from the sidelines. Shortform anime at its best. 5

attack oN titaN

What better way to celebrate Attack On Titan’s 2016 PS4 debut than by watching all 25 episodes back-to-back? Well, other than cracking open a bottle of AOT’s own brand of plum wine – yep, it exists. When Eren’s town is wiped out by man-eating giants, he vows to join the division that specialises in killing them. 6

haikyu!!

If you were to add a spoonful of sugar and reflective moments to Kuroko’s Basketball, this might just be the result – a sweet sports anime about a boy who’s determined to become a volleyball ace despite being told he is too short.

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your lie iN april

Dripping ice lollies. Shooting stars. Falling cherry blossom petals… this is one of the sweetest, sparkliest, prettiest anime titles on Crunchyroll. A colourful romance about embracing music to overcome some of life’s trickiest stumbling blocks, this award-winning anime is an emotionally resonant must-see. 8 the world God oNly kNowS

Looking for an anime about dating sims? Look no further. Keima, aka the God Of Conquest, devotes his life to making virtual girls fall in love with him. That is until a demon girl appears and tells him to start winning the hearts of real girls instead – a much harder feat. 9

Fairy tail

A treasure-trove of wild adventures and outrageous battles, this fast-paced series tells the story of a celestial wizard who joins a magic guild, teams up with a dragon slayer and embarks on a chain of perilous quests. Featuring cats with wings and a tiny snow dog, it’s a fun all-rounder that’ll make you smile and occasionally pretend you have dust in your eye.

Honourable mentions chihayafuru

A beautiful anime about a girl named Chihaya who wants to become the best competitive karuta player in Japan.

God eater

Based on the JRPG series of the same name, God Eater follows the journey of an elite monster slayer named Lenka.

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wakakozake

This bite-sized anime about a young woman who eats alone for pleasure doubles as a guide to some of Japan’s top snacks.

Did we miss your favourite anime? Got a great In The Mood For idea? Show and tell at twitter.com/opm_uk.

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the playstation powerhouse has enjoyed a recordis still to come. Here’s your 37-page guide to why it’s


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breaking 12 months, but the best worth getting so excited about 2016


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apcom could have simply refreshed the fighting roster and polished up the visuals. That, for many, would have been enough. Capcom could have just added some new moves and tuned up the overall gameplay. That too, for a lot of players, would have been enough. But for a developer like Capcom – one that, if it didn’t invent the one-on-one fighting game, certainly honed its execution into an art form – that wouldn’t have been good enough. Not even close.

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the fingers and right up into the brain. He’s faster, more aggressive and yet easier to handle. He just flows around the screen, his slicker movement and friendlier, more accommodating combo timings dropping out lightning-fast barrages of beautifully animated, seamless abuse via a consummate ease-of-

And so Street Fighter V isn’t an incremental update, or a polished improvement. It’s an exhilarating, across-the-board clean sweep, which resets, rebuilds and revitalises everything you thought you knew about modern Street Fighter. And, rather wonderfully, everything you thought you knew about Capcom, too.

HigH-voltage action

The difference is immediately obvious, long before you start plumbing its unfathomable depths, and before you begin to discover and experiment. Without even knowing the giddy delights of the game’s new, overarching systems, Street Fighter V feels fresh. Even picking up series stalwart – and oft-undervalued all-rounder – Ryu sends an immediate shock through

use. Sometimes it feels as if he’s translating your will directly into on-screen action before you’ve realised it yourself. Street Fighter V is a relentlessly responsive fighting game, as delicate in its handling as it is robust, as clear and communicative in its feedback as it is spectacular to behold. But before long, that lightning speed will become literal, as you discover the first of many bold,

s tr ee t figh t er V A true fighting evolution, and this time everyone’s invited Format PS4 eta 16 Feb Pub Capcom Dev Capcom


think you know Ryu? think again. street Fighter V represents a radical, sweeping step forward.

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playstation 4 2016 brave changes that make Street Fighter V the most radical evolution the series has undergone since Street Fighter II begat the glorious complexity of SFIII’s Super moves, parries and dashes. But while Street Fighter III, for all of its brilliance, is the game that pushed Street Fighter away from the mainstream, making it the preserve of the hardcore only, Street Fighter V’s ethos seems pitched only toward a triumphant bid for accessibility. That ‘literal’ lightning? Hit both strong attack buttons as Ryu, and if you have your V-Gauge filled –

“think oF the v-trigger AS An inStAnt one-PreSS SPeCiAl move.” one of two new meters in Street Fighter V, which fill, as normal, while combat actions are carried out – he’ll suddenly burst with electricity, fists aglow with crackling intent. In this timelimited ‘V-Trigger’ state, his key moves will change. His fireball will become heavy artillery, capable of crushing an opponent’s block if charged-up before unleashing. His Dragon Punch will become more damaging and push the owner of the jaw it crushes further towards a deadly stun-state. But let’s not get too granular, too soon. While it would be easy to blind you with details, with nitty-gritty talk of move properties and precise status changes, the specifics of what the V-Trigger does – which are radically

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different for every fighter in the roster, from power boosts, to standalone moves, to brand new movesets – aren’t ultimately what really matters. What really matters is what the V-Trigger represents. Like all of Street Fighter V’s new systems, it feels built with the specific intent of throwing the game’s depth and versatility wide open to all, through ease of activation, clarity of purpose and immediate gratification. A door to a vast, sprawling realm of possibility, with a very easy-to-turn key. And once through, you’re free to explore exactly as far as you find fun.

a branD new Focus

This open, democratic approach to Street Fighter is most immediately evident in the death of Street Fighter IV’s Focus Attack. Previously activated by tapping both medium attack buttons, the Focus’ ability to absorb and nullify any incoming hit – not to mention the way it could cancel animations to create otherwise impossible combos – was supposed to be the game-changer that overhauled Street Fighter’s back-and-forth game. And for some, it absolutely was. The problem was that the Focus, if used to its real potential, demanded serious work and no small amount of high-level skill and dexterity. As the only portal to some of Street Fighter IV’s most showboating techniques, that made it somewhat of a bottleneck – the sticking point at which the less hardcore players were separated from the elite and forced to watch on as others enjoyed parts of the game that they could not.

laura bursts into range with her explosive close-down moves and double-take hairstyle.

In Street Fighter V, the Focus Attack is conspicuously absent. In its place, both literally and figuratively, is the V-Skill. Activated via the exact same button press, this is the philosophical opposite of its predecessor, designed to open up swathes of deliriously varied, anarchically asymmetric possibilities where its precursor mandated strict adherence to certain universal rules. Think of it as an instant, one-press special move for each character. Tap the buttons and out it comes. No stick-waggles or bar charging required. No barrier to entry. Your granny could activate it. But the best bit is that the V-Skill does something completely different – and very powerful

ne w w or l d or der Whether you’ve met them before or not, in SFv, everyone feels new

ryu Street Fighter’s number one son returns, more aggressive, more immediately effective and with a new penchant for up-close beat-downs. Well, he has always been about the self-improvement…

Ken ryu’s hyperactive training partner is now a showboating monster. his more powerful special moves can hit like supers: everything can set you on fire. he’s a windmill of crazy kicks, he can sprint, and… just look at that hair.

r MiKa Pro-wrestler mika defies every grappler stereotype. Fast, rangey and dynamic, she has an answer for anything. She’s as adept at slams as she is juggling opponents in the air. A walking whirlwind.

Karin Capable of spectacular, sustained carnage, karin’s pokey kicks and ground-based game make her unique and very rewarding. She can combo almost endlessly once she’s going. Build momentum and she’s lethal.


tHe insiDe view name yoShinori ono ProdUCer, CAPCom

“there are going to be six additional characters added to the game in the first year after launch. All six characters will be unlockable for free using the in-game currency called Fight money.”

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Zangief was really happy to see nash again. Well, he had been away for a very long time.

nash guile’s lost war buddy is back, and ye gods, is he different. even ignoring the dubious facial reconstruction, the furious assault afforded from his switch to direct stick inputs makes him a Sonic Booming beast.

rashid middle eastern new guy rashid is fast, flowing and easy to pick up. With nimble, multi-hitting dash moves, throwable tornadoes and a whole menu of leaps and vaults, he’s the most instantly fun character.

M Bison older, meaner and with seemingly nothing to prove, m has eschewed his rushdown ways for a more sedate approach. his new defend-andretaliate game makes attacking him feel like assaulting a fortress.

Vega vega has dropped his old predilection for charged-up special moves, and the result is a revelation. Unleashed, his speed, range and acrobatics are as terrifying as they are beautiful. he’s suddenly a major contender.


Uh-oh, somebody’s let Ken at the matches again. there’s no word yet on possible Hazmat suit DlC.

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Vega. Kicking you in the face and looking just divine while doing so since 1992.

laura Sister of Street Fighter iii’s Sean, this Brazilian jiu-jitsu powerhouse is ineffective at long range, but brutal up-close. She becomes a nightmare of combos, grapples… and combos made of grapples.

necalli A beast. Just an utter beast. lacking in subtlety, he excels with in-yourface aggression. like a slower (but more murderous – really) Wolverine, he can scrape, tumble and slash right up into your personal space.

chun-li Fighting games’ first lady is back and as capable as ever. it seems business as usual, but once her v-trigger starts giving those skull-cracking kicks some machine gun hits, she becomes a one-woman army.

zangief Zangief has always crushed foes when up-close, but getting close has never been easy. now, his new iron muscle v-Skill changes that. he can laugh off incoming hits and keep coming at you. And he laughs a lot.


playstation 4 2016 – for every fighter, delivering moves and tricks so disparate that they often feel pulled from completely separate games. Ryu, for instance, gets a Street Fighter III-style parry, able to quickly deflect and retaliate against any number of incoming hits you have the dexterity to thwart. M Bison? He’s slower and heavier now, but that doesn’t matter, because he can catch fireballs and throw them straight back. Chun-Li can jump at bizarre angles on command, making her aerial game even more deadly and fiendishly unpredictable. Vega has a spinning dodge and counter-attack. Ken can outright sprint at his opponent,

“BiSon iS SloWer, BUt he CAn CAtCh FireBAllS And throW them BACk.” closing distance unexpectedly to start a combo out of nowhere. Heck, he can even dash during a combo, reducing the gap from a medium-range hit to deliver otherwise infeasibly close-ranged follow-ups. Suddenly, Street Fighter V can shock, surprise and utterly disrupt the expected flow of play at any moment, and all it takes is a tap of

some fighters are quick. some are precise. one is a freight train with claws.

s t ic K i t ou t mad Catz brings a new generation of control to PS4

if you’re not playing sFV with a fightstick, you’re playing it wrong.

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ut down that dualShock 4! this is one game where Sony’s wonderpad isn’t perfect for the task ahead. instead, meet mad Catz’s official tournament edition 2 fightstick. Built with pro-level Sanwa arcade components, it’ll be an investment – but one worth every penny. it’s not the only SFv fightstick on the way, though. mad Catz is making a cheaper,

six-button Fightstick Alpha for the slightly less die-hard fan. Also in the works are the te-S+ and te2+ fightsticks (still with us?), featuring touchpads, l3 and r3 buttons and upgradeable firmware. For those who refuse to give up handheld controls, look no further than the FightPad Pro controller. the six-button pad boasts an excellent d-pad (and comes alongside new

analogue sticks for those weirdos who prefer twiddling to tapping). its asymmetric design even provides a wider right-hand panel, should you choose to hit the attack buttons with your fingertips, ‘arcade claw’-style. Whichever way you go, a controller upgrade for SFv is required. Frankly, sticking with regular pads is trying to knit with boxing gloves on. 037

two buttons. Street Fighter V wants everyone to have the best that it has to offer, so it hands it to you gift-wrapped from the off.

critical cHanges

This all hits a dizzying crescendo when we reach the Critical Arts. The SFV replacement for Street Fighter IV’s Ultra Combos, these spectacular, ultimate attacks – again, activated once a gauge is full – look superficially similar to their precursors, but come with one fundamental difference. They’re comparatively very simple

to pull off, and can be tagged onto the end of combos with ease. Where Street Fighter IV tempered its big finishes with crippling start-up times, making them all but impossible to cancel into without mastering the arcana of the Focus Attack, launching Critical Arts is usually just a simple case of slipping in a couple of extra stick-flicks as you hammer home a combo. In fact, they’re so accommodating that during your early mashing sessions with the game, you’ll often add staggering Critical finishers to

? Birdie Birdie is far from the most athletic fighter, but he can be one of the most deadly. get around his lack of speed and grace by mastering his technicalities (and massive chain), and he can deal out huge damage.

caMMy At the opposite end of the athleticism scale, Cammy’s like a blowdart. made of Catherine wheels. And bottle rockets. And legs. Faster, more nimble and more versatile than ever, she’s a deliriously effective fighter.

dhalsiM the rubbery man is back, and now sporting a glorious new beard. tricksier than ever with his stretching, morphing and teleporting, his new array of fireballs make him a technical marvel.

nuMBer 16 A mystery for now, SFv’s final face will have been revealed at the PS experience by the time you read this. We do know it’s a brand new star for the series: not a returning fighter, and not a cameo. So no kratos. *sob*


playstation 4 2016 s e t t ing t he s tag e(s) Another Street Fighter, another world tour of stereotypes

union station victorian railway station? Check. Big red bus? Check. Some ‘80s punks and a bowler-hatted businessman? yep. Busby-headed Queen’s royal guard? er, yes, that too. it’s the Uk’s greatest hits, bar the Beatles and gross disappointment.

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laura’s Brazilian stage is a far cry from the jungles favoured by the (currently unannounced) Blanka. Clear blue skies and the brightly coloured boxes of the distant favela typify this one, making for one of the breeziest stages in the game.

Bustling side street Ah, this will be Street Fighter v’s version of the series’ Chinese back-alley trope. We’re still yet to see the return of SFii’s chicken-choking stall vendor, but you can smash your opponent through the wall of a noodle bar.

KanzuKi estate Set in Japan – though the mix of architecture has a lovely, ghibli-style, european vibe as well – this is karin’s opulent home turf. the estate is a deceptively gorgeous stage, clear in the foreground, with tons of detail behind.

smooth, flowing hit-chains by accident (before you realise what you did and reverse-engineer your process for your next match). Again, Street Fighter V is laying it all out for you, giving you every tool it has to dish out punishment, look cool and above all, have fun, right from the start. It knows that play is the most effective form of learning, so it wants you to be able to play with everything, so that you can start learning fast. The result is a game that, whatever your level of fighting game experience and skill, is immediately enjoyable and exciting. In fact, scratch that. It’s an instant, blistering hoot of an experience, and one that feels like it wants you to have the best time you can have at any given moment. The quality of that time will, of course, only grow as you come to understand and master more nuances, techniques and strategies. This is still an immensely deep rabbit hole. Even after countless hours, we’re still discovering radically new ways to play just with our one main, chosen character, and we know we’re only tickling the surface of getting started. But more than in any other fighting game in recent memory, that process of understanding and mastering begins almost instantly, and evolves exponentially with near each and every fight.

Prize FigHters

underground arena Zangief’s secret fight club is a lovely old wood-and-metal affair that – weirdly – evokes memories of Street Fighter iv’s Scottish distillery, as well as SFii’s russia stage. Probably ye olde industrial vibe. And dancing bears? yes.

city in chaos very probably set in the USA, and very probably hinting at big, dramatic storyline events, this semi-apocalyptic street scene is notable for more than background destruction. look closely, and you’ll spot SFiii poster-boy Alex…

forgotten waterfall one of the downright prettiest stages in Street Fighter history, this beautiful slice of rural new Zealand packs a terrific sense of scale and space into a resolutely 2.5d set-up. no background hobbits, sadly, but those goofy sheep are brilliant.

apprentice alley the centrepiece is a massive, overcrowded train. there’s a yogi, inexplicably floating in front of a chilli advert, and turbans everywhere. yep, this really is the giddy, Jive Bunny megamix of all archetypes indian.

Speaking of evolution, Street Fighter V itself is going to grow in a very different way from before. Forget Turbo Editions. Forget Super Editions. Forget big DLC. They’re gone. They’re the past. On PS4, there is only, and will only be, Street Fighter V. Because that’s all you’ll ever need. Its starting roster of 16 characters is smaller than SFIV’s initial 19, but it’s designed with purpose, every character different, every one with clear intent and function. But there will be more. Probably many more as Street Fighter V grows over the course of the generation. And you won’t have to pay for a single one of them. Reviving retro fighters’ spirit of unlockable fun, each of SFV’s new roster additions – there will be six dropped in throughout the first


the close-up detail is stunning. it’s like playing with really expensive action figures.

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Forget series seniority, laura can dish out a closecombat schooling. and enjoy it. a bit too much.

Dhalsim’s newly upgraded stretchiness is impressive. impressive, but deeply, nightmarishly disturbing.

“CAPCom’S online mUltiPlAyer hUB iS itS moSt AmBitioUS oFFering to dAte.” year alone – will be up for sale on their day of release, but will also come 100% gratis if you have the sufficient amount of in-game currency (called Fight Money, though anyone who’s seen the movie knows it should be Bison Dollars) to hand. Earned through gameplay, Fight Money should mean that those dedicated enough to crave regular new additions can get them for free, while the newly relaxed, drip-feed approach to roster

updates will take the pressure off and keep the community together. Where big, infrequent, SuperHyper-Mega-Ultra Editions used to force players to upgrade wholesale or be left behind, now there’s no rush. Not into the new fighter? Don’t buy them. You’re still playing the same game as everyone else. Can’t afford them? Save up some Fight Money and get them later. You’re still playing the same game as everyone else.

FrienDly Fire

And this caring, sharing, spirit of friendship and community (forged by smashing each other in the face) culminates in Capcom’s most impressive and ambitious online offering to date. Street Fighter V’s online multiplayer hub, the Capcom Fighters Network, offers

a live, global heatmap of current throwdowns, agonisingly detailed player stats (how did they win? How many jabs did they throw? Who’s their favourite character and their preferred techniques?), friends lists, and the opportunity to formalise, track and challenge rivals in real-time, wherever and whenever they’re fighting. With match replays and a news feed in there as well, it has more useful social functionality than Facebook, and makes even heavyweights such as DICE’s Battlelog and, dare we say it, PC’s Steam, feel a little pedestrian. But in Street Fighter V, as with all things in SFV, it just makes sense. It feels necessary. It feels like the only approach that’s good enough. Because Street Fighter V isn’t just another fighting game. It isn’t just an improvement. It’s the most exciting, fresh, vital fighting game in years, and one that wants everyone to enjoy it, together, in any way they want, for a very long time to come. PS4 exclusives don’t get much bigger than this.


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t he w i t nes s We’ve already completed the first GOTY 2016 contender Format PS4 eTA 26 Jan Pub Thekla, Inc Dev Thekla, Inc

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he dictionary defines ‘lazy’ as beginning a piece of writing with a dictionary definition. What was the point of that, you ask? Simple: The Witness is a game all about perspective, in multiple senses of the word. Hopefully, your impressions of that opening line shifted from the first three words to the full stop (you didn’t think we’d use such a tired opening gambit with a straight face, did you?). Similarly, the hugely anticipated, six-years-in-the-making puzzleadventure from Braid creator Jonathan Blow has you switching your opinions of the experience throughout its journey. For example, you’ll probably need to play a couple of dozen hours before you begin to uncover some of its deeper secrets. One of them will help you understand why our first question to Jonathan Blow isn’t about the colourful island setting or the length of development, but: “What, if anything, do you want changed in your life?” “The game is about a lot of things,” explains Blow in a tangential answer. “It’s a

complicated game, but ultimately, part of what it’s about is trying to understand the world, both at a metaphorical level – from seeing all these puzzles and being like ‘what the hell is going on?’ – and…” We’ll clip it there, so as not to ruin what’s in store, but even that teaser should be enough to alter the opinion of anyone still thinking The Witness is a Myst rip-off with some maze puzzles chucked in for good measure.

View’s clues

Perspective is truly at the heart of everything in the game. Whether it’s the various families of line-tracing puzzle panels found living in different regions of the islands, which all need an adjustment in approach to conceptualise and decode their mechanisms, or the cute art touches you’ll stumble upon as you explore that never fail to raise a smile (note how a broken twig and a fluffy white cloud neatly line up to become a tree when you peer up through the open window of an early room), The Witness is a meticulously crafted journey with multiple layers. The sandbox island is loosely divided into multiple themed

zones, and one of the main things that sticks with us after more than 30 puzzle-solving hours is how memorable every square inch feels. It’s a vast place to explore, but every environment is brimming with its own personality: the colours of the foliage, the architecture of the buildings, the sounds of the wind or the sea, the strength of the sunlight, the length of the shadows… no two areas are the same, and the result is that The Witness’ island feels like a reconstruction of an actual place, not a work of fiction. Show us a snapshot of any part of the island and we’ll instantly be able to tell you not only where it’s located, but what puzzle types live in that part of the world. It’s not a skill unique to us, either – anyone who plays The Witness will likely find the game’s nooks and crannies similarly embedded in their minds. Different people will prefer different parts of the world and different puzzle types (we’re fond of the ‘courtyard’ with its hedge mazes and pressure-plate panels, while you may come to favour, say, the dark jungle and its audio brainteasers), but no part feels weak or redundant – it’s a big adventure, with lots of clever touches and no fat on its bones.


The insiDe View nAme JOnaThan blOW CreaTOr, Thekla, InC

“I don’t really remember exactly how many, but a lot of puzzles were cut. Certainly hundreds were thought about to some level or another and designed to some level or another and then didn’t make it into the final game.”

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done – I had a list of those things that were left undone as well, however we got to the point where they were all so small that they didn’t matter.”

big AnD beAuTiFul “A hundred percent is a strong word,” muses Blow, when we ask if he’s completely happy with how the game’s turned out given that it’s been six years since we first discussed the project with him. “It’s really weird… especially now, at the end of development. You always have these to-do lists of tiny things that you’ve got to fix or else there’ll be problems. And I’m sure – when Braid was

“YeS, The WITneSS lIveS uP TO The hYPe GeneraTed In earlY 2013.”

“I’m hoping that we get to that point here as well. There’s always some little nagging things maybe like, ‘Oh, what if I’d done this tiny thing that only a few people would notice?’ However, that’s a good problem to have actually, because the game is so much bigger than I had thought we would make. And it looks so much better. When I was starting, I just figured, ‘Oh, we’re a small indie team, we don’t have that much money.’ My expectations were relatively low and I thought that it was going to be kind of an ugly game.” Ugly is definitely not a word that can be levelled at The Witness. Neither is small – while we’ve polished off the vast majority of its puzzles (and seen the end) in our 30-hour save file,

the island is still harbouring some secrets we’re yet to unpick. Clever design misdirection has ensured passageways through trees escape our gaze for hours at a time, and while we’ve been able to solve every panel we’ve discovered so far (though not without some serious head-scratching and pen-and-paper workings out in a couple of instances), we’re still a fair few dozen shy of finding and completing all 650 that are lurking somewhere in the game. After all that time wondering about its journey to release, now that we’ve put the pad down, it’s easy to see where the years of development have gone, and we can confidently say that The Witness lives up to the hype generated by its stage showing during PS4’s global reveal event in early 2013. This issue should help convince you that 2016 is set to be one of the biggest years the gaming world has ever known, but all the big name series readying for release should take note right now: The Witness will cast a mighty big shadow when it leads the PS4 charge on 26 January.


playstation 4 2016 is l a nd t our an at-a-glance guide to The Witness’ many regions 1

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desert Far from empty, this sandy expanse contains subterranean ruins and puzzle panels with scratches highlighted by the sun’s rays.

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quarry

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home to of one of the most creative puzzle types, the panels here introduce a symbol that teaches you about subtraction. Cryptic…

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forest

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Shadow puzzles are the order of the day in this forest – though different shadows mean vastly different things on different panels. keep up!

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courtyards

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While its hedge mazes will have you scratching your head for a while, its pressure-plate puzzles are sure to trip you up for a little longer.

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treehouses

swamp This vibrant area’s all about creating different shapes with the line you trace through each puzzle. We hope you’re good at geometry.

bunker

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This small, concrete, cliffside structure is filled with colour-based puzzles, where panels look different under various coloured bulbs.

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Create pathways through the sky by solving tricky panels (that involve pairing up different coloured symbols) that unfold into bridges.

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mountain Your main task in The Witness is to activate lasers in eleven regions. When you do, they all point here. We won’t spoil the endgame surprises.

jungle

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Turn up the sound effects: when you’re not getting lost in this twisting jungle’s pathways, you’re listening out for audio clues to solve its panels.

