Left Alive is an upcoming third person survival action shooter set in a dark and gritty war torn world. With art designs by Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa, this game quickly found its way on my “must play” list. Square Enix has shrouded the game heavily in mystery. However, Left Alive plans to tell a story focused on three unique protagonist fighting for survival.
The game will let players decide between stealth and wit gameplay or going guns a blazing against enemies of all sizes. And armor. That’s right, as shown in the trailer, players will be able to pilot giant mechs into battle. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper narrative game with heavy man vs machine elements. Unless we’re still counting TitanFall 2, of course.
Let us know in the comments below, does this game excite you as much as it excites me?
A Way Out is a two-player action adventure game developed by Hazelight and published by EA Games. Hazelight is mainly comprised of developers who worked on Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons so it shows that the developers had a knack for working on two-player games. In a world of season passes, games as service, and 80-hour sandboxes, it takes a lot of chutzpah to come out and say you’re going to have a linear, story-focused campaign that has to be played with another person, preferably one sitting right next to you. Indeed it has become a novel experience to play with your friends in person rather than online. With the graphical demand of consoles, some developers have had struggles trying to keep same screen multi-player available, but Hazelight pulled it off. But how is it?
If anything, the game is considerably unpolished. While main characters Vincent and Leo have a lot of detail put into their appearances, that same can’t really be said for the rest of the cast. Plenty of variety is used for the various extraneous characters is in the game, but they just have an amateurish look as if they were generated by one of the customizable protagonist games that have a ‘random’ button. But it’s a small team, and they have limited resources, but it’s clear they did everything they could to keep the game looking good. Despite what you may expect from the footage you’ve seen of this game, there actually is a considerably large amount of different locations the game takes place in. These scenarios are very diverse, from the dreary grey of prison to the bright blues and greens of a tropical locale. There’s that and the visual effects are pretty good, especially the way rain looks when you get inclement weather. It’s very detailed and in-depth, they made sure this game would run well and look decent while not sacrificing too much of either.
There’s a thin line between homage and theft. The plot of the game goes off into this crazy dash through all the beats of more than 10 different movies and sometimes even lifts a scene or two. There really wasn’t much going on that you haven’t seen in another movie, which means that yes, the game features a lot of overused tropes. Usage of familiar tropes isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s very hard to get invested in some of the characters. It’s a tight string of a story, running along from beginning to end without a whole lot of buildup on any characters other than the main characters. You end up with a story that begins and just jumps here and there leading you to a series of several non-climactic moments book-ending every chapter. Does it play the part well? Of course, it does. But the lack of originality and motivation aren’t present.
The game featured a lot of surprisingly bass-heavy orchestral tracks during a lot of the exposition. But if it comes down to memorability, I can’t remember anything about it. The OST seems to have simply gone with a sort of generic template for action/adventure movies and doesn’t seem to keep in line with the mood of the story. But the soundtrack is still very well-mixed and Vincent & Leo’s voice actors gave some pretty good performances, giving the characters life even if they sometimes have bad lines.
Over the course of the game, you will do so many average versions of what would probably be better in a sandbox game. Driving, fighting, QTE’s, shooters, stealth action, and big decisions, you play just a little bit of all those games type as you make your way through the game. When it came to walking through a few mountains, trying to stealthily take out cops was adequate. The shooty bits at the end of the game are adequate. The driving is very arcadish and adequate. There were no big ideas, just focusing mainly on the story, the game tries to make playing with your partner as easy as possible. Nothing ever gets too difficult because the game made sure to have you deal with whatever game mechanic is thrown at you during the chapter you’re in, then poof, it’s gone from the game. It’s on a cruise control that lulls you into quickly knowing what you’re dealing with and doing it. There’s not much more to say, everything works, but nothing is spectacular.
Co-op on the couch is a very rare thing indeed. If it weren’t for the showing at E3 that heavily pushed for playing with a real-life partner, the experience wouldn’t have been whole online. Full disclosure, I played the game with my uh, err, current and formidable life partner, we almost had a fight but never did. Even when she got stuck on a wall FOR THE FOURTEENTH TIME JUST PULL AWAY AAAAAAAAAAAAAA. But the moments of frustration were few and the moments of being heavily engaged in playing were plentiful. Sure, as I’ve said before, not a single thing in the game is unique, but the fact that you’re going through so much game with someone in real life is a special experience that not a lot of games can tout. This game most reminds me of Quantum Break of all games, it’s a completely new experience that while not the best, is a very creative way of getting the player’s attention. And in this case, the company breaks ground by going back to the good ol’ days and having you play together. In real life, preferably.
