With Sony's PSVR2 releasing this week, the world of Virtual Reality will be accessible to more PlayStation gamers than ever before.
Horizon Call of the Mountain, based on Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, Sony's ploy to coax you into taking the plunge into VR, but if Aloy and co aren't enough to draw you in, what franchise would be?
Whether its a behemoth franchise or a new character you'd like to see try out this medium, let us know in the comments or in our Discord.
The LEgend of Zelda | Liam Andrews
I was torn between two of Nintendo’s greatest franchises I’d like to see get the VR treatment: Animal Crossing or The Legend of Zelda.
I reckon Animal Crossing would be equal parts relaxing and bonkers in VR. On the one hand, wandering around the cosy villages watering flowers and gathering fruit sounds pleasant, but I think traversal, which basically involves your character running along a giant rolling pin, would be very weird (imagine seeing house-sized, well, houses, come looming out of the horizon).
I also think most of AC’s roster of anthropomorphic residents would be a lot less cute when you’re looking them right in the eye. Especially Pietro. Look him up if you're feeling bold.
In the end I’ve gone with Zelda as the title I’d like to see get a VR spinoff. Not the Breath of the Wild era, but classic Zelda, somewhere between Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword.
Think how great it’d be exploring iconic locations like Hyrule Castle in first-person or wielding the Master Sword with precise strokes to take down bosses. Dungeon exploration and puzzles would be so much more immersive, and a lot of Link’s classic items also lend themselves well to VR controls, such as the Bow, Boomerang and Hookshot.
Perhaps on the Switch Pro / 2?
Gears of War | James Parry
This feels unlikely to come to pass, given Xbox doesn't have a handy, out-of-the-box VR setup ready to go, but let's pretend Microsoft strikes a deal with Oculus/Meta to package a headset with an additional controller – as they have done in the past – which even works flawlessly with Xbox Series X.
Gears of War for me has had diminishing returns, but even a greatest hits collection of iconic franchise moments would be a huge draw for an Xbox VR system, and built on a tried-and-tested universe.
You'd have to make a call on whether the game was on-rails or free movement, rather than trying to do both, and perhaps putting in a few sprinkles of brand new content to sweeten the deal, but success could pave the way for Halo and other Xbox staples, which Microsoft don't seem to be able to capitalise on at the moment.
The richness of the world is what makes Horizon Call of the Mountain an exciting prospect, and Gears has enough variety in environments and enemies to really transport you.
Also, the existing voice talent and even new performances from series staple John DiMaggio would certainly be welcome, and be a key way to access that crucial feeling of immersion.
Plus, it will help to build the audience for the series back up again ready for the inevitable 20th anniversary re-release in a couple of years time.
It doesn’t feel like the gaming year has really kicked off until we’ve had a Nintendo Direct, so lucky us that Ninty decided to grace us with a slew of updates, including a few surprise reveals which we could dive into right away.
We’ve picked our own personal highlights, this time summarised in the form of the overarching emotion the show evoked for us, but what stood out for you from the update? Let us know in our Discord.
Disappointment | Chris Brand
I'm rather disappointed that there was no mention of Pokémon, as I've had to shoehorn in this link to a wormhole I'm slowly building. I'll get around to playing it man, just give me some time.
Running with the theme of disappointment, there seemed to be very little variety on offer, with many titles blurring into one huge mass of retro-styled RPGs and more than a handful of actual retro games that are finding a second home on the Nintendo Switch. My lack of interest may stem from the fact that I don't own a Switch, though this didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the one game we were all surely waiting to see.
Liam's most anticipated game of 2023, Tears of the Kingdom, single-handedly carried the show. We didn't get a ton of info or an extended look, but after the success of Breath of the Wild we didn't really need to, everyone had already made up their mind.
The idea of playing third-party titles on Nintendo's hardware just doesn't do it for me, but seeing Mario or Link in a new outing often fills me with excitement. A restrained excitement, given that I probably won't ever play these games, but excitement nonetheless.
Ninty do make the occasional blunder (Labo, again) but when it comes to first-party games their creativity and innovation shine through. Not enough to make me fork out for a new system, yet enough that I would consider picking one up if the price was right.
For now, I'll live vicariously through others, waiting patiently for TotK's release and for one of the team to review it. Or for Ubisoft to announce a sequel to Immortals: Fenix Rising, which is about as close as I can get.
Optimism | James Parry
While, like most Nintendo fans, I appreciated a brief respite in the long wait for Tears of the Kingdom in the form of a trailer, though I am still waiting to be wowed quite as much as its predecessor. If it ends up being more of the same though, that will still be a fantastic experience, and one I’m looking forward to.
