May 17th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Metro Exodus isn’t even an FPS, here’s why.

That’s right, I content that Metro Exodus is a survival horror game that occassionally becomes a shooter. I go over that in the beginning. But after, if I still have your attention, I have some nice tips for you if you plan on taking this incredible journey.

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metro exodus review
April 6th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

In Soviet Russia, train rides YOU!

The Metro series of videogames are all based on a series of novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The book was originally released in 2005 and the videogame adaptation, Metro 2033 was released in 2010. Metro Last Light followed that up in 2013, and now we have Metro Exodus. It was developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. In this entry in the game, you leave the traditionally claustrophobic tunnels of the Moscow metro for the great outdoors. Your quest is simple, find a place to start a new settlement. It is a lot harder than it sounds. Many things go awry on your journey. This series is a mix between an FPS and survival horror, where you have to be more conservative with your ammo and resources, don’t have regenerating health, and have a lot of gadgets to fiddle around with. So, what’s the deal with this 3rd entry?

This review is based on the Xbox One X Enhanced version of the game.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

On a technical level, the graphics are fantastic. You’re looking at some absolutely great lighting with a full night and day cycle that feels real. The contrast between the spacious open skies and the darkness of the tunnels is large. Animations are top notch, which is a big bonus for this game. There are a lot of in-engine scripted sections where people do a LOT of talking (more on that later). From just a purely visual perspective, everything looks as real as they can get. If I really had to go nitpicking, I would say that there are two locations in the game that look dull because they look so real. Yes. As in, the big open desert wasteland map was a big open desert wasteland. The snowy lake area is just a bunch of bright-ass snow. But I’m really reaching here, these visuals are off the hook.

STORY/IMMERSION: 2/2

This is also gonna sound more like a criticism than an accolade, but there is too much story in this game. The script for this game had to be massive, because every single character you encounter has a lot to say. Every enemy encounter is loaded with stuff. There’s a lot of stealth in the game so you have plenty of opportunities to eavesdrop on everyone. And those are just random encounters. The setpiece locations themselves are filled to the brim with story as well. They make an absolute masterpiece of world building based on what you see and hear. All of that is before I talk about the Train scenes. Good lord, there is a lot of dialogue on that train. The train serves as an exposition/character buffer between locations, and is rather amazing. You get to learn all about EVERYONE on this journey with you, and there are many tales to be told.

There is one scene on the train where you’re in the control car with 3 different pairs of people. And they are all in different corners of the head end, talking to each other.

Some may take issue with these bits. For one, the train sections are really LONG exposition dumps. 30 solid minutes of people talking to each other. I haven’t seen this much discussion in a half hour since the opening “speech” in Old World Blues from Fallout: New Vegas. Honestly, this game has a very slow pace. The talking is a great bit of respite after a stressful mission. The other point, which is a bit more annoying is that people very frequently talk over each other. But, this isn’t a bug, it’s intentional. There is one scene on the train where you’re in the control car with 3 different pairs of people. And they are all in different corners of the head end, talking to each other. You would have to replay these scenes multiple times to hear everyone properly. I personally didn’t think this was a problem either. It added to the realism.

Finally, the over-arching plot itself isn’t really much of a traditional story. The entire point of the game is simply finding a place to settle outside of the Metro. The hardships you encounter along the way compose the parts of this story, but every stop is more like an intrusion than a narrative. You walk into a weird cult, you reason with the cult, you leave. You encounter some… crazed survivalists in a bunker, and then you leave. Trying not to spoil here. It’s just a big series of literally crashing into the middle of other people’s stories that have nothing to do with you. Once again, I find this aspect refreshing. Not everything has to be about saving the world.

