Days Gone is much more than a game to me. Days Gone is my perfect escape from reality. Survival is a concept that we live by everyday. Most of us do our best to look after ourselves in order to survive the strongest way we can. Days Gone is no different. Survival takes a different notion in Days Gone and in particular Deacon is guided by finding his one true love amidst a Post Apocalyptic, Freaker infested world. This is not a review of Days Gone so if you are here for a review then I suggest you read no further. If you’d like to hear about why Days Gone is an important game to me then read on.
A Dilapidated look
Days Gone’s world is immense. Broken bridges with nests flailing out of them, overgrown plants and vines consume the cemetery, tunnels that are so packed full of broken down cars you have no choice but to go slow and sketchy NERO checkpoints that lurk on corners! Days Gone delivered a vivid world that I become immersed in each time I played. I felt captivated the rain hitting the broken tarmac of the long roads! I enjoyed traveling the dangerous roads in different towns, taking risks to stop for gas at the gas station pumps whilst hearing a Freaker make ground behind you. Days Gone executed the environments in such a way that I felt continually immersed.
It’s not all gritty though. Extremely late on in the game Days Gone starts to deliver some new weather fronts that I was not expecting. Snow capped mountains produce equally as much danger as the lower broken roads that hug the riversides. The key here is the timing though. I felt intrigued by Bend Studio’s decision to introduce a more varied weather system so late on in the game? For me Days Gone was the gift that kept on giving which is one of the reasons I could not stop playing it.
Deacon was both trapped and free at the same time; bound by his mission to find his wife yet freed by the open road being able to travel between various settlements. The more missions Deacon completed the XP we could spend on improving the experience. For me I found that fine tuning my bike was rewarding!
You are not a freak
Freakers to Days Gone are like Zombies are to Resident Evil. Nobody knows how the Freakers came to be but what we do know if that they thrive in hordes. Whether they’re buried deep within rotting nests or roaming around a NERO Checkpoints, Freakers will waste no time in charging an attack when Deacon is spotted. I had to choose my battles wisely when it came to Freaker hordes. At times it seemed like thousands of Freakers would overrun Deacon and it was incredibly difficult to escape. I had to ensure Deacon was strong and strategically place his bike in a safe getaway zone. I loved this. The adrenaline rush of being chased by what seemed like THOUSANDS of Freakers was something I adored about Days Gone. For some gamers this may sound like another laborious task of protagonist escapes zombie horde but I don’t feel this way. It’s the vast and expansive; yet lonely world of Days Gone that feeds my desire to stay with Days Gone. Not a lot of Zombie like games can pull this off successfully. Take the Resident Evil franchise. The franchise is not focused around hordes of zombies (with a mild exception of Resident Evil V) but more around solving puzzles with a light sprinkling of zombie action. Now you may be saying “what about World War Z?” Yes this game launches thousands of zombies at you in a short space in time but this happens in much smaller environments compared to Days Gone. There’s less atmosphere with a Left 4 Dead - World War Z type of zombie game.
In short; Days Gone is a perfect game. The landscape, the solitude, the Freakers, the camps, the dull and deranged colour palette; everything! Share some of your adventures from Days Gone by placing a comment on this post.
Blog post by: Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Man of Medan seems like a long awaited title from Supermassive Games; developers of Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn Man of Medan is an interactive horror game that forces players to make timed decisions. Each decision impacts the proceeding storyline, characters and more. Man of Medan is the first chapter of Supermassive Games' Anthology series (The Dark Pictures). Supermassive Games are set to release a new chapter within 6 months of the previous. The next chapter is called Little Hope which seems to ooze Silent Hill Vibes. Once you beat Man of Medan there's a sneak peek in to Little Hope pegged for a 2020 release. It looks brilliant!
Building up to Man of Medan's release I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Horror games with nautical backdrops don't really float my boat. In fact the ending of Resident Evil VII felt flat to me as we were stuck on that damn ship! Dark, damp and dreary ships! I can think of much scarier settings for a horror game. The question remains though: did I enjoy Man of Medan? The answer is: not as much as I enjoyed Until Dawn; which for me had a much more appealing backdrop, more characters and a longer story. Man of Medan is slow to kick off. A group of upcoming divers hire a boat, which includes a confident female tour guide. With a crate of beer the five of them set sail in to the South Pacific Ocean. Without spoiling the story the five of them find themselves in a hostage situation and end up slamming directly in to a missing Ghost Ship from the 1940's The true horror seemed to start from this point in the game which was already over one hour in.
If you've played Until Dawn you will be familiar with the choice based narrative of the game. Choices or there lack of will impact on the bearing of the next stage of the game. I found the opportunity to make decisions somewhat slow and frustrating. Frustrating in a sense of there only being three choices each time. I would have preferred to have more options to choose from as this would have increased the pace a little.