What I did love was that the opening of the show was given over to a fairly extensive look at Pikmin 4, a series which I feel like I frequently rave about, often by myself. The game is looking as adorable as ever, and I’m excited to jump in in July.
Like Liam, I found the reveal of Metroid Prime Remastered a pleasant and welcome surprise, particularly at a price point that isn’t ridiculous. I expect Splatoon 3 will be keeping me busy for a fair while yet, especially with the new expansion pass looming, so I doubt it will make it onto my Switch, but I’m excited for the series to attract new fans ahead of a brand new instalment.
Seeing Samba de Amigo return raised a smile, though I know it more by reputation than personal experience. In fact it was seeing those GameBoy and GBA games which were the biggest nostalgia hit, and it makes me optimistic for them finally getting around to adding more systems, so Nintendo’s complete back catalogue can finally be available all in one place.
Finally, it was nice to see the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Courses add a brand new track, and a Yoshi-themed one at that. Despite my inconsistent performance in multiplayer, a new course does tend to level the playing field…at least for a while.
As the cold and dark days of winter begin to subside, it’s got us feeling strangely hopeful, wistful even, for the excitement of the year to come, and the prospect of more games.
But we’re an old fashioned bunch around here, so we don’t want to get too carried away with anything too “new”. Fortunate then, that GoldenEye 007 is back on both Switch and Xbox to serve up a re-release fit for the world’s greatest secret agent, and the PC strategy classic Age of Empires II now has a definitive edition on console for the first time.
Since some titles aren’t lucky enough to have a full remake like Dead Space, what’s a game that does deserve to be served up to a new audience as a remaster? If you’ve got a top pick then let us know on Discord.
Red Alert 2 | James Parry
We’ve been spoiled by remasters in recent years, with The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection being a particular highlight, which made picking a fruit ripe for revival challenging, but after hours of head scratching I finally realised it had been staring at me all along – Red Alert 2.
While console releases of strategy games can be hit and miss. The control style adopted by the very experienced team at World’s Edge for the aforementioned Age of Empires II port shows that the control scheme can be adapted sensibly – and if all else fails you can always plug a keyboard and mouse in.
I’ve mentioned before that Red Alert 2 is my favourite strategy game, but to play it in multiplayer on console would be a game-changer. The campaign would hold up to the remaster treatment too, since the bones of the game are in good functional shape, so it’s just a case of widening out its audience.
Tie it up with Game Pass for an exclusive launch window and you’ve got an instant captive audience who are already warmed up on AOE and keen to try out more strategy games. Plus, magically releasing it in a few months time would keep the strategy momentum going for the Xbox release of Age of Empires IV, which left many fans (including me) behind thanks to being PC only.
Diddy Kong Racing | Liam Andrews
The return of GoldenEye 007 is a welcome comeback, but there’s another title from the studio’s back catalogue that I’d like to see made playable on modern hardware: Diddy Kong Racing.
I didn’t know this, but there was a remake of the classic N64 racing game turned up on DS some years ago but it somehow completely passed me by, or I totally forgot about its existence. While I could easily pick up this version and play it on my 2DS XL, I’d still like to be able to play the original version of the game on a TV.
I never owned the original game, but a good friend of mine did and I used to thoroughly enjoy stopping over to play it. I remember being hugely impressed by the addition of planes and boats as drivable vehicles (particularly the latter) as I’d only ever gotten to drive Mario Kart’s more grounded vehicles.
Seeing as Rare is now a Microsoft studio, and how that complicated GoldenEye’s recent release on Xbox consoles and Switch, I’m not too confident we’ll be seeing Diddy Kong Racing any time soon, but I suppose there’s always a chance. In the meantime, I might have to try that DS remake.
The We Were Here series is back with more co-op puzzling for players to sink their teeth into. Join us as we take a look at the fourth and latest entry, We Were Here Forever.
Tell me about the puzzles.
For the most part, we found the puzzles to be fairly engaging. Being separated often means one player has access to information that can help the other, such as a book that contains the correct combination to a vault at the other player’s location, and there is certainly enjoyment to be had beating them this way, via a combination of teamwork and brain power.
However, there were times where puzzles felt a little lopsided, with one player having more to do than the other on occasion. Others featured unique symbols that had to be described to the other player, which wasn’t always as straightforward as it sounds given the vague nature of their shapes.
Would you recommend it?
If you’re a fan of the series then yes, certainly, although newcomers who have little or no investment in the story shouldn’t be put off as you’ll at least be getting the most premium entry in the series; WWHF is a more visually polished game than its predecessor, with lots of detail in the chunky stylized visuals, decent animations, and well-crafted atmospheric environments.
If you’re into puzzle games, especially co-operative ones with friends (online only, mind), then for the low entry cost it’s probably worth a shot.