Top 10 New Games at E3: Monthly Roundup June 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
March: Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items
April: Top 5 Underappreciated Games
May: The Boy’s Top 10 Games Ever

So E3 has rolled around once again and we have all marvelled at the new games that were revealed. Or at least, at those that weren’t leaked beforehand, anyway! Overall, I was impressed with the presentations of Ubisoft and Xbox and rather disappointed with Playstation and EA‘s showcases, with the rest somewhere in between. Ubisoft were the ‘winners’ for me – a great combination of games I am excited about, series that I haven’t been interested in before but might be now and a presentation that was just a lot of fun! But let’s just get straight to the real point: the games. Here are the ones I am most looking forward to, and a few slight disappointments.

  1. Halo Infinite (Xbox One, Microsoft)hi
    • We were given next to no details about what Halo Infinite was in Microsoft‘s press conference but my love for this series is still super strong, despite diminishing returns since it was taken over by 343 Industries. If anything, the fact that Halo 4 and 5 were only OK makes me even more excited: I still have hope that the series can get back to it’s previous heights!
  2. Beat Saber (PSVR, Sony)IMG_20180612_123132.jpg
    • This game is why I picked up a VR headset, so I am waiting for this more than any other game right now! So glad we got proper confirmation that it is coming to Playstation VR, although I was sad that we didn’t get a release date – I will have to continue hassling their Twitter account about it for the time being!
  3. Beyond Good & Evil 2 (Multi, Ubisoft)
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    • I wasn’t expecting to love this game. I didn’t really enjoy the original but I was blown away by what we were shown by Ubisoft. It’s looks epic! Fantastic game worlds and the Hitrecord collaboration, if it works, could be both groundbreaking and amazing.
  4. Gears 5 (Xbox One, Microsoft)
    • Across their series’ so far, Gears of War might not have quite hit the heights of the Halo series but it has been more consistent. And Kait is one of my favourite new characters of recent years. Can’t wait.
  5. Trials Rising (Multi, Ubisoft)
    • The Boy and I will be all over this! Trials Fusion has been one of our mainstays. Can’t wait to play Trials on Switch as well. I also really loved the video set to Blue Danube too – great stuff.
  6. Control (Multi, Sony)
    • This game really intrigued me. I love sci-fi in general but particularly anything that messes with the fabric of reality. It quite reminded me of Quantum Break, which was Remedy‘s previous game so hopefully they can build on that with this new one. Few details so far but I really like what I’ve seen.
  7. Sea of Solitude (Multi, EA)
    • Was great to see a publisher like EA dedicate a whole section of it’s show to a game about emotions. The rest of it was mostly guns and goals but Sea of Solitude looked and sounded great. It reminded me a little of Rime.
  8. Super Mario Party (Switch, Nintendo)
    • The Boy and I have been waiting for a Mario Party game ever since the Switch was released! Great to see the technology of the two Switch consoles working together too – something that can only be done with Nintendo Switch.
  9. Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Multi, Ubisoft)
    • I’ve put ‘multi’ there, but let’s be honest: if you have a Switch you are going to get this game on Nintendo‘s console so that you can get Star Fox! Great to see another Nintendo character doing crossovers with other Ubisoft games. Now I’m actually excited for Starlink.
  10. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Multi, Square Enix)
    • Lara looks like a machine! I was slightly underwhelmed by Rise of the Tomb Raider but this looks like a proper evolution of the gameplay. Will be great to see how the trilogy ends.

Top 3 Disappointments across E3a

  1. Anthem
    • This just looks like Destiny set in Mass Effect: Andromeda locations. Hopefully they can pull it out of the bag but my high hopes from last year have diminished from this E3.
  2. The Last Of Us Part 2
    • 99% of me is still confident that this will be amazing based on the fact that Naughty Dog don’t seem to be able to make a game that doesn’t shoot straight into my All-Time Top Games List. But every single thing we’ve seen about this game has focused on how brutal it is. Like, really brutal. What made the first one so great, however, was how the brutal combat juxtaposed the heart and the relationship between the characters. A little 1% of me is worried that the hype is going to make The Last Of Us eat itself.
  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
    • To be clear: I don’t mean that I was disappointed with the game itself. Really, I have little or no interest in it at all. I played a lot of Smash Bros on the Gamecube and a little on the 3DS but fighting games just aren’t something I am good at or enjoy. I am simply disappointed that Nintendo dedicated such a ridiculously large amount of their presentation to it. They clearly don’t have anything else up their sleeves this year. Where was the Yoshi game, for example? Bring on 2019 I guess.