AUDIO: 1/2

The OST was tolerable, but altogether not to outstanding. For all of the interesting monsters, their noises and growls don’t have the same impact they did in prior titles. There’s some faux-zombies in this title, and they sound like zombies. The guns are interesting but also don’t sound all that interesting. Most important is the voice acting. Despite being FULL of lore and story, the English voice cast still sound like a bunch of Americans faking a Russian accent. It’s charming in a way, but still objectively not too great. Many say to play the game with Russian audio on instead, but that would involve far too much reading. It is still competently put together and has its moments.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

This game is hardcore, even on the easiest setting. You cannot expect to just run and shoot your way through the campaign. You will burn through resources and crafting tools so fast. I believe there could be a point where you can legitimately run entirely out of resources and have to start the chapter over, probably.

The gameplay loop is quite engaging. Each major stage after every train scene is a wide open map. Pleasantly, they aren’t gigantic, but actually very decently sized play areas with plenty to explore. It’s not easy to get from point A to point B. You can make waypoints, but the locations aren’t as simple as the map makes them out to be. You spend your time with a lot of gadgets on you, and you’ll need all of them. You have a lighter, the map, a backpack, headlight, battery charger, and a wrist gadget just to name a few. Your backpack serves as a mobile crafting station but you can’t craft the best gear on it. It’s good for getting you out of a bind if you have low health and know health packs. Your health doesn’t regenerate in this one, so you gotta take care of yourself.

Even if you have a lot of ammo, it will still get you killed if you charge in guns blazing. Stealth is almost mandatory when you deal with human enemies.

Combat is slow and deliberate too. Even if you have a lot of ammo, it will still get you killed if you charge in guns blazing. Stealth is almost mandatory when you deal with human enemies. As for monsters? Well… good luck. You’ll need it. Here’s a testament to the immersion of the gameplay. After I finished this game, I started playing Far Cry New Dawn. There were many times where I found myself pushing buttons that are supposed to bring out my lighter or flashlight. I kept forgetting I wasn’t playing Metro anymore. That’s right, the game is so engaging it will actively ruin other FPS’s for you. Maybe play a fighting game afterwards.

FUN: 1/2

The fun you can have in this game is widely subjective to your tastes. I got what I wanted out of this. A tough as nails survival horror game masquerading as an FPS. I’ve had friends tell me they absolutely hate the game and get annoyed by it the whole way through. And there’s people who loved it. And people who liked it but didn’t think it was Metro enough. That’s my opinion, it’s good but at the same time it does seem a bit out of its element compared to the other titles. There’s that, and the game has its fair share of some truly frustrating moments. Despite this, I pressed on and on, even when the game got maddeningly hard.

SCORE: 8/10

Pick this up if you like horror and shooters. Just keep in mind that its a very nuanced experience.




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resident evil 2 review
February 14th, 2019 by Julia Portugueselastname

“Controls are now crisp and fluid like diarrhea I had one time.”

The original Resident Evil 2 came out in 1998. That’s one year before The Matrix was a thing. Let THAT sink in. 21 years ago. The new Resident Evil 2 Remake is developed by Capcom R&D Division 1 and published by Capcom. The first game defined a genre of horror games and the sequel cemented it. But some really old games don’t always hold up as well as they did back then, and a full, ground-up remake is necessary. So, how is this one?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

It has stunning updated visuals and state of the art usage of textures. These include but are not limited to:

  • A wet look on surfaces like tiles due to rain.
  • Flooding beautiful locks of hair sprouting from our protagonist’s head.
  • Lickers and their perfectly rendered lil’ buttholes.
  • Phenomenal facial animations and character models replace the old 90’s pixelated ones.

Instead of a camera that obscures and can’t be navigated, you can now enjoy the same over the shoulder camera you know and love today. With that, you really take in the atmosphere. Now this is how you remake a game! Everything has been re-imagined from the ground up!

STORY: 2/2

If you like stories about:

  • Zombies,
  • Big shadow corporations
  • Labs hidden away in sewers
  • Biological weapons
  • The usual sci-fi warning to us mere mortals as to what CAN go wrong the more we meddle with technology…

…then look no further! G-virus! Choose between 2 characters that experience the zombie outbreak via their distinctive perspectives and situations. Replay them to piece together more of what really happened in Raccoon City with 4 possible variations of the events!