A Way Out does what it sets out to do: be a solid co-op experience. It unfortunate that the sum of all its parts is still rather low but it still manages to have that special X-factor. If you have someone you know that you want to play an experience game with, you could do worse than this. Looking at you, F.3.A.R.
Actually, now that you mention it, Fear 3 was a pretty mediocre game too. It wasn’t scary, that’s for sure. Also, said partner copy-edited this article and heartily agrees that arguments almost happened.
Get Even is a unique action adventure game developed by The Farm 51 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. In the game you play a mercenary named Cole Black who appears to have some sort of involvement with a kidnapping and a bomb. Throughout it, you explore different memories to eventually figure out how everything transpired. However, as you go through the game, you will notice that there are several moments where something seems off about this method. The game combines many different types of gameplay elements and tries to manage them all. Does it succeed?
Way back in the old times (2014), the game was shown off with a very vague tech demo at E3 highlighting the detailed graphics of the game. Though it may not have held up to the original trailer (which seems to be the case with every E3 trailer), it got the job done with a gold star. This is both from a technical standpoint and an artistic standpoint. Environments, both indoor and outdoor are relatively small but they all flourish with minimal repetition. If anything, it could have used some more variety as you go through trash heap after trash heap, but at least said trash heaps are all well crafted. The concrete locations are littered with various tags and street art in every room. That, and the dissolving particle effect you get from unlocking memories, creating objects, and killing NPCs is stunning every time you do it.
I don’t want to talk about it too much here, because this is the sort of game that is better if you know as little as possible before jumping in. The game revolves around exploring memories while finding clues with your phone. You are doing this to piece together all the parts of a vast series of events that led up to the aforementioned bomb and kidnapping. But any game that revolves around memory and the human psyche are bound to be riddled with plot twists. These plot twists really do deliver themselves routinely throughout the experience and add up to a rather surprising turn of events later on. But that’s all I really want to expound on right now.
Now, the original soundtrack to this game isn’t the most astonishing in terms of just music. But what it does with the way the music and sound implementation is ingenious. Tracks play with odd time signatures that sometimes fall out of sync with themselves. Sometimes you hear people humming a song you heard in the soundtrack earlier on. There are other times where the soundtrack is played back at different speeds. Several characters have their own leitmotifs. At one point, two songs were playing at the same time and it was definitely intentional. One of the levels has a song wherein if you enter open combat, a loud bubblegum pop song plays instead of a serious orchestral piece. Additionally, there are moments where your breathing becomes louder than everything else. You also hear echos of non-natural sounds in the distance. Stealth sections have some really heavy distortion synth pad chords that get louder and louder the closer you get to an enemy NPC. What I’m saying is the audio design on this game is a perfect fit for the content within. Clever uses of diegetic & non-diegetic sounds are abound.
This is where the game gets a bit dodgy. Get Even has decided that the only way to be unlike any other game is to simultaneously consist of many different games all in one package. For better and worse, the game tries to do the following: first person shooter action, tactical stealth, horror with defense, and adventure. Yes, all of that. Whenever you’re in a section with many enemy NPCs, you can choose to shoot your way through it or sneak around. However, there are sections where open conflict seems mandatory, especially towards the very end. The game does a good job of letting you know that you are being actively judged for how you handle every situation too. When you’re not around NPCs, you spend some time exploring an asylum trying to find photographs for plot reasons, and this is where both the horror and puzzle elements prevail. Sometimes the asylum is quiet and peaceful while other times it’s like a haunted old mansion. What’s worse is the game is not afraid to implement overused horror tropes. Then there are bits where you have to solve actual puzzles in order to proceed and they aren’t very difficult, but they exist throughout the entire journey. The game is truly trying to be a jack of all trades and is definitely a master at none.
Your mileage may vary greatly on how much you can tolerate the genre shifting. My experience on the whole package is positive. However, there are a handful of sections that can be frustrating, and this again depends on what part you are at. I remember a particular section where stealth was too hard and I ended up either shooting everyone up or sprinted away hoping the NPCs would not give chase. There was another section of the game where after rounding a corner and going outside of the asylum, the game dramatically switches to full on supernatural horror for no particular reason. At the same time, the tactical stealth was very engaging and the implementation of an actual corner gun really sets this title apart from the pack. All in all, the game was vexing enough that I feel at least one additional playthru (in which I murder everyone) will be warranted.
Get Even promised to be a unique game and it delivered. It is quite a psychological experience that you won’t soon forget after the credits roll. The only thing that really keeps the game hampered down is the inconsistency, which can greatly affect your enjoyment of the title. Overall, despite not being one of our top rated games this year, it is still a contender for GOTY 2017.
P.S. There’s a lot of involvement from inclusion of an in-universe VR headset and I personally think this kind of game would be great to have a VR version.