These articles were published in Official PlayStation Magazine UK, Issue 124, July 2016.
It’s a slightly Darwinian theme this month as we race to survive an enemy onslaught in ARK, then the nuclear holocaust … while playing golf, of all things. We also delve into family memories following a tear-triggering goodbye. It really is survival of the fittest. Happy days, eh?
Valkyria: Azure Revolution
This kinda-sorta semi-sequel to Valkyria Chronicles hasn’t been confirmed for a European release yet, but since we’ve been graced with a remaster of the original game on PS4, we expect it to head west at some point. Like Chronicles, it features a sumptuous visual style akin to some of Japan’s best anime, but mixes things up by discarding the series’ hallmark tactical view and instead utilising that of a third-person slasher/shooter hybrid. Maps appear linear, but you best be careful – those who die will be gone for good. Yikes.
Fragments of Him
Everyone likes a good mope every once in a while, and just in case you’re looking for some tear-jerking inspiration, this emotion inducing first-person drama set following an untimely death ought to open the floodgates. A brief story-focused offering, Fragments of Him has you delving into the tragic and treasured moments of your friends and family, making decisions that shape the outcomes of their lives. It’s not all waterworks, though – hope will be a central theme, with the aim being to teach us how we should cherish the time we have with those we care about. Aww, that’s lovely (sob).
ARK: Survival Evolved
It feels like we’re mobbed with MOBAs right now, so if you fancy a break from the battle arena, how about a sojourn to the brink of your sanity? This multiplayer Hunger Games-style effort pits combatants against one another in a large, changing arena – offering an intriguing twist to the established formula with a focus on survival. You can forge weapons, build and defend bases, and even tame dinosaurs (yes, dinosaurs). After all, there’s nothing like scrambling on the edge of death with a ferocious raptor at your side. Right?
At the instant that Armageddon strikes, who doesn’t fancy a round of find-the-hole? Well, good news – Nuclear Golf provides what you’ve all been unknowingly waiting for. The ball soars through a series of skill-based trajectory challenges in a destructible, post-apocalyptic 2D setting (think lo-fi Dangerous Golf) – with boss battles (in a golf game!) adding to the bonkers package. It even has a ludicrously cool levelling-up system for the balls, because… why not? What more could you want – it’s Tiger Woods on Three Mile Island, for crying out loud.
What do you do when your enemies are hell-bent on preventing you from reaching your destination and have the ability to control light? You learn to control the darkness, of course. In Aragami, you lead an undead assassin with the ability to create weapons out of nothing, summon deadly dragons, and control the shadows to free his creator from her prison. Set in a Japan-inspired mountainous region, and with a fetching cel-shaded art style, Aragami aims to reward players accordingly for different play styles – either by killing enemies from the shadows, or avoiding them altogether.
Torchlight developer Runic Games’ debut on PlayStation has dressed to impress. This third-person adventure title thrusts you into a colourful but dangerous world without any exposition, leaving you to explore a continuously shifting environment. This scenario and its enigmatic narrative take centre stage as you traverse using a multi-functional glove tool to tackle a series of puzzles that are scattered across a broken world that needs fixing. The protagonist may be silent, but this game screams of promise.