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temple The bright red leaves of the tree growing at the centre of this temple are an iconic feature in a zone that houses a couple of neat ideas in one place.

town a ‘best of’ collection of puzzles that require you to understand the basic mechanics behind panels from other regions across the island.

orchard

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keep The game’s tutorial area teaches you how to use the puzzle panels: trace a line from a flashing circle, through a twisting maze to a rounded endpoint.

kiln Puzzles here, and on the nearby archipelago, all focus on panels that draw a second line through mazes: a mirror image of your own route.

The panels hiding among these colourful pink trees involve observing and understanding your immediate surroundings. (Clue: look at the apples.)

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sea The world’s so vast there’s a quick-travel option. board a boat at one of the docks and you can circle around the island on a track.


other indie projects hitting ps4 7

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“IT’S eaSY TO See Where The YearS OF develOPmenT have GOne.”

firewatch

amplitude

Format PS4 eTA 9 Feb Pub Campo Santo Dev Campo Santo

Format PS4/PS3 eTA 5 Jan Pub harmonix Dev harmonix

The relationship between henry and delilah is one of the things we’re really intrigued to experience in sedate first-person adventure Firewatch – the extraordinarily natural dialogue promises to deliver one of the most charming double-acts in gaming. key to this is some big hitters on voice duties, with rich Sommer (harry Crane – mad men) and Cissy Jones (katjaa – Telltale’s The Walking dead) bringing life to the script.

kickstarter backers of the indie hit will be riding high on a musical wave when they find out they’ll have an exclusive beat blaster when amplitude hits right about now, with those who pledged $100 also getting a new komputer kontroller track to play. For everyone else, harmonix, after originally planning a summer 2015 release, has now confirmed January as the month to mark in the calendar – not too far behind those early backer players.

heart forth, alicia

hyper light drifter

Format PS4/PS vita eTA 2016 Pub alonso martin Dev alonso martin

Format PS4/PS vita eTA Spring Pub heart machine Dev heart machine

We sure love our retro-chunky 16-bit-esque graphics at OPm, especially when they’re married to a game that combines the metroidvania style with a powerful story. heart Forth, alicia is a throwback with no shortage of style, while nabbing composer manami matsumae of mega man fame to provide some of the music can only help with the classical feel.

It’ll be three whole years since it secured kickstarter funding, but hyper light drifter will finally hit PS4 in 2016. an old-school action rPG, its superstylised pixel-art and promise of challenging combat means we want spring to arrive faster than the speed of light. bonus: disasterpeace (who you’ll remember from Fez) is also providing the soundtrack.

yooka-laylee

boundless

Format PS4 eTA October Pub Team17 Dev Playtonic

Format PS4 eTA 2016 Pub Wonderstruck Dev Wonderstruck

2016 could well be the glorious comeback of 3d platformers, first with ratchet’s return, then with this game from former banjo-kazooie developers. Take a peek at a new, currently unnamed character (above) who’ll be calling on Yooka and laylee to help her out. What could she possibly want? an educated guess would be to avoid an early cremation.

do you become a hunter, farmer, space pirate or something else entirely? That’s the question posed by Wonderstruck’s massive universe. a mix of the limitless possibilities of minecraft and the procedurally generated unpredictability of no man’s Sky, the huge open-world sandbox universe of boundless sees you discovering a new adventure every time you open up a portal. What happens next? Well, that bit is up to you…

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playstation 4 2016

hor iz on z ero daw n Guerrilla epic ditches Helghast for hell yeah gasps Format PS4 eta 2016 pub Sony dev Guerrilla Games

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here’s no doubting that Horizon Zero Dawn is a massive departure from what Guerrilla Games is known for. With nary a future-Nazi (sorry, Helghast) in sight, Horizon’s world – which has been reclaimed by both

“iT’S Guerrilla’S biGGeST world yeT – and you can exPlore iT all.” 044

nature and machine – is already more intriguing than another trip back to Vekta. As we’ve seen at E3, however, and again at Paris Games Week, Aloy’s adventure is a huge shake-up for the studio, ditching its favoured first-person viewpoint while adding some very exciting action-RPG elements. True to the genre, dealing damage sees small HP indicators pop up, telling you how badly you’ve injured your prey. Try and ignore that pang of guilt, as it’s a sign of a far more comprehensive combat system, something that will be vital when trying to discover different enemy weaknesses.

Then there’s that open world. “Yes, you can explore everything you see here,” grins senior producer Mark Norris at the start of his demo. Considering we can see vast, snow-drizzled mountains and forests stretching to the, ahem, horizon, this should easily be Guerrilla’s biggest world yet.

redhead redemption

Aloy also looks to be a fascinating character. A respectful and resourceful hunter – during


playstation 4 2016 one quick stealth takedown, she whispers mournfully to her prey, “Shh, shh, sorry little one” – her list of skills ensures the action is strategic and spectacular. But she’s not the only human left in this world. Aloy’s carrying out a quest for an as-yet-unnamed tribe and, considering there are different civilisations scattered across Horizon’s continent, she’ll have plenty of missions to undertake for XP and gear once she’s discovered other people in need of assistance. No shortage of mystery about the world remains. Likewise for its characters, or how the ‘old ones’ (i.e. us) perished when the lights went out, or how the levelling-up will play out in practice… All the elements for a fantastic RPG, however, are in place. We can’t wait for that sun to start rising.

the inside view name Hermen HulST manaGinG direcTor, Guerrilla GameS

“aloy’s on a quest here, a quest to get a very specific resource from… the Grazers. The Grazers are part of an entire machine ecology, where each machine has its own unique purpose in the world and its own unique resources that aloy, as the master craftswoman, can use to craft new weapons, new ammo and new outfits.”

From air to sea in a matter of seconds, it’s certainly eclectic.

what remains of edith Finch

Season’s eatings in this bloody compilation of short stories Format PS4 eta 2016 pub Sony dev Giant Sparrow

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collection of short stories about the individual deaths of an entire family was never going to be the most jovial of games, but our first playtest of this narrated first-person PS4 adventure is much darker than we’d anticipated. Poor toddler Molly has been sent to bed without supper, and she’s starving. So, we gobble things up. Anything that even looks edible goes in our maw, when suddenly we’re transformed into a

“Suddenly we’re a caT and STarT STalkinG a bird. er, wHaT juST HaPPened THere?”

Gravity rush 2

the Last Guardian

Format PS4 eta 2016 pub Sony dev japan Studio

Format PS4 eta 2016 pub Sony dev japan Studio/Gendesign

To keep things fresh for veterans of the PS Vita original, japan Studio’s latest action game introduces two new types of gravity to experiment with (we must have skipped that lesson at school). jupiter gravity makes you lighter and faster, while lunar may slow you down, but you’ll get more powerful attacks. mixing these together should give the combat a bit of extra depth for crushing the plentiful amount of monsters waiting for you. if the wait for the sequel’s dragging you down, there’ll also be a remaster of Gravity rush for PS4 in February.

yes, don’t panic, it’s still pencilled in for a 2016 release. despite news being a little thin on the ground at the time of going to press, it feels a little weird knowing that we’ll finally, finally be getting to play The last Guardian in the coming months. while Fumito ueda is a little cagey on the reasons for the delay, he told the PlayStation blog that, “if i had to call out one of them, it was more of a technical hurdle that we had to overcome.” with the move to PS4 offering a fair bit more power to play with it, The last Guardian will surely be worth its Trico-sized wait.

Feet firmly off the ground

aloy may not enjoy taking down the metal monsters, but we’re already strategising how to turn them into scrap.

cat and begin stalking a bird among the branches of a tree. Er, what just happened? Anyone? We snack on the bird, and then morph into an owl, hunting hares in fields. After chowing on three (almost choking on one), we become a shark, chasing a seal in the sea. When we’ve had our fill of blubber, we then mutate into an anaconda, swallowing humans on a ship. Gruesome, yes, but this is a fascinating and quirky journey, sure to shock, surprise and delight.

Final approach for Trico

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playstation 4 2016

dr e a ms

the insiDe view

Where the only limit is your imagination Format PS4 eta 2016 (Beta) Pub Sony Dev Media Molecule

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t its core, Dreams is about creation. Media Molecule officially calls it “the game that will let you explore the imaginations of other PS4 players.” We call it “the game in which you can build a hundred flying toilets and have them sing Ave Maria.” But with so much freedom, how exactly does Dreams work? A live playthrough of the game in action offers us more clarity. Your avatar is a floating orb with a cheeky face. It’s called an Imp, and is fully customisable (swiping on the touchpad redraws its mouth). Think of it as a mouse cursor. Its party trick is possessing objects to give you direct command of them; a spark of life, essentially. Any model you design, sculpt and paint can be inhabited. In our demo’s case, it’s a friendly teddy bear, but possibilities are endless. During our presentation, we’re shown a detailed mech figurine that could easily pass for a

Warhammer model, made entirely using Dreams and then exported from the game and 3D printed. Not everyone, of course, will have the necessary skills to, say, make a fully 1:1 version of Uncharted 2’s train-dangling sequence (you know it’ll happen), so that’s why Media Molecule is making everything shareable.

BigBigPlanet

If you need a piercing set of eyes, or a house, or a frog, simply search the in-game community item library. What, then, is Dreams? It’s a physics playground. It’s 3D modelling software. It’s a music composer. It’s a director’s studio in which you can film movies in real time by hitting record and acting them out live. It’s an attempt to combine LBP’s modes of creating, playing and animating into one. As a result, it’s hard to give examples of a typical level – there isn’t a ‘typical’ level. We’ve seen players cavort around a massive

name Alex evAnS co-founder, MediA Molecule

“you don’t have to start from scratch. you can start from other people’s dreams and remix. And it’s all happening online, so you can collaborate.”

cake while building bridges from macaroons; pinning balloons on lifts in order to ascend through a spooky library; racing rally cars around a dirt track; playing football matches against bots; solving jigsaw puzzles; snowboarding down white mountains; exploring dark

“it’S A PhySicS PlAyground, A MuSic coMPoSer, A Movie Studio.” forests in first-person; and bashing skeletons in a top-down dungeonlooter, all of it player-created. Dreams really is an apt title for this surreal LittleBigPlanet successor, since it’s hard to concisely summarise what the heck it is. It’s for the community to define Dreams and push its limits – if indeed there are any.

Download environments, objects, sound effects and entire games for free from the community store.

you can use Dualshock 4 and ps Move to sculpt new objects. the latter looks the better option.

to stop it from all sounding too ethereal, Media Molecule’s promising a studio-built ‘campaign’ mode.


playstation 4 2016

“hitman fans are very demanding. they’ve also got good taste.”

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the inside view name hakan abrak, Production director, io interactive

“dark humour… it’s very danish i can tell you. We do a lot of dark humour and easter eggs. We’ve done that for fifteen years, and we’ll keep doing that. it’s part of our dna. hitman’s the assassin fantasy and it’s an adult themed game, but still it’s good once in a while to throw some funny things in there.”

it’s not easy playing agent 47 and fitting in musical theatre rehearsals between all the murdering.


playstation 4 2016

hi t m a n david bateson, voice of 47, talks the return of the antihero Format Ps4 eta 11 mar Pub square enix dev io interactive

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ith pipes smoother than a velveteen eel, it’s no wonder that David Bateson has been voicing Hitman’s Agent 47 for 15 years. We chatted to the Denmark-based South African about the new and improved Hitman, surprises, and being a song-and-dance softie…

OPm: You’re working on the new hitman game, which is now due out in march. is it exciting to be back in the recording studio? david Bateson: Oh yeah, totally.

We’re still in the thick of it – I’m finding out what’s going on plot-wise from day to day. It’s been fun and different this time around. I’m always asking, “What do we do next?” and “Oh great, what happens? Tell me more!” When the scripts were smaller, I could read a bit before. As the franchise has grown and become more detailed and complex, with memories and flashbacks, they now give me the sheets and I ask, “Listen, what the hell’s going on?” (Laughs) I can’t read the whole thing, it’s too vast.

OPm: the next hitman is quite different from past games. Can you tell us more about what you’ve been doing? dB: Something very new is going on in the way

we record. We’re using a microphone attached to my head, rather than a static microphone, and I walk around the studio. It makes the verbal dynamics more realistic. In the end, we ran sequences where I knew all the lines and would almost just speak rather than act. It’s got a different sound. I was intrigued when we started, but thought, “Oh, this sounds like it’s going to be recording too quietly.” And then they cleaned it up and put it together with Diana, and it sounded amazing. I thought, “Woah, we were having a conversation there. Where is she?” They’d say, “Well… she’s in London!” It adds to the intensity of the gameplay, and I think it’ll please the fans, because they’re very demanding, but they’ve also got good taste. It’s getting better and better – that’s the best way of putting it.

OPm: has agent 47, and the way you portray him, changed much? dB: Yeah, I’ve had to act more!

It’s more demanding because the character’s becoming more intense. The dialogue that I’m doing… we’re not making it funny, because that wouldn’t work, but there’s some real dry stuff with very black undertones. It’s not exactly irony, there’s just a great sense of danger. It feels even more real than Absolution. I loved Absolution because there was so much going on there, particularly with his relationship with Diana. I could let the feelings flow a bit more. And his relationship with Victoria – I liked how confused it made him. More… emotional. I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to that.

OPm: most people look at you and think of agent 47, but for a little while that role was in doubt… dB: It wasn’t personal when I

was dropped [from the franchise]. But it was extremely nice to be

brought back in [on Absolution] and experience the fans’ reactions. It was extremely humbling.

OPm: do you have a favourite hit from the series? Or a favourite line that you’ve performed? everyone remembers that Blood money staple, “i need to use the bathroom.” dB: They’ll put that on my grave!

It probably is my favourite, but there’s a couple in the new game which are up there. My favourite hit would be from Blood Money, and it would be Curtains Down. I’m a theatre lover.

OPm: are there more surprises to come in the new game? dB: I’d have to put a contract out

on you if I told you that! But it wouldn’t surprise me if – because the game has a staggered release – they tinker with the storyline a little. I don’t know, but maybe if the fans start guessing it’s going to go in this direction, they could say, “Well, I don’t think so!” And with Instinct Mode as an option – with endless possibilities for hits, you’re going to get so much for your money. It could have been done easier, and I think IO have really challenged themselves. I admire that.

OPm: Our readers know you as 47, but what are you up to when you’re not flexing fiberwire in the recording studio? dB: I’m in a musical at the English

Theatre of Copenhagen this December. This year it’s Don’t Touch Nefertiti. It’s like the Rocky Horror Picture Show crossed with Monty Python, and it’s tremendous fun. It’s sold out for two and a half months.

OPm: so two huge fanbases to keep satisfied, then? no pressure at all. dB: Yeah, and never the twain

shall meet. Imagine. “Hitman is a game.” “Wait, you do what? You kill people?!”

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playstation 4 2016 at the moment, replays and such celebrate Killstreaks over good teamplay a little too often.

the inside view name Jeffrey Kaplan Director, BlizzarD

“analysing the market and asking ‘what are popular genres?’, or ‘where do we see a big opportunity in terms of capturing market share?’– that’s just not how we work. the way that we’ve enjoyed success in the past is [by being] super passionate about a certain game type and just wanting to make a game in that genre.”

“itS cHaracterS woulD eacH looK at Home leaDing a pixar flicK.”

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Ov erwat ch pS4’s answer to league of legends and the incredibles Format pS4 eta Spring Pub Blizzard dev Blizzard

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ands up who’s tired of first-person shooters. Come on, we know you’re thinking it. Sure, the likes of Star Wars Battlefront and Destiny are shaking up the formula somewhat, but by and large, when you leap into a game of eyes-first gunplay, there are more than a fistful of elements that have become rote or by the numbers. Blizzard – the masterful team that transformed a traditional PC-only game for lonely inventory perusers into a sofa-creasing good time for up to four buds (we’re talking about Diablo III’s excellent Ultimate Edition PS4 conversion, natch) – is thinking the same thing. The World Of Warcraft maker’s new take on team-based firstperson shooters is gorgeous to behold. Its plump roster of characters, each of whom would look right at home leading a Pixar flick, are all vastly different and

come pre-baked for multiplayeronly battles. Sure, the present crop of 6v6 game modes available in the closed PC Beta just tasks you with taking control of static bases or pushing cargo through a stage on the back of a mobile capture point, but how each match evolves differs greatly depending on who rolls out and when.

team building

The big twist, you see, is that you can quickly switch between any of the 21-strong roster to shake up your tactics. This means that, as an enemy force gathers a fearsome squad of turret-placing types, you can respond by picking a brutish shield-wielding armour beast and amassing a collection of explosivetoting pals to back him up. The packed roster offers up a selection of rock-paper-scissor conundrums to solve during each matchup thanks to an impressive number of tiny, yet effective,

innovations that permeate each character. Take Tracer. This peppy English pilot turned time traveller can rewind time in order to reclaim health and to disappear and reappear in the spot she was a few seconds ago. Handy. She’s the ultimate anti-sniper, making headshots near impossible. Her Blink-esque forward dash also makes her the perfect option for taking down enemy shields, as she can zap past the slow-turning Reinhardt (the aforementioned shield-wielding fellow) and pop him from behind. That is until the enemy clocks on to your tactics and deploys a Reaper to put you down… This dual shotgunner can turn himself into invulnerable smoke and teleport after Tracer, whose up-close weapons are no match for his devastating spikes. Ultimately, Overwatch’s pitch is this: whoever you pick, you’ll find tiny surprises that make the whole package instantly endearing.


playstation 4 2016 ThE insiDE viEw SeAN MCCAbe PRODuCTION DIReCTOR, INSOMNIAC GAMeS

“I really love the new Pixelizer weapon [which turns enemies into piles of 8-bit pixels]: I love its sound design and I love its visuals. I think there’s a delicious irony that the only way we could bring blocky graphics to a Ratchet And Clank was with the power of PlayStation 4.”

The Ratchet reimagining has seen the game and movie developed hand-in-hand.

R aT c hE T a ND c l a Nk Insomniac Games’ reimagining has us too excited to sleep Format PS4 ETA Spring 2016 Pub Sony Dev Insomniac Games

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wo servings of revamped PS2 classic? A game and a movie? Don’t mind if we do. Well, it’s more like one humongous helping – the new instalment’s trailer dubs it, “The game, based on the movie, based on the game.” Difficult to disentangle, then. Indeed, the jewel-toned vistas of a 1080p Metropolis are so crisp that we’re not entirely sure we aren’t playing the movie. Delicious confusion.

Insomniac Games’ production director Sean McCabe sheds some light on the synthesis. They’re working closely with the Ratchet And Clank movie’s production company, Blockade Entertainment. “We knew there was this deeper, richer origin story in the film,” he explains to us, “and so our first approach was to take that and integrate it with the things that we really loved about the classic.” Platforming through Veldin feels like home – but we often find ourselves caught up

in new flight sequences, embarking upon massive quests we’ve never experienced before, and ears-deep in unknown underwater levels. Add over 100% more wacky weapons into the mix, plus all-new bosses to use them on, and we’re so giddy that we’re liable to forget our own names. “I think the game just sort of evolved into something that felt completely new,” muses McCabe. “It’s this sort of curated ‘first’ Ratchet experience… but it is also a new beginning to Ratchet.” With so much to discover (and also rediscover), we’re tying ourselves in knots waiting for its imminent release.

DiRT Rally

aBZÛ

PERSONa 5

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Codemasters Dev Codemasters

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub 505 Games Dev Giant Squid

Format PS4/PS3 ETA 2016 Pub Atlus Dev Atlus (P-Studio)

Matt Nava – art director behind petal-pusher Flower and the incomparable Journey – is back, and this time, he’s sending us to Davy Jones’ locker. Scuba diving simulator Abzû is an enchanting exploration experience about finding your place in the ocean. Why Abzû? It’s supposedly derived from “ancient” words “ab,” meaning ocean, and “zû,” meaning to know. Deep (pun intended). There’s no dwindling air supply to worry about, or peckish sharks; the game prioritises peaceful interactions with its Neptunian natives. Whales, dolphins, eels and rays will pass by unconcerned. Swim with fish, ride turtles and unearth mysteries with some very special drones.

Our last main series Persona fix was in 2008, and despite the amusing spin-offs (just last month we got a boogie on with Dancing All Night), it’s time for a new journey into teenage self-discovery. We’ve seen tantalising glimpses of how its ‘real’ world sections look – a baseball cage looking like a new addition to your activities in self-improvement – and the alternate dimension where you unleash your personas. We’re starting to wonder, however, if the playable character is a bit of a wrong ‘un. After all, he’s a ‘phantom thief’, and his first persona has been confirmed as Arsene, who generally looks like an evil Vegas magician. We’ll find out very soon.

Masters of the hooniverse Ho! A new announcement! Our PC pals have been churning up dust in DiRT Rally for the best part of a year now, but 2016 will see Codies’ racer screech right onto PS4. A far more realistic race sim than its predecessors, it has a physics engine designed from the ground up to test your reactions across different terrain. DiRT Rally also includes at least six different countries to tour through and over 20 cars for that aforementioned racing, including our personal favourite, the Subaru Impreza. Codies’ typically exceptional graphics should shine even brighter on PS4, making this a 2016 racing highlight.

Playing with our em-oceans

Stealing our hearts

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playstation 4 2016

da r k soul s III From proves nobody does it Beta in superb slasher Format PS4 eTA April pub Bandai Namco dev FromSoftware

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rutal beauty: it’s From Software’s MO. Whether it’s the green-fingered glory of Lordran’s Darkroot Garden and its gracefully ferocious Moonlight Butterfly or Drangleic’s utterly hostile yet seductively sweeping Heide’s Tower of Flame, director Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team can conjure little slices of heaven while putting you through hell unlike any other studio. So it’s no surprise that From’s latest twisted fantasy realm is as torturously lovely as you’d expect. Enter the High Wall of Lothric. This steepled kingdom is the first section of Dark Souls III we’ve really been able to sink our chompers into. Recently accessible in a three-day ‘network stress test’, it’s a savagely pretty combination of grand churches and collapsing ramparts, all set against a scarred sky that looks like it could weep acid rain. Though it’s not yet clear what the overall world of Dark Souls III will be called, we can only hope the rest of it is similarly iris-arousing. Our first thoughts upon playing the game’s weekend-long, glorified Beta? Wow, is Lothric ever like the first Dark Souls’ Anor Londo. Dear Lord, the memory of Ornstein and Smough still stings. Our second thought? Wow, is Dark Souls III ever like

isn’t the Dancer of the Frigid Valley a drop dead stunner? now, drop her dead or she’ll slice you silly.

Dark Souls II. Light attacks are still found on u, heavies live on i, o handles blocking and e dishes you the series’ joyful evasive roll. So far, so samey… and thankfully, brilliant.

Blocked up

Shock horror. From is quite good at combat by now. The core scrapping that’s so central to the punishing appeal of Souls has endured beautifully. After playing Bloodborne, wielding a shield in DSIII initially feels a little odd, but once you’re accustomed to getting your block on again, jumping into the utterly unforgiving action is like slipping into your favourite pair of slippers. Well, a pair of slippers that try to murder you horribly every time they touch your toes.

The only major tweak to Souls’ caustic fisticuffs is the addition of the Ready Stance. Found on p, it essentially acts as a combat modifier, with its function changing dependent on which class you choose. In the Bet… sorry, ‘network stress test’, we can opt for Wandering Knight, Northern Warrior, Herald Of White or Academy Assassin. Translation: Dude With Sword and Shield, Dude With Mace and Shield, Dude With Healing Miracles, and Dude With Tiny Shield and Magic Attacks. This is where the Ready Stance gets interesting. With the Knight,


a l so hIt tIng ps 4

mIrror’s edge catalyst Format PS4 eTA 26 may pub eA dev Dice

the academy assassin can cast spells such as soul arrow, but he’s got a puny shield.

