TheSixthAxis provides European Gaming News and Opinion. Created in 2007 to focus on the PlayStation 3, the site has expanded to cover all major platforms. Its mission is to provide the most up-to-date previews, reviews, news, and gossip in TSA's own inimitable style, and to cater for our wonderful and nob-free community.
The King is dead and Chaos threatens to consume the realm he once ruled. It’s a tale as old as time (or about eight years if you’ve been watching Game of Thrones), but the tabletop-inspired RPG For The King adds its own spark to the experience. You lead a party of three characters who’ve been tasked by the surviving Queen and ruler of the realm to venture out and rid the land of the army of darkness that seeks to spread Chaos and destroy the lands of humans.
For the King Official Release Trailer - YouTube
With a lashing of roguelite inspirations, the board is randomly generated for every play through and you’ll be challenged even on the regular difficulty. Despite the colourful world and appealing visuals, For The King will end your run quickly if you don’t respect the rules that are in place and the enemies that occupy the board. These enemies can range from low-level wolves and wildlife to fearsome Chaos monsters, with each having their own strengths and weaknesses which you need to prepare for accordingly.
Combat in For The King is a turn-based affair which is activated by landing your party on an enemy occupied area while navigating the hex-based world. The three characters can all go to different areas of the board, but you shouldn’t stray too far apart; if combat is initiated without other party members within range, then whoever started the fight could find themselves alone against enemies. Each combatant will make one move on their turn, be it an attack or changing weapons, though healing can be done without losing a go. The animations are nicely done, with death often seeing characters quite literally falling to pieces, and it is quite amusing to see characters just turning to stare at whoever’s go it is.
As you may expect, the board has various quests and random events occur to keep things engaging, from looking for a specific item in an area to slaying a certain monster that is harassing the local townsfolk. You can pick up quests through the world or at the quest boards in the towns. As well taking on new missions, you can also buy items with the gold accrued like better weapons and armour. How much gold an individual character has depends on if whoever struck the final blow in battle decided to share the wealth or horde the gold for themselves. That’s fine when you’re playing alone, but when you factor in the ability to play the game in co-op, things can be more unpredictable.
Multiplayer essentially plays the same as the single player campaign, but each character is controlled by a different player. During my online multiplayer escapades, I was paired with players that wanted to work together and share loot, which is the best way to play if you want to survive. If you’re too selfish then sure, you get all the good loot, but your party as a whole can easily find itself under-levelled for more difficult areas and you’ll hit a wall of trouble.
For The King has various campaigns to tackle. The main one has you battling to end the threat of Chaos, while another sees you venturing through the cold North to find treasure, with the added obstacle of needing to deal with the health-sapping cold and finding ways to survive. The different rulesets mean that For The King has a lot to offer players who are into board game adventures, so if one doesn’t satisfy then another one should.
It’s been another funny old week in the gaming news. There were the Ubisoft game directors all out on the lash tweeting nonsense, Sony and Microsoft are teaming up for cloud gaming, Fortnite has gone all in on a John Wick movie tie in event, and Minecraft is possibly now the best-selling video game of all time. So yeah, it’s been a funny old week…
There were some big releases in the review queue this week, as Rage 2 was unleashed, Total War: Three Kingdoms marched forth and Team Sonic Racing lined up at the starting line for next week. In the end, they were all outshone by A Plague Tale: Innocence, though.
Checking in with the community, and only a handful of you popped in to tell us what you’ve played:
Crazy_Del nabbed the platinum for Days Gone, and while waiting for a patch to World War Z to fix a weapons glitch and the launch of Rage 2, he’s been playing and loving Fallout Shelter.
There’s just six or seven moons that tactical20 has to collect still in Super Mario Odyssey, but he doubts he’ll ever get the one from the dark side of the moon.
Andrewww didn’t play games because he’s started watching the entire MCU from the very beginning!
MrYd extends his thanks to whoever persuaded him to get Grip, because it’s rather good, while he’s overlooking the flaws in Dragon Quest XI for some classic JRPG fun. That and his usual stints in Firewall and Honor & Duty.
