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Resident Evil Revelations

This however, does indeed feel very much like a core Resident Evil game. In fact it feels more like a core Resident Evil game than Resi 5 ever did. A long, deliberately-paced walk through twisting corridors and empty but spookily atmospheric rooms led to a large set of double-doors which immediately opened onto two lumbering great genetic abominations which imediately killed the crap out of my Jill by way of a horrible-looking head-suck attack by way of their giant prehensile, penis-looking maws.

I'm not currently sure if the restrictive first-person aiming camera takes things a little too far back into deliberately awkward survival horror territory, but hopefully a little more time getting myself manned back up into proper horror gaming mode will sort that out. Also, it looks bloody gorgeous in 2D or 3D. But you already knew that.

Score: 8

Ridge Racer Unbounded

Yes, the new franchise off-shoot looks very much like Ridge Racer: Burnout Edition, but superficial similarities to Criterion's destruct-o-racer aren't all it has going on. No, you see it plays a lot like Ridge Racer: Burnout Edition too. Imagine the tighter, inner city races of Burnout with ludicrously-angled power-slides and you're pretty much there. There's even a power bar, built up by drifting and pulling stunts, and a pulled-out takedown cam whenever you use the boost said power bar bestows to wipe out an opponent. Kind of fun, but the mechanic of using boost to smash down flagged-up structures for showboating short-cuts felt a little token in my brief couple of races, and the car handling felt a little too loose for comfort at times.

Score: 6

SoulCalibur V

SoulCalibur IV but faster and more aggressive. That's the impression I took away. It's still just as accessible and providing of impressive, sparkly combos with a little educated mashing, but it's also a little lighter and quicker on its feet than I remember good old SCIV being. That's no bad thing. Alas I didn't get a chance to try out the new ultra combo equivalents which replace the previous game's deeply flawed Critical Finish system, and they should be the real game-changer in terms of the flow and back-and-forth interplay of the fights. But so far, so good.

Score: 8

Street Fighter x Tekken

Obviously I'm not usually the kind of lily-livered baby-man to blame the controls when I take a beating in a fighting game, but I am right now going to blame the controls for taking a beating in a fighting game. Playing with a pad rather than a stick was bad enough, but having both fierce hits mapped to triggers on the same side of the pad in this demo totally screwed up my otherwise monstrous skills. That's bound to be redefinable in the final game, but I felt the need to mention it here to in some way soothe my hurt pride.

Either way though, Street Fighter x Tekken already feels like a mighty leap forward, and certainly not the incremental update to SFIV that many will suspect it to be. This is Street Fighter focused through a whole new lens, with juggles and wall-bounces aplenty, not to mention some insanely brutal tag-team combos that blend the precision of SF with the accessible spectacle of Marvel vs. Capcom. Don't brush this one off. It's packing some seriously fresh and unexpected tricks that might change the whole way you look at SF.

Score: 9

Super Mario 3D Land

And while we're on the subject of games that freshen up old mechanics via a mash-up of influences, Mario's 3DS debut currently looks to be a cracking example of the traditional augmented with the new. Imagine the tight, linear level design of the 2D Mario games (New Super Mario Bros. Wii exempted) with a boatload of 3D flourishes and garnish layered over the top, and you're pretty much there. It's oddly effective given that so far I've seen nothing genuinely brand new or eye-poppingly innovative for the series in SM3DL, but the smashing together of the series' original design philosophies with the cartoon playground freedom of SM64 and Galaxy really really does make an effective and exciting cocktail. Don't see it as a limited 3D Mario game. See it as a more focused one. So far, I'm very happy indeed.

Score: 9

September 19, 2011

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.