A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
published Friday, Dec 14th

Far Cry 3 Review

Far Cry 3 is the story of Jason Brody, a thrill seeking rich kid, who parachutes with his friends into the unknown Rook Islands. While this adventure may have seemed like a good idea, the tides quickly turn as the group are split up with Jason and his brother captured by the maniacal pirate Vaas.

Vaas’ aim is to ransom the brothers for an extortionate amount, however the pair attempt to escape which cleverly forms the games tutorial section. Without spoiling all too much things don’t go to plan. Jason is rescued from the brink of death by local tribe the Rakyat who give him the tools to get his friends back.

This is easily one of the best narrative journeys in recent memory, helped by a superb cast, with Michael Mando being a particular stand-out with his performance as main antagonist Vaas. There are plenty of twists and turns, notably the distinctive strong use of drugs which lead to highly visual and mind-bending sequences, similar to the Scarecrow sections of Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Assassin's Creed III by
published Monday, Nov 05th

UK Chart: Assassin’s Creed III Second Best Launch of 2012

Reaching the top spot, Assassin’s Creed III has granted Ubisoft its best selling game launch ever after its first week on sale, selling near double the amount that Assassin’s Creed II managed at launch, and topping Assassin’s Creed: Revelations by 117,000 copies.

The split on the platforms weigh heavily in the favour of Xbox 360 with 59% against 41% on the PlayStation 3. Assassin’s Creed III manages the second biggest launch of the year after FIFA 13, with the latter seeing a minor 2% dip in sales at second. We imagine Halo 4 may have something to say about that next week.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier by
published Tuesday, Jan 10th

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier UK Launch Delayed

It turns out Ubisoft has decided that the world isn’t quite ready for their future vision of warfare just yet, as the French development studio announced this Tuesday that its upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is to be delayed once again.

The Tom Clancy shooter was scheduled for a UK release on both the PlayStation 3 and  Xbox 360 at the end of March, but has now been pushed back a further two months, with a new release date penciled in for the 24th of May.

published Tuesday, Jan 12th

Assassin’s Creed II Review

The original Assassin’s Creed had the makings of a decent title. Though while well received, Ubisoft’s first venture was plagued by repetitive and often frustrating gameplay. A refined follow up was needed.

published Friday, Dec 19th

Prince of Persia Review

Did you know that the Prince Of Persia series has been around since 1989? It’s true, ever since the original release back in the late 80’s the series has gone on to be groundbreaking in video gaming terms, the first motion capture animation in a video game is one such example, it has even made it into the Guinness World Records six times. It’s no surprise that the latest incarnation, has a lot to live up to.

The action commences when the Prince, who decides to remain nameless for some reason, stumbles upon Elika, a princess, when looking for his donkey (really? Yes). Elika leads the Prince to a temple where we meet her father, who releases Ahriman, who proceeds to corrupt the world with his evil. Guess who has to stop him? Typical.

Both graphics and environments in Persia are lavish and the almost cell-shaded visual style will please many, however for the first Prince of Persia title on a next generation console it doesn’t look impressive enough, there’s a certain roughness to it that is stopping it look it’s best. That said it is an unusual and somewhat unique looking title, and that’s no bad thing. Despite some odd choices (Persian’s with American accents?), voice acting is overall well done and adds to the likability factor of the characters, as well as help to create a believable relationship between them, although there are one or two corny lines.

Prince Of Persia’s environment is divided into individual levels that can be selected from the main map. It’s up to our heroes to run, jump, grapple and climb in order to reach each section, once there it’s a case of getting to the central point (the fertile zone) and dispelling the evil, returning the environment to it’s former splendor. It all sounds fun but the environments are to obvious, in that all the grapple points look the same, and all the climbing points look the same; there is no guess work involved what so ever. As such the final destination is apparent, it becomes a case of pressing the right buttons in the right combination to get there, and should the Prince fall Elika is there to rescue you. It’s impossible to die and due to this somewhat insulting design choice the game lacks in challenge. That said the addition of Elika as a companion throughout proceedings is welcome and has been integrated with some success, she assists the prince when climbing and jumping through the levels and at no point does she become a hindrance, so the Prince is free to continue without fear that’s she’s lagging behind. It’s a shame that with two characters involved that the developers didn’t see fit to put in a co-op mode to increase the games lifespan.

