PlayStation Official Magazine - May 2016
ISSUE 122 MAY 2016 £5.99
SUPERCHARGE YOUR PS4
Virtual realityy is here! Everything you need
to know about PS4’s
Discover t e reatest S
THE FINAL VERDICT ON BATTLEBORN
FIVE HOURS INSIDE RATCHET & CLANK
DIRT RALLY + THE DIVISION REVIEWED
Already completed the Intro Pack?
We explore Sapienza and Marrakesh
ISSUE 122 / MAY 2016
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GAME OF THE MONTH
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TO P66 TO
he end is nigh. Since 2007, Uncharted
has been the king of gaming. Nathan
Drake’s adventures are among the
best experiences ever to grace PlayStation,
but now the time has almost come to say
goodbye to our hero of heroes.
And boy, are we prepared to wave Nate
off in style. This issue we’ve compiled over
24 pages of Uncharted goodness, including
the first ever hands-on with Uncharted 4:
A Thief’s End’s prodigious campaign. Believe
me when I say you have no idea how good
this is shaping up to be. Ben’s jaw-dropping
playtest begins on p66, so swing across to
discover Drake’s sandbox vehicle sections
and the amazingly open combat scenes that
will have you replaying levels multiple times.
As for me, I’m so excited about Uncharted
I’m taking two full months off to play it. I’ll
return in July for OPM #125’s twin-mag E3
special, but in the meantime, former editor
Ben is back with a pair of storming issues.
Make sure you don’t miss next month’s – I’ve
seen a sneak peek and it’s out of this world.
Enjoy the issue!
your copy of
OPM #123 + four
Subscribe on p76
by 20 Apr
THIS MONTH’S DEN OF THIEVES…
Chief executive ;JMMBI#ZOH5IPSOF
Non-executive chairman Peter Allen
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with the rules of the
Jen was apprehensive
about playing Drawn To
Death for Previews this
issue. “Hmm, it looks a bit
sketchy,” she proclaimed.
GAME OF THE MONTH
Salt And Sanctuary
PS VR HIGHLIGHT
Star Wars Battlefront VR
A trip to the Dangerous
Golf studio lived up to its
name when Ben smashed
his front teeth. The fool
tried to eat a sand wedge.
GAME OF THE MONTH
Heavy Rain Remastered
PS VR HIGHLIGHT
Back in the office after a
month of dirty nappies and
late-night crying sessions
kept him away. In unrelated
news, Andy’s a new dad!
“I don’t get the name,” said
Edwin in his big review this
issue. “It’s Times Square!
Am I missing something?”
GAME OF THE MONTH
PS VR HIGHLIGHT
VR Worlds/The London Heist
GAME OF THE MONTH
Tom Clancy’s The Division
PS VR HIGHLIGHT
Robinson: The Journey
The big 10
006 PLAYSTATION VR
PS4’s virtual reality future has, at last, been
priced and dated – flip over for the huge scoop.
The big 10
We look ahead to Agent 47’s upcoming episodes,
then also review Hitman’s Intro Pack on p84.
032 RATCHET & CLANK
The Lombax hits the shops in under a fortnight,
so find out if we enjoyed our hands-on test.
Is it a shooter? Or is it a MOBA? We get tactical
with Gearbox’s new multiplayer madness.
052 UNCHARTED SPECIAL
Can’t wait for Nate? Our 24-page extravaganza
celebrates the series so far, culminating in a
huge hands-on with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
080 TOM CLANCY’S
OPM heads into the Dark Zone, so check out
what opinions we manage to extract. We also
delve deeper into the online experience on p98.
090 DIRT RALLY
Race fans take note: a serious contender
for Driveclub’s crown has arrived on PS4.
Don’t leave the house, it’s
dangerous out there! We’ll send
you the mag, for less cash, with
a cool cover plus Nathan Drake
AND Kratos. Turn to p76…
S E C T I O N S AT A G L A N C E
Latest info, screens
All the hottest news
In-depth verdicts on
every big new game
Max out your PS4,
online and off
THE Games index
050 10 SECOND NINJA X
114 ALIEN: ISOLATION
044 DANGEROUS GOLF
090 DIRT RALLY
093 DAY OF THE TENTACLE
092 DIGIMON STORY
038 DRAWN TO DEATH
089 EA SPORTS UFC 2
100 FALLOUT 4
105 FAR CRY PRIMAL
106 FREEDOM FIGHTERS
098 GUITAR HERO LIVE
087 HEAVY RAIN REMASTERED
094 HITMAN GO:
050 INSURGENCY: SANDSTORM
006 INTO THE DEEP
043 KINGDOM COME:
094 PLANTS VS ZOMBIES
GARDEN WARFARE 2
040 PRISON ARCHITECT
032 RATCHET & CLANK
020 RESIDENT EVIL 4
050 RISK OF RAIN
088 SALT AND SANCTUARY
042 SHERLOCK HOLMES:
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER
006 STAR WARS
098 STREET FIGHTER V
050 THE CHURCH IN
006 THE LONDON HEIST
019 THE MAGIC CIRCLE
050 THE SURGE
109 THE WITNESS
080 TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION
041 UMBRELLA CORPS
052 UNCHARTED SERIES
066 UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF’S END
006 VR LUGE
We tried the PlayStation
VR headset on over
glasses: comfy as you like.
How’s that for high specs?
THE HEADSET SUPPORTS 3D AUDIO,
HELPING YOU PRECISELY LOCATE EACH
IN-GAME GUNSHOT AND GURGLE.
We’re in love with Hitman’s new levels.
14 CLANKER OR CLUNKER?
Our impressions of the R&C movie.
16 HIGH STAKES
Eyes-on with Dontnod’s Vampyr-ic RPG.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
lands in October
and costs £350
PS4’s virtual reality future is affordable,
utterly mind-blowing and coming soon
PlayStation VR to be kind to our
wallets. We would have cried bitter,
poverty-stricken tears over £599.
We could have choked down – given
the apparent expense of creating a
virtual reality headset – £499. But
just £349 and 99 piddling pennies?
Oh, Sony. You spoil us.
READY, HEADSET, GO
If that wasn’t enough to make Sony
Computer Entertainment CEO
Andrew House the flavour of
forever, his presentation at GDC
2016 also revealed that PlayStation
VR will launch very soon – this
October, to be exact. Cue a very
happy Halloween of virtual frightfests, and an even merrier
Christmas. “Sorry, Nana, can’t chat
now: I’m playing with the little digital
men inside my face.” Bliss.
So what exactly fills Sony’s magic
box of futuristic delights? There’s
the headset itself: a 5.7-inch,
1920x1080 resolution OLED display
splits vertically to give each of your
peepers (you have only got two,
right?) a 960x1080 view. The
refresh rate is a super-fluid 120Hz,
with a field of view at around 100
degrees, there’s a super-low latency
of below 18ms and it sports nine
LEDs – count ‘em – that afford the
headset 360-degree tracking.
There’s an inbuilt mic for easy social
chatting, it comes with new earbuds,
and PS VR even supports 3D audio,
helping you hone in on exactly where
each gunshot is coming from.
That remarkable audio is possible
thanks to the included external
processor unit. Looking a bit like an
adorable miniature PS4, it packs
serious techy clout. It powers the
“social screen” function (where
PS VR broadcasts what the
player is seeing in the headset to
another TV); a cinematic mode that
displays 2D games and movies;
and a “separate mode,” in which
an entirely different audio and
Lost that essential PlayStation Camera
down the back of the sofa? Uh-oh. Best
pre-order GAME’s nifty all-in-one bundle
– £389.98 bags you PlayStation VR and
Sony’s all-seeing eye into the bargain.
No Move controller bundles yet…
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
video stream is sent to another
screen – great for multiplayer VR
experiences such as friendshipruining bomb defusal simulator
Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes.
But steady on, would-be wiresnippers: the current pre-orderable
set of PS VR goodies doesn’t include
everything you’ll need to faceplant
yourself into virtual worlds. The kit
doesn’t work without a PlayStation
Camera, and you won’t find one
cuddled up with your new headset.
Fortunately, PS Camera’s £40-ish
price tag means PS VR is still a steal
compared to competitors. And other
peripherals? Well, PlayStation Move
controllers (at around £30 each)
aren’t essential, but their motiontracking sensors make grabbing for
items and running-and-gunning even
more immersive in select VR titles.
Of course, as Motörhead would
say, “It’s all about the game,” so
hold onto your headsets as PS VR is
launching with some mind-boggling
titles to get your eyeballs around.
The PlayRoom VR comes bundled
free with the kit, and will be your
first port of call for accessible VR
jollies. It’s an all-new version of
the original augmented reality PS4
Playroom: the adorable blue-eyed
robots are back to play a handful of
amusing mini-games with you and
your couch buddies.
If we were a betting mag (we’re
not, after that unfortunate incident
with the Uncharted 4 release date),
we’d wager that the PlayStation VR
Worlds bundle announced in the US
makes its way to the UK. With the
brilliant VR Worlds collection, Sony’s
in-house studios have created five
radically diverse tasters to satisfy
every type of PS VR gamer. There’s
super-stylish, shooty, sweary jeweltheft simulator The London Heist
(which we played at GDC); a descent
into the ocean with Into The Deep;
bob-sledding under 18-wheelers
down a Californian highway in VR
Luge; playing Tron-Pong with your
braincase in Danger Ball; and barrelrolling a spaceship through galactic
debris in Scavenger’s Odyssey. We
won’t be short of options at launch.
And the future – flush with more
than 50 upcoming PS VR titles by
this year’s end, if all goes to plan –
looks even brighter. Brighter than
an exploding Death Star, you might
say. Yes, GDC’s PlayStation VR
presentation announced upcoming
title Star Wars Battlefront
VR Experience. It’ll be a third-
party exclusive, and handled by
original developer DICE. Flying
the Millennium Falcon from a VR
cockpit, pew-pewing lasers at TIE
fighters with Chewie bellowing in
our ears? If that’s what it involves,
we’ll never leave the house again.
PULSATING WAVES ARE
EVEN MORE INTENSE.
Except, perhaps, to momentarily
escape the psychedelic sensory
overload of Thumper VR. Having
previewed the beetle-sliding rhythm
violence game back in #120, we
thought we knew what to expect
when we popped on the headset
at GDC. Nope. The chest cavityvibrating, pulsating waves and
needle-sharp turns are even more
intense in PlayStation VR. It’s a
game made for the all-consuming,
audio-visual wrap-around VR
experience. It’s terrifying, exquisite,
and will be attaching itself to your
face very soon.
What with similarly engrossing
titles such as mech-suit shooter
RIGS Mechanized Combat League,
quirky virtual office Job Simulator,
a much-anticipated Psychonauts VR
experience and stunning dogfighting
spin-off Eve: Valkyrie on the way,
now’s the time to hit that big preorder button. Merry Christmas to
you. What do you mean, it’s April?
Want to hear about our PS VR playtest?
Check out the OPM UK podcast on iTunes.
Everything here is essential
to PS VR – apart from the
Move controllers. But who
can resist a magic wand?
Q The small external processor unit
looks like a stumpy PS4. So cute!
Q PS3 puzzler Tumble has been remade
and expanded into Tumble VR. It’s ace.
The PlayRoom VR is
a free, fun couchplay
collection with co-op
and competitive modes.
Q Once you’ve defeated Danger Ball enemies to become a VR Worlds champ, consider picking up the on-rails Until Dawn ‘sequel’, Rush Of Blood.
You’ll pilot a spacecraft in
VR Worlds’ Scavenger’s
Odyssey, riding along walls
and blasting cannons.
Sapienza is filled with
nods to past hits. We’ve
spied callbacks to A
New Life and Anathema.
Hitman’s future is
bright and bloody
Inside episodes two and three – and talk of a second season
So you’ve finished
Hitman’s Intro Pack
– that didn’t take
too long, did it?
You’ll find our
review of 47’s
return on p84, but right now, we’re
looking ahead to what’s coming next
– specifically, episodes two and three
of Season One’s
don’t worry, you’re
not alone – that’s
news to us as well.
Square is now
referring to 2016’s
Hitman schedule as ‘Season One’,
and despite openly talking about just
six environments (Paris, Sapienza,
Marrakesh, Thailand, USA and
Japan), a seventh episode has crept
into the plan. How it fits into the
schedule is a mystery, but with
Hitman’s disc release now pushed
back to next year, there’s plenty of
time for developer IO to cook up
something special for the finale
before a follow-up season arrives.
This month, however, introduces
episode two, and we’ve already
played in Agent 47’s hunting grounds
at Sapienza. A sunny coastal town,
home to a gigantic
mansion, a church,
a dock and more
than we can count,
a strong contender for our favourite
Hitman level. Ever. Big, of course,
doesn’t always mean best (Blood
Money’s compact A New Life suburb
is high on our ‘Greatest Hits’ list), yet
47’s contract to slay science boffin
Silvio Caruso, his assistant and the
MAY WELL BE
custom DNA virus they’ve been
cooking up – which can pass though
millions of people without harm until
it infects and kills its target – is a
masterclass in level design.
“Hitman’s always been
seen as a project
to last seasons by
Square Enix. We have
seven episodes [in
Season One]. We are
not entirely sure what
we’re going to do
afterwards in terms
of what we update and
when, but there will be
an end of this season
and, at some point,
we will announce the
Game director, IO Interactive
Seemingly innumerable unique kills
are tucked away in Sapienza,
whether it be throwing people off
parish belltowers or dropping
metallic models of planets on
targets’ heads inside the main
house’s private observatory, yet the
laid-back air of the town and its
residents makes it a remarkably
relaxed affair. No rushing’s required
(at least until we infiltrate a secret
lab, that is), and the result is an
excellent blend of pace and potential.
A hands-off tour of Hitman’s third
episode, meanwhile, reveals that the
series never wants to stand still.
Marrakesh is the focus, and 47 is
WHAT’S IN STORE?
Leaked 3.50 Beta screens from
Twitter user Note Wise point to a
complete Store redesign. The
evidence has been pulled, but
expect background trailers and
multiple pages per game.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Pesky 9-5 getting in the way
of your PS4 funtime? Wait for
Update 3.50 and pray your
work’s firewall plays ball…
Play PS4 games on
your work machine
PS4 Update 3.50 adds PC Remote Play and more
Just in case your
Musashi) lands on PS4s in the very
near future, bringing with it a new
Remote Play feature. You’ll be able to
use your PC or Mac to keep on
playing PS4 from
afar – and it’ll be
promises the PS
Blog. Oh, the
We knew it
was on the cards.
Shuhei Yoshida tweeted last
November that the firm was working
on an official application for the
functionality – now it seems we may
not even have to shell out for it. Love
ya, Shu. Disappointingly, the feature
wasn’t included in the update’s
closed Beta, but there was a ton of
new software perks to marvel at.
For starters, 3.50 lets you set
notifications to ping when your best
visiting Morocco in the hours before
a full-scale military coup to execute
a Swedish banker and a corrupt
general. Marrakesh’s size rivals that
of Sapienza, with bustling markets,
a locked-down Swedish consulate,
shops, cafés and even schools there
for the exploring, but a heavy military
presence and hundreds-strong
crowds on the brink of riots give
it an altogether different feel.
Incredibly, these upcoming
episodes make the Intro Pack feel
miniscule, and promise a future that
improves upon Hitman’s strong
opening gambit. And if you were as
tickled with the tutorial’s ply-board
environments as we were, there’s
good news: IO’s already considering
a return to that disused silo to build
more training missions in the future.
The complete first season of Hitman
will be released on disc in January 2017.
buds come online. Handy. As is the
ability to appear offline. Cue John
Cena-style hand gestures as we
stay hidden to enjoy some solo time
without being hounded for games.
If you’re feeling sociable, however,
Musashi’s got you covered. With
user scheduled events, you can set
up gaming sessions for specific
dates and times. Your PS4 will
auto-add you and
pals to a party
when it’s Raid
sharp!). You’ll also
now be able to see
what other party
playing, and get in
on the action or
start a new game with them.
And as for streaming?
Compatibility with Dailymotion
has been included! Er, okay then.
Hopefully Musashi’s successor will
bring a few much-desired UI updates
(custom application folders, maybe?)
to the PS4 party in the near future.
ABLE TO USE
YOUR PC OR MAC
TO KEEP ON
Is the PS4 itself set for a hardware
upgrade? Turn to p18 for more on that…
IT’S AMASSED MORE
THAN 14 MILLION
PLAYERS ON PC SINCE
ITS 2014 RELEASE.
If you’re itching to strike
down some PC players, you’ll
have to wait for Cross-Play
newcomer Paragon. Smite
won’t allow you to tackle PC
gamers from your PS4.
Q Smite in three steps: 1) Fell Towers.
2) Slay Phoenixes. 3) Smash Titan.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Q Smite’s currently in a closed Beta on PS4,
with a full release expected later this year.
a light on PS4
God-themed MOBA blesses us with presence
PS4 has truly
by the battle
Paragon and the distinctly MOBAflavoured (yes it is, Gearbox) FPS
Battleborn on their way, tactical
team fans have plenty to be excited
for. But first, it’s time to meet their
maker: Smite, a third-person-view
MOBA, is finally hitting PS4.
The free-to-play god-ganker’s
intuitive controls and mythological
lore helped it amass more than 14
million players since its 2014 PC
launch. And now, Hi-Rez Studios
wants a slice of that player base
pie for PS4. After all, the over-theshoulder perspective is perfect for
Fancy nailing MOBA fundamentals?
Smite is essential. Tutorials prioritise
CPU minion-farming for experience
and gold; jungling (killing beasties to
bag buffs for your character); and
info on match structure. Auto-buy
and auto-level features are also
useful for newcomers – levelling
abilities and building loadouts
mid-match can be daunting (looking
at you, Paragon), so Smite can take
care of that while you’re pulling off
skill shots. Later, you’ll want to flip
the function off and get tinkering.
Smite launches on PS4 with instant
access to all game modes and five
free gods – Ymir, Thor, Neith, Guan
Yu and Ra. Extra gods can be bought
with in-game currency Favor or
purchasable Gems. But the real
jewel (bought with actual money) is
the Founder’s Pack, unlocking all
present and future gods, plus
It’s pure MOBA goodness at its
most accessible. New challenger
Paragon’s combative clout beats
Smite’s floatier feel – but until that
tricky Card system in Epic’s game
becomes friendlier, the Battleground
Of The Gods is where it’s at.
A PS Plus member? You’ll get god
Kukulkan’s exclusive KuKu4 skin for free.
the big shot
Rosario Dawson voices
Elaris, while Sly Stallone,
John Goodman and Paul
Giamatti are also involved.
Ratchet & Clank
Platforming duo stick the landing
don’t exactly go
hand in hand.
And by that we
usually as enjoyable as eating
stale popcorn off the floor of an
Odeon. So, it’s with a huge sigh of
relief that Ratchet & Clank avoids
the movie adaptation curse.
We know because we’ve seen
it. As family-friendly as they
come, this big screen adventure
focuses on the planet-hopping
buddies teaming up for the first
time. With the universe in peril
thanks to the world-demolishing
antics of Chairman Drek, fate
conspires to bring the Lombax
and robot together to stop the Dbag obliterating the entire galaxy.
It’s not Pixar quality (most of
the jokes are aimed squarely at
the younger members of the
audience) but fans of the series
will be happy that the duo are just
as fun to be around, even without
a pad in your hand.
Head to p32 to see how the game
of the film of the game is shaping up.
Captain Qwark is easily
the film’s best character.
Insecure and easy to
manipulate, he’s a riot.
we do the maths
Don’t worry, Ratchet,
Clank and Qwark are still
brilliantly voiced by their
original game actors.
Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan is
out on this date. It’s pizza party time.
Number of developers working on
innovative PlayStation VR experiences.
PS4s have now been sold worldwide,
according to SCE boss Andrew House.
Minutes it took for Amazon UK’s initial
stock of PS VR headsets to sell out.
Approximate rise in PS Camera sales,
following the PS VR announcement.
The launch price tag on Sony’s magical
helmet of dreams, PlayStation VR.
The year the first Oddworld game
released. A new title’s coming in 2017.
Keep your eyes peeled
for the briefest of nods
towards two other
The Fallout 4 update that adds Super
Mutant meat totems, bags and carts.
This atmospheric early
20th century London
looks suitably moody
in Unreal Engine 4.
Life Is getting
a lot Stranger
We take a bite out of Dontnod’s open-world horror RPG, Vampyr
adventure Life Is
up on Max’s story
by… making a game about vampires.
Huh? Out next year, brooding
dialogue-driven RPG Vampyr
powers and a
by your choices.
That world is a
gothic London in
1918, a city where
the horrors of The Great War have
transitioned into more unimaginable
terror, this time in the form of the
Spanish flu – a nightmare pandemic
killing more people than the Black
Death. You play a vampire with a
reluctant thirst for blood. Former
army surgeon Jonathan E Reid is a
man of science. Suffering the early
stages of vampirism, a conflict rages
within him – give into the bestial
urges and grow stronger, or cling
on to humanity and help find a cure?
A free roam Whitechapel becomes
both hospital and hunting ground,
and despite the
Dontnod is striving
accuracy. “We did
a lot of research
about how London
and Britain coped
with the infection and the disease at
the time. And in fact, people were
just left dying alone,” says narrative
director Stéphane Beauverger. “The
country was so disorganised by the
war and by this epidemic, which
A FREE ROAM
“The concept of
patient zero, the
first one… this is a
very new concept.
us is the carrier. If
you find him you can
understand where the
disease came from.
That’s what the player
will do in Vampyr.”
Narrative director, Dontnod
killed many more people than the
war itself, that at one point in
London they didn’t have enough
nurses or doctors. People were just
left to die. That’s interesting for us
because in this completely chaotic
time, no one will care if a vampire
kills someone. So you are free. You
can kill someone in the street at
night, and it’s just another body.”
All of which means there’s moral
choice without moral judgment.
Dontnod hasn’t implemented a
penalisation system that praises and
condemns, or a meter boiling down
the complexities of human behaviour
to ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Charm seems to
be your best weapon, and as a
charismatic daylight-dodger, you
have several silver-tongued dialogue
options at your disposal. There are
friendly and hostile remarks on the
Is Life Is Strange 2 coming?
We’d like to think so, but
beware: online stories
confirming its existence
have actually mistranslated a
French interview. Whoops.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
update your brain
Q After the ravages of war and a viral
outbreak, London is not in a good place.
dispatch too many, Dontnod shows
us a Whitechapel engulfed in flames.
There’s also the less covert
approach – fighting. We see Reid use
a bonesaw and pistol to fend off a
gang before finishing the job with
telekinesis and teleportation. The loot
they drop can then be used to
upgrade tools, while blood boosts
abilities. But the descent into illogical
scrapping feels out of place among
the character-driven stuff. (Can no
one else see this fight?)
left and right of the screen triggered
by the D-pad, and a sweet-talk
recourse on the top, which has a
chance to fail. Vampyr’s poetically
written speech is stylistically similar
to, if tonally bleaker than, those in
Life Is Strange.
During our 15-minute hands-off
demonstration, we see Reid
approach a ruffian looking for food in
a bin. Reid mentions his service in
the war and the man empathises,
replying, “So you survived the
slaughterhouse?” Now somewhat
chummy, Reid guides him down a
dark alley and bites hard into his
neck. Just watching feels
uncomfortable. These are no
faceless GTA pedestrians to casually
waste, but citizens with whom to
engage and manipulate. Not only is
murder a process, but it impacts
those left behind. As a chilling
example of what can happen if you
Dontnod has made similar errors
before. “I would say that on
Remember Me, the gameplay and the
story was not matching,” admits
Beauverger. “You had the storyline of
Nilin and her parents… and this new
sci-fi universe on one side, and this
combo lab and fighting gameplay...”
Although underwhelming, combat
is just one part of an impressive
debut showing. From a location
steeped in history, the havoc you can
wreak within it, and the open-ended
fallout from decisions you make,
Vampyr marks an unexpected but no
less alluring departure for Dontnod.
Life, it turns out, is pretty strange.
Rebellion has its sights firmly set on releasing
the fourth instalment of its popular WWII
stealth-sniping series. Sniper Elite 4 – taking
place in ‘40s Italy – releases this year, and
will boast a glorious 1080p resolution with
substantially larger maps for elite marksman
Karl Fairburne to sneak through.
This is different: LittleBigPlanet 3 dev and
racing game expert Sumo Digital is taking
charge of zombie-slashing sequel Dead Island
2. Deep Silver has handed over the reins (or
machete, perhaps?) from Yager to the British
studio, which is “looking forward to exceeding
fan expectation.” Set expectations high, then.
Want more supernatural, story-driven
games? Check out Kholat on p86 now.
SAVE THE DATES
Q It’s a far cry from sunny Oregon. And it
stays that way – vampires don’t do sun.
Update those pretty OPM UK calendars with
some tasty release dates, hot from the PS4
oven. Turn-based stealth title Invisible, Inc.
arrives 19 April; Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
has been pushed back to 10 May; and we get
colourful multiplayer shooter Overwatch on
24 May. Plus: No Man’s Sky? It’s 24 June.
Xbox and PlayStation,
sitting in a tree…
Wait! Don’t run!
The green mist isn’t
Cross-platform play between consoles, you say?
This, as you might
know, is an Xbox
One. What is it
doing in Official
we hear you cry? Well, Microsoft
is seemingly holding out an olive
branch to Sony about crossplatform multiplayer gaming.
It sounds like a joke, we know,
but 1 April has gone. In a recent
letter, Microsoft said that “players
on Xbox One and Windows 10
using Xbox Live will be able to play
with players on different online
multiplayer networks – including
other console and PC networks.”
Of course, PlayStation’s no
stranger to cross-platform play,
with PC at least. From as far back
as Final Fantasy XI on PS2, and
most recently with Street Fighter
V on PS4, PlayStation fans have
been playing alongside PC gamers
“I couldn’t really work out what
all the fuss was about in that
Microsoft announcement. It’s
something we’ve been doing,” says
Jim Ryan, president and CEO of
Sony Computer Entertainment
Europe, when we discuss the
statement. As for the potential
for Xbox and PlayStation crossnetwork gaming, however? “We’re
completely open to any developer
or publisher who wants to have the
conversation; we always have been
and we remain so,” he continues.
the rumour machine
Read our full interview with Jim Ryan
– with Crash Bandicoot chat – next issue.
The Titanfall 2 to PS4
evidence mounts – it’s
listed for pre-order on
Gamestop and Amazon.
our sources understand…
Could Battlefield 5 take
place in a World War
One setting? A German
retailer’s product listing
reveals that could well be
the case. Also listed? A
26 October release date.
but technical stumbling
blocks would need fixing.
PSN IDs can’t talk with
Xbox Gamertags, so
expect in-game accounts
separate to main profiles
(e.g. SFV’s Fighter IDs),
all reliant on devs coding bespoke
systems to support this. And
then there’s the issue of format
performances and balance; no
console can hold an advantage.
Lots of problems to solve before
the dream becomes a reality, then,
but at least the road is now paved
for talks to begin.
WE’RE OPEN TO
TO HAVE THE
up on a
at GDC hints at PS4.5
with a better
is on the cusp
its new game.
The Magic Circle developer
Jordan Thomas is a ‘curveball’
level specialist. He’s the man
behind BioShock’s brilliantly
disturbing Fort Frolic, plus Thief
3’s legendary Shalebridge Cradle.
Indie dev team
pitches PS4 curveball
Meta-puzzler The Magic Circle hits PS4 on 10 May
Q The vocal stylings of Ashly Burch
(Borderlands 2’s Tiny Tina) feature.
the month in
fans liked were
wanted to go:
Previously on PC, the PS4
game boasts improved
lighting and AI, plus a
major engine upgrade.
Hype is dangerous.
release can be
torture for devs
and gamers alike.
But what if you
could hack the game and finish it
yourself? That’s the premise of
darkly comedic puzzler The Magic
Circle – it’s up to you to save a
game from development limbo.