AUDIO: 1/2

The music and sounds definitely enhance the horror and gameplay/ atmosphere. Some tunes come on just to warn when certain enemy variants come into play. The voice acting and dialogue has improved so much since the 1998 release! Despite Mr. X having a straight up banger song play when he pursued you. The game did feel like it could have used more in the soundtrack department, but all the sound effects, each squishy tissue on the zombies was perfect!

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

So long tank controls and shoddy camera! Hello controls that are now [SEE ARTICLE SUBHEADLINE]. Explore the police station, solve puzzles, and be strategic with ammo and healing items as this game is survival horror. I do however wish there were more updates like a dodge or roll to evade foes. One boss battle in particular bothered me that he could throw things through walls and I had no means of avoiding it. Props to Capcom for making a character like Mr X, he could have easily broken the game, but didn’t, he was an awesome balance to the game.

FUN: 2/2

Although a challenge and a bit of a learning curve, this game is fun! On my first playthrough, I was already ready to take on the final boss with just my knife alone! If I can survive the zombie apocalypse, so can you!

SCORE: 8/10




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remake 2 demo
January 14th, 2019 by Julia Portugueselastname

Re-experience the epic sequel.

First day at new job as a cop, the city gets invaded with zombies. The Resident Evil 2 remake 1-Shot demo( What a mouthful!) came out Friday January 11th and boy do we have a lot to talk about before the full game release happening January 25th!

This is a ground up remake of the 1998 PS1 classic of the same name. The game starts instantly insisting you be able to read. Once you take control of rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy in the zombie ridden Raccoon City police station, right away the graphics are mind boggling! This game is visually stunning, liquid freedom will stream from your eyes.

The attention to detail builds the atmosphere making it very spooky, too spooky for me almost. Controls are fluid, the camera perfectly follows you, and a fantastic soundtrack accompanies the year’s first AAA horror game.

1-shot for those of you who don’t know means you have one chance to play the demo, not one bullet. Please learn from my mistakes. I thought I only had one bullet…. There is a timer that displays thirty minutes. Sadly you can only play up to a certain part. Spoilers: Lt. Marvin Branagh has you take a look at video footage. SPOILER WARNING IN ITALICS. Leon sees Claire and is excited she has made it, lastly you are told how to get to the courtroom to meetup with her.

What happens when you beat it?

The demo thanks you for playing and a trailer of what’s to come rolls. Hunk confirmed as well as the ever difficult tofu mode is back! Yes… You can play the game as a giant blob of soy goodness!

Fans of the Resident Evil series and newcomers alike will enjoy the challenges presented. The enemies are very meaty and take a few bullets to go down. You will eventually get the the ability to stab via the survival knife! In your travels you get to see potential puzzles, other environments to explore, secrets, and signature twisted imagery. That first guard who Leon helps was brutal to look at, those intestines look so real, we have those in our bodies and there it was in my escape from reality!

I truly thought I’d see the infamous Licker in the first long corridor with windows. But the true horror there was Tiffany whom I haven’t seen since high school shrieking about IT WORKS and Herbalife from outside.

I definitely recommend the Resident Evil 2 1-Shot demo (or as I like to call it 5 Nights At RPD) to hold you over until the release day! If you enjoyed previous Resident Evil games, Left 4 Dead, Outlast, and a plethora of others, download the demo today!




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October 31st, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Oh, that’s not… Skeletor?

Kidding, of course, who would take me serious if I didn’t recognize Sir Dan. Let’s be honest. Sir Dan is one of the most mistreated PlayStation Icons of all time. He was there at the beginning of it all and then somehow just disappeared.

Fear not however, it’s Sir Dan’s time to shine. Rumors of a remake had been swirling for a little while and to the surprise of the hopeful, they were true. Sir Dan is back with a remake of the game that made him iconic. The horror/comedy Medievil is getting the full remake treatment. Much like Crash and Spyro, Sir Daniel Fortesque (not to be confused with fortnite) is ready to let the new generation experience the classic 3D platforms.