“miyAzAki coNjureS SliceS oF heAveN while PuttiNg you through hell.” a jab of p sees our hero adopt an almost fencing-like stance, whereby we can unleash harder hitting versions of the default moveset. As for the Warrior, pressing p engulfs his hand in flame, while the Herald and Assassin can access miracles

Still bummed that mirror’s edge lost its footing and tumbled from a February release to its new 26 may date? Same here, but an unexpected first look at some of catalyst’s stars has come from a littleBigPlanet 3 character pack, in which Faith and other runners from the city of glass have been sackified. create your own level and pretend it’s out already!

and magic if the right item is equipped. Regardless of the class we pick, breaking out the Ready Stance eats into our magic meter – replenished with delicious Ash Estus Flasks.

deAdly dAncer

You’re going to need all the magical assistance you can summon, because Dark Souls III is vicious. Here are some brief, terrifying highlights: a ghoul that transforms into a writhing, Resi 4-style Las Plagas abomination; a massive dragon that takes a toasted page out of the Hellkite Wyvern from the original game’s Undead Burg, as it chargrills anything in a 200ft radius; oh yes, and the Dancer of the Frigid Valley, an hypnotically ugly boss who’s part Corpse Bride/part Pursuer from Dark Souls II. To recap – great setting, great fighting, great monsters. What certainly isn’t Tony the Tiger’s favourite word, though, are the game’s current tech hiccups. Yes, this is a Beta, but it’s troubling that From hasn’t yet ironed out the issues that plagued its last project. Like Bloodborne, DSIII suffers some frame-skipping, and an occasionally jerky camera. Here’s hoping the final game is a smidge smoother, when Miyazaki brings another dose of heavenly hell to PS4 in April.

battleborn Format PS4 eTA 3 may pub 2k dev gearbox Software

just as we get to grips with blasting all who dare come near us in our hands-on with Battleborn, its 9 February release date gets shunted back to 3 may. oh well, there’s still an open Beta that’s coming to PS4 players first in early 2016, so we shouldn’t be waiting too long for another look at how gearbox’s moBA-FPS will fare against shiny new rival overwatch (p50).

deus ex: mankInd dIvIded Format PS4 eTA 23 Aug pub Square enix dev eidos montreal

your Adam jensen may or may not be a fan of the softly-softly approach – we’ll admit we went all guns blazing every now and again back in human revolution – but eidos montreal is certainly keen on taking its time. originally touted for 23 Feb, mankind Divided has been pushed all the way back to 23 August because the team “won’t compromise on quality.”

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playstation 4 2016

Get ready for the future: the headset formerly known as Morpheus is mere months away.

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e’re so close to the virtual reality future that we’ve already started to prepare for it by strapping tape over our eyes and miming on the spot. That might look silly now, but we’ll all be doing it soon – sometime in the first half of 2016 – thanks to PlayStation VR and its actual, tailored games. Here, we’ve rounded-up our

favourites of the already-revealed titles. Whether it’s putting you in the thick of the action in The London Heist, or testing your cornering in Gran Turismo Sport, PS4 gaming will never be the same again once the headsets start hitting the shelves.

P l ayS tation V R The virtual world is about to become a reality. Meet the games leading the PlayStation charge


VR’s immersive nature is especially suited to horror, so prepare to get your scare on.

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Sony Dev Supermassive Games

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ur first thought for the follow-up to the horror hit of the year wasn’t a VR rollercoaster ride, but just like its predecessor, this PlayStation VR exclusive is coming out of nowhere to ensure you won’t be getting a restful night’s sleep anytime soon. Unveiled at Paris Games Week, the gameplay shown so far is an on-rails rollercoaster shooter, but executive producer Simon Harris hints there will be a few ties between the original and this semi-sequel: “[We’re] taking some key scenarios and things we know from Until Dawn and approaching them in a very different way.”

Fans of Until Dawn’s distinctive narrative structure, which mixes choices and branching storylines, will also be pleased to hear that similar elements will be returning. “Rest assured,” continues Harris, “there are going to be decisions and choices you make while you’re playing Rush Of Blood that will impact the rest of the game and impact how you play.” Early screens show The Psycho – the massive slab who brings the scares in the first one – will be returning, presumably not for hand-holding and cuddles. We can’t wait to see how this mix of theme park ride, Time Crisis and pant-troubling scares holds up.

RiGS: MechanizeD coMBat leaGUe

eVe: ValkyRie

Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Sony Dev Guerrilla Games Cambridge

Guerrilla might have made its name with the comparatively grubby Killzone, but for its PS VR debut, it’s time for a change of tone, as director Piers Jackson tells us. “We’d done gritty shooters, and we wanted to do something… I wouldn’t say ‘playful’, but just a little bit more colourful and vibrant,” he says. It’s clear to see that the mud and blood of Killzone is well and truly scrubbed away in this sports FPS that’s basketball meets MechWarrior minus the killing. If your RIG is destroyed, you’ll be ejected up into the air and must parachute back down into a brand new vehicle at a spawn point of your choosing.

Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub CCP Games Dev CCP Games

Some of the best bits of the Battlestar Galactica reboot were the ferocious and grimy dogfights that tended to frequently break out. When it launches on VR, EVE: Valkyrie looks set to surpass those lofty standards by placing you directly at the heart of those types of battles. During our hands-on test flight we’ve been weaving between floating space debris and engaging in frantic and scrappy battles (using our head to aim our cannons) that render the Fighter Squadron skirmishes in Battlefront pedestrian by comparison. Oh, and having Starbuck herself – Katee Sackhoff – on board to voice Rán Kavik helps deliver the whole Battlestar vibe even further.

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playstation 4 2016 this beast could be chilling in your garage. your crazy, virtual garage, that is.

SUPeRhyPeRcUBe Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Polytron Dev Kokoromi

GRan tURiSMo SPoRt Format PS VR ETA 2016 (Beta) Pub Sony Dev Polyphony Digital

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o you like things that have four wheels and go fast? Then you’ll know why GT Sport is such a big deal for PlayStation 4, as Sony’s iconic racing series is getting a major tinker under the hood. Not only will the latest edition have two massive – as well as FIA-sponsored – online

championships to race in, but VR support could well be a game-changer, with the only thing potentially missing being the smell of petrol fumes. Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi is hopeful for VR, saying, “It looks like the experience will be very good and feel very natural.” We can’t wait.

We can’t help but gawp in amazement at the screens we’ve seen of puzzler Superhypercube so far, with their stonking colours and evocative art style. What’s even more impressive is that the original version of the game was intended to be played with red and blue 3D glasses, that developer Kokoromi says, “altered the perception of other colours in the game.” With PS VR, however, it can go to town with whatever styles it wants – and it clearly shows. It’s also being published by Polytron, who you might remember as the guys behind Fez, so there’s a strong pedigree of indie talent involved with this one. Set excitement levels to superhype when it hits PlayStation VR.

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RoBinSon: the JoURney

sandra Bullock. Gravity. yep, that could be you. say hi to George for us.

Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Crytek Dev Crytek

adr1ft Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub 505 Games Dev Three One Zero

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his space disaster sim will aim to loosen some jaws on PlayStation VR, and one of the things that’s going to add to the panic of trying to get back to Earth will be… your helmet? Director Adam Orth explains how your in-game headwear will be a vital part of dialling up the tension. “We have our HUD

[head-up display] on the helmet, and we have awesome effects – dirt, grime and cracks and stuff. “It’s stressful seeing your helmet cracking more and more throughout the game, and awesome breath fog as your breathing rate changes with increasing panic.” Houston, we’re having a heart attack.

Jurassic Park fans get very excited, as Crytek’s foray into VR looks like it’ll be the sort of game you’ve been dreaming of since a T-rex ate a man on a toilet. Its reveal trailer shows you waking up in a gorgeous forest, before being asked by a slightly arrogant orb to start rushing through a stampede of dinos. Exhilaration turns to knee-trembling fear as the trailer ends with you coming face-to-face with an angry-o-saur that doesn’t look chuffed about being interrupted by your presence. And breathe. Cevat Yerli, cofounder, CEO and president of Crytek, is a huge fan of VR’s potential to dazzle. “To me, that’s what makes VR so special. It has the power to amaze us all over again.”

“ThAT’S WhY VR IS IS SO SPECIAl – IT hAS ThE POWER TO AMAZE uS AGAIn.”


playstation 4 2016 in Heist, you reload your gun by slapping your Move controllers together.

the london heist Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Sony Dev london Studio

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ack in OPM #109, we took a look at The London Heist’s interrogation and shootout scenes. Since then, we’ve also had a chance to sample its driving section, in which a delightful Cockney slaphead talks about making bolognese – read: ending the lives – of Russian mobsters who appear to be chasing us to take back the diamond we stole.

With baldy at the wheel, our job is to spray lead across the road and preferably into those Russians driving their jam-jars and clever Mikes (translation: cars and bikes). Wheels pop, fuel tanks blow and people tumble all around, like a mashup of all the good parts of Michael Mann’s back catalogue. We’re calling it: The London Heist is all our East End gangster dreams in motion.

“ThE AIM IS TO uSE VR TO MAKE EACh EnVIROnMEnT FEEl AS AWE-InSPIRInG AS POSSIBlE.”

DanGanRonPa VR

Battlezone

Format PS VR ETA TBC Pub Spike Chunsoft Dev Spike Chunsoft

Format PS VR ETA 2016 Pub Rebellion Dev Rebellion

This darkly hilarious visual novel series has you solving murders and avoiding death at the paws of sadistic bear Monokuma and the blood-stained hands of your fellow students trapped in hope’s Peak Academy. The VR trailer we’ve seen places you in the shoes of one student whose luck officially runs out during a trial and gets a crushing punishment for being identified as a killer. Whether it’s the chance to see a glorious 3D Danganronpa universe or just witness horrific torture via a teddy bear, this will certainly be one of the more unique titles in the PlayStation VR lineup. Pink blood’s going to be spraying in our eyes, isn’t it?

If you don’t quite remember the arcade original, we can’t blame you – it was released back in 1980. In modernising it, however, Sniper Elite 3 developer Rebellion has taken the concept of the cabinet game – blowing up lots of stuff with a tank – and given it an angular, futuristic design. Confirmed as a PS VR launch game, its vivid, fluorescent colours give it a strong retro feel, with creative director Jason Kingsley saying: “The aim is to use VR to make each environment feel as awe-inspiring and monumental as possible from the cockpit of your tank.” If the combat proves as striking, Battlezone will be an essential day one purchase.

ten MoRe foR VR

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ore than 50 PS VR titles have been confirmed at this point, but let’s just focus on another batch of ten. Shark-bothering simulator the Deep, in which you try to avoid becoming Jaws’ lunch while trapped in an underwater cage, is sure to get you sweating – as will Paranormal activity VR, which sees you exploring a suburban home midhaunting session. Brr. If you’d rather creep around without the scare factor, volume: coda is a free, 30-level expansion to Mike Bithell’s stealth game Volume, set after the main game and made just for PS VR. Similarly colourful, the friendly ‘bots of the Playroom VR should give you the chance to soothe any frayed nerves with plenty of party games: one person in VR, others clutching pads and watching the TV. Petrolhead? Then you should be get revvy for Driveclub VR, which is aiming for a smooth 60fps. Also pinging on our radar is intriguing adventure the assembly, which focuses on a narrative that’ll have you “shape the future” with your choices. harmonix Music VR will take any song you put in and create unique visuals that react to the music. Surround sound just took on a whole new meaning. how will the newly revealed tekken 7 work in VR? We’ve spent countless hours debating it in OPM Towers, but all we can agree on is that we can’t wait to see Paul’s hair up close. There’s also football-heading simulator headmaster, in which you’ll be treated to various challenges that all revolve around your ability to head a football into a net. Alan Shearer’s new favourite game confirmed. Finally, one of our favourite VR games we mentioned back in #109, keep talking and nobody explodes, tasks the person wearing PS VR with defusing a bomb, while players without the headset give instructions on how to disarm it from a helpful, if convoluted, manual. It’s terrorising the steadiest of hands with its bomb-defusing antics on PC right now.

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no m a n ’s sK y The PS4 Space Race is on Format PS4 ETA June 2016 Pub Hello Games Dev Hello Games

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very time we get a new look at space exploration sim No Man’s Sky, our googly little eyes widen just that little bit further, as all the possibilities for endless fun come into focus. But for some people, apparently, those possibilities are… creating economic structures. Huh? “As a trader, which a lot of people do, they travel between systems, normally just going between space stations trying to buy low and sell high, effectively. In No Man’s Sky, it is the closest thing you can do to a boring job,” deadpans creator Sean Murray to us, back in June.

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savour all this life – the next planet you visit might be severely lacking.

DishonoreD 2 Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Bethesda Dev Arkane Studios

Rats may be out for our return to the Empire Of The Isles, but don’t get too excited – there’s another potential infestation, courtesy of the delightful-sounding blood flies. “The more corpses there are, the more blood flies there are,” explains Arkane’s co-creative director Harvey Smith. He describes how discarded corpses could become potential nesting places for a new swarm if a blood fly gets to them. Bleugh, we’ll be the city of Karnaca’s finest body removal service next year.

Structure, or lack of, is an important part of the game’s make-up. No Man’s Sky ditches some typical modern blockbuster gaming norms, as Sean explains. “There aren’t missions. You aren’t told what your name is. You aren’t given an enemy at the start. There isn’t a bad guy and a good guy.” Don’t come to NMS seeking a story – this is about the adventure you craft. Despite most demos focusing on vibrant planets (Hello Games admits to cranking up the frequency with which they’ve appeared in all the footage so far), black holes and dead planets also exist in this gigantic universe. They’ll play key parts in your journey by ensuring those moments when you do discover a world teeming with life are always exhilarating sequences, rather than tedious normality. Fear not, we’ll bring you so much more here in OPM before its June release.

KingDom hearts iii

WorlD of final fantasy

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Square Enix Dev Square Enix

Format PS4/PS Vita ETA 2016 Pub Square Enix Dev Square Enix

Slower than Eeyore waddling through custard, the wait for Kingdom Hearts III is unbearable, with the slow dribbles of information from Square Enix only making it worse. We’ve had a chance to sneak a peek at a single screenshot of Goofy, Donald and Sora having a merry ol’ time on an on-rails shooting ride. As you’d expect, the jump to PS4 means the gang have never looked better – no wonder Donald is uncharacteristically happy.

Got a younger sibling who you want to indoctrinate into the Final Fantasy fan club? (We see through your lies…) This is what you seek. The recent Tokyo Game Show trailer brought so many “D’awws” that we had to ban that word in the office, but among the highlights of this kid-focused Chibistyled tangent is the appearance of mini-Lightning and the return of Cactuar as a train ticket conductor. All aboard for this old-school spin-off.

Doom Format PS4 ETA Spring Pub Bethesda Dev ID Software

We’ve seen footage from Doom’s now-closed Alpha testing and early indications suggest this is destined to become our new online shooter of choice. Our fave moment comes from seeing a player-controlled demon for the first time: being the quickest to a demon rune sees you transform into Doom’s bad guys. Doom II’s shrieking Revenants have been revamped as slightly bulkier freaks than before, complete with shoulder-mounted laser cannons and jetpacks to help you literally rain death upon your foes.


“THERE AREn’T MISSIOnS. THERE ISn’T A BAD GuY AnD A GOOD GuY.”

te a m PicKs mattheW Pellett EDITOR mass effect anDromeDa It’s a bulging release schedule, for sure, but gaze across the full 12 months that comprise next year and Bioware’s role-playing space opera is hard to ignore. The promise of a new galaxy to explore, new aliens to discover (and bonk, no doubt), expanded Mako sections and another epic planet-hopping tale is surely set to be a 2016 highlight.

milforD coPPocK MAnAGInG ART EDITOR the last guarDian I’ve been captivated by Fumito ueda’s The Last Guardian since it was first revealed all the way back in 2007, so the thought of actually getting to play it this year is an enthralling prospect. The animation has come on in leaps and bounds, with Trico and his little human companion wandering through amazing looking puzzle-filled environments. Want. It. now.

anDreW WestbrooK PRODuCTIOn EDITOR

sci-fi legend Rutger Hauer starred in a recent trailer. Will he be in the full game? We’ll have to wait and see.

this War of mine: the little ones Format PS4/PS Vita ETA 29 Jan Pub Deep Silver Dev 11 Bit Studios

Our Game Of The Year feature suggests you fine readers love games that hit close to home and force you to make brutal decisions, but nothing will prepare you for this. A strategy game that has you trying to keep a band of civilians alive during war time, the PC original is held in very high regard. Get ready for a real moral dilemma when This War Of Mine hits in the bleak January winter.

Project setsuna

final fantasy XV

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Square Enix Dev Tokyo RPG Factory

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Square Enix Dev Square Enix

There’s a note on the Tokyo RPG Factory website that reads, “The ‘Good Old Days’ are coming back. To every RPG fan in the world… This is for you.” Bold talk, but Project Setsuna aims to deliver on that promise. An old-school JRPG, the launch trailer is heavily reminiscent of ‘pre-PlayStation’ Final Fantasy, with sprites and turn-based combat. It launches as soon as 18 Feb in Japan, but the Western version is still TBC.

We thought the lovable FF mascots weren’t making the cut for this long-awaited adventure, but Square Enix took to Twitter to gauge how desperate Final Fantasy fans are to see them in this instalment and, unsurprisingly, more than 30,000 fans campaigned to get Moogles into the game. Director Hajime Tabata has also confirmed that XV has finished its pre-Beta ahead of a massive ‘event’ for the game, due in March…

the lonDon heist I’m in the mood for a game-changer, so VR is where my attention firmly rests. It’s hard to believe we’re finally on the cusp of its arrival. I could pick any of the upcoming titles – I doubt any of these early-adopter games will be around long-haul – so I’ll go for Heist. I’m imagining GTA on-rails, with ultra-realistic violence. I can’t wait for the inevitable outraged headlines.

jen simPKins STAFF WRITER no man’s sKy I go wobbly with excitement at the mere suggestion of procedurally generated adventure, and Hello Games’ space odyssey looks so infinitely lush that I haven’t been able to feel my feet since its 2013 reveal. Imagine discovering a planet, or spotting the distant lights of another ship… Whoops, there go my legs.

ben tyrer STAFF WRITER uncharteD 4 It looks incredible, it’s adding Troy Baker to the ludicrously talented cast, it’s coming from the creative team behind The Last Of us and it will be the definite end of the series. I’ll be sad to see Drake depart, but I can’t imagine he’s going out with anything less than a few thousand bangs.

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unch a rt ed 4: a thief ’s end Hands-on with Drake’s mystical online outing Format PS4 ETA 18 March Pub Sony Dev Naughty Dog

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ep, it sure looks like Uncharted multiplayer. There’s Drake wisecracking as he vaults over a low wall, spraying bullets. There’s that hideous grenade icon that means panic-run. And there’s Elena bursting into flames and teleporti… wait. Something’s different. Burning Elena is part of the new Mystics system being added to the online part of Uncharted 4.

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It’s basically taking supernatural elements from the single-player side and weaving them into multiplayer. There will be five of these weird upgrades, but so far Naughty Dog is only showing off three, all drawn from the previous games. There’s the Wrath of El Dorado, the first game’s gold statue that can be summoned to attack enemies with its evil

spirits. There’s also Uncharted 2’s Cintamani Stone, a healing buff that revives downed players. And then there’s the power of the Djinn from Uncharted 3, which turns people into flaming, teleporting demons with


playstation 4 2016 enhanced melee attacks. So, yeah, quite a bit’s changed. And it doesn’t stop there.

TEAm slAyEr

Slightly less magical, but still completely new, are the sidekicks. These are effectively AI buddies you can summon to fight for you under different guises. A support class will heal and provide ammo, a sniper takes pot shots at any enemies in the direction you point them, the hunter chases down opponents to grab them in a headlock, and, finally, the heavy slowly grinds through the level with a mini-gun.

That’s quite a lot of new stuff to throw in, but reassuringly, the core game still plays just how you remember it – that single-player movement and gunplay making for a sturdy online blast as you hug walls and dash across open spaces. Some of the traversal stuff’s been upgraded, however, making it easier and more fluid to jump cover and deal with terrain – you’re no longer tied into a vaulting animation you have to wait to finish, meaning you can react faster mid-scramble. Oddly though, climbing high walls feels

a little stiffer as a result, while you jump, arms extended, to reach ledges and pull yourself up.

swingErs club

Where you’re going, however, you don’t need walls – Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mixes in Nate’s rope from that E3 demo. Tapping o lets you swing across gaps in the map, taking quick shortcuts, gaining height and, if you’re lucky, landing on enemies with a devastating punch attack.

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“tHe SiDekickS are ai buDDieS tHat You caN SuMMoN to figHt for You.”

nate’s big bro sam Drake, voiced by troy Baker, is joining the multiplayer fray for the first time.


playstation 4 2016 Currently, we’re feeling a bit mixed towards this mechanic. There’s certainly a glorious physicality to launching yourself into the air, but in the build we play, the ‘swing’ prompts seem to lag behind when you’re running at full pace. Once you’ve learned the maps, that’s no problem – jump, swing and be happy – but those first few rounds leave you unsure if you’ve made like Indiana Jones with a whip over a chasm, or just jumped into a hole. There’s also an interesting tip-off as to how the mechanic will work in the single-player game. All of the areas you can swing across are unmarked, the rope simply attaches to some unseen point above you as you jump. Except for one: there’s a branch with some rope binding around it that you can hook to any time within range – on the ground, on top of a tree – and our money’s on this being how the main game lets you know where to throw the rope when exploring. 062

“tHere’S a lot of New Stuff, but tHe core gaMe iS How You reMeMber it.” Built on the usual mechanics alone, number 4’s multiplayer would be onto a winner, but it’s surprising how well the new Mysticals and Sidekicks actually feel in action, however little sense they make. They are, after all, weapons and gadgets, just dressed up in odd ways. The sniper is extremely useful when we’re fighting to take control of a temple entrance. We manage to place our sharpshooting gal on a ledge overlooking the doorway. As we climb and fight our way around to the side entrance, booming shots ring out as our new friend picks away at the enemy, killing some, keeping others pinned-down. Sidekicks don’t last forever though and have their own health bars. By the time we get inside, our sniper finally bites her last bullet, just as we start

Becoming a fiery demon is great for attack, less good for hiding. Funny that.

to take fire from all directions. This is the perfect time to try the Cintamani Stone healing buff. Activating it casts a blue circle around us, reviving us if we fall, and fallen teammates – ideal when you’re taking a hammering. You have to earn all this stuff though, using a store system the team has pulled over from The Last Of Us. Everything’s gated behind an in-game economy so that you have to amass the cash through kills and other objectives as you play. The more useful or powerful the ability, the more it costs – something like the heavy sidekick is strong enough to turn a match once deployed, so he costs a fair bit and players often won’t scrape the dollars together until the last moment, if at all.

cAsh in ThE ATTAck

And, before anyone starts worrying about microtransactions, lead game designer Robert Cogburn assures us “no gameplay items will be blocked by microtransactions. You’ll be able to unlock all gameplay items through regular play. There’ll be nothing you can purchase with virtual currency that will let you start with an advantage.” So far Cogburn’s also told us that Naughty Dog is aiming for eight maps at launch, though the team isn’t yet sure about modes. That’s something it’s “still dialling

you can summon Uncharted 1’s Wrath of El Dorado as part of the new Mystics system.


the return of Chloe and other characters from the series gives Uncharted 4 a real one last hurrah feel.

also hitting ps4

ThE insiDE viEw nAmE robert cogburN leaD gaMe DeSigNer, NaugHtY Dog

“Some of the core ideas have been around what can we do to create more moments of high tension, more teamwork [and] have faster and fluid controls.”

the division Format PS4 ETA 8 Mar Pub ubisoft Dev ubisoft Massive

Start spreading the news! Set in a chaotic New York, the open-world role-playing shooter is starting to show off more gameplay elements. Skills are assigned to bumpers, and break down into three categories: Security, Medical and technology. gadgets such as sticky bombs can be modded for extra oomph, while skins and mods will create unique weaponry for your custom agents.

for honor Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub ubisoft Dev ubisoft Montreal

the age-old question of “pirates or ninja?” is shoved to one side in strategic hack-’n’-slash for Honor. instead, Vikings, knights or Samurai will have you debating amongst your friends. while multiplayer modes have dominated early demos and hands-on tests, ubisoft’s promising plentiful single-player content too – different flavours of heroes from each faction will offer unique weapons, moves and attributes for varied tactical options.

in,” he says, suggesting we could be getting some all-new ones, which would make sense with all the new features. Especially if vehicles end up in the mix. According to Cogburn, that’s not something we’ll be getting when the game launches, but is “something we’re hoping to tackle in the future.”

FrAming ThE AcTion

All these new toys come at a cost though. The multiplayer will be running at 900p in order to keep the action at 60fps. That’s the price you pay for ten-player action at Uncharted 4’s level of pretty, and where every player could have an AI sidekick in tow. The singleplayer will still be 1080p and 30fps, so nothing’s changed there.

Interestingly, there’s a sense of the multiplayer being a real send-off for the series. While Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley have been quite clear on this being the end of the saga, Cogburn is more coy, saying it is “most likely” the last one. Because of that, the whole gang’s back for the finale, with characters such as Chloe, Lazarevic, Katherine Marlowe, Cutter and even Tenzin all returning as multiplayer skins. All these familiar faces have specifically written dialogue as well, so all the quips and wisecracks will be in character. If Uncharted 4 really is the final chapter, then it seems fitting to bring everyone back, past and present, to see Nate off.

attack on titan Format PS4/PS Vita ETA 2016 Pub koei tecmo Dev omega force

a new blood-splattered gameplay trailer from the anime-turned-PlayStation exclusive goes for the jugular. fighting the giant, naked, man-eating titans involves mechanics true to the show, and you learn them at the Survey corps training camp. change blades to stay sharp; weaken enemies by hacking off limbs; supply your parkour-friendly 3D manoeuvre gear with gas; aim for the sweet spot. back of the neck!

