Staff Profile

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johncalmc
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News/Features
2
Reviews
40
Avg. Review Score
6.4
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Total Articles
42
  • Review Valkyria Chronicles 4 - The Strategy Sequel We Waited a Decade For

    The Art of War

    Republished on the 25th September, 2018: We're bringing this review back to coincide with the launch of Valkyria Chronicles 4. The Valkyria Chronicles series is set during a low fantasy re-imagining of World War II, here called the Second Europan War. The topography of the Europan continent is only marginally different to our Europe,...

  • 57

    PS4

    Review Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition

    Master of Divinity

    Divinity: Original Sin II is a fantastic role-playing game that strikes an almost perfect balance between dense, absorbing storytelling, and allowing you the freedom to shape the adventure as you wish. The journey through to the end credits will take you dozens of hours to complete, and during that time you’ll meet scores of...

  • 10

    PS4

    Review The Banner Saga 3

    Iver bad feeling about this

    The Banner Saga 3 is a fitting end for the light tactical RPG series, and one that feels less like a sequel and more like the third act of a cohesive whole. The combat system used in the series up until this point remains relatively unchanged, and most of the mechanics are carried over as is. This isn't about reinventing...

  • 7

    PS4

    Review The Lost Child

    Put the kids to bed

    The first twenty minutes or so of The Lost Child set up an intriguing mystery, but once the game settles into a comfortable rhythm things become decidedly less compelling, and at times, an outright slog. The game begins in a Tokyo subway station with an investigative journalist who specialises in the occult named Hayato looking...

  • 22

    PS4

    Review Jurassic World Evolution

    Life, uh, finds a way

    In the original Jurassic Park movie when things start going a little bit pear shaped, the perennially optimistic benefactor of the world's first dinosaur zoo John Hammond reminds everyone that when Disneyland opened none of the rides worked properly either. Mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm cynically retorts: "Yeah, but, John, if...

  • 34

    PS4

    Review XCOM 2

    Loving the alien

    Republished on Wednesday 30th May 2018: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of June's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows. When aliens landed on Earth in 2012 strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it was up to you to unite the people of our planet against the invading...

  • 16

    PS4

    Review Yoku's Island Express

    Pinball Wizard

    Because many video games lean on familiar gameplay loops, archetypal characters, and genre conventions, when you're reviewing them it can sometimes feel like you're saying exactly the same thing about a game that you already wrote about previously. But every now and again you'll have to write a sentence during a review that you know...

  • 29

    PS4

    Review Past Cure

    Past caring

    Past Cure tells the story of an ex-soldier named Ian who is suffering from a bout of amnesia pertaining to a three year period in his life, after which he wound up with some extraordinary abilities. He, naturally, wants to know what happened to him in that time and why he can now do things that mere mortal men cannot, and with the help...

  • 40

    PS4

    Review Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

    Shut the hell up, kupo

    There are few franchises in video gaming quite like Final Fantasy. After three decades, the series has spawned more iconic characters and cities than most other franchises could hope to achieve in twice as long. The appeal, therefore, of a game like Dissidia Final Fantasy NT should be self-explanatory: take a bunch of...

  • Game of the Year 2017 John's Personal Picks

    Fractured but whole

    As is becoming an annual tradition here at Push Square Towers, we’ve corralled our core group of staff writers and prodded them until they’ve told us what their favourite five games of the year are. With such a strong assortment to select from, added force was required in some instances. We threatened to jot down John...

  • 30

    PS4

    Review The Sims 4

    Better simulate than never

    You begin The Sims 4 by creating a Sim - an avatar of a person, perhaps based on yourself only thinner, more popular, and with cooler hair - using a fairly robust character creation suite. You can start the game with your Sim at any stage of their life, from toddler to elder, and you assign them a bunch of personality...

  • 35

    PS4

    Review Road Rage

    Motorcyc-hell

    THE FUTURE. Sick of being taken advantage of by power hungry, money grubbing fat cats, the disenfranchised people of the city of Ashen rise up against their oppressors the only way they know how: by forming motorcycle gangs and hitting each other with big sticks. This is Road Rage: a dreadful vehicle combat game that is probably only...

