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.
How big is each of these smaller games?
In part 1 of 198X, releasing now, there are 5 full-blown stages, one for each arcade game. In general these stages are bigger and more varied compared to any single stage in the 80s games we draw inspiration from.
So I would say that the game we are releasing now is the same size as any Final Fight or R-Type or Strider – the typical late 80s arcade game. But with more storytelling and less frustration!
How difficult has it been to create 198X's distinctive pixel art?
It’s been extremely time-consuming. Most modern neo-retro games use a much more zoomed-out camera with smaller sprites and more open level design. And while I understand and respect that choice, we really wanted to have spectacular visuals with huge sprites in our games. The late 80s were all about who could project the biggest sprites on the most detailed backdrops – while the catchiest chiptunes were playing – and we just love that!
How did the collaboration with Yuzo Koshiro come about?
"His music was performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra a few years back, and I know the producer of that concert. So when we were looking for composers for our arcade games, I just thought we should give it a shot. So we asked, and he said yes! I believe that Yuzo Koshiro really shaped the sound of this era, so it’s been a huge honor to have him on board."
Is it hard to manage backers' expectations on Kickstarter?
"Our amazing backers have been very supportive. When we told them we needed to split the game in two parts, to be able to deliver on the promise we made to them and to ourselves, they were very encouraging. They really understand what we want to achieve and how much it takes to get there.
We might be a pretty small studio in terms of people, but our ambitions are indeed huge! And we are so excited to finally be able to inivite all of you to 198X."
198X is available on Steam and PS4 now for $9.99. There are plans to bring 198X to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later this year. The overall vibe from players so far is incredibly positive. I'm looking forward to streaming a play through on my YouTube channel. I'm confident 198X will deliver and here's to hoping that we see more from Hi-Bit in the future.
Blog by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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.
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.
It's been a rough start for Bethesda's Fallout 76. What with a current Metacritic user score of 2.5 it seems fair to say that Todd Howard blatantly lied about the new technologies going in to Fallout 76. Fallout 76 as it stands today is a total mess. The lack of any qualitative quests, shallow NPC dialogue, poor graphics (even on an Xbox One X and high end PC's), stuttering frame rate (as low as 9 fps according to Digital Foundry) and feeling like a skeletal RPG, at best; Fallout 76 leaves a lot to be desired.
Since launch Bethesda updated Fallout 76 to include some improvements. These include C.A.M.P Crafting Improvements, overall stability fixes and more. Even after these arguably mild improvements Fallout 76 feels like a broken mess across all platforms which have led to many gamers questioning whether Fallout 76 will ever redeem its status within a decent Fallout library. More importantly will fans ever trust Bethesda Game Studios again?
Now rest easy wasteland wanderers; Bethesda issued this statement claiming Fallout 76 will be getting a mammoth update very soon. The new Fallout 76 update will include "new Vaults opening, a new PvP mode, Player Vending and much more".
The question now is what will that look like? We've heard Bethesda Game Studios make their promise of greatness prior to the release of Fallout 76 and sadly they did not deliver? As if they did not learn anything from No Man's Sky's Hello Games! So now we wait. We wait to see if new features like Player Vending will be flexible enough to allow gamers to set their own prices? Here's to hoping that the Fallout series will once again become great.
Posted by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most anticipated games of 2018. Alongside triple A titles like God of War; Red Dead Redemption 2 was hyped to a monumental level. Unlike God of War; Red Dead Redemption 2 is cross platform on the PS4 and Xbox One. At this stage we know that PS4 players will be privy to exclusive online content before Xbox One players. My personal view on this is one of disregard simply because I've focused more on the main story over, say GTA V Online. Naturally, we can expect a big following for Red Dead Redemption 2 online though; the question is, will it ever be as big as GTA V Online? For now we won't be able to deliver a definitive answer. For now we have around 60 hours worth of main campaign in Red Dead Redemption 2 to become accustomed to.
So far I've streamed every second of my Red Dead Redemption 2 experience. As I write this I am approximately 20 hours in. First impressions of this new Wild West Adventure are overall positive. There's an element of mystery surrounding Arthur Morgan and his gang as Red Dead Redemption 2 kicks off. Literally, it's a mystery. That's because the entire plains are covered in snow. Snow that continues to fall as the early missions play out. The entire first chapter is a snow showered tutorial that was steadily drip fed to us. From this we can conclude that Red Dead Redemption 2 cannot be judged on his beauty, draw distance or wild west appeal. It is not until the snow starts to thaw that we really start to see the beauty that is Red Dead Redemption 2.