What about you? What new game reveals got you the most excited? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Boy’s Top 10 Games Ever: Monthly Roundup May 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
March: Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items
April: Top 5 Underappreciated Games

The Boy and I recently had a conversation about what his favourite video games ever are and he said that his second favourite was Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I wasn’t buying it! For sure it’s a great game and we both enjoyed it (and are looking forward to enjoying it again when the DK DLC comes out!) but I said to him there’s no way he liked it more than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Rocket League. However, despite my insistence (or maybe because of it!) he wouldn’t budge, so we ended up doing a whole Top 10 of his favourite games. No surprises for guessing what #2 is but here they are in reverse order:

#10: Super Mario Run – iOS
He played this game on his iPad and for a while was ahead of me on it and was advising me where to find the black coins!screenshot_20170525-162126-e1524734181386.png

#9: NBA Live 16 – Xbox One
We played NBA together a lot in the year this iteration was out. Our team is the Toronto Raptors because, you know, dinosaurs!25-09-2017_22-10-07

#8: Super Lucky’s Tale – Xbox One
The most recent addition to this list. I just recently finished it and The Boy is well on his way too. This is a kid-focused game but don’t sleep on it – it’s well made.08-04-2018_20-17-43

#7: Trials Fusion – Xbox One
We have spent hours playing the Speedcross multiplayer tracks in this game. He almost always wins due to using the, easier to drive, quad bike. Much trash talk follows.23-02-2018_07-25-14

#6: FIFA 17 – Xbox One
He never quite got into FIFA 18 in the same way, despite us having that on the Switch. We have PES 2018 now via Xbox Game Pass, so time will tell how much he enjoys that.2017120508093500-062DD3BC3CF59885A6762E5A30A14CD1

#5: Jurassic World The Game – iOS
The first game on this list that is entirely his rather than ours. I never got into it but The Boy has spent hours and hours battling dinosaurs in it.IMG_0839.PNG

#4: Rocket League – Xbox One and Switch
I don’t want to look at the number of hours we have both sunk into this game on the Switch. It will probably make me wonder what I’m doing with my life!2017112017512100-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0

#3: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch
The Boy loves this game so much he has created multiple new accounts on the Switch just so he can play through the single player modes again!2018012513254400-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5

#2: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Switch
Here it is. The Boy has never even finished this game, although I’m sure he eventually will. But apparently it’s the 2nd best ever!2018010308503700-9600BAE614E6833B1A261F5FB229CDBA

#1: Hot Wheels Race Off – iOS
Hot Wheels Race Off has been indisputably his number one game ever since he got it. I have never played it and at the beginning he used to ask me to play it when he got stuck. Quickly he realised he was better off by himself!IMG_0819

I’m looking to pick up Super Mario Odyssey this weekend, so we will see eventually if that makes it into this list. The Boy does seem to love Mario above most other things!

What about you, do you have small people you play games with? What are their favourites? Let us know in the comments below.

Top 5 Underappreciated Games: Monthly Roundup April 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
March: Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items

Recently I was in a discussion about games that you love that no one else seems to like so much. They just don’t get it, right?! So I got thinking about a way I could be sure that these games were actually less appreciated than I think they should be: Metacritic scores! If you haven’t come across Metacritic it’s a site that gathers together all the reviews of each game (and other things like movies etc) and gives them an average score out of 100. So I looked through my All-Time Top Games List and found the ones that had an average of less than 80. There were 6 in total, so here are the Top 5, plus a bonus:

#1: Mirror’s Edge – Xbox 360/PS3
Metacritic Score: 79
I played a demo of Mirror’s Edge when it first came out in 2008 and immediately knew I had to get it! I was surprised later when it didn’t get glowing reviews. It had a decent and engaging, if generic, story line and the gun play was only OK but all of this was brushed aside by how fantastic the free running was. I played the whole game quite a few times on 360 and on PS3 – it was a joy just to run through the world at top speed. If I was picking any single game to replay it would be this one, without doubt.24-03-2018_21-53-46

#2: Quantum Break – Xbox One
Metacritic Score: 77
Another game that I picked up without really seeing the reviews. I saw a couple of videos of it in action when it was released and went out more or less straight away to pick it up. I’m so glad I did. The gameplay – a combination of 3rd person shooting and controlling time – was great, it looked fantastic and the plot was far more complex than most games. Quantum Break also had 3 or 4 ‘TV episodes’ in it that advanced the story, which was something I really enjoyed but I guess maybe that concept wasn’t for everyone as it certainly hasn’t caught on!25941057304_18a8a9e06b_o

#3: Super Mario Run – Android/iOS
Metacritic Score: 76
This is one of my favourite Mario games ever. Made completely for mobile, it could be played with one thumb but still had all the elements required of a Mario 2D platformer. Perhaps the short-sharp bursts of gameplay didn’t work for people that came to it as Mario fans but as a mobile game it was perfect and the chance to play against others in the Toad Rally mode was great fun too.screenshot_20180326-160206.png