The hapless devs – er, the
fictional devs, not the real ones
– have stopped bickering long
enough to create you, their RPG’s
long-suffering hero. Have they
given you weapons or spells? Have
they hell. You’ll have to steal a tool
called The Circle to rejig code and
solve problems in the game – the
fictional one and the real one. Ow,
It’s complicated, but the tiny team
makes it accessible. At GDC, we
chatted to dev Jordan Thomas, who
explained: “Rather than forcing you
to learn to code, you edit objects
and creatures in the world through
a simple English interface. You move
properties and powers between
creatures to solve puzzles, and
there are many right answers.”
We also asked the King of
“Curveball” whether it will stay true
to his former games’ wackiness.
“Oh yes," he laughed, “This is
curveball in almost every way.”
Circle back to OPM next issue, when
we’ll have our review of The Magic Circle.
“Hit her! Hit
her! Hit her! Hit
her!” Oh dear.
a bit hatecrimey when
they sit down to
play some liveaction Hitman.
The Walk was
so much more
Happy 20th birthday Resi!
You’ve given us many a
sleepless night. We wouldn’t
have it any other way.
CALM BEFORE THE…
isn’t your typical spit ‘n’
polish remaster. Instead
of just updating Abe’s
Exoddus, series creator
Lorne Lanning is
crafting a much darker
tale for our farting hero.
BULLY FOR YOU
Two more PS2 Rockstar
classics are now
available on PS4. That
means 1080p uprendering and trophies
galore for survival
horror Manhunt, and
schoolyard sim Canis
Canem Edit (aka Bully).
ON YOUR POD
Team OPM are back
on the airwaves with
a podcast bringing
our voices to your
to us on iTunes, or you
can find us at http://
Mode Episodes 6, 7
and 8 are coming.
previously left us cold,
but maybe we’ll warm
to the new characters?
Who’s a Naughty boy
then? Nate just can’t
stop thieving – concept
art used in one A Thief’s
End trailer was taken
from ACIV: Black Flag.
Leon and co get a
Remasters of Resident Evils 4-6 are inbound…
Let’s start with
the good news.
Resident Evil 4
is being given
treatment in order
to get a release on PS4. As are
Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6.
You know, the ones that aren’t Resi
4. Less good is that Capcom is
staggering the releases, meaning
we’ll be twiddling our thumbs until
autumn for a return to Spain…
In the meantime, however,
there’s still plenty of
action to be getting
on with. Resident
Evil 6 is already on
PSN Store and, if
you decide to go
DON’T GO, EVO
Evolution Studios (the
excellent dev behind
racers Motorstorm and
Driveclub) has closed.
Thank you for all the fun.
back to the divisive entry, you’ll have
four campaigns with online and
offline co-op (though good luck
finding a friend who has the time
to go through it all with you).
Following up in the summer will be
Resident Evil 5, which sees Chris
Redfield and Sheva Alomar battling
against the Majini and giant boulders,
with all its original features.
Then, towards the end of the year,
we’ll be getting (another) re-release
of Resident Evil 4, which, we can’t
stress enough, is an all-time classic.
There will also
be plenty of
across the three
titles to give them
that lovely currentgen sheen and,
generously, all three
will come with every piece of DLC
and bonus content. That means you’ll
be able to dip into Resi 6’s Survivor
mode, play the brilliant DLC episodes
for Resi 5 and relive Ada Wong’s
Resi 4 epilogue. So maybe that
thumb-twiddling won’t be necessary.
Besides, we don’t have too many
complaints considering the trio will
cost £15.99 apiece on PSN.
Q The gun-toting Leon S Kennedy. The S
stands for “Seriously, zombies again?”
That’s not all for Resi this year. Check
out our Umbrella Corps preview on p41.
BETTER NATE THAN NEVER
Leaving us hanging around for an
extra two weeks, Uncharted 4 is
now leaping onto PS4 on 10 May.
The minor delay is to allow for extra
manufacturing time to ensure a
perfect worldwide launch.
STORIES EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
just one more question…
the team debate this month’s burning issue
It’s A Thief’s End, but which thief?
Who should die in Uncharted 4?
NATE’S TIME IS UP
– HIS STORY NEEDS
TO COME TO AN END.
SORRY ELENA – IT’S
TIME FOR YOU TO SAY
A FOND FAREWELL.
PLEASE DON’T SUCK
THE JOY OUT OF MY
Too obvious? Maybe, but
Uncharted shouldn’t exist
without Drake – this thief
needs to meet his end if
his series is going to as
well. Nate’s slow
hunter to reluctant hero
is complete, so Uncharted
4 risks spoiling three
games’ worth of
character development if
Nate doesn’t find himself
in an impossible situation
with his luck running out.
Furthermore, this is the
chance for Naughty Dog
to showcase its everimproving writing. Drake’s
death should feel
inevitable and powerful,
without pulling any cheap
tricks that would offer an
emotional ending while
keeping alive the glimmer
of a possible revival. Q
Happy endings make me
sad. Whether in films or
in games, I want my
stories to put me through
the emotional wringer
and leave me scarred.
Which is why I’m praying
Uncharted cuts deep with
a surprise end for Elena.
How could I wish for this?
Because it’s the most
tragic outcome. Drake
was supposed to leave
his treasure hunting
ways behind for Elena, so
when he returns to a life
of robbing tombs, there
must be consequences.
And those consequences
will hit the hardest if it’s
the innocent party who
pays the ultimate price,
leaving Nate – and us – to
rue our actions and bring
an end to Drake’s story.
It’ll hurt, of course, but
the pain will be worth it. Q
FORGET A LATE
NATE – IT SHOULD
BE THIRD TIME
UNLUCKY FOR SULLY.
The old codger has a
talent for dodging the
Angel of Death. Francis
Drake’s diary took a bullet
for Sully in the first
Uncharted, and we were
sure Drake’s longtime
partner was a goner in
Uncharted 3… until it
turned out that Nathan
was tripping serious
balls. Yep, it was all a
hallucination – and
Uncharted 4 needs to
take full advantage of
that. “Sully? Dead?” we’ll
scoff. “Pull the other one,
Naughty Dog!” Imagine
the impact of the slow,
painful realisation that the
roguish father figure is
really, finally gone this
time – for us, and for
Nate. Surely it should be
this thief who’s finally
meeting his end. Q
What’s with the death cult
folks? It’s such an easy
out that’s been done to,
um, death. Happy endings
have a bad rap – often
deservedly so – but they
needn’t be mawkish. Nate
is still in his prime – wiser
and more experienced
than ever. He should have
plenty of tricks up his
sleeve to ensure a
ending for himself and his
buddies. If I want ‘Naughty
Dog does depressing’, I’ll
play The Last Of Us (with
pleasure), but Uncharted
is my happy place. Please
don’t suck the joy out of
my happy place! If series
inspiration Indy can live
to relic rob another day,
then why can’t Nate?
Just please don’t turn up
in a few years with Shia
bloody LaBeouf. Q
F facebook.com/OfficialPlayStationMagazine T @OPM_UK W gamesradar.com/opm E [email protected]
I have just completed
Firewatch and I was very
one thing was a massive
disappointment – the
need to swear. I’m no
prude, but I thought my
eight-year-old son could
really enjoy the adventure,
but within the first five
minutes, the f-bomb
had been dropped, and
it continued throughout.
I don’t feel it was
necessary – alternative
words would have got the
same message across.
Andy Hicks via email
Interesting point, Andy,
and we thought it only
fair to forward it to
Campo Santo founder
Sean Vanaman. We’ve
sadly only space for
a fraction of his very
in-depth reply, but it’s
a fascinating read…
SV: Hi there. I disagree
that alternative words
the same message.
Firewatch is a game
about adults going
through adult stuff. Not
all adults swear, but we
knew Henry and Delilah
did (especially Delilah).
Every single decision
EVERY DECISION WE MAKE
ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS
DEFINES WHO THEY ARE.
Star letter Tokyo rift
To those at OPM. I’d first like to say that I am a long
time avid reader of your great magazine and I will be
for some time. I especially like reading your reviews
and previews sections. But in the preview round-up
section of the latest magazine, I find, shockingly, you
previewing the wrong Yakuza game. In this section you
are saying that Yakuza 0 is a remake of Yakuza 1, but it
isn’t. It’s actually a prequel to Yakuza 1. The remake for
Yakuza 1 is called Yakuza Kiwami. I hope you continue
the good work and I hope you send the person who
wrote the article to spend one week with Goro Majima.
Ian Beeton via email
Good spot! The staff writer who mixed up the titles
will soon be deep in cement outside OPM Towers…
Enjoy a free year of OPM – for future proof-reading.
we really talk about this
stuff inside the walls of
our company. Language
matters, especially in
fiction about adults for
adults (Firewatch is
rated 17+, remember).
It might mean that
sometimes we lose a
portion of the audience,
but the same is true
if we made a shooter,
or a rated E cartoon.
We hope you enjoyed
the game anyway and,
if you’re still reading
this, have gained a little
insight into how we
write our games!
CAN I GET A RT?
Tweet gold (and one troll) from
this month’s @OPM_UK timeline
We’re in the midst of a
et al are killing it. #Abzu
*every David Cage
game flies at me and
I effortlessly hit X to
dodge all of them*
Its okay if none of my
friends want to talk to
me because I’ve got
I really can’t wait for
#NoMansSky. It’s gonna
be my entire life. All I
wanna do is explore.
troll of the month
#121 No Man’s Sky,
Abzu, Far Cry Primal
and free-to-play games.
we make about these
characters defines who
they are. I wrote an
alternate version of the
first 20 minutes where
Delilah didn’t swear and
she became an entirely
We live in a world
through language and
pattern. So, if Delilah
starts saying “darn,”
“damn,” and, God forbid,
“frickin!” that means
something! Let’s look at
the following line, said
when Delilah is under
high-stress. “What the
f*ck is going on?” I
think of an unfiltered,
unchecked adult in
stress. Emphasise the
f-bomb and the meaning
changes. You hear
distress with anger and
worry and defensiveness
– all Delilah traits.
Now let’s drop the
f*ck. “What is going on?”
It trends towards worry
and distress. I lose
the anger and defence
that makes Delilah so…
Delilah. My point is that
Finally read the article on
Ratchet & Clank. It was
awesome :) Cannot wait
for the game & movie!
What’s weird is killing
before… Actually killing
”I have this idea for a
game.” Said every games
4 lasers activated. No
All The Witness fans
give me a fist bump.
again. I forgot just how
good it is. Replaying it for
different endings now.
I am very happy to
have the @OPM_UK
podcast back in my life.
best comments from facebook.com/officialplaystationmagazine
“Can’t wait for this, but give us a remaster of
previous three. They were some of the best
games ever and need bringing to PS4.”
“Please please please
let this be good. They
have to do Quake too.”
lee symons wants more mass effect than just Andromeda.
damian blankenship on doom.
READERS’ MOST WANTED
Which games are bleeping loudest on your radar?
A Thief’s End
Yes, in not-exactly-shocking news,
Nate’s finale is again top of your
wishlist, having dominated it for
almost three years. With the
release now tantalisingly close,
this should be his last
there’s another delay.
(There isn’t.) Head to
p52 for our 24-page
ETA 10 MAY
It’s been a fair old while
since we’ve heard, well,
anything about this
action RPG, but that
doesn’t seem to have
dimmed your enthusiasm
for a bit of open-world
hunting with heroine Aloy.
Making a strong,
on your Most Wanted
chart, we’re thinking
you might suddenly
be pining for Shep
following the news that
RPG has been delayed
until early next year.
Tell us the five games
you can’t wait to play at
ETA Q1 2017
No Man’s Sky
Also making its debut is the reboot of id
Software’s classic FPS. Fans of the initial shooty
sojourns in Hell will be glad to hear that, following
a social media poll, Doom’s reverse sleeve art will
be a modern take on the original game’s cover.
The subject of our cover
story last month is edging
closer to its now firm,
confirmed release date,
and it seems that you,
like us, cannot wait to get
properly lost in its huge,
expanse of space.
ETA 13 MAY
ETA 24 JUN
fans answer a
series (so far)?
chapter in the
13% Get hot
under the collar
for the burning
is Uncharted 2’s
13% Go overboard
for Uncharted 3’s
cruise ship sinking.
7% Feel the love
for Uncharted 1’s
and sunset ending.
16% Relish the
of calm when
circling about the
next Call Of Duty
release, we want
to know what new
like it to be set in?
WHY HAS NATHAN DRAKE
BECOME SUCH AN ENDURING
ICON? BECAUSE NAUGHTY DOG
HAD THE BALLS TO MAKE HIM
PlayStation’s mascot is the fraidy cat we can all relate to
aughty Dog’s artefactobsessed fortune hunter
is a coward. Does that
stop him from gunning
down men by the
hundred, jumping off
insanely high balconies or thinking
little of clambering up a derailed
train carriage hanging off a
Himalayan cliff? Hell no. Yet while
Nathan Drake’s actions may appear
to be heroic and foolhardy, the man
himself is an uncomfortable bundle
of nerves who’s just as likely to
squeal in the face of gunfire as
pop off precision headshots.
Skip back to 2007, and your typical
PlayStation hero was mightily different
from the charming bumbler who was
about to be introduced to the world
courtesy of Uncharted: Drake’s
Fortune. From Unreal Tournament 3 to
Resistance: Fall Of Man to
God Of War II,
and a level of
undiluted rage that’d
make Yosemite Sam look
downright mellow. In short,
games were good
at providing heroes who
specialised in six packs
and stoicism, the type of
character who’d rather
disembowel a Minotaur
than share their feelings
over a mug of cocoa.
That all changed with
Nathan Drake. Not only
had his head been spared
cover system, those wonderfully
exhilarating set-pieces or even the
snappy shooting – after all, a lot of
games give good gun. No, Naughty
Dog’s adventures will be remembered
for celebrating the personable
everyman. While most of us would
probably do very bad things for a hint
of Drake’s cheekbones, that doesn’t
mean the treasure-seeking rascal
doesn’t act like we would in the
face of escalating peril.
DRAKE MY DAY
Dave Meikleham is obsessed with Nathan
Drake. He earned platinums for all three of
the main Uncharteds on PS3, before deciding
he needed to make every last pot ping in
The Nathan Drake Collection. Meiks should
probably slowly back away from his PS4.
from a marine barber’s shears,
but the lovable rogue even had
an actual personality. Imagine
that! Charming if clumsy,
awkward yet insightful, Nate was
more akin to the post-modern,
self-aware action hero born
from the likes of Die Hard.
This is a man equally
about the time his
mentor took a sex
worker to church
as he is throwing
gangs of pirates.
likely to leave
be its graceful
If you dropped me into the middle
of a Nepalese war zone, I’d do
exactly what Nate does in Uncharted
2 – cower behind rubble, make lots
of whimpering noises and swear a
whole bunch. Alright, so I wouldn’t
shoot down a chopper with a grenade
launcher or swing from the suspended
flags of a 40-storey hotel. But even
though Nate pulls off incredible acts
of daring, that doesn’t paper over the
cracks of his inner scaredy-cat when
the bullets start whizzing.
It’s precisely because Drake shows
so much palatable vulnerability that
he’s such a great character. Am I ever
going to relate to Johnny Generic Call
Of Duty Dude as he mows down
terrorists with all the personality of a
trampled doormat? Of course not.
Throw me a fidgeting, fretful
adventurer, though, and you have my
immediate and unrelenting attention.
Solid Snake may be a cutely
quipping badass, and Niko Bellic does
a fine line in sardonic brooding, but no
PlayStation character has ever tugged
at my ticker quite like Naughty Dog’s
icon. Developers take note: it’s okay
to make your heroes flawed bunglers.
I WAS BOWLED OVER
BY UNCHARTED 3 – IT’S THE
TRUE REALISATION OF THE
UNCHARTED 3’S SETPIECES SHOULD HAVE WON US
OVER, BUT SONY BLEW ITS
WAD FAR TOO EARLY.
Forget Uncharted 2 – Drake’s Deception is by
far Nate’s most impressive adventure to date
Naughty Dog ruined Uncharted 3 – but it’s seen
the error in its ways for Drake’s final hurrah
s a latter-day Sony
convert, I never
games on release.
(I’ll allow a pause for your
gasps.) Thanks to The
Nathan Drake Collection,
however, I’ve finally caught
up, marathoning through
Nate’s adventures this year.
The leap in quality from the
first game to the second is
astonishing, a comprehensive
escalation of spectacle and
scale. Series fans had assured
me this was the peak – the
third is fine, they said, but it’s
nowhere near Among Thieves.
So I was surprised to find
myself bowled over by Drake’s
Deception. From its opener in
a London boozer seemingly
hosting a Ross Kemp lookalike
comp, to its final escape from
a cursed city collapsing into
the Rub’ al Khali, for me, it’s
the true realisation of the
It’s understandable that the
second game has lodged more
firmly in player’s minds – on
its release in 2009, it was an
truly ahead of its time. When
Uncharted 3 emerged two
years later, people perhaps
expected something equally
impactful, and were
disappointed by a game
aiming more for refinement
But it can’t be overstated
what a refinement it is.
Like the trilogy’s first entry,
Uncharted 2 is a game with
one foot still stuck in the
shooters that inspired it,
not confident enough in its
cinematic action to do away
with drawn-out combat and
goofy monsters. Building on
the foundation of Among
Thieves’ strongest moments,
Uncharted 3 is far more sure
of itself, blending shootouts
and set-pieces effortlessly.
When it goes loud, it’s
louder than anything that
came before – from sinking
ships to fistfights at 10,000
feet. In its quieter moments,
it’s unafraid to give its sharper
writing, more likeable
characters, and subtler
supernatural elements the
room they need to breathe.
It’s a more contemplative
game, too, adding a maturity
by showing human cost, and
questioning what drives the
man himself. Such darker
themes were only flirted
with in Uncharted 2 – but,
brilliantly, they look set to
take centre stage in Drake’s
final adventure later this year.
hen Robin loudly
Uncharted 3 is
to Uncharted 2 (left), there
were audible gasps in the
OPM office, followed by a
wall-shaking argument. But
while I’m a firm believer
that Among Thieves is the
series’ pinnacle, the more
I think about it, the more
Robin’s view makes sense.
Uncharted 3 was fantastic,
for sure. Sadly, for those of us
already invested in the series,
it was spoilt by an eagerness
to show off all its best parts
before launch. Ahead of the
Nov 2011 release, we’d already
seen its biggest set-pieces
– the original reveal in Dec
2010 showcased the desert
trek and the burning chateau;
at E3 2011, the sinking cruise
ship took centre stage; and
the iconic cargo plane scuffle
from The Living Daylights
was shown to the world at
The result? Those of us
who’d followed the news were
left deflated when we got
Drake’s Deception. The likes
of Robin, meanwhile, who’d
missed this hype, enjoyed it
more thanks to the surprises.
That surprise power is
critical. Part of the strength of
Uncharted – as we all know,
this is a series with many
great qualities – comes from
those set-pieces, and the
excitement levels of these
showpiece spectacles are
amplified by their ability to
shock and amaze. Uncharted
3’s wall-to-wall set-pieces
should have won us over, but
Sony blew its wad too early.
IN THE DOG HOUSE
Naughty Dog is far from the
only studio to be guilty of this
crime – I can’t help but think
of Treyarch’s entire Black Ops
II campaign, which zeroed
in on the action and plot
surrounding a drone strike on
Los Angeles. Fine, were it not
for the fact that this was the
game’s penultimate level and
the game’s narrative climax.
There’s good news: lessons
have been learned. A month
from Uncharted 4’s launch
and we’ve still only seen one
set-piece (E3’s epic car chase
sequence), with creative
director Neil Druckmann
telling us in OPM #115 that
“we’re very conscious about
what we want to show,” before
launch. Keeping spoilers
under wraps is so vital, and
this secrecy means A Thief’s
End still has every chance of
outshining Among Thieves.
A militant Nintendo fanboy as a child, a PC evangelist as an adult, and now a
proud PlayStation 4 owner, GamesMaster magazine’s production editor Robin
Valentine is what is known as a ‘platform traitor’ and should not be trusted.
Matthew Pellett is a big spoiler-baby who still laments the fact that Capcom
ruined Ada’s shock return from the dead during Resident Evil 4’s previews.
He dreams of an alternate reality in which *that* cutscene wasn’t spoiled.
Get ready for a great escape as we
bust out of PlayStation’s penitentiaries
PRISONER OF WAR
Stepping into the silent
shoes of Captain Stone, you
find yourself slipping out of
one POW camp only to wind
up in another, eventually
working your way up to the
notorious Colditz Castle. A
lack of combat means you’re
relying on your wits, making
it a better Great Escape
game than the actual Great
2 ZERO ESCAPE:
Nine strangers wake up to
find themselves trapped
in a facility with bracelets
attached to their wrists. An
AI rabbit – Zero III – informs
them that to escape they
must earn nine points by
solving puzzles. No other
prison break game is quite
as surreal as this one.
Slipping out of cells is pretty
common in the AC world, but
it’s much-maligned Unity that
supplies our favourite Creed
getaway. Kicking off his
journey in style, Arno
liberates himself from the
Bastille with Pierre Bellec.
Storming to the roof, they
look trapped, until Bellec
demonstrates the joys of
jumping off tall buildings.
Putting the cape in escape,
Aardman’s prolific poultry
made their way onto PS1,
letting gamers of the time
have their own crack at
taking flight from Tweedy’s
Farm. Whether it’s one you
got for a younger sibling or
have happy memories of
playing yourself, the stealth
action meant you could
effectively prepare for
more demanding games.
METAL GEAR SOLID
Poor ol’ hapless Johnny
Sasaki. Tasked with guarding
Solid Snake, he finds himself
suddenly afflicted with a
case of the bum vomits
and dashes off, buying your
caged merc enough time to
get help from Otacon. When
Sasaki returns, he might find
Snake lying in a pool of
tomato ketchup, prompting
him to foolishly rush into the
cell and get knocked out by
the hero of the day.
Okay, so it’s super awful,
scooping a 3/10 from us
back in OPM #44. But, by
snagging the majority of the
television cast to lend their
voices, at least it sounds like
the show. And you know,
there is a prison and you do
break out of it. Top marks
for not being misleading.
7 CALL OF DUTY:
MODERN WARFARE 2
Trying to track down the
villainous Makarov, your
team discovers a potentially
valuable captive in a Russian
gulag and decides to bust
him out. After the shooting,
much whooping and hollering
occurs when owner of the
finest ‘tache in all of games,
Captain Price, is revealed
to be the man you’re after.
8 THE ELDER
It’s not every day you’re
given a cell with a secret
passage, but that’s the
situation you find yourself in
at the start of Bethesda’s
classic. While the prison
break is a technical success,
Emperor Uriel Septim gets
murdered in front of you,
tasking you with closing up
Oblivion. Jail was preferable.
Well, of course. This
charming indie escape-’emup asks you to break out of
the clink, using your smarts,
muscles and whatever you
can lay your hands on. Its
visuals are presented in a
gorgeous pixel-art style,
meaning you’ve never before
seen an exercise yard scrap
or tunnelling-out attempt
that’s so adorable.
The enemy of my enemy is my
friend takes on new meaning,
as Joseph uses a Chimera
attack to flee Graterford.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Lara’s latest won’t be here
for a while, but we’ve seen
an escape from a Siberian
jail that looks criminally good.
Trying to ditch Carnate Island
is tricky with all those demons
about. Luckily, Torque’s a dab
hand at the old ultraviolence.
Did we miss your favourite escape? Got a brilliant In The Mood For idea? Show and tell at twitter.com/opm_uk.
“TO BE HONEST, AT THIS POINT I’M JUST
TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL.”
“DID I DO ANYTHING
“I CAN ONLY IMAGINE ME
SKIDDING ON A DANCEMAT
ACROSS THE OFFICE AND
FALLING ON MY JACKSIE.”
“ONE GRABBED ME THE OTHER NIGHT
AND SUCKED ME TO DEATH.”
“IF EVERYTHING IS 6/10 YOU CAN’T BE TOO
DISAPPOINTED. YOU CAN’T BE TOO EXCITED.
EVERYTHING IS ON A NICE, EVEN KEEL.”
Get it from iTunes or at opmpodcast.wordpress.com today
The brainy investigator’s back, only this
time he’s not quite so sure of himself…
RATCHET & CLANK 32 | CARMAGEDDON: MAX DAMAGE 36 | DRAWN TO DEATH 38
PRISON ARCHITECT 40 | UMBRELLA CORPS 41 | KINGDOM COME: DELIVERANCE 43
DANGEROUS GOLF 44 | BATTLEBORN 46 | THE CHURCH IN THE DARKNESS 50 | THE SURGE 50
Our wannabe Galactic
Ranger still cracks wise
with the best of ‘em:
the writing is hilarious.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 22 APRIL
PUB SONY / DEV INSOMNIAC GAMES
RATCHET & CLANK
Qwarky reboot ratchets up the
nostalgia to new levels
As we bounce through bustling
Metropolis, our robot buddy
strapped to our back, it’s
impossible not to have a big,
fat, Galaxy Burger-eating grin
plastered across our face. Playing
the new iteration of Insomniac’s legendary
3D-platforming shooter is like catching up with
an old friend – familiar, joyful and uncomplicated.
Except your friend suddenly got really hot. And
grew some extra alien limbs. Hot alien limbs.
Alright, maybe it’s a little complicated. Yes, this is
absolutely a retelling of that iconic 2002 PS2 story
of our beloved Lombax and his alloyed ally. It’s also
a transformation. Modernised controls, a revamped
arsenal and overhauled areas lend the Ratchet &
Clank reboot an unmistakable star quality.
The game is based on the new movie, cutscenes
glowing with citrusy fur, the neon lights of
Blackwater City reflected in puddles. Hang on…
What do you mean, this isn’t a cutscene? The
experience is seamlessly cinematic, the screen
constantly chock-a-block with galactic gorgeousness,
whether you’re gawping at footage or gameplay.
Captain Qwark’s hilarious voiceover, meanwhile,
provides a new perspective on the movie’s story,
narrating our silky-smooth platforming acrobatics
and adding to the sense that we’re somehow actually
playing a Pixar-esque production.
Left The Heli-Pack’s back.
Propellers pop out of Clank’s
head, letting you jump even
higher and farther.
Right Spectacular setpieces throw all the most
murderous contents of the
galaxy at Ratchet. Strafe!
The Groovitron won’t do
damage alone. It’s merely
a hypnotic, disco-tastic
distraction to enemies.
Smash all of your enemies to 8-bits
1 No, you can’t just have it –
you’ve got it earn it. Collect
bolts (a cool 15,000 of them)
and head to a Gadgetron vendor
to get your hands on a Pixelizer.
Once she’s in your hands, it’s
time to let rip. Point the thing
in the direction of lowly mobs
or big bosses, and fire with i.
Simultaneous cackling is optional.
3 Not so “spritely” anymore,
eh, peckbot? Or are you?
making horrible puns, bash them
to pieces with your Omniwrench.
4 If you’re not done retrofying
every poor soul in sight, keep
an eye out for Raritanium
shards. They’ll let you upgrade
the gun in myriad ways.
Once we’ve tutorialed our way through Ratchet’s
home planet Veldin, we scamper out of the deadly,
laser-filled Robot Factory, playing as the “defective”
Clank. The night lit by the green glow of Quartu’s
alien fauna, our dynamic duo meet, Ratchet teaching
Clank how to shake hands. It’s a touching moment,
but before we whip out the Kleenex, Blarg baddies
move in. Try fighting the power of friendship (and
our shooty Combustor), you frack monkeys.
Above Hoverboard races return, but don’t worry – this time around they’re
far less torturous than 2002’s pad-smashing contests. Phew.
CAN NOW BARRELROLL THROUGH
New controls help things flow at lightning shutter
speed. In lush Novalis’ Tobruk Crater, we’re swarmed
by pesky peckbots, but the Combustor’s not cutting
the mech-bird mustard. Hit w to pause combat
and switch weapons, then? No, ta. We’ve got our
Pyrocitor mapped to the D-pad. A quick jab and
we’re BBQing airborne enemies – no gun-swapping
tea-break necessary. Our enemies’ dances of death
are still riotously funny, and we snort when one alien
screams, “Look out! He’s got a Groovitron!”
