Publisher: 2K Sports (2013)
Publisher: 2K Sports (2014)
Rating: Everyone (mild lyrics)
Publisher: 2K Sports (2015)
Publisher: 2K Sports (2016)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2014)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (mild violence)
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2015)
It's becoming clear why EA doesn't include old 16-bit hockey games as bonus modes in their new NHL titles. They don't want those classic games to upstage the new one, which is exactly what would happen
. That said, NHL 16 looks pretty sweet. Actual video clips effectively convey the cities and venues, although they could look more "wintry". It's nice to see commentators introduce each game but they aren't very insightful. The rinks look photo-realistic thanks to a keen attention to detail like scraped glass and boards that look thoroughly worn. I just wish modern sports games had some sense of fun. Where are the Green Men of Vancouver? NHL 16 offers a wide selection of modes, including a season mode that was missing from last year. On the rink player markers float above
the players, and it seems easier to thread the needle in front of the goal because the goalie doesn't automatically gobble everything up. I'm not a huge fan of EA's dual-stick control scheme. Squeezing the trigger causes a pass arrow to appear, but the puck often goes in an unwanted direction. The CPU doesn't have this problem, whipping the puck around between players with pinpoint accuracy as you flail around helplessly on defense. Poke checks are effective for knocking the puck loose, but the body checks have minimal impact - even in arcade mode. On offense slap shots are scorching but follow-up shots tend to be weak and ineffective. The CPU is way too hard on the default pro level, and sometimes I think the game was programmed to allow more goals in the waning seconds. Difficult and complex, NHL 16 is a no-nonsense hockey title aimed mainly at hardcore fans. The ghost of NHL '94
(Genesis, 1993) continues to haunt the franchise. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
Need For Speed Rivals
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2013)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (mild violence)
Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition
Publisher: Limited Run Games (2017)
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Publisher: Young Horses (2014)
Rating: Everyone 10+
Review contributed by DaHeckIzDat of the RPG Crew and edited by the VGC.
Originally designed to be played using a mouse, Octodad: Dadliest Catch is one game I never expected to experience on a console. You play the role of a creature trying to keep his human wife and children from discovering that he's actually an octopus, all the while on the run from a psychotic sushi chef. The game is a strange physics puzzler/platformer hybrid. The controls are intentionally wonky and it's hilarious to witness Octodad clumsily flop around and knock things over while attempting to perform the simplest tasks. Having no bones means he can twist and stretch in any direction, making something as mundane as walking look entertaining. The writing is funny too, with Octodad gurgling hilarious answers to his hyperactive children and oblivious wife. The game takes you through a typical day of household chores, grocery shopping, and finally a family trip to the aquarium. Dadliest Catch can be beaten in three or four hours which feels just about right. The game shines when it's encouraging you to do things as chaotically as possible, like pouring milk or grabbing groceries off shelves. I was annoyed when expected to win an arcade basketball game, until I realized I could cheat by climbing inside of the machine!
The charm does begin to wane in later stages, where untying knots, climbing ladders, and sneaking past guards proves more aggravating than fun. Making a mess is half the appeal so why is the game punishing me for it? Octodad: Dadliest Catch is an odd duck but it's more than worth the price for a few hours of silly fun. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Codemasters (2018)
Rating: Everyone 10+
I normally love arcade racers with unbridled speed, photorealistic graphics, and devastating wrecks, but I couldn't get into Onrush. The game offers a series of off-road races over hills, through shallow lakes, and around oversized satellite dishes. The sense of speed is exhilarating as you soar off ramps into lush green valleys. You can use turbo much of the time, and when you engage overdrive you scream past everybody else. But instead of fun it feels mostly mind-numbing. Most of the time I don't know what the [expletive] is going on. This partly stems from the confusing "team" format. A meter on top of the screen suggests a tug-of-war type contest, but I don't really know how that works. While racing through each course you'll see colorful icons and electric arcs between cars, but none seem to be of any consequence. Gray "zombie" cars and motorcycles materialize in your path, serving as cannon fodder you can easily smash to build your meter. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Sometimes the game says "Victory" but then begins another round. I appreciate the photorealistic visuals and sensation of speed, but the music is grating and the psychedelic effects are annoying. I hate when that "wreck cam" kicks in - so boring. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I wreck - I never lose. The programmers clearly knew their way around the kitchen but this game's sense of progression is non-existent. Onrush is just too much - like a perfect slice of wedding cake that's too sweet to enjoy. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 2K Sports (2020)
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2
Publisher: Bandai Namco (2016)
Publisher: Farsight Studios (2013)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes)
Pinball Arcade Season 2
Publisher: FarSight Technologies (2017)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (alcohol reference, fantasy violence, mild blood, mild language, suggestive themes)
(PS4, 2013) was among my favorite early PS4 titles, and Season 2 serves up no less than 20 more recreated classic tables!
