Today: Virtua Fighter returns to consoles after nearly a decade — Capture cute, fluffy creatures and put them to work in Palworld — Get sporty with Euro 2020 shirts in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s IP multiverse
Insomniac's much anticipated Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is out this week, and if you're not already slavering to get your mitts on it then maybe the just revealed RYNO 8 weapon can convince you.
The weapon tears the fabric of reality a new one, sucking clutter from another universe through the resulting rift and curshing your enemies. But where do the rifts lead? Into different corners of the videogame universe, it seems!
The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.
FACT OF THE DAY
Happy birthday. Now get to work, minion
Bullfrog’s good-to-be-bad classic Dungeon Keeper features special congratulatory messages celebrating the birthdays of various team members, such as May 5th for designer Peter Molyneux.
Other notable dates are January 13th for Mark Healey, March 21st for Jonty Barnes, May 3rd for Simon Carter, November 13th for Alex Peters and December 1st for Dene Carter. Every full moon also unlocks funny rhymes and a hidden level known as Secret 6, where you must gather more gold than the three other allied Dungeon Keepers.
Virtua Fighter was one of the first major 3D games to hit arcades, and turned into the connoisseur's fighting game featuring highly technical and balanced gameplay that made no concessions to anything but fairness. Virtua Fighter 5 was the series' swan song, coming out just as fighting games were really going out of fashion and a new console generation beckoned in 2006.
Virtua Fighter Ultimate Showdown is not so much a revival of the series as it is a gesture to its existing fans, bringing the classic gameplay into a new engine with some enhancements and modern online multiplayer – but that's it. No new stages, no new characters, just Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Version B with a bit of spit and shine.
It's still jolly good fun, though, and it looks better than ever. The character models have been overhauled, but the backgrounds have not received the same attention and look a little worse for wear next to the updated fighters. The rest of the package is pretty spartan too, and the only single-player option is the good, old arcade mode. No variations, no quest mode, just arcade mode and multiplayer.
The gameplay still holds up, but the netcode is more of a mixed bag: Since there's no rollback, a bad connection makes the game fall apart, with laggy or even cancelled input when latency spikes and the game needs to rely on its prediction logic to guess what the players were about to do.
Fortunately, the online experience is mostly unproblematic, and Virtua Fighter's unique control scheme makes it just as easy to learn and hard to master as before. The unique three-button control scheme means the game remains more of a high-speed rock-paper-scissors variant of chess than a crazy special move and combo memorization challenge, and even novice players can put up a fight by watching the opponent and making measured decisions.
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown is a timely release now that fighting games are growing in popularity again, and hopefully serves as a harbinger for something bigger. It's less splashy and more accessible than reigning champions Street Fighter V and Guilty Gear Xrd, while offering just as much – if not more – depth. It's unlikely to win any new fans though, so let's hope this is just an aperitif before Sega unleashes Virtua Fighter 6 on the world.
Character models look great
Gameplay is superb in full flow
Lack of solo options
Backgrounds look grainy
Netcode isn’t as robust as it should be
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown is available now for the PlayStation 4, and is a part of June's PlayStation Plus line-up. Publisher SEGA kindly provided a review code to DailyBits for free for the purposes of this review.
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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart verdicts
Looking for a game to demonstrate the power of your PlayStation 5? Look no further than Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which offers not just the most colorful worlds, the biggest guns and the most frenetic actions but a funny and heartwarming story to boot. The critics, at least are thrilled.
GamesRadar+ (Score 5/5) – ”It feels as though Insomniac's writers have taken their cues from more recent Marvel movies, managing the tricky balancing act of cartoon mayhem and emotional payoffs. It made me, a casual lombax fancier, more invested in the series than ever before, and hoping we get to see a lot more of the fabulous foursome soon.”
VG247 (Score 5/5) – ”This is a full-fat, planet-hopping, mystery-filled adventure that PS5 owners will lap up and non-owners will resent not being able to play, perhaps through no lack of trying. Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls were superb launch titles for the PS5, but we’re now through the looking glass. The bar has been set. The PS5 has arrived.”
GamesBeat (Score 5/5) – ”I love Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart because it is a fun and beautiful adventure. It's not about setting you loose to stumble across objectives and side activities across an open-world map. And I love those kinds of games.”
GameInformer (Score 9/10) – ”…It steals your eye with its stunning vistas, makes you care about the characters, and is loaded to the hilt with fan service (especially in the alternate dimension and a weapon you have to assemble). Insomniac clearly had a blast working on this game and leaves us with a tease for an even bigger adventure right before the credits roll.”
IGN (Score 9/10) – ”…It not only gives the latest generation of consoles a game that looks as beautiful as the improved tech promised, but it’s also a fantastic experience to play. Insomniac has been around the Ratchet and Clank block plenty of times before, but Rivet and other new characters add so much charm, wit, and heart to a franchise I’ve loved for most of my life…”
Push Square (Score 8/10) – ”…The familiar combat is elevated by outstanding DualSense implementation, while Insomniac Games’ imaginative gameplay design keeps each planet interesting and engaging. It’s not a particularly challenging platformer, nor is it necessarily all that original – but it doesn’t need to be. This is one of those games that’s just really, really good.”
GOTTA ENSLAVE 'EM ALL
Monster tamer Palworld is trigger happy
Gotta catch 'em all … and put them to work in your weapon factory. Pocketpair's Palword is an open-world survival game with crafting, farming and gun combat featuring adorable creatures and a tongue firmly lodged in its cheek.
Roam the world, stave off hunger and bad weather, protect your flock from poachers and build your workforce by gathering up the titular Pals, penguin-like creatures who live only to serve.
Safety off: While Pals are handy construction workers and farmhands, they can also help you out in combat whether serving as distractions, living shields or actual weapons. While Palworld looks cute and fluffy, it's also the kind of game where you mow down enemies with your trusty uzi and topple buildings on your quarry with a rocket launcher.
New breed: Breed pals to create new species, or simply steal them from other players by venturing into their territories and robbing them blind. Palworld won't be out until next year, but in the meantime, you can enjoy the reveal trailer.
We’ve got 5 copies of adventure Backbone for PC
Furry noir detective adventure Backbone is out now on PC, and we've got 5 Steam keys to give away so you can release your inner sleuth and unravel the mysteries of Vancouver as raccoon private dick Howard Lotor. It will be available on PS4, Xbox One and Switch later on this year.
Poke holes in alibis, hide liquor in your drawer, and size up crooks by participating in our Backbone Giveaway!
Donald Trump blamed videogames for mass shootings while he roosted in the White House, yet conveniently neglected to mention that he has starred in a game of his own. Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon makes you a real estate speculator buying land and buildings and deciding how to best profit from them. Once you complete the game, you can even face off against The Donald himself in a timed property speculation battle.
The game is not exactly a classic, though. Like Trump himself, its garish surface hides a rotten core. Repetitive gameplay, cheap graphics and poor interface design can not be saved by occasional soundbites served up by 45 himself. Is it more worthwhile than his tenure as president?
Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Nick Akerman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!