Mike Plant

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Mike Plant grew up on a diet of Final Fantasy, Monkey Island, TIE Fighter and Super Mario Bros. He now takes advantage of this idle youth by dividing his time between his The Console column for newspaper The Independent and editing his own blog GamesCatalyst.com. His quest to dispel the myth held by mainstream media, that games are the work devil, continues.
Don't Starve

HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

Game Theory Who said modern games are getting easier? Though it’s true that a great many titles pamper us with self-healing armour, paint-by-numbers mission design and handily placed ammo, there are still developers out there who remember the good old days. That was a time when coming into contact with any pixel of a foe – even a big toe …
Mike Plant, 30 Jan 2014
Walking Dead

ASSAULT CORSE: Eager Walking Dead heads get a second series

Game Theory Ah, the post-Christmas lull. The time of year to take time to reflect on the year just gone and plan for the one ahead. Traditionally, January is also a quiet month for the games industry, and this year’s new releases are similarly sparse. Thank the god of apps then, that nowadays games come thick and fast down our internet …
Mike Plant, 14 Jan 2014
Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

Review I must admit to being rather surprised when Gran Turismo 6 was first announced. Not because yet another entry into Polyphony Digital’s driving series was a shock, but rather because it was announced for the PS3, not the the PlayStation 4. Gran Turismo 6 GT6: Revved not revised GT6 for PS4 makes rather a lot of sense, you …
Mike Plant, 18 Dec 2013
Tiny Death Star

Speeding cops, fearsome drops and Death Star shops

Game Theory Super Mario 3D World There’s been a marked downtrend in Mario’s platforming adventures of late. Especially with the New Super Mario Bros. series, at first something of a welcome throwback, but soon hitting the wall in terms of innovation. Never write off the heroic Italian plumber, however, for with Super Mario 3D World he’s …
Mike Plant, 11 Dec 2013
Killzone: Shadow Fall

Helghast-ly holiday: Killzone Shadow Fall

Review Guerrilla Games’ Killzone: Shadow Fall is almost impossibly good looking, especially considering it’s a launch title. Cityscapes sparkle, foliage is lush and figures cast long shadows. Lens flare is plentiful – so much so that at times I actually found myself squinting. Killzone: Shadow Fall Hel‘ghastly opponents Think …
Mike Plant, 09 Dec 2013
Sony PS4

PS-PHWOARRR: We review Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 4

Review Taking the PlayStation 4 out of its box, my first thought was that it’s monolithic: the kind of object that 2001: A Space Odyssey’s hairy, belly scratching apemen would have danced around in worship. Sony PS4 Black monolith: Sony’s PlayStation 4 The console’s perpetual forward slant lends it an overtone of kinetic energy …
Mike Plant, 27 Nov 2013
Call of Duty: Ghosts

HAUNTED HOWITZERS, it’s Call of Duty Ghosts

Game Theory It’s a final stand for the current generation of console hardware as we go on patrol with the latest release in the increasingly tired Call of Duty series, Ghosts, but have a much more entertaining time with A Link Between Worlds in the latest Zelda game, and get to grips with the Big Bad Wolf in Fables: The Wolf Among Us. …
Mike Plant, 18 Nov 2013
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

SHIVER ME TIMBERS, it’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Review A little bit of colour goes a long way in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. It's a game that takes the series’ parkour-heavy gameplay away from the bleak, ice-covered setting of the American plain, and drops it into the steamy, sunny Caribbean. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Arcade fire The golden age of pirating, circa 1715 …
Mike Plant, 12 Nov 2013
Battlefield 4

Forget 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' - how does its rival from EA stack up?

Review To borrow from football parlance, Battlefield 4 is your proverbial game of two halves. There’s the dry single-player campaign that, for all its bluster, offers few new ideas. Then there’s the juicy multiplayer version that will pull you in and devour your life. Battlefield 4 Squad manoeuvres My usual approach to writing …
Mike Plant, 05 Nov 2013
Batman: Arkham Origins

HOLY how-did-we-get-here?: Batman Arkham Origins

Review It might be that I’m just a Batman fan, it might be that I’ve yet to be jaded by the Arkham series – certainly not to the extent that I am with the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises – but I just can’t help but like Origins. Set on one particularly hectic Christmas Eve during the early days of Bruce Wayne’s caped …
Mike Plant, 30 Oct 2013
Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Review Say hello to Jodie Holmes, a woman whose eventful life from infancy to adulthood forms the entirety of Beyond: Two Souls. Beyond: Two Souls Beyond: Two Souls tracks Jodie Holmes‘ life from paranormally active nipper... Assist Jodie as she sneaks out of her house during her rebellious teenage goth stage. Help her chop …
Mike Plant, 18 Oct 2013
FIFA 14

Reboot the formula: F1 and FIFA tweaked for another year

Game Theory FIFA and F1 in the same review packed column – why, it must be nearly Christmas! Elsewhere we go dungeon crawling with Dragon’s Crown and get soaked through to the skin in Rain. FIFA 14 Another year, another FIFA. The arrival of FIFA 14 was so predictable that I’m not quite sure why EA doesn’t simply announce FIFA 15, 16 and …
Mike Plant, 14 Oct 2013
Grad Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto V: Violent, sweary and amazingly ambitious

