The big spooktacular Splatfest October 2018 is done-zo! It was a big powerful 2-day festival and the winner has been declared. In the war between tricks or treats, it was Team Treat who succeeded 2-1. They lost out on popularity but they pulled through on victories. It was a valiant effort and many claimed that it was one of the toughest splatfests in a while.
You would assume all is well, but alas, it is not! It seems that the results have actually caused quite a ruckus in the squidkid community. It appears that many of the people on team Trick have accused Treat of CHEATING. Now, normally this is just a thing that losers do whenever a big competition ends and they lose. Saying the team cheated, had a biased judge, got away with bending the rules, and other such things. Normally, this would be the case for most Splatfests. This is actually an okay accusation because it has been known that Splatoon 2 is not short on its number of cheaters. The part where Nintendo now charges for online play still doesn’t account for this issue and has created its own drama. But even so, why are these accusations different?
They are different because there are several screencaps that depict a very suspicious ruling over who won a match. This has many people concerned that the ratings may have somehow been glitched or biased! Have a look at the series of images here, it is considered suspect and debatable.
Some of the usual suspects show up. There’s lots of talk about lag. A LOT of talk about lag. We can talk about lag for days. You also have people just writing everything off as “losers just complaining.” That’s an easy thing to say, but the bizarre screencaps insist otherwise.
That said, some people are saying that the map screens are inaccurate at depicting who won. Why? Apparently, the dark purple shade makes it look like less ink was covered than there actually was. Perhaps that’s the case? Another person in the thread insists to look at the X-map for a better rendition of what parts of the map were actually covered. Fewer shaders make it look more precise, I’m sure.
Apparently, someone actually called Nintendo on the phone and inquired about these discrepancies. They said they received many complaints of this kind and were “looking into it.” That’s corporate jargon for “doing nothing whatsoever.”
Some are also citing the algorithm being flawed. Unless you can see what it actually is, you can’t really blame something you can’t see at all. There were also server complaints, which is common with Splatfest because so many people are online. Should Nintendo have more servers running? They have to if they are going to start charging for the service. Put that money to good use.
One really great suggestion was “story reasons.” Like, did Nintendo want to change the ongoing feud between Pearl and Marina over who wins more? I love Marina personally, but I doubt that’s the case. Otherwise, we have reports of characters flying and other people who probably were cheating. Doesn’t mean the whole team was cheating. Splatoon 2 has cheaters, but not on this level.
Finally, there are reports of people who have second accounts logging into teams and going AFK on purpose to sabotage the team. If that really happens, man, that’s crazy. It implies someone owns two Nintendo Switches and two Switch Online accounts. That’s quite the accusation. An expensive one. [EDIT: Chet is an idiot and didn’t realize people could just another account on their own Switch and get a family plan with Switch Online.]
Truly, this Splatfest had a lot more going on with it than prior games. The jump to going 48 hours, along with the change to the clout system from the winner counts definitely have had effects on the game. All we can hope is that if Nintendo is aware of some of these issues, they can take care of them.
What matters most, is you remember to have fun. This is Splatoon, not Call of Duty. People actually have fun here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ahh the horror genre! Every year we are given entries into the genre that become cult classics such as The Exorcist and The Human Centipede…and then we get those that leave us wanting a refund (YES I am looking at you Paranormal Activity Series). But what happens when you get a series that can push the boundaries of what CAN be scary even further? This is Outlast II and why it does horror so great and does psychological horror even better.
The Outlast series was originally released on September 4, 2013 on PC and has been critically acclaimed as one of the top horror games of all time. Since its initial release, developer Red Barrels has gone as far as to release The Whistleblower DLC, and more recently, Outlast 2. All three entries have been successful in instilling an urgency of fear, keeping you on the edge of your seat around ever turn and every door opened. The reason for this instant feeling for fear can be broken down into four parts; story, setting, audio, and gameplay.
First, Outlast knows how to tell a story that gets you hooked, enough to begin exploration. Each of the entries start off with a tragic event; from an institution that has performed experiments that have caused hundreds of deaths to the mysterious death of a pregnant woman in the middle of the Nevada Desert. Because of these events, there is always a “noble crusader” willing to right these wrongs and compelled deliver justice to the unspoken. These events always tie back to a central figure, Murkoff Corporation, a “charitable organization” that wants to push the limits of what science can do for human society. They are responsible for conducting experiments to the psychiatric patients at the Mount Massive Asylum in Lake County, Colorado and to the people in the rural area in Supai, near the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The experiments can cause superhuman strength or even total mind control over a massive area. The treatment of these patients at Mount Massive Asylum is what causes the main protagonist from the Whistleblower DLC, Waylon Park, to send an anonymous email to freelance reporter Miles Upshur. Miles interest in their treatment sparked an interest to deliver a story exposing the atrocities of Murkoff Corporation to the world. During both Waylon and Miles exploration of the Asylum, they are subjected to some of same experimentation, including dismemberment. Both characters come into contact with the patients and staff over multiple occurrences, exposing more of the story behind the curtain.
The direction of Murkoff Corporation is ever so present in Outlast 2 when reporter Lynn Langermann and her husband Blake Langermann travel out to Supai, Nevada to investigate the mysterious death of a pregnant “Jane Doe” out in the Nevada Desert. Things take a turn for the worst when a bright light and deafening noise cause their helicopter to lose power and crash land. You then take control of Blake, separated from everyone, scared and only equipped with a high-tech camera. As you traverse through the desert terrain, you run into your pilot, strung up like an ornament and skinned to bleed out. Descending further down into the town below you come into contact with the townspeople. The townspeople are the result of an experiment by Murkoff Corporation in which they used microwaves to brainwash massive crowds of people by trapping them within their deepest fears. The townspeople have been divided by this effect into two groups; Anti-Christ Christians, lead by Father Sullivan Knoth, who want to destroy the seeds of parents in order to prevent the apocalypse and the Heretics, those who approve of the birth of children to save them but are still violent in nature. These microwaves go off multiple times, allow you to escape in desperate scenarios while also causing harm to Blake, causing him to hallucinate and alter his perception of reality and fiction. After he has rediscovered his wife, he is informed that his wife is “pregnant with his unborn child” and you are lead to believe this is true for the duration of the game.
The setting for all three entries takes place in locations true to real life. The first game and DLC take place in an insane asylum, institutes that have a dark history for their experimentation and treatment of their patients. Due to the barbaric nature of locations such as these, it isn’t hard to be fearful walking through the dark, with images of the events playing in your head and the ominous fear of such events occurring to you. In Outlast 2, you a placed in a desert town in Northern Nevada. Dark caves, dim houses, tall grass and cornfields are what you are greeted to and what you begin to feel will be the final resting place for your character. As Blake starts to hallucinate as the story progresses, you are transported to an old catholic school where night vision on your camera is a must for dark classrooms, hallways, and libraries.
I had to stop typing for a moment because I saw something weird out of the corner of my eye. Now I hear breathing which is weird because I’m the only one here and-