A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
Subscribe
Twitch by
published Monday, Feb 02nd

Sim For A Day: Man Puts Himself In The Hands of Twitch For Charity

Watch live video from ControlJoe on www.twitch.tv

Joe Lovett is taking to the streets as a virtual ‘Sim’ for a day (no Plumbob in sight) in an effort to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and all the action is to be streamed via Twitch.

Lovett will be walking around the streets of Lincoln, Lincolnshire from midday until 10pm on Monday, February 2nd with a GoPro strapped to his head. Viewers can control Joe’s “Twitch Does Reality” stream and give him instructions via the Twitch chat and tipping a minimum donation of £1 — the action can also be followed via the #ControlJoe hashtag on Twitter. 


by
published Thursday, Jan 21st

Games Of The Decade 30-11

It’s starting to heat up now. We’ve counted down 50-31 in our countdown of the 50 best games of the last decade and we continue with another 20 as we rundown positions 30 to 11.

World Of Warcraft

World Of Warcraft

30 – World Of Warcraft

Massively multiplayer online role playing game have never been the same since the release of World of Warcraft in 2005. With more than 10 million people registered just three years after launch, the massive open world, races, quests, items, and levelling system has been a hit since day one, and there is no doubt that it will continue to be strong for a long time yet.

Platform: PC Developer: Blizzard Entertainment Year: 2005

 

29 – Perfect DarkPerfect Dark

Even without the Bond license at their disposal, Rare were still able to craft one of the finest FPS games ever. It may not have aged well graphically, but multiplayer sessions of PD are still as addictive now as they were nearly a decade ago.

Platform: Nintendo 64 Developer: Rare Year: 2000

 

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge

28 – Mirror’s Edge

A game based around free running? That’s what Mirror’s Edge delivered. What it lacked in depth and storyline, this beautifully stylised title more than made up for it in it’s unique approach to gameplay. Mirror’s Edge has to be on of the most orginal action titles of the last decade that frustrated and delighted in equal measure.

Platform: Multi Developer: Electronic Arts Year: 2008

 

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

27 – Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 would have made the list for its addictive gameplay alone; with its nine perfectly-balanced classes, stunning art direction and inventive levels only boosting its position. Its enthusiastic community and continued support from Valve makes it one of the most popular (and fun) multiplayer titles even over two years after its release. Oh, you can also unlock some pretty sick hats.

Platform: Multi Developer: Valve Corporation Year: 2007

 

Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask

Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask

26 – Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

A stunning follow-up to one of the greatest game ever made. Majora’s Mask took the Zelda franchise into dark and complex territory with its unique and disturbing story, following Link’s quest to stop the moon crashing into the quaint land of Termina.

Platform: Nintendo 64 Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2000

 

 

Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2

25 – Gears Of War 2

Epic’s massive hit Gears of War brought a sequel just two years after the original game, hailing a new chapter in a clearly unfinished story. Using much of the same, but also adding a few necessary extras worked out well for the franchise with singleplayer keeping the locust horde coming thick and fast. Multiplayer hadn’t missed a step either with new game modes, a ranking system and the unforgettable chainsaw dual sequences.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Epic Games Year: 2008

 

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

24 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty

Following on from the highly acclaimed Metal Gear Solid on the PSone was a tall order but Konami once again pulled another winner out of its hat. Focusing predominantly on new character Raiden this time around, player’s were given not only upgraded graphics but also satisfying new moves and a typically over the top Metal Gear story.

Platform: PlayStation 2 Developer: Konami Computers Year: 2002

 

The Sims

The Sims

23 – The Sims

The Sims saw you being given a new level of control and creativity not found in any other PC title at the time. The freedom to allow you to design your character, to construct a house and to make decisions for that character was a fun experience. This game spawned numerous add on’s and two sequels and is one of the biggest selling PC games of all time.

Platform: Multi Developer: Maxis Year: 2000

 

Wii Sports

Wii Sports

22 – Wii Sports

Technically the best selling video game of all time; this selection of sports games, designed to show off the Wii, is a joy to discover. As a demonstration of what the Wii is capable Wii Sports is great, and the amount of fun to be had with friends in the process – priceless.

Platform: Nintendo Wii Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2006

 

 

Grand Theft Auto 4

Grand Theft Auto 4

21 – Grand Theft Auto IV

The city that never sleeps comes to video games in the form of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV. As a fully functioning environment to do as you will, the flood gates open as Niko Belic arrives from Eastern Europe. The story is tuned to perfection, the physics are flawless, and every person has a character behind it. What more could you want?

Platform: Multi Developer: Rocksteady Studios Year: 2008

 

Killzone 2

Killzone 2

20 – Killzone 2

The visually stunning Killzone 2 no doubt set the bar for console graphics back in February 2009. Bringing with it solid combat, intense action, a solid array of weaponry, thrilling set pieces, memorable enemies and a captivating multiplayer that quickly carved out a strong following from the PlayStation 3 community.