Man of Medan had some surprising jump scares. Could there have been more? Absolutely. I felt that the balance was tipped in favour of Man of Medan feeling more like a Walking in a dark ship simulator rather than a pacey horror game. I would have loved to have had more jump scares, however trivial.
Gamescom 2019 is over but the impact of the event is still fresh in my mind. What with games like Cyberpunk 2077,Death Stranding, Borderlands 3 and more it's no surprise that Gamescom attracts well over 350,000 eager gamers from around the world. Gamescom, in Koln, Germany, has been operating for over ten years and had show. This year was my first year at Gamescom and I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Yu Suzuki most notably famous for being the lead developer of the Shenmue series amongst other classics like the Outrun series, Space Harrier and After Burner.
The absolute highlight of Gamescom this year was Cyberpunk 2077. I watched a live gameplay demo of the upcoming CD Projeckt Red title; Cyberpunk 2077 in which I saw two different ways to approach a certain part of the game. One Cyberpunk was the Strong Solo whilst the other was the Hacker. The area we were in was called Pacifica. The graphics, despite it being early gameplay footage looked smooth, bright and sleek on the big screen. I should also point out that this demo was being shown on an Xbox One X. The only bad thing I can say about Cyberpunk 2077 is that we have to wait until 2020 to become fully immersed in its world.
What is better than a game that drenches you in bone crunching nostalgia vibes that instantly transport you back to your childhood? Five games that drench you from top to toe nostalgia right?! I recently picked up the July copy of Retro Gamer Magazine and checked out a new game called 198X by a Swedish dev team; Hi-Bit Studios. What immediately struck me about 198X was just how stunning the pixel art looked. There's a luscious blend of styles ranging from steam punk to a Blade Runner-esque, Ghost in the Shell type vibe sprinkled with some Outrun on top. I reached out to Tobias Bjarneby (writer and director) and he sent me an awesome insight in to 198X the game.
198X is an ecliectic mixture of the best gaming genre's from my childhood. We have The Beat 'Em Up, The Shoot 'Em up, The Racing Game, The Ninja Game and The RPG. Let us dive deeper in to the world of 198X.
Why do you think there remains so much nostalgia for arcade games?
"Arcades used to be these magical places. There you’d find the coolest and most impressive video games, with futuristic qualities far beyond what you could play at home. These towering machines were more than just games – they were portals to other worlds.
To me, this is the perfect setting for a 1980s coming-of-age story. Of course, 198X is hardly the first game to be heavily influenced by 80s arcade games – but what we’re doing is to put those games into context, capturing the atmosphere surrounding them.
We tell a story about discovering an arcade and finding new worlds in its games. 198X is a video game about falling in love with video games."
Where did the idea for 198X originate?
"Before all this I’d been working as a video game journalist and editor for 25 years, producing hundreds of magazines and several books. The core of our development team also founded Stockholm Museum of Video Games in 2016, so you could say that 198X is an extension of our previous work with preserving and celebrating video game history."
What challenges have you faced through making 5 distinct different games?
The big challenge was defining the essence of these games and their distinct era. Why do I love Out Run so dearly when I couldn’t care less about modern racing games? How come the opening stage in Final Fight, the first deadly slash in Strider and the initial boss encounter in R-Type had such a huge impact on me?
We found the answers not merely in graphics, sounds and core mechanincs, but in the context, presentation and gameplay variation. Visiting an arcade in the 80s was all about finding new experiences, swiftly moving from one world to another. Driving your Ferrari under the blue sky, then cleaning up the streets of Metro City, suddenly soaring over the rooftops of 2048 Moscow and further out in space to face Dobkeratops. This is what 198X is all about. We are not making just another beat ’em up or ninja game – we are using these games to tell a bigger story.
Shakedown: Hawaii is my latest game discovery! This is surprising considering the game has been in development for a few years. Shakedown: Hawaii is an upcoming open world action game that is geared around rebuilding your reputation as a CEO. Now that sounds like an ambitious foundation for a video game but before we tackle Shakedown Hawaii’s juicy bits it is important to pay homage to how this game looks.
If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s then the 8bit and 16bit era should be well known when it comes to gaming. Shakedown: Hawaii looks stunning with brightly coloured sprites. The overall look seems to be a mashup of Sim City, Grand Theft Auto, Streets of Rage and Metal Slug! Shakedown: Hawaii oozes charm for sure. In fact the concept art below reminds me of Grand Theft Auto V. Now if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is!
Left 4 Dead made its mark in amongst gaming fans, casual players and critics alike. Left 4 Dead 2 released 10 years ago on the Xbox 360 and PC and since then the game held up pretty well. Left 4 Dead held its appeal and value… until now.
Last week Saber Interactive launched World War Z on to the PS4, Xbox One and PC. World War Z has been heavily compared to the Left 4 Dead series on the Xbox 360. I’ve been live streaming World War Z on the PS4 and I am hooked.
