Remix project

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In videogames, a change isn’t just as good as a rest, it’s fre­quently the only op­tion. Bound to their an­nual re­lease sched­ules, games in es­tab­lished se­ries have to jus­tify their ex­is­tence: why should you buy the new one when you’re per­fectly sat­is­fied with the one you’ve al­ready got? Some­times it’s an easy job: FIFA adds the new sea­son’s teamsheets, As­sas­sin’s Creed hops to a dif­fer­ent set­ting. It’s about the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fea­ture and a gim­mick, and it’s a finer line than you’d think, go­ing on this month’s new re­leases.

In the­ory, Mor­tal Kom­bat X should have it easy. It’s the de­but on cur­rent con­soles of a long-run­ning, widely loved fight­ing game se­ries; all it needs is a few new char­ac­ters, some tweaks and ad­di­tions to the es­tab­lished cast, and a lick of paint. Netherrealm ticks all those boxes, but in the Test Your Luck mode, the stu­dio loses its fo­cus by lay­er­ing in a se­ries of ran­dom game­play mod­i­fiers. More frus­trat­ing than funny, and more re­stric­tive than em­pow­er­ing, they carry the fetid stench of change for change’s sake. At least it’s only a side mode.

Mean­while, as is ap­pro­pri­ate with From­Soft­ware’s games, we ap­proached Dark Souls II: Scholar Of The First

Sin with some trep­i­da­tion. The stu­dio has given jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to this cur­rent-gen tart-up of a clas­sic by remix­ing en­emy place­ments across the whole game. Just as we feared, some of the changes are ex­cel­lent, some are aw­ful, and most sit some­where in the mid­dle, be­ing nei­ther bet­ter, nor worse, just dif­fer­ent. Thank­fully, the pack­age is res­cued by the bundling of some mas­ter­ful – and un­changed – DLC. When even one of the most tal­ented stu­dios on the planet is strug­gling to strike the bal­ance be­tween mean­ing­ful and mean­ing­less change, we’re more grate­ful than ever for those con­fi­dent enough to stick to their guns.

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