The announcement trailer arrived perfectly on this Halloween morning. You can check it out below.

https://youtu.be/19Dj520a3Og

Are you excited for the return of Sir Dan? Let us know in the comments section below.




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transference
October 17th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

This was a disappointment.

Did you ever know this game was out? Elijah Wood personally came out to show off the game at two E3 showcases. But now the game is out, and not a peep. Also, despite heavily marketing it as a VR experience tailored for the PS4, it’s also available on Xbox One and PC. Which is suspicious, but how does it play? It plays like someone tried to combine Get Even with PT, that’s what it is.




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transference review
October 6th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Get Even meets PT

Transference is a first-person sci-fi horror experience for VR. It was developed by SpectreVision and published by Ubisoft. It was heavily advertised as a psychedelic adventure and was heavily promoted by Elijah Wood during E3 2017 & 2018. The plot focuses on your navigating through a computer simulation of the minds of a three-person family. Depending on whose memories you explore, the layout of the house in which you spend the majority of the game will rearrange itself. Surprisingly, when the game came out in late September, it was largely ignored with no fanfare or ads. It also released on Xbox One and PC, despite being slated as a VR-only title. It’s quite possible that VR would enhance the experience, but the game still has to hold up on its own merits. This copy was reviewed without the use of VR, but still on PS4.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

This is definitely a case of style over substance. The game has a great array of really good looking lighting FX, visual glitches, transition sequences, and mocap. There are also several scenes that blend 2D videos into the 3D environment in interesting ways. The problems this game has come from a technical standpoint. Despite the spectacular use of props, colors, and layouts to represent different psyches, one thing takes you out of the experience. The texture quality is just abysmal. Cables look like squares, a jar of sand had jagged edges, a cassette tape looks like a blown-up JPG. That’s really too bad because it definitely shows that a lot of detail was put into everything else. You can pick up props and look at them but the details are muddy. Still, the overall look works.

STORY: 0/2

Absolute drivel. The story of this game is about a family man who went crazy and digitized the minds of his wife, child and himself onto a computer. But the context of why you’re experiencing these memories in the first place is never made apparent. You’re just there to stop in and look at some things that happened to this family. The kid had a dog he loved, and honestly, I can’t remember the actual fate of the dog. Just that something bad happened. The wife is sad because she thinks she gave up her career to be with this man, but I’m not really sure what it was he did that made her have to give everything up.

You never really feel like you’re in danger, and these NPCs are at worst a minor inconvenience…

And the husband? Well, he went crazy. Why? I don’t know, it appears that he just did. The game has several points where you get to watch camcorder footage of the family to get a better idea, but it felt very inconsistent. In one scene, they are at a park having a birthday party and the dad is acting just okay. You find another video later that appears to be the same time and location, but the dad has turned a complete 180 and was acting like a drunken abusive asshole. Why? I don’t know, it looks like he just did. Maybe the truth was hidden on one of the collectibles? That might be the case but it’s not much of a story if it’s mandatory for me to pick up every single object in every room. Also, the less said about the “acting” in this game, the better.

Audio: 2/2

Despite the terrible script and bad acting, the quality of the voice work is well implemented into the game. Several wonky features are added to the voices of the family, distorting them, echoing them, and burning them. This game dives into the reality of horror for the most part, and this game expertly implements the “horror atmosphere” that many scary games excel at. It has everything, cramped spaces, hums, random noises, door knocking, clock ticking, music boxes, the usual. This is amplified with a soundtrack that blends into the scenes you encounter. There are heavy padded synths feeding through distortion tubes as scenes get more and more intense. Zero complaints about anything in the audio department of this game.

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

This is a relaxed horror experience if that makes any sense. You enter an apartment, and spooky things happen. You will walk around, look at things, watch video logs, and avoid walking afoul of the enemies in the game. These phantoms you encounter look like the Endermen from Minecraft. If you touch them, you just get sent backward a little bit. You never really feel like you’re in danger, and these NPCs are at worst a minor inconvenience and one of the least scary things about the game. Thankfully, there really aren’t any jump scares. The biggest problem was that there were a handful of puzzles that either stopped the game dead or were extremely easy. I won’t be able to forgive this game for the “piano puzzle” sequence any time soon. Some of the puzzles made sense plotwise, while others were real head-scratchers.

