It has been a great year for the survival horror genre. What with the explosive Resident Evil VII and now The Evil Within 2; the sequel to the 2014 release of The Evil Within. Currently Resident Evil VII is my game of 2017 as I was mighty impressed with the new atmosphere of the mansion and the Bakers really added a creepy twist the campaign. Could anything beat Resident Evil VII? Could there be a video game that surpassed the fright, horror and sadistic nature of the RE VII? My answer is simple: no. Or at least not yet.
The Evil Within 2 is nowhere near as enticing as quest to find Mia in Resident Evil VII. Here’s the thing; The Evil Within 2 is not supposed to be. The Evil Within 2 is its own game which brings a whole new level of horror compared to the first game: The Evil Within. Now we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s explore what really shines about The Evil Within 2.
The Evil Within 2 is nowhere near as gory as the first game. Perhaps Shinji Mikami’s role as Producer rather than director had something to do with the change in vibe in The Evil Within 2. The game serves a plethora of tense moments rather than scary moments in my opinion. I didn’t expect this either as I was hoping for many more jump scares but sadly The Evil Within 2 didn’t provide it. Shelve that and what we have here is a desperate father trying to find his daughter whom he previously believed to be dead from a house fire. It turns out that she is indeed alive after Mobius faked her death. Lily was exploited by Mobius in their efforts to create a new STEM core in a simulated town called Union. Union forms the foundation in The Evil Within 2. Sebastian is recruited by Mobius to try and save Lily after contact was lost. At various points during The Evil Within 2’s story is drip fed through the interactions between Sebastian and other characters. We soon come to realise the wrath of Stefano Valentini too. The plagued and extroverted photographer obsessed with death. Stefano's characters added some vert tense moments in to The Evil Within 2 but I won't spoil the surprises too much for you. Ultimately, I think the pacing of the story is perfect and not overloaded with lengthy cut scenes or dialogue. I am usually put off by lengthy cut scenes and excessive dialogue but the pace of the story really worked in The Evil Within 2.
The Evil Within 2 really capitalises on the the first game. The shooting mechanics feel much more accurate and stable, the evolution of the story is well paced and the setting feels a little more fleshed out and overall The Evil Within 2 is well worth buying.
One of the more polished aspects I The Evil Within 2 is the stealth. Personally I found there to be a lot of opportunities to crawl through the creepy town of Union in various directions. Yes The Evil Within 2 bodes such more of an open world game compared to The Evil Within. In the first game we were limited to corridors and rooms whereas the more open world in The Evil Within 2 gave me more options to approach enemies in different ways. Some of the stealth kills reminded me of moments The Last of Us.
At times The Evil Within 2 can seem a little repetitive. On a few occasions dipping back in to the Marrow felt tiring and unrewarding. Perhaps I’m being a little too critical here but it’s worth pointing out especially if you’re considering binge playing through The Evil Within 2. Additionally, jump scares rarely occur. For me I would have been more satisfied with an experience that threw in more jumpy surprises. Be mindful of this if you’re expecting a scary game. The Evil Within 2 is not overly scary but more like an overly aggressive horror game; the kind that you’ve grown easily desensitised to. Sadly I felt this was about Outlast 2 in that the jump scares lacked.
Expect Union to be wrought with enemies. I played on the medium difficulty and still found there to be quite a few monsters and crazed zombie like creatures scattered around every corner. I really like the variants of enemies too.
Fleeing back to base in The Evil Within 2 provides a welcome break in order to level up. The base is an old office comprising of multiple rooms/areas. Accessing it is the same as it was in The Evil Within in that you are sucked through the mirror. Spending the green gel to develop skills and equipment is all done back at base as it was before. I found the skill tree to be super easy to navigate which was an advantage for me as couples menu systems are a turn off in any game.
So which game is the better experience? The Evil Within or The Evil Within 2? I strongly urge you play them both in order to experience how different each game feels. The Evil Within felt much more closed in and gory whereas the second felt more open and gave players more choice to tackle missions in a less linear manner. Decide on what your expectations are before you play The Evil Within 2. If you like Resident Evil VII and The Last of Us then I predict you'll enjoy The Evil Within 2. If you didn't enjoy those two then play through the fist game first. Whatever you choose you're in for a fierce ride!