Platform: PlayStation 3 Developer: Guerilla Games Year: 2009

 

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead

19 – Left 4 Dead

A number of Valve titles appear on our list, and for good reason: their releases guarantee fun and Left 4 Dead was no different. Forcing players to rely on helping each other for any hope of survival, the AI Director’s random placement of items and enemies made each play through unique, meaning you’d be happy to take on the zombie apocalypse with friends again and again.

Platform: PC Developer: Valve Year: 2008

 

Metal Gear Solid 4

Metal Gear Solid 4

18 – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of Patriots

The best selling PS3 exclusive gave us an intricate and visually stunning look at Solid Snake as an aged war veteran who is thrown amidst a war fought by Private military. From the breath taking visuals to the cinematic cut scenes to the excellent stealth combat, this game provided every Metal Gear fan with the game they wanted.

Platform: PlayStation 3 Developer: Kojima Productions Year: 2008

 

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4

17 – Resident Evil 4

Having torn up every cliché in the survival horror rulebook, Resident Evil 4 went on to become one of the best action games of the last generation. There were as many memorable set pieces in this game as the rest of the series put together. This Wii edition is undoubtedly the best version available.

Platform: Gamecube Developer: Capcom Year: 2005

 

Burnout: Paradise

Burnout: Paradise

16 – Burnout: Paradise

Rejuvenated a series that was in danger of going stale, Burnout: Paradise’s beautiful sandbox environment provided the setting for some of the most intense race action ever seen. Thrown in a healthy dose of cars, event option and a seem-less multiplayer mode and you have have one of the best race titles ever made.

Platform: Multi Developer: Criterion Games Year: 2008

 

Grand Theft Auto 3

Grand Theft Auto 3

15 – Grand Theft Auto III

Bringing the Grand Theft Auto series into 3D, 2001’s gritty Grand Theft Auto III proved to be an incredibly influential release. The sandbox-style game received universal praise from the gaming press, along with plenty of negative remarks from the mainstream press, thanks in part to it’s violent and sexual content. Due to its distinguished popularity, developer Rockstar has since released several other games in the series, and here’s to the next.

Platform: PlayStation 2 Developer: DMA Design (Now Rockstar North) Year: 2001

 

Fallout 3

Fallout 3

14 – Fallout 3

A modern-day marvel, the word ‘epic’ is a suitable tag for Bethesda’s massive RPG/shooter hybrid. The post-apocalyptic world, blanketed by sadness and laced with black humour, was persistently engaging and the sheer amount of things to do made scouring the broken beauty of the Capital Wasteland a wonder every time you visited.

Platform: Multi Developer: Bethesda Year: 2008

 

Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy

13 – Super Mario Galaxy

Gamers waited for a decade for Nintendo to create a true follow up to the revolutionary Mario 64, and were handsomely rewarded for their patience. Super Mario Galaxy may have built on a lot of the elements of its grand predecessor, but contained enough unique ideas of its own to mark it out as a true benchmark title. It also had possibly the best soundtrack of the last decade.

Platform: Nintendo Wii Developer: Nintendo Year: 2007

 

Halo 2

Halo 2

12 – Halo 2

After the success of Combat Evolved Bungie knew they had to deliver, and deliver they did.  While it offered a great campaign it was the multiplayer that stole the show. Despite admitting they couldn’t do everything they wanted Bungie still managed to create a online experience that has managed to clock hundreds of millions of hours, and is still the most popular Original Xbox title online.

Platform: Xbox Developer: Bungie Year: 2004

 

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum

11 – Batman: Arkham Asylum

The decade saw Batman rejuvenated via two outstanding films (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and the interactive medium thanks to Arkham Asylum. An expansive and consistently intriguing environment, a simple but effective combat mechanic and massive dedication to the source material made the player feel like The Bat, cementing its place as the best comic book-based title so far.

Platform: Multi Developer: Rocksteady Studios Year: 2009

 

Once again if you want discuss the countdown head on over to our forum, we’d love to hear what you think. Only 10 more games to go, what will be number 1?


by
published Tuesday, Mar 20th

The Sims: Life Stories

It stands to reason that the best-selling PC franchise of all time is also one of the most prolific and given the nature of the game The Sims and it’s sequel, cunningly titled The Sims 2, regular expansion packs are to be expected. But the latest in the series isn’t really an expansion pack, neither is it an entirely separate game. Instead EA and Maxis have brought what they hope to be a new spin-off to a market they already dominate. Say hello to The Sims: Life Stories.