VR: That said, VR might have enhanced the scares just a little bit. This is literally the only section that VR could have improved the experience. It might have been scarier to walk around this cramped place in a fully immersive manner.

FUN: 0/2

The couple of puzzles that stopped me dead in my tracks were rather annoying. Once I did figure them out, I didn’t feel smart. I just felt “Oh really? Just that? Okay then.” My interest in the fate of this family diminished by the minute. When the game rolled into its conclusion about 2 hours in, I was glad it was over, because I didn’t want to play it anymore. Even then, the ending is incredibly abrupt and completely unfulfilling, accomplishing nothing. You basically just rode around on a haunted mansion ride until you had to get off. The game just shrugs and says to me, “Yup, that’s it. Have a nice day I guess.” Maybe it’s my fault for having high expectations, but I’ve had these expectations for other games in the SciFi/Horror genre that live up to the hype. This one doesn’t.

This whole experience is basically a shaggy dog story about a broken family. Transference is content with itself; it tells you about a series of unfortunate events (which is a crap book series, fight me). This generation of gaming is finding more and more “AA” experiences resurface and make for some high-quality adventures. We got tales like Hellblade, Get Even, Soma, and several other games that serve as an experience on top of being a game. This particular title doesn’t really make the cut.

SCORE: 5/10




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March 5th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Lucky Gamer Recap!

I don’t know how much longer I can do this. It’s so excruciating trying to find interesting things that have happened this week. Why is E3 so close yet so far? This drought is awful but th show must go on. Here are the reasons to feel like a Lucky Gamer this week:

1. Looks like a lot more games are making the Switch!

As the Nintendo Switch continues to find its footing on its climb to the top, it seems to continue securing its footing along the way. Every step of the way is secured by the most dense supply of vibranium possible. That’s how safe Nintendo is being, they are using imaginary metals to secure their footing. Enough silly analogies, the entire Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy is coming to Nintendo Switch April 26th! Oh, wait theres more. Outlast, one of the scariest games I’ve ever played in my life, is available for Switch right now. The Outlast: Bundle of Terror also includes the Whistleblower DLC and is available through the eShop for only $20. So yea, the Switch is gunning for the throne at a rapid pace. You go Switch, stay strong.

2. Those guys at Sony are up to something.

First they make the announcement that starting next March, exactly one year from now, PS3 and PSVita will no longer be included in the free game monthly benefit of PS Plus. It seems like a really strange move especially considering all the effort Microsoft has put into backwards compatibility but, what do I know? Oh I know what I know actually! As of April 1st, Sony is restructuring again to focus more heavily on first party properties. This move makes sense as Microsoft announced a few months back that they were going to shift focus to first party properties as well. And last but not least, Detroit: Become Human gets a beautiful release date of May 25th, just a few days after this cool kids birthday. I really hope this game lives up to the hype, I cant afford anymore heartbreak this year.

3. Fortnite gets Jetpacks and Overwatch gets more character.

The header pretty much covers the Fortnite news. Fortnite is getting jetpacks in the near future so expect to see players soaring across the sky. Or as Epic put it, “take the fight to all new heights.” Oh boy. On the other hand Overwatch is getting an all new character named Brigitte. Brigitte is more of a support character with her strength being in armor and defense. One of her abilities is throwing a repair pack that can heal an ally. I think Brigitte’s costume design is also incredible and the color scheme is great. I’m looking forward to watching her gameplay in real competition. Who knows maybe she’ll be in an upcoming thing we might be doing.

4. And the vowels are E… A… Rumors.

As I keep saying E3 is around the way and so the interesting juicy stuff is coming in slow drips. Every now and then though we get a nice little splash of refreshing news, EA takes the cake this week with first a rumored leak that this years Battlefield game will be set in WW2. The supposed title of the new game is “Battlefield V” and if the rumor holds true, this game won’t be set in the Bad Company universe. On the other side of EA Rumor city we have a quirky game that I’m surprised is still a real thing. Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare will be returning for the third time. That’s right Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare 3 was recently leaked by a comic posting on Amazon that was described as “bridging the story gap between PVZ:GW2 and GW3. Imagine that.