Eurogamer Expo 2017 (EGX 2017) - Assassin's Creed Origins, Far Cry 5, Battlefront 2 oh and Dead Pixels 2
Eurogamer 2017 has finished and we are all returning back to reality after being graced with playing some of the best upcoming video games of 2017 and 2018. Video games that will don the PS4, Xbox One X and PC alike. EGX 2017 did not just serve up AAA titles though but we were blessed with a mighty EGX Rezzed section. Indie developers stole EGX 2017 for many with games like Bloody Zombies, Dead Cells, Raging Justice and more. Lets take at look at some of this years EGX highlights as I was fortunate enough to play more of the AAA sites across two days.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Over the last few Assassin’s Creed games I’d lost interest. The franchise seemed to grow incredibly repetitive and stale with ever-growing similarities in the parkour and general gameplay mechanics. Queueing for Assassin’ Creed Origins took around two hours and was playable on the Xbox One X and PC. I played Assassin’s Creed Origins on the Xbox One X. Instantly I was hit at just how crisp and gorgeous the game looked. Despite being Alpha gameplay the textures, colours and details were on point. The Egyptian setting seemed attractive and a welcome change to the past Victorian, Colonial and Renaissance eras.
Assassin’s Creed Origins had some downsides. Camera angles seemed rigid and buggy but I don’t feel this is anything to be concerned about given the alpha demo gameplay. I’ve also never enjoyed the ridiculous amount of question marks on the compass and intricate menu systems. Assassin’s Creed Origin’s had way too much going on from that angle. I would have preferred a more streamlined compass system!
Today something wonderful happened in the gaming world. PlayStation announced that Secret of Mana will be re-released in 3D on the Playstation 4 and PS Vita in February 2018. Square Enix sure know how to rock the classics and the Secret of Mana 3D remake is going to be no different. Back in 2015 I wrote about Secret of Mana 3D showcasing the work of Bitplex who created Secret of Mana reimagined in 3D. The work showed stills of Secret of Mana from the SNES and created 3D renditions of those stills making the word seem even more beautiful. Now over two years later we are getting a real release of Secret of Mana 3D with a ton of new perks. How could Secret of Mana get any better? Well it can as Playstation announced three new aspects of gameplay to get excited about: Voiced characters, local multiplayer and a new soundtrack. The local multiplayer alone is enough to excite anybody's gaming palette right?
With the SNES Mini Classic getting released at the end of September it seems like a peak time for the good ol' Super Nintendo with many fans being able to enjoy 22 classic Super Nintendo games all over again including Secret of Mana. So what is it that drives the nostalgia in us? What is it that gets us revved up for classic games? It's different for everybody. This release; Secret of Mana 3D certainly brings in new features to an existing classic RPG.
There's no doubt in my mind that I will be playing Secret of Mana 3D remake and the fact that we can go portable on the PS Vita makes it even more appealing.
Blog post by Gemma @ JuicyGameReviews / TheGebs24
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has taken the gaming world by storm since it's Early Access release in March 2017. Currently Battlegrounds is only available in the PC but during E3 2017 we learnt that Playerunknown's Battlegrounds will with launching with the upcoming Xbox One X later this year. Rumour has it that Battlegrounds will be landing on the PS4. Let's hope we can get some solid confirmation of that soon!
If you've been sleeping under a rock for the last few months then there's a chance Playerunknown's Battlegrounds wont be on your radar. Battlegrounds is a 100 person Battle Royale game mode and currently playable on one huge map. Battlegrounds can be played solo, with a partner (duos) or in squads of up to 4 players. The last man/woman standing is rewarded with a Chicken Dinner title in the caption of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. Catchy right? Although not if you're vegetarian.
Battlegrounds for many gamers has become a complete addiction. Brenden Greene, Playerunknown himself recently tweeted that his game now had the highest player count of a non-Valve game. Not too shabby for a game that is yet to launch in full release. This makes me question what greatness is yet to come from Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. Exciting times.
So why is Battlegrounds so enthralling for so many players? First off Battlegrounds captures a stunning yet deadly atmosphere within its world. One minute you'll be camping in your quiet little hideout after beefing out your loadout then before you know it someone is launching a molotov in to your legs! Battlegrounds takes players from zero to sixty in less than one second and with the Battlegrounds connects with players perfectly. For me personally I cannot recall another game that lifted my heart rate so much coupled with feeling huge bursts of adrenaline. Secondly, Battlegrounds can be won with only one kill. You can play defensively right the way down to the last two people in the field. Imagine a giant game of hide and seek because you'll do a lot of hiding as well as searching in Battlegrounds and not just for players either. Nope you'll be searching for the best loadout possible to thrust you to success. "Will there be an AKM behind this door?" I love the feeling of wonder Battlegrounds brings to my mind. It all adds to the rush. Thirdly, Battlegrounds is immensely strategic. The rings of the map start to close on players at certain timed rotations. Camping is impossible all of the time. The actual finishing points on the map are tiny if you're lucky enough to reach the top 10. Why does this matter? Battlegrounds actually covers numerous genre's of games: shooters (FPS and third person), strategy, sandbox, driving and more. That is why it's important. The ring closures of the map change can force players from stealth and directly in to combat. No matter what you enjoy about gaming there will be something for you in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds.