After evil has been dispelled from the area, light seeds are left behind, these need to be collected in order to unlock new areas and new abilities, which allow the prince to jump from certain platforms. Light seeds addition to the game play do allow for more exploration, however it seems more like an aspect that has been added to flesh it out rather than for a particular reason.

Battle sequences are where Prince Of Persia excels, a combination of moves can be created that works in such a manner that it does not require button bashing, instead a correct sequence of buttons and expert timing are required to pull off impressive moves, some of which see the Prince and Elika working together. Of course there is a downside, all the battles are one on one, it would’ve been nice to have multiple opponents to add an extra and more exciting element to it. Also battles are few and far between, it would perhaps be better served if they were implemented more frequently into the exploration aspects. Fights would’ve been far more challenging and fun if the enemies could chase our hero or there was a danger of falling off.

Perhaps action isn’t the best word to describe Prince of Persia, the majority of the game centres around exploration, but then again even that word promises more than is delivered. In fact Prince of Persia offers little in terms of substantial game play, each area runs on the same basis, climb to fertile zone, defeat boss, collect light seeds. After that there isn’t a whole lot to do. So while combining moves together to reach a certain point is fun, it’s not enough to hold Prince of Persia amongst other adventure titles, and would it have hurt them to put in a co-op mode?

published Wednesday, Nov 12th

Far Cry 2 Review

Far Cry 2 is about as removed from the admired original as possible. With a new story in place and a change of developer, those expecting a faithful sequel will be in for a surprise. This new instalment in Ubisoft’s IP sees you take the role of a mercenary who finds himself working for a client in the middle of an African civil war. Your overall aim is to take out a notorious arms dealer, known as ‘The Jackal’, who is fuelling the wars continuation.

Reaching this final objective is refreshingly a non-linear one (at least initially), as Far Cry 2 enables the player to explore a beautifully detailed and varied open world, all with a highly impressive immense selection of weaponry on offer. Lush forests, exposed barren savannah, and run down villages make up just some of the environments available within this seamless ecosystem. This refreshing approach to a typically undeviating genre is also applied to the mission structure, where the player can pick and choose how and when to tackle the games various challenges. Because of this open structure, exploration is key and visiting all of the games various locales is a definite pleasure.

Unfortunately, despite these merriments, it’s through playing the games various contests that the disappointing factors of Far Cry 2 start to show. A dull politically charged storyline is quickly established as lacklustre due to the games global threat being portrayed in a somewhat mediocre fashion; this along with repetitive missions, poor design choices, and vastly buggy gameplay soon reveal the problems within.

One such example of a poor design choice is the weapon system. The game has a notable arsenal on offer, but sorrowfully more often than not, using it isn’t an option. Instead you find yourself using a second rate ‘hand me down’ gun from one of the games endless foes, and it would seem every opponent in the land is incapable of caring for a firearm. They consistently jam and cease to function, more often than not in the heat of a fire fight. This play mechanic is clearly in place to force players to spend the in game currency on new guns, but this is more of frustration and a disruption than anything else. Admittedly some explosive memorable moments are to be had, but sadly these are too infrequent within the overall experience to hold any overall worth.

If you can ignore these obvious frustrations the full game will probably set you back around 20 underwhelming hours, although it’s clear that with all the side missions, collectable diamonds to find, and the sheer exploration aspect, that much more playtime can be gained from the single player experience.

Thankfully a much more rewarding time can be had with the games multiplayer. A variety of modes are on offer, such as capture the diamond, standard deathmatch and more, all of which are relatively enjoyable, lag free and packed with action. But it’s the games included map maker which really will add life to this otherwise average title. A breadth of options and amazing creative freedom give players a remarkable tool to develop some stunning multiplayer maps. Having this impressive creation system in place really will extend the games life, as the well balanced multiplayer can be endlessly enjoyed due to new maps constantly being created by the games community.

Overall Far Cry 2 offers a lot to gamers, with a gorgeous immersive world to explore, a simple yet testing single player campaign with plenty to do, and an ever expanding multiplayer world to discover. Several problems stop this game achieving greatness and it’s a real shame as the potential is just waiting to burst through, it’s an entertaining effort which some gamers will enjoy in parts.