5. Take a trip to the jurrasic past or the land of the witchers.

As Microsofts continues to double down on their mission to prove they car about gamers a whole new set of classics are coming to Xbox One. First we have the remasters of both Turok 1 and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Each title will be available for $19.99 and it was made very explicit that these are remasters not remakes. Its interesting to see this classic title being remastered, could there be plans for a new entry in the series? On the other hand we have The Witcher 2, Crackdown, Fable Anniversary, and Forza Horizon all recently released with Xbox One X enhancements. See all these cool things from the past coming back, you paying attention Sony?

6. More apes in VR!

A new Planet of the Apes game is coming to all the VR platforms on April 3rd. Thats right HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PSVR will all be the next place to enjoy a VR experience based in the Planet of the Apes. The experience is played through the perspective of an ape trying to escape a heavily guarded scientific facility. If you are a fan of the movie series at all, this game takes place five years after the event of the Simian Flu outbreak. There you have it a VR escape game where you get to feel like an ape trying to escape. Wait a sec isn’t this the opposite of Ape Escape?

7. Whats next from the makers of Bioshock?

Blackout. That’s what’s next from the former developers of Bioshock. An all new horror game from the people who made the term “Big Daddy” terrifying. I can’t be more excited for this mostly because I have such a crazy dedication to horror games. As far as bioshock as a series, I played through the first one and had a great time. Never got a round to the rest of them cause I suck at playing video games. Either way, back to Blackout which is said to have some resemblance to Stranger Things. You know the show everyone is hooked on that I don’t like. Yea this game is supposedly gonna be similar to that story. Are you excited yet?




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January 10th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

I’ll take “not the original game title” for $100, Alex.

Prey is the spiritual successor to a 2006 title that also simply goes by the name “Prey.” Originally, the old title was supposed to get a direct sequel that involves being a space bounty hunter and chasing after criminals, yet sometime in 2014, the game was unceremoniously axed. Fast forward to 2016 and this new game that shares the same title pops up, and is the center of many debates on whether it constitutes a sequel. Also, can developers just give a new game the same title because it’s been long enough since the last one? Developed by Arkane Studios, makers of the Dishonored franchise, and published by Bethesda, this game raised the bar on the “play it your way” style of games. In this one, you find yourself on a space station infested with aliens that can turn into any object they want as well as aliens who just walk around killing people. Fun times, eh?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

This game does visuals in a stunning and very clever way. When facing enemies like “Mimics” or “Phantoms” the game’s lighting goes a bit haywire and in very high contrast, because you suffer from “fear” when you encounter them. Each weapon in the game is uniquely balanced to fit into the world and designed accordingly. Also, being on a space station, you would be rotating constantly. So the developers took special care to make sure that aspect not only looked good but dynamically affected the rest of the locations. Since the station is revolving in real time, certain locations with windows will slowly change lighting and shadows based on what’s outside your window. It’s very clever and well implemented throughout all of the game’s locations. There’s also the “looking glass” technology that feels like a bit of a technical marvel, serving as a sort of video that can display 3D renderings that look more like they are a window into a new room rather than a simple video.

STORY: 1/2

While the story is good and intriguing, it’s hard to find yourself really engaged in the overall narrative. For all its creative bends and curves, the game does boil down to your average “alien invasion” story. A lot of the drama that unfolded before the alien attack takes place in this sort of game’s favorite exposition dumps, audio logs and emails! It does a good job to express all of the goings-on that happened while you were unavailable, but none of the characters are all that compelling enough to have you really investigate. Plus, once you do finally encounter other living survivors on the station, they seem rather stiff and one-note. The game is constantly finding excuses to make you take the long route to what should be an easy destination because dangling that carrot works for some. It did grow tiresome after awhile. It was also made worse by the midpoint of the game in which you’ve accumulated so many side quests, you might get anxiety in trying to figure out where to go next, or where you even should go to at all.