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What separates this from the Mega Man series? inafune promises it’s much more than just the name…

“interaCting with our CoMMunity haS reSulteD in huge ChangeS.”

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Migh t y No. 9 Kickstarting expectations for Mega Man co-creator’s latest Format PS4 ETA 12 Feb Pub Deep Silver Dev Comcept

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eiji Inafune boasts the sort of CV that would make anyone jealous. His work includes designing Mega Man, as well as having a hand in Onimusha and the Dead Rising series. With Mighty No. 9 – a side-scroller that’s secured more than four million dollars from crowdfunding – he makes his return to development, so we catch up with him for a chat…

OPM: Has your philosophy towards making games changed? Keiji Inafune: In the 30 years since I created Rock Man [Japanese title for Mega Man], I’ve gone through a lot of experiences, many of which have formed my approach to development on Mighty No. 9. I’ve learnt to take a lot more risks and that’s where Kickstarter really comes into it. I now get to work with the fans directly to help shape the game into something very special.

OPM: Mega Man was always regarded as being notoriously challenging. Does Mighty No. 9 maintain that elevated level of difficulty? And do you think that games in general are too easy these days? KI: I understand that the challenge

of the game is very important to a lot of fans. We have made sure that the game is challenging, in much the same way that the old games were. However, we’ve also made sure that it’s a lot fairer, implementing modern game mechanics that make the experience less frustrating, allowing players to rely on skill rather than having to backtrack through stages. It has taken a lot of tweaking during development to get that right. We’ve also added multiple difficulty modes so that the challenge can scale to the player’s skill. I feel that we’ve hit the perfect balance.

OPM: The Kickstarter campaign offered the ability for fans to help shape the game’s design – can you identify a specific example of something in the game that was a direct result of that fan interaction? KI: Interacting with our

community has been hugely rewarding for me as a game designer, and to the game itself. Backers have been offering feedback for some time now, and the effect of that has resulted in a huge amount of changes across the entire game. Going back to difficulty, that has been altered and balanced based specifically on the feedback we have received from our backers during the course of development. As it’s such an important part of the game, getting that right was a direct result of the conversations we had with our community. Their input was vital in, what I believe, is the perfect difficulty level.


playstation 4 2016 PLAyStAtion

w il d Getting beastly with the Rayman creator’s body-swapper Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Sony Dev Wild Sheep Studio

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ear Grylls is pretty rugged, sure, but if he could transform into an actual bear, he’d never need drink from another bladder again. That’s more or less the concept for survival game WiLD, in which you, a mystical shaman, are able to possess animals. Michel Ancel – creator of Rayman and Beyond Good And Evil – details the dynamics to us during a behind-closed-doors

“Wild iS not aBout taminG natuRe, But leaRninG to coexiSt With it.” demo of the game’s first-ever live playthrough. “The bear is friendly now,” he explains, “but for hours you’ll be killed by bears, and you’ll think they are the big enemy. You won’t understand how they behave. If you go too close to

Landmarks allow orientation in WiLD’s GPS-less world, set millennia in the past.

where they have babies, you get killed. If you do bad things, you get killed.” WiLD is not necessarily about taming nature, then, but learning to coexist with it.

ANIMAL HOUSE

So what is the point? At this early stage, other than needing to heal a friend dying from a snakebite, there’s no particular goal beyond experimenting and exploring an open-world that ranges from snow-capped mountains to murky mangroves. At one point, our shaman assumes control of a bald eagle to spot a snake from the sky and pluck it from the undergrowth before dropping it into the man’s

outstretched hand. Ancel advises parking your shaman up a tree during out-of-body experiences to avoid being eaten by predators. He places the squirming serpent on a shrine and – here’s where it gets weird – summons a giant green naked lady covered in scales. Each critter’s ‘divinity’ asks you to perform specific tasks. In this case, it’s playing as a snake for three days to understand how it feels to wriggle and writhe. Different animals have different abilities: wolves have night vision, bears roar to scare off attackers… At one point, Ancel paddles in water as a rabbit to attract giant catfish. These aimless activities effectively communicate WiLD’s breadth of ideas, but structure is needed to clarify them. Both in tone and content, says Ancel, this is very much a work-in-progress: “We tried to start grounded in reality, but then extended the idea and added this little spark. We’ll see how far we go, but definitely, we have intentions to make it magical.”

THE INSIDE vIEw michel ancel foundeR, Wild SheeP Studio

Animations convince, such as flapping eagles and bears sliding down hills on furry backsides.

“it’s the kind of world where we put a lot of different technologies. We could say that somehow it’s randomly generated. i would say we are helped by the technology to create a big world without spending time on every piece of grass, so there is a big system that is helping the team to create things. it’s a balance between homemade things and ‘generated’ things. But yes, we use the tools to generate, in real time, the world.”

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playstation 4 2016

r ise of t he t omb r a ider it’ll be jewels over genocide in Lara’s siberian sojourn Format ps4 eta Winter Pub square enix Dev crystal dynamics

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ara Croft’s latest adventure takes her to the dustiest, most forgotten corner of the world… but enough about Xbox One-timed exclusivity. No, no, we jest: it was very sweet of Microsoft fans to Beta test the game for us before its PS4 debut. *grumble* Word from the other side is that Rise is a worthy follow-up to 2013’s robust reboot, taking that blend of platforming, puzzling and pummelling, then spicing it up with survivalist smarts. Caught in

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“Lara’s freedom trumps drake’s, but she can’t match his charm.” an avalanche in the game’s opening moments, Lara is stripped of the advantages built up during her time on Yamatai, forced to craft her inventory from scratch. Gone is the catch-all salvage of the first game. It’s replaced with thoughtful scavenging. You see a bloodied deer corpse, Lara sees the beginnings of the world’s grottiest tent. Trees can be stripped of branches to make arrow shafts, later combined with oil, poison mushrooms or explosive ores for more painful projectiles. In a page ripped straight out of The Last Of Us’ playbook, limited materials force you to pick between short-term ease and long-term gains. Do you risk using cloth for an ammo upgrade

there’s a hint of assassin’s Creed iii in lara’s movement. she’s handy with a blade, too.

when it’s also the core ingredient for making healing bandages?

Metal Gear lara

In turn, the vast crafting menu offers far more approaches during combat. Should Lara pump up her traditional arsenal of guns – now with multiple weapons per class, each with differing stats – or should she go guerrilla style, making smoke grenades


also hitting ps4

far cry primal Format ps4 eta 23 feb Pub ubisoft Dev ubisoft montreal

it’s not all frostbite and frozen snot – a short prologue whisks you to scorching syria.

from jam jars to get within shanking distance? The first game allowed stealth to get you so far, but Rise is less prescriptive. It’s entirely possible to scuttle between bushes, clamber up trees and throw distracting bottles to waltz through areas unseen. It’s no Phantom Pain, sure, but it’s nice not to have to play as 2013’s genocidal maniac. If anything, it can almost feel like there are too many options open to you, to the point of Lara being overpowered. This range of tactics makes more sense in the new Expedition

the insiDe view noah hughes creative director, crystaL dynamics

“i think one key development is scale, and pushing scale in general. there is a sense that my most memorable tomb experiences are these giant places that feel almost unsolvable from a gamer’s perspective. and i think that’s something we’re able to push from a technology perspective.”

mode, however, with a score attack challenge that sees you replaying segments of the game against the clock and with difficulty modifiers acting as point multipliers. How about a weaponfree run in which guards have to be killed with a choking attack? How about the same run, only with the guards now on fire? Ever tried wrestling with a dude made of flames? Lara will be gobbling entire bushes of medicinal herbs.

raiD on rePeat

Luckily for Expedition, Rise isn’t short on scenes you’ll want to replay. Crystal Dynamics takes huge liberties with the Siberian setting, whipping us from Soviet-era outposts to verdant geothermal valleys and, more excitingly, old-school tombs. And these aren’t the ‘one puzzle and you’re done’ disappointments of the reboot, but multi-part deathtraps that see you manipulating water levels, mine carts, ancient napalm and other stuff that gets archaeologists’ pulses racing. As neat as it is melting grizzly bears with Molotov cocktails, this feels like where Lara really belongs. But the big question remains: will there be room in our hearts for another artefact-botherer after Uncharted 4? Lara’s freedom of exploration (hub areas are triple the size of Tomb Raider’s) may trump Drake’s on-foot scenes, but she’s no match in the charm stakes – she’s more likely to crack skulls than jokes. Still, two terrific adventures in one year is not a bad problem to have.

think hunting mammoths in packs and taking them down with arrows and spears is scary? try creeping around a forest at night with nothing but a burning stick to light the way as savage natives pounce from the gloom: it’s the stuff of survival horrors. and don’t get us started on those saber-toothed tiger attacks… check back next month for our full handson preview of this prehistoric treasure.

soUth parK: the fractUred bUt Whole Format ps4 eta 2016 Pub ubisoft Dev ubisoft san francisco

stop giggling – videogames are serious business. first instalment the stick of truth was far more than just fart jokes. its sequel, meanwhile, will build on the story and combat system, having you return as new kid to now fight crime alongside superhero cabal coon and friends. We’re confident the fractured but Whole will be surprisingly deep.

ghost recon Wildlands Format ps4 eta 2016 Pub ubisoft Dev ubisoft paris

the tactical co-op shooter is living up to its poltergeist name, evading release date detection and lobbing chunks of thrilling tom clancy gameplay at us from afar. the devs have popped round to cia hQ for a spot of research – plus braved actual bolivian drug cartels – in their determination to create a realistic sandbox, in which you’re “at the tip of the spear in the modern battlefield.”

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it’s looking like goodbye Commander shepard, but hello new engine, ship and characters.

playstation 4 2016

m as s effec T a ndromeda All beware Bioware’s behemoth Format PS4 ETA Winter 2016 Pub EA Dev Bioware

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7 Day may be a celebration of all things Shepard, but the latest trailer we saw this year hints at the future without the good – or bad, choices depending – commander. A rousing montage of real-life moments of boundary-pushing space exploration culminates with Shepard declaring, over in-game footage, “You are that explorer now. We will say goodbye and you will look back one last time.” It then finishes with a shot of a ship looking back at the Milky Way, sailing off towards the Andromeda Galaxy, and “This is Commander Shepard, signing off.” While it’s lovely to hear Shep’s voice again, it’s looking like she/ he will indeed, as expected, be left behind for the new adventure. We already know Andromeda will use DICE’s impressive Frostbite 3.0 engine instead of Unreal again, but supposed leaks flaring up on Reddit purport to

offer fresh info from the RPG everyone wants, including destructible cover for combat, the debut of a completely new ship (more believable than you once again taking control of the Normandy, to be fair), and a story that focuses on finding a new home for humanity after ME3. Considering the wistful line in the official trailer (“For our fear of what should happen if we don’t”), it’s not the biggest stretch in this – or indeed any – world.

“THE STORy’S FOCuS COuLD BE ON FINDING A NEW HOME FOR HuMANITy.”

mafia iii

World of Tanks

nier: auTomaTa

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub 2K Games Dev Hangar 13

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Wargaming Dev Wargaming

Format PS4 ETA 2016 Pub Square Enix Dev Platinum Games

While we love The Godfather-aping antics of Mafia II, some people find its open world to be a little hollow. A bit like a lasagna without any bolognese. Which might explain why debut developer Hangar 13 has been trying to make its digital version of New Orleans a little bit busier than Mafia II’s Empire Bay when it comes to side-missions, with protagonist Lincoln Clay using his CIA (it’s always the CIA, right?) contact to find out about the Mafia’s shady business. Attentive gamers can keep eyes out for organised crime shenanigans going down, then follow perps back to the source to take on the bad guys. Do it often and the city will be yours, one region at a time.

Ever notice the Free To Play tab on PSN? It’s there, we promise, but we don’t blame you if it’s not a place you frequent. That might change, however, with World Of Tanks, the tank-busting, MMO PC smash hit. The setup is simple – take your rumbling hunk of metal onto the online battleground, dominate, and then unlock higher tiers to get better tanks. According to project lead TJ Wagner, the PS4 version “will feature first-time-ever seen content at launch.” What’s more, it’ll be free to play for everyone, no PS Plus account required. With no barriers to entry, this might just light the free-toplay fuse for PS4, once and for all.

The original Nier was a divisive cult curio, but for the sequel, Square Enix has turned to Japanese action king Platinum Games. More specifically, it’s the Metal Gear Rising team that’s in charge, and the results are spectacular – we’ve yet to see an action game in the pipeline that beats this for all-out scrapping. Expect Bayonetta-style action blended with bizarre shooting side-mechanics to set this apart from the crowd. It’s been freshly revealed to be called Nier: Automata, incidentally, on account of its android star 2B – its name was kept a mystery at E3 while the dev team investigated whether calling it Nier: Android would infringe on Google’s trademarks…

Get your Mardi Gras hit

Free game? Tanks very much

Niche guys finish… first


playstation 4 2016

As much as we’d like to think they’re from the same game, Ni-Oh and Unravel are very different experiences indeed. We’ll keep waiting for that cutesy slasher.

2 016 rounD –up The best of the rest for the year ahead

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hat else is lined up for 2016? Here’s a handy A-Z of some other big names. Fingers crossed Viking RPG the Banner saga finally completes its journey to PS4 this year, as we’ve waited long enough. There’s no doubt time-travelling point ‘n’ click adventure Day of the tentacle will land, however, and ex-PS Vita exclusive gravity rush remastered will get another chance to shine as early as Feb. guilty gear Xrd –revelator– will add new fighters and tweak mechanics, Flatout 4 aims to rectify PS4’s lack of racers and the already-confirmed game of thrones season 2 wants to make us depressed all over again.

The half noir/half bonkers Heavy rain will make its PS4 bow, and former cover star Hellblade will deliver one of the year’s most important indie projects to current-gen. The revolution is back on when troubled Red Dawn-esque shooter Homefront finally exits development hell, and back in fighting land the king of Fighters Xiv will feature 3D characters scrapping on a 2D plane. lego marvel’s avengers? Yeah, that’s a thing, too. It’ll be great. Ninja Gaiden fans should make a note of samurai hack ‘n’ slash ni-oh, and Popcap followers have six new character classes to look forward to in plants vs

Zombies: garden Warfare 2. Speaking of online shooters, resident evil: umbrella corps is an interesting spinoff, while 0 HD offers ‘classic’ Resi thrills. All our eyes are turned towards Tequila Works, whose mysterious rime project is definitely due a comeback. And speaking of comebacks, sherlock Holmes: the Devil’s Daughter will see Britain’s finest detective return for more mystery-solving antics. Sidescroller unravel is an odds-on fave to melt everyone’s hearts, Katamari successor Wattam could be 2016’s funniest project, and Virtue’s Last Reward sequel Zero time Dilemma is our most wanted PS Vita title by miles.

2 017 a nD Be yonD The games our future selves will be going berserk over

Detroit: Become Human

visceral games’ star Wars

Format PS4 ETA TBC Pub Sony Dev Quantic Dream

Format PS4 ETA TBC Pub EA Dev Visceral Games

David Cage’s boldly unveiled continuation of an old tech demo may have been a showstopper at Paris Games Week, but alas, we don’t think you’ll be guiding android Kara through the rain-slicked streets of the Motor City in 2016. We’ll give you a sec for your emotion engine to run a diagnostic on this feeling called ‘anguish’. We could be (and would love to be proved) wrong on this one, but with Sony’s 2016 first-party lineup heaving right now (Uncharted 4, Ratchet & Clank, PS VR, Horizon Zero Dawn… you have read the previous pages, right?), squeezing Detroit in could be an AI step too far.

A long time ago, in a games studio far, far away, Naughty Dog’s Amy Hennig joined the Visceral Games alliance to craft a Star Wars game that would show us the true power of the Force… sorry, of PS4. Considering her work on Uncharted, we’re expecting it to have a bit of a Star Wars 1313 vibe (hence the picture – its cancellation still hurts us), but Visceral has been busy in 2015 with Battlefield: Hardline and we’re yet to see any trailers, screens or even a title, which means the likelihood of a 2016 release is about the same as hitting the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port without the Force.

Boot up the emotion engine

Hans off for now

cyBerpunk 2077

Here’s hoping it’s out by then... Format PS4 ETA TBC Pub CD Projekt RED Dev CD Projekt RED

CD Projekt RED has just enjoyed its best year to date – The Witcher 3 has been a mammoth success, shifting millions, scooping five Golden Joysticks and, ahem, maybe an extra OPM treat you’ll discover when you turn the page… So, despite being in development since 2012, we can’t imagine this adaption of pen-and-paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020 will make 2016. A project with this much ambition (it’s reportedly far bigger than The Witcher 3), that we haven’t seen outside of a 2013 teaser trailer, indicates it’s going to be quite a thumb-twiddle before we get a chance to stick it to the machine.

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game of the year

game year 2015 of

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the

Every 12 months, readers submit their ballots for our ultimate award. More than 26,000 of you voted this year in the most hotly contested GOTY Awards in Official PlayStation Magazine history. What’s taken the glory? Read on‌


game of the year

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2 10

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aSSaSSin’S Creed S y n d i C at e

S ta r Wa r S B at t l e f r o n t

Getting stuck into a delicious Frye up

DICE’s laser-focused shooter is an absolute blaster

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ould you adam an’ eve it? turns out oPm’s readers love a bit of Syndicate’s London town. Creed’s latest chapter is more brutal than ever, pulling no punches (or hidden Blades) in its depiction of Jacob and evie frye’s ‘orrible murders. Alexander Graham Bell’s nifty rope-launcher is an essential tool when you’re traversing the kaleidoscopic city, while wide streets require you to segue from ziplining to hardcore parkour in your quest to wipe the impeccably groomed moustache off Crawford Starrick’s face in classic, sneaky Assassin’s style. But it isn’t all ye olde Creede. PS4 owners get the exclusive Dreadful Crimes missions, which mix up gameplay via Eagle Vision, while a bit of knuckle-cracking encourages witnesses to ‘fess up. Oh, and ‘ave you ‘ad a butcher’s at the secret mission down by Tower Bridge? Ahem. Blips and shoddy combat aside, Syndicate has Cockney rhyming slung its way into your hearts with carriage carnage, wonderful world-building and some of Creed’s best-ever stars. Format PS4 / Pub Ubisoft / Dev Ubisoft Quebec / Score 7/10

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fter spending far too much time whizzing about on speeder bikes and playing Lightsaber Chicken, we’re inclined to agree that Battlefront deserves to be in 2015’s top ten. It’s spectacular. Booting it up is like stepping into the silver screen (though we don’t recall many Vader teabagging scenes in George Lucas’ showstoppers). The sound effects, the jetpacks, the AT-ATs lumbering through forests… It’s clear why you love it. Serious Sith Lords are all over the high-octane Blast mode, but pure “GONK!”ing glee comes courtesy of scurrying after GNKs in Droid Run. When you’re done petting droids, dogfighting over Sullust in Fighter Squadron mode packs a Millennium Falcon punch so mighty that even Chewie would be hard-pressed to replicate it. With the disappointment of the hotly anticipated Hero modes, at least the incomparable Star Wars magic of Walker Assault isn’t in any danger of wearing off. You’ve had your say – now hyperdrive on over to p82 to read our verdict. Format PS4 / Pub EA / Dev DICE / Score 8/10


game of the year

2 8 B at m a n : arkham knight

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Arkham’s delight for a Rocksteady swan song

ow easy it is to forget just how radically rocksteady has continually redefined what a Batman game can be. remember that before arkham asylum, Bruce Wayne’s digital representations were more Shatman than Batman. yet arkham Knight brings the ‘trilogy’ (debatable, given origins) to a close in the best way possible, securing the series’ legacy. Knight makes full use of PS4’s extra horsepower. Neon-lit and rain thrashing down, we’re finally stepping into a fully fledged Gotham that reveals a world that’s half Nolan industry and half Burton Gothicness, while still feeling distinct from its influences, using Gotham’s architecture and villains to create an organic style. Some of you aren’t fond of the Batmobile, and we think the titular villain isn’t an instant classic – a tad whiny for our tastes – but the twists up the chinkless armour of Batman’s sleeve linger much longer in the memory. As a trilogy closer, the story hits the right balance of triumph and tragedy, with a final stretch that’s boldly astounding. A fine choice, Master Reader. Format PS4 / Pub Warner Bros / Dev Rocksteady / Score 9/10

reader ChoiCeS The highlights of your personal picks from 2015…

2 7 U n t i l d aW n Fawning over Supermassive’s teen terroriser

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ell, that came out of nowhere. No, not that rusty-looking hook or blood-stained circular saw, but this choose-yourown-path horror that falls very much into the ‘short but sweet’ category. at its centre sits the Butterfly effect, in which key decisions you make set you down different paths. As Until Dawn races through, there’s a genuine fascination in seeing how previous choices come back to haunt you, with seemingly innocuous or ‘moral’ decisions having deadlier implications than expected. Sure, it won’t be too long before you work out some of this survival horror’s twists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun watching the guts pile up as you get to them. Speaking of the suppliers of said guts, there’s also a lot of charm to the cast. We’ve got dude-bro Mike, whose initial boorishness dissolves into something semi-heroic, while Emily is an instant love-to-hate favourite. Then there’s Peter Stormare, whose mysterious therapist steals the show with his lizardy lip-licking. Whether you choose to keep everyone alive or are intent on virtual bloodshed, you won’t regret heading to The Washington Lodge. Format PS4 / Pub Sony / Dev Supermassive / Score 8/10

DaviD BamForth Star WarS BattleFront

It’s Star Wars Battlefront for me. It’s been a long, long time since I was addicted to a game like this. the playability, graphics, modes… the whole feeling of the Star Wars universe is truly breathtaking.

Donovan Krahn

metal Gear SoliD v: the Phantom Pain

as much as I love fallout 4, the best game of the year has to be metal gear Solid V! It’s got the insane story that takes you through three chapters, so just when you think you have beaten the game, here comes more of the story and more missions.


game of the year

2 6

2 5

dying light

BloodBorne

Free-running into your hearts

Gather round for some ripping Yharnams

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ust like the flesh munchers themselves, it’s hard to keep a good zomb-romp down. Dying Light takes the bits that worked in the Dead Island franchise – which involve turning things into squelchy puddles of guts, mostly – and fixes most of the issues contaminating that series, namely being riddled with more bugs than the bedroom of someone with a tendency to google “bomb-building techniques.” It also introduces a few new tricks to the tried and true head-cave-‘em-in formula by adding some parkour-esque movement. It gives you the ability to slide through narrow passages, scramble up buildings and leap across rooftops. No wonder those zombies are desperate to take a bite out of you – you’ve got so much energy they can practically hear the blood thundering through your veins. While it’s undoubtedly got its flaws (chiefly, the sheer volume of fetch quests) the thrill of desperately sprinting through darkened streets with a few Volatiles on your ankles, praying you don’t have to see them chomping on your face again, does a pretty good job of masking them. Format PS4 / Pub Warner Bros / Dev Techland / Score 7/10

JameS Beech

liFe iS StranGe

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ake yourself cosy, young hunters, and prepare thyself for a journey into the depths of yharnam. you see, it’s not like the Dark Souls you’ve encountered before, but a new breed of punishment from the bloody quill of hidetaka miyazaki. It’s hard to not get a bit Gothic when reminiscing about the pain chambers of Miyazaki’s games. And Bloodborne is no exception. While the core concept is the same – an insane-o-tough game that slowly teaches you through brute force – there are enough tweaks and adjustments to give Bloodborne its own flavour. Key to this is the shift in combat emphasis. Where previous Souls titles concentrated on defence, Bloodborne is very much about attack. Due to a health recovery system that gives you back half of the health lost if you quickly strike back, counterattacking is a vital skill that needs to be mastered should you want to see the depths of depravity that Yharnam has to offer. Which you will. There are secrets upon secrets upon secrets, wrapped in the sort of hellscape that a mindmeld between David Lynch and HP Lovecraft would have difficulty topping. Spectacular. Format PS4 / Pub Sony / Dev FromSoftware / Score 9/10

Dara SPitznaSS

SeBaStian currie

the Witcher 3 deserves it. fallout 4, teSo, mgS V and Bloodborne were great. But NothINg can beat the Witcher 3. It’s not just the game that was terrific, it was the developers, too. they are the best game developer in the world to me.