#4: Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Xbox
Metacritic Score: 79
Forget all the usual – and mostly correct – comments about cross overs between video games and other media never working. This game fit into the Buffy mould perfectly, whilst also being a superb game in it’s own right. Story-wise, it had a lot of the same actors from the TV show providing the voices and it didn’t try and reinvent the wheel, playing out like an extended episode. On the gameplay side the platforming and fighting were both top notch. It all came together nicely.Processed with VSCO with  preset

#5: Super Beat Sports – Switch
Metacritic Score: 68
This is the most recent game on this list and to be honest, unless you hate fun (?!), I cannot imagine how anyone wouldn’t love Super Beat Sports! It’s not particularly deep and the quality of it’s mini-games does vary but at it’s core it takes common gaming tropes – rhythm and sports – and combines them into something that prioritises fun above all else. I am mystified by the negative reviews.2018011618031600-B5326B1E58931254287CB2E8DA86D794

Bonus: P.N.03 – Gamecube
Metacritic Score: 63
This game only just squeezes onto my All Time Top Games list, so I can more understand that it didn’t work for everyone. P.N.03 certainly had it’s flaws – the story wasn’t really engaging at all for a start – but I just loved the smoothness and grace with which you could move your character Vanessa around. Somewhere inside it is a basic shooter but on top of that you have elements that feel like a dance game. It had that same feeling of joy from just playing it that Mirror’s Edge has, but in a less complete package. It’s hard to explain so just watch this video!

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Top 5 Mario Kart 8 Items: Monthly Roundup March 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars
February: Top 5 Open World Games
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is such an amazing game. In fairness, all the Mario Karts have been since Super Mario Kart on the SNES. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I play it – I still want to play it. That’s a lot of racing! The Boy is just the same – he has started multiple new accounts on our Switch so that he can play all the way through the single player game again and again. So, after all that time, between us, we have come up with our Top 5 items that we are hoping to get when we smash through those item boxes on each track.2018012508053000-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
#1: Banana
The lowly banana! At #1! That’s right! Why? Because if you want to win that means you need to be at the front and when you are in 1st place you are most likely to get a banana. As such, we’ve come to rely on it, not for attacking but for defending. Driving around pulling it behind you – not even a red shell can stop your ride to glory!2018012508005500-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
#2: Red Shell
The red shell is easily the best attacking weapon in the game. You can still get them in 2nd or 3rd places, unlike the really powerful items, but they are a sure fire hit on someone in front of you, if used well. And there’s no way they can backfire on you. They’re perfect!2018012507540500-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
#3: Super Horn
So you’re driving around with your banana already imagining the glory of the top step on the podium. But then on the map you see that little blue blur zipping towards your position. Impending doom! Or is it? Not if you have a super horn – blast that blue shell to smithereens and carry on your way to the winners circle. #smugface2018012507582000-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
#4: Mushroom
This was The Boy‘s idea – the boost needs to be in this list because of the shortcuts it opens up. He’s absolutely right. There’s a reason that you are given one for each lap in Time Trial mode. Used at the right time they give so much more than a boost – they mean that you are racing on a different track to everyone else.2018012508000300-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
#5: Star
Da da da da da da da da da da da… You know you are singing this in your head! The Star doesn’t just make you invincible and give you a slight speed boost – it brings musical joy to your life as well! Lovely.2018012508001200-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
Bonus: Spiny Shell
Ah, the demon. The evil weapon of all that is wrong in the world. The very symbol of how unfair Mario Kart can be. It doesn’t make the Top 5 because you don’t really ever want to be so far behind in a race that the game ever gives you one! But it has to be mentioned. It’s both the best – when you are anywhere from 2nd to 12th – thing in the game and, of course, the worst, if you are in front. Surely the most well known Mario Kart item – but not one of the best when you are racing.2018012513254400-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
What about? Which if your favourite Mario Kart item? Or your most hated? Let us know in the comments below.
Click here to purchase the game on cart from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase a download key from CDKeys.com:

Top 5 Open World Games: Monthly Roundup February 2018

Please see here for previous Top 5 Round Ups from 2018:
January: Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars

Open worlds have been a significant thing in gaming recently. The early part of 2017 had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn going head-to-head in the spring. They were both grand adventures set in a sprawling and varied open world full of possibilities. I did a compare and contrast post about those two games here. Further games like Assassins Creed Origins and the recent Monster Hunter World have continued the theme.lozbotw4

Recently I picked up the Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 3 and one of the things I noticed about it is how it is less open-world that the main game I had played a year previously. The two key parts of an open world game are the ability to go where you want and do things in whatever order you want – all within reason, of course! So, it got me thinking about my favourite open world games and whether or not that aspect was what made the game great.05-02-2018_22-35-04