AUDIO: 1/2

The sound in this just plain “works” for the most part. Most of the conventional weaponry sound as they should, and you also get some individual weapons with unique sounds. The soundtrack is average at best, with a lot of synths roaring over your every encounter with the alien Typhons. It sometimes gets annoying, because you can get to a point where encountering a certain type of enemy is no longer as threatening as it was earlier in the game, but you still get that jarring chord that’s supposed to scare you more than the enemy itself and it comes off as obnoxious. As for voice acting, it’s all just alright. Your character doesn’t talk very much even though you see yourself talking in recordings, which makes your silence more suspicious than characteristic. There’s stuff to be enjoyed here, but it’s brought down by a frequently used battle song you’ll hear when you encounter enemies, and you will get sick of it.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

As said earlier, this game really does feature as one very well-implemented “play your way” approach to the game. You can sneak, go on the attack, science your way through, or turn yourself into the monsters you’re fighting once you gain the ability to learn new abilities. Just when the upgrade tree seems too oppressive, some more abilities pop up as the first quarter of the game comes to a close. The idea of using the psychoscope, a scanner designed to analyze living Typhon, is a neat one for helping you learn about the strengths and weaknesses of enemies as well as the new abilities based on what they can do. At the time of writing this, I tried to pursue the path of not using any alien mods, as they can affect your treatment on the station. It’s quite a difficult path, but not necessarily due to a lack of capabilities. The difficulty comes in the fact that every enemy encounter is more than just a quick fight. It’s stressful and feels like a big ordeal.

FUN: 1/2

And that’s just one of my gripes about the game. Even on Normal mode, every enemy encounter you have will usually result in your death because they are a lot stronger than you and have a ton of attacks and abilities that make them a real force to be reckoned with. This is okay at first because it makes you really consider how you are going to approach enemy encounters. But as the game rolls on, your ability to dispatch enemies, despite having more abilities later on, starts to feel like a chore. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the combat does turn a bit wonky, especially if you end up in open conflict with too many enemies. Another problem is the loading times. They are extremely…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..long. When you transition from one map to the next, you get a loading screen, which slowly jogs along from the left to right. But then after that loading screen, you don’t get to play because ANOTHER loading screen pops up, this time with dots and no progress bar. Eventually, the game concedes and lets you play. But it’s a real hassle because paired with the difficulty of the enemies and the loading times, dying over and over again may wear your patience thin.

Prey delivered on what it was supposed to be: a new game that challenges the boundaries of gaming by having some interesting design choices on how you go about getting around the ship and the many ways you can handle a problem. It’s too bad the game has so many buzzkills in the form of enemy aliens absolutely wrecking you and the snore-inducing loading. It’s a game to pick up if you enjoyed its cousins like Bioshock, Dishonored, and Deus Ex, but be prepared for some truly frustrating elements in a game that is extremely well-designed.

SCORE: 7/10




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November 8th, 2017 by Vega Montanez

What happened to the dark atmosphere?

The Evil Within 2 is the sequel to the 2014 surprise horror hit from Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame. Developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda, the game continues the tragic story of detective Sebastian Castellanos trying to save his daughter. Released on October 13th 2017 (which was also a Friday the 13th), Evil Within 2 promises to take players through horrifying domains with terrifying enemies while trying to tell a sci-fi horror story worthy of paying attention to. Does it have what it takes to compete with the heavy hitters of the new era? 

GRAPHICS: 1/2

At first glance The Evil Within 2 looks absolutely amazing, however after playing for a few hours the beauty begins to fade away. On numerous occasions the game was plagued by frame rate drops and inconsistent textures. The transition between cutscene and gameplay is extremely fluid but cutscenes and gameplay are hardly anything to be blown away by at all. A lot of the environments are bland and uninteresting which really damage the game’s ability to be scary. The enemy character models look fairly menacing but the constant reliance on jump scares make the designs so much less interesting. Overall the game doesn’t look bad but it sure doesn’t hold its own against some of the other heavy hitters from this year.