It sucked me in with incredible gameplay variety and attention to detail which kept me waiting (huh?) for more every time I switched off the console. even the sparse story couldn’t take away from the stealthy madness of this masterpiece.

the Witcher 3: WilD hunt I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed every second; and as the credits rolled, I had never felt more satisfied from a videogame as I did with Life Is Strange. If gaming is to be taken seriously as an art form, Life Is Strange would be an excellent cornerstone to start the argument.

metal Gear SoliD v: the Phantom Pain

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m e ta l g e a r S o l i d V : the Phantom Pain

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Big Boss, little dog, cardboard box

ideo Kojima’s swan song soars into your top five, which isn’t entirely surprising after it registered a maximum score in our review. fire demons, a sandboxful of possibilities and sophisticated mechanics add up to an unbelievable game, in which stealth is key to dominating afghanistan’s dusty wastes. Venom Snake’s wangled his own pony, but if tearing it up on the back – or side – of D-Horse isn’t action-packed enough, there are always spreadsheets to manage. The Mother Base concept from Peace Walker is also fleshed out, and can revolutionise fieldwork. Ears are in for a treat: its ‘80s soundtrack is sublime. Watching a guard’s brain atomise to the high note from A-ha’s Take On Me is surreal enough for you to put down your DualShock and declare that that’s enough Metal Gear for one day. Quick, pick it back up! Over in Metal Gear Online, you must frantically mash buttons as a Fulton balloon lifts you gently into the air. Even your shame won’t weigh you down – and even rocket launchers can’t burst the MGS V bubble. Format PS4/PS3 / Pub Konami / Dev Kojima Prod / Score 10/10

team ChoiCeS Team OPM scraps over which game deserves the title…

2 3 falloUt 4 Vaulting over the competition and onto the podium

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onsidering how long you’ve waited for Bethesda’s latest, we’ll let you hide in your bunkers for a little while longer. one man’s trash is another man’s treasure in fallout 4, after all, and you’ll be busy hoarding everything and the kitchen sink to improve settlements, as well as pea-shooters. Oh, and isn’t dystopian gunslinging a triumph on PS4? Firing into feral ghouls is super-satisfying. V.A.T.S slows down cantankerous Deathclaws (rather than freezing them), meaning each encounter feels critical. And Fallout wouldn’t be Fallout, of course, without getting overly attached to some irradiated buddies. Codsworth calling you by name is a lovely personal touch, when he’s able to at least (good news if your name is Assface; bad news if it’s Nick). What with umbrella stands to craft, fusion cores to cadge and Wastelanders to win over, we won’t be leaving the Commonwealth for a while. Fallout 4’s radiation zone may have blessed us with a few extra arms, but hey, it’s all the better for holding more of those glorious guns. Just remember to get that OPM subscription rerouted to the Wasteland. Format PS4 / Pub Bethesda / Dev Bethesda / Score 8/10

mattheW Pellett

eDitor the Witcher 3: WilD hunt after some early technical hiccups, CD Projekt reD turned around a true masterpiece of PS4 gaming with an rPg that reminded me why I fell in love with the genre in the first place. my one and only regret? that PlayStation never got the other Witcher games.

milForD coPPocK

m an aGinG art eDitor metal Gear SoliD v Let’s be blunt. mgS V is not the best metal gear. It is, however, an amazing open-world stealth game. Big Boss’ last outing with Kojima at the helm is a gameplay triumph, despite a few unanswered plot holes here and there. and no, I never used the chicken hat.


game of the year

2 life iS Strange

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Have strange things happened? Are you going round the twister?

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es, you read correctly. that is a round the twist reference. Dontnod’s episodic tale of friendship, timelines and freak weather conditions went down a storm with you, rampaging up the charts. We’ve never been so eager to skip off to school, though Blackwell Academy isn’t your average alma mater (time-travelling shenanigans and gunfire in the bathroom, anyone?). Like an octopus hidden in your favourite beret, the whole thing was totally unexpected – and absurdly gripping. Is it Max’s coming-of-age struggle with her newfound powers? Is it the contextual detail built into Arcadia Bay? Is it punk BFF Chloe’s disarming charm and sweet, sweet lips? So many elements of Life Is Strange

keep you hooked, episode after enthralling episode, saddling you with challenges and responsibilities rarely explored in games. Whether it’s saving a desperate friend, negotiating with prickly drug dealers, or just deciding whether you fancy pancakes or waffles for breakfast, your choices matter. The smallest consequence is woven effortlessly into your version of the story.

clicK anD chooSe

For an interactive tale, Life Is Strange boasts impressive mechanics. You get trigger-happy, reversing time with i to make different choices or solve conundrums. Even picture-hopping fits into the narrative. And what a narrative. It’s alright, you’re

Jen SimPKinS

Ben tyrer

I’ve decided. No regrets, no rewinds: this episodic epic is the best narrative gaming experience I’ve ever had. yes, ever. riveting writing, well-designed mechanics and an emotive soundtrack that holds a permanent place in my heart. here’s your choice – play it, or play it.

the addiction kicked in when I won my first online match 4-3. Since then, countless evenings have been lost in a blur of boosts, swears and overly celebrated goals. It’s the one game I’ve constantly gone back to this year – its mechanics are so fluid, I keep forgetting it’s not actually football.

Sta FF Writer liFe iS StranGe

StaFF Writer rocKet leaGue

in a safe place. Admit you shed a tear or two. Brilliant writing means the game’s end choice, though a little reductive, is agony. Preorders are in full flow for the limited edition boxed release, which includes a physical copy of the game, a 32-page artbook, director’s commentary and the game’s pitch-perfect indie soundtrack. We’ll assume that, come 19 January, you’ll be rewinding time and reliving the story along with us. Time to right some wrongs: we’ll snap all those photo ops, save Alyssa from certain embarrassment, endeavour not to drown Lisa the houseplant – and, er, try not to cry quite so much. Format PS4/PS3 / Pub Square Enix Dev Dontnod / Score 9/10

anDreW WeStBrooK

ProDuction eDitor Batman: arKham KniGht Brucey boy’s trilogy closer is that rarest of things – a game that exceeds an already lofty promise. Sure, the combat is bat-tastic and gotham is gruesomely gorgeous, but rocksteady gets my vote for actually (and boldly) making good on such an iconic license.


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game year 2015 o f

t h e


1 the WitCher 3: Wild hUnt You have spoken. This RPG is simply the quest

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ell, well, well. Look what the Witcher dragged in – a big, fat, juicy numero uno from oPm’s very own readers. the open-world rPg scooped multiple prizes at this year’s golden Joystick awards (five to be precise, including Ultimate game). and now it can add another much-coveted trophy to its already-heaving cabinet – the glimmering adulation of PS4 players everywhere. Soaked in the golden light of sunsets over Temeria, the lands of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt span staggering distances and are suffused with colour. You can almost breathe in the icy moonlight when crashing through undergrowth on night-time jaunts, silver fingers of luminescence creeping into craggy cobblestone walls. Oh, and Geralt’s beard is a bit sexy, innit? The only thing more vivid than Velen’s provincial landscape is its self-styled lord, Philip Strenger – or as he’s better known, that Bloody Baron. Wading through the murky bog of his morality is as involving as videogame quests get. No matter what path you choose to walk, it’s impossible to not feel an affinity with the guy after multiple hours of flawless character development.

a rivia runS throuGh it

And the bewitching storytelling hardly ends with that quest’s bleak conclusion. Nearly every expedition in The Witcher 3 contains

dialogue polished to a mythical shine, set into lore so detailed that it makes you want to say Fus Ro Nah to Skyrim’s comparatively uninspiring chore runs. Pop to the merchant for a pint of milk and a Twirl? No, thanks. We’d much rather do some painting and decorating for a singing troll, get crunk with Lambert and Eskel in Kaer Morhen, or help a ghost girl take some well-deserved revenge. Indeed, vengeance has never been as sweet (did we say sweet? We meant slaughterous) as it is in this Witcher. Combat is razor-sharp and super-smart, actively encouraging you to mix it up and get tactical about tackling Tangalores and the like.

into the WilD

Different types of melee attacks, parrying, buffs and blade oils all facilitate the flow of fighting, and you must master combining all of them if you’re serious about going up against the Wild Hunt. Perhaps we at OPM have inherited the White Wolf’s handy-dandy Witcher Sense – we had an inkling this might be your Game Of The Year, shining like a blood-red beacon among a sea of worthy contenders. You have excellent taste. So let’s raise a glass of Rivia’s finest Kriek to this year’s Best In Show, and take a swig of Swallow potion for good measure – we’ll be feasting all night. Format PS4 / Pub Bandai Namco Dev CD Projekt RED / Score 8/10

deV talk “Crafting such a vast, open world like the one in the Witcher 3: Wild hunt was an enormous task for the team. We spent hundreds of hours creating adventures we hoped would captivate gamers all around the world and tried to give the Continent as much detail and life as we could. When we launched Wild hunt, gamer reception was something that blew us away – gamers are the strictest critics and yet you’ve shown us that these countless hours we spent on creating the Witcher have paid off. In the name of the whole team, I’d like to thank you for being with us and for your support!” Konrad tomaszkiewicz, Game director, cD Projekt reD

077


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OPM scOres

Gold award gOld award

awarded to a game that’s brilliantly executed on every level, combining significant innovation, near-flawless gameplay, great graphics and lasting appeal.

editor’s award editOr’s award

not at the very highest echelon, but this is a game that deserves recognition and special praise based on its ambition, innovation or other notable achievement.

10 incredible the kind of phenomenal experience rarely seen in a console generation.

9 Outstanding unreservedly brilliant – this

should be in every collection.

8 Very gOOd a truly excellent game, marred by just a few minor issues.

7 gOOd a great concept unfulfilled or

the familiar done well, but still well worth playing.

6 decent fun in parts, flawed in others, but more right than wrong.

5 aVerage what you expect and little

more, this is for devotees only.

88 just cause 3

it’s finally landed, but is the tropical explode-’em-up boom or bust for avalanche studios?

4 belOw aVerage any bright ideas are drowning in a sea of bugs or mediocrity.

3 POOr a seriously flawed game with little merit on any level.

2 awful disgraceful: the disc would be more beneficial as a coaster.

1 HOrrific own this and you’ll be swiftly,

justifiably, exiled from society.

contents star wars battlefront 82 | just cause 3 88 | among the sleep 90 | primal carnage: extinction 91 | bloodborne: the old hunters 92 | superbeat: xonic 93 sword art online: lost song 94 | kromaia omega 94 | beyond: two souls 95

081


review

SuPEr trooPEr

@itsJenSim

Star WarS BattLEFroNt

More fun than Mos Eisley’s Cantina

082

info Format PS4 Eta OUT NOW PuB EA DEv DICE

T

he developers over at DICE must have a laser cannon of their own stashed away somewhere handy. They’ve nailed the essence of Star Wars in a single, devastating blast, sending the last of my cynicism crashing to the ground like so much TIE fighter fodder. Nice one, DICE. But wait, don’t get cocky. Battlefront is a gorgeous-looking, hugely entertaining shooter. It’s clearly designed to be accessible to a variety of skill levels, but that’s not to say it’s oversimplified. While there’s little room for advanced FPS players to distinguish themselves, the gunplay is solid and satisfying, while the online multiplayer holds up incredibly well. For every few glorious moments of galactic fun, however, there’s a disappointment. We’re not talking Jar Jar Binks levels of atrocity – but DLCshaped holes, some repetitive game modes and Battlefront’s underwhelming Hero-based play.

StarrY EYED

If you’re a Star Wars fan, prepare to relinquish control of your eyeballs for hours upon first contact. The ominous glow of volcanic Sullust; the blur of speeder bikes across emerald Endor; startled Jawas scampering over Tatooine’s sand – Battlefront is a love-letter to George Lucas’ universe. Indeed, I very nearly forget lunch time while playing it – I just can’t look away.

“ENDOr AND HOTH ArE SPECTACUlAr – THEIr DESIgN HElPINg CrEATE THE gAmEPlAy’S fEvErISH ENErgy.”


review

083

We find Battlefront’s lack of content disturbing, but loving this blast-’em-up is all too easy.


review

Luke Skywalker is undoubtedly the best Hero experience. Don’t underestimate his power.

above Hero-on-Hero combat is poorly executed, and the modes are underwhelming.

084

above left Did I mention how pretty it is? Mother of Kwath, it’s jaw-dropping! above right Your little GNK buddies are excellent company in Hoth’s desolate caves. Left Shooting down Fighter Squadron foes feels like you’re X-winging it. right Buy the droid emote you’re looking for with your in-game credits.


review The neglect of basic human functions isn’t helped by the fact that the game also commandeers your ears. Star Wars Battlefront bagged “Best Audio” in last month’s Awards Special, because the full game has more than delivered on its long-running promise of auditory greatness. Oh, crashing giddily about in Endor’s lush undergrowth (petition to call it “Endorgrowth”) isn’t enough Star Wars on your Star Wars? Try leaping at stormtroopers on the wings of John Williams’ iconic score, R5-D4s whistling and burbling past, lasers sizzling into the trees behind you – and Wilhelm screams. So many Wilhelm screams. Somebody pinch us, we might actually be in the movies. Perhaps your thumbs will be able to escape the game’s gravitational pull? Nope, sorry. Endor’s foliage and Hoth’s Wampa caves aren’t merely spectacular, they help create the gameplay’s feverish energy. Thoughtfully designed maps and environments remove lines of sight, forcing players to abandon overly cautious sniping in favour of cinematic close-quarters carnage. It’s all part of Battlefront’s bid to make the shooter appeal to players who haven’t worn out the rubber on their left thumbsticks just yet. For those who obsessively tinker with loadouts, a beefy Star Card library provides a way to fine-tune tactics with combinations of different weapons and abilities. Admittedly, there’s not much of a difference between guns (I kid myself the EE-3 heavy blaster feels the best), but there are plenty to, er, ‘choose’ from, and the laser shots feel satisfying. Aim assist means that shooting from the hip is advantageous, and an optional third-person mode lets you peer around corners in hangars. It’s all very friendly to newcomers, but you’ll probably find yourself instinctively squeezing p to aim down the sights with your stubbornly firstperson face. The devs have spent time making us feel like we’re in Star Wars, so I’m sure as hell not going to break the immersion. I’ve never been as happy to get injured by NPCs as when I get bonked on the head with a rock courtesy of an Ewok. “Not bad for a little furball,” the trophy notification observes. Brilliant.

Zipping through the forest moon on speeder bikes feels unquestionably right – fast, explosive and just loose enough to feel as dangerous as it does controlled. Chasing Rebels in a straight line with guns that lock-on is fairly rote, but dodging trees at high velocity is the main objective. Battles against the AI are, well, fine, but playing as a Star Wars VIP in Hero Battles is where it gets ludicrously easy. Hard mode or above is practically a prerequisite, even for beginners. Survival mode offers a more layered challenge, mixing up the action by sending wave after wave of enemies, pods to capture and AT-STs to take down. It’s by far the superior co-op experience; split-screen couchplay doesn’t get much better than teaming up on those ’orrible Imperials, serenaded by the dulcet blibberings of a holographic Admiral Ackbar. Useful at first, the limited training, single and co-op missions will inevitably be neglected after a short while. They’re vivid snapshots of the Star Wars world, pasted together in a clumsy collage that should feel more coherent. The overall stiltedness is perhaps exemplified by a training mission called The Dark Side. A barrage of pointless cutscenes break up combat so much that it’s like playing Grandmother’s Footsteps as Darth Vader. There are also more pop-ins than a magical British nanny. A campaign mode unifying some fantastic elements, with fewer graphical hiccups, would have been supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But Battlefront’s spoonful of sugar comes in the form of its showpiece online multiplayer. I brace myself for a laggy launch. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Net code runs perfectly 98% of the time, with the 2% being inconveniences even more piddling than the Beta’s. Impressive. Most impressive. The only gripe is the occasional unevenness of match-ups, but it doesn’t occur often enough

“yOU CAN CAPTAIN THE fAlCON, mOWINg DOWN TIDDlErS THAT DArE ClOg yOUr AIrSPACE.”

SarLaCC oF CoNtENt

Battlefront covers four launch planets (Endor, Hoth, Sullust and Tatooine) and now Jakku, too. It’s hardly an expansive view of the universe, despite the impeccable detail. With such rich lore to capitalise on, it’s annoying that the game doesn’t seem to take advantage. Well, presumably it does – there are also four infuriatingly massive DLC slots on the menu screen. That £40 season pass unlocks about half of the game you’ve already paid £49.99 for. It’s a disappointingly predictable move from EA, and one you should consider when deciding whether you want this game. “But you do want speeder bikes, don’t you?” says Star Wars Battlefront, batting its lashes coquettishly, as we crawl helplessly into the warm embrace of its training missions. They’re the best way to learn the controls and mechanics, and are often thrilling, despite their brevity.

Below Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?

to become a real issue. Props to DICE – the online experience is more solid and smooth than Han Solo in carbonite. Depending on whether you’ve only got a few parsecs to spare, or lightyears to kill, there’s a variety of modes to jump into. Eight, 12 or 16-player modes offer quick matches, or you can play out your own Star Wars epic in supermassive 40-player sagas. It’s wonderfully easy to get sucked into endless, huge-scale Walker Assaults or Supremacy skirmishes. Battlefront’s biggest modes show off its most awe-inspiring environments, throwing everything together in a heady concoction: Hero havoc, the squeal of lasers, lumbering AT-ATs, orbital strikes, thunderous thermal detonators and Y-wings swooping in for the attack.

DroiD ragE

Fighter Squadron is where you’ll find more dogfighting delights. Getting involved couldn’t be easier – though this means any sense of actual skill suffers. Point your X-wing or TIE fighter in the general direction of foes; hold p to lock on; unleash a deadly rain of lasers. The highlight is getting to captain the Millennium Falcon, mowing down tiddlers that dare clog up your airspace. Good luck pulling evasive manoeuvres via the D-pad, though; the cumbersome setup means I keep accidentally switching to first-person mode and getting an immersive close-up of Boba Fett’s Slave I firing directly into my unsuspecting mug. Surprisingly enough, smaller modes shine. Cargo, Drop Zone and Droid Run require you to take risks for the win and be smart about defending, leading to complex tactical mind games as well as gleeful gunslinging. Droid Run is especially fun, with adorable GNKs bumbling about the map like mobile, catchable flags and gonking obliviously as all hell breaks loose. Securing pods in Drop Zone provides the same sort of tactical, push-me-pull-you depth to its gameplay, as does Capture The Flag clone Cargo. If this all sounds a tad samey to you, that’s because it is. Like Battlefront’s blasters, you have to squint to discern the difference between some of the

085


review

086

right Speeder bike action is simply out of this world, but training missions are short-lived.

Left Hero Battles? Rather bland. At least they’re good practice for Walker Assault token drops.

modes, but they provide enough of a kick that you won’t particularly mind. Indeed, I spend ages in Blast mode. It’s your standard Deathmatch, so fairly vanilla (if you like your ice-cream lethal), but set in the chocolate-covered cone of sturdy online multiplayer, with a Star Wars topping sprinkled all over it… Yeah, go grab a Cornetto and meet me back here in five.

HEro to ZEro

Back? Good. Sit down, I’ve got some bad news. The Hero-centric modes in Battlefront – the ones I was most excited for – do not deliver. Heroes Vs Villains mode is categorically dull. What should be a faithful tribute to the original trilogy quickly descends into chaos, in which all Hero players immediately charge at each other regardless of map – spamming abilities and trampling my childhood memories into an angry nostalgia pancake. Spawning as Luke or Vader means you seek out your nemesis, as visions of canon scenes dance in your head. But the lightsabers, while adept at razing Rebel scum

“UNlOCk AlTErNATE SPECIES: TWI’lEkS, SUllUSTANS AND zAbrAk ArE All PlAyAblE.”

to the ground, might as well be overpowered inflatables when turned on each other. Each delayed swing doesn’t even feel like your input, the blows insubstantial. It’s less legendary duel, more lame episode of Gladiators. Rounds are swift, predictable and unwieldy – everything you don’t want. The seven-on-one scramble of Hero Hunt is better, with soldiers tracking down one recognisable goodie or baddie. But even this more focused mode rapidly tires, as the chase is so dogged and the target so powerful that throwing your meat sack of a body at Han’s Lucky Shot feels ineffectual. Rather than revel in the glory of the Hero characters, the modes lessen their impact. I simply don’t care about playing as one – unless I manage to snatch a tantalisingly rare Hero token in Walker Assault, in which case General Leia is about to blast some Sithheads off the face of Tatooine.

That’s the thing to remember about Battlefront’s gameplay. Not every mode is great, but you can pick what you play to optimise your experience. Speaking of options, the game could be improved with a couple of simple patches – being able to choose between the Rebel or Imperial faction, and selecting spawn points to avoid insta-deaths would help.

CuStom ‘NaDE

What of all those credits you’ve earned through trouncing troopers and cuddling droids? They’ll unlock new blasters, but it’s the Star Cards you’re really after. After you’ve seen someone jettison themselves into Endor’s treetops, hailing red beams of death from above, your thermal detonator seems twee. Ranking up reveals a treasure trove of secondary weapons: homing shots, cycler rifles and bowcasters open up new loadout possibilities for various maps, as do limited-use


review the opm breakdown w h at y o u d o i n… s ta r wa r s b at t L e f r o n t

16% gazing up at the airborne spectacle… aaand you’re dead.

47% Gleefully

4% Chuckling

at r2-D2 and C-3PO’s menu screen banter.

mimicking your laser blaster. PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!

3% Wondering

where general leia gets her hair done. Those plaits are stylin’.

above All the action is in gorgeous Star Wars environments. Shame there aren’t more.

20% Shuffling your Star Cards endlessly in your quest for the perfect loadout. 10% Abandoning the anticlimactic Hero modes in favour of babysitting droids. gONk!

s tat pa c k

11 40 18 7

right Snaffling a Hero token in Walker Assault, however, feels truly special.

Different types of blaster to unlock, unload upon your foes and spend all day imitating.

The number of players possible in an online multiplayer match.

The percentage point of the install process when a Darth Vader mini-game unlocks.

Intergalactic races that you can play as. You best start saving your credits.

second opinion wookiee warrior

L o v i n g / h at i n g

wampa fave

battlefront boasts brilliant Star Wars Easter eggs: Jabba’s palace, r2-D2 and C-3PO’s menu screen jabbering, and even Wampa bones.

Lesser of two eviLs

As if Heroes vs villains isn’t mediocre enough, the characters are unbalanced. rolled boba? lucky you. Palpatine? Enjoy insta-death.

trophy cabinet tF

irSt

verdict

It’s not the most complex shooter, but it’s the ideal pick-up-and-play experience for Star Wars fans. Stunning environments, solid shooting and immersive sound design mask the shortcomings. Jen Simpkins

… aCH rE

o EarS LD You 0Y

NK! o

go

SHo

K?

beyond, “Holy Bantha, I’m actually in Star Wars,” the experience is so special that fans won’t feel they need to. It’s a strong, yet universal, shooter in a vibrantly realised Star Wars setting, but it probably won’t stand up to months of space shenanigans: a frustrating amount of content is locked behind a paywall, and some of what’s in the base game is decidedly middling, with gameplay at times secondary to spectacle. More pick-up-and-play than masterfor-hours, if you’re after longevity you should think twice. But if you’re a fan eager meet Ewoks in your area? Then Battlefront is right on target.

WHEN 90

Charged Cards (try using Scan Pulse to see through walls in Imperial Hangar). Character customisation is minimal: not a problem for us Star Wars purists who will never, ever take off our stormtrooper helmets, but hardly ideal when we’re fighting as Rebels. Happily, alternate species from the galaxy far, far away – such as Twi’leks, Sullustans and Zabrak – unlock at Rank 40. Completing certain gameplay challenges also fills in a pretty diorama scene. Hooray? Well, save your cheers for something deserving. Toppling an Imperial Walker with nothing more than a cable and your wits; ending a top player’s killstreak with a well-placed blaster zing; banding together to dominate at Cargo; finally vaporising the traitor-smuggler Solo with Emperor Palpatine’s Force lightning. Each one is a movie-worthy moment, and while it’s true that you can’t ask too much of Battlefront

go N

above Explosive Star Cards will give you an advantage in smaller maps.

Battlefront isn’t the deepest, slickest shooter ever made. Not by a cycler rifle shot. But as a standalone Star Wars experience, it’s unparalleled. And that’s precisely the point. Everyone loves Star Wars. Right? Which is why everyone can enjoy Battlefront. In that sense – and carefully ignoring the fact that certain game modes highlight the weakness of the ropey Hero and Villain characters – it’s a real success. Andy Hartup

bronze

Claim all three droids in a match of Droid run (hit r when up close). No, you can’t take the gNk home with you.

siLver

you’ll have to be lightning-quick to bag this one. Start up any multiplayer match and earn the first kill.

goLd

Want to join the likes of master yoda? max out at rank 50, you must. but remember, look as good, you will not.