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (review here)
Was the open world what made it great: Yes
Hyrule is the undisputed star of this game. In fact this game in general is the absolute definition of an open world game done right. The world was so big and so varied and every single new area you came across had something interesting to do, fight or investigate. For sure, everything else was great – the characters, the story, the shrines, the boss battles – but it was just existing in the world and experiencing everything it had to offer that made Breath of the Wild so great.lozbotw2

Horizon Zero Dawn (review here)
Was the open world what made it great: No
The broken state of the world in Horizon Zero Dawn is a spectacular sight to see. It’s quite the most beautiful game I’ve ever played – see here for a post about that. But actually that’s not really what it’s all about here. Sure, you can go about things as you wish but actually the story line was so gripping and spectacular that I wanted to plough on directly through it. It’s a great achievement of a living and vibrant world, but it’s still only a backdrop for a fantastic narrative.Horizon Zero Dawn™_20170707221530

Forza Horizon 3 (review here)
Was the open world what made it great: Yes
The first Forza Horizon was a great racing game and it’s sequel opened up the world so that you weren’t tied to just the roads anymore. However, it was the 3rd edition that really got the combination right. Cars that were as fun to drive in a race as they were to just drive about the place and an absolute myriad of events and challenges to take part in dotted everywhere. This really was the definition of doing things in whatever order you want – there are always multiple options of what to do next and you can just fill your boots.08-02-2018_07-34-01

SSX3 (review here)
Was the open world what made it great: No
SSX3 took the somewhat on-rails gameplay of SSX Tricky and placed it all on three open mountains that you could descend as you wished, taking part in whatever events you liked. That was cool, and the long events that took you right from the very top to the very bottom were spectacular. However, that wasn’t the main draw – it was the spectacular tricks: doing uber tricks whilst grinding on a rail is something that has never been bettered in any extreme sports game.2018-02-08-03-35-28-1-e1518104985266.jpg

Minecraft (review here)
Was the open world what made it great: Yes
No round up of open worlds would be complete without Minecraft. Not only can go you wherever you want and do things in whatever order you want but you can even shape the world itself how you want! So, of course, the world itself is the key here. Whether it’s building your first tiny shelter, bravely venturing into the depths in search of resources or zinging about on a rollercoaster of your own creation, Minecraft is all about how you and the world interact.2017081613284700-773F9627E0AC611AA92DA55E307BD361

What about you? What are your favourite open world games? And was it the world that made them great, or something else? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking forward to 2018 – Top 5 Anticipated Games

So we find ourselves at the end of 2017. It was a great year (see here for my reflections on the year) but of course, we always look ahead to bigger and better things. So, just quickly to round out this year, here are the Top 5 games I am looking forward to for release in 2018.crackdown3

Crackdown 3 (Xbox One)
– the first Crackdown was a really enjoyable game early in the Xbox 360s life. The second was lacklustre so I’m really hoping this one can get back to what was great about the series – big jumps, big explosions etc. Bring on the chaos!
Yoshi (Switch)
– this looks like exactly the kind of charming fun that Nintendo does so well. I managed to miss Yoshi’s Wooly World so I’m looking to get back on the track with this one.
Kirby (Switch)
– this one is here for The Boy and how he always says ‘and Kirby‘ every time I mention that the Yoshi game is out soon. No doubt Nintendo will nail this one too and continue the to make the Switch such a success.
Detroit Become Human (PS4)
– various controversies aside, this game has a really intriguing set up and looks to be set in a fascinating world. It could go horribly wrong but it could also go so right!
Spiderman (PS4)
– has there ever been a good Spiderman game? Not that I remember, despite the fact that swinging around the place is inherently spectacular and should work in a game. Let’s try again for a good one in 2018.

Backlog Catchup in 2018

Ah, the backlog. I reckon everyone has got their little list somewhere of the stuff they are meaning to play but haven’t quite got around to. From retro stuff I’ve been meaning to catch up with, to the games from this year that I simply haven’t had time for yet – this list follows me around, seemingly never decreasing (although thankfully in recent times it has grown too much either). I’ll put the list here and then I aim to finish all of these games by the end of 2018 – although if next year turns out to have as many great games as this, that might be a struggle!26-10-2017_14-22-06.png

Currently playing:
Mass Effect: Andromeda – Xbox One (see my first impressions here)
Super Beat Sports – Switch (see my first impressions here)
Forza Motorsport 7 – Xbox One (see my first impressions here)
Rocket League – Switch (see my first impressions here)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Switch
Cuphead – Xbox One

Retro backlog:
Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Wii
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Xbox One/PS4

2017 catchup:
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp – Android
RiME – Switch
Super Luckys Tale – Xbox One
Doom – Switch
MXGP3 – Switch
Gear Club Unlimited – Switch
Super Mario Odyssey – Switch