The Week Ahead
There’s a lot of stuff coming to Switch next week…
American Fugitive – PS4, XBO, Switch, PC – 21/05
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered – Switch – 21/05
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – PS4, Switch, PC – 21/05
Dauntless – PS4, XBO, PC – 21/05
Everybody’s Golf – PSVR – 21/05
Observation – PS4, PC – 21/05
Resident Evil Origins Collection – Switch – 21/05
Resident Evil 4 – Switch – 21/05
Team Sonic Racing – PS4, XBO, Switch, PC – 21/05
Total War: Three Kingdoms – PC – 23/05
That’s it for this edition, have a fab weekend and we’ll see you again soon!
Hello! The sun has been shining, so we should all be in an unfeasibly good mood, and there’s been some great games recently to keep those good times rolling once you’ve headed indoors. I’ve been generally getting stuck into some big game reviews this week. First up was our Rage 2 review, with its excellently frenzied combat and less immediately fun open world, and I followed that up with a chaser of a Team Sonic Racing review, which is a decent kart racer and has some interesting ideas, but doesn’t feel essential.
Besides that, I’ve snuck in some Final Fantasy XII, and spent time with Totally Accurate Battle Simulator with my son. We both think it’s brilliant!
Ade’s been enjoying the clear blue skies… of the Outrun-inspired Horizon Chase Turbo. “My three year old loves it, my girlfriend loves it, and thanks to split screen we can play it all together!”
Meanwhile, Jason has been hooked by Terraria, which he says hasn’t happened since Sekiro (so, about two months, then?). He’s also played some Rage 2, but found it a bit disappointingly tame compared to the marketing. Speaking of which, Nick played Days Gone and found it to be a “by the numbers, drab, annoying game.” He’s not sure why he’s still playing it, but has been taking regular breaks to get onto Black Ops 4 and Mortal Kombat 11.
From one Nick to the other Nics. Nicole’s quest to defeat her backlog of games has seen her grappling with Fallout 4 all week on the hunt for a platinum trophy. She’s finished the Brotherhood of Steel storyline, so has now turned to bobbleheads and a few other trophies in playthrough number two. The final Nic (Bunce, in this case) has played an awful lot of Magic: The Gathering Arena, making the most of the new War of the Spark set.
Taking a break from Dest… oh, who are we kidding? Of course Tuffcub’s played some Destiny 2, but it played third fiddle to finishing his A Plague Tale: Innocence review, which he thinks is a little bit fab, and My Little Riding Champion. He was streaming it for Level-Clear. It’s quite something:
Level-Clear Plays - My Little Riding Champion - YouTube
Aran’s been playing For The King, and will be sharing his thoughts on that in his review next week, while Gamoc has been playing Quar and American Fugitive, also for review in the near future. His writing assignment for this week saw him laying into Saints Row: The Third on Nintendo Switch.
Variety is the spice of life, and so Steve has been playing a heady mix of Close to the Sun, Darkwood, inFamous and Detective Pikachu, while Miguel found himself coming back to Fortnite, thanks to his girlfriend being addicted to it and the John Wick crossover event they’re doing. He also played some Baba is You, got started with Little Friends Dogs & Cats on Switch, and has had his brain turned to mush by Brain Age: Concentration Training on 3DS.
Jim went back to Ancient China again, but did so through the lens of our Total War: Three Kingdoms review instead of Dynasty Warriors. “Like most Total War games, is a bloody whopper,” he said. “While not as immediately appealing as the studio’s recent Warhammer spin-offs, it’s still deep and rewarding.”
Finally, Tef has sampled some of Bigben’s upcoming gaming catalogue, including Bee Simulator, Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory and Warhammer: Chaosbane. On his travels, he’s spent time with The Swords of Ditto on Switch, and got a couple of rounds in on Apex Legends, which is still very morish for him despite not having really expanded over the past couple months.
If you’ve haddock enough of all these unprofessional fishing games spawning on various gaming platforms, then I’ve got just the news to reel you in, hook, line and sinker. Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC on 18th July. Not only that, but there’s clearly a special plaice in the devs’ hearts for all the owners of Fishing Sim World, because they’re making this a free update.
Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour - Catch it in July - YouTube
Pro Tour is a big catch of an update, with a whole new career mode featuring a bunch of real world anglers to test yourself against, and with plenty of official licensed gear and sponsor brands. There’s a boat load of new fish to reel in, including Barbel, Channel Catfish, Brown and Rainbow Trout, across three new lakes at Lake Guntersville, Lake Travis and Lake Miller.
One thing’s for certain, if you take to the waters of online multiplayer, you’ll have to be good not to get schooled in the online tournaments, but can get some more relaxed custom multiplayer in instead.
Scott Martin of Scott Martin Challenge TV show fame (and being the most successful FLW Tour bass angler of all time) said, “I’m honoured to be part of Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour. This is such a [poissonate] project, with an incredible level of [fish-tail]. It’s a great way to introduce [mora] people to the world of bass fishing.”
Enough carping on about bass, what about carp? Scott’s joined by UK Korda angler Ali Hamidi, who appears on Monster Carp and The Big Fish Off.
If you think you might bite, Fishing Sim World is available now for PS4, Xbox One and PC, with Pro Tour being delivered as a free update on 18th July.
The naughty, naughty teases that they are, Bandai Namco announced a network test for the upcoming Code Vein just last week, but didn’t tell us when it would be! We now know that it will be held between 4AM BST on 31st May until 8AM BST on 3rd June, giving players just a few days to check the game out.
The Closed Network Test will be available on Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold members and PlayStation 4 for all players (you won’t need PlayStation Plus). Players will get to creat a character, play through the game’s opening and tackle an online co-op dungeon.
However, if you want to take part you’ll have to register your interest, and can do so here. Places are limited, so make sure to do that sooner rather than later.
Code Vein is Bandai Namco’s upcoming anime-styled Souls-like, heading for PS4, Xbox One and PC sometime later this year. Jason spent some time with the game not too long ago, and you should check out his Code Vein preview if you’re interested. He wrote, “The ridiculous weeaboo storyline and character design will fit the tastes of plenty of people, so it’s all about the game itself at this point,” but also that, “Once I got home, I found myself a little irked that I couldn’t play it, which is always a good sign.”
The unabated popularity of Minecraft is simply staggering. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Microsoft have announced that it’s now sold a staggering 176 million copies, putting on an extra 20 million in the seven months since MineCon last September.
That new figure is important, because it surpasses the last known figure for Tetris, which stood at 170 million as of 2010 – 70 million physical and 100 million mobile downloads. Of course, Tetris sales haven’t stood still since then, with recent iterations such as Tetris Effect and Tetris 99 adding to that figure, but the rate at which Minecraft has been selling, it’s almost sure to surpass the classic puzzler sooner rather than later. The fact that Microsoft aren’t currently stating that it’s the best selling game of all time means that they aren’t there just yet.
Part of the appeal of Minecraft is just how deep the main game is, with more than a few expansions and mods opening a vast number of gameplay possibilities – heck, Minecraft played host to one of the very first Battle Royale game modes. Last September Microsoft announced Minecraft: Dungeons, a PC oriented co-op dungeon crawler built within the game, there’s a wholesale rewrite of the game’s graphics engine underway, and it’s set to branch out into augmented reality gaming with today’s announcement of Minecraft Earth.
Minecraft Earth: Official Reveal Trailer - YouTube
Minecraft Earth will have players heading out and about to find blocks and mobs for builds, which can then be cobbled together in augmented reality. There’s a co-op element to this as you can team up with friends to create builds and then drop them into the AR world, alongside other traditional Minecraft elements such as crafting, breeding and growing crops.
British actor Sean Bean has been roped in to promote the rather excellent A Plague Tale: Innocence from Focus Home Interactive. Why? Who knows, but he’s certainly giving a good performance.
Spoiler: He does not die at the end of poem! Shocking!
Sean is reading William Blake’s poem The Little Boy Lost which has similar themes to the game. Well, similar in that it includes a little boy who is left alone in the dark and… well that’s it.