Nothing can ever match the tactile experience of playing real pinball, but this might be the next best thing, and you can't beat the value. The first table that caught my eye was Haunted House - a game I've wanted to try for decades! It turned out to be less creepy than I hoped, but its "reverse gravity" basement sub-table is amazing. Terminator 2 is probably the most well-known table in this collection. Instead of a plunger you shoot the ball out of a gun! Several sci-fi themed games are included, with Pinbot standing out with its brilliant design and creepy robotic voice. If you're in the mood for adventure there's Arabian Nights and the jungle-themed El Dorado. Most of the remaining tables are more obscure, like Dr. Dude, Cactus Canyon, and Cue Ball Wizard. I found Cue Ball Wizard and the F1-themed Victory to be highly repetitive. I appreciate how each table includes a menu with its history, sales flyer, and custom balls (if you're into that kind of thing). One thing missing is the ability to freely peruse the table. Your view is generally fixed from the end of the table, and it's hard to make out the cool gadgets at the far end. The flipper controls feel great but I always forget I can nudge the table with the left stick. High scores are saved locally, separate from the online leaderboards. The developers have a genuine love for pinball and are on a mission to preserve these classics. They even included a glossy manual! Pinball Arcade Season 2 didn't rock my world like the first entry, but for pinball lovers this collection offers hours upon hours of enjoyment. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: MLB Advanced Media (2018)
RBI Baseball 2016
Publisher: MLB Advanced Media (2016)
Raiden V: Director's Cut
Publisher: UFO Interactive (2017)
When I reviewed the Xbox One Japanese import of Raiden V I was thrilled at the idea of playing an old-school vertical shooter on a state-of-the-art console. I couldn't resist going back for this director's cut which includes a soundtrack CD. Raiden V is a real throwback. As you guide a ship over cities, forests, and rock formations you'll blast tanks on the ground and planes that swirl into formations. The graphics aren't terribly impressive. I'd say they look about PS3 quality but the camera is pulled so far back it's hard to make out much detail in the environments. The tiny missiles are hard to track but the collision detection is forgiving so your tiny red ship can "thread the needle" with ease. The game itself only consumes the middle third of the screen, with the sides decorated with superfluous colorful screens and indicators. I have to admit I like having all those things around because they look so cool. The difficult is very reasonable compared to most "bullet hell" shooters. There are some really elaborate weapons to choose from, but imaginative doesn't always amount to fun. I hate that pink energy stream that twists and turns around the screen. I feel like it's doing all the work for you. You have a limited supply of bombs along with "cheer attacks" which have more meaning if you're playing online. Raiden V has a soaring musical score and jarring explosion sound effects. Your commanders can be heard chatting on your radio, and while their casual conversations add a bit of levity, they are hard to hear over the explosions. The story mode saves your high score locally, displays it on the top right. There's also a stage select. I was expecting a bit more razzle dazzle but Raiden V should keep old-school shooter fans happy for a while. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: 34BigThings (2016)
With a love for futuristic racers like Wipeout: Omega Collection
(Sony, 2017) I was chomping at the bit to give Redout a test drive. In the months before its release I heard rumors about online requirements, but these were false. The box even states "online play optional" and I wish more games were as forthcoming. Redout is quite offline-friendly, with self-contained career, arcade, and split-screen modes. I just wish this high-speed racer was a little more fun
. It puts you on a series of rollercoaster-like tracks with corkscrews, loops, and ramps. The sense of speed is decent, the frame rate smooth, and the controls robust. In addition to normal steering controls you use the right stick to strafe and adjust your pitch. Apply the brakes around tight turns because scraping the walls too much will compromise your hull integrity. In other words, you'll blow up. The tracks are just the right length (about a minute per lap) and upbeat electronic music sets the tone nicely. The career mode offers a variety of challenges including time trials and elimination races. Each track has a different look but frankly I found them to be really boring! Maybe it's because you're so close to the ground, but you really can't take in the scenery. Heck, you can barely follow the track ahead. The turbo boost creates a "wind sheer" effect but it doesn't seem like you're moving any faster. I rarely see other vehicles on the track so I don't even feel like I'm racing. I made steady progress in the career mode but didn't feel like I was working towards anything. The split-screen mode is kind of dull because it lacks a sense of speed. I wanted to like Redout but with each play I found myself growing increasingly disinterested. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Capcom (2015)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Publisher: Capcom (2017)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)
Retro City Rampage DX
Publisher: VBlank Entertainment (2016)
Publisher: Psyonix (2016)
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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Game Zone, YouTube, MobyGames.com, US Gamer, Operation Sports, Video Chums, FMV World, Playstation.Blog, EuroGamer.net, GameSpew.com, Playstation.com