Arthur Morgan is part of a gang. A gang that is led by Dutch Van Der Linde. Whilst other NPC's in the camp have key roles to play in missions, robberies and such like; it is clear that Arthur Morgan is the breadwinner of the camp. The Camp becomes an essential place to heal, rest, laugh, re-supply and obtain crucial missions. If anything I would encourage you to get as many upgrades in to your camp as possible. With each upgrade, stalls become more effective at stocking food, medicine and ammunition. Oh and let us not forget the all important Fast Travel. We'll talk more about that later.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes no prisoners. Well sometimes it does if there's a bounty on your head and you get caught. Joking aside, Red Dead Redemption 2 can seem harsh at times. What do I mean by harsh? For some RDR2 is not interesting at all. Endless horse rides across baron landscape can feel laborious and meaningless. The mini map and large world map gives very little sense of scale so what seems like a short ride cane often be a 15 minute horse ride. Herein lies that little issues of Fast Travel. You must upgrade Arthur's wagon be unlock fast travel and as of yet (a mere 20 hours in) I have only been able to fast travel from camp. As soon as you're out in the wilderness, you're on your own. You might think this is a trivial point! Of course the Wild West is baron. Of course it can seem monotonous at times but you'll be surprised at how many people in my chat have disliked Red Dead Redemption 2 because of this.
On the whole Red Dead Redemption 2 is a stunning game. I've found there to be a variety of missions and a decent level of challenge to suit all play-styles. Be warned though the combat mechanics are AWFUL. I found then when trying to run in to cover Arthur sometimes stutters and resists! Additionally, the Dead Eye ability is not seamless at all. I've died unnecessarily far too many times due to clunky combat controls. Here's to hoping that Rockstar patch this.
The towns in Red Dead Redemption are breathtaking. There's nothing better than after a long horse ride; approaching St Denis and seeing the large industrial chimney's bellow out smoke. It's in these moments that Red Dead Redemption 2 really shines. Every town is different in terms of social class, wealth, opportunity and looks. Take Valentine for example. Valentine is one of the first towns you come across once the snow thaws. It's a typical Western setting with muddy roads, two saloons, a stable, a bank, a grocery store and a gun smiths. The outer skirts are predominantly farm land. Compare this ti St Denis which has a lot more diversity in social class, shops and more. Now I'm no Western historian but I think Red Dead Redemption 2 contains some of the deepest environments yet.
Another key feature of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the dialogue. Rockstar have always put a lot of time and effort in to delivering a fantastic storyline to their games. Red Dead Redemption 2 is no exception. Of course the familiar character; John Marston returns but there's a wealth of other new characters to. During missions Rockstar cleverly utilised the travelling as key moments to tell story. Arthur and whomever he was travelling with (usually mid-mission) would break out in to conversation for the entirety of the trip. The excellent script coupled with a catchy soundtrack made Red Dead Redemption 2 ooze charm. Charm is something I believed the first game lacked.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is fruitful experience and you need not have played the first before diving in to this. It falls down in the shoddy combat mechanics. Will Red Dead Redemption 2 be 2018's Game of the Year. I do not believe so. Should you buy it now? 100% yes.
Blog by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Quantic Dream are a game studio with a difference. See choice is everything! That’s also true in life too. So why not make a few video games that perpetuate the notion of choice determining the direction? Easy! Actually the concept sounds more logical than easy. Quantic Dream games like Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Fahrenheit provide challenges like no other. The latest edition to the Quantic Dream library is Detroit: Become Human. A story that allows players to take control of three main protagonists in a world which views artificial Intelligence both an asset and the enemy. In Detroit: Become Human we play as, Connor; an upcoming aid to police enforcement. Markus; a hired hand (or butler of some kind) to some savvy rich chap and finally, Kara; a maternal type who is hired to be a maid/baby sitter/cook by Todd. You get the picture. The three all have very different backgrounds and motives within the rebellion. I found it enriching to watch each character progress through Detroit: Become Human.
In essence Detroit: Become Human is whatever you want it to be. As I just completed the game on live stream, I tried to play the bulk of Detroit: by making decisions I would make in real life. You may choose a completely different path; to which different outcomes would occur. All three protagonists have very different personalities but at times their traits are tested. Early on in the game Kara has to make decisions on how to deal with her human owner. Without spoiling too much of Detroit: Become Human, Kara not only has her own A:I wellbeing to consider but has to consider Alice’s safety too. Alice is Todd’s daughter and it is clear from the opening this relationship that Todd is not the best role model for Alice. He drinks too much, smokes too much Pot and clearly does not know how to keep a neat house. Alice is scared of him as Todd often flies off the handle; unprompted. What is Kara’s role within this dysfunctional father/daughter relationship? Well A:I done have feelings right? They don’t feel sympathy, empathy, fear, anger or love do they? The short answer is: you are wrong. In Detroit: Become Human Artificial Intelligence; it could be argued, is the wrong term. What we realise very quickly is that Kara is able to question Todd’s approach. Kara has to make decisions on how to help (or not help) Alice. The rift between humans and Artificial Intelligence is what drives Detroit: Become Human’s foundations. The rest is up to you.