Here’s Sean doing the most acting of actingness possible. G’won my son!
A Plague Tale: Innocence | Sean Bean - The Little Boy Lost - YouTube
A Plague Tale: Innocence is out now and is rather good according to me, I gave it a highly deserved 9/10 in my review. “A Plague Tale: Innocence proves that feisty young women are the new heroes of single player narrative adventures, and Amicia can proudly stand alongside Aloy and Senua,” said me. “Asobo Studios have knocked it out of the park with a compelling story, superb graphics, and excellent music. Loved it.”
Lords of the Fallen 2 was originally announced in 2014 with a scheduled release date of 2017, but after the reveal of the game things went a little quiet until 2018 when Defiant Studios, headed by the former studio head and game director of Avalanche Studios New York, announced they were working on the project.
Fast forward to today and publishers CI Games have posted a press release that states that Defiant did not deliver the product as expected, and therefore they would no longer be working on the game.
“The termination of the agreement was submitted due to inadequate execution by Defiant [of] a key work stage (milestone no. 11), a so-called vertical slice,” it reads. “The quality of the work was lower than expected by the company, as precisely described in the agreement, despite three calls to improve the quality of this stage of work.”
Defiant Studios are, well, defiant. “We categorically disagree with the portrayal of Defiant Studios made by CI Games,” founder and managing director David Grijns stated to Eurogamer. “The team that was working on CI Games’ project was comprised of exceedingly talented developers whose work we fully stand behind. Our team knows how to build quality games as is evident by their key roles in Just Cause 3, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 5, Devil May Cry (DmC) and many other top tier projects.”
David would not make any further comment due to “contractual confidentiality obligations”, but it’s clear the split is less than amicable. CI Games have stated that they plan to complete the game themselves along with some outsourced help.
We gave the original Lord of the Fallen 6/10 in our review. “If you’re looking for a game that has punishing fights, but is a bit easier than Souls then this is it,” said Aran. “However the story and lore just aren’t that interesting, despite a good premise and Harkyn doesn’t have much personality. ”
The game was also given away on PlayStation Plus ages ago so might have a copy hiding in your library.
It feels like no time at all since the release of Dirt Rally 2.0, but Codemasters are already gearing up to start their second season of post-launch content. This time, it’s all about rallycross and Group B cars, but there’s still a bit of love for rally purists out there.
As with the first season, the release schedule is designed to trickle out new content every fortnight, alternating between adding new cars and new tracks to rally on. It all kicks off on 4th June and rolls out a little like this:
Week 1: Peugeot 205 T16 Rallycross, Ford RS200 Evolution, Special Livery
Week 3: Latvia RX
Week 5: Porsche 911 SC RS, Lancia 037 Evo 2, Special Livery
Week 7: Wales Rally
Week 9: Lancia Delta S4 Rallycross, MG Metro 6R4 Rallycross, Special Livery
Week 11: Germany RX
The two new rallycross tracks take us to Bikernieki, Latvia and Estering, Germany and are freshly created circuits. The rest of the content will feel a little more familiar. All of the Rallycross Group B cars are in the game as standard rally cars, but have been given imprved handling and a graphical overhaul, while the Wales Rally has been spruced up from the first Dirt Rally with the new lighting and gameplay tweaks of this game.
Game Director Ross Gowing said, “Season Two is a perfect blend of new and old and there is something here for everyone. Fans will be thrilled at the return of the Group B rallycross cars and we’re excited to give our community two new circuits in Latvia and Germany.
“Although our primary focus for Season Two is on rallycross, we haven’t forgotten our rally purists, and we know from fan feedback how much they love taking on the tough Welsh terrain and what better way to do it than in Ryan Champion’s Porsche 911 SC RS.”
Even without the DLC, this game is near essential for a rallying fan. As Dom wrote it our Dirt Rally 2.0 review, it’s “Utterly convincing, enthralling and punishing, [and] an exquisite racing sim.”