Game Theory It’s rare that I walk out in the mean streets of London and experience carpet-bombing marketing for a videogame, but that’s exactly what happened this week. Something called Grand Theft Auto V is now available to purchase apparently, so I thought I might start with that. Elsewhere the rather great Zelda adventure, The Wind …
Mike Plant, 23 Sep 2013
Rayman Legends

Everybody Loves Rayman: Legends dethrones Mario

Game Theory Heading this week’s games was meant to be Total War: Rome II, but a PC malfunction means I’m having to postpone marching off up the Appian Way until next time. No matter, however, as a feast of games still awaits – including the year’s best platformer... Rayman Legends Wii U owners are a hardy bunch, capable of taking abuse …
Mike Plant, 12 Sep 2013
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist... Spy HARDER

Game Theory With the excitement of Gamescom still ongoing, it’s easy to forget that the weekly release of videogames continues unabated. Thankfully the idle hours of the impending Bank Holiday offer a firm reminder - especially given the extended weekend marks the release of one of the year’s best action games: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell …
Mike Plant, 23 Aug 2013
Killzone: Mercenary

Shadowrun Returns and Killzone: Mercenary ... old titles, new takes

Game Theory As the traditional quiet of August sets in, it’s over to a selection of download-only titles to provide the fix that gamers need. Step forward Microsoft’s latest Summer of Arcade collection – led by the excellent Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – and Harebrained Schemes’ take on Shadowrun, both proving that there’s still reason …
Mike Plant, 13 Aug 2013
Pikmin 3

Pikmin to the rescue: Can Nintendo revamp revive Wii U fortunes?

Game Theory With the heatwave apparently set to give way to stormy weather, it might be about time to batten down the hatches and get comfy with a new game. This week we’re off for a walk in the forest with Pikmin 3, tracking down a master thief in The Raven and getting overwhelmed by choice in Valve’s Dota 2. Pikmin 3 The Wii U’s …
Mike Plant, 24 Jul 2013

The Yawhg vs XCOM: Enemy Unknown. How small devs can win against the big boys

Game Theory As far as the recipe for a successful new gaming genre would go, the combination of an essentially text-based role-playing adventure with a beery party game would seem very wide of the mark. Crunching stats and hardcore partying hardly seem to go together. Colour me wrong, however, for in Emily Carroll and Damian Sommer’s PC- …
Mike Plant, 11 Jul 2013
Bungie's Destiny

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo: The big three slug it out at E3

Game Theory Now that the dust has settled on the maelstrom of gaming news that is the E3 show, it’s down to us gamers to sift through the detritus and choose sides. Why can’t we all just get along, huh? This year’s show was even more brutal than most, with Sony and Microsoft all but resorting to fisticuffs over their PS4 and Xbox One …
Mike Plant, 25 Jun 2013
Last of Us screencap

Out with a bang: The Last of Us lets PS3 exit with head held high

Game Theory I’ll soon be offering my thoughts and reflections on this year’s E3, but before all that it seemed worth waxing lyrical about new PS3 exclusive The Last of Us, a game that points the way to what the next generation should really be aspiring to do. Gaming’s Citizen Kane moment? Maybe, if Mr Kane was being chased by zombies. …
Mike Plant, 19 Jun 2013
Steve Jackson

Interview: Steve Jackson, role-playing game titan

Feature There aren’t many interviews – particularly when it comes to those offered because someone has a new video game to promote – that take place at the home of the interviewee. Such was the case, however, when I went to meet Steve Jackson. A man who, along with university chum Ian Livingstone, not only founded Games Workshop, but …
Mike Plant, 06 Jun 2013
Metro: Last Lights

Is the next-gen console war already One?

Game Theory How else to start a Game Theory column other than with the Xbox One? With the dust starting to settle on news reports, I’ve gone for a rather more devil’s advocate approach to Microsoft’s unveiling. There’s also room for a review of Metro: Last Light, and a quick look at the splendid The Last of Us to whet the appetite for next …
Mike Plant, 24 May 2013
Sorcery!

Fighting Fantasy and fantastic fights in tights

Game Theory This month’s column has been unceremoniously cleft in twain. Why? Because, while May’s big news will undoubtedly revolve around Microsoft’s unveiling of its Xbox 360 successor, there are still a fine number of new releases to discuss. Expect the second part of this month’s Games Theory right after the dust has settled on all …
Mike Plant, 10 May 2013
Gears of War: Judgement

Gaming's favourite platters get another stir of the pot

Game Theory Another month goes by and, as ever, gaming isn’t short of its share of news and controversies. While recent reveals of Battlefield 4, Metal Gear Solid V, The Witcher 3 and Thief: Out of the Shadows show us what the future holds, there's no getting around the fact that we're currently entrenched in a present in which …
Mike Plant, 05 Apr 2013
Lara Croft 2013

Trip the fight fantastic

Game Theory After a gap of five weeks or so since my last column the games industry has suddenly become a whole new animal. The next generation - well, Sony’s at least - has been revealed, and games publishers are finally able to talk about developing for a new breed of consoles without resorting to coded, barely voiced communications. It …
Mike Plant, 15 Mar 2013