  • 1

    PS4

    Review Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode Five - Don't Stop Believin'

    I am Groot

    It's probably a little bit late in the day but Don't Stop Believin', the final episode of Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy, is easily the best episode of the series to date. That might not sound like glowing praise given the often painful mediocrity of the previous episodes, but it at least makes for a nice surprise and leaves us with a...

  • 25

    PS4

    Review South Park: The Fractured But Whole

    Fart attack

    Given the mire that mankind currently finds itself in, we should probably applaud Trey Parker and Matt Stone's scattershot, omnilateral approach to satire in South Park: The Fractured But Whole, a game which mercilessly skewers all facets of modern life. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you align with, your...

  • 1

    PS4

    Review Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode Four - Who Needs You

    Just the Drax, ma'am

    Penultimate episodes are a tricky proposition. On the one hand, you've got to set up the story for the big finale in the next instalment, but on the other, you can't promise or give away too much or the coming climax might wind up feeling, well, anti-climactic. Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy - a series that has such little...

  • 7

    PS4

    Review Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode Three - More Than a Feeling

    Star Bores

    More Than a Feeling is, unfortunately, more of the same for Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy. In our reviews for the previous two episodes, we've talked at length about how the Telltale incarnations of the popular Marvel superheroes feel like a watered down version of their big screen counterparts. We've mentioned the main narrative...

  • 26

    PS4

    Review Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition

    Pillar talk

    In traditional role-playing game fashion, you begin Pillars of Eternity by creating a character and assigning them a class, and then seconds later your avatar is caught in some sort of dastardly plot that leaves him or her with a magical new power. In this case, you're a Watcher - somebody able to communicate with souls, both living and...

  • 18

    PS4

    Review Sudden Strike 4

    Dad's Barmy

    Sudden Strike 4 is a real-time strategy game set in World War II featuring three separate campaigns – one for the Allies, the Germans, and the Soviet Union – based on real battles. There’s over twenty missions in total, and these are presented to the player without any political pandering or moral high-grounds. World War...

  • 6

    PS4

    Review Aven Colony

    Aventually

    Aven Colony tells the story of the human colonisation of an alien world, and each mission of the fifteen hour campaign is a variation on that one, singular idea. Like Earth, the planet offers everything from frozen tundra to lush, fertile landscapes capable of supporting the growth of crops like corn and wheat. The aim of the game is to...

  • 12

    PS4

    Review Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire

    Fallen short

    When Princess Cecille's father unexpectedly passes away, control of the embattled kingdom of Fenumia is passed over to her. She's quickly handed a magical, talking book that was apparently a prized possession of the recently deceased king, and this Grimoire is more than willing to impart advice to Cecille on how she should proceed in...

  • 2

    PS4

    Review Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode Two - Under Pressure

    Space Shoddity

    The biggest problem with the first episode of Guardians of the Galaxy was that the whole thing felt like a pale imitation of the James Gunn movie of the same name. The game isn't set in the same continuity as the movie or any of the comics, and that strategy can be used to great effect as Telltale demonstrated with its Batman...

  • 24

    PS4

    Review Valkyria Revolution

    Shite of the Valkyries

    Valkyria Revolution is a spin-off to Valkyria Chronicles that eschews much of what made that game popular and fails to improve upon it in any way. The tactical combat of Chronicles has been radically revamped into an action role-playing game to disastrous effect, the story is hampered by a catalogue of issues, and on a...

  • 7

    PS4

    Review Neon Chrome

    Hacked off

    Republished on Wednesday, 31st May 2017: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of June 2017's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows. Neon Chrome is a top-down, twin-stick shooter set entirely in what looks like the Shinra Building from Final Fantasy VII given a Blade...

  • 12

    PS4

    Review Dreamfall Chapters

    Dream on

    –Dreamfall Chapters begins with protagonist Zoë Maya Castillo trapped in a coma, a predicament arguably more appealing than slogging through the interminable opening sections of this game. You're charged with wandering around a dreamscape while your physical body remains in a hospital bed, using powers that are barely explained to...