For someone that goes so fast, Sonic has rarely been considered a frontrunner. For the last thirty years he’s mostly followed a cheerful plumber around and copied his homework, whether he’s been jumping on heads, playing annoying multiplayer board games or dabbling in a bit of kart racing. There’s always been a sense that you’ve seen it all before, even if Sonic might do things a touch faster than his Italian rival.
Team Sonic Racing is the blue hedgehog’s latest shot at Mario’s genre-defining karting schtick, this time doing away with the vehicular transformations of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and instead tasks players with racing as a team. While you still want to be the first to cross the finish line, you’re part of and earning points for a team of three racers. You might grab victory for yourself, but lose as a team if your buddies are tootling around at the back, so might need to help them get further up the standings.
Racing as a team just makes sense, especially when there’s major advantages to doing so, including the ability to slingshot yourself from behind a teammate from following closely in their glowing slipstream, nipping out when you’re ready to get a speed boost. Besides that there’s also Skimboost, where you can give a slower teammate – perhaps if they’ve just crashed – a shot of speed by nipping past them at full throttle.
That’s not all though, as you can pass items – or Wisps as they’re called here – to other members of your team that can make better use of them, shuffling things around so you could take out the leader of the race with a weapon that someone in last place has picked up. If you transfer a Wisp, your teammate will get a more powerful version of it and charge your Ultimate Meter to boot. In fact, any of the team actions help to fill your meter which lets you unleash a powerful boost that’ll knock opposing racers out of the way as you head towards first place.
The racing is fast, fluid and fun, and probably a little more welcoming than the previous two Sonic racing games. That said, the team play at the heart of the game doesn’t really sell itself that well in single player; ultimately you don’t have to concentrate too much on anything other than being in first place, much like any other racing game. I definitely used the slipstreaming from my teammates to get there and shared Wisps with them from the front which seemed to help, but it doesn’t feel too much like you’re playing as a team compared with something like last year’s woefully under-appreciated Onrush.
Things take on a different feel in multiplayer though, and here playing as a team really comes together as you can talk to your teammates and try to strategise a little. It’s hardly Rainbow Six Siege, but you can feel the difference of pulling together with other players that you just don’t get from playing with the computer. You might find yourself dropping back a little to help your teammates move forwards, collaborating to extend your Ultimate time, or perhaps passing a Wisp to the player in front to give them a shot at taking out second place. Whatever you’re doing the co-operative racing works much better, even if it still feels a little superfluous.
While mechanically it can work, when you compare it with the previous All-Stars games there’s an obvious lack of character to the whole thing. Sonic’s cohorts simply don’t engender the same level of interest, or attachment, when compared to racing besides Ryo from Shenmue or Wreck-it Ralph. I’m sure there are a few Amy and Big the Cat fans out there, but they’re nowhere near as iconic.
The same goes for the different courses. Those featured in Team Sonic Racing are fine; colourful and well constructed, but lack the joy or variety that shifting from the world of Panzer Dragoon to Samba de Amigo could bring. I was left wishing that they’d just remastered the last game rather than set themselves on this new route.
The single player Adventure mode sees the suspiciously friendly Dodon Pa send Sonic an invitation to try out his super cars around some of his “punishing tracks” which all sounded pretty dodgy to get involved in, but then what do I know? What it amounts to is taking part in a series of team races and various speed or drift challenges as you work your way across the different tracks. There is a story, but it almost feels as though Sumo are embarrassed by it. Each story skit won’t even automatically play unless you remember to press Square instead of Cross when selecting a level, meaning you can completely bypass it by, whether you mean to or not.
There’s some pretty decent car customisation stuff, where you can alter your karts performance and appearance by buying parts with tokens you collect via racing – again this is something that the plumber did first. It’s nice to have some control over how your kart looks and behaves, though it’s probably not quite as straightforward and intuitive and Nintendo’s mascot makes it. The game does differentiate between different kart types too: Speed are fast, Technique can drive over grass etc. for a short time without penalty, and Power can charge through obstacles. Again though, the different types didn’t make me alter the way I played the game that much, and barring the odd save where Knuckles knocked a crab out of my way it just felt like something that could be used to a tactical advantage but which the game doesn’t actually ask you to utilise.