One step back, two steps for­ward


The past is a dan­ger­ous thing in videogames. When Cap­com says that one of its over­ar­ch­ing goals with Res­i­dent Evil VII: Bio­haz­ard (p94) is to re­turn to the sphinc­ter-tight­en­ing brand of sur­vival hor­ror that defined the se­ries in the first place, your thoughts might nat­u­rally turn to tank con­trols, to crude polyg­o­nal dogs burst­ing through win­dows, and to Jill Valen­tine, the mas­ter of un­lock­ing. Of course, Cap­com means that it’s re­turn­ing to the spirit of the first game – and it has done so in style and splen­dour. But the neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion is un­avoid­able in a medium where we ex­pect se­quels to be in lock step with the on­ward march of tech­nol­ogy, and for their timescales to do the same. Any whiff of the past merely in­vites sus­pi­cion.

So it is with Yakuza 0 (p98), which rewinds the clock by three decades to the time when Out­Run and Space Har­rier were the ex­em­plars of what videogame tech­nol­ogy had to of­fer. Here, those games are sim­ply ar­cade-per­fect dis­trac­tions. Yet by set­ting PS4’s first Yakuza game in 1988, Sega runs the risk of mak­ing this long-run­ning se­ries’ first ap­pear­ance on mod­ern hard­ware seem pos­i­tively old hat be­fore a face has even been kicked in anger. Re­lax: this is the most ac­ces­si­ble

Yakuza game in years, and one of the very best, too. In­deed, if this month tells us any­thing, it’s that more games could make use of the rewind but­ton. Grav­ity Rush

2 (p102) be­gins im­me­di­ately af­ter the events of the first game; its open­ing is pon­der­ously dull, its ac­tion takes far too long to show its true colours and, by stick­ing so close to its pre­de­ces­sor in terms of time, it’s un­able to shake free of its less suc­cess­ful el­e­ments. It’s a game that mucks about with grav­ity, but on this month’s ev­i­dence it might have been bet­ter off had it also played around with time.

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