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds - Breaking ground for fans all over (sub author SquishyUnicorn4)
I’ve been playing PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds (PUBGs) it wasn’t a game that was on my radar to get for the PC as I’ve only just brought a gaming PC and my knowledge on games isn’t high.
So my first encounter of Battlegrounds was when TheGebs24 was live streaming it and within half hour I was downloading it. It grabbed my attention straight away.
Playerunknown's Battleground's caught my eye specifically with the mechanics of the game, considering it is an early access game it seemed to flow. Yes, there’s a lot of lag at times and the specs you have to have to play the game is insane, as it chugs the hell out of my pc, I had 8GB of RAM and I have an i5 6400, with a GTX 960 (it is defiantly recommended to have 16GB of ram or more) now I have 24GB of RAM it runs faster but to get max FPS all my settings are on low but don’t let that stop you getting it as it still looks great in my opinion and runs very smooth, for me at least. But also, we must take into count, it’s still early access and this changes with every update.
The looting system is great I love a good looting games and sometimes I get a bit obsessed and I’ve been caught out looting for too long. The design of the inventory is simple and easy to use which is what you want in a game, sometimes this game can be fast paced especially coming into the top 20, so an easy inventory is what is needed.
What I also love about the game is that there is 3 different game modes, which are, Solo’s, Duo’s and Squads. Squads for me is very hard and must have excellent communication with your teammates and all being on the same page when it comes to tactics, otherwise you can all die with a split second. For me I must admit my favourite is Duo’s as there is just two for you, its easy to communicate and to keep an eye on the whereabouts of your teammate and of course only 2 people to kill and look out for and not 4 when it comes to squads.
I’ve found that this game can be very addictive and even if you don’t get that chicken dinner you get pumped for the next match going into to it with a different mindset and change your tactics from the last match. I only have got one chicken dinner with a team of 4 and again on a different server with just 3 of us but was very different to the last. Each game weather its Solo’s, Duo’s or Squads each game is different, every move you make has an impact on the game along with every shot you make. Also when it comes to deciding to make a kill or them go. There’s so much to take into count playing this game and its not just your typical shooter game which is another reason this game caught my eye.
Solo’s is fun to play but as I’ve played all three modes its definably better with friends and I’m excited for the new maps to come in the next update. Things are being added all the time and I’m hyped to the final product (if it makes it) and ultimately when it comes to Xbox with it being my main console I’m definitely super stoked for it.
Back to me now. Playerunknown's Battleground's is going to be huge. I can overlook all of the bugs at present due to it being in early access. Each week Battlegrounds gets an update which continues to improve the mechanics, server stability and more. Currently, Bluehole are working on the Vaulting System and two new maps so exciting things are on the horizon. In the meantime we are always in search for the next Chicken Dinner. I cannot recommend Battlegrounds enough. You can find it on Steam now priced at £26.99. See you out there
Often there are games that have immensely negative press prior to release. It can be crippling. On the other hand I’ve seen huge build up to games that simply flopped on release. Take the case of No Man’s Sky. Never before could I recall a game that re-filled the shelves of pre-owned sections of CEX so fast. No Man’s Sky was built on lies and shattered promises. Luckily Hello Games mildly redeemed themselves from total failure with the release of patches that added cool features like base building. So what does all this have to do with Prey? Arkane Studios latest title to accompany last years release of Dishonored 2; Prey, is a solid stealth action adventure game. Prey (PS4, Xbox One and PC) seemed plagued with negativity from gamers all over the globe in the run up to release. As I read the comments on early gameplay videos it became clear that people disliked graphics, weapons, environments and enemies which left me feeling bewildered and confused. How can we fully judge a game before release? We cannot. If No Man’s Sky is anything to to go by then we should be careful in setting our expectations of any upcoming video game?
