After more than 10 years we find out if Dead Space remains seriously spooky, check out the new Persona ports and test out the Fixture S2.
No list of influential horror games is complete without Dead Space – ready to bust out of the shadows like a Necromorph looking for a tasty meal. The modern classic pioneered huge changes for the genre with a HUD-less design and terrifyingly fresh combat that even modern releases like The Callisto Protocol couldn’t quite replicate.
Now we’ve finally been treated to this lovingly recreated remake and it’s pretty much everything a fan could hope for. As you might expect, Dead Space once again tells the tale of Issac Clarke and his horrific adventures aboard the USG Ishimura. Minor changes have been added to help expand upon the original’s strong foundations (including a fully voiced Issac and optional side missions), but this 2023 iteration of Dead Space is still by and large the same game as its 2008 counterpart.
The biggest and most obvious change is to the game’s visuals, and boy they sure are pretty. Each environment has been painstakingly recreated, with even more blood-soaked hallways and a ship that just feels more alive, albeit in the most horrifying ways. The terror tale plays a dream as well – we chose the 60fps performance mode on PS5 and were impressed with how silky smooth the whole experience was.
This fresh Dead Space isn’t totally faultless, however. The autosave feature, for example, can occasionally trigger at inconvenient moments, and the game does have a habit of trying to ramp up tension by sneaking Necromorphs behind you purely to swipe away some of your health. We also felt like enemies in this remake were a little bit more of a bullet sponge compared to their original iteration but that could purely be a case of the Ishimura playing tricks on us.
As a whole though, Dead Space remains one of the best horror games in the business, and this remake is unquestionably the definitive way to play. Highly recommended for newcomers and old fans alike.
Dead Space is out now on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. You can buy it on Amazon here.
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Also out now…
Persona 3 Portable & Persona 4 Golden (Xbox Series X/S, XBO, Switch, PC)
When it comes to JRPGs, the Persona series has to be one of the most beloved and highly regarded around. It makes sense then that, after the wild success of Persona 5, the powers that be saw fit to re-release ports of both Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden. The good news for any worried fans is this: don’t fret because both hold up wonderfully well, especially on the Switch which is perfect for lengthier play sessions on the go.
Both titles present engaging characters, stories primed to hook you across countless hours and soundtracks that are such bangers you’ll want to quickly add them to your Spotify library. Persona 4 Golden continues to shine particularly bright with an engaging gameplay loop of balancing social and combat responsibilities, all while you try to put a stop to a mysterious serial killer in a strange TV world.
What’s most impressive is that the only real negatives for either game stems from their original design. Persona 3 Portable, for instance, suffers slightly in the presentation department having previously been squeezed onto the PSP, while Persona 4 Golden is let down by some repetitive dungeons.
But if you’re an JRPG fan, neither issue should at all deter you from playing (or replaying these excellent entries). It’s a solid port that’ll do well to continue Persona’s increased popularity.
Lil Gator Game (Switch, PC)
Lil Gator Game might not be making waves in most video game circles, but trust us when we tell you this may just be as wholesome as the industry can get.
It all starts with a totally relatable premise. You’re a young lad, desperate to get outside and play with your big sister. But when your sibling becomes too old and distracted with school work to care for your antics, you turn to your friends and your imagination to help change her mind.
What follows is a charming, low stakes adventure all about exploration. You don’t have a health bar, there are no dangerous enemies to worry about and you’re not forced to follow a ticking timeline. Instead, this quick little quest centres around one tiny Gator and his desire to get his big sister’s attention while he busies himself with upgrading gear, growing his social circle and fighting cardboard creatures.
Humorous dialogue and a sweet message only help strengthen Lil Gator Game‘s appeal. Worth checking out.
Sports Story (Switch)
After the incredible success and word of mouth Golf Story (the local indie darling from 2017), there was naturally just a bit of hype behind its eventual follow-up. And although much of the debut game’s charm and wit remains in Sports Story, this follow-up has unfortunately found its way into the rough.
A large part of the problem stems from the feeling that Sports Story simply bit off a little more than it could chew. As a result many of the additional sports (of which there is now soccer, volleyball and tennis to name a few) feel underbaked. An over reliance on fetch quests and some poor performance issues only create more troubles. Your golfing antics are unsurprisingly the star of the show once more, but they only help matters so much.
It’s worth noting that developer Sidebar Games has communicated its intent to fix many of the technical flaws via patches (a few of which have already been released), but fingers crossed the devs are able to go back to the drawing board and get the opportunity to take another swing.
Hands-on with the Fixture S2
Due to the sheer success of the Switch (and Nintendo’s total refusal to announce a successor) there’s more accessories for this portable system than you could poke a Joy-Con at. As a result, determining trash from treasure often feels like much more of a monumental task then it ought to. Fear not though, because we can confirm that the Fixture S2 definitely falls into the latter camp.
Where most control alternatives focus on replacing the Switch’s hit-or-miss Joy-Cons, the Fixture S2 takes an entirely different approach. Instead, this smart unit takes the form of a screen mount that makes the most of Nintendo’s far superior Pro Controller.
The big day is here! The #FixtureS2 is NOW AVAILABLE for purchase on @Amazon and the #FixtureGaming website:https://t.co/SBPCQTvn0q
Thank you so much for your patience and support throughout this journey. Happy Gaming!#gamingsetup #nintendo #nintendoswitch #switchgaming pic.twitter.com/kXsKOB67MP
— Fixture Gaming (@FixtureGaming) November 16, 2022
Setup only takes a quick two steps as well. Simply hook the base of the S2 onto your Pro Controller, then slide the OLED screen neatly into the slot above. By doing so, you’re able to play all your games with the best control option available, while also having the flexibility to adjust both the angle and height of your screen.
This might sound awkward, but is surprisingly comfy in the hands. That’s largely thanks to the ergonomic considerations of the Fixture, which has smartly chosen to balance the Switch’s screen weight directly over your hands. According to the company this is to reduce screen rotation and minimise wrist strain and we can honestly say we didn’t have an issue with either. The extra weight did take a bit of getting used to, but was perfectly fine for extended sessions, especially if we had something like a pillow to prop everything up. The S2 also allows use of a stand to enable tabletop mode, and while it wasn’t our preferred way to play, is nice option all the same, and could be handy for multiplayer sessions.
If we had to nail down a gripe, it would be that the Fixture S2 may perhaps be a little too snug for its own good. Due to the stiffness of the plastic design, we did have to be a little forceful snapping the mount onto the controller and sliding the screen into its holder which we were concerned would potentially scratch either of our devices. While we didn’t notice any thus far, we’d probably recommend using your less important Pro Controller for the S2 should you have that option available.
Outside of that minor niggle, the Fixture S2 is a wonderful companion to the Switch OLED model, especially if you also pick up the accompanying carry case which keeps the whole kit and caboodle neat and tidy for on-the-go travel.
You can purchase the Fixture S2 for 64.95 via Fixture’s offical website.
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