LittleBigPlanet 3: Day 1 Edition Overview (Synopsis and Features)

Sony’s plush mascot Sackboy and three new friends head to all corners of the Imagisphere and learn the mysteries of the planet Bunkum in LittleBigPlanet 3. As always, the action finds gamers running, jumping, and climbing through craft-like worlds to unlock materials that can then be used to design, decorate, and share custom levels. Sackboy is joined by OddSock, who can run fast and wall jump, the birdlike Swoop, who can fly through the sky and pick up objects, and Toggle, who can be very big to weigh things down, or very small to squeeze through tight spaces.

LittleBigPlanet 3 supports local and online multiplayer for up to four, and many levels have been specifically designed to cater to each character’s unique skills. Sackboy has the new ability to climb ropes and vines, every character can be customized in a huge variety of outfits and colors, and there are number of new power-ups and tools to use, such as the Pumpinator, which uses blasts of air to move light objects. Creative gamers have more than 100 tools at their disposal when designing levels, they can invent their own power-ups, and worlds can be much larger now thanks to the ability to use up to16 playable layers.

This Day One edition includes costumes based on Dragon Age: Inquisition, as well as costumes based on other popular Sony franchises like Killzone, Infamous, and Uncharted.

Rating: 86/100

Features
Join Sackboy and his friends on an adventure to stop three titans from destroying the planet Bunkum
Take control of three new characters to jump on walls, soar through the air, and walk on water
Use more than 100 tools and 16 playable layers to design and share intricate custom levels
Includes DLC for costumes based on Dragon Age: Inquisition and popular Sony franchises

Shadow Warrior Overview (Synopsis and Features)

Shadow Warrior puts players in the role of corporate shogun Lo Wang as he journeys after a legendary samurai sword, leaving a trail of blood, guts, and puns in his wake. With the fate of the world in doubt, gamers must use a combination of magic, powerful guns, and brutal katana slices to dispatch hordes of yakuza strongmen and freakish mutants. Acquiring money, earning karma, and finding hidden Ki Crystals lets players upgrade their weapons, improve their skills, and strengthen their magic, and the Arena mode lets Lo Wang battle waves of enemies in three different environments.

Rating: 70/100

Features
Help a modern shogun rebel against his corporate masters, find a legendary sword, and save the world
Use magic, a katana, and a variety of guns to dispatch hordes of enemies
Reimagined version of a classic golden-age FPS

Natural Doctrine Overview (Synopsis and Features)

A turn-based strategy title designed to be very challenging, Natural Doctrine sends players into mines to acquire the valuable resource Pluton and gain access to Feste, the last human city in the world. Pluton is magical, finite, and toxic to humans, but goblins can refine it into a safer form, which leads to frequent attacks from explorers known as Bergmans. Gamers take control of several of these Bergmans, using close-quarters combat, ranged attacks, magic, and firearms to battle goblins, orcs, lizardfolk, minotaurs, wyverns, dragons, and continually evolving monsters known as gorians.

Players can examine the battlefields from third-person, top-down, and isometric viewpoints, and instead of grids, each map is divided into larger geometric areas, with blue lines marking off attack zones, and red lines delineating enemy territory. Characters can travel freely through these areas, with objects, destructible areas, and differences in elevation sometimes offering a competitive advantage, and multiple characters can occupy the same area to perform powerful Link Turn combo attacks. Gamers must use extreme caution at all times because the total amount of Pluton available in the game is fixed, and if any member of the party dies in battle, the game is over.

Solo gamers can take on Story Missions to advance the plot, or try Free Missions to gain more experience and equipment, heading to the World Map in between battles to change the formation of their group, outfit their allies, develop new skills, and save their game. Natural Doctrine also offers cross-platform online multiplayer action for PS3, PS4, and Vita, and Ad-hoc multiplayer for Vita users. Multiplayer battles unfold in the same way as single-player battles, but gamers form their party by collecting cards and building a custom deck, and then using Card Points they accrue to improve their characters or buy better cards.

Features
Engage in turn-based battles with a variety of mythical creatures to acquire valuable Pluton
Unleash close-quarters, ranged, magic, firearm, and combination attacks
Join friends for multiplayer card collecting and battles

inFamous: First Light Overview (Synopsis and Features)

A standalone expansion, First Light stars Abigail “Fetch” Walker and lets gamers witness the eventsthat turned her into the conduit they met in Infamous: Second Son. The action finds players navigating the Curdun Cay prison, where Fetch was sent after being captured by the Department of Unified Protection, as well as exploring the snowy mountains surrounding the high-altitude prison, and eventually traveling back to Seattle to search for her brother Brent. As players advance through the story they will be able to access more of Fetch’s unique neon superpowers.
Rating: 73/100

Features
Take control of Abigail “Fetch” Walker as she deals with imprisonment and painful memories
Explore stunning new environments like the Curdun Cay prison and its snowy mountain surroundings
Standalone expansion for the super-powered open-world action game Infamous: Second Son

Madden NFL 15 Overview (Synopsis and Features)

The biggest name in video game football returns for another season of gridiron action with updated rosters, improved presentation, and a new emphasis on defensive options and control in Madden NFL 15. Players can now deploy an expanded set of pass rush maneuvers, make use of new man- and zone-coverage schemes, and use the new tackle cone to decide whether to execute conservative or aggressive tackles. Other new features include pre-snap movement and block shedding techniques along the defensive line, a new playcalling system, and more realistic passing accuracy and catch animations.