Morgan You is the main protagonist in Prey and we are able to choose our gender before the goings on start to unfold. Right off the bat this seems like something that is super cool. Whilst we are unable to change the look of our chosen Morgan I think it’s nice little extra. We start out in our apartment and proceed to make our way to a training station. Once there it takes no time for one of the researchers to be attacked by a Typhon; a hostile alien life-form. It’s here that Prey began to take a turn which seemed odd given that this was less than one hour in to the game. Admittedly I was expecting Prey to be a boxed standard first person shooter but this early twist set my gaming tastebuds in to overdrive. For those of you who haven’t played Prey there is going to be a mild spoiler here: The opening scenes were all a simulation! The apartment was not real. The training station was not real. At this point Prey seemed to open up very quickly and I became hooked on the experience. All of the negativity during the build-up seemed irrelevant now.
Barely two years after Red Barrels studio was formed in Canada Outlast was thrust upon the Playstation Network as one of PSN’s free games. I’ve always been a huge fan of horror games as far back as the first Resident Evil on the PS1. The twisted corridors of the mansion that were wrought with zombies and flesh torn dead animals. Resident Evil 1 changed a lot back in the day and I’ve been hooked on horror ever since. Outlast also had its fair share of crazy corridors but we were a long way from Racoon City. I played through the game on release and then again on live stream in preparation for the launch of Outlast II. Prior to the release of Outlast II I was hoping for more jump scares than ever before. Outlast had so many that I’d go as far to say that it is one of my favourite horror games alongside the unbelievable Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. I wondered if Outlast II would be up there too?
Outlast II is much more open that its predecessor; Outlast. I don’t want to dive in to the story all that much but the general scenes are outdoor farmland and shacks: lots of shacks. It reminded me very much of how The Field of Dreams would have looked if a swarm of Satanic worshippers had crashed Kevin Costner’s farm. During the first couple of hours in Outlast II this setting felt great. It’s fresh and super creepy. At times I felt a sense of Alan Wake with the narrow wooden paths and half bent lampposts. Outlast II felt prefect.
After a few hours I started to feel a little irritated at the repetition and monotony of the environments. There were some marginal redemption points in which our main protagonist is pulled in to a Catholic school which is still very dark and scary but a welcome break from the cornfields and shacks. More often than not Outlast II failed to thread the story together quick enough. The jump scares also LACKED significantly. Don’t get me wrong Outlast II got my pulse pounding in parts but not as much as I had hoped. I genuinely felt a little anxious going in to Outlast II but those feelings evaporated very quickly. If you asked me which game was scarier between Outlast and Outlast II I’d go with the first; Outlast without a doubt. I wanted to expand on scary experience but sadly I didn’t.
It’s hard to forget the disappointment No Man’s Sky brought to thousands of gamers back on release. The blatant lies from Hello Games’ main man Sean Murray with the promise of discoveries such a huge mechs and the ability to create bases. I avoided the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky so fortunately I didn’t feel as disappointed with the unfinished product. Fast Forward to March 2017 and Mass Effect: Andromeda finally got released in to the wild gaming jungles, namely many living rooms and game rooms alike. As I type this Mass Effect: Andromeda is sitting at a Meteoritic average score of 74 (critics score) and a 4.8 user score. That’s around a 25% difference between the two review groups which is startling. So why is there a large difference between the score groups. User scores/reviews are from the hardcore Mass Effect fan base or so it seems. A lot of attention has been paid to details such as naming specific NPC’s. If you care about details then Mass Effect: Andromeda may not be for you. In fact don’t buy it. If fluid animations and life-like textures contribute towards your gameplay experience then stay away from Mass Effect: Andromeda. It is clear from reading the user reviews of Mass Effect: Andromeda that it’s been a serious issue.
Last week, Bioware released patch 1.05 that really boosted the facial details on NPC’s and overall eradicated some of the blocky animation of the characters facial expressions. You can see it here from Twitter user Shinobi602:
The horror genre is often praised within the gaming community for its high intensity jump scares, pulse racing moments and sheer immersion. Never before has a genre made grown men scream during their live streams; making this genre one of the most entertaining to watch on YouTube and Twitch. Resident Evil VII: Biohazard completely changed the foundations of the Resident Evil franchise with not one single zombie appearing in the game. Let us not forget the Virtual Reality mode too. Resident Evil 7 was reportedly made for VR mode. I have not played it in VR mode but I can understand the immense appeal for some gamers. Did Capcom make that right move in changing the direction of the franchise? Sure we had a mansion and plenty of puzzles to taint the way and let’s not forget the twisted folded beings of the basement! Resident Evil VII: Biohazard was a bold move indeed. Here’s why it worked.