087


review

Don’t worry, you still get to blow things up. A lot. 088

It’s rICo tImE

@schillingc

Just CausE 3

This Mediterranean spree only takes off when you do

C

haos is Just Cause 3’s currency. As dictator-removal specialist Rico Rodriguez, you must free the fictional archipelago of Medici from a despotic general by basically blowing half of it to bits – liberation through annihilation. The stage is set for a gleefully dumb action game that revels in the resulting mayhem. But while some of the biggest and brightest explosions you’ll ever cause might convince you otherwise, Avalanche is too keen to ration the fun. It’s like arriving at an all-you-can-eat buffet, then being told you can’t have any of the main courses – at least until you’ve devoured most of the canapés. It’s a game in which the trappings of the sandbox genre seem to actively work against an underlying desire to let you off the leash. From the outset, you’re given a grappling hook capable of firing tethers that can be remotely contracted. This is a regular source of joy, allowing you, for instance, to wrench the arms off a dictator’s statue to create a moustachioed Venus de Milo. Yet you’re rarely afforded the room for creative experimentation once you’ve attracted enemy attention. You’ve barely got a second to shoot troops calling for reinforcements before more arrive on the scene, while any hope of creating havoc by tethering a jeep to a helicopter, say, is regularly kyboshed by the unerringly

info Format PS4 Eta out now Pub Square enix DEv avalanche StudioS

accurate surface-to-air missile launchers. Sure, you can disable them from the ground, but then you can’t grapple up to hijack the air support. On one occasion, I’d barely wrenched the pilot from the cockpit before two direct hits saw me having to abandon the chopper.

GraPPLE battLE

Capturing villages and military bases forms the bulk of the game, with narrative missions sometimes locked until you’ve freed enough territories. As such, it settles into a predictable rhythm that would best fit short-play sessions, if only the loading times weren’t so absurdly long. Story missions, meanwhile, contrive a succession of

explosive set-pieces that are by turns clunky and thrilling. When your rebel base comes under siege, you need to zip between gun emplacements and a giant EMP that takes some time to charge, all under a hail of gunfire and shells. It’s suitably frantic, but compromised by the mess of markers and scenery that’s all too easy to get stuck on. Rico’s grapple will often latch onto the underside of platforms, forcing you to wrestle with the camera to find another surface to hook onto. Here, as with so many other missions, you’ll need to interrupt your retaliatory efforts to restock on ammo. Grenades and rockets are in short supply, and your SMGs

“the Sandbox actively workS againSt a deSire to let you off the leaSh.”


review right Hitching a ride with a gas canister offers a speedy escape route, until it blows…

the opm breakdown w h at y o u d o i n… J u s t c a u s e 3

4% wondering

why every cutscene ends with rico turning his back.

below The Navajo chopper is great against smaller settlements.

12% Making a homebrew catapult and testing it out on the local wildlife.

30%

16% thinking up inventive ways to destroy satellite dishes…

Seeing how far you can travel in a single wingsuit run. Wheee!

28% … before resorting to good old-fashioned c4 and rockets to get it done quicker.

10% Sighing as yet another rebel drop gives you a helicopter on fire.

tIoN ra

s-

aH

Im

It ’

E

Z Er

oF tHE oP

EE

INs

DoDG YG

friends & enemies

br

a

texan ex-operative tom Sheldon returns – but can he really be trusted?

Physicist dimah knows Mario is the de facto a few tricks for taking comic relief – though down shielded tanks. he’s not really that funny.

s tat pa c k

400 57 100 25 above Petrol stations give you decent bang for one well-placed shot.

and shotguns barely make a dent in sturdier vehicles. You can increase your stock, of course, but you’ll have to jump – or fly, or drive – through hoops to do so. Just Cause 3 has more rings than Elizabeth Taylor, each vehicular side-mission a simple race against the clock through circular gates to work your way towards upgrades you’ll wish weren’t held back for so long.

WINGmaN DutIEs

Rampage missions that task you with levelling a base with infinite-ammo special weapons (bizarrely once you’ve made the place your own) fare better, offering a glimpse at the kind of Bruckheimerbeating devastation we’d been promised. But by the time you’ve unlocked the best of the upgrades, there are barely any more settlements left. In a game with so many guns, the most valuable addition to Rico’s arsenal by

far is the wingsuit. This is Just Cause 3’s saving grace, peerlessly capturing the sensation of flying at speed. Leaping off the side of a mountain, hugging the rocks on the way down, before pulling up as the ground approaches and skimming across an impossibly blue Mediterranean Sea is exhilarating. Judicious use of your tether and parachute can see you fly for kilometres without once touching terra firma. In these moments, Just Cause 3 becomes one of the best extreme sports sims you’ve ever played. What a pity the rest of the game struggles to match it.

The size, in Number of gears square miles, of needed to unlock Just Cause 3’s the re-reel – mammoth map Rico’s best covering the traversal ability Medici islands. by some way.

Percentage of ancient tombs you’ll need to locate to get the brilliant Stupka mortar.

The number of, often disappointing, story missions, split between three acts.

h o w t o… f ly f o r m i l e s 1

2

3

1 naturally, you’ll need somewhere high to jump from, though you can get plenty of air by aiming your grapple high and hitting q as you reel yourself in. 2 tap w to open your wingsuit and swoop down – not too steeply, but enough to pick up a bit of speed. an artificial updraft will let you stay low. 3 if you’re near a cliff, you can use your grapple for an extra burst of speed – otherwise alternate with the parachute to rise before you spread your wings once more. is it better than?

verdict

for all its booms and bangs, Just cause 3 is never quite the unrestrained fun-maker it threatens to be. whenever rodriguez dons his wingsuit, however, it positively soars. Chris schilling

no

yes

no

it’s a dead heat, really: Jc3 reaches greater heights than its predecessor, but it’s more inconsistent, too.

volition’s original is a wild outing, but the PS4 port is flimsier than Jc3 in its worst moments.

Sucker Punch knows how to orchestrate sandbox chaos without its engine chugging quite so badly.

089


review The audioscape is excellent, selling the gnawing tension that permeates the game.

rEStlESS nIght

090

@oPm_uK

among thE SlEEP

A chilling monster-house mix of the mundane and magical

t

info Format PS4 Eta Out NOw Pub Krillbite StudiO DEv Krillbite StudiO

he world is a frightening place, but never more so than when you’re a kid. Bumps in the night, monsters under the bed, loud noises. All are sources of pant-wetting terror (sometimes literally) to freshly minted imaginations. In fact, the early stages of life make such a good setting for a horror game, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been done before. As a disempowered toddler, the whole world is just a fizzled-out nightlight away from becoming a nightmare factory. Among The Sleep takes an axe to the kneecaps of the standard first-person perspective and pops you in the fuzzy blue sleepsuit of a two-yearold child. After some brief birthday celebrations, you’re put down to bed. But when you wake suddenly in the night and discover your mother is missing, you begin a surreal quest to resolve your crippling abandonment issues. In the handful of hours that follow, developer Krillbite makes thoughtful use of its concept, using your short stature to show the world from an arrestingly weird perspective. A creaking house segues between oak-panelled corridors and a creepy forest. Drawers become platforms

“the whOle wOrld iS juSt A fizzled-Out light frOM A NightMAre fActOry.”

to clamber up, while a pair of old boots can be as frightening as any grisly apparition when glimpsed from under a bed and framed by a stab of music. The controls do well to trick an adult brain into reverting to childlike patterns and fears, too. Crawling is often faster than walking, but makes it harder to orientate yourself in a world built for giants. Clutching your teddy to your chest, meanwhile, provides a subtle glow to guide you as you wobble slowly forwards, leaving you comforted and vulnerable all at once.

mummY ISSuES

It’s a shame that while the setting and feel are richly coloured, the frequent light puzzles are crayon scribbles by comparison. Rarely is your task more involved than route finding, with some simple item hunts padding out the distance your tiny feet must patter. You’ll also find many variations on the theme of finding a way to clamber up to high shelves or handles, which are cute at first, but overplayed.

There’s a detailed physics system governing what happens when you clutch an item in your pudgy fists, too, but its uses are poorly developed. And in between, there’s a bit of monster hide and seek. Sadly, this is easily the game’s weakest bit, your ability to evade too limited to prevent a few frustrating resets. Among The Sleep, however, seems more interested in ramping up atmosphere than scare factor, building to a solar plexus punch of a finale that puts its tense, Dali-esque journey into context. It’s an affecting end, one that will stay with you long after all memory of its flaws has flaked away like crusted sleep dust. I just wish the game design sandwiched in the middle also featured that same level of maturity. verdict

More than an (unsteady) walking simulator, Among the Sleep is still in need of a bit more game than the comfort blanket of puzzles it cuddles. the payoff’s great, though. matt Clapham


review While it’s hardly dazzling, Extinction has its moments – the dinosaur animations are particularly enjoyable.

baD bonEs

@iamthemanta

Primal CarnagE: ExtinCtion

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Dinosaurs? Dinosnores, more like…

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info Format PS4 Eta Out nOw Pub Panic buttOn DEv circle five StudiOS

he cast of Jurassic Park spend much of the movie looking distraught. If Primal Carnage: Extinction is in any way representative of their experience of fighting dinosaurs, we now know why. A few hours spent with Circle Five Stuidos’ PS4 version of the asymmetric team brawler would be enough to sour anybody’s mood.

Originally intended as an update to indie collective Lukewarm Media’s 2012 game, Primal Carnage, the project grew into a fullblown sequel released earlier this year on PC. A modest revision of the original, the game pits a pair of commendably varied teams against each other, one comprising humans and one a mix of fast-moving and lumbering dinosaurs. Batting on the side of evolutionary progress are the Scientist, Commando, Pathfinder, Trapper and Pyro. All have primary and secondary weapons, plus a throwable – the Trapper, for example, tosses a net to ensnare smaller dinosaurs and lock the jaws of larger ones, whereas the Scientist has taken time out of academia to learn how to use a sniper rifle and a tranquilliser gun. The selection of tools is broad, but all offer the same spongy, limp feedback that makes using them a dire experience. Combined with the fact that larger dinosaurs take a fair amount of lead

to stop, it makes even the Commando’s assault rifle feel like a pea shooter. The controls are problematic, too – you can’t scope from sprinting, for instance, meaning you have to stop first. It’s just one example of Primal’s clunky design that feels like it belongs in the past.

laCKing bitE

Talking of which, playing as a dinosaur is more about getting up close with your claws and teeth. The Novaraptor is a fastmoving critter that can pounce and maul the underachieving humans. The Pteranodon can swoop down and grab prey. And the Carnotaurus charges at victims with its boney skull. It’s a rush controlling these creatures at first, until you try to score a kill and discover the same lack of feedback that blights the humans is now allied to a third-person viewpoint that makes it remarkably difficult to even know what’s going on.

If you insist on persisting, there’s a scant three modes in which to do so, plus a free roam option liberated of objectives. Team Deathmatch is self-explanatory, while Survival is a Horde mode and Get To The Chopper is essentially Conquest, in which the humans must take a series of points in order to escape an area while the dinos impede their efforts. Whichever species you choose, you’ll certainly want to leave. Despite Extinction’s promising premise, and a clear effort to balance each team’s offensive capabilities, the game is let down by prehistoric execution and risible controls. Hold on to your butts… and move right along. verdict

a flimsy-feeling team shooter that squanders an appealing premise in a mess of poor controls and design. this is one set of dinosaurs that should be put to rest. ben maxwell


review

“Sorry! We were looking for Ludwig the Ravishing. Is he next door?” @mGElliott

bornE aGain

092

blooDbornE: thE olD huntErs

Challenging expansion provides a masterful finale

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info Format PS4 Eta Out nOw Pub SOny DEv FrOm SOFtware

ven starting The Old Hunters is hard. That tells you everything you need to know. This is not paunchy, season pass DLC, to be lazily accessed through anything so indecorous as a menu. Hell, no. This is creator Miyazaki goading you into returning. A spiteful, inventive expansion, stitched into the leathery flesh of the existing game. Bold, relentless and completely essential.

New players can access the DLC early on, but it’s like giving artisan chisels to a toddler. The Old Hunters offers fresh obstacles only for the fearless, and it does so masterfully. Even seasoned hunters will struggle with the narrowing, panicked gauntlets and meatshredding machine guns. Simple NPC encounters resemble PvP combat. Enemy hunters come armed with vicious, unfamiliar weapons that batter you into reactive play. At times, they too will attack roaming beasts, making the whole world feel even more violent, bleak and alive. If you mastered the original game, being forced to change and adapt is an exhilarating lesson in humility. The Old Hunters delights in reminding you how worthless you are, and it’s an even more sinister challenge for players who’ve completed Bloodborne. NG+ is a test only for those blessed with exceptional gonadular fortitude. To my shame, I start a new game and grind my way

up to the correct level. (I was wholly uncomfortable with your respect, anyway.) Despite the difficulty, The Old Hunters is fun. It feels wrong using the ‘f’ word in the same context as Bloodborne, but the new trick weapons are all mischievous. My favourite’s the Whirligig Saw – half lollipop, half carpentry tool. Like many of the weapons, it offers something different to the standard, staid tools of the vanilla game. You’ll have to abandon the snug familiarity of your favoured sidearm, but that’s the essence of Bloodborne: risk is the only path to reward.

thErE will bE blooD

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the boss fights, which are rich and challenging like a vast Christmas pudding. Two minutes with Ludwig and you’ll be wistfully remembering the quality time you spent with Ebrietas. These are some of

the toughest bosses in any Miyazaki game, and only perseverance will help you. The Old Hunters is more than just a series of disparate fights, though. It’s an unnerving adventure in the perfect setting: rivers of blood run to sinister laboratories and buildings tumble beneath ruptured skies. It’s wonderful, damaged and completely unforgettable. It’s as vivid and gruelling as anything in the main story, and it reminds me why I love Bloodborne – a game where the thrill of finding a shortcut eclipses any cutscene or QTE. The icy hardship will put some people off, but this an opulent, enlightening package that gives far more than it takes. verdict

the Old Hunters is DLC as it should be: an essential challenge that enriches the original rather than diminishing it. Being horrified has rarely felt this rewarding. matt Elliott


review info

Format PS4 also on PS3 Eta OUT NOW Pub baNdai NamcO DEv ViciOUS cycle

aDvEnturE timE: Finn anD JakE invEstigations The case of the missing gameplay

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eloved animated series adventure Time has videogames in its dNa, so it’s a travesty on par with the ice King’s pick-up technique that there’s yet to be a great PlayStation game set in the land of Ooo. Finn and Jake investigations is the best so far, but it still falls well short of the cartoon’s stratospherically high standards. after discovering their parents’ magical case-giving ticker tape machine, Jake the dog and Finn the Human set out to solve five 60-or-so-minute mysteries around Ooo.1 but whereas the most recent adventure Time games aped dungeon crawler diablo, Finn and Jake investigations is a basic point and click. emphasis on ‘basic’, though, as effortless object collection and snoreinducingly simple puzzles are the order of the day. every so often, enemies will attack, at which point you engage in dismal onebutton combat with zero challenge. it’s highly repetitive, but these bits are mercifully brief and there are some fun Jake power-ups and different swords to try. The art style is unusual for adventure Time, the move to 3d models sacrificing a great deal of the show’s charm. but this instalment has two important things going for it: brilliant voice acting by the cast of the show, and laugh out loud lines (O)oozing with surreal wit. much of the humour requires prior knowledge from the show,2 so if you’ve no idea what a grayble or the enchiridion is, give this a wide berth. For adventure Time obsessives, there’s six hours of simplistic fun to be had, even if this is still far from the game that the show richly deserves. Jordan Farley

FootnotEs 1 One case has you thwarting lumpy Space Princess’ attempt to usurp the ice Kingdom. 2 The game concedes to newcomers once, near the start, but totally gives up after that.

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Format PS ViTa Eta OUT NOW Pub RiSiNg STaR gameS DEv NURiJOy

suPErbEat: Xonic Xolid in every sense

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et ready to tap furiously, K-pop fans, as this rhythm-action blast will have you swiping the night away. How will you be doing it? Well, there are two curved lines on each side,1 which blocks fly towards. much like Persona 4: dancing all Night, you interact with them by tapping the screen or the correct d-pad direction or face button. interact is the key word there, as certain icons need to be swiped or dragged across the screen, either with your finger or analogue stick. However you play, it’s pleasingly intuitive, with the classic thrill of racking up combo scores and tapping in time to the music quickly becoming second nature. difficulty’s malleable thanks to the ability to select between 4Trax (with four, er, tracks zooming into the screen), 6Trax (with six lanes), and the trickiest 6TraxFX, in which shoulder buttons are thrown into the mix. There are two main modes on offer: Stage mode, in which you pick three songs you’ve unlocked and attempt to set a high score, and World Tour, in which the game sets specific songs and pass conditions. Stage’s quick blasts of gameplay feel perfect for journeys, while World Tour’s more demanding challenges are best attempted somewhere you can scream. early frustrations aside, it’s compulsive experience that plays heavily to PS Vita’s strengths in both the core gameplay and its structure. everything you do earns XP to unlock new World Tour stages, songs and dJ icons,2 so even if you get stuck – which you will, as it can get incredibly tricky even on easy – you never get overly frustrated. The constant sense of earning something new makes it a worthy alternative to Persona 4: daN. ben tyrer

FootnotEs 1 They bizarrely look a fair bit like the health bars from TimeSplitters 2. 2 dJ icons unlock various benefits, such as XP boosts or shields that cover any missed notes.

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Format PS4 also on PS3 Eta OUT NOW Pub TellTale gameS DEv TellTale gameS

gamE oF thronEs s1E6 – thE icE Dragon Razing the Forresters

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ny Stark loyalist knows what it’s like to be kicked when you’re down. and punched. and flung head-first into an abyss of existential despair. in that respect, Telltale’s game Of Thrones is remarkably faithful to its source material – they can both be phenomenally cruel. and given that a Song Of ice and Fire remains unfinished after almost 20 years, this season one finale appropriately offers scant resolution. in TV terms, it feels less like a final episode and more like a mid-season break, ending on a trio of irksome cliffhangers. coupled with Telltale’s traditional illusion of choice problems,1 there’s little question that game Of Thrones fails to stick its landing. in previous episodes, Telltale’s constant desire to cram in famous faces from the show worked to its detriment, reminding you that there are more interesting events taking place out of frame. With the exception of an early cameo, that’s not the case here, and it’s to the season’s credit that, by the end, House Forrester’s plight feels just as meaningful as House Stark’s, and equally unjust – the perfect encapsulation of game Of Thrones’ unforgiving morals. dialogue and voice acting are top notch, but the Telltale formula is starting to show its age. The engine is in urgent need of an overhaul as well, with persistent animation stutters, audio problems and bugs often killing the flow of a scene.2 it can’t touch the show, let alone the novels, but if you’re the kind of person who enjoys game Of Thrones’ nerve-obliterating brand of emotional masochism, this first season doesn’t skimp on shocks. Jordan Farley

FootnotEs 1 most decisions you make are meaningless, boiling down to binary options in the finale. 2 being prompted to “Press b” at one point feels like someone is desecrating my PS4.

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review info

Format PS4 (DownloaD only) Eta oUT now Pub RiSing STaR gameS DEv Delve inTeRacTive

Poncho Just say Ponch-no

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Format PS4 alSo on PS viTa Eta oUT now Pub BanDai namco DEv aRTDink

SworD art onlinE: loSt Song Fairy wings and fan service

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Format PS4 (DownloaD only) Eta oUT now Pub RiSing STaR gameS DEv kRaken emPiRe

Kromaia omEga it’s all greek to me

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he shadow of Fez’s perspective trickery looms large over Poncho, a 2.5D platformer with an intriguing premise. its central mechanic is ‘parallax platforming’, with tiny robot Poncho – named after his singular item of clothing – able to switch between two-dimensional planes. it’s a cute mechanic, where a tap of the shoulder buttons sends you forward or back between layers. early levels ease you into how the world operates – some blocks move on a timer, others only move if you switch planes – and reward exploration with keys that unlock other areas of levels.1 it’s not groundbreaking, but it’s modest fun, with a really strong soundtrack and visual style. But halfway through, the difficulty spikes high as the platforming shortcomings are brutally exposed by the mechanics. Poncho is simply too slow – the speed of moving blocks means anything less than a perfect jump is instantly punished. Frustratingly, it has a habit of piling on too much for you to keep track of, as you’re constantly relying on visual information to figure out which plane objects are on while also navigating Poncho with demandingly quick reflexes. while there’s no lives limit, it’s overwhelmingly complicated rather than challenging. Some areas i beat by running and hoping for the best, others are just grinds. what enjoyment there is in the premise is stripped out in the later levels by a dull slog through genre cliches2 and punishing pitfalls that can wipe out progress in seconds. a more forgiving checkpoint system might have dulled the pain, but there’s little satisfaction in seeing it through to the end. a disappointment considering its potential. ben tyrer

JRPg set within a virtual reality mmo based on an anime adapted from a light novel – lost is certainly what you’ll be if you enter lost Song with zero knowledge of the Sao universe. Serving very few scoops of back story, this is a title that strives to please only the series’ most dedicated fans. in his latest quest, hero kirito sets out to explore the floating islands of Svart alfheim1 with Sao sweetheart asuna and a formidable roster of over 15 playable characters. The majority of the game is spent soaring through the skies, looting dungeons and fighting mini-bosses, all while unearthing the secrets of the Shamrock guild and its leader – a famous singing idol. Silky smooth controls allow you to breeze through battles, while there’s no reason to keep honing that fight or flight response, because glittering fairy wings mean you can have your takoyaki and eat it. everything is available at the touch of a button, whether you want to block an incoming attack, cast a spell or unleash an 11-hit combo. on top of the main questline, visiting the tiny city of Ryne triggers a series of visual novel-style events that deepen kirito’s bonds with his gal pals. events range from festivals to swimming contests – insert anime pin-up shot here.2 lost Song even allows you to collect craft materials, which blacksmith lisbeth can use to enhance your weapons. The maps and monsters are pretty lacklustre and its storyline is basically all fluff, but a unique cast of characters and a fluid aerial battle system give this one a sugary sweet coating that’s hard to resist. Jenny baker

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ttempting to understand the objective of arcade shoot ‘em up kromaia omega is like listening to a space admiral who’s gone a bit wrong. “considering the gumtime in the flim-flam, you’d be crazy to blurbfight the escalator! Here’s a laser cannon with 15 settings, none of which i’ll bother to explain. Don’t forget to barrel-roll away from the evil fishbones! now, off you pop to save the futuristic greek universe.” Beautiful, beserk, but more than a little baffling, the best way to describe it is utter nonsense… in space. Thrown into six degrees of yawing, pitching and rolling freedom, it’s hard not to have fun. lasers pulse and missiles bleep ominously as you weave through asteroids. controls are wonderfully fluid – you do understand the controls, don’t you? it’s your standard setup – i for primary fire, p for secondary fire. Hold them for completely unspecified periods for alternate attacks. it’s 8, 4 or 6 on the D-pad for a grappling hook, but 2 to trigger co-op mode. who needs a tutorial? or any idea of what is going on in this futuristic fustercluck?1 The gameplay struggles to subsist on adrenaline alone, and any sense of purpose or progression is meagre. The hyperstylised cosmos contains interesting puzzles, but when swarms of unidentified foes descend, i can barely tell my fuselage from my elbow, let alone don my thinking helmet. There’s a Pure mode (one life) and a classic Score attack mode to dive into, providing you manage to unearth them.2 arcade fans might be willing to muddle through the comms breakdown, but while enjoyable, this is nothing to phone home about. Jen Simpkins

FootnotES 1 you also collect gems, which you use to buy keys. obsessive collectors beware, you’re in for a trawl. 2 The water level, which forces you to hold w to see the layers, is a chore.

FootnotES 1 Svart alfheim is the newest area of alfheim online, a vRmmo set in a land of fairies. 2 encountering a bath towel option in every heroine’s costume menu sets the tone early on.

FootnotES 1 i could explain what’s happening in these screens, but matt wouldn’t let me write an eight page review. 2 The menus might as well be written in a different language. oh, wait – they are!


review info

Format PS4 also on PS3 Eta Out NOw puB SONy DEv QuaNtic Dream

this month on ps plus @itsJenSim

One thing’s for certain – everything is better with unicorns and dragons – just look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. That GOTY award isn’t an accident! Happily, December’s PS Plus goody bag is filled to bursting with plenty of whimsical rainbow ridiculousness. Fantastical beasts, neon weaponry, violent anthropomorphic police chickens… Okay, now I’m a little scared. aiDEn sEEK

BEYonD: tWo souls

@itsJensim

Still a stunner, warts and all

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reaking out in a feverish sweat at the mere mention of the upcoming Detroit: Become Human? Well, Quantic Dream has given you an incredible gift. No, not telekinetic powers courtesy of a ghostly BFF – but close. Playing star-studded, supernatural interactive drama Beyond: Two Souls on your PS4 is now an option.

the low point being a chapter in which David Cage decides the only thing better than a battle with a giant, supernatural sand-skull is a gratuitous shower scene. All completely irrelevant to the plot, of course. But for every Navajo chapter, there’s a Homeless, in which Beyond nails its narrative, forcing you to identify with difficult situations and letting more intimate moments shine.