But it’s not just old firefight faithfuls returning.
Slug-like Amoeboids, for instance, collapse beneath
the scattershot power of the new Pixelizer weapon.
Hidden Raritanium now lets you upgrade weapons
when visiting Gadgetron vendor stations, but you’ll
have to work for it. After we turn one curious crank
in Blackwater City, versa-targets pop up,
and we use our Swingshot to soar up to
a secret ledge for some of the good stuff.
1 . L O M B A X TA L K
Hello, wider range on our 8-bit blaster.
We’d also love to say a big howdy-do to
The word “lombax” derives
from “lemur” and “fox.”
mythic, nine-barrelled RYNO rocket
Looking at Ratchet,
launcher. This time, instead of showering
we can’t think why.
that Shady Salesman in all the bolts we
2 . T W O ’ S C O M PA N Y
could scrabble together, we’re hunting
The new movie releases
seven days after the game, holocards. The full RYNO set will convince
but their narratives
Slim Cognito to build us the superweapon,
will differ slightly.
which all still seems totally legit. Finding
3. BOMB VOYAGE
them will take some serious level-combing,
Pre-ordered? You’ll receive though. The new cards also provide handy
The Bouncer, a classic
income or weapon bonuses: pocketing three
R&C weapon that fires
big round ballistic bombs.
Omniwrench cards (some of which drop
from vanquished foes) not only increases
our melee weapon’s damage by 100%, but fulfils our
deep-seated completionist needs. Aaaah, lovely.
Above Dogfighting around Metropolis is the stuff of childhood
dreams. Shoot down enemies to regain health.
Above In rainy Rilgar, we manage to find a surface that
requires the Magneboots from the original game.
The point of all these extra collectibles? The Ratchet
& Clank reboot wants players to explore. The series
has always been excellent at world-building – gazing
up at the flying cars in colourful Metropolis was an
awe-inspiring aspect of the original Ratchet – but
now you can get amongst it. A new dogfighting
sequence is a delight, our intrepid Galactic Rangers
now able to barrel-roll and blast their way through
Blargian dropships. A machine gun’s not a patch
on a warship, however. Cue us using a giant,
ship-mounted magnet to hoover up warbots from
platforms and fling them into the destroyer. It’s so
satisfying – not just the romp of airborne robot
murder (no offence, Clank), but the experience of
reliving the classic PS2 experience… and then some.
Everything is pure, havin’-a-good-time Ratchet &
Clank – sandshark-stomping on Aridia, hoverboard
races on Rilgar, surfing the Grav-Train through
Aleero City – expanded to unthinkably vibrant
heights. Having played just five hours in the vast,
rejuvenated Solana Galaxy, we can’t wait to see how
much further those new alien appendages stretch.
Smashing through barrels triggers timed wacky modifiers, but beware: some, such as ‘pinball mode’, will adversely affect your car.
MAX DAMAGE IS THE
OF RACING GAMES.”
If it moves, Carmageddon
urges you to make it stop
moving. Preferably by
shedding much blood.
Above Maps are littered with collectibles. There
are more than 100 dashboard air fresheners –
called ‘Smelly Bushes’ – to, uh, sniff out…
FORMAT PS4 / ETA SUMMER / PUB SOLD OUT / DEV STAINLESS GAMES
CARMAGEDDON: MAX DAMAGE
The original rage racer chases the headlines again
We can see the newspaper
headlines already: “SICKO RACER
REVELS IN MOWING DOWN
CYCLISTS!” And, for once, this
wouldn’t be an exaggeration – one
of the most infamous ‘videogame
nasties’ of old is soon returning to PlayStation,
and it wants to make up for all those years absent
from the tabloid finger-wagging.
Its Classic Carma mode sums it up best. One of six
different gametypes, it’s a sprint through an open
environment with three different opportunities to
win. Sure, you could stick to the designated track
and hit all of the checkpoints, just as you would in
traditional racers. But if that’s too bland for you,
the slightly spicier win method number two might
be more up your street: wreck every other vehicle to
become the last car standing.
Victory criteria number three is the one
that’ll cause the ruckus: slaughter every
single person on the map. And in opening
1. MAD MAX
level Bleak City, that means tracking down
Max Damage is the name of 780 of them in total. Pedestrians, cyclists,
Carmageddon’s star. You’ll
wheelchair users, mobility scooter riders
start with him and Die Anna,
– plus some non-humans in the form of
but can earn many more.
cows, wolves and even penguins in later
2. RIDING HIGH
levels – Carmageddon wants you to run
There are 31 cars to unlock,
them all down, and then gifts you points
and they’re upgradeable
in three areas: Offensive,
for doing so. Everyone’s worth the same
Engine and Armour.
score, however, so that’s… something, right?
3. ALIVE ‘N’ KICKING
is thanks to Kickstarter, and
began with last year’s PC
To the untrained ear it sounds atrocious,
but Carmageddon is so preposterously
outlandish that the throwaway violence is
too silly to truly offend. After all, this is a game in
which you unlock weapons such as anvil launchers
and wrecking ball tails and giant vacuums that
hoover up the unfortunate non-racers – and you’ll
find your quarries running around between mines
deep underwater, or huddled in groups lurking on
top of buildings.
You can turn most weapons against your
opponents, too. While the likes of the Ped ElectroBastard Ray (which straps a Tesla coil to your roof
and frazzles people until they explode into clouds
of red mist) won’t work on your metallic foes, there
are plenty of ways to unleash maximum carnage.
The ‘mine sh*tter’, for instance, can
cause puerile pileups with ease, and
combining car launchers with powerups found by collecting barrels on the
map will fling opponents high into the
air. You can follow them, too, using
the multi-jump kangaroo ability. It’s
not sounding quite so dangerous to
civilisation now, is it?
CRASH, BANG, DOLLOP
A robust damage system ensures the
car clashes are impactful. It’s possible
to break cars down piece by piece, and
even split them clean in half with a
well-angled smash or by finding and
unleashing a car-splitter weapon. Not
that that’s a guaranteed KO, however
– cleave one in two and it still stays
active like an angry auto-worm. A
moment to enjoy again and again with
the replay system, for sure.
All the while, you’ll be taking plenty
of damage. AI prioritises smashing you
up over racing, but you have one trick
they don’t: a repair system. Holding
w while you’re limping around worse
for wear will spend those precious
points you’ve accrued to suck up all
the bodywork and missing wheels that
you’ve lost. It doesn’t matter where
they’ve been discarded on the map –
they’ll fly towards you and snap onto
your ride, rebuilding it back to pristine
condition in mere seconds.
It’s clever stuff, though Max
Damage is seriously lagging behind the
PS4 racer pack in terms of visuals. A
lot more polish is needed to compete
with its competition on that front; not
that it’s really in the same race as the
likes of Need For Speed or Driveclub.
Instead, Carmageddon is the Goat
Simulator of racers. Yes, it features
cars, but it’s more concerned with silly
power-ups, shock values and basement
humour that makes Duke Nukem look
highbrow. An acquired taste, it’s rude,
crude, and the tabloids will love it.
do pop up. Is that a health
pack in your mouth, or are
you just happy to see us?
“ALAN, FUELLED BY
THE TEARS OF SMALL
CHILDREN, IS THE
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2016 / PUB SONY / DEV THE BARTLET JONES SUPERNATURAL DETECTIVE AGENCY
DRAWN TO DEATH
Distinctive shooter makes multiplayer madness a doodle
What’s more tedious than a
loading bar? A biology lecturer
banging on while it fills. We boot
up the free-to-play, multiplayeronly shooter... and are dropped
into a classroom of slack-jawed
teens, our teacher’s nasal drone assaulting our
ears. This is our nightmare. Head, prepare to
meet desk. But on the way down, we spy our
notebook – the portal to fast-paced, ultra-violent
The drivel fades into the background as fuzzy punk
pounds in its place. Drawn To Death’s
wonkily scribbled world unfolds, with
colourful, obscene scrawls ripped from the
mind of a bored student. Drawing Frog is
1. GO PUKE-LEAR
the Virgil to our Dante in this surreal hell.
specials are like rock-paper- We whizz off to the Training Room, our
scissors. Alan goes invisible,
but Cyborgula can see him. teacher’s voice mumbling several layers of
2 . TA U N T S AVA N T
Toggling weapons with w, a multi-shot
Of course Drawn To Death
has a Taunt function. Jab the gun called the Three Way lets us blast
touchpad to show your foe a through Illuminati pyramid practice targets
pop-up slideshow of sass.
like logic through cult nonsense. Special
3. DROP DEAD
attacks on e cause crazy damage or offer
On respawn, you freefall
better mobility, and are character-specific.
back into the notepad-bound
There’s a robot Nosferatu, a grimy punk,
levels. You can engineer
where you land in the arena. a cowgirl-devil, and… Alan. But don’t be
fooled by the name – the giant rodent
is the most psychotic of the bunch. His autoregenerating health is fuelled by “the tears of small
children,” and he cackles as we chainsaw a bloody
tunnel through the meatsacks of our opponents.
They can’t even blame lag. Drawn
To Death is online multiplayer only,
but playing it feels as slick as a couch
co-op experience smothered in the
blood and effluent of your enemies.
As in director David Jaffe’s previous
battle arena series Twisted Metal,
Drawn To Death’s gorgeously crooked,
biro-sketched ampitheatres also
contain secrets. In Gladiator Graveyard,
firing our FU47 into a mural turns it
into a flipbook-esque animation.
Sadly, Deathmatch is currently the
Beta’s only game mode – but who
needs objectives when you have a
gun that fires the corpse of your
late uncle? Reloading the Uncle Joe
involves pulling a fresh coffin out
of the ground to a Gothic organ riff.
Seriously. But weapons are as tactical
as they are puerile. When we manage
to nail someone with a cold cadaver,
it’s an insta-kill. One point to us. The
lengthy load-and-fire time, however,
means nine times out of ten, Johnny
Savage flattens us with a guitar first.
No upgrades, no mercy: just skill.
Oh, also giant, rideable and insanely
overpowered disembodied hands
(called with the D-pad, one use per
match). How else would you complete
the “Your first Hand Job!” challenge?
Above Drawn’s interface
is just as side-splittingly
obnoxious as its gameplay.
Nothing beats being verbally
abused during a tutorial.
Being a free-to-play
title, there are microtransactions – you can buy
maps, guns and skins.
Meet the dysfunctional starting four
Vampiric droid Cyborgula
can use his bat-wings to fly
about levels, and fires homing
missiles from within the depths of
his own creepy cranium. Ouch.
Brit punk Johnny Savage for
Dad Of The Year. Armed with
a Satanic guitar, he screams
“Stay away from my f*cking family!”
after pulverising you.
Our favourite special in Diabla
Tijuana’s devilish arsenal is
her ability to summon infinite
pentagram surfaces in the air.
Tricksy wall-jumping, anywhere.
Oh, Alan. You won’t find this
cuddly toy at your local BuildA-Bear Workshop. He can turn
invisible and chuck his chainsaw
across arenas for headshots.
Left The fourth wall’s in
smithereens once you’re
perched atop The Kid’s
hand, firing huge nukes
into opponents’ faces.
Above Drawn To Death’s
’90s vibe makes respawning
a joy, as you plummet into
pages of teen doodles to
dirty punk riffs.
“YOU CAN START
Inhumane conditions lead
to violent riots, which lead
to fires, which lead to
death. Try to avoid this.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA SUMMER / PUB INTROVERSION SOFTWARE / DEV DOUBLE ELEVEN
Sentencing players to banged-up top-down strategy
After completing a six-month stretch
on PC, top-down constructor/manager
Prison Architect is transferring to PS4,
and the terms of its sentence have
improved considerably. New is World Of Wardens
mode, in which players download communitymade jails, such as luxury cruise liners with
sweeping views, or cramped maximum security
lockups stuffed with hundreds of offenders,
all with their toilets facing each other.
Ten of the Steam community’s best are included,
so if you’re in no mood to build, you can start a
scenario on one shaped like the USS Enterprise.
THE HARD CELL
If you’re keen to get creating, however, construction
is simple. “In some cases, things are faster on our
version than with a mouse because we’ve added a lot
of new options,” says Double Eleven design manager
Gaz Wright. “We have a carousel you can cycle
through with the tabs; the D-pad lets you select
objects and things to buy or hire; and you can move
the camera at the same time. It’s all very intuitive.”
Each decision carries consequences. While you
could throw everyone in solitary confinement, it’ll
breed resentment, meaning more
chance of violent, costly riots. Inmates
have different personalities, too,
so it’s worth keeping thugs (who’ll
withstand several taser blasts) away
from instigators. As warden, you must
develop industry contacts in the form
of a bureaucracy skill tree. You might
hire a lawyer to bend the rules and
make tiny cells, or violate human
rights by feeding inmates less than
is healthy. Or appoint a psychologist
to get insight into prisoners’ needs,
such as their spirituality (boost it by
building a prayer room) and family
(raise it with phoneboxes).
Are today’s prisons too harsh? Are
they not harsh enough? In Prison
Architect, it’s up to you. “I’m making
a prison that’s going to be like a
neighbourhood where all the prisoners
have a luxury cell and a pool, and it’s
the guards who have cramped offices,”
says Wright. Fortunately, the optional
no-fail mode could prove useful if that
turns out to be a bad idea.
Above You can make tiny
jails or massive prisons.
Framerates remain smooth,
even with upwards of 500
“ITS FEROCIOUS PACE
ROUNDS MEANS YOU
WON’T GET BORED.”
FORMAT PS4 / ETA MAY
PUB CAPCOM / DEV CAPCOM
Bite into the Resi spin-off’s new modes
Speed isn’t something we associate
with Resident Evil. Sure, later games
in the series have some nippy enemies,
but Umbrella Corps’ online competitive
multiplayer looks blisteringly rapid. That’s why
Multi-Mission Mode is perfectly suited to the
swift gameplay, with a playlist of eight game types
that randomly cycle each round, forcing constant
adaption. You never know what’s coming…
Capped at five rounds, the majority of games are
variations on two teams of three working to take
out each other and/or the zombies that scamper
around maps. In Target Hunter, for instance, points
are earned only when you kill one specific player on
the other team, while Collar War is similar to COD’s
Kill Confirmed: you only get points from collecting
Collars from dead enemies, while you can also save
teammates’ blushes by grabbing theirs.
It’s not all murder though. There’s Collector,
in which your team needs to hunt down five
hidden briefcases, and Domination, in which the
aim is to control a designated area. No mode looks
groundbreaking, but with a time limit of three
minutes each round, its ferocious pace will at least
mean boredom won’t set in.
No, Umbrella Corps isn’t the Resident Evil we’d
hoped for to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary.
But, surprisingly, we find still ourselves interested.
Umbrella squad goals:
kill zombies, kill people,
look as terrifying as
possible in the process.
Above DNA Hunter places the emphasis on killing zombies.
Forget removing the head, shoot until they’re nothing but pulp.
will now also include
“IF HOLMES BUILDS
THE CASE, HE CAN
SEND ANY SUSPECT
TO THE NOOSE.”
judged only by
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 27 MAY / PUB BIGBEN INTERACTIVE / DEV FROGWARES
For a quick grip on this
otherworldly, dark RPG,
think Lost meets Saw.
Waking from the crash,
play as one of a trio of
desperate to escape their
terrifying new hosts.
FORMAT PS VITA ETA 29 APR
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER
Let’s hope she takes after her mother in this accuse-’em-up…
Ever built a mind palace? It’s the trick
of mapping information to a mental
visualisation, so you need only conjure
that image to remember any connected
details. Ours is our old bedroom – the pile of
dirty T-shirts is our debit PIN, the half-eaten
pizza our PSN password. Very handy. Sherlock
is a classier gent, of course. He sees case facts as
neurons in need of networking – string logically
compatible info together and a deduction is born.
This was the hook of 2014’s Crimes And
Punishments, and a feature that now enters murkier
territory. “The system is the base of our free
detective investigation,” says Frogwares CEO Waël
Amr, “giving [you] the possibility to understand
events, then succeeding or failing to find the right
culprits.” The twist? “There is now the possibility to
fail the interrogations and the character portraits –
in which Sherlock analyses every detail of a suspect.
Missing clues results in more hazardous deductions.”
And it’s not just our heroes who
look fresher faced. “New consoles let
us propose larger [play] areas,” says
Amr. “The areas of investigation are
clearly bigger, and it was our wish to
change the lighting model to physicalbased rendering [read: how realistically
light bounces off surfaces] so that
you not only play the game, but be in
the game.” We’re promised a slicker
experience, with the team focused on
delivering fewer loading screens, better
controls and… action sequences?
It’s this last point that has us
most startled. Is Holmes swapping
deerstalker for fedora? Or will it
mean a return of C&P’s dreaded arm
wrestling? Time will tell. For now,
we’ll file this in the palace under
‘has potential’. Now, where did we
put mum’s birthday?
Missing The Hunger Games?
Relive the glory days of the
Capitol by embracing the
outrageous and testing your
design skills. Take on the
fashion elites and wow the
crowds to earn the right
to dress your own tribute.
FORMAT PS4 ETA 3 MAY
As before, if Holmes can build a convincing picture,
he can send any suspect to the noose. It’s a freedom
rarely granted in linear crime tales, and gave the
earlier game some bite. Making the same life and
death decisions with an incomplete picture sounds
deliciously risky. Watson surely won’t approve. Or
will he? The Devil’s Daughter is set in an earlier
time when the duo’s relationship is less established.
It also explains Holmes’ sudden lapse in brainpower.
Above An explosion at 221b Baker Street:
does that mean the ‘b’ stands for bomb?
In the latest crime sim to
get the tabloids raging, you
control the shotgun-toting
arsonist with just one aim –
make the whole world burn.
Level-up armour by taking
out the fire crews that
respond to your carnage.
FORMAT PS4 ETA 13 MAY
Above Thanks to a heavily modified CryEngine, Deliverance is already a looker.
Warhorse is particularly proud of its trees (we can confirm they are lovely).
“REEKY’S ONE OF THE
OF A BANDIT GROUP
THAT IS RANSACKING
VILLAGES – YOU NEED
TO FIND OUT WHY.”
The Arena lets you test
out the duelling system
and get a feel for fights.
Above Don’t worry, we’ve already sent Warhorse our Monty Python DLC ideas.
Warhorse used satellite
maps of the Czech
Republic’s Bohemia region
to create the world.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2016
PUB WARHORSE STUDIOS / DEV WARHORSE STUDIOS
History fans rejoice! You’ll want to Czech
out this realistic, medieval-era RPG
Warhorse’s technically ambitious RPG
is initially deceiving. Sure, you see the
medieval setting, first-person view,
dialogue choices and melee combat, and
immediately assume that this is another stab at
what makes Skyrim so endearingly popular. Not
so. Kingdom Come grounds itself in actual history,
forgoing the temptation to add in magic or orcs.
Our demo begins with player-character Henry on the
trail of Reeky in the kingdom of Bohemia. Reeky’s
one of the remaining members of a bandit group
ransacking villages, and you need to sort him out.
With no map markers in sight, we must question
villagers and complete favours to track him down –
but quests have multiple paths, and we have a few
leads to chase. Eventually, we arrive at a mine in
the forest, but before you can say “gotcha,” a gang of
bandits leaps out for a group sword fight.
Combat shares a few similarities with Chivalry
– you need to time swings and blocks tactically,
plus you have limited stamina – but the physics
is more nuanced. Directing your sword with your
DualShock’s right stick is vital – catch your foe’s
arm, for example, and they might struggle to swing
back. The fighting is overly slow at present, but
Kingdom Come’s branching quest design is an
element that has us scribbling down ‘dark horse’
comments come our demo’s close.
Above There’ll be some big, messy skirmishes for you to get stuck into.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA JUNE / PUB THREE FIELDS ENTERTAINMENT / DEV THREE FIELDS ENTERTAINMENT
Fore-get about the competition
What do you get if you take an
ornate French ballroom, a highly
combustible golf ball and 480
champagne glasses stacked neatly
in a pyramid? Chaos – beautiful,
mesmerising and instantly
addictive chaos. Three Fields’ debut focuses on
the gratifying sensation of watching stuff crumble,
shatter and break, as you attempt to orchestrate
the madness into a high score.
To begin, we enter Sorry, We’re Closed – a solo
tour that opens with Burger Off. A dimly lit
kitchen awaits, with a healthy stock of condiments,
meat slabs and other teasing targets all ripe for
destruction. From here, the level’s broken down into
three stages. First is the Tee Off, otherwise known
as the calm before the storm. This is your chance
to survey the scene and get vital information for
attempting high scores. For instance, how
many items you need to ruin to trigger
your Smashbreaker – a super-powered shot
1. RIGHT CRITERIA
that we’ll be getting onto next – plus where
the Smashdown targets are located.
Three Fields’ ex-Criterion
devs have worked on
These targets can be anything from
Burnout 3, Black and Need
plates full of burgers to those champagne
For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
glasses, but they’re always a huge priority –
2. TOP DOG
Smashdowns are where the big bucks are.
One vital Three Fields team
member is Piper the black
Lab. He has a bed in the
office and is on Twitter.
All set? Good, take your best shot. That’s as
simple as flicking the right stick forwards,
One level is set in a toilet,
adding a tap of either i for power, or p
complete with destructible
for a softer shot. You get a few seconds to
urinals. The inspiration?
Arnie classic True Lies.
marvel at the ball pinging across the room,
sparking a chain reaction of shattering
objects. Once it settles, as long as you’ve hit the
requisite number of items to meet the Smashbreaker
target, you get an extra shot. This is when the real
demolition begins – it’s Smashbreaker time.
Hitting e and pushing forwards with the
Smashbreaker results in your golf ball erupting
back into life, leaving a flickering smoke trail in its
wake as you wrestle it across the room. Controlling
the ball and camera with your DualShock’s sticks,
and squeezing u to slow down time, you up your
score by smacking into any remaining object. It’s
a brilliant showcase for the joys of breaking stuff
in slo-mo. Whether it’s watching statues topple or
3. IRON BE BACK
tables splinter, objects tangibly react
when you collide with them, giving a
pleasing heft to your ball o’ carnage.
Finally, with the spoils of your
madness laid out all around the level,
you need to putt the ball. Utilising
risk versus reward, trick-shot putts –
such as looking away from the hole for
a blind putt, or getting a fourth wallcracking rebound off the screen –
net huge bonus dollars. Plus working
out the angles and sinking a shot off
three different walls is always worthy
of a fist-pump. If you miss the hole,
however, the level’s over and your
score is halved. No pressure then.
Don’t let that simplicity fool you.
Dangerous Golf rewards adventurous
play – it’s the mix of discovering
what’s possible and the spectacle of
shattering your surroundings that
keeps pad firmly gripped in hand.
That’s why, when we move from
the shadowy kitchen to the grand
opulence of a French mansion, our
grin grows ever broader. There’s a herd
of marble statues to explode, with
dainty cabinets filled with crockery
along the walls. Pinging the ball
from one figurine to another, as the
ornaments realistically drop into a pile
of rubble on the floor, scratches the
same itch that makes Burnout’s Crash
Mode such anarchic fun.
Then there’s the offline and online
multiplayer. There’ll be an offline
co-op tour, in which the second
player takes their turn playing in the
first player’s carnage. To get the best
scores, you’ll need to ensure there’s
enough items left for the second
player to earn a Smashbreaker. Party
mode, however, is both offline and
online, offering bragging rights for the
player with the highest score. The true
sequel to Burnout, Dangerous Golf has
the makings of a couchplay classic.
Boasting the most gratuitous use of slo-mo since Max Payne, the demolition always looks astonishing when wreckage (and lots of sauce) flings in all directions.
SHOWCASE FOR THE
JOYS OF BREAKING
STUFF IN SLO-MO.”
Dropping your ball into the
hole before putting gets
you a re-tee. Here’s a
mess we made earlier.
Above It doesn’t matter if you’re in an industrial
kitchen or a tiny clock room. By the end, there’ll
be nothing left but smouldering debris.
Rath is a member of the
Jennerit Empire’s elite
class. We still think he’s
hiding a dodgy haircut
under that headgear.
“PLAY AS A MECHSUITED PENGUIN
WITH SELFESTEEM ISSUES.”
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 3 MAY
PUB 2K GAMES / DEV GEARBOX SOFTWARE
Gearbox’s toybox of generic tricks
mixes up the multiplayer experience
Summarising such an unabashedly
chaotic game is like herding
cats. With every seventh kitty
exploding. Battleborn’s here, there
and everywhere – straddling the
FPS and MOBA genres, firing its
copious and improbable guns in the air, tossing
out new and different characters, modes and
loadout choices like so many grenades.
Depending on which of the 25 heroes you play as,
your grenades may well be of the robot owl variety.
The roster is a whirlwind of wackiness. There’s
creepy witch Orendi and her Pan’s Labyrinth-style
eyeballed-palms; Toby, a mech-suited penguin with
self-esteem issues; and a hoverchair-bound mad
scientist called Kleese. But we can’t resist ‘German
C3PO with a sniper rifle cane’ – aka Marquis.
His pet owl Hoodini can be deployed as a remote
explosive by hitting u, something that becomes
difficult to stomach once you clock his feathery
little bonce peeking out of your hat.
Any reservations about owl cruelty evaporate once
we play our first Story episode. The Renegade tasks
us with rescuing Caldarius. Our four teammates
shoot, slice and punch their way through enemies,
and we jump on a launch pad and catapult onto a
rooftop. Pressing o brings out our snazzy pocket
timepiece, and we throw a mob-slowing bubble over
spawn points. It’s all very Bernard’s Watch.
Left You’ve got Team Lives
in the campaign. The key
to surviving multiplayer?
Teleporting to base with
a tap of 2.
Right Battleborn boasts
three multiplayer modes:
Meltdown, Incursion and
Capture, which is all about
controlling key map points.
Killing five spider sentries,
we complete a mini-quest
rather pleasingly entitled
‘Nope Nope Nope’.
Taking the shiniest, newest heroes for a spin
We just want to give Toby, this
squeaky little penguin, a big
hug. Wait, is that a mech suit?
And a railgun? Maybe we’ll save the
hugging for later…
Eldrid warrior Galilea’s shield
not only protects her, but
can also be thrown at foes
with o. How to fight her? Sneakattack from behind.
Old duffer Kleese is a lot more
deadly than he looks. The
barmy prof’s Ultimate lets him
summon a black hole that sucks in
enemies. Alright for some.
El Dragón’s Ultimate is
different: En Fuego soups up
his other abilities for a limited
time. Great, now we’re getting
dropkicked and we’re on fire.
Character-specific skills provide a MOBA slant on
Battleborn’s frenetic first-person shooting. You levelup mid-match through the Helix Levelling System.
Each new level rewards you with a choice of two
upgrades. Do you want higher damage on Hoodini
or a wider range? What you definitely want is your
Ultimate. Unlocked at level five, it’s a killer move.
Above Move aside, Rogue duo Shayne and Aurox – new heroes are on their
way. Eldrid healer/warrior and water-bender Alani will be number 26.
INCURSION HAS YOU
HUNT TWO M7 SUPER
Our reward for completing the mission? Well, it
would have been unlocking Caldarius as a playable
hero, had we succeeded. Turns out creative director
Randy Varnell wasn’t joking about the ‘old-school
difficulty’: even with two 2K reps on our side, we’re
overwhelmed the second our team fails to protect a
power core. But Story mode is playable solo, Varnell
assures us, using healing-focused mushroom ninja
Miko as an example: “We might cheat a little bit
in single-player,” he laughs. “We might give Miko’s
knives a little sharpening… so you aren’t totally out
of luck.” Custom-building characters for situations
with the Helix System is key when you’ve no bots.
“When Miko takes off its head and creates the big
healing aura, you can add damage to that.”