The P.T Effect
Nobody will forget the P.T demo on the PS4. The creepy hallways, the bloodstained bathroom and that phone! The Silent Hills game that never got as far as the P.T demo. Thanks Konami! I wonder how many people out there still believe Capcom copied the vibe of Hideo Kojima’s masterful demo with Resident Evil VII Biohazard? Do you believe it? Both RE7’s producer and director confirmed that the likeness was a pure coincidence. Resident Evil 7 was in development long before the P.T demo surfaced on PSN.
"When PT surfaced we were already into development and we were surprised to see it," Kawata said. "I'm worried about how my jokes come across but I hear Brits like black humour. So, out of everyone, we were the most relieved when PT didn't come out."
Resident Evil VII has a clear likeness to P.T and we know it was not planned that way. Personally I believe RE7’s new and Zombieless direction is fresh and I’m excited to see what’s to come from the franchise.
So, another year, another Pokemon game. How does this one stack up to previous entries in the series? Given all that was shown off on the run up to the launch, is it all just fan service? I plan on answering these questions and more during the course of this review and I’ll also try to remain as spoiler-free as I can.
Pokéballs at the ready...
The game starts off by first asking which language setting you want and then warning you that you can’t change this after this point. After that you receive a video message from the new professor for this generation who gives you a short introduction to the game. Fans of the series will recognise this sort of intro as what we’ve always had but on a much prettier level this time. The Professor shows you a map of the new Alola region in this sequence, showcasing the islands that you will see on your journey throughout the region. As we all know, Alola is based off of real-world Hawaii and features lots of scenery and other elements that display this inspiration. After the map, you’re introduced to one of the new Pokemon for this region, a Rockruff, who seems to be quite the playful little character. Next you get asked which photo you want to use for your Trainer Passport. This is the part where you get to select the gender of your trainer, as well as skin tone and hair colour, from eight possible options.
After selecting your look and your name, you then see a glimpse of another new Pokemon for the region (a Pikipek) and then the video call ends. You’re then called by your mother to help with some boxes and another cutscene begins. You see a girl escaping from some guards, her bag fires out a large blue blast and then the camera pans up. Here is where you see the first difference between the two games as, in Sun this will show the Pokemon Sun title card and be during the daytime, and, in Moon you will notice that it is nighttime and you’ll see the Pokemon Moon title card.
From here the game follows some of the familiar processes from every previous generation, introducing you to some of the key characters that will follow you through the game, your home and the battle and catching systems. You also get to see that there is a mixture of both new and old Pokemon in this region from the outset and the first of many references to the Kanto region of the Red and Blue games. While showing off some of the new environments in this intro, by panning the camera around your room in particular, it does show that the Nintendo 3DS XL and New 3DS XL systems having larger screens will show more jagged edges to the textures and character models through the game.
The walking animations in this game can take a bit of getting used to too. The standard animation has your arms hang a little far out from your hips but when walking in tall grass, especially when walking slowly, you’ll notice your character moves a lot more deliberately which is a nice touch. Once you’ve been introduced to a couple of key characters and been involved in a sequence reminiscent of the original anime episode you will be able to pick your starter Pokemon. Those of you that have played previous generations may notice this is one of the longest introductions up to the point of getting your starter. As usual, the choices are grass, fire and water or Rowlet, Litten or Popplio respectively.
We have not seen the last of the Console Wars. The Xbox One Vs PS4, PS4 Vs PS4 Slim, The Xbox One S Vs PS4 Pro and let’s face it we could go on right?! A lot of people out there continue to moan about how unfair it is to compare the Xbox One S with the PS4 Pro due to the overwhelming power of the PS4 Pro over the Xbox One S. Okay so the PS4 Pro is missing a 4K Blu-ray player whereas the Xbox One S contains one but of course they are going to be compared. They are the latest video game consoles from each major camp and the Console War is very much alive just as it was in the 90s when we argued over the Sega Mega Drive Vs. Super Nintendo. Perhaps we should be saying the the PS4 Pro is only comparable to the Xbox Scorpio should we? For me I believe this to be a rather redundant statement considering the Scorpio is not out yet and we do not truly know how it will perform. Trusted Reviews rounded up the Scorpio’s graphical ability pretty nicely here and when it is finally released to the public then it would seem fair to start barking about making comparisons between the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. Until then it seems completely uneducated to make a true comparison between a console on paper and the PS4 Pro:
In simple terms, the graphics core will be more than capable of going toe-to-toe with today’s top-end graphics card – comparison, the brand-new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 has 6.5TFLOPs of performance. By the time Scorpio launches, it’ll be equivalent of a mid-range PC in 2017, which is how most consoles tend to launch.
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