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.
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 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.
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:
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.
It’s been a while since I played through a Tom Clancy game. In fact it may have been back on the Playstation 2 with Ghost Recon so it’s fair to say that I went in to The Division with an open heart and an open mind. Now, running on current gen hardware and PC the next Tom Clancy instalment launched on March 8th 2016 with The Division.
We are in Manhattan and we are in the middle of the post events of a smallpox pandemic. This pretty much destroyed New York City as we knew it and instead created a crime fuelled dystopian society. What was once a bustling city, full of tourists, workers and success transformed in to a war zone with tired looking people, collapsed surroundings, danger and disease. Ubisoft play this out with a reel of fictitious news castings at the beginning of the game. This did a great job at setting the tone and hype for the campaign that was about to ignite. From there, I could create my player attributes and off we ventured in to the dangerous Manhattan streets.
The Division is an open world MMO with some seriously tasty RPG elements. A Role Playing Game you might ask? I wouldn’t categorise The Division as an RPG at all as we all know it’s a third person shooter but as I said there are elements in The Division that often made me question: should this have been a RPG? Ubisoft tastefully threaded the two genre’s together to produce this explosive adventure. The levelling up system seemed a little complex at first but as with any game I acclimatised pretty quickly. I was shocked at how quickly I picked up the how to’s actually. I recall watching a lot of the Beta footage and thinking at how cluttered the interface looked but don’t let this fool you. The Division is surprisingly user friendly and what’s more my hiatus since Ghost Recon didn’t affect my approach in to the game either!
Guest Blog by Mark @EmeraldZone.net
The Just Cause series is known for its high-octane action, gameplay diversity and large, scaling worlds. Its engine has set it apart from the competition and continues to deliver a playground of fire, wind and water where destruction is king and all else can suck an egg. Just Cause 3 continues with the same premise of high-octane action.
As Rico Rodriguez you are once again let loose in a tropical paradise overruled by a violent and omnipotent dictator, General Di Ravello. Rico must destroy the general’s resources across the sunny island to liberate rebel strongholds and build Chaos, Just Cause’s answer for a point system. The character roster features yet another tired foray of empty stereotypes churning clichéd dialogue at times meant to resemble humour. This merry band of hackneyed hacks must work together to defeat Di Ravello to restore liberty to the isles. It’s all rather familiar territory, so what sets this game apart.
In the last game, money was used to buy weapons and vehicles. 3 has an improved system where ‘beacons’ are collected to pay for supply drops, making them infinite to those willing to collect them. ‘Flares’ are another useful collectible used to fast travel between enemy strongholds. The creators have been smart enough to grant free fast travel to ‘liberated’ areas to speed up travel with momentum as you progress through the game.
It's safe to say that Far Cry Primal is a World apart from Far Cry 4. Yes the pun was intended. Far Cry Primal does a lot of things right where Far Cry 4 went wrong and it seems rather ironic that Far Cry Primal seems light years ahead of Far Cry 4. I’ve ben asking myself: why is that? What does it do so well that Far Cry 4 neglected?
Gameplay and setting
Far Cry Primal is set in 10,000 BC in the fictional setting of Oros Valley, Central Europe. When I first heard about this Stone Age setting I felt underwhelmed to say the least. I’ve never really been a fan of books, games or movies from this period so why would I devote my game time to it? How wrong of me to judge. Far Cry Primal feels electric and it felt electric from the get go. Takaar is the main protagonist who is a part of the Wenja Tribe. Taaker feels strong and fearless from the get go as one of the first tasks are to create a bow. That only meant one thing: we became the Predator and the hunt was on; no messin’, no overly baked introductions; straight in to the action. Taakar’s hunting skills are somewhat refined from the outset with his heightened senses. In laymen’s terms Taakar's ability allowed us to easily detect threats and items of interest pressing R3. I wondered if this made certain quests too easy but again I was wrong. Seeing the objects were only viewable if they were in a certain radius and within a level viewing plain. That’s right Taakar can’t see though rock, around corners or through hills which meant I had to move fast if I was going to keep, say, a Goat, within my senses.
Guest Blog by Adam @Adam Miller
Let’s face it. Aliens: Colonial Marines sucked. Big time. Gearbox promised the world, and delivered a shambles. Alien fans everywhere were disappointed. More than disappointed, they were angry. Sega had to make things right next time. Flash-forward to the announcement that Creative Assembly would be making the next game for the franchise; Alien: Isolation. It would be a horror game with a single Alien starring the daughter of the iconic Ellen Ripley, Amanda Ripley. People were understandably sceptical. With a single Alien, would the focus be on androids or even worse mercenaries? How would they include Ripley's daughter in a way that wouldn't feel forced? Can a developer who have only made Total War games really make a decent Alien game? Creative Assembly nailed it. They absolutely nailed it. Alien: Isolation is the redeeming game of the series.
As aforementioned, Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game starring Amanda Ripley, the mechanic daughter of Ellen Ripley (from the movies), who joins a crew heading for Sevastapol station to pick up the flight recorder of the Nostromo. Amanda has a personal interest in this mission because it may help her locate her mother, who has been missing for a long time. After a rocky landing on Sevastapol, you realise that something bad has happened. The place is falling apart, blood and graffiti cover the walls, the androids are acting a little weird, and the survivors don't seem too pleased to see you. Things go from bad to worse as you soon realise that you are stuck on Sevastapol without communications, and there is something lurking in the ventilation above you. Something bad.
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