In second episode The Void’s Edge, we engage
brains and trigger fingers. Escorting a sassy-mouthed
wolf spider sentry involves gathering Shards to kit
him out with shields and firepower, and we
defeat a Destiny-esque Varelsi Conservator
boss by dodging his big black death-bubble.
Success means loot. There are more than
1. GENE GENIE
70,000 pieces of gear here: you take three
As your overall Character
Rank increases, you unlock pieces into matches to buff your hero, and
Mutations – five extra Helix
they have rarity levels and require Shards to
ability upgrade options.
activate in-match. Legendaries sure don’t
2. SHOP GEAR
Gear Packs are bought with
In Incursion, we’re hoovering them up
in-game credits only. Varnell
promises it’ll stay that way on the double. This new, tactical, long-form
at the game’s launch.
multiplayer mode (our matches constantly
3. GIMME FIVE
exceed the 30-minute limit) has you hunt
Five new heroes will
down the other team’s two M7 Super spider
release after launch,
sentries. Going after one solo is suicide, so
taking the total of playable
characters up to 30.
bring along a few minions and teammates
to squish ’em and win the marathon match.
Killing Thrall Mercenaries in camps recruits friendly,
green-outlined super-minions, too.
Above That golden arm belongs to Mexican melee monster,
El Dragón. His Passive ability increases damage with each kill.
Above Extra multiplayer modes and maps will be free updates,
and there will be five purchasable add-ons with PvE missions.
Sounds simple? Try doing all that with a cybernetic
luchador clotheslining his way through all and
sundry. New hero El Dragón is Varnell’s current
favourite. “He’s all hyperactive energy. His cooldowns
are fast, his run speed is fast, and it’s all this
awesome wrestling thing,” the creative director
enthuses. “I think he’s his biggest fan!” Someone’s
got to be. After being slapped about by those mech
arms, we’re not exactly enamoured. The tanky
character is fun to play and battle… but a bit much.
The same could be said of Battleborn itself. There
are so many bubbles and ballistics happening in
that FPS view that everything can meld into one
impenetrable, anarchic mass. With the shooting
still needing work, and two MOBA-esque abilities
seeming a little limited after extended playtime, all
that generic chaos is in danger of cancelling itself out
into not a whole lot. But with Varnell enthusiastic
about a potential total of 50 (or even 100) heroes for
the future, and Gearbox “definitely not out of ideas”
when it comes to multiplayer modes, there’s room
for even bigger bangs in Battleborn’s universe.
There’s a veritable
vat of variety this
month as we bother
jungle cults in
The Church In The
platforms in 10
Second Ninja X and
collect body parts
in The Surge…
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2017
PUB FOCUS HOME
DEV NEW WORLD INTERACTIVE
Forget charging headfirst
into the online battlegrounds
of New World’s FPS,
patience and teamwork
are what count here. A
Steam favourite for its
focus on realism, this isn’t
your standard port from
PC. Wholesale changes
include a switch to Unreal
Engine 4 – the original uses
Source – so expect some
ultra lovely graphics. There’ll
also be a single-player
campaign to go with the
online deathmatches, and an
is in the works, meaning
the pieces are in place for a
sneak assault on the COD/
RISK OF RAIN
FORMAT PS4/PS VITA
ETA TBC / PUB HOPOO GAMES
DEV HOPOO GAMES
University is a time
for meeting people,
procrastinating and drinking
irresponsibly. Well, it is
for most of us, anyway.
Hopoo Games had other
ideas, however, making
this award-winning and
roguelike, in which survival
is your only goal when faced
with an army of increasingly
tricky enemies who’ll be
looking to enthusiastically
rain on your parade. Good
job it supports four-player
online/offline co-op, as any
helping hand will be a useful
one. With online Cross-Play
between PS4 and PS Vita,
there should be no risk of
not finding someone to play
this intriguing indie with.
THE CHURCH IN
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2017 / PUB PARANOID PRODUCTIONS
DEV PARANOID PRODUCTIONS
No, this isn’t about Midnight Mass.
It’s about infiltrating The Collective
Justice Mission, a religious cult in a
South American jungle. Despite its simple
top-down looks, you’ll be able to go in silently
or all guns blazing. But be warned: director
Richard Rouse III hints that different
playthroughs will see different motivations
for the cult’s leaders. Are they evil-doers
or simply misunderstood? We’re certainly
excited to drink this game’s Kool-Aid.
FORMAT PS4/PS VITA
PUB CURVE DIGITAL
DEV FOUR CIRCLE INTERACTIVE
Heads-up Super Meat Boy
fans, your new favourite
game approaches. It’s
a time-attack puzzleplatformer in which you
have ten seconds (obvs)
to take out every enemy
in tightly designed levels,
working out the fastest
route to get a perfect three
star rating. It also has a
wicked sense of humour,
with the trailer packing in
more laughs than the entire
run of Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Plus, while it’s the series’
console debut, this sequel
also has remasters of every
level from the original to
enjoy. This will be essential
for platform fanatics.
FORMAT PS4 / ETA 2017
PUB FOCUS HOME
INTERACTIVE / DEV DECK13
Just in case you were under
any illusion that the future
is going to be bright, Lords
Of The Fallen developer
Deck13 is adding another
dystopian nightmare to go
along with, well, pretty much
every game that’s set in
the future. Think robots and
Playing as a builder with an
exo-skeleton attached to
his flesh, what has us most
excited for this action-RPG
is its combat system: you’ll
be targeting specific body
parts on your foes, lopping
off limbs and gadgets in
order to upgrade your
skeleton suit. Coming from
the LOTF team, expect it to
be incredibly tough.
UNCHARTED SPECIAL Q
Original Uncharted designer
Richard Lemarchand guides us
through his time with Drake
ichard Lemarchand knows a
thing or two about laying the
groundwork for great games.
Now an associate professor
teaching game design at the
University of Southern
California, he’s a Crystal
Dynamics and Naughty Dog
veteran who’s worked on the
likes of The Legacy Of Kain:
Soul Reaver and the Uncharted trilogy.
The lead game designer on the first Uncharted
(and co-lead game designer on both Uncharted 2
and 3) tells OPM how PlayStation’s biggest franchise
evolved, and how he evolved along with it…
OPM: What was it like at Naughty Dog in 2005,
when you were about to start working on PS3?
Richard Lemarchand: It was a very exciting
time at Naughty Dog. I remember it quite
vividly, though bits are blurry because it was
very busy. I’d joined the studio in mid-2004 to
help finish up Jak 3. In working on that, I kind
of got my feet under the table. I was fortunate
enough to sit in on many of the early design
meetings for a project which had the codename
of “Big” – this would become Uncharted.
[Then with Jak X,] we were making a fun
game that was highly playtestable. It was
Naughty Dog’s first online multiplayer game,
and so the studio had a sense of breaking new
ground even as we were wrapping up work
on PlayStation 2. I think it’s good to be in a
creative position where you feel you have some
kind of mastery of an area, but you’re also
pushing ahead into new territory. That was writ
large across the creation of Project Big.
Naughty Dog studied classic
movies such as King Solomon’s
Mines in a bid to reinvent the
action-adventure game genre.
A SHIFT TO
EVOLUTION – IT
There were regular meetings of this
core creative team developing a new engine
specifically for PlayStation 3. That included
Evan Wells, Amy Hennig and Bruce Straley.
Amy and Bruce, of course, went on to creative
direct and game direct on Uncharted 2.
And the course of the creative development
of the project had a few twists and turns. The
game became about a protagonist who was
older, in their late twenties or early thirties, that
used a lot of the same verbs as Jak – running
and jumping and shooting and brawling. But it
also became about evolving those mechanics
to take advantage of the increased power of
PlayStation 3 and push its boundaries, in terms
of the sophistication of run-and-jump shooting
mechanics in character action games.
Now a uni professor,
Lemarchand can’t wait
to experience Uncharted
4 from a fan’s perspective.
OPM: How did Uncharted stretch those limits?
RL: For a long time, Uncharted was set in
an entirely different genre [early plans involved
a post-apocalyptic, underwater game called Zero
Point]. But by the end of 2005, we’d hit upon
the idea that it would be a reinvention of the
classic action-adventure genre. That was a time
I was lucky to see Amy Hennig doing one of
the things that she does so incredibly well: deep
research into games, movies, literary fiction
and TV. She went mining for the resources that
would become the heart of Uncharted.
By resources, what I mean is lists of things
– lists of nouns and verbs. Amy would watch
a film like the classic [’30s] adventure King
Solomon’s Mines and write down everything
that she saw the protagonists and antagonists
do. When someone ran along the corridor and
the ceiling was caving in behind them; when
someone had a fight with a friend which made
the friend become an enemy – Amy would
write down all of these things. She’d kind of
decompose action-adventure cinema in a way
that we could then sift through the elements
and reconstruct a new kind of cinematic
Middle Early character development imagined Drake being younger than he ended up.
Left Like with Jak, brawling was key. Right Uncharted was a revolutionary PS3 title.
OPM: At what point would you say you got a sense of Project Big being
something truly, well, BIG?
RL: As soon as I went for an interview [at Naughty Dog] – in fact, even
before I went to interview – I knew something special was happening.
I knew it was a studio that liked to work hard but worked smart, and that
it constantly strove to find a good balance in its creative practices and in
the content and quality of its games.
I do think that’s something very important and kind of underdiscussed in game development circles. Game development is a hugely
rational activity where we bring all of our cool analytical skills to bear on
N E E D
K N O W
THE MAJOR GAMES,
FROM KAIN TO DRAKE
LEGACY OF KAIN:
Q A PS1 action-adventure
classic directed by future
Naughty Dog colleague Amy
Hennig, Soul Reaver lets you
switch between material
and spectral planes. It sets
a template for cinematic
action and compelling
characters, while looking
Q Lemarchand switches
Crystal Dynamics for
Naughty Dog and starts by
working on the final entry of
the Jak trilogy, a showcase
for the studio’s ability to
push PS2 to its limits.
Q Working with Jacob
what we do, but it’s also a creative, ‘right-brain’
activity, trying to pull new ideas out of the air
from who knows where.
It’s also important for a development
team to be able to, in a sense, keep the faith
throughout the course of development. Often,
the difference between an excellent game and
a game that crashes and burns can be the belief
the developers have in it.
OPM: Is that a cultural thing, or is it more
related to the technical side of a game?
RL: I think it is largely cultural. But it’s a sort
of alchemic ‘as above, so below’ situation, right?
Because culture is situated in our thoughts and
actions – our perceptions, thoughts and actions
as individuals. Yeah, there’s lots of great writing
to be done around the specific kinds of creative
culture pertaining to game development.
But I think that having faith in yourself and
those around you is very important. Being
prepared to listen to them and hear out their
ideas in-depth, and then – when necessary
– being able to take them to task and argue
through something difficult and complicated in
a way that fosters respect and doesn’t become
destructive. The tension between those things
is a complicated line to walk, but a hallmark
of all of the best creative endeavours I’ve ever
been a part of, I would say.
OPM: Having worked across the first three
Uncharted titles, how do you feel you have
evolved as a developer?
RL: Oh, I changed hugely across the creation of
the three Uncharted games. I’d had a big shakeup in my personal life round about the time the
first game was going into development. I think
that when you go through something difficult
in your personal life, it can be harmful and
damaging – but it can leave you primed and
ready to be open to new experiences.
I learned a huge amount from the people
around me. A vast amount of what I now teach
in the USC games programme came out of
the roughly seven-year period that I spent working on the Uncharted
games. Finding new ways to structure my thinking about game flow and
level flow, working at a more macroscopic level at first, and my ideas
about story development – Amy Hennig was already hugely influential
on those. This focus on the verbs of the game mechanics and the nouns;
the things that appear in the game; the kind of interactive mix that that
creates; and how that can work towards – or in tension with – traditional
kinds of storytelling techniques.
In the course of creating the Uncharted games, I became more familiar
with Robert McKee’s book Story. The techniques that he describes
about how organising the motivations and reactions of the characters
throughout the course of a story had a big impact on the way that the
Uncharted games were constructed. There was an overall shift in focus
in my thinking from stories as plot, towards stories as the evolution
of character. I think that’s the big shift underlying the renaissance in
videogames as an art form, a literary form, a cultural form we’re seeing
at the moment. Plot can be interesting, but character is the stuff that
we understand, because it’s the basis of some of the richest and most
important parts in many of our day-to-day lives.
Minkoff as co-lead game
designer, Richard delivers
the final PS3 instalment of
Drake’s adventures. The
debate rages over which
entry is the best, but
everyone agrees the desert
section is simply stunning.
OPM: Story maturity in the Uncharted series is key to its success, as are
those set-pieces, of course. Was it a conscious decision to make a game
that was enjoyable for both players and observers?
RL: We had an awareness that that might be
the case – or we hoped it would be the case
– but I don’t think we were prepared for how
much we heard about it once the game had
shipped. Now the tutorial aspect of games is
very much to the fore, whether it’s a family or a
group of friends watching a single-player game,
or eSports and Twitch.
OPM: Looking back, do you have any particular
highlights of working on the series?
RL: I’m still proud of the peaceful
[Tibetan] village section in Uncharted 2.
It connects deeply to some of my longstanding philosophical thinking about game
development. Certainly Tale Of Tales, and their
concept of the “not-game,” which was in higher
currency at the time, gave me the confidence to
take that section of gameplay and run with it.
I was responsible for co-designing and
producing it. I ran around teasing bits of work
out of everyone who would give me some
of their time. I had a sense that experiential
gameplay – gameplay that is not as driven by
the traditionally game-like systems of resources
and goals, but by the interactive and narrative
experience – that style of gameplay had to be
quite rich. Quite dense with animation and
graphics, sound design, dialogue… and so it
took a push from me at a point in development
that was already very busy trying to take the
game to Alpha. But it was very rewarding. I was
happy to see the warm critical reception that
that part of the game got.
I think part of that warm critical reception
was that it came at a point in the game that the
dramatic tension had really been dialled up to
11 and had been held there for a long time. The
game used that space of relief well to kind of
reset the emotional timbre, and to allow us to
build again towards the final acts. It’s significant
that Bruce [Straley] and Neil [Druckmann] were
some of the generators of that particular idea,
and I do think that they used those techniques
to incredible effect in The Last Of Us.
I’m very happy at the rise of wonderful
experiential games like Dear Esther and
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, and all the
other indie games and art games that we’re now
seeing and are pushing forward the frontiers.
OPM: How do you feel about Uncharted 4,
having not worked on it? How excited are you?
RL: Well, of course, I have a pang that there’s
an Uncharted game coming out that I didn’t
work on! Though that has been the case before.
There was the PS Vita game [Golden Abyss],
and there’ve been a number of other awesome
creative endeavours around Uncharted.
But that pang of maybe some kind of fear of
missing out in a game developer sense is well
overridden by my excitement to play the game.
It’s going to be the first Uncharted game that
I can play from a cold start as a huge fan of
Naughty Dog’s entire oeuvre, so I really can’t
wait to get in there. I hear wonderful things
from my friends at the studio. I think it’s
going to be huge.
Swinging through jungles.
Dangling off cliffs.
Surviving the desert…
Nathan Drake’s adventures are legendary.
Here, we chart his extraordinary journey,
from beginning to end.
PlayStation finally gets the mascot it deserves
as a charming console legend is born
DEV NAUGHTY DOG
It’s not the shooting.
It’s not the set-piece
spectacle. Hell, it’s
not even Sully’s
moustache. No, the real reason you
love Uncharted so damn much is
simple: Nathan Drake is just a super
likeable guy. By moving on from a
near mute elf adventurer to a wisecracking, warm-hearted Indiana
Jones impersonator, Naughty Dog
stamped its passport to greatness,
thrilling an entire generation of
PlayStation gamers with a new breed
of action title. A type of game that
was personable, well-written and
Skip back to 2007, and the PlayStation
landscape was a considerably duller
place than the verdant PS4 paradise
we all bask in today. Resistance and
MotorStorm had done their best to
convince punters to part with more
than £400 to join the PS3 party, yet
“A CARING, QUICKWITTED AND DEFTLY
NATE’S NOT AN
See how Nate and Elena’s looks changed before release
Uncharted was originally
known as ‘Big’ during
development, and as you
can see, both Nathan and
Elena once sported very
different looks. Your
favourite treasure hunter
first rocked fairer locks,
giving off a slight
‘annoying surfer dude’
vibe. Thankfully, his
design was changed to
the one we all know and
love. Ms Fisher also
underwent a makeover
before Uncharted’s final
release. Originally a
brunette, Naughty Dog
settled on a look that
more closely resembled
her motion capture and
voice actress, Emily Rose.
Luckily, Drake evolved from
this early, more cocky look.
neither game really had the soul to
genuinely compete with the cream
of PS2’s crop. That all changed
with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
In a medium overly obsessed
with grey sewers, brown bunkers
and aggressive grain filters, Nathan
Drake flicked two fingers up at the
establishment with a colourful
explosion of a game. This was not
your typical shooter with Johnny E.T.
Puncher mangling aliens on the
drabbest backwater planet you ever did
I spy, with my little eye, the ‘lost city’ of El
Dorado. Kerching! Oh, also a few pirates…
TOP THREE MOMENTS
Brill boats and submerged cities
Sneaking may be an optional tactic, but it
saves you plenty of hassle in the long run.
A golden hour sunset amid a stack of
corpses. What could be more romantic?
see. Instead, it was a game in which a
charming, bumbling doofus (voiced
by some dude called Nolan North or
something) had stumbled into PS3’s
most energetic action adventure.
Nate isn’t your garden variety game
hero, either. He’s not defiant in the
face of danger; he positively cowers
in its wake. Dive behind a waist-high
wall and Drake places his hands to his
ears as all those pirate bullets whizz
past that handsome head. You’re
dealing with a cocksure treasure
hunter obsessed with finding the
legendary golden statue of El Dorado,
sure. But you’re also looking at a
person barely keeping his head above
water. He’s an everyman who winces,
wails and despairs as each new
firefight breaks out.
fills a lot of men’s faces with lead, but
Nate is equally happy impersonating
Lara Croft as he jumps between
perilously placed platforms, or flirting
with journalist sidekick Elena Fisher.
Not that said lead-filling fun isn’t
gratifying. While it never offers the
most precise gunplay, the controls in
Drake’s Fortune still sell the sort of
breezy playfulness Naughty Dog first
perfected in Jak And Daxter. Battles
are pleasingly mobile affairs, in which
Nate constantly has to hurtle between
objects to outwit the murderous
pirates of the game’s South American
island. And thanks to the upgrades
seen in last year’s Nathan Drake
Collection, the first Uncharted’s
shootouts feel snappier than ever.
As with all Naughty Dog titles,
though, the true genius of Drake’s
Fortune lies with its pacing. Whether
it’s the dreamy man mascot gingerly
sailing savage rapids in a jetski, murdering subterranean
Spanish beasties or looking
up in awe at a beached
U-boat, the Santa Monica
outfit always knows how
to subvert expectations.
Universal acclaim would have
to wait until Among Thieves,
but with his first adventure
in the can, Nathan Drake
had charted a course that
was set to make him
a PlayStation icon.
Speaking of those firefights,
the original Uncharted was really
the first high-profile PlayStation
game to fully embrace the
slickly supple cover system
popularised in Xbox 360
mega hit, Gears Of War
(though sired in PS2’s littleplayed Rogue Trooper). Marcus
Fenix and his bungalow-sized
jaw were utterly humourless,
of course. By contrast, Nate
is a caring, quick-witted
and deftly nimble rogue.
There’s no denying he
Naughty Dog blows your socks off as Nate
happens upon a German U-boat… A U-boat
that just happens to be suspended over
a cliff, deep in the Amazon rainforest.
A moment of quiet wonder.
JEEP IT REAL
On the run from an ex-accomplice,
Drake and Elena plough through acres of
dense jungle while blasting a barrage of
enemy bikes with their Jeep’s turret gun.
In spite of a clunky jet-ski, Nate’s journey
through a partially submerged city is a
belting section, filled with wonderful water
effects, tense shootouts and stacks
of gorgeous architecture.
KEY PLOT POINTS
Chasing down El Dorado in Nathan’s ace adventuring debut
MAP IT OUT
Nate discovers Francis
Drake’s coffin near Panama
– it contains a map of a
Searching for El Dorado,
Drake and Sully run into
treasure hunter Gabriel
Roman, who shoots Sullivan.
Nate teams up with Elena,
but the reunion is cut short
when their plane crashes
during the flight to the island.
HOLD THE FORT
Nate saves Elena from a
fortress, kills cursed
Spaniards, then reunites with
(a very much alive) Sully.
El Dorado turns out to be a
golden sarcophagus, not a
city. The relic ends Roman,
then our heroes escape.
There’s a whole lot of honour as Drake
delights with a sequel like no other
DEV NAUGHTY DOG
Holy hell in a
handbasket, is this
how you ever do a
Fortune may have
given the PlayStation Nation a small
sampler of Naughty Dog’s winning
scripting and canny feel for pacing,
but Uncharted 2 took PS3 to a level
few could have envisioned the
console being capable of just a
couple of years before. There’s
set-piece scale and an eye for action
movie flair that would send most
blockbusters crying home to their
A-list mommas. There’s ludicrously
impressive tech feats. Oh, and that
bit with the train.
Uncharted 2 has a very decent claim
on containing the greatest videogame
opening ever committed to disc.
Taking inspiration and some cracked
glass from The Lost World (though
sadly no double trouble T-rex action),
Among Thieves kicks off with Nathan
NAUGHTY DOG TURNS
UP THE DIAL IN EVERY
Nate and friends show their PSN power with ace online action
Though it often gets
forgotten, both Uncharted
2 and 3 boasted
modes that attracted
Among Thieves kicked off
the fun, allowing you and
PSN pals to team up in a
group of three to complete
matches. You could also
wage war in ten-player
Dog’s take on
Capture The Flag
and more traditional
Thanks to copious
the action was damn
charming – c’mon,
who doesn’t want
to see Sully teabag
Dog can’t do
bleeding profusely… Bleeding profusely
and stuck in a derailed train…
A derailed train courting icy death,
hundreds of feet in the air as it hangs
off a Himalayan cliff. Mic. Drop.
The train prologue acts as the
ideal poster boy for Uncharted 2’s
invigorated modus operandi: bigger,
better and all-out balls-to-the-wall
for every second its treasure hunter
graces the screen. The most thrilling
locomotive ride since Spidey and Doc
Ock ruined many a Manhattanite’s
Nepal’s war zone, like much of Uncharted 2,
is one action-packed set-piece after another.
TOP THREE MOMENTS
Whirlybirds, walks and wonder
See that tiny speck of flailing limbs
scrambling to survive? Yep, that’ll be you.
In a subtle Crash Bandicoot homage, Drake
runs into the screen to avoid a fiery Jeep.
lunchtime commute; a daring
midnight museum heist; a wonderfully
tranquil village visit – Among Thieves
mixes sensational set-pieces with the
odd dollop of serenity in a way no
other studio can match.
Naughty Dog turns the dial up in
every conceivable way. Gone is the
singular island location of Drake’s
Fortune, replaced by a globe-trotting
thrill ride that takes in exotic locations
such as Turkey, Borneo and Nepal.
The supporting cast is expanded, with
sarky, seductive Chloe Frazer joining
Nate and Elena to add a sizzling love
triangle spark to shootouts. And those
set-pieces, meanwhile, are taken to a
level only PlayStation’s premier dev
is audacious enough to pull off.
is the perfect action game. Perhaps
the best ever. It rattles along at such
an unapologetic clip, it’s impossible
not to be left giddy as it mercilessly
drags you onwards. Every firefight
gets the heart pumping, before a quiet
moment of comedy or classy character
interaction brings your pulse back
down to ensure you’re ready to go
again when the action splatters the
fan. This is videogame pacing taken
to a high art, a constant cacophony of
breathless action that refuses to let
your attention wane.
Naturally, you have Nate tying the
whole package together in a way only
PlayStation’s most consistently
charming character could. Drake
is so likeable in his first sequel
that he could spend the entirety
of Among Thieves punching
baby seals and you’d still
want to hug it out with him.
Uncharted 2 lifted the bar so
high that most PS4 games
(let alone PS3) are still
trying to vault over its
For some, it still
remains the greatest
ever. Not bad for
a dude who’s
bleeding out in
an upended choochoo, huh?
Seven years on, you can count the
number of games on one hand
(and have a few fingers to
spare) that match Uncharted
2 in full flow. Fire up the
remastered port in The
Nathan Drake Collection and
you’ll be treated to a ride
in which every bump is as
beautifully bombastic as when
the game launched in 2009.
The shooting still sings, the
script continues to crackle and
the big action moments shame
95% of PS4 Triple-As.
In many ways, this
Drake and Chloe flee a helicopter during
a breakneck chase across Nepalese
rooftops and collapsing buildings.
It’s a showcase set-piece that
oozes electric action.
Wow. Uncharted 2’s 13th level is a stunner.
After Nate boards a speeding train,
he blazes through the Himalayas,
capping men in carriages in an
utterly brilliant chapter.
Naughty Dog shows its mastery for
quiet reflection when Drake explores
a sleepy Himalayan village. Pulling a few
yak tails and playing football with the
kids are serene highlights.
KEY PLOT POINTS
Nate gets the ultimate training day chasing Marco Polo
IN LIKE FLYNN
Nate’s old pal Harry Flynn
and new love interest Chloe
Frazer ask the fortune
hunter to steal an oil lamp.
Flynn betrays Nathan
after the lamp reveals the
location of Marco Polo’s
Lost Fleet. The fiend.
Nate finds the fleet of ships
in Borneo, before discovering
that the legendary city of
Shambhala is in Nepal.
TRAIN AND GAIN
Epic train chases follow, as
Nate, Chloe and a returning
Elena journey into the
Himalayas to find Shambhala.
HIT AND KISS
In Shambhala, Drake defeats
baddie Lazarevic, who’s
after a relic of huge power.
Cue kisses with Elena.
Naughty Dog caps off PS3’s finest trilogy
with a true force of Nate-ure
DEV NAUGHTY DOG
Pop quiz: how on
Earth do you try
and top arguably the
game of all time?
Most mere mortals would probably
hide in a cupboard and blub their
eyes out when faced with such a
task, but not Naughty Dog. Instead,
the Santa Monica outfit decided it
would throw its leading man out
of a plane, surround him with
French flames, then make the poor
adventurer groggily stumble through
the most gorgeous virtual desert
PS3 had ever seen. Welcome to
Uncharted 3, and make sure you
shake the sand out of your shoes.
Now, a lot of people will tell you
Drake’s Deception is no match for
Uncharted 2. Those people are wrong.
Oh sure, Nate’s third adventure takes
a little time to kick into gear – that
London Underground opening is
rather drab. Yet when Naughty Dog
takes its foot off the brake, Uncharted
3 builds up a head of preposterously
exciting steam over the game’s final
ten chapters that electrifies for hours
CRAFTS THE FINEST
FIRE AND SAND TO
HAVE EVER GRACED
THE AIM GAME
The strange story of Uncharted 3’s patched controls
Shortly after Drake’s
Deception was released,
a lot of people started
to complain about its
controls. Despite game
director Justin Richmond
claiming Naughty Dog had
adjusted “the sensitivity
to be much higher in
Uncharted 3 to give you a
more precise feel,” while
writing on the PlayStation
Blog, shooting simply
Indeed, initial fan
feedback on the
changes to the
were so negative
that the studio ended
up patching Among
Thieves’ eightdirectional model
into the game as
an optional control
setting in the 1.02
patch, a little over
a month after
on end. From the minute Nate boards a
doomed cruise liner, all the way up to
a badass horseback attack on a convoy,
Nate’s trilogy-closer refuses to release
you from its handsome clutches.
Uncharted 2’s party piece was the
frosty stuff – Among Thieves did for
digital ice what Jaws did for toothy
underwater menaces. But in Drake’s
By outing three, Nate’s nailed the lookingwistfully-into-the-distance pose. Swoon.
