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.
We’ve all asked it right? Which game series do you prefer? Tomb Raider or Uncharted? I’m sure we’ve all answered it too. I know I have. I grew up with Lara from her launch: October 26th 1996 and it’s safe to say that I’ve played every Tomb Raider game since. Like it or not Lara Croft has been one of the most influential video game characters of all time not just for her on-screen presence but for changing the way girls talk about games. I know that she certainly gave me some welcomed confidence back in the mid-nineties. There was a time when I thought the Tomb Raider series had lost its was a little. Angel of Darkness was an all time low point for me. I remember trading my copy of Grand Theft Auto Vice City to get a copy and was left feeling rather underwhelmed. Angel of Darkness felt too Cosmopolitan. Too sure of itself. Too City Like. Needless to say I never finished it because it was not Tomb Raider.
Since then a lot changed in the gaming world. Nathan Drake came in to our lives to provide us with a new sense of adventure! Uncharted, unlike Tomb Raider has been very consistent in terms of gameplay, story, character relationships and authenticity. The entire Uncharted series feels alive. The global sense of adventure, and wonderment were believable. Nathan and Lara have travelled the world but who did the better job? Can you choose between Uncharted and Tomb Raider? The latest instalment’s; Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration served up remarkable gameplay mechanics but let’s un-pick this a little bit more shall we? I will not be focusing on the details of each games story, however but more about the overall pulling power of each game.
No Man’s Sky has not been without scandal. Is scandal the right word to use? Right now I am starting to think that No Man’s Sky is a big fat satchel of lies. Lies that have been uncovered by hundreds of very angry gamers since it was released less than one month ago. I’m very guilty of something though: I like No Man’s Sky. I’d go as fat to say that I really enjoy the hell out of No Man’s Sky. No Man’s Sky forces me in to a state of relaxation, contentment and gives me an odd sense of achievement. No Man’s Sky is a huge break away from the frantic First Person Shooter genre or the over stimulated, unjulating, pulse popping maps of a Call of Duty game. It is empty, it is solitary and it is captivating. No Man’s Sky is simple. It’s beautiful. It’s ambient. It’s peaceful. I never know what I am truly going to get when I pick up my PS4 controller and slap on my PlaySonic 3 headset. All I know is that when I dive in to No Man’s Sky I feel content. It’s certainly a thriving and rewarding experience albeit with gritted teeth.
I adore the distinction No Man’s Sky has given me. So why are fans so angry at Hello Games and in particular Sean Murray? It’s simple: He lied. He outright lied about gameplay features and mechanics. In an interview with Game Informer shown here Sean Murray was asked “will you be able to play with your friends?” He replied “yeah”. There were a ton of questions asked by the Game Informer editor Jeff Cork in which Murray’s answers were seemingly untrue. You cannot play with your friends and you cannot war with factions. You cannot join factions and nobody has found any mechs. What is going on?
I went in to No Man’s Sky without following the hype. I missed every interview Sean Murray gave and it was not until the final hour that I started to feel the excitement. I knew what I wanted to know about the game and I can honestly report that I am enjoying the experience this far in. Like many of you I was upset when No Man’s Sky got delayed and like many fans I put out a video to air my thoughts over certain Indie Developers feeling as though they can take the cake. There’s always a theme when our beloved video games get pushed back and it goes along the lines of we want more time to make the game as good as possible for the fans. Unfortunately this cannot be said for the now infamous No Man’s Sky. Sean Murray’s baby is getting ripped to shreds in the Twitter feed of Hello Games. On a blog post released by Murray on the No Man’s Sky website he liked the following:
Playstation 4 VR is almost upon us. Gamers across the globe are bracing themselves for the next level of gaming. On October 13th 2016 the Virtual reality experience on the Playstation 4 will be an absolute reality. A lot of you guys have been asking me "Gemma will you be buying the PS4 VR headset?". Up until E3 my answer was simple: "no'. As soon as I heard about the Resident Evil 7 game being compatible with PS4 VR I started to re-think my initial hesitation. As each new PS4 VR game is announced it looks more and ore likely that I will be buying it. The PS4 VR game line-up is looking pretty solid right now and a few titles have already wet my gaming palette. The obvious choices are the go to Triple A titles like Fallout 4 VR and DOOM VR. What about the the other titles that will be gracing PS4 VR? Here are 5 PS4 VR games that I think look phenomenal.
#1 Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 or rather Biohazard 7 in Japan is due for release on January 24th 2017. Having beat the Resident Evil 7 demo it is incredibly clear that Capcom took a completely new angle on the latest instalment of good ol' Resi. It felt less about dodging hordes of the undead and more about survival. I could not help but compare it to the vibe of the P.T demo; intense, twisted, shrouded in mystery and left me yearning for more. Games Radar reported Resident Evil 7 was in development before P.T came to fruition. Konami beat Capcom to the table in terms of delivering their demo first. How gutting must that have been for Capcom Developers?