This game takes a different stance to previous titles, instead of giving you a blank canvas to create whatever weird and wonderful characters and houses your imagination can think of you are required to take hold of two Sims, Riley and Vincent and guide them through life.They each have different needs and personal goals which you have to achieve during their lifetime. Aside from the regular need food/love/toilet goals; there are plenty of longer term aims like getting a job, getting married and settling down etc. that will take you a while to accomplish. Other mid-term goals crop up from time to time and although they start to repeat after a while they do at least offer some diversity.

And there are some other locations you can visit if you and your chosen Sim get bored of your surroundings. In a nod to the many expansion packs, you can go visit places like the Gym, Shops and Cafes which let you meet other Sims and make friends and can also lead to new objectives.

Unfortunately there are some major issues with the game, particularly with length as it only offers a paltry two Sims to play through. The camera views are also troublesome and it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on when your Sim’s friends visit for instance. The graphics, which retain the game engine used in The Sims 2, are impressive but prone to slowdown and even crashing, far more than the original which can be a huge pain when you’ve just spent time refurnishing your house without saving.

The problems of longevity are offset slightly by the inclusion of a Free Play mode which is arguably where you’ll find the most fun in this package. Like the original you can create any number of characters and customise their personalities and living conditions but this is again limited, using the cut-down options from Story Mode. If you’ve never played the original games this could keep you entertained for a while but it’s not something that will attract hardened fans.

Although it shares many of the gameplay elements it’s quite clear from the outset that Life Stories doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the series. Part of the appeal of The Sims has been with the customisation options that offer near infinite possibilities for characters and their surroundings but this is somewhat restricted in this game. The addition of more personal goals and the cut down interface have obviously been taken from the console versions but they are perhaps better suited on other formats, where joypad buttons and internal memory are at a premium.

There is some fun to be had here and it certainly kept my Mum entertained for quite some time before she got bored and returned to the more familiar surroundings of the original Sims. In simplifying every aspect of gameplay, EA have produced a watered down experience and have perhaps underestimated how much complexity their target audience can cope with. After all, the original Sims was far from simplistic yet entrapped millions of people whose only PC gaming experience was the odd bash at Solitaire or Minesweeper. The change of pace may be welcomed by some and detested by others.

Life Stories may be seen as an entry level title but to be honest, it’s hard to recommend instead of it’s older and cheaper brother.


The Sims 2 Pets by
published Wednesday, Dec 13th

The Sims 2: Pets Review

When it was released on the PC in 2001, few would have imagined that The Sims would become as big a hit as it has. The simple premise of making characters and building the world they lived in proved popular with reviewers and gamers around the world. Word-of-mouth quickly spread amongst forums around the world and after it had ensnared millions of regular gamers it also entranced millions who had never shown an interest in gaming. The first game went on to become the biggest selling PC title ever and the dozen or so expansion packs that have followed have ensured it has stayed in the top ten in most regions for the past five years.

The inevitable jump to consoles wasn’t particularly well received by critics, although they still sold well. Semi sequels Bustin’ Out and The Urbz came and went without adding much to the series or taking time to iron out the faults of the original. Shortly after the true sequel was released on PC, The Sims 2 arrived on every console with a pulse. It was far more playable than its predecessors but still paled in comparison to the PC version. Now the third Sims 2 PC expansion pack ‘Pets’ has been ported to all formats and it suffers from all the same problems.

Trying to shoehorn the controls and content of the PC game onto a home console format is never going to work, at least not in this case. Controlling your Sim and building his or her environment is just frustrating without a mouse and keyboard and the slowdown in the PS2 version doesn’t help matters. There are a lot of objects and furnishings available in the home version but without the possibility of customisable content, your Sim’s life feels less personal.

Creating your Sim and their pet, is still pretty fun, probably more so than the game itself and the interaction between the two can be amusing. Your pet has its own requirements you need to see to in order to move the story mode along and these are varied depending on your pets personality. More work could have been done on the pet AI however as their behaviour doesn’t seem to be affected much by their personality traits; games like Nintendogs and Black and White have shown how advanced AI can help make a (virtual) animal in your care more appealing. The whole pet dynamic does change the way you need to play but it feels too tacked on and isn’t a reason enough to buy it if you already have one of the other games.

The pets do look good though, and the presentation as a whole is of a high quality, It’s just a shame the gameplay is so tedious. Asking console owners to shell out full whack for what is basically a meagre port of a cut-price PC expansion pack is pretty poor on EA’s part. Perhaps this was released to jump on the Nintendogs bandwagon but it doesn’t add anything to the series or the Sim genre.

If you have The Sims 2 on PC and you are an avid fan then you will no doubt enjoy the expansion pack, but there are too many problems with the console versions to recommend them over the PC one. The DS port is the only one that doesn’t suffer from control issues as much but lacks the content of its bigger brothers. If you don’t have a PC and want to play this sort of game you’d be better off with something like Nintendogs or Animal Crossing.

Hopefully EA will give up attempting direct ports of The Sims after this game, it should have been neutered long ago…