I longed dreamed that we would be able to play a Roller Coaster simulation game that completely took me away from reality. Now that dream came true with the Alpha release of Planet Coaster on the PC. The team over at Frontier served a real treat that has kept my attention to the fullest over the last week. Designing the craziest coasters, piecing together walls to create flamboyant structures and lighting the paths with plenty of Skull candle lit lamps! All of this is just a fraction of my experience with Planet Coaster. Okay so we have the Roller Coaster Tycoon series right? Yes we do! We can build, manage, change, manipulate, colour and design a plethora of rides, attractions, shops and more, so why is Planet Coaster any different? Frontier; the team behind Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and new Planet Coaster built it from the ground up which means more intricate details within guests, rides, design abilities and more. The Alpha version of Planet Coaster is available now and if you’ve never heard of it or you feel indifferent about getting it, then this review might help seal the deal.
Planet Coaster Alpha serves up eleven plots across the globe for us to choose on which to build our dream Theme Park. Depending on which plot you choose; you’ll notice a wide and varied range of pre-built rides, shops, paths and attractions. For me I felt this provided a great window in to the sheer potential that could be achieved in Planet Coaster. Had there have been eleven blank parks to start with; it would have seemed very dull. Planet Coaster Alpha really provides us with that bit more from the start which was surprising considering this is an Alpha build. Pre-built coasters, unique neon signs (that can be placed on any building or ride entrance), huge castles with coasters twisting out of every window and more. Let’s not forget that every single one of the parks can be changed to suit your taste. The design possibilities seemed endless. . Needless to say that I am eagerly awaiting the Alpha Two release on 24th May 2016.
The developers over at Frontier have talked a lot about the park guests and how it’s our goal to entertain every single one of them. Every guest was designed to have their own personality, a certain level of cash in their pockets and it’s up to us to design the ultimate park to help future their spending habits! Frontier said:
There are definitely more seasoned players on Dark Souls 3 than myself. When I first played a Souls game I went in thinking: I’ve completed Oblivion and Fallout 3 so I’ll destroy Dark Souls. What a ridiculous theory that turned out to be. I totally respect the countless hours of playtime the full time streamers put in because that what it takes to master a Dark Souls game. What I’d give to be a full time gamer! Having put out this video explaining my initial thoughts on Dark Souls 3 it had been interesting to read your comments on how you guys had been finding the game. A lot of you indicated that Dark Souls 3 was too hard which made for an incredibly shallow gaming experience. I can completely empathise with this because it’s exactly how I felt when playing Demon’s Souls, Dark Soul, Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne. I simply didn’t understand what it took to be good at a Soul’s game…. until now and I still have a lot to learn.
Dark Souls 3 got a worldwide release on March 24th 2016 and slots right in line with the same tones of the previous games; dark, gothic, passionate, serious and deadly. Deadly being the formative concept; a concept that trickles through the Soul’s games like blood through veins. FromSoftware made some subtle yet staggering changes to the dynamics of the gameplay mechanics compared to its predecessor, Dark Souls 2. Players’ agility seems a lot more fluid, both in combat and general motions, weapons move and respond with more validity which made my character feel incredibly powerful. I noticed this at the very start of the game. One to two (maximum) swipes with my Knight’s sword easily slayed oncoming foes which resulted in me dying a lot less in the earlier stages of the game. I started to gain some patience in Dark Souls 3. A smoother start, less deaths and more fluidity in gameplay mechanics all had me hooked. It was the total opposite in Dark Souls 2. I died more, felt less powerful and weapons seemed less effective. Needless to say that I gave up pretty quickly.
I can safely say that I’ve been a fan of horror games since Resident Evil broke out on the Playstation 1. For me, horror games are like a escapism within escapism. Whether it’s hack and slash, survival horror or Zombie gut busting horror, I always feel compelled to pull back the layers of whatever is thrown at me. Speaking of Layers; Layers of Fear was released back in February 2016 by Blooper Team; a dev team that I’d never heard of until now. My question was: Did Blooper produce a significant enough game to win over the hearts and minds of current generation gamers?
Layers of Fear adopts a twisted style of gameplay to say the least. Our main protagonist is a nameless painter who appears to be slap bang in the middle of a psychotic breakdown amidst his efforts to produce his masterpiece. Psychotic breakdown is a easy way to describe the overall vibe and setting for our main guy but ultimately this sets the tone and story for our main campaign.
We are tasked to find six items within a Victorian Manor or rather Labyrinth. The level of distortions can be intense within the manor as we often come across doll-like apparitions, sounds of babies crying, muffled voices through walls and the odd scribbling’s a child’s handwriting all over the walls. After thirty minutes of playing this all seems like pretty boxed-standard stuff for a horror game which made me question at how shallow the depth’s or rather layer’s really were? In conclusion, incredibly shallow. I rarely felt scared, I rarely felt trapped and Layers of Fear became predictable very quickly. I never felt stuck on any puzzle the game presented me with. In star contrast; we all remember the P.T demo (*cries at the cancellation*) don’t we? Now that was intense. That was scary. I got lost in such a small space. That ‘L’ Shaped corridor had me cursing like a sailor! Layers of Fear is nowhere near the same level of horror, intrigue or disgust.
Layers of Fear is top heavy with story which seems to be drip fed to you through various clues within the mansion. Unfortunately these clues don’t come quick enough as I found myself becoming very frustrated with wanting to know what happens? Usually I adore the suspense and build up in games but Layer’s Fear gives you nothing to chew on. I literally felt like there was going to be no end to the madness within the mansion! What’s more is that I noticed a lot of repetition of inanimate objects: the same pair go glasses, the same military medal, the same door knobs lamp shades and books. Remember me saying Layer’s of Fear is incredibly shallow? Well there we go. I would have had a more immersive experience if this were not the case; it felt like a lazy attempt to dress up the experience when all it did was dress it down.
Whether you're playing Layers of Fear on the PS4, Xbox One or PC, your attention may be held for an hour at best. The monotony killed it for me. I preferred the pace and setting of Outlast. At least in Outlast I felt as though I was getting somewhere, I felt the fear of being slaughtered by some trapped, tormented soul and it lasted longer than two hours! This is probably one of the shortest reviews I've ever written but this is literally everything I have to say about the abysmal experience of Layers of Fear. Sorry guys! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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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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