Resident Evil 7 is not one to be missed on PS4 VR.
We all had our predictions of what the Bethesda E3 2016 Conference was going to bring. At E3 2015 Bethesda knocked the ball out of the park with the long awaited announcement of Fallout 4. It rapidly became one of the most anticipated Video Game releases ever! A year has now passed since that moment which brings us to E3 2016. Most of us were talking about a new Elder Scrolls Game but when I awake this morning a part of me felt disappointed that the Elder Scrolls game we’d all hoped for was not announced. Should we be disappointed in Bethesda? Hell no! Having now watched the full Bethesda showdown I am packed full of anticipation for the new games: Prey, Dishonoured 2, Skyrim Special Edition and Quake. Let us not forget the new Fallout 4 DLC and Vault-Tec Workshop functions, Fallout Shelter and Bethesda’s VR development.
Arcane Studios smashed it
Prey and Dishonoured 2 are on their way! The team behind the original Dishonoured game are developing the Prey reboot on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It looks stunning. From what we saw we awake as Morgan on Monday March 15th 2032. The new Prey takes place on a Space Station that becomes overrun with an Alien infestation. Arcane confessed that our protagonist will use “wits, weapons and mind bending abilities” to counteract the alien infestation. It all sounds very intriguing and I’m excited to see how Prey’s development unfolds for the rest of the year.
We can expect to see a release for Dishonoured 2 on November 11th 2016 but what can we expect to see in the gameplay? Arcane showed a lengthy gameplay trailer. There’s a large emphasis on stealth and two players to choose from. It seemed like choice is a large feature of Dishonoured 2. Out of the entire Bethesda E3 conference I was the least excited about Dishonoured 2. It didn’t look overly stunning and the gameplay seemed too familiar.
Elder Scrolls VI….Not!
I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed with the lack of a new Elder Scrolls game. When you think about it logically though there was never going to be an announcement of Elder Scrolls VI. The time difference between each major Bethesda games is immense. There was four (five for the PS3 release) years between Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Oblivion and a five year gap between Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skyrim. You might be saying ‘five years have passed since Skyrim was released so surely that means Elder Scrolls VI should have been announced right?’ Wrong. We are locked in to a gaming culture of HD remasters which is exactly what happened here. Instead we are getting Skyrim Special Edition on the PS4, Xbox One and PC. This caused a divide in the gaming world. I’ve been reading comments on Youtube and Twitter that indicate Skyrim Special Edition was not the HD remake fans were asking for. What do I think about it? Initially I felt deflated as I had my hopes set for Elder Scrolls VI but I’m warming to the idea of exploring Skyrim all over again so I definitely be picking up a copy on October 26th.
Doom & Quake Champions
I will never get enough of Doom updates. Where you one of the people that grew up playing the original on Shareware? I was and I loved it. Overall I’ve been incredibly impressed with the new Doom game as it dives back in to the core of brutality. So what can we expect from the ID team in the upcoming months? The first DLC pack drops very soon: Unto the Evil and includes new armour packs, guns, a new demon and three new maps! I didn’t expect an update this quickly considering Doom was released only last month. ID knows how to treat the fans well. If you are yet to play the new Doom be sure to download the first level from the campaign completely FREE on the PS4, Xbox One and PC (for a limited time). I also envy the lucky people at E3 who will have a chance to try Doom in VR!
There was not a great amount of detail about the upcoming Quake Champions (PC only) but it seemed more about diverting people’s attention to Quakecon in August. I’m certain there will be a lot of die hard fans of the original PC version that will snap Quake Champions up in a heartbeat. Not me though.
Fallout 4 & Fallout Shelter
Fallout 4 will be seeing a whole heap of new additions. Contraptions, Workshop and Vault-Tec will add extra creative dimensions to the Wasteland experience. Nuka World peaked my interest the most with a display of elaborate buildings and new grounds to explore a little bit like Far Harbour. So what do I think to this? I’m not the kind of Fallout player that gets excited about building in Fallout 4. In fact it completely turns me off. I hate doing it in the game as it stands so I will not be purchasing the three additional build content. Nuka-World on the other hand is more the direction I want to take my Fallout 4 ventures. The core elements of Fallout, for me, are not routed in building, yet are more about roaming. Nuke-World looked like an eclectic market of craziness. I cannot wait to explore it.
Fallout Shelter seemed to hold quite a bit of air time at E3 2016. Not only is it coming to PC in July but there’s a while new heap of features to get you jumping inside your Vault Suit. Now dwellers will be able to visit popular Fallout 4 locations like Red Rocket and take on new enemies. Seeing Fallout Shelter at E3 again made me realise that I need to get back on it and join over 50,000 million other players online.
