Hit or Miss April 2017

By Melvyn Tan on May 1, 2017

While our monthly "Biggest Games of" series looks at the biggest game releases of an upcoming month, in Hit or Miss we look back to see whether those games succeeded in earning the praise of critics or received scorn instead.

This time, we check out how games like Persona 5, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 fared.

Persona 5

Release date: April 4

Platform: PS3, PS4

What is it: The latest Persona game and follow-up to 2008’s Persona 4, although the plot isn’t related. The JRPG combines turn-based battles and dungeons with high school life once again, but with the coolest visual design in the series - or possibly any other game - yet. Here, you and your gang are Phantom Thieves who enter dungeons which are born and shaped by bad people’s hearts to do some good.

How is it: Critics really loved Persona 5, and their reviews make it easy to love it without even playing the game or its predecessors before. It basically does almost everything well, from its handcrafted Palace (dungeon) design, turn-based combat and social sim aspect to the soundtrack and even its menu design.

One feature that wasn’t as liked by some critics was the Mementos, which provide randomly-generated dungeons. Kotaku found it pretty dull in comparison to the main dungeons, while RPGsite calls them “a little dry” but still welcomes their presence.

Metacritic score: 93

Hit or Miss: A big and definite hit.

 

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition

Release date: April 8

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: Crazy, over-the-top FPS remaster where you get a whip and a boot that delivers slow-mo moments. You can kill people by just shooting at them, but there’re more creative and interesting ways of doing so (like kicking someone into a cactus) which gives you more points. Story involves revenge and a resort planet now overrun by mutants and criminals.

How is it: The original game was quite well-liked, mainly for its combat (and perhaps humour), and so is the remaster. The remastered aspect was well-received, although not all were very impressed with it, but the lack of new content coupled with the price ($49.99 and $59.99 price tags for Steam and console respectively, although Malaysia gets a decent RM95 price tag instead on Steam) was more heavily scrutinized or pointed out. Forbes review comes with the word “overpriced” in the title, while Metro notes that "no substantial new features to justify the very optimistic asking price".

Metacritic score: 75 (PS4), 82 (Xbox One), 77 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Hit, but not a great one. 

Yooka-Laylee

Release date: April 11

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it: Name derived from protagonists Yooka and Laylee, Yooka-Laylee is an open world platformer that involves stopping a villain who seeks to absorb the books of the world and transform them into profit. Aside from puzzles and platforming, there’s arcare games and quiz shows to stumble upon in unlocked worlds, and co-op introduces a unique character for the second player to take control of.

How is it: It's a bit of a mxied bag. Metacritic scores are not bad, but there's a good number of positive reviews which find that Yooka-Laylee is a pretty good 3D platformer, and a good revival/homage to Nintendo 64 games like Banjo-Kazzoie - or especially that game. However, notable sites like IGN, GameSpot, Polygon and PC Gamer are more critical of it and most of them provided verdicts that on a scale of average to decent were closer to the former. The criticisms between these sites varied, but the controls, camera and some of the levels were singled out as issues, though IGN was quite happy with the latter. 

Metacritic score: 69 (PS4), 73 (Xbox One and PC)

Hit or Miss: A decent hit, although the reviews from major sites make it sound like a miss instead.

 

Dragon Quest Heroes 2

Image source: Steam
Image source: Steam

Release date: April 25

Platform: PS4, PC

What is it: Hack-and-slash RPG sequel that looks dark but cartoony at the same time. Battle swarms of enemies and travel across "expansive and interconnected environments" alone or with up to four friends, and four new heroes appear alongside familiar faces from Dragon Quest. 

How is it: A good hack and slasher and musou game, and the larger, more open environments are welcome. It's not widely considered to be a big improvement over the first game however, and some critics even prefer the first game. But ultimately, Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is pretty well-received.

Metacritic score: 80 (PS4), N/A (PC)

Hit or Miss: Hit

 

Outlast 2

Release date: April 25

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it: Horror game set in the same universe as the first game, but different character and setting. You’re investigative journalist Blake Langermann, and your investigation of a woman called Jane Doe leads you into the Arizona desert where there’s “a corruption so profound that going mad may be the only sane thing to do".

The game’s description doesn’t reveal a lot of other details, so I’ll refrain from revealing the horrors that await you to prevent potential spoilers.

How is it: A game with enough trial-and-error moments to scare those who're averse to such things. For those who aren't scared of trial-and-error but want to be scared by other things, Outlast 2 seems like a good horror game candidate, with the atmosphere and tension receiving praise and likely contributing greatly to the positive scores. In the realm of unscored reviews, Eurogamer wasn't impressed by the horror elements while Rock, Paper, Shotgun's review includes the line: "I was bored most of the time I was playing." Ultimately however, most critics dug Outlast 2.

Metacritic score: 71 (PS4), 77 (Xbox One), 77 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Hit

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

Release date: April 25

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: Open world sniping game, but one where you can also go stealthy and/or blast people with an assault rifle. There’s also a drone for recon and hacking purposes to add to the wind-adjusting sniping part of the game, the latter of which will be influenced by the dynamic weather.

How is it: It's not the overall successful improvement and sequel that Sniper Elite 4 was. The sniping element is handled well, at least, which is good for a sniping-centric game with the word "sniper" in the title. The shift from linearity to more open levels is quite welcome too, although the quality of it leaves something to be desired and the kind of praise that Sniper Elite 4 got for its expansive levels is absent for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3. But most damning are the technical issues, which include loading times that can go up to 5 minutes on PS4 (the developers are working on it, fortunately). The game also shipped without multiplayer, and the efforts on fixing its current issues mean that the multiplayer will be arriving later than previously intended.

Metacritic Score: 58 (PS4), 61 (Xbox One), N/A (PC)

Hit or Miss: Miss

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3

Image source: Steam
Image source: Steam

Release date: April 28

Platform: PC

What is it: RTS game based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe. This third part of the trilogy looks considerably less grim than the previous games and adds MOBA elements to the gameplay, mostly in multiplayer. Again, there are Blood Ravens Space Marines, along with Eldar and Orks. The same races that’ve appeared in every Dawn of War game, although this time they’ve each got a huge war machine to add to the spectacle provided by the return of armies.

How is it: The positive opinions from the media towards Dawn of War 3 that contrast with the complaints and grumblings of gamers carry over to the reviews themselves. While the Steam user rating is mixed, there's plenty of green to be found in the critic section of Metacritic. Among critics, the multiplayer's combination of RTS and hybrid is a success, and the battles offer visual spectacle and strong sound design. The cartoony look doesn't bother them either, although the campaign does for many. Aside from having a thin story, the campaign doesn't offer a great singleplayer experience worth buying the game for, and having the player change factions every mission wasn't a good design choice. It's not a big failure however, and despite it the perceived strength of the multiplayer (and skirmishes, since they feature the same, single mode) managed to win over critics.

Metacritic score: 80

Hit or Miss: Hit

Melvyn Tan
About the Author
A secretly eccentric college student who freelances for Gamehubs. He plays video games of various genres and likes anime, miniature wargames and script-writing as well. He used to gush over his former desktop wallpaper of NieR: Automata's 2B, only to discover some time later that it was actually A2 all along. Oops.
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