Game presentation has been altered dramatically, with dynamic new pre-game and halftime shows, and six new pre-snap camera angles designed to evoke the feeling of classic NFL Films productions. The Connected Careers and Connected Franchise modes return to let games guide players or teams through seasons of online or offline football action, and Madden NFL 15 also aims to help players hone their basic skills with the expanded Skills Trainer, and the new Gauntlet mode. The Skills Trainer now includes lessons in strategy as well as technique, and in Gauntlet, gamers take on 40 different challenges, including boss battles. The Ultimate Team mode also returns for those who like to mix card collecting with their football action.

Rating: 80/100

Features
Play full seasons, control a player for his entire career, or head online to take on friends
New defensive controls give gamers more tackling, rushing, and cover options
Updated presentation and camera angles designed to mimic classic NFL Films
Take on 40 different mini-game challenges in the new Gauntlet mode

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Overview (Synopsis and Features)

PopCap Games takes the comical combatants from its hugely popular tower defense series and transplants them into the world of multiplayer shooters in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Reanimated corpses and anthropomorphic vegetation once again square off in battle, but this time participants from both sides have been mapped into classic multiplayer shooter roles. The Team Vanquish mode finds up to 24 players competing against one another, while the four-player co-op mode lets gamers team up to take on waves of foes and unique new bosses.

There are four different classes available for both sides of the conflict, and each character possesses one projectile and three special skills. Fans of horticulture will find the Sunflower serving a medic’s role, the Cactus acting as a sniper, the Chomper fitting the bill of the plodding heavy, and the Peashooter serving as a standard foot soldier. On the undead side, players can heal zombie buddies with the Scientist, move quickly and uproot Chompers with the Engineer, fire at foes and release stink clouds with the Foot Soldier, or plow through foes with the All-Star, who is fully clad in football gear.

Rating: 75/100
Features
Help zombies and plants destroy one another in classic 3D multiplayer shooter action
Choose from four character classes for both factions, each with special abilities
Engage in 24-player competitive action or 4-player co-op mode

The Last of Us: Remastered Overview (Synopsis and Features)

The Last of Us: Remastered brings one of the most critically acclaimed PlayStation 3 titles of all time to the PS4 with full 1080p visuals, higher-resolution character models, and improved shadows and lighting. Remastered also offers the “Left Behind” single-player chapter that details Ellie’s backstory, eight new multiplayer maps from the “Abandoned” and “Reclaimed Territories” packs, and in-game commentary from the cast and creative director.

Set 20 years after the Cordyceps parasitic fungus has mutated and begun infecting people, The Last of Us puts players in the role of an amoral black-market dealer named Joel as he attempts to usher a 14-year-old named Ellie across the country to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. The journey is extremely perilous, as gamers must escape quarantined zones where martial law has been enacted, avoid infected humans, scavengers, and bandits roaming cities that have been reclaimed by nature, and elude the military, who desperately want to return Ellie to her quarantined city.

Developed by Naughty Dog, the company behind Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted, The Last of Us represents something of a departure from those action-oriented franchises. While guns and visceral melee combat do play a large role in the game, the post-apocalyptic environment means that ammo and weapons are quite scarce. On top of that, the fungus enters through one’s eyes, rendering those infected either partially or fully blind, but giving them remarkable hearing ability, so loud noises are generally inadvisable. Therefore, survival is likely to hinge as much on the use of stealth and guile as the use of guns and knives.

Several other characters join Joel and Ellie during their trek, but for the most part gamers will be controlling Joel while the AI handles Ellie. Players can attempt to make their way directly through each level, but those who explore will find a variety of collectibles and objects that can be combined and used as weapons or health kits. The world does not stop when Joel goes into his backpack to craft something, however, so gamers must plan ahead or make sure they are in a secure area before crafting. The Last of Us also features a fully formed multiplayer mode, complete with in-game currency and a perk system.

Rating: 90/100

Features
Control a grizzled black-market dealer as he escorts a 14-year-old across the post-apocalyptic United States
Use stealth and weapons to battle a variety of infected humans, scavengers, bandits, and military personnel
Search each area for helpful objects that can be crafted into weapons or health kits
Join friends for online multiplayer action
Offers upgraded graphics, a new prequel chapter, and eight new multiplayer maps