Speaking of options, the current-gen Beyond offers plenty. You can play the jumbled-up narrative in chronological order (dubbed the “Remixed” version), PS3’s DLC is included, and added stats screens mean you can overanalyse all your choices. Beyond’s visuals were revolutionary on PS3, but they’re almost otherworldly on PS4. Sweat glistens, dust particles dance, pores are visible… Okay, it sounds gross, but it’s brilliant. Promise. You feel like you’re there in Jodie’s story – her tears look beautiful (bit creepy, Jen. Moving on…). Ellen Page’s performance has lost none of its power. Whether it’s negotiating adolescence with a petulant spirit in tow, or submitting to the manipulative CIA, Jodie steals the show in every scene. That’s not to say it’s nothing but successes: no amount of PS4 wizardry can gloss over narrative blips. The quality dips halfway through –

QtE-pi

Hoping for updated gameplay? Sorry. Beyond is still QTEbased, parodying what little cover shooting and stealth there is. Simple, immersive actions work best – the snowball fight is charming, but pounding q to solve an equation is just plain hilarious. That half-time nosedive meant I never finished PS3’s version, so I’m delighted to discover there’s a finale moment similar to Life Is Strange’s Memory Lane… only done much, much better. In some respects, Beyond continues to show PS4 titles how it’s done – but a second playthrough does magnify its flaws along with pores. verdict

Shaky at second glance, but deserves the PS4 promotion. remix mode and stats screens provide a fresh way into Jodie’s story, should you revisit it. Jen simpkins

Below it’s a shame touchpad functionality wasn’t added – we could have written on Jodie’s cardboard sign.

GauntlEt: slaYEr EDition lets you plunge headlong into dragon-hassling in a top-down dungeon crawler. the hectic hack ’n’ slash reboot has you hunting treasure as one of four heroes, and gets even more spellbinding in co-op mode. Not ready to remove those nostalgia specs? consider yourself lucky, squire, as KinG’s QuEst: a KniGht to rEmEmBEr joins PS4’s party. chapter one has a generous sprinkling of puzzles and crazy characters. medieval merriment is nice and all, but it’s all kicking off in PS3 FPS Far CrY 3: BlooD DraGon. utterly bonkers ‘80s fun dressed in blood-spattered day-glo legwarmers, the stand-alone expansion has you going cyber commando as rex Power colt. Foes aflame! machetes aglow! Probably Godzilla! and speaking of neon, snowboarding romp ssX will soak your PS3 in sick sparkly tricks – and pipe run Dmc hits into your brain. the truly tricky title is roCKEtBirDs: harDBoilED ChiCKEn on PS Vita. what does it even mean? why is that rooster chomping on a cigar? more to the point, how’s he managed to land a job in law enforcement? it’s chicken cops versus morally bankrupt penguins in this murderous platformer. your poor, scarred PS Vita is probably begging for the comparative rationality of FrEEDom Wars, a futuristic strategic action rPG. reduce your million-year prison sentence by gunning down weird and wondrous behemoths. totally normal.

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this month online

dlc

movies

music

how to

trophies

on the store 100 Lego Dimensions Dr Who What happens when you add one multi-dimension-loving series to another? More possibilities than you can imagine. But mainly, tiny Capaldi.

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on your xmb 102 The Man From UNCLE Less apples and pears, more suits and slick hair – Guy Ritchie tackles ’60s spies with this TV reboot.

music

online tests

Call Of Duty: Black Ops III

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Countless specialists were sacrificed to deliver the wargasm lowdown, but is Blops tops or plops?

103 This month’s hottest tunes

how to… 104 Build a Fallout 4 base

platinum club 105 Call Of Duty: Black Ops III


online tests what we’re playing now

multiplayer modes put through their paces by our team of experts

review

WRC 5

Andrew Westbrook discovers he should never, ever try racing cars for real Career-fatigued, I’m eager to give real human brains a taste of my fumes. First attempt, a host refusing to start the race. Second, the game crashes. Third, a last-second quitter leaves us frozen on the startline. Finally, I get to drive. Pastel-coloured ghosts storm ahead, drop behind or fly off corners – adding a blood-surging immediacy the main game lacks. Sadly, the frenzy proves too much. Again and again. Careful cornering gone with the gearbox, I’m a rabid ghost-chaser. Trees are my friends now. DNF is my name.

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Guilty GeAR XRd -SiGN-

Jen Simpkins heads to Japan and develops a Guilty conscience Thanks to a PS Plus sale, I spend my evening shooting people out of cannons in 2.5D. After twiddling my thumbs in an empty European lobby, I decide humiliation trumps loneliness, and gingerly step into a Japanese group. The matchup begins, and I brace for expert impact – but blows don’t land, and I come out on top. Five matches, and even a perfect round – I barely know my Overdrive combos! I feel dirty, but hey, wins are wins.

ViRtuA teNNiS 4: WoRld touR editioN Ben tyrer finally gets (to lose) a match

Every now and again, I return to Virtua Tennis 4’s network mode on PS Vita, on the off-chance I might get a game. It’s always the same: quick match, wait by playing against the CPU, get impatient, go back to World Tour. About as exciting as the first round at Wimbledon. This time, however, I get a message saying “A New Challenger” and my very first online game of VT4 begins. I lose, obviously, but it’s a rush to finally test myself against an actual human. I play two more games. I lose both. I go back to World Tour.

info FoRmAt PS4/PS3 PuB ACTIvISIOn deV TrEYArCh ReVieW ISSuE #117, 8/10

Call Of Duty: Black Ops III Dutiful Blops just about gets the job done

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ithin seconds of stepping back into the online battlefields, it’s clear that time hasn’t been very kind to my skills. I’m in a perpetual death-respawn-death loop, as a mixture of carelessness and cunning opponents drive my unending misery. Slowy though, my thumbs re-learn the necessary elasticity for aiming and I chalk up a kill. I then receive a few bullets for my troubles. Yep, it’s definitely a Call Of Duty. This year is certainly a refinement rather than an overhaul. The most notable new game mode in the core playlist is Safeguard, in which you escort – wait, come back – a robot doubling up as a bomb across the map. Each team takes turns shepherding it and defending a base – and final minute scrambles in which it’s only a few steps away are enjoyably chaotic. But it’s not one you’re going to be clamouring to

return to again and again after a few rounds. There’s also the Arena mode, which places a Ban/Protect system at the start of games and enforces each player to be a different type of Specialist. It’s a mode that’s clearly meant for committed CODers, leaving players to stomach a minimum five-minute wait at the start of games as each person places their votes. The reward is a

hyper-competitive game, but if you’re a casual fan, it feels like too many hoops to jump through to be murder fodder. The overriding feeling is that the more COD changes, the more it stays the same. The introduction of wall running is the best example of this. Coming across an enemy running at you on a vertical surface means only the twitchiest will survive… but it’s not hugely

NOThINg FEElS lIkE A mAJOr gAmEPlAy ShAkE-UP ThAT ElEVATES IT AbOVE PrEVIOUS EFFOrTS.


CACk mARket

COD’s black market can unlock options for weapons and taunts with cryptokeys, earned by playing games. It adds nothing to the core experience, but it’s there if you want it.

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Welcome to redwood. Or as we call it now, Almost Endor.

WWE 2k16

And the crowd goes absolutely mild info FoRmAt PS4/PS3 PuB 2K GAMES deV YuKE’S/vISuAl COnCEPTS ReVieW ISSuE #117, 8/10

ell, this is awkward. WWE 2K16 is a weighty, refreshingly lag-free online brawler… on the few occasions you can find an opponent. Across a weekend, I spend more time training against the AI in an empty arena (while waiting for a real foe) than in human-vs-human bouts. Thankfully, there’s still value in its net-based features via Community Creations. It’s from here that you can download brilliantly realistic versions of the grapplers annoyingly omitted: Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Braun Strowman and so on. Even hulk hogan and CM Punk are represented. With 100 CAW slots to fill, the possibilities are vast. And yes, you can find Bray Wyatt reimagined as a Bella Twin. Complete, inevitably, with the hashtag #braymode. verdict

underpopulated when it comes to its in-ring action, but still deserves credit for its fast, easily searchable Community Creations feature. Ben Wilson

different to coming face-to-face with someone at a corner. This is not inherently a bad thing – it’s still a fizzy, fun shooter that I lose evenings to – but there’s nothing that feels like a major, fundamental gameplay shake-up that elevates this above previous efforts. Disappointingly, we’ve also seen that matchmaking has a habit of lining up great teams against, er, not so great ones. Whichever side of the coin you land on, it will sometimes feel like your efforts are having zero impact on the game around you. Still, Blacks Ops III offers an enjoyable time online. When it all comes together, it’s still able to conjure the sweaty-palmed rush the series consistently delivers, even with its developing sense of unbreakable familiarity. verdict

Despite several design issues that dilute the experience, the juggernaut multiplayer does just enough minor tinkering to keep most returning fans happily blasting away. Ben tyrer

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Driveclub bikes

Online racing without first corner pile-ups? Yes! info FoRmAt PS4 PuB SOnY deV EvOluTIOn STuDIOS ReVieW ISSuE #117, 8/10

far more assured online racer than its four-wheeled counterpart, Driveclub Bikes has so much more physical room for the action to breathe. The flowing, deliberate cornering, combined with the exaggerated, arcade-like slipstream effect, make for some wonderfully majestic overtakes. The servers are working smoothly after the vanilla game’s awful start, and they’re full of players. Even when a room empties out, another blends in seamlessly. red vs blue team designation helps give every position some meaning (so winning isn’t essential), and the four-lap default distance is just right. Being able to save online replays is brilliant, too – there’s nothing quite like watching your win from the second-place rider’s point of view. verdict

While challenging friends to ghost lap trials is still more rewarding, Driveclub’s bikes are far better suited to full-contact online races than the cars. Justin towell

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on the store

empty your wallets now with the latest downloadable diversions expansion

dlc £5.79

Batman: arkham knight – SeaSon of infamy Super-villains Killer Croc, Mr Freeze, Mad Hatter and Ra’s al Ghul crash Gotham in new missions, each one about the length of the main game’s Most Wanted chapters. Buy it separately, or get it with the Season Pass.

£29.99

Lego Dimensions – Doctor Who Level Pack ££29.99

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£4.99

And the angels wept

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ini Peter Capaldi! A Tardis! A cute little K9! The ability to regenerate into other Time Lords! A full Doctor Who intro sequence made from Lego! WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?! Quite a bit, actually, when it comes to this latest Lego Dimensions add-on. After the excellent A Dalektable Adventure mission from the base game (featuring some exceedingly creepy Weeping Angel sections), new level The Dalek Extermination Of Earth is a letdown. The first half is spent visiting London at different times to solve some puzzles in what’s little more than a laborious and obtuse fetch quest. The rest is basically an extraterrestrial beatdown of Doctor Who monsters in gloomy renditions of Trenzalore and

Skaro. Hardly inspiring, given the high standards of the main campaign. Thankfully, the models are excellent, and the Adventure World – in which you must join up fragments of the Doctor Who universe – is swimming with nods to the show (the logic in bolting Skaro onto London for easy access

is lost on us, though). But as the weakest level pack yet, and with the freshly patched ability to now ‘Hire-A-Hero’, enabling you to access most of the base game’s content without buying new models, those desperate for Doctor Who Lego would be better off considering Lego Ideas set 21304.

THOSE DESPERATE FOR DOCTOR WHO LEGO WOULD BE BETTER OFF COnSiDERinG LEGO iDEAS SET 21304.

£4.99

This Plants Vs Zombies costume pack for LittleBigPlanet 3 is a little corny, but you’ll zom-bie satisfied with the exclusive costume.

Jesse’s adventure branches off in Assembly Required and The Last Place You Look, the latest chapters in the series. Whether you meet (redstone whiz) Ellegaard or (purveyor of exploding goods) Magnus, tentacle trouble will be brewing. £34.99

call of duty: Black opS iii SeaSon paSS

also on PSN

SACKBOY VS ZOMBIESPS1

minecraft Story mode: epiSodeS 2 & 3

£3.29

DUCT TAPES ARE FOREVER PS1 £2

Break out of a dastardly villain’s lair (while trying not to ruin your tuxedo) in this DLC for The Escapists. No, Mr Bond, they expect you to pay.

£7.99

EVANGELION COSTUMESPS1

Tales Of Zestiria goes even more anime with these outfits, based on character designs from the super-popular apocalyptic mecha series.

£1.69

CLASSIC TV BATMAN

Holy add-ons, Batman! Check out Arkham Knight’s Classic TV Series Batmobile pack, with its ’60s Batmobile, Catwoman and Robin skins, plus race tracks.

FREE

VAULT BOY ANTENNAPS1

Been loving Bethesda’s latest? Update your copy of Rocket League, as you’ll receive a very S.P.E.C.I.A.L Vault Boy freebie. What a perk.

Upgrade your bulletriddled new Blops with the Season Pass. You’ll get four DLC packs a month before other consoles, including more multiplayer maps and extra Zombies fun (the The Giant map is an excellent remake of Der Riese, from World At War and Black Ops).


on your XMB

coming soon The Bridge seasOn 3

21 Dec

The Scandi crime drama picks up 13 months after season two and, would you believe it, there’s another murder to solve in Sweden.

blu-rays

26 Dec The TranspOrTer reFueled Thrones’ Ed Skrein is The Stath 2.0 as the mercenaryturned-driver is forced to take out a trafficker.

OuTcasT

26 Dec Hayden Christensen and Nicholas Cage are in 12th century China to protect the young heir to the imperial throne from his power-mad older brother. 26 Dec rise OF The FOOTsOldier 2 Belated sequel on the life of hooligan-turned-gangster Carlton Leach and the fallout from the Rettendon killings.

ricKi and The Flash

28 Dec

Meryl Streep’s failed rock star is reunited with the daughter she abandoned as a child in this comedy drama written by Diablo Cody.

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The Man From UNCLE Spy versus spy, retro-style

W There’s the classic suits and vintage dresses, but the ’60s setting still feels fresh.

ith Mission: Impossible hitting new highs, the only surprise about Hollywood turning its attention to America’s other ’60s spy show is that it took them this long. Like M:I, UNCLE abandons much about the original TV series, but succeeds on its own terms. Superdude Henry Cavill plays Napoleon Solo, a US agent partnered with Illya Kuryakin, Armie Hammer’s KGB man, to recover a nuclear warhead from femme fatale Victoria Vinciguerra (Elizabeth Debicki). Alicia Vikander also features as an implausibly glamorous East German mechanic whose scientist dad works for Vinciguerra. Spy movies have become increasingly serious in recent years, but UNCLE keeps things frothy. It’s a heightened, gentlemanly world, a fact Hammer runs with – he’s hugely enjoyable as the

short-tempered straight man. Cavill does his best Roger Moore impression, but is a little lacking in charisma. More effective are the women – notably Debicki, who revels in the film’s double entendredriven dialogue. Guy Ritchie directs and gives UNCLE the Holmes treatment. It’s stylishly shot with a gorgeous period setting, littered with visual flourishes that keep the energy high, even when the plot sags. It never catches fire the way the Holmes films did, but pastiches of a forgotten era of spy stories don’t come much better. Jordan Farley

sinisTer 2

28 Dec Bughuul is back! And so’s that cop you’ve probably forgotten about from the first Sinister as a new family is tormented by spectral youths.

The WOlFpacK 28 Dec Fascinating doc about seven home-schooled kids from Manhattan who barely left their apartment in 14 years and learned about the world through cinema.

heisT

28 Dec Casino meets Speed as Robert De Niro hunts two men (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dave Bautista) who rob his gambling den and make their escape on a bus.

The runner

4 Jan Nicholas Cage plays it straight as an idealistic politician whose career is destroyed in a sex scandal in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. Heavy, man.

Kill Me Three TiMes

4 Jan

Simon Pegg plays against type as a moustachioed assassin in this Australian black comedy that weaves together three tales.


Rupert Friend ponders what he’s done exactly to keep getting cast as a killer for hire.

music

Guy Garvey COURTING THE SQUALL FOrMaT TRACK eTa OUT NOW price £0.99

elbow’s frontman strikes out with a solo single (from an album of the same name). It’s basically a harp, a drumbeat and a weather-beaten voice – but just try to deny its sozzled loveliness. twitter.com/Guy_Garvey

Hitman: Agent 47 Barcode battler that’ll leave you cold

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orget Silent Assassin, if Rupert Friend’s chrome-domed killer was ranked at the end of every encounter in Hitman: Agent 47, he’d be awarded Hatchet Man. Or Mass Murderer. Hell, let’s make that Messy Mass Murderer. The big screen’s rebooted 47 favours creatively gory killing over sneaky garrotting, which can be fun. The only problem is that it doesn’t feel all that Hitman-y. Accept that the movie is its own beast, however, and Hitman: Agent 47 isn’t entirely awful. The forgettable plot sees 47 contracted to kill Katia van Dees (Hannah Ware) and her father Dr Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) – who’s the creator of the Agent program. Out to stop him are Zachary Quinto’s blandsome John Smith and shadowy organisation the Syndicate. Friend, experienced in the ways of murderising for money, courtesy of Homeland, makes a decent 47. He looks the part and sells the assassin’s clinical efficiency in matters of life and death. But while that’s true to the character, it doesn’t make for a sympathetic presence on-screen. Smith, meanwhile,

never feels like a credible threat, and in a year in which Mad Max’s Furiosa and M:I’s Ilsa Faust set a high bar for female characters in action movies, the largely feckless Katia just doesn’t cut it. There are inspired moments, such as 47 luring anonymous troops into a series of traps in a jet engine factory (it would make a great level), but too often the film descends into ridiculous bombast with 47, arms stretched out, acting like he’s in a Michael Bay movie. With a better cast than it deserves and a couple of good sequences, Agent 47 isn’t bad as far as videogame movies go, but that’s not saying much. Jordan Farley

JaMMer BARS FOrMaT TRACK eTa OUT NOW price £0.99

Grime returned in a big way in 2015, and respected Mc-producer Jammer was one of the old guard forcing his way back. Bars is straightup lyricism with nothing so commercial as a pop chorus – but it crackles with menace and humour. twitter.com/jammerbbk

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GrIMeS ART ANGELS FOrMaT ALBUM eTa OUT NOW price £7.99

a cynic might dismiss art angels as outsider pop pixie claire Boucher making a bid for the Top 40 – more likely, it’s a glimpse of her muse flying free. Trance swells, K-pop hooks and metal weirdness are bolted together with euphoric effect. grimesmusic.com

MØ KAMIKAZE FOrMaT TRACK eTa OUT NOW price £0.99

Last seen bringing her considerable pipes to Major Lazer’s Lean On, Swedish songstress MØ teams up again with Diplo for this unseasonally sunny party tune – a grafting of Swedish pop melodicism and tropical reggae that appears genetically modified to put a big smile on your face. momomoyouth.com


how to… doctor playstation

Our console medic fixes your game woes with actual science

Build a Fallout 4 base Master the wasteland with our tips for settler success

1 2 3 STEp 1 TAG UNCOMMON RESOURCES FOR qUICk SEARCHING

STEp 2 POWER (AND LIGHT) YOUR BASE EFFICIENTLY

STEp 3 DEFEND AGAINST RAIDERS AND STYLE YOUR SHELTER

the problem

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Fallout 4’s Commonwealth is blimmin’ huge, so you’ll need a base. Settlements you build bring in the resources… and can look cooler than a Radroach in sunglasses.

Settle down, settle down. That’s often what I say to patients after an amputation goes awry, but it’s also the key to mastering Fallout 4. Luckily, the Doc’s here with some building pointers. “But Dr PlayStation!” I hear you cry, “You’re a completely legitimate medical professional – what do you know about construction?” Listen. Surgery, welding – it’s all the same if you close your eyes and believe. For starters, make scrabbling about for parts more efficient by tagging items. Need more copper for your electronics? Hit u on an item that contains copper in the crafting interface. The next time you’re scavenging, a magnifying glass symbol will pop up over relevant hunks of junk. It’ll save you lugging around useless tat, something the Doc always strives to avoid. Scalpels? Pah. Where I’m going, I don’t need scalpels.

When it comes to circuitry tutorials, Fallout 4 is as much use as a chocolate hot plate, so here’s how to amp up the juice and minimise resource waste. First, boost your power output by chaining generators together with wire, keeping them all in one place to free up valuable space. Place switches, then wire them to the generators (pylons will help organise multiple wires and extend range). Lights placed on switch-walls will now illuminate automatically, upping your settlers’ Happiness and making enemies easier to spot. Now build and power some radio broadcast beacons, or you’ll be all on your tod in your electric palace. And don’t forget decorative light boxes. They’ll need copper to build, copper wire to power, plus copper-hungry generators, so get tagging and tracing. Yes, you’re going to need a lot of copper.

The best defence is a good offence, or so my lawyer tells me. Guard towers, turrets and traps will raise your Defence score. Assign settlers and place turrets high up, near entrances and on edges to extend range and avert enemy damage. Bear in mind that traps such as pressure plates require power to arm. The Doc’s got Charisma and Intelligence to spare, but you’ll need to earn your own to bag essential building perks: Gun Nut (INT 3) unlocks better turrets, while Local Leader (CHR 6) opens up stores and workshops, bringing in mad caps and increasing your Happiness. But true happiness can’t be achieved without plastering puppies all over the walls. Yep, decorations boost settler morale, while fixtures such as chairs and workbenches make your base useful as well as homely.

the verdict

next month

Home, sweet irradiated home. Light it up, lock it down, perk it up and trick it out to reap maximum rewards. Naysayers might tell you that your mirror ball is tacky. Crank the radio up a notch.

Anyone can forge a medical degree, but only select people can join the OPM community on PS4. You included.


Mr trophy

Creep through cover with co-op buddies to survive while playing on Realistic setting.

Iain wilson’s PSN ID is wilbossman, and his trophy cabinet is bigger than yours.

Platinum x 64 Gold x 363 Silver x 1,420 Bronze x 5,926

Platinum Club

Fighting augmented armies for futuristic pots in COD: Black Ops III

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he majority of the latest Call Of Duty’s trophies are earned during the campaign, so this should be your first point of focus. There’s an award to be had for completing each of the 11 missions on Hardened, Veteran or Realistic difficulty, meaning you’ll need to beat the campaign on the hardest difficulty setting at some point. Tackle your first playthrough, however, at a level you feel comfortable with, so you can focus on the other challenges at hand. Some of these, such as Decimator, for killing ten enemies in under three seconds, should unlock naturally as you progress. Others, including Gun Game, for killing five enemies with five different guns in under 30 seconds, require planning and precision to execute. As always, each mission has a number of collectibles to find, but unlike the previous sets of identical laptops, these now feature a variety of intel items to gather. Locate all 56 of them to become a Curator. If you’re struggling to nab any of

them, we have a complete guide at bit.ly/BLOPS3guide. After completing the campaign at least once to see Another Side of the Story, you need to do it all again on the brutal Realistic difficulty, where pretty much one shot will kill you. You can make this marginally easier for yourself by getting some co-op partners

relies on both skill and grinding in great abundance. Turning to multiplayer, you have to reach the point where you can first prestige at level 55 to become Battle Tested. You also need to prove your Tactical Specialist skills by getting five medals based on a Specialist Ability in a single game – choosing the Overdrive ability can help as you can rack up Speed Kill medals pretty easily while using it. This just leaves the infamous Zombies mode, which is now titled Shadows Of Evil. The main challenge here is to complete all Rituals, which involves liberal use of Beast form to uncover the five items required to initiate the dark ceremonies, though you actually trigger The Beginning of the End once the fourth Ritual is finished. Should you manage to prove your mettle on the future battlefield and succeed in all of these tasks, you’ll become part of an elite Platinum squadron. Congratulations. At ease, soldier.