What is World War Z (Game)?
World War Z shares similarities to Left 4 Dead. The campaign cane be played both online and off-line. If you choose to fight the undead offline; you will be in a squad with 3 other AI characters and then online with actual humans (friends or randoms).
There are 5 initial difficulty settings (or rather skulls). Put simply the higher the skull count the higher the difficulty! I started off on two out of five (normal) difficulty. Playing through the campaign online is much easier than offline. I found the offline AI to be slow and clunky so I would highly recommend playing online. If you’re an unfortunate soul who has no friends then rest assure that there are plenty of other players to be randomly team up with.
There are currently four countries to meander through when it comes to slaying the zombies: USA (New York), Israel (Jerusalem) Russia (Moscow) and Japan (Tokyo). There are three levels to each city except for Tokyo which has two. Each country offers players the same in that there are literally hundreds of thousands of zombies to kill at anyone time. You can expect the undead to to rather quick though, same as they were in the World War Z movie. Saber Interactive obtained the movie license which is pretty neat! The frightening movie scenes in which the zombies climb up one another to penetrate walls is also in the game! You can expect tense moments, high adrenaline and an absolute load of laughs!
If campaign is not your thing then you may enjoy jumping in to multiplayer! World War Z serves up game modes such as Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and more. Teams of four players are pit against each other but it does not end there. This is not a Call of Duty game! Expect waves of angry zombie hordes to flow through every multiplayer game! This adds a lot of tension and a lot of reward. Experience Points can be gained by killing zombies. In turn these can be spent to boost your weapons and your class levels. We’ll talk more about that later.
GTA V launched in September 2013 and has since earned Rockstar a mammoth six billion dollars in revenue. Arguably this is not from game sales but is attributed to the successful longevity of GTA V Online. Rockstar focused their creative energy towards dropping new heists, missions, flying cars and more and wow did the GTA V community love it. In fact there GTA Online is one of the biggest streamed video games on YouTube Gaming as I write this. That's impressive considering GTA V is almost six years old! We are not here to hash out the marvellous wonders of GTA Online. Oh no. It was GTA V's main campaign that reeled me in back in 2013 and if anything I've played the GTA V main story 95% more than I have ever been online? This makes me questions why Rockstar never gave the gaming community GTA V Story DLC? Why did they focus solely on GTA V Online? I don't have a definitive answer on this. I can speculate that Rockstar were so happy with the GTA V story that there was no need to expand it? Or perhaps Rockstar quickly realised the monetary value of online gaming gaming? Kotaku interviewed Rockstar's director of design who also could not give a definitive answer on why GTA V did not have any story dlc.
I recently completed GTA V in 2018 live on stream and purposely stayed away from GTA V Online. I wanted to go through GTA V one more time. Once again I donned the shoes of Franklin, Trevor and Michael amidst the crime ridden city of Los Santos. There was nothing that felt stale about getting behind the wheel again in Los Santos. I would go as far to say that I cannot think of another game released around the same time as GTA V that held up this well.
GTA V got a boost with a HD re-release which added more detailed textures, better lighting, vibrant colours and more. GTA V really does look great even in 2019 specifically on the current generation consoles. In fact Grand Theft Auto V looks pretty decent on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Over the Grand Theft Auto history I cannot specifically say that any of them have bad graphics but even if they did I believe GTA V holds its strength in the gameplay over anything else.
We start the GTA V campaign with Franklin. Franklin oozes personality and adopts a sense of swagger that is familiar with that of Carl Johnson from GTA San Andreas. I'd argue that its that sense of familiarity between personality traits that reel you in from the start of GTA V. Not to mention that Grove Street is right around the corner from Franklin's house. Now that is some serious gaming charm.
Please note: This review will contain dramatic and experimental prose, irony and cynicism for comedic effect and the entertainment for you, the reader.
It’s a cold winters day and probably an awful day at work -the one that pays, yet ultimately destroys spirit and humanity- when I check my mobile phone for to see if I have any messages regarding the death of or dying family member; the only time I ever get a message. To my astonishment I had received an email, though not my typical email of a refund from organization I’ve never dealt with, or the gold mining company in Beliveau that need £1000 transferred to their account, so they can set up their business and pay you back in millions; an offer no idiot can refuse. This email was from the publisher Digirati and the opportunity to request a review code for Pipe Push Paradise. Pipe Push Paradise is a 2D puzzle involving, you’ve guessed it pipes.
You have arrived on an island your uncle lives. Your uncle being the islands plumber has been out of action for the pass few days and the island needs running water. It’s up to you, a silent protagonist to fix the islands plumbing problem.
It was about a week later when I received the code. When I got in I rushed to my switch and typed the code in. ‘This Product is not available’, but it is available, I can see it on the store, it’s right there. I email the contact at Digirati explaining the situation and… Nothing.