TOP THREE MOMENTS
Toasty houses and horsey hijinx
A videogame level that’s set in a shipyard
and is actually good? Really good? Believe.
Thieving lesson sorted, Sully moves onto
his lady-wooing masterclass. The cad.
Deception, Naughty Dog pours its
considerable programming talent into
crafting the finest fire and sand to ever
grace PlayStation. Jumping between
collapsing staircases in a French
mansion as its innards are incinerated;
swinging a flickering torch like a Major
League batter to ward off hundreds
of paranormal spiders; and choking on
swirling sand among the dunes of the
Rub ’al Khali – is there any element
that Uncharted doesn’t totally rock?
And then there’s the ship. Sweet salt
water goodness, the ship. Games are no
stranger to rough waters, of course, but
never before had the untamed majesty
of the ocean been captured with such
As Nate spends a couple of chapters
trying to board The Seaward cruiser,
then desperately trying to get off it as
it starts to sink, Drake’s Deception
cooks up a set-piece that arguably tops
anything in Uncharted 2. Be it swinging
on chandeliers, a blazing ballroom
shootout or climbing up corridors as
the boat does a Titanic, words can’t do
the action justice.
following the breakdown of their
marriage – the pair apparently got
hitched after Uncharted 2. Though
the breezy Saturday matinee tone is
still present, this is a more heartfelt
adventure; one which tries to unearth
what makes the trinket-nicker tick.
Revisit the remastered Drake’s
Deception on PS4 today, and you’ll
discover a title that confidently
matches the best current-gen games
around. The action may falter in those
London stages, but the shooting,
platforming and gentle puzzling has
evolved to such a degree that very few
native PS4 titles can compete. After all,
how many games have the stones to
enter you into a gunfight while your
character hangs out of a cargo plane?
(Okay, we guess GTA V lets you drive
out the back of one.)
Rightly or wrongly, Uncharted 3
isn’t remembered quite as fondly as its
predecessor (see p25). Not that falling
slightly short of Among Thieves did
it any harm – it still sold more than
six million copies. Drake’s Deception
also expanded the winning (if unfairly
forgotten) PSN antics of its predecessor,
with Naughty Dog supporting the
online community through a steady
stream of post-release multiplayer
maps and character skins. If nothing
else, Uncharted 3 gave you the sexiest
sand ever, all the while providing a
fittingly breathless PS3 swansong for
the platform’s coolest character.
DRAKE IT BACK
Uncharted 3 scratches at the surface of
Drake unlike either of its predecessors.
You’re treated to his first meeting
with Sully when the young scamp was
but a teenage treasure hunter, while
Deception also pokes and probes at
the tension between Nate and Elena
After Nate and Sully track down an amulet
in an opulent French manor, they’re soon
forced to escape one hell of a house fire
when Talbot’s men start playing with
matches. Hot stuff indeed.
Don’t look down! Drake battles a group
of heavies after stowing away on a plane
headed for the Rub ‘al Khali. A mid-air
fistfight on the cargo ramp proves
quite the highlight.
We’ve given the ship chapters a lot of love
to the left, so we’ll highlight this chase
scene in which Nate rides a horse during
a daring desert attack on a convoy.
It’s heart-stopping stuff.
KEY PLOT POINTS
Drake’s Arabian adventure takes in sun, sea and sand
RING IT IN
A bungled deal to sell Drake’s
ring sees our hero cross
paths with the evil Katherine
Marlowe in London.
TE Lawrence’s notebook
starts a hunt for the lost city
of Ubar, as Nate heads to
France for an amulet.
A further amulet piece found
in Syria reveals Ubar is in
Arabia. Drake travels to
Yemen for Elena’s help.
RUB IT IN
After a stormy cruise and a
pesky plane crash, Nate finds
himself wandering across
the Rub ‘al Khali desert.
Drake defeats Marlowe’s
forces in Ubar before the
sect can master the city’s
FORMAT PS VITA
DEV SONY BEND
Launch titles carry
a special burden.
They’re the showcase
for the future of what
your new machine can
do. Golden Abyss, however, takes
this potential pitfall and turns it
into its biggest strength. It’s the
series’ most experimental entry, but
retains those set-pieces that keep us
so enamoured with Drake’s games.
Drake’s debut on handheld remains a
powerful showcase of PS Vita’s abilities
Take the collectibles. While the home
console titles keep you picking up
random shiny treasures, Golden Abyss
uses PS Vita’s touchscreen to add a
little extra to the trinkets you find
throughout the jungle, by making you
wipe off mud and muck. Even just
rotating an object by swiping your
finger across the scene makes them
feel just that extra bit special.
It’s not just improving on
what’s come before, though. Abyss
introduces elements we’d love to see
in Uncharted 4. The camera – with
a zoom slider operated via the rear
touchpad – gives us an excuse to
capture the jungle scenery, while also
providing the diverting challenge of
recreating specific images.
“BOTH THE JUNGLE
AND DRAKE’S, AHEM,
of Drake’s Fortune
return for PS Vita.
Where there’s a Drake, there’s a fire. Get ready to swipe the screen to escape the flames.
And the action isn’t compromised
by the smaller screen. Drake still scales
cliff faces and tumbles into fights
by laying down cover fire. When a
leap turns slow-mo, the smile will be
impossible to wipe off your face.
Sure, the story – Drake and sidekick
Marisa Chase battle warlord General
Guerro in a search for the Sete
Cidades – isn’t Uncharted’s best,
but it packs in enough fan-pleasing
moments and witty rejoinders to keep
you barrelling along. Abyss still looks
fantastic on PS Vita, capturing both
the lush jungle and, ahem, Drake’s
It’s a shame this remains the only
traditional Uncharted outing on PS
Vita, but don’t let its age fool you –
this still stands up as a full-blooded
Drake caper in its own right.
FIGHT FOR FORTUNE
THE BOARD GAME
Cards on the table time
Move over, Mouse Trap
FORMAT PS VITA
DEV SONY BEND
FORMAT BOARD GAME
DEV HAYATO KISARAGI
Ever wondered who’d
win in a fight between
Doughnut Drake and
Wetsuit Drake? Wonder no more. PS
Vita’s turn-based card romp charges you
with building posses of Uncharted heroes,
then pitting them against other teams.
Borneo Chloe versus Heist Chloe: fight!
Jeff the Cameraman versus Tenzin: fight!
Genghis Khan versus King Solomon: fight!
It also offers Cross-Play with Golden
Abyss – earning trophies and collectibles
in Nate’s other PS Vita adventure unlocks
power-up cards in FOF. Pity about the
What kind of
this? A game
you play… on a board? Burn it! Bandai’s
board game is a downright decadent
celebration of PlayStation’s manly
mascot, coming with 190 cards that
span many an Uncharted character.
Want to make the world burn as
dastardly bald brute Zoran Lazarevic?
Have at it. The game supports up
to four players, as you and your
chums complete ‘Treasures’ and
‘Enemies’ Adventure cards to
gain the most victory points.
EYE OF INDRA
Mapping out Nate’s past
Digging out a comic caper
DEV SONY BEND
FORMAT PS VITA
DEV SONY BEND
as a prequel/
glorified advert for the original Uncharted.
The big twist is that it’s a browser-based
game powered by Google Maps. Only
available on Uncharted’s European site,
it saw you playing a private investigator
who’d been hired by Elena to find Nate.
came out shortly
after Among Thieves, and focuses on
Drake’s attempts to fund his search for
Sir Francis Drake’s coffin – the event
that kickstarts the first Uncharted.
In his quest for cash, Nate takes a job
looking for an amulet in Indonesia.
Drake hits the books
PUB TITAN BOOKS
WRITER CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
This novel follows Nathan
and Sully as they hunt
for a series of labyrinths
designed by Daedalus, the legendary Greek
craftsman. The globe-trotting tale takes in
both New York and Egypt, though it was
specifically written as a stand-alone story
that doesn’t impact on the games.
Supposedly due out 30 June, 2017,
the Uncharted movie follows the first
game’s plot. Progress, however, can
be summed up by the dreaded words:
“development hell.” Names linked,
and then unlinked, with the project
so far include Chris Pratt and Mark
Wahlberg, plus director Seth Gordon.
Sandbox levels. Roaring vehicles. Tactical freedom. Uncharted 4:
Intrepid explorer Ben Tyrer drives through Madagascar
A Thief's End is a finale that’s much riskier than you’d expect.
for Naughty Dog’s blockbuster final chapter
arefully prowling through the tall grass,
we’re taking a moment to study our
surroundings. There’s a dilapidated 17th
century tower with a guard surveying
the scene. Fortunately, he doesn’t notice
Nate, Sully and Sam slink through the
convenient cover. After a short clamber
to the top of the tower, they get the drop
on the guileless lookout, wrench away his
Mazur LDR rifle and fire off a blast at the
first guard who appears. The arid plain fills
with explosions as gunfire whizzes back.
A platoon of Shoreline mercenaries
descend upon our position and, with ammo
running low, we take a leap off the peak,
flinging the grappling hook – in hope, more
than anything else – towards somewhere,
anywhere, that will double as an anchor point
in an attempt to swing to safety.
This scramble of improvisation and
violence is typical of Uncharted 4. It’s a game
that mixes the series’ biggest strengths with
more than enough fresh ideas to keep things
moving forwards. Yes, dear reader, this is the
reason you bought a PS4.
Let’s reverse back a little. Nate, Sully and
new addition Sam Drake are in the middle of
a sprawling Madagascan savannah, heading
 Welcome to the jungle – say hello to our guns and,
er, private army.  Flashbacks include a younger Sam
telling his brother, “We were destined for something
great.”  A Thief’s End will explore Drake’s relationship
with his brother. Cue dialogue options for custom chats.
“MIXING THE SERIES’
STRENGTHS AND NEW IDEAS,
THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE A PS4.”
Whatever it is forcing Nate
back, it’s clearly a lifetime
obsession for the Drake
boys. Even as sprogs,
they’re keen to follow a trail.
towards a volcano looming in the distance.
It’s not an impromptu geological excursion,
though – Team Drake is on the historical
trail of a pirate known as Captain Avery,
desperately trying to beat adversaries Nadine
Ross and Rafe Adler to the punch. The scene
takes place a little before the eye-watering
set-pieces showcased at E3 2015, but while
that demo boasted snaking road systems and
linear car chases, here the camera slowly pans
across a gorgeous, gigantic, sandbox expanse.
“We have bigger levels than we’ve ever had
before, maybe ten times the size at least of
explorable space,” claims technical art director
Teagan Morrison. And it shows – seconds
pass as we gawp in wonder. On the ground,
multiple sets of tyre tracks wind and fork off
in different directions. Our end destination is
a fixed point, but how we get there is up to
us. Good job we’re all sitting in a Road Hogg
We grip i and mud sprays from the tyres
as the Jeep churns forward. It conjures up
memories of the Batmobile from Arkham
Knight, with the chunky slides around jagged
rocks as pleasurable as any corner in Gotham.
To celebrate, we let out a few euphoric horn
blasts with the touchpad. (Hooray, we haven’t
crashed yet!) It’s one of many little touches
that pepper our demo, and so our first
minutes in Uncharted 4 are spent tooting a
horn and trying to pull doughnuts in the mud
like a group of teenagers hanging around a
Tesco car park late at night in their Novas.
HOGGING THE WHEEL
We haven’t paid any attention to where we
should be going, so we’re a little giddy to
realise we’ve driven towards some ruins and
stumbled onto our first secret. Hopping out,
we wander over to the depressingly scant
remains of an ancient building – now it’s just
a 10ft-tall sturdy corner.
 All this needs is a bit of red yarn and we’ve got
ourselves a conspiracy.  Sam finds Nate at his 9-5.
 Set three years after Uncharted 3’s conclusion,
Nate’s now sporting a few grey hairs.  Elena and Nate
look happy, right? Treasure hunting will soon spoil that…
As we scramble up to see if there’s
a hidden treasure, we hear Sam and
Sully lounging in the Jeep, trading
quips about the weather and the
people Sully talks to on the internet.
DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Success. We bag our first
treasure – it’s a Sawasa Ware
Tobacco Box – but that’s all
there is, so we leap back into
our ride and go barrelling into
the distance again. Next up
on our Uncharted safari is
an enormous ditch. We’ve
no option but to drive into
it, but getting out will take
Let’s try that in a little
while. First, there’s a
cascading waterfall directly
behind us, and what sort
of Uncharted fans would
we be if we didn’t test out
the soggy clothes tech?
As Drake straddles the mud-covered
rental wonder, we notice the torrent
of crystal water is hiding a cavern. Lead
game designer Anthony Newman says,
“One thing we really learned from
The Last Of Us – experimented
with and got really good results
from – is just allowing the
player to poke around in an
intriguing environment.” This
scene’s the perfect moment
to showcase that philosophy
in practice. As we wander
away from the beaten path,
we feel like we’re earning
our stripes as an explorer.
Inside the secret cave, we
get our first taste of the
grapple hook, using it to
tug down a box that’ll give
us the necessary height
advantage to scale up to two
twinkling artefacts. One is our
second treasure (an eroded
flintlock pistol), the other a letter
“So. Are you ready to seek
your fortune?” Leaving a
jail cell with two balaclavawearing men, cocking his
gun and asking this very
intriguing question presents
Hector as a wild card.
Friend or foe, he clearly
has answers for whoever
is seeking their fortune.
Say, what was the first
game called again?
 A Jeep isn’t the only vehicle that Nathan gets to
control during A Thief’s End.  Sam may be the
older brother, but you‘d barely notice. He’s just as
lithe and danger-courting.  Get ready to explore
the best looking environs in the Uncharted tetralogy.
“IT’S OUR FIRST REMINDER
THAT THE ICONIC TREASURE
HUNTER IS FEELING HIS AGE.”
We’ve not had hidden
mountain passages like
these since Among Thieves.
Someone make sure Drake
isn’t getting there by train.
from 2 June, 1702, detailing the efforts of
Captain Harrison’s men to bring Avery to
justice. Chin stroking commences as the
historical intrigue sets in.
It’s not too long after our waterfall
diversion before we find a steep, if
manageable, hill out of the ditch. After the
struggle of wrestling our Jeep up the slope,
the only way forwards is across a rickety
bridge that’s held together with little more
than wood and prayers. We begin our crawl
across this blatant death trap, but despite our
best efforts – and Sully bellowing “Woah,
boy!” – the bridge jolts downwards and we
hammer the accelerator on instinct. By a few
inches, we get our wheels to safety.
Back to bounding towards that volcano.
There’s a much sharper incline to drive up
now, as we navigate over rocks and across
riverbeds until we see a tower close by. This
time, Sam hops out to help Drake, and the
pair clamber up to find a crest buried within
the top floor. “It’s Christopher Condent,
Captain of the Fiery Dragon,” says Nate. The
curious chatter between the two Drake boys
gives us a hint of Avery’s plans of recruiting
other pirate captains to his ‘cause’.
THICK AS THIEVES
Maybe boys isn’t the right term. As we drop
down from the tower, Nate takes a second too
long to recover, tentatively easing himself up
from his knees before returning to the Jeep.
This is our first reminder that time waits for
no man, and Naughty Dog’s iconic treasure
hunter is not immune to the effects of age.
Spielberg and Ford might be reuniting to
bring Dr Jones back for another adventure,
but we’re glad this is the final Uncharted –
Drake’s feeling so creaky it’s hard to see him
even making it through this trip.
In the driver’s seat again, we rev the engine
and try to force the Jeep up a sharp muddy
“IF YOU THINK IT’S FUN WHEN
NATE HAS WET CLOTHES, JUST
WAIT UNTIL HE GETS MUDDY.”
Wait, what has fate got in
store for this Shoreline
Jeep? If that waterfall is any
indication, the answer is
destruction and/or rust.
hill. “And go,” Drake grunts as loudly as the
engine. “And no,” Sully retorts as it slips back
to where we began. Good job Sully sprung for
the winch. Unwinding it from the front and
climbing back up to the tower, there’s a tree
that will make for a good anchor point. We
saunter over and try to find a button prompt.
That’s how this works, right?
In trying to find it we circle the tree, notice
the loop we’ve created and hook the cable,
then take the fun way back down by slipping
down the muddy slide we’re preparing to
scale with our vehicle. If you think it’s fun
seeing Nate’s clothes react to water, wait
until you see his back after this scene.
Until this point, everything’s been breezy.
But despite the seemingly jovial, chatty
atmosphere, Sully and Sam clearly don’t see
eye to eye on much. We already know the
pair bicker over Nate (“Took a long time for
him to get out of this game,” warns Sully;
“He’s meant for this life,” argues Sam), but
the division is even more apparent as the pair
disagree on Avery’s exploits during our
roadtrip. Sam admires him while Sully is
dismissive, crankily chiding Sam for trying
to explain what life at sea is like to him.
With the mini-argument simmering down,
we have another large stretch of environment
to explore. This quiet time gives us a chance
to poke down different paths, discover a few
more collectibles and get a sense of how vast
this place really is. A good 15 minutes pass,
but before we can tick off every area, a blast
shatters the silence and we immediately stop
thinking about level design.
The explosion comes from nearby –
specifically, that crumbling 17th century tower
with the dastardly sniper. He’s a tiny part
of Nadine Ross’ personal army, Shoreline,
but he’s got friends. The improvements to
 This beautiful stretch is all yours to drive through.  Nadine and Rafe share
a villainous smirk.  Cute alert: you’ll be able to pet the lemur. Just don’t let
Sully see you.  The wispy smoke effects look stunning in motion. The power of
PS4 is put to great use.  What secrets could that shipwreck be hiding?
A rival thief in direct
competition with Team
Drake to find what Captain
Avery left behind. Like every
memorable Big Bad, he has
an attitude that demands a
good uppercut. He sneers at
Drake, “Look, Nate, I'm going
to make you a one-time
offer. Drop everything. Go
home. Live your life. Or we
can just end it, right here.”
approaching fights are immediate. Going
straight into stealth mode, Drake and buddies
slink through tall grass to get closer to
Nadine’s mercs. Similar to Far Cry’s system,
enemies can’t see us in the tall grass,
but when we slip out and they spot us,
indicators over their heads begin filling
up. Let the bar hit the top and they’ll
come over to investigate. If they
clock us? It’s shooty time.
At the moment, we only have our
faithful pistol, the Para .45,
so that clearly needs
to change. We sneak
through the tall grass,
climb up a hut to the
right of the main
tower and give the
guard there the ol’
Drake hug o’ death.
Yoink, we’ll be taking
that sniper rifle, thankyou-very-much.
Now, onto the big one.
This looming tower is easily
the largest structure to be found in the level,
with steps on all four sides leading up to a
raised base, and a quartet of patrolling
soldiers on duty. The building may be missing
half a side, but that just means we
have the choice of scaling the
outside or heading inside…
Ever the experimenters, we plump
for both options. Ghosting up to
the door, we grab cover as Sam
darts inside. Coast clear, we
follow him and begin our
ascent. There are little
rivets sticking out of
the ageing stone that
help us get to a point
where we can then
straddle back over
to the outside, and
here we find some
handy grooves on the
building that guide
us to the tower’s top.
 Nadine is a merc… and one happy to do her job.
 That’ll be Nadine again.  In a series first, facial
movements are part of the motion capture process.
Naughty Dog does cutscenes better than all other
studios.  We’re getting Drake’s Fortune flashbacks.
A quick dispatch of the guard is required,
followed by a flurry of bullets to take out the
rest still lurking below.
While we carefully line up a headshot and
squeeze the trigger, we forget that going loud
means we’re inviting attention. We drop the
Mazur and seek solace in the AK-47, rattling
off bullets in whichever direction they’re
coming at us. The combat’s more forceful
than in previous entries,
the aiming a touch
quicker. Being pinned
back behind cover as
a torrent of lead heads
our way isn’t a mild
inconvenience – it’s
frightening. We seem to be
out of ammo and options.
Sprinting off the edge, we spy a
grappling hook icon, so we hurl
it out and aim to get back to
terra firma in record time.
it. Completely. Drake sprawls out as gravity
refuses to play ball, but the checkpoint places
us back at the top of our makeshift bird’s
nest. This time, caution should be necessary.
Instead, however, we go straight back to the
grappling hook to get in the grills of a few
troops atop an adjacent ruin, firing as
we swing like an Arnie Tarzan. We land
millimetres in front of the ruin and dive
into cover, with Sam and Sully arriving
to provide support.
TWIST OF NATE
Oh, howdy there, dynamite
plunger. While the other
two are happily plugging
away at the guards
above us, we push
down hard and feel a
loud rumble, turning
around to see smoke
rising from our old
sniper’s den. It’s
here that we realise
just how open this
She’s clearly not someone
to pick a fight with, thanks
to the small matter of the
private army she owns.
Unfortunately for Nate,
she's working with Rafe,
so he doesn’t have much
choice. Her complicated past
with everyone's favourite
father figure, Sully, crops
up repeatedly. He claims
she's only in it for the money,
but we think there could be
more to it than that.
 Captain Avery is a real-life historical figure.
To avoid spoilers, don’t Google that name.  Elena
and Drake’s relationship is on the rocks. “If you’re
done lying to me, you should stop lying to yourself.”
 Naughty Dog wants to explore more subtle setpieces. Fear not: there are still Hollywood moments.
“THE COMBAT’S MORE
FORCEFUL THAN BEFORE, THE
AIMING A TOUCH QUICKER.”
skirmish is. If we want, we could have been
Nathan Snake, silently dispatching guards
and using their own explosives against them.
We’re content with the carnage we’re
wrecking on Shoreline, until there’s just one
goon left. In classic Uncharted fashion, we
chip away at him with body shots and, as
he staggers back, we end it with the iron
fist, knocking him out in one punch. Mike
Tyson’s got nothing on our boy Drake.
“Do you ever wonder about
choices? How we might’ve
ended up?” There is plenty
of soul searching for Nate.
Finally, a sigh of relief. The focus of a largescale environment, made dynamic by the
brilliant grappling hook, which allows you to
be much more aggressive and still have a last
gasp chance at saving yourself, is exhilarating.
Firing something such as the ubiquitous FAL
is punchier, but the real thrill comes from
wanting to experience the fight in a different
way. The trademark spectacle is still there,
but now it’s much more unpredictable.
Trundling away from that frantic shootout
in the Jeep, there’s another – presumably
termite-ridden – wooden bridge. Our
suspicions prove correct as barely a quarter of
the way across, it splits in two. Fortunately,
the winch pays for itself. We wrap it around
the wooden supports on the side that didn’t
collapse and pull it down to create a
makeshift ramp. And… that’s it.
As the lights go up and the demo ends,
we’re left in no doubt – this is the defining
Uncharted. It broadens the horizon we eagerly
plunge into with confidence; it fine-tunes
its combat so there’s freeform chaos to the
skirmishes; and, most importantly, these
characters you fell in love with so many
years ago are more rounded than ever before.
With its exciting evolution and
refinements, Uncharted 4 is everything you
could possibly want from the series. Except
for it being the final one, of course.
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Awarded to a game that’s
brilliantly executed on every
level, combining significant
gameplay, great graphics
and lasting appeal.
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.
The kind of phenomenal
experience rarely seen in
a console generation.
Unreservedly brilliant – this
should be in every collection.
A truly excellent game, marred
by just a few minor issues.
A great concept unfulfilled or
the familiar done well, but still
well worth playing.
Fun in parts, flawed in others,
but more right than wrong.
What you expect and little
more, this is for devotees only.
80 THE DIVISION
Social media’s abuzz withitsDark
Zone thieving antics, butdoesUbi’s
online shooter live up tothehype?
Any bright ideas are drowning
in a sea of bugs or mediocrity.
A seriously flawed game with
little merit on any level.
Disgraceful: the disc would be
more beneficial as a coaster.
Own this and you’ll be swiftly,
justifiably, exiled from society.
HITMAN 84 | KHOLAT 86 | HEAVY RAIN REMASTERED 87 | SALT AND SANCTUARY 88
EA SPORTS UFC 2 89 | DIRT RALLY 90 | SHELTERED 92 | DIGIMON STORY CYBER SLEUTH 92
DAY OF THE TENTACLE REMASTERED 93 | HITMAN GO: DEFINITIVE EDITION 94 | BROFORCE 95
This is a hellish alternate
world – in our universe,
this dude obviously
runs a cereal café.
“FIREFIGHTS ARE BLISTERING EXCHANGES
OVER CONCRETE BARRICADES AND
DIVIDED WE FALL
Ubisoft’s knack for open worlds
meets Destiny’s compulsive looting
ETA OUT NOW
et in a New York laid low by
weaponised smallpox, The
Division promises a world
of chaos. Much of the time,
however, it’s the epitome
of security. As the agent of
a secret high-tech militia,
activated by presidential order
to police the quarantine zone, you’re swaddled
in holographic feedback – a flap of ammo
readouts hovering at your hip, a route indicator
lancing through the air overhead.
Firefights are blistering exchanges over concrete
barricades and wrecked ambulances, but that
Clancy-brand holo display is always there,
keeping the confusion to a minimum. Button
prompts spring into place near objects you can
hide behind. Mischief-makers are helpfully
earmarked in red. The Division even takes care
of moving between cover for you, if you wish.
This is a landscape of exquisitely captured
desolation, of bloodied snow, woozy emergency
lighting and roads clogged with bodybags. But
it’s also one in which every possible action
is obvious to the eye – pegged down by an
exploration framework inherited from Assassin’s
Creed. As with the latter’s towers and bases,
discovering a safehouse in The Division exposes
nearby missions on your map.
A comfortable routine soon kicks in. You scout
out a region’s safehouse, complete a few by-thenumbers wave-defence skirmishes or fetchquests
to bulk up on guns and XP, then throw your
weight at the next major challenge. Die and the
only punishment is a trip back to a checkpoint.
It’s well-trodden ground for an open worlder,
Turrets are lifesavers
when playing alone,
tying down the AI while
you heal up nicely.
Don’t forget to
gear for scrap.
Left Good news,
– The Division
takes you below
and were that all there is to Ubisoft’s latest,
this would be an underwhelming game. But the
great thing about offering so complete a sense
of control is what happens when you remove it.
The Division’s crowning achievement – a
cluster of super-contaminated districts in central
Manhattan known as the Dark Zone – opens
for business from about character level 16.
The streets become gloomier, bleaker, devoid
of civvies. There are the same gangsters and
fanatics, but they’re tougher and more tenacious,
chasing you from corner to corner. What’s more,
the Dark Zone has its own levelling system, and
you’ll actually lose XP (while dropping any loot
you were carrying) when you die.
Worst of all, though, are the other players.
You’ll have met other players in the game
before, of course, be it heading out in groups of
four to waylay a boss, or throwing star jumps
in a safehouse. But here, their intentions are
thrillingly ambiguous. The Dark Zone permits
player killing, and it’s also where you’ll find the
most valuable item drops. That loot can be tricky
“THE DIVISION HOLDS UP
STARTLINGLY WELL AS A
to get at, so it’s often tempting
to steal it from another, lower
level agent, despite some
withering sanctions (player
killers are flagged on HUDs
and can be slaughtered without
penalty). Like taking candy from
a baby, right? Ah, but what’s to
stop your partners turning on
you and stealing the haul, once
you’ve bagged your prey?
The atmosphere of suspicion
is thick enough to chew. To
compound it all, Dark Zone
rewards can’t be carried away
on foot – you’ll need to airlift
stuff out for decontamination,
which entails reaching a
helipad, activating a flare, then
fending off enemies until the
chopper arrives. Flares are
marked on the map, alerting
anybody nearby to the fact that
another player has merchandise
It’s a recipe for some of the
most nail-biting crescendos
and bruising reversals we’ve
experienced in a multiplayer
game. You’ll lurk in a corner
with your haul, striving to clear
the helipad of hostiles, only to
fall victim to a shotgun blast
from the shadows. The flipside
of this is that when you do
forge an alliance in here, the
camaraderie is all the sweeter.
Too stressful? Don’t worry. The
Division holds up startlingly
well as a single-player
campaign. You’re given the
option to sync up with other
players before story missions,
assuming you aren’t already
roaming the map together, but
you can always tackle them
solo if you’re feeling brave.