Detroit: Become Human is a game that will push your decision making. At times your decisions are forced to be made within a certain time limit which adds to the pace of the game. Be prepared for your palms to get sweaty! Ultimately I enjoyed the connection between the game and myself. Detroit: Become Human got my heart racing and at times I felt the devastation of knowing that I made the wrong decision within seconds of making it. By then it was too late. Detroit: Become Human does not give you a second chance so every decision has to be made with certainty. This is not a bad thing. Arguably it makes for great replay value as Detroit: Become Human can be played multiple times with multiple different endings. I believe Heavy Rain had over twenty different endings. It is reported that Detroit: Become Human has over forty different endings!
Does Detroit: Become Human surpass previous Quantic Dream games? I would say that it is not as good as Heavy Rain but it is much deeper than Beyond Two Souls. If you have not played either of those two games then all I can say is that you really will enjoy Detroit: Become Human. If you have played Heavy Rain and beyond Two Souls then I firmly believe Detroit: Become Human will give you a run for your money.
For the most part Detroit: Become Human flows. The pacing can easily slow down at times when the script becomes stagnant. At times certain scenes seem awkward, with stale lines of dialogue. This is a minor detail and perhaps it is something you might not experience when playing. In addition, I found that some tasks did not have a big enough purpose. When Markus played the piano in the mansion it seemed to serve no purpose other than to extent meaningless dialogue. Ultimately these small gripes do not detract from Detroit: Become Human being a fantastic addition to the PS4 library. It might not be on the same gripping level as Heavy Rain but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Is Detroit: Become Human worth buying? Given the replay value alone I would say that it is a must own PS4 game. Even if you chose to play Detroit: Become Human only once you’re going to get an experience that stems much further than the crippling generic woes of a, say a Battle Royale game. If you don’t buy Detroit: Become Human then I believe you are truly missing out. Happy gaming!
Post by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
It all started with an explosion in a jail. Now I’m not talking about an Alcatraz style jail breakout. No! This is Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar released a brand new insight in to the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 which is set to launch on the PS4 and Xbox One (sorry PC fans) on October 26th 2018. Set in 1899 during the rise of the Modern World; the life of outlaws is dying. Making way for a brand new experience in the hands of Arthur Morgan. Red Dead Redemption 2 promises a “living world” that is “deeper and more interactive and detailed than ever”. Rockstar showcased some new details of Red Dead Redemption 2 that makes us pray October 26th will come fast! Both the shooting and fighting mechanics have been redesigned to give us players a sense of immersion. Primitive actions such as hunting seem like a standard activity within Red Dead Redemption 2. Camps can be created, interact with many characters, bond with your horse, choose your path and watch the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 unfold. Don’t be fooled though. Red Dead 2 will make us work for our share of the venison. Hunting and killing wildlife will enable us to sell and trade for worthy goods. All of this set across gorgeous new backdrops of forests, desert, mountains, towns and more Red Dead Redemption 2 could potentially be a Game of the Year contender.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been available for pre-order for a while now. With the new Red Dead 2 trailer dropping I predict even more pre-orders. In fact at the end of this trailer the narrator stated that the second gameplay trailer would include a look at missions in Red Dead Redemption 2. Don’t just take my work for. Check out the NEW Red Dead 2 Trailer here:
It’s is fair to say that I love retro games. In fact when you’re done go and take a look in my games room to marvel at some of the many thousands of video games lurking in The Lady Lounge. Now recently The Sega Mega Drive Classics (Sega Genesis Classics) was released on the PS4 and Xbox One which bundles in 50 classic Sega Mega Drive titles such as the Streets of Rage trilogy, Sonic 2, The Golden Axe trilogy, Altered Beast and more. Sounds great right? Well a lot of gamers have echoed disappointment at Sega’s latest revamping of the 16bit classics! This is mainly down to the lack of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles (which are both playable on the Sega Mega Drive Collection on PS3 and Xbox 360). I totally get why gamers are frustrated at this but let’s try to focus on what the Sega Mega Drive Classics is rather than what it is not. Albeit I predict more games will be added in dlc bundles in due time.
Upon firing up The Sega Mega Drive Classics for the first time you are greeted with a really cool pixelated intro showcasing many characters from the Sega Mega Drive classics. From there we are launched in to an old 90’s looking themed bedroom which acts as the game’s portal in to the Sega Mega Drive games themselves, challenge logs and more. This is super cool and really pulls on the nostalgia element of my heart. What really matters though are those 50 amazing Sega Mega Drive games. How well do they actually play?
There’s no denying the awesomeness of the Streets of Rage trilogy soundtrack. I played all three games on my PS4 Pro and was astonished that there were a lot of audio glitches. At times the sound stuttered a lot and this increased when there was a lot of on-screen action. There’s nothing much more to say here really. Perhaps it will be fixed in a future patch?
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
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.
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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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