Very few games capture the essence of being on vacation somewhere exotic quite like Pipe Push Paradise. It’s bright or tropical colour pallets mixed with this simplistic childish character design that seems to be popular in warming climates just sets that tone. If the visuals do not do that for you, the relaxing guitar melodies will. It’s freeform style of play only heightens this relaxing nature, the guitar playing is free, and taking its time, and just going nowhere in a hurry, it says “Hey relax, you’re on holiday, just chill out”.
After a further two weeks, with no contact out of nowhere I received another email. “Sorry for the delay, it has been crazy here, please find new code below”. I had not been forgotten. The anxiety, the worry of feeling that the developer may think I’ve done a fast one had subsided. Once again, I rushed home to enter the code.
In theory, Pipe Push Paradise is simple. You have one section that has water coming out, and using the surrounding spare pipes you must put them together so the water flows into the exit pipe (or is it entry pipe as the water flows in?). However, the talented developer Corey Martin takes this concept and develops it extremely well.
Resident Evil 2 was released 1998 on the the incredibly successful PlayStation. In fact the Resident Evil franchise has been fruitful on all consoles and arguably gamers have seen some interesting twists across all of the RE games. Now here in 2019 Capcom delivered an astounding remake of an already amazing Resident Evil 2 experience. Without dwelling on the original release of Resident Evil 2 I want to talk through my experiences of completing the Leon and Claire campaign in the frightening new rendition of Resident Evil 2. Both campaigns were completed on standard difficulty. I played through on a base PlayStation 4 model. I was surprised at how good the Resident Evil 2 Remake looked.
Don’t ask me why I chose to complete Resident Evil 2 with Leon first; I just did. My first play though took just just under eight hours to complete. Within the first hour I burst through the front door of Raccoon Police department and felt immediately engrossed.
The 2019 Raccoon Police Department had some stark differences compared to the original Resident Evil 2 release. Most noticeably were the stairs (left and right) leading straight up to the second floor. What I felt was a sense of where shall I go first? when entering Raccoon City Police Department for the first time. I liked this feeling as it added to my sense of bing lost. I went in to the Resident Evil 2 remake with high expectations of wanting to be scared. Did I feel scared? Yes I did. Within the first hour of playing the RE 2 remake I encountered multiple zombies and jump scares alike! I remember the age-old trick of shooting zombies that are half slumped against a wall. You never truly know if they are dead or not? For me; I felt the this was a key aspect of the Resident Evil 2 gameplay. That feeling of shooting the half slumped zombie and it actually killing it before it got you or that disappointment of wasting a bullet because the zombie cop is actually dead.
‘Remember: In paradise they’ve lost all of desires, pity, love- they are the blessed, with their imaginations surgically removed (the only reason why they are blessed)- angles, the slaves of God….’
We- Yevgeny Zamyatin (first published in 1924).
The story of Kromaia Omega (PS4) is ambiguous, upon awaking your father who tells you about four gods who must be defeated to break the circle. Everything else in the story and narrative design is left to speculation. Conversations with your father feel more like poetry, purposefully left to interpretation. Playing the game, you feel there is something more going on, from the biblical use of language, the tribal totems and architecture; you don’t play through the levels but you transcend through the spiritual landscapes. My brief knowledge on religious text, I couldn’t help but think of the Fallen Angels perverting humanity.
Aesthetically, the game is gorgeous. Clearly inspired by wonderful ‘Rez’, using simple geometric shapes, ancient iconography and a neon colour pallet. However, Kromaia Omega drops the digital, opting for an organic look with each level having its own colour scheme and identity. Though it’s when you are battling enemies and racking up a combo your screen becomes a spectacle, with colours, shapes and light filling your screen; it’s very close to simulating the visuals of being on some strong narcotic. At times you need just get lost in the spectacle of it all, only to be snapped out of your meditation by your significant other saying “So?”, naturally you respond “Yes” and then get shouted at because ‘Yes’ doesn’t answer if you want Chinese or Pizza takeaway.
Furthermore, the sound design and music compliment the visuals. The electronic soundtrack is more nuanced than you may think, with elements of Krautrock, glitch, rock and ambient drives the atmosphere of the game. It’s the change from delicate music to energetic that establishes if you are cruising or blasting through the level.
The sound design really bursts you with energy and sometimes makes your hairs stand up on edge. The emulation of sound in zero-gravity makes the explosions sound meaty that erupts from your television the higher the combo. At times its all overwhelming yet is part of the reason you just zone out due to it synchronizing with the visuals.
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We're well in to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and more recently the Nintendo Switch eras of gaming. Graphics had never looked so smooth and gameplay had never flowed so fluently. Let's not forget the triumphant last Generation of gaming with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; all of which I have a lot of time for.
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