YOU NEED TO DO IT ALL AgAIN ON THE BRUTAL REALISTIC DIffICULTY, wHERE PRETTY MUCH ONE SHOT wILL KILL YOU. in, hugging cover at all times and gradually chipping away to the next checkpoint, but it’s such a stern challenge that Treyarch is right to suggest that No One Will Believe You when you finally do reach the conclusion. If you thought that task was bad, then you probably shouldn’t look at the requirements for Personal Decorator. To achieve this you need to earn all Decorations found in the Medal Case in your safe house, which includes unlocking every Upgrade and Ability as well as completing every mission Accolade and campaign Challenge, and this

NExT ISSUE OPM’s man creates mayhem in the Mediterranean while chasing platinum glory in Just Cause 3.

join the club

Hey! what’s the hardest trophy you’ve snagged? Tell us at opm@ futurenet.com

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t re

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t os

a

o ti

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info pub seGa Dev seGa ProduCtions releaseD 2008, Ps3 get it now £14.39, amaZon

neeD to know

1 2 3

Vyse and aika from dreamcast’s skies of arcadia cameo. an anime tV series based on the game launched in 2009. three manga adaptations were also released.

Sega’s CANVAS engine brings pencil drawings to life. Imagine this image, like, moving. Or just go on YouTube.


retrostation

ta n k s a l o t Cl

Every month we celebrate the most important, innovative or just plain great games from PlayStation’s past. This time out we stand in remembrance of Sega’s beautiful, sombre and seriously emotional war strategy

as si C Ga me

Valkyria Chronicles

a

nime XCom in an alternate WWii – that’s how best to describe sega’s underrated, underselling, ‘getting teary-eyed just thinking about it’ 2008 Ps3 exclusive. a character-driven turnbased strategy that looks like wizards sprinkled 3d dust over a studio Ghibli sketch, Valkyria Chronicles tells the story of a peaceful nation called Gallia that’s caught in the crossfire of two warring giants: the imperial alliance and the atlantic Federation. as invaders plunder Gallia’s rare ragnite ore, young Welkin and his fellow soldiers of squad 7 lead the revolt and, if possible, find the Valkyria, a secret weapon that could turn the tide. Valkyria Chronicles effortlessly weaves realtime controls with turnbased politeness (hey, there can still be rules in war). You pick units from a top-down tactical view then, like a thirdperson shooter, use them to run, climb, crawl and damage foes, all across an open map that dispenses with the strategy genre’s typical grid structure.

singer, or tone deaf rival edy nelson’s painful attempts to compete with her. then there’s Welkin love interest and aspiring baker alicia, with her flying pig Hans, plus toymaker Zaka, whose 3d puzzle the enigma Box makes him an unexpected hit with kids. if these were faceless infantry moving around a board then Valkyria Chronicles wouldn’t pack the same impact as it does. Case in point: sticking little faces on your chess pieces makes it loads better.

pHwoar anD peaCe

With enemies stationary on the field until their round begins, it’s pretty easy to get them in your sights, so the challenge comes from randomised accuracy. You could find the sega gods smiling upon you as a desperate longrange shot hits its target. or you might score what looks like the killing blow, only for the slug to snake wide. this unpredictability forces you to adapt, and a war fought from the back foot chimes with Gallia’s underdog role. But almost eight years since release, Valkyria Chronicles sticks in the memory for much more than its thoughtful and thrilling battle system. a multitude of well-drawn characters gives the game an emotional core, even if it’s impractical to get invested in them all. take former bartender rosie and her dreams of becoming a

STOrY permeATeS eVerYThINg, frOm The SumpTuOuS VISuAlS TO The meNuS.

■ Clear obstacles with tanks, but watch for lancers. ■ According to his bio, Welkin is a nature lover.

these customisable fighters let you sculpt platoons to suit each battle, picking the weapon they wield and the colour they rock. the caveat of getting attached, of course, is the crushing feeling when a unit dies – if one drops, you have three turns to save them – but sega softens the emotional wallop by recording all amassed experience in the class itself rather than the individual soldiers. new recruits aren’t just faceless fill-ins, either: when his brother falls, for example, emile Bielert springs from a sanitarium to enlist. story permeates everything, from the soft, sumptuous visuals right through to menus that resemble pages of a book. each mission you embark on sends you into the picture, and whether you construe it as a veteran’s photo album or a school’s history text, it offers a sense of immediate nostalgia, which has only grown stronger since. For the longest of times we feared we’d never see Welkin and friends again on Playstation, but consider this a happy day for squad 7 – the series is returning. turn to p11 for more.

■ Capture camps or eliminate all enemies to win.

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ti me mA ch in e

Name that game Guess the four games, and their scores, from these review quotes

1

oPM tiMe MachiNe

5 yearS aGo ‘Sack to the future’ was the theme of OPM #53, as LittleBigPlanet 2 scored Media Molecule’s second consecutive 10

AnimAtions could be bettered by sock puppets, And your own rider clips through the peloton like A sAd ghost.

2

3 there’s A nicely pAtriotic rAnking system thAt shows how eAch country is mAnAging the undeAd. (tip: never go to norwAy.)

Above It was an especially strong month in Reviews. As well as that double-digit rating for LBP2, nines were notched up by Gran Turismo 5 and the Prince Of Persia Trilogy, while there was even a surprising 8/10 for personal trainer EA Sports Active 2.

Below left XO Man turned Rach from news editor to rhyme queen using Def Jam Rapstar. Word! Below right Red Dead Redemption took GOTY 2010, with Heavy Rain and COD Black Ops filling the podium.

4 A cynicAl cAsh-in thAt’s About As much Fun As A breAkdown in the middle oF the m25 rushhour trAFFic. 1 tour de France 2013, issue #87, 4/10. 2 gladiator begins, issue #59, 5/10. 3 dead nation, issue #53, 8/10. 4 Fast & Furious: showdown, issue #86, 3/10.

Answers

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iF this is historicAlly AccurAte, the sole Form oF communicAtion Among glAdiAtors wAs groAning noises such As ‘grAAFlAAg’.

Far left We ‘celebrated’ PS3’s worst ever games. Oh how we miss thee, Dick Marcinko’s Rogue Warrior. Left Our 2011 preview predicted a big year for Bats, Portal 2, LA Noire and… Brink. This is why we can’t have nice things.


retrostation

DoN’t makE mE play!

who?

pErsoNa 4 GolDEN

Don’t like it. Never tried it. Every month we force one of our team to play their most feared game

iNfo pub NIS AmeRIcA

Dev ATLUS releaseD 2013 get it now AmAzoN, £19.85 (PS VITA)

what? The PS Vita remaster of 2009’s muchbeloved and revered PS2 JRPG Persona 4. you thought your school days were tough, eh? Well, try muddling through your exams while also on the job, busily solving a spate of serial killings.

■ Despite my anime aversion, the cutscenes are obscenely beautiful. I almost can’t wait for

Persona’s 3D bits to end, as the 2D hand-drawn style looks exceptionally pretty on PS Vita’s screen.

T

Ben Tyrer avoids JRPGs because he has a phobia of games lasting for more than a few days. Despite constant assurances he’ll like them, he’s yet to be won over.

he only JRPG I’ve ever loved was Final Fantasy IX, but maybe it’s the reason I’ve never gone back to the genre. It’s a great game, but I remember the sense of exhaustion just from finally getting onto the third disc… and then giving in. Plus, I’ve never really understood the appeal of anime. That more than likely has something to do with my total Persona blackout, too. So when a game starts with a cheery J-pop number and primary colours flying at the screen, I’m bracing myself for the worst. And for the first few hours, it really is. Ugh. The dialogue? Laughably bad, with your in-game uncle introducing himself with, “I’m your mother’s younger brother and that about sums it up,” being the pick of a bad bunch. There’s little in the way of gameplay, as it feels like you’re doing

PaST ThoSe oPenInG houRS IS a Game I can’T SToP PlayInG. nothing more than pressing q to get through conversations, being teleported to a different area and… pressing q to get through more conversations. It’s a few hours of gorgeous art style, but not a great deal else. Slowly though, it starts to reveal that it’s actually a game and much more than just a collection of skippable scenes. The central mystery of the fog killings becomes fascinating and you even get some dungeons to crawl. The fighting system might be turn-based, but it’s complex enough to be much more engaging than I’m expecting, increasing stats by making friends and going to classes is… damn, I’m hooked. It’s all seriously addictive. Getting past those tricky opening hours reveals a game I can’t stop playing. I mean, it somehow makes paying attention to a weather forecast exciting. I want to know what’s going to happen without being impatient and just checking on Wikipedia. Here’s hoping I stay the course this time.

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HLEL HTA E 5A0M PF TooF

THE dEfiniTivE guidE To CuRREnT-gEn’s gREaTEsT gamEs

ps4 Hall of famE 1

MeTal gear solid v: The PhanToM Pain

Konami might try and scrub Hideo Kojima’s name from the ultimate in tactical espionage action, but it’ll never remove his fingerprints. While retaining that distinct storytelling and sense of wonder that defines an MGS title, MGS V offers a level of freedom and creativity unheard of in any sandbox. Grand, majestic and bittersweet, this is an instant classic.

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grand ThefT auTo v

3

bloodborne

4

desTiny: The Taken king

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baTMan: arkhaM knighT

5

The lasT of us reMasTered

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uncharTed: The naThan drake collecTion

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6 NEW!

Laughing in the face of other cross-gen ports, GTA V on PS4 is more than just a mere HD remaster. Upped to a glorious 1080p, it weaves everything that made the PS3 original great, with new music, more dynamic weather and a game-changing FPS mode.

PS4’s first truly great, entirely bespoke exclusive. With the finest third-person melee combat in all of gaming, drool-worthy art design and the most twisted monsters in the biz, this is a gorgeously Gothic must-have. Be warned: it’s tough.

The Taken King expansion means there’s never been a better time to be a Destiny player – for veterans it’s a giant vat of new content that’ll keep you playing for months; for newcomers it offers the smoothest, most complete shooter a PS4 owner could wish for.

This modern masterpiece just gets stronger with age, like a full-bodied stilton. A starkly brutal, emotionally honest take on the end of the world, Naughty Dog’s stealth shooter is quite simply one of the best games ever, even if this PS4 port doesn’t add much to it.

fallouT 4

Hitting PS4 with the atomic force of a Fat Boy, Fallout’s excellent gunplay and crafting systems can trigger a nasty case of RPG-itis. It’s not without its faults (or vaults), but the scale of Bethesda’s wasteland will keep you bunkered down for weeks.

10

alien: isolaTion

Explore Ridley Scott’s original vision of a horrortinged future in startling fidelity with an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive. It’s time to remember what made the xenomorph so scary in the first place… and then get killed by it.

Towerfall ascension

You haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a four-player free-for-all in this instant couchplay classic. The solo campaign is fine by itself, but almost nothing beats the arrow-grabbing, death-defying last-second kills of local multiplayer’s mayhem.

Rocksteady sends the Bat out with a bang. A compelling, cathartic story adds new layers to the Dark Knight, while PS4 allows Gotham to blossom with a truly amazing engine. The stealth still sings, the fisticuffs are fab and the Batmobile is brill.

If you somehow missed the trilogy on PS3 then this excellent remaster should be your next purchase. Nathan Drake is PlayStation’s biggest hero, and no PS4 owner should skip his collection.

13 NEW!

life is sTrange

The sublime writing and pacing of this episodic narrative will have you agonising over choices, and then marvelling at their flawless integration. To quote heroine Max’s BFF Chloe, it’s “hella” good. You’ll wish you could play it all over again for the first time.

7

The wiTcher 3: wild hunT

14

MinecrafT

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driveclub

15

Tearaway unfolded

The White Wolf himself finally rides onto PS4 and brings with him one of the most diverse and challenging RPG worlds ever seen. Mesmerising to look at and utterly engrossing to play, CD Projekt RED’s farewell to Geralt is a current-gen essential.

The premier current-gen racer leaves its rivals for dust due to gorgeous graphics, strong social features and great handling. Major add-on Driveclub Bikes is also the greatest bike racing game on PS4, thanks to making driving on two wheels fun again.

Bigger, better and blockier than ever before on PlayStation, this iconic build-’em-up benefits massively from PS4’s additional power and gives you a creative playground 36 times the size of that on PS3 in which to build. or lob TNT around, if you want.

Its handheld original is rightfully riding high in the PS Vita Hall of Fame as its PS4 remake-of-sorts swoops onto the current-gen roster on a raft of new features. Media Molecule makes the most of all that extra power and strikes gold yet again.


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16

17

18

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20 NEW!

resogun

Capturing everything that made the shoot-’em ups of old so compelling and combining it with a sumptuous voxel-based visual presentation, Resogun should come with a health warning that reads: “This game will consume your every waking moment.”

Journey

In a gaming landscape dominated by mindless violence and blabbering idiots, this wordless walkabout stands tall in red robes. It’s about joining an online stranger and going for a wander, exploring a beautiful sandy world together in quiet awe.

We dive into ps4’s library for gold. This month: first-person shooters. P IC K

#1

bedlaM

bedlam isn’t great, but staff writer ben Tyrer thinks you should give it a chance

once destined to live its life as a PS Move curio on PS3, Supermassive Games’ ode to the teen slasher movie has emerged on PS4 with a rusty, bloody axe in one hand and a rather nasty looking set of consequence-based choices in the other.

Let’s be blunt, Bedlam’s shooting is utter pants. That might not be the intro you’d expect for a Hall Of Fame pick, but it’s a game you should give a chance. Why? Because no other PS4 FPS comes close to being as witty. Its central hero, Athena, is one of my favourite characters this year, with her scathing putdowns and relatable demeanour. It just about makes up for the shooting.

dragon age: inquisiTion

Following closely on the action-RPG heels of Geralt of Rivia, Bioware’s third trip to Thedas conjures something truly special. Improved combat; an ace cast of characters; a semi-open world full of emergent gameplay; an epic story. The list goes on.

P IC K

#2

borderlands: The handsoMe collecTion

Teaming up to shoot skags in the face defines friendship for Jen simpkins

guiTar hero live

An innovative take on the classic peripheral design might’ve been enough to convince us there’s still greatness in the series, but that would be unfair to the beautifully designed GHTV and its constant stream of songs. Clear the lounge, it’s time to rock.

Pes 2016

22

rockeT league

NEW!

alternative picks

unTil dawn

21

23

bubbling undER

Last year PES finally proved its worth with a FIFA-beating mixture of superior mechanics and slick gameplay. It does it again this year with a new sense of speed, versatility and physicality that’s secured PES’s place on the virtual footy throne.

From the ashes of an obscure PS3 curio that no one can recall comes a PSN sleeper hit so addictive it’s probably illegal. With a tooled-up remote controlled car, a bootful of boost and a giant metal football, Rocket League is a slice of multiplayer heaven.

call of duTy: black oPs iii

An admirably weird entry in the unstoppable franchise. There’s something for every CoD fan, with an intriguingly bonkers story, fully (rotting) fleshed-out Zombies mode and the still criminally addictive online multiplayer. Also, Jeff Goldblum.

24

The binding of isaac: rebirTh

25

far cry 4

As much as I love the vindictive thrill of blasting buddies, Borderlands 2 proves that playing nice has its rewards. Bandits, bosses and slot machines tremble when I team up with a bestie. Giggling at the infamous one-liners is better with friends – but the laughs stop when it’s time to divvy up loot. Hands off my Repeater!

GIGGLING AT THE INFAmOuS ONE-LINERS STOPS WHEN IT’S TImE TO dIvvy uP LOOT. P IC K

#3

wolfensTein: The new order

Matt Pellett salutes a blast from the past Oh dear, Bennifer’s managed to select two games celebrated for things other than shooting. What do we barely pay them for? As for you, loyal reader, it’s okay – I’ll save the day. Or, rather, BJ Blazkowicz will. Look no further than this smart orgy of guns that manages to subvert expectations and still deliver the Nazi-blasting action you want from a classic FPS. Exceptional.

Who’d have thunk digital childhood trauma could be so entertaining? This ace procedurally generated dungeon crawler is fiendishly funny and scorchingly difficult. It also boasts a hugely endearing art style that only adds to its unique brand of grisly magic.

So many eagles. Not the face! Ubisoft puts on one hell of a Really Wild Show in its frosty sandbox shooter. often gorgeous, with an endlessly entertaining arsenal, there are few games on PS4 where it’s this fun to aimlessly muck around.

■ Wolfenstein: The New Order is packed with laughs, surprises,

outrageous guns and shreddable meat puppets. Bravo, Bethesda.

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HLeL HTA e 5A0M PF TOOF

The essenTial collecTion of lasT-gen classics

ps3 hall of fame 1

tHe laSt Of uS

PS3’s premier developer proves a misbehaving pooch can learn new tricks in this extraordinary adventure. In true Naughty Dog fashion, the Californian studio subverts everything from zombie and postapocalyptic tropes to the gameplay beats of its own back catalogue. effortlessly blending stealth, horror and action with a script destined to break your heart, TLOU is interactive storytelling at its finest.

2

GranD tHeft autO v

3

unCHarteD 2: aMOnG tHIeveS

10

4

reD DeaD reDeMptIOn

11

BIOSHOCK InfInIte

5

JOurney

12

BatMan: arKHaM CIty

6

MaSS effeCt 2

13

tHe WalKInG DeaD: SeaSOn One

The largest entry in the series is also one of the most ambitious games ever, but its fusion of thrilling missions, entertaining characters and scathing satire looks effortless. There can be no better way to bring a generation to a close than this.

9

A near-perfect open-world fusion of engaging storytelling, truly compelling characters and a living environment ripe for experimentation. No sandbox since has got us quite so invested, and the bold ending still resonates to this day.

This charming two-hour voyage crafts an incredible, immersive narrative and a genuine emotional connection using little more than near-silent figures, marvellous sand physics and floating pieces of cloth. A remarkable and unique experience.

While Bioware’s trilogy-ender sends Shepard out in fine style, it’s the middle slice of the delicious sci-fi sandwich that remains its best. A brilliantly scripted action-RPG, the closing ‘suicide mission’ provides an incredible finale.

Only Valve could turn advanced physics, impossipuzzles and a voice cast comprised of a disembodied AI and Stephen Merchant into such a unique and undeniable work of genius. Hands down the funniest first-person experience on console.

Metal Gear SOlID 4: GunS Of tHe patrIOtS

The most gleefully playful and imaginative stealth game on PS3. Whether you’re watching a monkey slurp soda or revisiting the site of the PS1 original, no game honours its past so poignantly.

The game that sparked a million mancrushes, with a perfectly pitched script, crunchy combat and setpieces like no other. In three words: unprecedented, unequalled, Uncharted.

112

pOrtal 2

Perhaps the best narrative team of the entire generation brings one of its finest series to a staggering climax. The original game would be well deserving of a place, but the mind-boggling revelations here run a whole lot deeper.

The most compelling bit of Bats action money can buy… that doesn’t involve Heath Ledger’s Joker. Thanks to an acutely detailed open-world chunk of Gotham, Rocksteady’s classic just pips Arkham Asylum to this spot by the thinnest of bat-whiskers.

Telltale has crafted some amazing stories, but the first season of The Walking Dead stands among the best downloadable games ever with emotional ties and tangible consequences for your actions.

7

DarK SOulS

14

Heavy raIn

8

Call Of Duty 4: MODern Warfare

15

lIttleBIGplanet 2

Akin to nothing else you’ve ever played (unless you’ve already played Demon’s Souls). It may be as impenetrable as a vault in Fort Knox, but persevere and there’s a brutal and beautiful challenge within that you will never, ever forget.

Simply the finest COD ever made. From that nuke to Captain Price’s mesmerising ghillie suit stealth mission, few games can match Modern Warfare’s thrilling scripted spectacle.

From controversial purveyor of interactive cinema, David Cage, comes this psychological thriller that plays like no other game on the system (apart from Beyond: Two Souls, natch). A real masterpiece of twists, turns, cinematography and, uh: “JASON!”

Media Molecule’s second swing at the usergenerated puzzle-platformer is even more essential than its predecessor, offering a raft of options so deep and rewarding the only thing holding you back are the limits of your imagination.


YOUr EVErY NEED FOr ON-thE-gO gOODNESS

pS VItA hAll OF FAmE 1

2

3

teaRaway

Peerless crafty platforming from Media Molecule, this time using PS Vita’s raft of touchscreen/ touchpad controls to surprise and delight you in new ways for hours on end. Full of whimsy, charm and enough personality to put most games to shame, Tearaway’s papercraft world remains Vita’s most vibrant title.

peRsona 4: GolDen

This thoughtful and unique JRPG epic gives you another stab at high school – only this time with intrigue and superpowers instead of nerves, acne and an unpredictable vocal register.

Rayman leGenDs

Rather than losing its lustre on the move to PS Vita, Ray’s second slice of sumptuous side-scrolling is even better on handheld. Touchscreen gestures make this fine platformer all the sweeter.

9

metal GeaR soliD HD collection

Two of PlayStation’s finest adventures scale down beautifully, with enough cutscenes to fill a transatlantic flight. Even less excuse not to play, then.

10

spelunKy

With more than a subtle nod of its fedora to a certain whip-wielding Dr Jones, Spelunky’s procedurally generated dungeons and platformer/roguelike mashup shines brightest on PS Vita.

4

velocity 2X

11

steins;Gate

5

littlebiGplanet

12

Hotline miami

6

supeR meat boy!

13

uncHaRteD: GolDen abyss

7

A ludicrously enjoyable puzzle/platformer hybrid that should come with a health warning. So joyous is the side-scroller’s twin-stick teleporting, there’s a danger you’ll smile your face clean off the bone.

Sackboy’s back, smaller but just as lovable as ever. His platforming antics work perfectly on Vita, and the new control inputs complement the level creator brilliantly. Also: d’awwww.

The new music doesn’t match up to the classic tunes, but Meat Boy’s longawaited PlayStation debut is the finest, fleshiest twitch platformer of all. An essential, thumb-destroying masterpiece.

Part puzzler, part top-down murder-‘em-up that’s as brutal as almost anything else on PlayStation. It’s hard but never frustrating, with instant restarts and lightning-fast gameplay.

Drake proves he’s just as adept at adventuring on the go. A prequel story plump with classic jungle action, and crammed full of typical Uncharted charm.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD RemasteR

14

GRim FanDanGo

GRavity RusH

15

lumines: electRonic sympHony

Two examples of JRPG royalty, lovingly restored to their former glory for your portable pleasure. Their new touch controls are – gasp! – a welcome addition.

8

This mind-bending, tongue-in-cheek visual novel takes something as simple as a mobile phone and turns it into a timetravelling extravaganza that’s fit to bursting with comedy and drama.

Use a gravity-defying cat to break the laws of physics and zoom across the skies of a floating steampunk city. With stylish comic-book looks and a sassy heroine, this is a rush to remember.

An example of genuinely timeless storytelling finally arrives on PlayStation. Double Fine’s deft touch-up retains the old-school adventuring for a new generation to savour and enjoy.

Part block puzzler, part mobile disco, this is as certain to have you nodding along to ace choonage as it is to keep you returning for more reflex-testing action.

113


Parting sh t

LOOK AWAY!

Celebrating PlayStation’s finest moments

Spoiler alert

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No.34

The destroyer of worlds Doing a Megaton of damage in Fallout 3 last month Dead space

In one giant seep for mankind, we freed the uSG Ishimura of an agitated arse of alien origins.

Format PS3 / Pub BeTHeSDA SOFTWOrKS / Dev BeTHeSDA GAMe STuDIOS / releaseD 2008 / score 9/10

W

hen building your post-apocalyptic shanty town, try to ensure that it isn’t constructed around a live atomic bomb. If it is, then make every effort to defuse said atomic bomb so that opportunistic aristocrats can’t evaporate your community within seconds on a whim. Hmm, seems that the citizens of Megaton deserve everything that’s oh-soclearly coming to them. Striding into the town of Megaton unlocks The Power Of The Atom quest, which you gives you a stark choice. You could be a

boring goody two-shoes (if you’ve managed to scavenge two shoes, that is) and disarm the petrifying nuclear bomb that sits at the town’s centre. Alternatively, you could pull the metaphorical pin on it from the security and safety of Tenpenny Towers. Let’s not pretend we aren’t all dying to find out what real power feels like. Crucially, this is the moment when it feels like anything can happen in Fallout 3. Here is a town of people with distinct personalities, not just random NPCs, and you can wipe them all off the map in an instant. You’re

drastically altering the landscape of the game. You’re not just wandering down one set, heroic path, but given the scope to be a right old evil barstool. While it’s hard not to chuckle at the “You’ve Lost Karma” notification placed next to the rising mushroom cloud, the real power of this scene is the unbearable stillness as you’re left alone with your justifications. That is until Tenpenny blithely announces that watching the ‘fireworks’ has left him thirsty for scotch. The banality of evil has never been so posh. ■

Next month the Walking Dead

Forcing ourselves to relive the first season’s end. Hey, who’s chopping onions?


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o n S a l e 15 Jan Subscribe on page 78

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We play the first-person shooter aiming to reinvent the wheel


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