Games: Victorian Assassin's Creed the best in years
Assassin's Creed: Syndicate (Multi)
WITH Ubisoft releasing a new Assassin's Creed every year, audience burnout is a real risk, especially given last year's bug-riddled Unity.
But with no tacked-on multiplayer, dodgy network services or companion apps, Syndicate has stripped away all of Unity's committee-designed synergistic bobbins to leave a game that, at its grimy heart, is about shanking the good folk of Lahndan and hiding their corpses.
Set in 1868, the Industrial Revolution is shafting the common man, leading Jacob Frye and sister Evie to reignite an age-old conflict involving the city's leaders. Victorian London is your climbing frame for the ninth major title in the Creed canon, where players can parkour their way across the skyline, unsheathe their swordcane on streetmentals and apply brass knuckles to child labour types with classic stab n' loot gameplay.
Side-missions keep boredom at bay, with everything from fight clubs, street racing, train robberies and grubby factory urchin liberation on offer. And given London is 30 per cent bigger than Unity's Paris (suck on that, France), a nifty new rope-dart launcher pilfered from the Arkham games lets players traverse the gorgeous, sprawling city with ease.
Like an oldey-timey Guy Richie movie, the purist-pleasing Syndicate is back-to-basics Creed in a ridiculous top hat and the best the series has been in years.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive (Vita)
EVER since first drawing tiny lungfuls of breath on Sony's diminutive PlayStation Portable, Corpse Party has been aggressively putting the willies up players thanks to freaky-deaky art design and disturbing deaths.
With our young protagonists still searching for a way to resurrect their deceased friends,
this continuation of one of the goriest franchises to leave Japan features plenty of spooky "let's split up, gang" shenanigans at the ghost and booby-trap filled Heavenly Host Elementary.
After fannying about with point-and-click adventures, the series finally goes full 3D with Blood Drive, though its cutesy-pie characters are completely out of kilter with the gross-out horror on offer.
Being adorable doesn't make you any less susceptible to a good scissorin', though the result is more often funny than frightening. Gamers who like them there books will have their word-lust sated with a truly narrative-driven horror.
The story's the thing here, and much time is spent digesting oodles of dialogue and descriptions. Exploring the old school is pretty old-school, with rough visuals and inexplicably long loading times, even when trying to view your inventory.
The audio, however, is top notch, with every whisper, creak and groan inflating your goosebumps and a rip-roaring soundtrack that demands to be fed through some decent cans. A rare full-fat release on Sony's much-loved handheld, Corpse Party is a game you read more than play, though players after nightmare fuel with a distinctly Japanese flavour will find it's right up their rue morgue.