The Bethesda E3 2016 Conference was my most anticipated alongside Sony’s (which is yet to come). Overall I’m really happy with the pickings; in particular with Prey in 2017. Bring it on Bethesda, bring it on!
By Gemma @Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
Ever since the 8-bit days of the Nintendo Entertainment System I have been hooked on the four green dudes from the sewers: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As an adult I can vouch that I am still partial to watching the classic 80s Cartoons on YouTube and I’m certainly not shy when diving in to session of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on my SNES. I often wonder why the franchise has become so popular in the Video Game world? Perhaps it has been the steady consistency of TMNT video games over the years that have kept fans involved? Or perhaps it’s down to the evolution of the TMNT cartoons that have barely gone off the air since I was a little girl? Whatever the reason I’ve wondered if it was possible to ever fall out of love with such a prolific franchise?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan had a lot of hype around it. The trailer looked stunning and the cel shaded graphics really seemed to transport the franchise back to the comic book roots from the 80s. The Foot, Bebop & Rocksteady, Shredder; everything looked great in my humble opinion. Platinum Games were given the task to bring the four green dudes alive on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC but did they create a good enough games to satisfy the longest standing fans? I played through the campaign and was left feeling a little underwhelmed!
A really bad idea…
TMNT video games are rooted within a cooperative campaign. Not just cooperative but what us gamer might call Couch Co-op. It might seem to soon to start talking about dislikes but there is no couch co-op. Why? A lot of fans would have loved to have experienced this feature but unfortunately the rise of the online multiplayer culture triggered the demise of classic couch co-op. Call me old fashioned but this sucks! TMNT Mutants in Manhattan does hold a slightly redeeming feature. It may come as no surprise that you can flick between the four green dudes at any point throughout live gameplay. Each turtle has their own Ninjutsu abilities that can be developed by gaining experience points after each level. This slice of RPG element to Mutants in Manhattan made me smile. It worked well and I enjoyed changing my abilities around after each level. Naturally, some abilities are more useful than others. I doubt many of you will be overly thrilled with the Boost Jump!
Levels, levels and more levels
I’ve always preferred the TMNT side scroller action games as opposed the the 3D levels. Mutant’s in Manhattan held my attention reasonably well. Reasonably! The first level took place on the streets and on rooftops of Manhattan. The city looked bland and became repetitive very quickly. Unfortunately this was a recurring theme for all of the levels. Okay at first but frustratingly monotonous. I got the feeling that Platinum Games rushed TMNT Mutants in Manhattan to coincide with the release of the new TMNT film. That’s a classic move from the big wigs but it comes at the cost of compromising quality.
There’s no denying that TMNT Mutants in Manhattan looks absolutely stunning. The cel shading is top notch in all areas. I’ve started to become less and less interested in graphics over the years as I feel story carries a lot more weight to a video game but I think the call shading is one of the stronger points.
I’ve read a lot of comments from fans that doubt that battle mechanics saying things like “they feel sloppy”. That’s a new one on me. I went in to Mutants in Manhattan with a closed view of what to expect as I’d heard some very average things about it. With that being said you’ll have an option to barrel in to the tutorial mode at the beginning of the game. I’m glad I did this as there’s more to the controls than one would expect in a TMNT game. How did this translate in to real time game action? Pretty well. Switching between turtles seem fluid and executing the Ninjutsu moves were great. Think fast paced hack & slash and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from the combat. There were a few occasions where there appeared to be too much going on at once which led to some stuttering of frames. Typically this occurred during the boss battles (which took some serious killing!). Again, it seemed a little rushed. Whilst pulling off crazy Turtle combos felt great it wasn’t as great losing some frames.
Should you buy it?
This is an easy question to answer. In fact I can give you multiple:
If I were to transport back to the mid-nineties I’d be stood in a computer shop called Gordon Harwoods. I would have been the only girl in our little group of friends. We’d stand for hours playing Doom on the PC during the school holiday’s and every now and again we’d ask the store clerks to put the cheat code in for us. What a ton of fun we had! Ever since then I have been a huge fan of the Doom franchise. Even in Doom’s worst moments (ahem the Panasonic 3DO Port) I’ve still enjoyed picking up the super shotgun and hunting imps.
Doom, developed by Id Software in 1993 had been embedded within hearts of gaming community ever since so it it didn’t surprise me that fans (including myself) felt a little apprehensive on whether Id Software would get it right. There was something about Doom; the atmosphere, the heavy music and vibe that I felt was missing from Doom 3 on the original Xbox. As the announcements poured in that Id were developing a new Doom game I started to question “will it be a disaster?”. Even the great John Romero hasn’t worked on a Doom game since Doom 64 (1997 Midway Games).
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.
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