In another nod to Assassin’s
Creed, the story revolves
around nurturing a base –
the Division-occupied New
York Post Office, where you’ll
build facilities in return
for new abilities and gear
customisation options. It’s a
lively representation of your
progress that cultivates a
feeling of investment, but the
THE OPM BREAKDOWN
W H AT Y O U D O I N… TOM CL A NCY ’S THE DI VISION
10% Turning your
nose up at item
drops that are far
beneath your level.
to make it to a
to stop a player
leaving the Dark
Zone in one piece.
of past events –
and skill trees,
back at base.
Tucked into cover,
indicators out of
escape the Dark
Zone in one
all your loot.
Woah, nice city.
mods, the Pulse
charge up allies.
Recon is half
THE FIRST FIVE HOURS…
Above The Division is a 30-hour play at least, even if you avoid PvP.
abilities are the real payoff. The
offerings are split between just
three upgrade trees, but they
support an enormous range of
playstyles. Perhaps you’re the
kind to deploy a turret as a
distraction, radar-tag targets,
then pick them off through
a scope? Or maybe you’re a
down-and-dirty scrapper who
uses flashbangs and rolling
mines to soften bogeys up
before charging in with a riot
shield? Do your thing.
The enemy lineup, alas, isn’t
as varied – it boils down to
footsoldiers, snipers, dudes
with flamethrowers, dudes
with baseball bats and the odd
heavy gunner with a monstrous
health bar. The AI can be
scatty, too, often wobbling
about in the open when under
fire. But The Division’s biggest
flaw is its rather loose and
amoral storyline. Quite why
reclaiming New York has to
involve massacring thousands
of New Yorkers is never
seriously explored. As intel
artefacts such as answerphone
messages make plain, some of
the marauders you fight are
simply desperate for food, but
you’re given no way of dealing
with them beyond gunning
everybody down. The arsenal
seems sorely in need of a few
non-lethal options, at least.
This nasty disconnect
between plot and gameplay
aside, The Division is an
accomplished successor to
Bungie’s clearly influential
Destiny, and it puts Ubisoft’s
open world expertise to fine
use. It might be preaching to
the choir, but it does so with
a certain swagger – and in the
Dark Zone, it packs enough
surprises to keep the most
hardened adventurer guessing.
1 A new day in Brooklyn! And our umpteenth attempt at making an
avatar look good. 2 We’ve found our way to a safehouse, which is full of
dancing lunatics. 3 Killed some thugs with a rifle, one of whom dropped
a slightly better rifle. The start of a trend… 4 We’re assaulting a
precinct in co-op. Mind the incendiaries, team. 5 Off to Manhattan,
where there’s a base that needs fixing.
SECOND OPINION DIVISIVE THOUGHT
The MMO template certainly gives Ubisoft’s
latest open-world creation an energy and
scope that has been sadly missing for far too
long. Getting a gang of mates together is where The
Division’s missions and combat spring to life, but large
neon question marks remain over how long this trip to
The Big Sick Apple will last. Ben Tyrer
IS IT BETTER THAN?
It won’t win converts to
the genre and the plot is
problematic, but The Division
is a handsome open-world
offering, spiked with treachery.
The Division’s world
is more cohesive,
but Destiny’s gunplay
Combat is sharper,
From’s setting, AI,
while the relationship level design and story
between single-player leave Ubisoft Massive’s
and multiplayer is
opus in the dust,
Clancy prefix or no.
have really doubled
down on Hitman’s
STRANGLES AND DEMONS
The silent assassin kicks off his new journey with a bang
iktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis need
to die. To the public, they’re celebrity
gods: Novikov the billionaire owner of
the world-famous Sanguine fashion
line, Margolis an ex-supermodel. But behind
closed doors, they’re respectively the money
and brains behind the IAGO spy ring, and their
latest event is just a front for a private auction
selling world secrets. Some of the globe’s
shadiest elite are on the list, but luckily for us,
Viktor and Dalia are on another list entirely…
Check it twice if you want, but there’s no
question about who’s been naughty or nice:
Agent 47’s kill orders are reserved only for
scumbags, and he’s never had more ways to stop
baddies’ pulses than in this dense Intro Pack.
Drowning them in toilets, sniping them from afar,
dropping lighting rigs on their heads, planting
remote explosives in a TV camera and detonating
them mid-interview… Hitman demands supreme
creativity every time you dive in and attempt
to take out your targets.
Which is fortunate, because you’ll be executing
this pair an awful lot. The first chapter of
Hitman’s episodic Season One, this Intro Pack
offers a three-part tutorial (though really it’s just
a twin-act – rounds one and two are the same
setup), plus the first major level set in a large
ETA OUT NOW
PUB SQUARE ENIX
DEV IO INTERACTIVE
Think of it as a Metal Gear
Solid V: Ground Zeroes – one
sandbox mission with multiple
methods of completion along
with a suite of Challenges to
complete, plus hidden things
to root out. It’s not as broad
as Snake’s foray into Camp
Omega, but it’s a darn sight
cheaper and it’s brimming
with potential for mirth.
Between these levels, the
player-created hits of the
returning Contracts mode
and the limited-time ‘elusive
targets’ (who are pushed into
and removed from the game at
regular intervals), your initial
£11.99 outlay goes a long way.
The episodic format isn’t
a perfect match for Hitman.
Being forced to stay in one
location for a full month and
trying to 100% its content
ahead of a new episode
dropping can be relentless.
The variety on show from the
series’ classic globe-trotting
experience is missed, and
outside of the beautifully
designed tutorial missions,
the potential for tight, compact
levels to complement the larger
sandboxes has gone.
Those who’d rather wait
for that complete Hitman
journey on disc next year, of
course, will be unable to access
nine months’ worth of the
aforementioned elusive targets.
And in a needless twist, if
you play offline – say, if the
servers are down – you can
neither unlock nor even check
“BE IN NO DOUBT: IO HAS
RETURNED TO ITS GLORY
DAYS FOR HITMAN’S RETURN.”
Right Boot up
and you can
anyone a target.
THE OPM BREAKDOWN
W H AT Y O U D O I N… H I T M A N – I N T R O PA C K
the most cunning
a target in the
counts as an
up as a vampire
the fashion show
for the craic.
10% …and then
own sanity as
you’d turned off
all the secrets.
that you’ll fail to
kill the elusive
Billionaire owner of the
Sanguine fashion label
and Paris target #1.
D A LIA M
FRIENDS & ENEMIES
Ex-model turned IAGO
spy ring leader and
Paris target #2.
PMC director who’s part
of the PS4-exclusive
Sarajevo Six contracts.
S TAT PA C K
300 6 17 20
Future levels offer better value
for money, but this Intro Pack
is a confident first chapter
containing the ultimate Hitman
experience. Scrub Absolution’s
nightmares – the series is back
to its prime. Matthew Pellett
1 Agent 47 bears a striking resemblance to iconic model Helmut Kruger.
You’ll find him at the back of the Paris mansion, by a helicopter. 2 After
his photo shoot, Kruger will head to the gardens to make a call. Take him
out and steal his outfit, then head to the fashion show’s green room and
sit down in the highlighted chair to get a stylist to apply your makeup.
3 Walk out to the catwalk entrance and you’ll be waved on stage to strut
your stuff. Protip: don’t try this in your regular suit.
An imperfect format and
those offline woes would be
enough to sink most games,
but where other titles would
falter, Hitman endures. The
Intro Pack is nothing short of
the ultimate refinement of the
series, combining the thrills
and design of Blood Money’s
sandbox level design with the
technical upgrades and control
enhancements of Absolution.
All those bad Absolution
mechanics? Silently shot and
dumped in a box by Agent 47
himself, I presume.
It’s the Challenges that keep
you coming back. Effectively
an in-game Trophy system,
these ask you to find certain
things or kill in specific ways,
pushing you to new sights and
H O W T O… B E C O M E A FA S H I O N S TA R
strategies with every restart. In
a smart twist, completing the
starting 70-strong Paris deck
unlocks XP to earn ‘Mastery’
levels, with each rank increase
rewarded with new gear or the
ability to, say, hide weapons at
various drops – and already
we’re seeing new Challenges
and hits pushed into the game.
Be in no doubt: IO has
returned to its glory days for
Hitman’s comeback. It’s clear a
lot of soul-searching took place
in the studio after Absolution,
and the pay-off is a supremely
polished, frequently hilarious
playground with an intelligent
disguise system, less reliance
on gunplay and bags of secrets.
Welcome back, Agent 47.
the in-game Challenges. These
are the heartbeat of Hitman’s
discoverables and unique kill
opportunities), so let’s all pray
for lifelong stable servers.
The number of The secret alert
episodes still to code needed to
come in Season send both of your unlock in Paris.
The higher 47’s
running to their level, the more
gear he’ll have.
THE SHOW S
Above Ah, the ol’ naked corpse drag – a staple of all good Hitman games.
The number of
lurking in Paris.
(A slight lie:
Kill Viktor Novikov by
dropping a lighting rig
on his head while he’s
on stage. It reminds us
of Curtains Down.
Power through all five
levels of an Escalation
Contract in the
tutorial’s ICA Facility.
Not too tough, actually.
Tick off enough of the
Challenges to unlock
Mastery level 20 in
Paris. Helpfully, IO will
be adding new ones…
Fire helps you get your
bearings, but beware the
drawn to torchlight.
Exploration horror inspired by real events
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holat falls somewhere between
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture and
Slender, meaning it’s a first-person
exploration game in which you’ll
walk around a giant sandbox collecting story
scraps. These scraps come in the form of diary
entries or straight-up narration, delivered
with fire and grit by the reliably excellent
Sean Bean. Coupled with the effective audio
cues and eerie score, this is a world that feels
unwelcome, lonely and, above all, cold.
It’s based on 1959’s infamous Dyatlov Pass
incident, in which nine hikers died in mysterious
circumstances on the slopes of Russia’s
inhospitable Kholat Syakhal. Kholat runs with
the theory that secret government testing was
conducted in the area, the effects of which
you’ll encounter first-hand as you explore the
positively chilly mountain range.
You’ll acquire three valuable items soon after
arriving: a compass, a map engraved with a
number of coordinates and a torch. The map
and compass help you chart your way around
the mountain, as your current location, in a bold
move, is not marked in any way. This initially
“THE STORY IS DELIVERED
WITH FIRE AND GRIT BY THE
EXCELLENT SEAN BEAN.”
feels like a pretty painful design
decision, but you soon learn
to recognise the environment’s
snow-dusted topography, and
realise that orienteering is half
of the experience.
Kholat’s world is vast and
your job is to reach each of
those coordinates and collect a
vital diary entry, in any order
you desire. Job done, the world
tends to respond by unleashing
a poisonous mist or some
spooky ghosts reliving historic
tragedy. These ghosts act as
markers of sorts, directing you,
while the mist initiates fastpaced escape sequences.
BEAN AND GONE
You can, and will, die in Kholat,
whether from fog, sheer falls or
the shadowy creatures that seek
you out. These semi-invisible
monsters leave fiery footprints
in the snow, and as they’re
drawn towards torchlight, safe
passage involves a fair amount
of careful sneaking. It’s not
sophisticated stealth by any
means, but it adds an element
of tension that’s lacking from
many walking sims.
Kholat’s a fairly effective
horror game during these
sections, but as they disorient
your sense of direction, you
tend to emerge lost and
frustrated. This is compounded
by the save system, which
throws you back to your last
campfire, or your last collected
note, at every abrupt death.
There’s a lot of wintry
trudging here, and while the
backtracking is mitigated by
fast-travel between unlocked
camps, you’ll still end up
plodding over familiar ground
at an excruciating pace.
And yet, there’s a keen sense
of place in Kholat that makes
me forgive how occasionally
tedious it is to play. It’s a world
that feels remote, hostile and
ruddy mysterious, and you’ll
want to persist in order to
unthaw its buried secrets.
Though technically unpolished,
and at times frustrating,
Kholat’s imposing mountain is
impressive. A good few hours
of horror, hiding, swearing and
reloading await. Tom Sykes
Ethan’s face here is
an absolute picture.
So those sausagey
fingers are a shame.
And they say lightning doesn’t strike twice…
ETA OUT NOW
DEV QUANTIC DREAM
ou’d have to be living under a special
kind of rock to not have heard of
David Cage’s iconic interactive thriller.
A soundproof, magazine-proof
rock. When it released in 2010, Heavy Rain
impressed with unique, emotional storytelling
and cinematic presentation – we didn’t mind
the boob shots, either. This remaster retains
and showcases Heavy Rain’s best assets (I’m so
sorry). Some wobbles, however, have also made
the jump to PS4.
Fortunately, there are chin-wobbles aplenty
among them. The tortured saga of Ethan Mars is
still enough to keep me glued to the screen with
a mixture of tension and my own nasal effluents.
No, you’re crying. Six years on, the hunt for the
Origami Killer and your abducted son is still
suspense-filled, with certain moments – the
panic attack, the Lizard trial – as horrifyingly
absorbing as ever.
But it’s now trickier to get truly sucked into
the oppressive atmosphere thanks to some
decidedly patchy remaster gloss. Certain chunks
of environments and character models look like
they’ve been cobbled together with bits of PS4
graphical wizardry in a Frankenstein’s monsteresque mishmash. It’s distracting to peer into
every agonised pore of Ethan’s perfectly lit
mug, only to then see him pick up a coat so
stiff it looks like your teenage
brother’s been at it. Lip-syncing
is improved in some parts, and
totally off in others. Swings and
roundabouts, then – OH GOD,
Heavy Rain still gets under
my skin, you see. The design
of the QTEs means that when
you’re interacting with your
son Shaun in the park, you feel
involved. Flicking the controller
down to push a swing, rotating
the thumbstick to spin the
roundabout: your will is
transcribed on-screen, with
inventive variations meaning
it never feels stale. Trying to
remember the correct details
of a crime evokes genuine
panic, as do upside-down
button-prompts – and inputs
– when you’re struggling to
escape a flipped vehicle.
But the botch-jobs continue
with some of the story’s central
mysteries. There are a few
plot-holes and questionable
chapters (remind me how that
bit in Madison’s flat was crucial
to her character development,
Quantic). Plus, repetitive
themes are amusing – I can’t
help but think it should’ve
been called Rifling Through
Medicine Cabinets: The Game.
Those QTEs, meanwhile,
aren’t infallible, the absurdity
of “press q to Jason” living
in perpetual infamy alongside
“press e to Psychology.”
But my fingers, heart and
face still ache from the tangled
fury of the electrified maze.
Yes, I pressed buttons with my
actual face in my desperation
to save my son. And I’d do it
again (and I will, to see as many
of the 17 branching endings as
possible). You should, too.
As remasters go, it’s not a
total washout – but it’s not the
stunning revamp it could have
been. As a PS3 classic now
available on PS4, however?
Essential. Jen Simpkins
You’re not alone.
There’s co-op. plus
Journey Bottles contain
SALT AND SANCTUARY
Souls-alike sprinkled with seasoning of indie ingenuity
ETA OUT NOW
PUB SKA STUDIOS
DEV SKA STUDIOS
glutton for punishment? Sit yourself
down with this excellent sidescrolling Souls-alike. Actually,
“Souls-alike” is a tad misleading. It’s
2D Souls. The tiniest slurp is enough to taste
lawsuit. But the further you fight through the
savagely picturesque island, the more Salt And
Sanctuary proves itself an infinitely rich twist
on a classic blend.
for a grisly backstab with e.
Retchfeeders launch themselves
with total disregard for your
buckler – rolls must be timed
perfectly to avoid death,
lost resources and the word
“Obliterated” scrolling across
your screen. And you thought
“You Died” was harsh.
After cobbling together your Tim Burton-esque
berserker, you’re spat out onto misty, mysterious
shores. There’s barely time to peer through the
hauntingly beautiful watercolour vista before
a shambling corpse attaches itself to your
’nads. Yep, definitely a Souls-alike. You’re after
two things – salt drops from enemies (souls,
then), while checkpoint-like Sanctuaries refill
your health bar (exactly like bonfires). Upon
diving inside, you’ll spend salt on levelling your
character and honing weapons.
But transporting your briny booty across
sprawling, interconnected areas is no mean feat.
In the spirit of tough-as-titanium action RPGs,
each enemy has its own quirks. You’ll parry
Drowned Bandit axe-swings with r, then go
“IT EQUIPS YOU TO ENJOY IT
IN WAYS THAT – WHISPER IT
– MAY SURPASS SOULS.”
Not every Souls shout-out is
as calligraphically elegant. That
parry on r is also inexplicably
your main attack button,
leading to some frustrating
fumbles. The side-scrolling
perspective also muddles things
occasionally, the exact gravitas
of certain boss attacks difficult
to judge beyond, “Oh God, oh
Jesus, I’m going to die.”
But Salt And Sanctuary not
only crackles with that vital
fear and awe, but equips you to
tackle and enjoy it in ways that
– whisper it – may surpass
Souls. Squelchy Dropspiderslaying gets more satisfying
with combos. Mixing heavy
blows or directional inputs
into normal attacks triggers
unique strikes for specific
weapons. Hello, poking the
False Jester from afar with my
big pointy stick. As a Cleric, I
build Strength and Wisdom for
spears and spells, but a sidestep
in Salt And Sanctuary’s
mammoth, branching skill tree
can take me in a whole new
And about ten hours in,
it goes in another direction
– literally – as some brilliant
mechanics are introduced.
No spoilers, but inventive
indie charm opens up an
already bafflingly extensive
world. Fortunately, purchasing
it also snags you the upcoming
PS Vita version, which will
undoubtedly become essential.
To immerse yourself in the
inky swirl of its spectacle is to
realise that’s it’s not just a Dark
Souls III side-dish. It’s a main
course all on its own.
More than merely a 2D copy of
Dark Souls, Salt And Sanctuary
has some of the most multidimensional, exquisite gaming
torture you’ll ever endure.
A must-buy. Jen Simpkins
It does feel like a much
more complete package
than the barebones offering
of the previous release.
EA SPORTS UFC 2
Coming out swinging for round two
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DEV EA CANADA
rom Fight Night’s Total Punch Control
to NHL’s genius Skill Stick, great
controls bring you closer to any sport
you’re playing. In EA’s second crack at
UFC, you’ve got the stand up, which is easy to
understand – two competitors throw strikes at
one another in an attempt to score a knockout. Then there’s the grappling. This can be
just as exciting, but it takes a well-trained eye
to fully appreciate what’s going on.
Grappling in the original game was a bit odd.
Quarter and half-circle rotations of your
DualShock’s stick would allow you to attempt to
change position. Now, you choose which position
you’re looking to get into from a selection
based on what you’re currently doing, and your
grappling stats dictate how long you have to hold
your selection until it takes place. Your opponent,
in the meantime, has the same amount of time
to prevent your move.
It doesn’t exactly make you feel like you’re
in a strategic game of human chess, trying to
find the way to strangle your rival. At best, it’s
a simplified and – providing you know what
each position is called in the first place – easier-
“THE STAMINA SYSTEM HAS
BEEN REWORKED – YOU CAN’T
JUST SPAM SPINNING KICKS.”
to-understand system. At its
worst, it’s dull, as you just
select the canned animation
you’d like to trigger next, or
decide whether you’d like to
participate in the submission
Elsewhere, UFC 2 is a much
more complete package than
the barebones offering of the
previous release. There are
plenty of new modes, including
a fleshed-out career, plus the
inclusion of Ultimate Team
mode. It’s easy to be cynical
about EA shoehorning its main
moneyspinner into UFC, but
it’s undeniably compulsive fun.
You create a stable of five
fighters and open up virtual
packs of cards, full of different
moves, techniques and abilities,
before matching them up
against AI-controlled fighters
or taking them into online
battle. The roster is huge, with
more than 250 fighters, and
the stamina system has been
reworked – you can’t just spam
wild spinning kicks – to allow
for a more strategic, realistic
experience. In every field, this
outclasses the last UFC game.
But it’s slightly damning that
the finest mode is Knockout,
a quickfire multiplayer match
that removes the grappling
aspect and simplifies the
damage indicators and stamina
depletion. Filled with non-stop
barnburners – just throwing
haymakers and roundhouse
kicks until someone hits the
deck is a hoot – you can
tweak handicaps to get anyone
involved, no matter how
skilled. It’s already a couchplay
favourite, but it’s not UFC…
Two games deep and two
systems later, the grappling
simply still isn’t as much fun
as slugging it out, especially for
those who have a more casual
interest in MMA. In a way, this
is the most realistic aspect of
EA Sports UFC 2.
While the grappling side of the
sport still needs to step up,
it’s a strong MMA game from
EA and a vast improvement over
the slender first effort from
back in 2014. Andi Hamilton
Rally fans will love
the selection of
cars, new and old.
Codemasters reinvents its series as a brutal sim
irt 3 represented a tantalising, if partial,
refocusing on the purist European
roots of Codemasters’ legendary,
shapeshifting rally series. Sure, the
Warwickshire studio introduced the brash,
faddy (though highly entertaining) Gymkhana
mode to ensure Dirt’s ongoing Americanisation
wasn’t entirely derailed, but the stars of the
show were definitely its sodden Finnish and
UK routes, plus its selection of legendary
vehicles from the motorsport’s heyday.
Following Dirt Showdown’s unchecked excesses,
Dirt Rally doubles down on that train of thought.
It strips away the gaudy baubles and bombast
that have cluttered the series of late, and trades
on nothing more than the noble beauty of
keeping a snarling, spitting hatchback (mostly)
under control as you force more horsepower than
is strictly sensible through its drivetrain.
BACK TO BASICS
The result is one of the most focused and
thrilling rally games ever created, and quite
possibly Codemasters’ best driving game to date.
The overhaul is so thorough, in fact, that the
studio has completely rebuilt the game’s handling
model with a decidedly sim-leaning bent, one
which proves as captivating as it is brutally
unforgiving. And here, if you fail to heed your co-
ETA OUT NOW
driver’s route notes and stack
an Impreza into the trees at
the side of the track, there’s no
rewind function to fall back on.
It’s a daunting change of
pace that will please anyone
who’s grown disenchanted with
the series’ focus on gimmicky
innovation. Here, only your
driving skill matters. You’ll
find yourself shockingly off
the pace the first few times
you head out – initially due to
spins and crashes as you grow
accustomed to the remarkably
nuanced handling, and then as
a result of being excessively
cautious as you edge your way
up to happy middle ground.
Even the least powerful
vehicles must be wrestled with
continually – as the steering
wheel argumentatively tugs this
way and that, the weight of
your car shifts over those four
precariously planted patches of
rubber. Just getting the Mini
Cooper S to the finish line is
tiring, let alone a Stratos or
Pikes Peak-outfitted 205 T16.
That sense of barely
tamed power is leant further
authenticity by Dirt Rally’s
remarkable soundtrack. Engines
sputter and roar like rasping
animals, while the sound of
gravel machine-gunning into
the wheel arches punctuates
the muffled rumble of road
noise. It’s worth noting, too,
that your co-driver’s pace notes
even become more harried
during the more violently
shifting portions of a stage.
The whole thing combines to
create a soundscape that’s on
“THE HANDLING MODEL
PROVES AS CAPTIVATING AS
IT IS BRUTALLY UNFORGIVING.”
are no rewinds
here – so take
THE OPM BREAKDOWN
W H AT Y O U D O I N… D I R T R A L LY
2% Fixing up
Below In case
it’s not already
hard enough for
you, try turning
the sun off.
more closely to
in a ditch.
1% Facing in
of the track.
and firing crew
members to help
fix up your horribly
L O V I N G / H AT I N G
POISE AND GRACE
Dirt Rally’s revised handling model is
superb. Cars veer and squirm as
you shift their weight. You can even
pull off proper Scandi flicks.
The learning curve is steep. Until you
respect the cars properly, you’ll be
restarting a lot of stages in the
absence of any quick rewind option.
M U LT I P L AY E R
There are daily, weekly
and monthly RaceNet
challenges to test
yourself against other
players’ times and earn
There are also
rallycross events if you
prefer to go bumper to
bumper. And finally,
Above The Dirt series’ arcadey feel has taken a distinctly sim-like turn.
a par with Evolution Studios’
astonishing work on Driveclub.
This drama plays out on
real-world courses that take
in Monaco, Germany, Finland,
Sweden, Greece and Wales, all
of which can be tackled in wet
and dry conditions, and during
morning, noon, afternoon or (if
you’re fearless and/or stupid)
night. There’s a trio of officially
licensed rallycross tracks that
take in Norway, Sweden and
England, too, as well as three
variants of Pikes Peak. The
range of cars reaches back into
the ’60s and ’70s with the likes
of Renault’s A110 or the Ford
Escort Mk II, and works all the
way through to modern 300bhp
Fiestas and Polos. As a package,
it’s a love letter to rally racing.
multiplayer options (none of
which are live at the time of
review) and daily, weekly and
monthly challenges from which
you can earn extra credits to
put towards new cars. You’ll
need them – progress is
unapologetically slow. You’ll
spend a long time in your first
car before amassing the funds
to expand your garage.
This is a game for those
unafraid of a steep challenge
(or investing in a good driving
wheel setup). As such, it may
come as a shock to fans of
the series looking for another
arcadey outing. But put the
time in, and Dirt Rally reveals
itself to be the game this series
has been crying out for.
The most exhilarating driving
game Codemasters has created
in years, and undoubtedly the
best rally game on PS4. Dirt
Rally is an essential addition to
any committed rally enthusiast’s
collection. Ben Maxwell
Codemasters wraps up all this
goodness in menus and UI
that exemplify the studio’s
trademark clinical style, plus it
throws in a couple of extensive
championships, a suite of
S TAT PA C K
80 39 3 70
The millions of
miles driven by
before the game
The number of
wheels that any
worth their salt
can finish an
you’ll get to
muddy up and
The number of
world stages to
IS IT BETTER THAN?
Séb Lo might offer
more content and
variety overall, but it
can’t match Dirt Rally’s
It might just be its
equal, however – Dirt
Rally exhibits the
You might face an offtrack countdown, but
Dirt Rally’s routes are
so good you’ll feel no
need to leave them.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB TEAM17 DEV UNICUBE
Don’t starve together
hink your item-hoarding days died with
the ink ribbon? Think again. On day one
of shelterdom you might be content
with a few petrol cans, but by day 47, you’ll
be squirrelling away mannequin heads as
if they’re megalixirs. A post-apocalyptic
survival game in which family comes first,
Sheltered slots into the not-so-snug gap
between Fallout Shelter and The Sims.
Set in a world in which anti-radiation
tablets are as common as candy canes at
Christmas, you need to micromanage your
nuclear family in their daily grind for no
better reason than that old arcade chestnut:
the high score. Like The Sims, your family
members have bars that indicate when they
need to perform basic functions such as
showering and snoozing.1 Unlike The Sims,
however, goopy carbonara isn’t on the menu.
Instead, there are tinned rations.
Sheltered’s bunker provides a high
maintenance alternative to Fallout Shelter’s
vault, but it’s not just a never-ending story
of repair jobs. To furnish your whitewashed
wonderland, you have to craft objects using
teddy bears, duct tape and, you guessed it,
junk. Can’t contain your excitement? Express
it on the walls using a discarded can of paint
or, better yet, organise a family outing to
gather supplies and recruit new members
in the pixelated wastes.2
Sheltered’s survival of the fittest
foundation makes it repetitive by nature,
but the ability to customise your family and
choose a pet makes starting each new game
charming, rather than chore-like.
If you’ve ever wished The Sims
had grittier expansion options
than Katy Perry’s Sweet
Treats, this could be a dream
come true. Jenny Baker
FOOTNOTES 1 Each family member can have one unique trait,
such as deep sleeper or small eater. 2 Encounters with outsiders
will often lead to trade or turn-based combat.
FORMAT PS VITA ALSO ON PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB BANDAI NAMCO DEV MEDIA.VISION
PS Vita, I choose you!