STORY: 1/2

The story of detective Sebastian Castellanos is as tragic as tragic stories can possibly get. Quite literally every turn of this man’s life is a wobbly staircase ready to collapse beneath him whether he’s climbing up or down. The big problem is with so many constant failures happening throughout the plot it gets really hard to connect with the lead character and ever really feel bad for him. It’s even harder to connect with Sebastian for anyone who may have skipped the first entry in this potentially growing series. On top of a lack of a true connection with the protagonist, the story itself becomes very convoluted very quickly. The development team seems to have been conflicted on how linear they wanted the game to be vs how much open world freedom they wanted to allow the players. It was really hard to not only get interested in the plot but also figure it out in the beginning of the game. As the story progresses, if you can get hooked into the plot, the twist become quite interesting and entertaining. It’s tough to say, but you really have dive deep into the story to enjoy it, (because you can say that about any story ever) but that is really the case, otherwise the content is just ridiculous. The world may never know if The Evil Within 2 has a poorly written story or a poorly presented story. Just kidding, of course it will.

AUDIO: 0/2

This was probably the most disappointing part of the entire game. The Audio was bad. The game lacked a major sense of horror which can easily be tied in part to the lack of ambient horror. When playing in surround sound the sound effects are unable to convert a home into the environment on screen. The only prominent sounds are footsteps and the awful gurgling of the enemy creatures. Speaking the script and voice acting really dropped the ball. It’s so bad it’s hard to know for sure which to blame. The players character seems to have fallen in love with asking the questions “What is going on?” and “Who/what was that?” It felt like every single time a change of environment occurred he needed to spit out one of those lines. And the lines are delivered poorly. So poorly. And the dialogue between characters is even worst. The only times it was noticeably decent were during text guided conversation trees that revealed more information. That’s right. Bad Audio.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

Ever play Resident Evil 4? Nothing more needs be said. Seriously, the gameplay mechanics are incredible. If any player who plays first person shooters with tactical control mapping, it’ll feel right at home. Those who don’t will need to do a little adjusting but it will make sense once committed to muscle memory. The targeting system is extremely fluid. The aim assist felt amazing and was nearly impossible to not want to use and just enjoy the game. Playing with it turned off (AKA correctly) still felt incredibly responsive, when frames weren’t dropping of course. Character weight and movement felt good. None of his pacing felt too fast or too lost despite how silly his light job animation looks. Navigating the menu options makes a ton of sense and opening any menu slows the time in the game to a near stop. The development team definitely locked the doors right when it came to how this game plays.

FUN 1/2

It’s important to note that Shinji Mikami did not direct this sequel. As a horror game the goal is to provide an adrenaline rush created from the constant rush of fear. The Evil Within 2 did not deliver on that promise. It did however provide a very good action sci-fi adventure with a few jump scares and grotesque images. In respect to the game it was very fun to play when time allowed for a good committed hunkering down. It was hard to ever feel a true rush of excitement getting ready to plug back in. That however didn’t take away from the fact that once plugged in there were few things that sounded more fun then sneaking up for a face stab or blasting the heads off of the oncoming deformed threat. The pacing is rather slow and the enemies are absolutely some of the toughest but once things fall under control (or as close to it as possible) fun flies directly into the brain and lights a fire. One major element that felt like it was missing or not included enough was explosions. Things blowing up in video games always a plus.

The recent resurgence of the Horror genre in media and pop culture has led to some lackluster products and content. The Evil Within 2 doesn’t fall directly into that category but it definitely falls close. The audio is definitely the largest component of any horror product so to allow that to fail is to allow the product to fail. Mix an extremely complex plot with poor voicing and prepare to catch the aftermath. The good news is, as with most Bethesda games, the game did what it was supposed to do as a game. It provided options, fun, and great game mechanics. The Evil Within 2 could have been a lot more but in a world with so much who takes the blame for the bad mixing.

SCORE: 5/10




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