E arly on in this mad spin-off, you’ll
get a side-quest in which you need
to discover why a mobile game is
crashing constantly at a boss fight. Because
your character is a digital avatar in the real
world, you cyber jump into the phone to
discover the cause of the problem. From
there, it gets much weirder.
So, not quite the nostalgia blast we
were expecting.1 But because of the sheer
magnitude of crazy the story offers, this fun
JRPG creates its own memories. Splitting
the action between real world sourcing
quests and cyber jumping2 into the dungeoncrawling digital land, the hook is creating
and training your own Digimon army. These
digital champions hatch, level up and evolve/
devolve into different type paths, with your
collection split between the main travelling
party and the Digifarm – any spare Digimon
left there will slowly level up and find cases
for you to investigate.
When you’re off chasing leads, you’ll come
up against naughty hackers and rogue
Digimon, so you’ll be using your team to fight
turn-based battles. It’s not revolutionary, but
there’s enough strategy in making sure you
match strong and weak types to keep you on
your toes. Fine, yes. It’s a bit like Pokémon.
While what you do is adequately diverting,
it’s why you do it that keeps you coming
back. Every mission starts bizarrely and
only escalates, with dialogue being a source
of both intentional and unintentional comedy,
creating an endearingly surreal world that
you’ll want to explore further.
Engagingly peculiar, Cyber
Sleuth is worth investigating,
even if you can’t name a single
bleedin’ Digimon. Ben Tyrer
FOOTNOTES 1 This is a separate human cast to the ‘90s cartoon
series you vaguely remember. 2 It’s very reminiscent of Persona 4,
in which you jump into the TV as a bridge between worlds.
FORMAT PS VITA ETA OUT NOW
PUB REBUSMIND DEV REBUSMIND
My kingdom for a tile puzzle
emember the hacking mini-game
from Bioshock? You know, the one
in which you need to arrange a path
by swapping maze pieces and creating a
line from one side to another. Well, this PS
Vita title takes that concept, stretches it to
near breaking point and uses it to build a
Kicking off with a generic medieval
kingdom in danger, there are plenty of
old-school RPG tropes that add some extra
flavour to the puzzles. Pick between Wilbert
or Wilma, choose their class, and go off to
save the world. Well, solve some scrolling
puzzles actually. Throughout the levels, you
need to swap tiles to make a trail for your
character to walk down, and dotted across
them are chests full of jewels,1 enemies to
battle and shards of a crystal ball you need
to discover for the standard story.
Relatively simple to begin with, the
challenge comes from keeping ahead of The
Horde – a demonic cloud at the bottom of
the screen – which is constantly on your tail.
Satisfyingly demanding for both fingers and
brains, SwapQuest also excels at bending
its concept to keep every level fresh. One
moment you might be wandering a desert,
needing to find water sources to ensure you
don’t die from dehydration. The next you’re
stumbling through a foggy swamp, only able
to see immediately ahead of you. The variety
in design is certainly impressive.
While this unlikely combination works well
enough in quick bursts, you’ll breeze through
the quest in around six hours,2
which is the amount of time
you’ll want to spend with it.
Intriguing and brief, this cheerful
indie head-scratcher is pleasant
while it lasts. Ben Tyrer
FOOTNOTES 1 It’s an RPG at heart, of course, so you can buy
better gear with these jewels. 2 For the super-dedicated,
there’s an Endless mode, so technically it could last forever.
It’s actually two
games in one: prequel
Maniac Mansion is fully
playable inside DOTT.
DAY OF THE TENTACLE
A joyous return to LucasArts’ purple patch
ALSO ON PS VITA
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PUB DOUBLE FINE
DEV DOUBLE FINE/
wenty-three years after its original
release, Day Of The Tentacle still
delivers the goods. It’s the story of a
purple tentacle who quaffs toxic sludge
and is transformed into a maniacal appendage
set on world domination – and the trio of
unlikely heroes who set out to stop him. Long
heralded as one of the adventure genre’s finest
ever entries, this PS4 remaster should be
celebrated like PS3’s Monkey Island revivals.
Science boffin Bernard, pothead roadie Hoagie
and dopey med student Laverne are the three
leads who step up to bring an end to Purple’s evil
ways. But quicker than you can say “Portaloo,”
they’re trapped in a bizarre bog-blunder of
unflushable proportions and are scattered through
history by time-travelling toilets. Bernie’s trapped
in present day, Hoagie’s washed two centuries
into the past, and Laverne is scatapulted a clean
200 years into the future.
Though our stars are stranded across generations,
they’re able to flush objects through U-bends and
into the past or future, a setup that immediately
gives rise to a suite of clever cross-century
puzzles. It’s not long before you’re dumping
objects into the porcelain to help solve a
conundrum in another time period.
Of course, as all time
travellers should well know,
actions in the past affect future
states. With all three characters
confined to a mansion and its
grounds, select puzzles require
you to pay special attention
to the environment. Laverne’s
stuck in branches, you say? It
sure would help if you were
able to get rid of that tree in
the past, somehow…
The puzzles still hold up
by today’s standards, with
the involved interface (which
asks more of you than simply
clicking everything with one
button – pressing r brings
up a radial menu of different
actions) demanding you engage
with the world with brain fully
engaged. Alas, some of the
humour has been ravaged by
the ages. Yes, there are subtle,
clever jokes (and obvious ones
that result in guffaws, too), yet
there’s no escaping that this is
a product of the ’90s. At times,
it all feels a bit Bill & Ted’s
This Remastered version
comes complete with the
now-standard ability to switch
between old and new graphics
(charming and gorgeous,
respectively), plus a welcome
dev commentary track that’s
full of great little nuggets
– I love learning about the
struggles to keep the original
music files for scenes below a
then-gigantic 32kb in order to
preserve floppy disk space, and
the eternal quest to sneak the
team’s kids’ names and wives’
birthdays into the scenery.
The occasional flat gag
notwithstanding, DOTT’s longawaited PlayStation appearance
is sublime. And with Full
Throttle still set to return, the
genre’s revival is far from over.
Parts of the script are, sadly,
not as timeless as I’d imagined
in the ‘90s, but in all other areas
this deserves its classic status.
Keep the remasters coming,
Double Fine. Matthew Pellett
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB EA DEV POPCAP
FORMAT PS VITA ALSO ON PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB SQUARE ENIX DEV SQUARE ENIX MONTRÉAL
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES HITMAN GO:
GARDEN WARFARE 2 DEFINITIVE EDITION
Don’t forget to defeat your greens
Do not pass Go
utritionists questioning the merit
of natural sugars could use online
shooter Garden Warfare 2 as proof of
fruit’s inherent assholery. Here an orange
squirts out laser death, while a corn cob’s
buttery bullets claim lives at a rate of five-aday. They make for a more aggressive Plant
army, in turn powering new modes that
flip the original’s on their heads by casting
zombies as the besieged losers – a role they
adapt to with new imp and pirate classes
that hunker down and hold the fort.
Although lobbies are cluttered with
new faces – with the Plants’ Rose proving
noticeably over-represented thanks to
her OP-homing thorns – this still delivers
surprisingly intense class-based brawls.
It sits between Battlefront and Battlefield,
offering the former’s broad strokes
(projectiles have the same weightlessness
as laser fire), but with the latter’s
interlinking classes. It easily outpaces Star
Wars with a levelling system for its 110
heroes, which not only encourages you to try
new roles, but delivers the rush of upgrades
lacking in Garden Warfare 1.1
With the current taste for releasing
vanilla multiplayer modes for £50 – think
Star Wars or Rainbow Six Siege – PopCap
strives to add chocolate sauce and sprinkles.
A sandbox battlefield acts as an explorable
menu complete with secrets of its own,2 and
there’s a simple single-player campaign to
teach the basics. Throw in AI bots or a splitscreen buddy, and even the offline action
impresses. Its childish veneer
won’t win over Call Of Duty vets,
but the open-minded will find a
shooter that’s sweet in all the
right ways. Paul Randall
en years on from his iconic Blood
Money outing,1 Agent 47 is board.
No, really. He’s now a Subbuteo-like
plastic figurine who slides between spots
on a board game base, evading the gaze of
enemy models and bumping into their backs
to tip them over for a ‘kill’. Suck it, Cluedo.
It’s not as wacky a departure from
the source material as it sounds. Hitman
has always been a puzzle game first and
foremost – and remains so in this issue’s
major Hitman review over on p84 – but
spin-off entry Go strips away all pretence of
action to instead offer distilled, turn-based
conundrums. Rather than crouching around
corners and tip-toeing up to unsuspecting
targets with Fiber Wire flexed, I must ponder
each step before shunting my assassin
between conjoined nodes in 91 levels set
atop cute dioramas.2
It starts off basic – simply reach the end
point without stepping in front of a guard
and getting caught – but Go has a brilliantly
judged difficulty curve. Within minutes, I
encounter patrolling guards who move every
time I do, snipers who cover entire lines of
nodes, dogs that sniff me out and chase me
around the board, disguises that let me slip
past enemies without killing them, and more.
Ironically, for a turn-based game, it never
stands still, and with a trio of challenges
per level (can you collect the briefcases,
or manage to kill every foe?), there’s more
than one way to throttle each puzzle.
Quietly confident and perfectly suited for
Vita (it’s a Cross-Buy title), Go’s
short-but-sweet puzzles should
be hunted down. Surely a port of
mobile hit Lara Croft Go is now
just a formality? Matthew Pellett
FOOTNOTES 1 GW1 veterans can transfer unlocked characters to
GW2, with bonus treats for time served. 2 Hidden golden gnomes
unlock new areas in the overworld, home to mini-games and more.
FOOTNOTES 1 I’ve officially entered DEFCON Retcon – despite a
few highlights, Absolution has been expunged from my mind. 2 The
detail is lovely, with some hidden scenes if you rotate the camera.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB SURPRISE ATTACK DEV SAMURAI PUNK
Dunno what you’ve shot ‘til it’s gone
y jove, this shall not do. Every tentative
gentleman’s agreement from the era
of GoldenEye is void for Screencheat,
a splitscreen FPS in which everyone is
invisible and the only way to figure out
where they are is by, um, screen-cheating.
Cue mayhem as four players fizz around pop
art arenas, using the environmental detailing
on their mates’ screens to pull off shots.1
It’s an ingenious premise that works
if you vividly remember the games it’s
repurposing. Thanks to an old-school
nippiness to the shooting that prioritises
speed over accuracy, there’s immediate
fun to be had barrelling through levels and
hitting constant thin air.
With plenty of modes that go through the
spectrum of uniqueness, variety certainly
isn’t an issue. Options range from the vanilla
Deathmatch and Capture The Fun – in which
you need to grab and hold a piñata – all the
way through to the disappointing Murder
Mystery, a Cluedo-aping game in which
you must kill a particular opponent with a
Unfortunately, Screencheat is like a Jenga
tower. The more it builds upon itself, the
weaker it gets. A few maps, most notably
Helix, allow players to fall off platforms to
their death, which detracts from the central
idea by forcing your gaze back to your
own screen too often. Combine that with a
convoluted mode such as Murder Mystery
and there’s simply too many complications
for it to be fun. Screencheat is at its best
when it sticks to the basics.
As a couchplay nostalgia
blast, it’s a joyful celebration
of past shooters. But despite
token attempts at longevity,2 the
romance won’t linger. Ben Tyrer
FOOTNOTES 1 Clearly designed, colour-coded zones mean you can
quickly figure out where your foes are lurking. 2 There are
unlockable character skins. Yes, skins for invisible characters.
FORMAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW
PUB DEVOLVER DIGITAL DEV FREE LIVES
ON PS PLUS
March’s PS Plus lineup threw a lot at
us. The Vote To Play poll returned, and
in the resulting skirmish we got ‘roids,
asteroids, fighting and stuff on fire –
for free. But even Chuck Norris riding
onto our PS4s naked and screaming
on a fiery dragon couldn’t hide the
continued lack of Triple-A titles. We’re
waiting, Instant Game Collection…
Glitches in the bro code
roforce is, in a word,
muscular. It’s a beefy
game about hefty slabs
of man meat who
run around and gun around
like it’s 1987, largely from
bulky pixel screen left to
right, gibs raining as they
go. Each level begins with
the motivational barks of
a general who’d struggle to
pass a Russian doping test,
and climaxes in hair metal
shredding as you fly away
on a chopper. Screw green
veg – just watching this is
guaranteed to put hairs on
Yet glistening on these bulging
biceps is the baby oil of
sentience. Sure, simply making
everything go boom hardly
sounds too clever, but it’s tough
to stay alive when everything
falls apart with such reckless
abandon. Clip a nearby barrel
and bang! You’re pâté. Explode
an enemy on a ledge, and now
you need to find yourself a new
landing spot. The bright side
of fully destructible scenery
is that level design is merely a
suggestion. Learning when to
scratch that itchy trigger finger
and when to ignore it is the key
to success here.
The real stars, of course, are
the bros themselves. Terrible
punny names aside, each one
is a lovingly reconstructed
icon of the world of action
cinema. Whether it’s the
way that Double Bro Seven’s
special moves see him quaff
a Martini before cracking out
the Q-branch gadgets, or how
Cherry Broling (of not-quitePlanet Terror fame) uses her
machine gun leg as a jetpack,
the attention to detail makes
the sizeable cast far more than
just nostalgic reskin jobs. Some,
naturally, are far better than
others, and each new life spins
the spawn roulette wheel,
but a large part of the fun is
working out how to adapt to
such varied movesets.
With all this going for it,
then, it’s a crying shame that
PS4 has to settle for the runt
of the Broforce litter. One bug
I just can’t shake is a little
lock-up of the controls after
level loads – which is a real
killer when you’re in the pits
of Hell itself and need every
millisecond that God sends.
Sound issues and framerate
stutters, thankfully, are lesser
blights. Developer Free Lives
has a good track record for
updates, but the sooner it fixes
these snafus, the sooner we can
get back to saying “Jean Claude
Van Damn, this rocks!”
A charming, uncommonly smart
spiritual sibling to Contra, full
of awesomely crafted homages
to action cinema, but troubled
on PS4 by a few bugs I’d like to
nuke from orbit. Matt Clapham
At least worthy
Vote To Play victor
an impact on PS4,
offering run-and-gun, terroristbothering bro action with puzzle-like
elements. Fully destructible levels offer
endless, unpredictable ways to liberate
POWs – and if thinking isn’t your jam,
there’s always rocket legs. When
‘Merican minefields got tame, we
rocketed those legs on over to GALAK-Z
for some PS4 space-shooting. Mech
suits, anime art design and blasting
bandit ships make it the stuff of
Saturday morning TV on hallucinogenics.
Where were we zooming off to next?
Space, again? Oh, fine. PS3’s SUPER
STARDUST HD is a bit special, after all,
with weapons such as the Gold Melter
and Ice Splitter adding tactical intrigue
to zapping aliens. PS3 zombie-herding
sim THE LAST GUY brought us back
down to Earth. A Google Maps-esque
perspective frames the action: you lead
thousands of zoms through the streets,
Pied Piper-style. Baddies crashing
your undead conga line towards the
Escape Zone include hairy eyeballs and
humongous scorpions. Kill ‘em with fire!
Chucking the hot
stuff around isn’t an
option in PS Vita’s
FLAME OVER. We
were fighting fires in the self-proclaimed
“squirt-’em-up.” Yeesh. Can we call it a
pyroguelike, please? Its appeal was
limited, and PS Vita scrapper REALITY
FIGHTER didn’t impress, either. Sure,
there’s novelty in seeing fighters with
your face, but the combat is abysmal.
Best stick to the flamethrowers, bros.
S A L E
ZERO TIME DILEMMA
Are you prepared to make the ultimate choice?
Hands-on with the best reason to own a PS Vita
on the store
100 Fallout 4 – Automatron
and Wasteland Workshop
The Wasteland gets itself a double
expansion, just in case you were
running out of things to see and do…
on your xmb
102 The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 2
Katniss is back for the grand finale,
but will it quell your appetite?
103 This month’s hottest tunes
Does the latest Tom Clancy have the mettle
to seize the online crown from Destiny?
104 Livestream from your PS4
105 Far Cry
MULTIPLAYER MODES PUT
THROUGH THEIR PACES
BY OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS
Ben Tyrer relives his
teenage years with
Fall Out Boy
Scouring Guitar Hero TV
for some digit-stretching
exercises, I lock onto an
emo masterpiece from my
(unfortunate) teen years.
Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down
by Fall Out Boy. For three minutes and
49 seconds, I’m on my feet thrashing
around the living room, playing it for
every teenage crush who’s just a line
in a song. I even clamber onto my chair
to jump off during the chorus. Then it’s
over. I remember that my neighbours
downstairs will fear me crashing
through their ceiling and make a
mental note to never play it again.
Try as she might,
Jen Simpkins just
can’t see through Ryu
Matchups are fine,
but I enter an endless
procession of online
Ryus. Every time I try to
fireballs, I get dragonpunched to kingdom come – Cammy’s
health bar is as substantial as her
spandex. Stung, I switch to Chun-Li.
Another Ryu appears (shocker).
I throw out tasty normals, but landing
hits only serves to fill my opponent’s
V-Gauge – and V-Triggered Ryu is an
impossible blur of lightning and death.
A THIEF’S END
spends a weekend
with Drake and friends
I’m a newcomer to
component – for me,
the series is all about its
But Uncharted 4’s online
Beta has proved me wrong. As I gun
my way through my first game,
stuffing relics into my bulging pockets
and gleefully punting hapless
opponents in the head (17 Downs! 17
KOs!), I realise that my time with A
Thief’s End won’t be finishing for a
very, very long time. Was it always this
good? I try out the rope-swing-intofacepunch move and begin
worshipping this multiplayer treasure.
DEV UBISOFT MASSIVE
REVIEW ISSUE #122, 8/10
Tom Clancy’s The Division
New York, same old launch server problems?
hen it comes to
games such as The
Division, we’re used to a
few teething troubles at
launch. But even so, the sight of avatars
being forced to physically queue for a
weapons vendor, care of high server
demand, is a new low. This is supposed
to be a harrowing survival shooter,
Ubisoft, not the checkout line at Marks
Thankfully, The Division seems to have
bounced back from its rocky debut,
though there are still issues. In the
course of around 30 hours with this
latest Tom Clancy, we’ve suffered a few
lost connections, resetting progression
to a checkpoint, plus infrequent co-op
partner “teleporting” due to latency.
Ubisoft also obliges you to load up your
single-player session again from
scratch after leaving a multiplayer
session, which makes for an annoying
end to otherwise
By and large, though,
the multiplayer is
performing smoothly at
the time of writing, and
it’s worth noting how
the design compensates
for occasional lag.
The Division might look
like a shooter, but it’s
role-playing game built
around levels and stats,
rather than a twitchfest, meaning delays
related to connection
quality aren’t as painful.
The process of joining
co-op is also less
ponderous than in
other titles – you can
matchmake at a
safehouse or at the start
of a mission, choosing
the difficulty level then
carrying on in the game
as normal while the
game searches for a
partner. And PvP? Well,
all you need to do is
enter the Dark Zone.
Keep a wary eye open
for other players – they
THE DARK ZONE ISN’T
AS LAWLESS AS IT APPEARS
– PLAYER-KILLING MARKS
YOU AS A BOUNTY.
The Division will receive three
paid expansions in 2016 – the
first, Underground, launches in
summer and takes place deep
beneath the city. Free updates
are also planned from April.
Good luck becoming a
champ, you’ll need it…
FORMAT PS4/PS VITA
PUB BANDAI NAMCO
REVIEW ISSUE #122, 7/10
The Division’s co-op offerings are
slick, its PvP is engrossing and a few
significant issues notwithstanding, the
servers are holding up. A promising
beginning. Edwin Evans-Thirlwell
Only those at the top of the
evolutionary tree need apply –
uncompromising foes punish
anyone who doesn’t enter with
the very best Digimon. Ben Tyrer
Going rogue in the Dark
Zone can bring you big
rewards, but the risks
are also mighty high.
aren’t marked on the HUD until you
join a team or engage them in battle.
As regards the kind of player The
Division attracts, we’ve found the co-op
gang to be loyal company, despite an
annoying tendency to gallop ahead
while we’re searching for loot crates.
It helps, of course, that item drops
can’t be stolen in co-op. The Dark Zone,
meanwhile, isn’t as lawless as it
appears – player-killing marks you as
a bounty for players in the same level
bracket, and revenge is generally
swift. Still, we suggest you probably
shouldn’t aim down sights anywhere
near another player’s face. Oh, and
don’t turn your back on anybody.
The Division’s career as an online
universe is off to a solid start.
Given a steady supply of
updates and DLC, this has
the makings of another
few hours into Digimon
Story Cyber Sleuth, you
get access to the online
coliseum in the DigiLab. It takes
the same Pokémon-esque turnbased combat from the main game
and substitutes in real players
for the computer, while a ranking
system gives you the chance to
brawl your way into legend.
Excitedly dipping your toes
in early on is not a good idea,
however – if you wade in without
highly evolved Digimon, you‘ll quickly
and brutally receive the mother of
all smackdowns. Some matches
I just watch as my Digimon are
blown into bytes in seconds. While
it makes concessions to ensure
an even playing field – such as the
fact that all Digimon are Level 50
– it’s best seen as the endgame
rather than a mode to dip into.
Elusive targets proving
more elusive than hoped
PUB SQUARE ENIX
DEV IO INTERACTIVE
REVIEW ISSUE #122, 8/10
itman is a smooth operator,
but there have been a
couple of online issues that
have caused the ol’ White Dot Of
Suspicion to sprout above our
heads. For one, the (infrequent)
server disconnects, which stop
your run and hoof you back to the
title screen. Secondly, the delay of
the marquee online feature, Elusive
Targets, in which you get one shot
at taking out an unmarked target
dropped into the level.
Luckily, regular Escalation
Contact drops (where you repeat
a hit in five increasingly convoluted
fashions) keep the bodycount
rising, and each one so far has
been superbly crafted. Subtly
upping the stakes with each
passing round, it forces you to
approach levels, previously thought
mastered, from new angles.
A constant stream of contracts
– from IO and users – breathe
new life into the Intro Pack, and
showcase the game’s incredible
open-ended design. Paul Randall
on the store
EMPTY YOUR WALLETS
NOW WITH THE LATEST
PES 2016 – UEFA
Fallout 4 – Automatron
and Wasteland Workshop
Free to owners of the
full game, the Euros
add-on boasts authentic
strips – and, erm, faces
– for the 15 teams (of
the total 24), such as
England, that have been
licensed. It will also
launch as a PlayStationexclusive standalone
edition on 21 April.
Robots and royal rumbles in Fallout 4’s first DLC
ere’s a phrase that’s never
come out of anyone’s mouth:
“The Wasteland isn’t big
enough.” But still, Bethesda
is all too happy to further
expand the mammoth world of Fallout 4
with new add-ons. Whether you fancy
whipping up a new robo-companion,
taming the creatures of Boston or
cramming your settlement with more
tchotchkes, the DLC’s got you covered.
Toss sassy hunk of junk Codsworth
on the scrapheap – there’s fresh metal
in town, as the Automatron expansion
drops in more robots. They’re the evil
spawn of new villain The Mechanist,
which might alleviate your conscience
when you’re hunting Robobrain and co.
down to harvest their parts. Once
you’ve filled your boots, recycle them
into companions. Alter
limbs, armour, abilities
and weapons with stacks
of mods, plus apply paint
jobs. Not into mech
makeovers? The new
lightning chain gun might
be more your style.
Further satiate your
taste for Deathclaw
blood with the Wasteland
Workshop DLC. Capture
Fallout 4’s fauna, then
force it to do battle in
neon-lit arenas of death
for your own sick
judging you, we swear.
The add-on’s new design
options will let you pop
some tasteful taxidermy
in your settlement to
remind you of pit fights,
keeping you busy until
story-based DLC Far
Harbour arrives in May.
CAPTURE FALLOUT 4’S
FAUNA, THEN FORCE IT TO DO
BATTLE IN NEON-LIT ARENAS.
NOT JUDGING, WE SWEAR.
Wander back into the
wilds of Shoshone
National Forest with this
stunning dynamic theme,
featuring a cycle of six
times of day and beautiful
music from the game.
Do you believe you can
fly? Believe you can
touch the sky? Kit out
Rico in a new rocketpropelled wingsuit,
which also features a
machine gun and missile
launcher – perfect for
attacking a giant airship
in a set of new missions.
Free with the Air, Land
And Sea Season Pass.
also on psn
JUST CAUSE 3:
SFV ALEX PS1 £2
TWILIGHT ON HOTHPS1
THE LAST MAHARAJA
Star Wars Battlefront’s
night-time map supports
seven multiplayer modes,
including Walker Assault
and Fighter Squadron.
The new Survival mission
is set in the Ice Caves.
Ten new missions
for Assassin’s Creed
Syndicate have you
teaming up with assassin
Duleep Singh to stab up
Templars. It’s free for
season pass holders.
The Need For Speed
update brings manual
transmission, drag racing
and two new cars – the
Ford 1932 and the Aaron
F132” hot rods. Vroom.
The bandana-bonced SFIII
into Street Fighter V, now
armed with some nasty
grapples. Got 100,000 in
Fight Money? Then the
new guy’s yours for free.
It’s time to leave the
countryside behind for
a bit of city-slickin’.
Zip around the new
Scotland – Old Town
urban location on
six track variants.
Adrenaline junkies will
love new Hardcore
Handling mode, while
car collectors may fancy
shelling out for the No
Limits and Suzuki DLC.
E UK’S NO. 1
Huge multiplayer special starring
Overwatch, Paragon + Doom
Celebrate 20 years of Resident Evil
with our anatomy of the series
Previewed: No Man’s Sky, Dark Souls
III + Total War: Warhammer
Reviewed: Far Cry Primal, Street
Fighter V + Pokkén Tournament
... and much more!
On sale now!
In print. On iOS. On Android
Find it in the GamesMaster magazine app
on your XMB
Bleak but beguiling postapocalyptic indie about a
lone survivor living off the
land who gives refuge to a
woman and her daughter.
HOMELAND: 25 APRIL
The espionage show tackles
Isis, the Charlie Hebdo
shooting and whistleblowing
The Alien-inspiring 1958
B-movie about a manned
mission to Mars that
returns with a stowaway.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as
real-life entrepreneur Joy
Mangano, the inventor of
the miracle mop, in David
O Russell’s messy biopic.
early in this festive-themed
horror comedy about a
malevolent horned beast
from European folklore
that terrorises a family.
Return of the Mac
Fassbender is Spanish
hitman Aguilar in the
Assassin’s Creed movie.
here are two types of biopic
– one which takes a life-long
view of its subject and one
which focuses on a defining
event. As you might expect
from celebrated West Wing writer Alan
Sorkin, Steve Jobs is neither and both.
The Danny Boyle-directed film takes
the unusual approach of setting its
entire story in the minutes immediately
preceding three key product launches
during Jobs’ early career in and out of
Apple; and lasers in on his relationships
with four people: long-suffering
marketing executive Joanna Hoffman
(a Bafta-winning Kate Winslet), coding
genius Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen),
CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and
Lisa Brennan, the daughter he initially
refuses to acknowledge as his own.
Controversially, the film fudges the
truth for dramatic purpose, flat-out
fabricating certain events and
conversations. But a conventional biopic
this ain’t. It’s a commanding portrait of
an emotionally distant genius obsessed
Tina Fey and
Amy Poehler team up for
a comedy about siblings
who throw a party in their
childhood home when their
parents put it on the market.
with the wrongs done
to him, and blind to the
wrongs he’s inflicting on
others. Sorkin’s script
is rapier-sharp, Boyle
transforms a theatrical
premise into something
thrillingly cinematic and
the performances are
If it’s a straight
depiction of the polo neck
pioneer’s life and times
you seek, Steve Jobs
isn’t for you. But if it’s
an insight into a man
and relentless push for
the future was just as
important as the gadgets
he fostered, then this
biopic certainly gets to
the core of the Apple
man. Jordan Farley
lavish adaptation of King
Lear is one of the Japanese
master’s best, and looks
better than ever in this
Unnecessary reboot of the
once great superhero show.
Features a character who
can teleport in and out of a
Oscar-baiting drama about
Danish painter Einar/
Lili Elbe – one of the first
people to undergo gender
Paul Newman’s Fast Eddie
teaches Tom Cruise the
art of the hustle in this
to 1961’s The Hustler.
© Adam Kolodny
BEFORE A MILLION UNIVERSES
FORMAT ALBUM ETA OUT NOW PRICE £7.99
Four Brooklyn dudes that recall Nirvana, Fugazi and
other dour, sardonic groups of the 1990s. It’s hardly
original, but it hits the sweet spot of dissonance and
Mockingjay – Part 2
was Philip Seymour
Hoffman’s final film.
J DILLA THE
The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay – Part 2
FORMAT ALBUM ETA OUT NOW
The late J Dilla has
become a kind of saint for
many, so a posthumous
album has some interest
piqued. The Introduction
won’t disappoint – three
minutes of blunt lyricism
and heady synth smears
that sounds old-school
and futuristic at once.
espite the glut of middling
young adult adaptations it
inspired, The Hunger Games
is one of the most important
film series of the last decade,
provoking debate about social inequality;
our obsession with increasingly
barbaric reality TV; and, in a broader
sense, the fact that women can
obviously spearhead big blockbusters.
The odds weren’t always in its favour,
but Mockingjay – Part 2 is a satisfying
send-off for the Girl On Fire.
Picking up just after the cliffhanger
ending of Part 1, this final Hunger
Games sees Katniss and President
Coin’s rebels take the fight to President
Snow on the trap-strewn streets of the
Capitol, reintroducing a welcome flavour
of the games after Part 1’s ditchwaterdull propaganda plot.
It never reaches the heights of the
first two films, but there’s some
weighty, grandiose stuff here and one
sewer-set sequence so intense it’s
worth the price of
Lawrence is predictably
superb as Katniss, a
hero clinging on by her
fingernails and suffering
as much psychologically
as she is physically.
But splitting the final
novel in two has major
the pacing into a tizzy
with too many scenes of
people lounging around,
while major action beats
and character deaths
feel strangely rushed
and lack impact. It’s a
shame. As a single film,
Mockingjay could have
kept up the same quality.
But maybe they’ll get it
right with the inevitable
reboot in a few years’
time. Jordan Farley
© Amanda Smith
The Kat’s out of the bag
MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS
THIS UNRULY MESS I’VE MADE
FORMAT ALBUM ETA OUT NOW PRICE £7.99
Seattle rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis
broke out with their anthem to second-hand shopping,
Thrift Shop. Their new album boasts similar pop-rap
nous and topical themes. macklemore.com
KATY B X CRAIG
DAVID X MAJOR
LAZER WHO AM I
FORMAT TRACK ETA OUT NOW
princess Katy B returns with
a new, collaboration-packed
album titled Honey. Right now,
give yourself warm feelings
with this teaser single – a
luxurious, R&B-styled return
that enlists muscled crooner
Craig David and Diplo’s Major
Our console medic
fixes your tech woes
with actual science
Broadcast PS4 gameplay
Get streaming and show the world your gaming skills
You’ve taken down
a boss, yelling “DID
YOU SEE THAT?!”…
to nobody. No more!
dizzying high from
your console. We’ll
with our own live
dissection of Heavy
Twitch? Well, that can happen
when the Doc gets a bit
enthusiastic with your nerve
endings in surgery. Oh, you meant
you need help using PS4’s
livestreaming functionality? Why
didn’t you say so sooner? A
printed confession is admissible
evidence in court, you know.
First things first: load up the
game you want to livestream
– PS4 broadcasts must be
started in-game. Poke that magic
Share button and a menu will pop
up (buttons tend to do that, I’ve
noticed. That, and switch off the
anaesthetic gas supply). Scroll
over to “Broadcast Gameplay,”
where you’ll find the option to
stream to Twitch or YouTube. You
could choose Ustream instead,
but then I’d be prescribing you
50cc of getting in the sea. Feed
the login screen your delicious
private deets, or create an
account if you need to.
Don’t hit “Start
Broadcasting” yet – you
wouldn’t go into a craniectomy
unprepared. Only Doc PlayStation
would do that, but she’s ace.
There are plenty of settings to
optimise your livestream for your
fans/stalkers/mum. Overlay your
screams onto your broadcast by
checking “Include Microphone
Audio in Broadcast” to use your
headset mic. You can also have
viewers’ chat comments onscreen. If you’d rather use a
different mic, or for some reason
don’t get downstairs tinglies when
being verbally abused, uncheck
them. There’s also an option to
alter the quality of your stream
(but not your banter, sadly).
Plug in a PlayStation Camera if
you’ve got one, post a link to
social media via the menu option,
check your hair, and start your
broadcast. Like getting away with
medical negligence, it’s too easy.
If there’s anything more fun
than publicly humiliating
yourself for tens of peoples’
entertainment, it’s watching
others do it. Enter Live From
PlayStation. Open it up to get a
faceful of PS4 gameplay from
around the globe. You can filter
content in a number of ways:
“Trending” brings up the most
popular streams right now,
“Games” shows streams for a
specific game, “Search” lets you
find specific users or channels
and “Friends/Following” displays
stuff from only your favourites.
The medical miscreant herself
just so happens to be streaming
the Heavy Rain remaster, along
with her glamorous assistant Ben.
Simply search for PSN ID
“OfficialPSMag” on Thursday 21
April: we’ll be streaming at around
5.30pm, once I’ve sobered up
enough from my 4pm clinic. Do
bring your best “JASOOON!”
Finally, the whole world can
witness you slay Cleric Beasts
and score crazy goals. The
Doc can’t wait to replay the
impromptu hand-surgery scene
in Heavy Rain – it’s like Cage
based the game on her life.
The Doc “persuades”
47’s bonce like
a ripe melon.
Tame a rare beast
such as the Black
Lion and you’ll have
made a Fancy Friend.
Iain Wilson’s PSN ID is
Wilbossman, and his
trophy cabinet is
bigger than yours.
Platinum x 68
Gold x 396
Silver x 1,455
Bronze x 6,056
Our man hunts for Stone Age silverware in Far Cry Primal
inutes into your
Oros, you’re given
a silver trophy just
for completing the
first mission, which
is usually a good indication that
the rest won’t be too tricky. There
have, however, been reports that
some of these are glitching for
certain unlucky players, so
back up saves regularly in
case one doesn’t pop up
when it’s supposed to.
Lots of accolades
involve wild animals,
so once you unlock your
Beast Mastery skill, you
should focus on taming creatures
that you discover, building up a
Menagerie once you’ve befriended
seven of them. Next, play the
Veterinarian by healing your
sidekicks 25 times, though
at some point you’ll also
have to betray their
innocent trust by killing
and skinning your
tamed beast. Using a
small animal such as
a dhole can accelerate
this process, but you
should still be crying
hot Tears Of Shame
as you slice your little
buddy up, you monster.
If you travel northeast of the
large lake in the middle of the
map, you should spot the towering
Pardaku Lookout between the
green and brown areas. Climb up
the series of ledges and vines to
reach the summit, then make a
strangely familiar Kanda Of Faith
into the pool far below. Another
exploration pot can be earned by
applies for a spear kill from
more than 50 feet to be Right On
Target, though you’ll need to aim
considerably higher to account
for the drop over that distance.
Becoming an Expert Wenja
will be the most time-consuming
challenge, as it involves learning
all available skills – there’s an
impressive 80 in total. You can
earn bonus XP towards
this by stealthily taking
down Outposts, and as
you need to capture
them all to complete your
Expansion across the
land, you might as well
do it quietly when you
can. Grab every collectible you
see as these also add to your XP,
though thankfully you only need 80
of them, rather than the full set,
to become a Cave Hoarder.
Should you hit the XP cap
before you’ve learned every skill,
focus on finishing the orange side
missions, as many of these will
grant an extra skill point. Unlock
those final abilities and you’ll have
completed your ascent to Apex
Predator, and moved one step
ahead of the evolutionary curve.
YOU SHOULD BE CRYING
HOT TEARS OF SHAME AS YOU
SLICE YOUR LITTLE BUDDY UP,
following the river that runs
through the map to the
undiscovered location marked
at the far northeast end, then
heading through the cave system
there to find a cheeky Blood
Dragon reference and the
secret Mark 4 Wenja.
Combat-wise, you’ll have to kill
an enemy from at least 70 feet
away with an arrow to score a
Bullseye, for which the Long Bow
is required – the regular one
won’t cut it. For best results, tag
an enemy using your owl, then
set a waypoint to measure their
distance away and aim a little
over their head. The same tactic
NEXT ISSUE Mr Trophy squads up and
goes in search of pots in The Division’s
us at [email protected]
With IO so focused on
a certain bald-headed
assassin, it’s unlikely this
superb shooter will ever
get a sequel.
DEV IO INTERACTIVE
RELEASED 2003, PS2
GET IT NOW AMAZON,
NEED TO KNOW
It was originally
called FF: Battle
For Liberty Island.
The game uses a
tweaked take on
Hitman 2’s engine.
Radio Choir worked
on FF’s score.
YOU GO FROM
TO DUCKING GUNSHOTS
ON THE STREETS.
QThe opening Soviet invasion of NYC is brilliant.
dastardly Ruskie forces invading New
York. Within the space of five minutes,
you’re whisked away from unclogging
crappers on a routine plumbing job to
start ducking for cover, as shots ring
out on the streets of Manhattan and
dozens of New Yorkers scurry past
in terror. As a way of contrasting the
banal with the bombastic, it’s a superb
opening statement full of intent.
Originally envisioned as a quasiturn-based strategy, IO thankfully saw
sense and used its Glacier Engine
to develop a third-person blaster
focusing on hefty shooting. Much may
be made of the impact Resident Evil 4’s
brilliant gunplay had on the industry,
but Freedom Fighters was proudly
rocking a competent over-the-shoulder
aiming system a full year before Leon S
Kennedy’s Spanish horror show.
hen it comes to
forever been in
the shadow of
Nintendo and a
Italian. Yet for one glorious moment in
late 2003, PS2 was treated to a toilet
jockey who could not only rub shoulders
with Mario, but who’d happily kickstart a
bloody Mushroom King coup. Meet Chris
Stone and Freedom Fighters – a badass
resistance leader in an equally badass
Now, a swift look at IO Interactive’s
CV will quickly reveal a résumé heavily
focused on chrome dome contract
killing. Any output from the Danish dev
that doesn’t revolve around Agent 47
has usually been a bit, well… bobbins.
It’s at this point the prosecution would
kindly point the jury towards Kane &
Lynch. But when the studio partnered
with EA on an alternate reality, squadbased shooter, all that changed.
Set in a world in which the Soviet
Union won World War II by dropping an
A-bomb on Berlin, the game opens with
Every month we celebrate the most important,
innovative or just plain great games from
PlayStation’s past. This time, we take Manhattan
back from evil Russians as we hoist up Old Faithful
and remember IO’s cult classic squad shooter
It’s unlikely, of course, that Freedom
Fighters would still stoke those
nostalgic fires so fiercely if it was just
a solid early noughties shooter – no
offence, Conflict: Desert Storm II. As
Chris evolves from plunger ninja to
the Freedom Phantom, he learns to
lead a ragtag bunch of civilian-turnedguerrilla-warriors. Commanding troops
to attack Soviet forces or provide
cover-fire is both elegant and effective
– this in an era when most console
shooters were terrified of tactics.
Freedom Fighters proved the studio
could also pace a more structured
adventure than Hitman with great
assurance. With different seasons
shifting from baking Big Apple
afternoons to frigid firefights in Times
Square, there’s a real sense of time
elapsed. And once you storm
Governors Island in a swirling blizzard,
the thumping strings of Jesper Kyd’s
score fuelling your efforts to liberate
New York, it’s hard not to be taken in by
FREE AND EASY
Sadly, Freedom Fighters sold like
diamond-studded tiaras at an antigentrification rally, with Chris and
his rebellion shifting just over half a
million copies on PS2 worldwide. IO had
planned a sequel, but it was shelved to
focus on Kane & Lynch (boo!), then later
Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution.
With seemingly little hope of a Freedom
Fighters 2, we’d settle for the excellent
original finding a spruced-up home on
PS4 to join the ever-growing ranks of
emulated PS2 hits. C’mon Sony and IO,
don’t let the resistance be futile.
QChris goes from shy plumber to beloved liberator. QCommands are easy to bust out in shootouts.
Guess the four games,
and their scores, from
these review quotes
OPM TIME MACHINE
5 YEARS AGO
Uncharted 3 and Batman: Arkham City
were the big hitters as OPM #57 made a
little (yet rather warm) piece of history…
WHEN I SAY
‘WHISPER’, I MEAN
OFFERING A HEFTY,
IN MY DODGIEST
FEELS LIKE THE
OF BEING DRUNK,
WITHOUT ANY OF
THE FUN UMBRELLA
Above It’s now an annual tradition, but this was our
first ever Hot List, placing Uncharted 3: Drake’s
Deception at number one, narrowly ahead of GTA V
and Battlefield 3. In retrospect, one of those games is
not like the others.
Below left Next was Prey 2 on the back of an
impressive secret peek. It was sadly canned in 2014.
Below right Further down the list: Prototype 2 and
Duke Nukem Forever. Nuke us for that one.
YOU’RE LEFT IN A
STATE OF SUSPENSE
AKIN TO WATCHING
A BREAKING BAD
1. Batman: Arkham City, issue #64,
2. WWE All Stars, issue #57, 7/10
3. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct,
issue #83, 3/10
4. PES 2014, issue #90, 8/10
STREET FIGHTER. AND
WHO WANTS TO PLAY
AS KEN WHEN YOU
CAN BE BLOODY
Far left After much
hype, new shooter
to score 7/10.
Left News ed
Rachel spent a
day on London’s
streets as FEAR’s
Alma. One Cockney
did the Thriller
dance in response.
DON’T MAKE ME PLAY!
dunce Ben Tyrer
could probably solve
The Witness given
enough time. Except,
instead of taxing his
brain muscles, he’d
much rather play a
nice, relaxing game
of Rocket League.
Don’t like it. Never tried it. Every month we force
one of our team to play their most feared game
PUB THEKLA, INC
DEV THEKLA, INC
RELEASED 2016, PS4
GET IT NOW PSN,
Depending on your
Witness is a critical
darling that amazes
puzzle fans with its
deeply complex, witty
design… or it’s a
that’s as pretentious
as a wine sniffer.
hen it comes to puzzle
games, my patience
generally lasts about 15
minutes. After that, it’s
straight to the internet
to discover the solution. Cheating?
Course not. Problem solving is all about
using the tools to hand and there’s no
better tool for most head-scratchers
than a quick Google search. So, yes,
it’s safe to say that my mindset isn’t
the ideal one for Jonathan Blow’s latest.
Stepping out into the day-glo
courtyard from the tunnel where The
Witness’ journey begins, I’m surprised.
I actually like the serene pace. I wander
around, staring at the blue sky, enjoying
the solitude – having grown up in the
gloomy Midlands, it’s a rarity I’m still
adjusting to. Even the puzzles are
pleasantly simple, and I’m eased into the
unique way of thinking.
I DON’T WANT TO
COMMIT HOURS OF
MY LIFE TO A PRETTY
QIt’s already been a good year for stylish open worlds, but The Witness offers the most visually
satisfying blend of environments. Autumnal leaves, cherry blossoms and a searing desert all feature.
The more I stroll around the island,
poking at the different puzzles (I even
manage to switch on a laser), the
closer I get to understanding its appeal.
I certainly can’t fault the meticulous
design of either the world or its mazes.
The island teaches you to solve its
mysteries in subtly intelligent ways, to
the extent that I start to find solutions
by instinct. So why, then, do I still feel an
undercurrent of coldness?
Passive appreciation is as much
enthusiasm as I’m able to muster. I just
don’t want to commit hours (or days?)
of my life to a very pretty Sudoku book.
Every time a solution presents itself,
there is, sure enough, another screen
with another line maze… and it goes
on. And on. And on. The Witness is
exhausting with its relentless onslaught
of stuff to solve.
I see that laser shoot into the sky,
hinting at the possibilities that the game
has to offer. Should there be a rush of
excitement? All I feel is the PS button –
I jab it and leave the mystery behind…
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CURRENT-GEN’S GREATEST GAMES
PS4 HALL OF FAME
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.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
STREET FIGHTER V
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.
With the finest third-person melee combat in gaming,
drool-worthy art design and the most twisted
monsters imaginable, this is a gorgeously Gothic
must-have. The Old Hunters expansion adds enough
nightmare fuel to make a Yharnam return essential.
Mechanically, this is as close to perfection as any
fighter on console – everyone from hardcore fans
to first timers can grab a pad/fightstick and have
serious fun. The launch game’s lean, but with free
add-ons coming all the time, it keeps getting better.
The ultimate puzzle game? Thekla, Inc’s behemoth
boasts one of PS4’s most stylishly inviting, and
resolve-testing, worlds to explore. It then crams it
so full of secrets that even the platinum isn’t the end
of the adventure. It’s a true original.
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.
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.
DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING
THE LAST OF US REMASTERED
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT
UNCHARTED: THE NATHAN
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.
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.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
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.
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.
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.
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.
We dive into PS4’s library for gold.
This month: stealth games
P IC K
METAL GEAR SOLID V:
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.”
Editor Matthew Pellett salutes Big Boss’
other sandbox PS4 sneak-’em-up
An ’80s wildchild such as me was always going
to love The Phantom Pain, but while Kojima’s
final full-fat MGS is sitting pretty atop our Hall Of
Fame, nobody should forget about its bite-sized
prequel. Ground Zeroes may seem tiny on the
outside, but it’s an adventure with surprising
depth. An essential slice of PS4 stealthing.
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.
P IC K
Staff writer Jen Simpkins sticks to the
shadows in the intricate indie blinder
Think of a vibrantly hued, even more polygonal
MGS, and you’ve basically got Mike Bithell’s topdown modern retelling of Robin Hood. Your lightfooted charge is not Snake, but Rob Locksley.
Subtle. Fortunately, that’s the only obvious thing
about Volume: lasers, long-sighted knights and
creaky floors make navigating its labyrinthine
levels an adrenaline-charged challenge.
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.
STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT
A perfect port from PC, Gone Home is tensionbuilding masterpiece that has you slowly peeling back
layers from the game’s central mystery. It’s short,
but there’s zero padding to the exploration, making
every key discovery feel like a powerful gut punch.
Perfectly capturing the spirit of Star Wars, this is
a complete triumph in making you feel like you’re in
amongst the Empire’s assault on Hoth, or bringing
about its demise on Endor. Accessible and immediate,
you won’t want to put your DualShock 4(orce) down.
DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION
GUITAR HERO LIVE
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.
THINK OF A VIBRANTLY HUED,
EVEN MORE POLYGONAL MGS,
AND YOU HAVE VOLUME.
P IC K
FAR CRY 4
Careful planning and the odd tiger brings
out Ben Tyrer’s Machiavellian side
A rare shooter that handles the sneaky as well as
the gunplay, Far Cry 4’s best bits come when you
use every trick to ghost through entire outposts.
A loose animal here, a distracted guard in your
crosshairs there and you’re still chilling in the tall
grass. With chaos erupting, it’s much easier to
slip in close and deliver some gory retribution.
I love it when a plan comes together.
A game that demands to be completed in one sitting.
From the emotionally devastating opening to the
satisfyingly muted ending, Firewatch is an adventure
that lingers in the memory. It also boasts gorgeous
scenery and compelling character work.
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.
QShh, could you keep the evil cackling to a minimum, please?
Just this once. We’re trying to hunt an entire army here.
THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION OF LAST-GEN CLASSICS
PS3 HALL OF FAME
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.
GRAND THEFT AUTO V
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY
MASS EFFECT 2
THE WALKING DEAD:
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.
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
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,
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.
CALL OF DUTY 4:
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
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.
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.
METAL GEAR SOLID
Two of PlayStation’s finest adventures
scale down beautifully, with enough
cutscenes to fill a transatlantic flight.
Even less excuse not to play, then.
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.
SUPER MEAT BOY!
CRYPT OF THE
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.
FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD
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.
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.
Take Guitar Hero and Spelunky, then
whack them in a blender. You’ll get this
gem, with its addictive soundtrack and
moreish rhythm-action monster-slaying.
Two examples of JRPG royalty, lovingly
restored to their former glory for your
portable pleasure. Their new touch
controls are – gasp! – a welcome addition.
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.
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.
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.
PARTING SH T
Celebrating PlayStation’s finest moments
A perfect specimen
Meeting the titular star up close in Alien: Isolation
We hum along
to a robot
FORMAT PS4/PS3 / PUB SEGA / DEV CREATIVE ASSEMBLY / RELEASED 2014 / SCORE 8/10
hudder. It’s the sound of
the tail. The xenomorph
leering down from the
vent, occasionally lit up by
an alarm you’ve set off, is scary
enough. Ducking behind a desk,
with the sounds of your panicked
breath thundering in your ears,
is frightening. But then you hear
the clunk and the slither as the
noise of the tail pierces everything.
That’s when Alien: Isolation is the
tensest game on PS4.
Before this moment, Isolation
teases for what feels like hours,
building up to the monstrous
reveal. Amanda Ripley finds herself
on the Sevastopol, hunting for the
flight recorder of the Nostromo,
in the hope of learning the fate of
mum Ellen Ripley. Alas, we all know
what’s waiting in the vents of the
eerily empty spaceship…
Slowly inching down corridors
during the opening is torturous.
Every overhead shuffle and
flickering shadow in the distance
putting you on edge. You’re waiting
for a ‘gotcha’ moment. It’s going to
be any second now, surely? Nope.
It would be easy to go for the jump
scare introduction, but Creative
Assembly is clever enough not to
cheapen the iconic monster.
By the time we find ourselves
cowering underneath that desk,
as the alien unfurls out of those
innocuously evil air vents, the
suspense is overwhelming. It’s
a grand moment in which the
majority of the creature is cleverly
kept in darkness, offering just
enough glimpses for us to know
what horror is stalking us.
It’s a truly brilliant introduction
that captures the original film’s
subtle menace, kickstarting
Isolation’s petrifying cat-andmouse chase across the station.
Sadly, the next time we see the tail,
it’s sticking out of our stomach. Q
leads to the
Dust off that PlayStation passport as we visit all the major
locations from Drake’s globe-trotting adventures
found the coffin
of Sir Francis
Drake, off the
coast of Panama in the
ﬁrst Uncharted outing,
the adventurer visited the
Central American country
in PS Vita prequel Golden
Abyss. As our brave
explorer follows the trail
of a centuries-old Spanish
sect, he takes in a host
of baking jungles.
city appears in
a ﬂashback, in which a
teenage Drake tries to
steal his legendary
namesake’s ring from the
Museo Maritimo. Aside
from specialising in
Cartagena also does a ﬁne
line in juicy fruit markets.
The historic city,
which was once
features in Among
Thieves’ second chapter,
Breaking And Entering.
Nathan and Harry steal
their way into the Istanbul
Palace Museum to grab
hold of a Mongolian oil
lamp that happens to hide
one of Marco Polo’s
Sully kick off
Uncharted 3 in
The Big Smoke,
and it’s not long before
ﬁsts are ﬂying in a
traditional English boozer.
After a deal involving Sir
Francis Drake’s ring goes
wrong, Nate soon ﬁnds
himself braving secret
passageways in the
The harshest locale ever.
city in this
country is the
star of Uncharted 3’s
ninth and tenth chapters.
The action takes place
around an ancient citadel,
with Nathan Drake and
his pals searching for the
other half of the amulet
found in France. Copious
bullets and rocketdodging follow.
loves its ancient
to the titular
Golden Abyss, this
cavernous settlement is
found deep within the
jungles of Panama.
Charmingly, it’s located
in a region known as La
Selva de las Serpientes or
‘The Serpent Jungle’. Best
check there’s not a snake
in your boot, Drake.
RUB ‘AL KHALI DESERT
A vast desert that covers much of the
southern third of the Arabian Peninsula,
this sandy expanse is also home to Ubar.
Seeing as Drake ends up in the desert
thanks to a plane crash, dehydrated treks and pesky
mirages aren’t far behind.
Drake and Sully
brave the world’s
rainforest as they
search for clues that may
lead them to the storied
kingdom of El Dorado.
Along the way, they
encounter a sodding great
German U-boat hanging
off the side of a cliff.
Standard Thursday, mate.
First seen on a map in Uncharted 4’s teaser
trailer, this island lies off the east coast of
Madagascar. It could well be the location
seen in 2014’s PlayStation Experience
demo, and may have something to do with the
famed pirate kingdom of Libertalia.
Wow, does Uncharted love its unnamed
cities. This bustling Madagascan burg stole
the show at last year’s E3, providing the
perfect canvas for A Thief’s End to paint
an epic car chase. This sprawling seaside town spans
everything from construction sites to paddy ﬁelds.
Drake and his
deep into the
orests of eastern France
n the hunt for an amulet
hat will point them
owards the lost city of
bar. Prepare to come
cross a soon-to-bearbecued, centuries-old
piders and one superoasty fortune hunter.
and home to
some of Uncharted 2’s
most dizzying action
scenes. Nathan Drake
braves a brewing civil
war on the streets of an
unnamed Nepalese city
as he hunts for a temple
that will point to the
location of Shambhala
(not the music festival).
want to spend
seven years in a
region of eastern Asia?
After all, it does play host
to Uncharted 2’s best
moment. Upon being
saved from a train crash
by a mysterious Sherpa,
Nathan awakes in a sleepy,
extra chilly Tibetan
village. What happens
next will… *clickbait*
has a tough time
the most lofty mountain
range on Earth. If he’s not
riding the most perilous
train ever to puff, then
he’s being attacked by
feral yeti beasties.
Never mind, at least the
Himalayas have some
aesthetically gobsmacking monasteries.
The mythical city of Shangri-La lies
deep within the Himalayas, though
you’d never know it thanks to its super
balmy valleys. Shambhala is also where
Uncharted 2’s chief MacGuffin (the Cintamani
Stone) is located.
The multi-part motion comic Eye Of
Indra primarily takes place in a swanky
mansion in Indonesia, with Drake
recalling past adventures while being tortured.
Sadly, as a result, you don’t see much of this
beautiful Asian archipelago’s scenery.
This spectacular island is located in
Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago,
and boy do Uncharted 2’s third and
fourth chapters do justice to its humid
jungles. It’s also where Marco Polo’s legendary
Lost Fleet washed up, which is why Drake visits.
Peninsula, as the search
for Ubar hots up. Much
of the ensuing action
takes place in yet another
unnamed ancient city,
as Drake’s estranged wife
watches her hubby engage
in a ﬁsh market ﬁst-ﬁght
and get stuck into a few
giant gear puzzles.
After one hell of
captive by a bunch of
pirates. Cue a seriously
unsafe cruise when our
hero boards a luxury liner
located in the Arabian
Sea. Choppy waters,
ballroom shootouts and
an upturned elevator ride
are but a few of the high
Also known as
the Iram of the
Pillars, our man
Nate is obsessed
with ﬁnding Uncharted
3’s lost city. Biblical
Solomon once ruled the
fabled kingdom, though
not even he could master
its darkest secret – an
underground spring with
the power to control the
minds of men.
A tropical island
located to the
west of Papua
East Timor is seen
near the beginning of
Uncharted 2. Its beaches
host a scene in which
Nathan Drake, Harry
Flynn and Chloe discuss
busting into a Turkish
museum while sipping
beers at an outdoor bar.
Hello, Thomas Cook?
island is located
in the South
Paciﬁc, and is the main
setting of Drake’s Fortune.
It was once inhabited by
and is home to that
dream of all explorers,
El Dorado – though the
legendary city actually
turns out to be a golden
statue, not an empire.