Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the most hyped video games since Grand Theft Auto V back in 2013. The success of The Witcher 3 on PC and all major consoles left big boots to fill when it came to CD Project Red’s (CDPR) next adventure. Fast forward to December 10th 2020, and after Cyberpunk’s multiple delays the gaming universe was finally graced with the release. Sadly that release has fallen flat on its face and us gamers are not happy. Cyberpunk 2077 has been branded “a buggy mess” and even more so on base Xbox One and PS4 consoles. It warrants the question; why did CDPR bother releasing such an ambitious game on base consoles? Why not exclusively release on the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X? I believe money is the most obvious answer. Not everyone has been able to acquire the latest generations’ consoles which would have meant a very large portion of the market not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077.
So here we are, two days after launch as I write this! I have been live streaming Cyberpunk on my PS4 Pro. The textures seriously lack, rendering takes quite a few seconds (especially on vehicles), the city feels drastically empty and the combat is very lethargic. In summary, I completely agree that Cyberflunk is a broken mess. Gamers unable to see the console performance prior to launch too. All previews and reviews showcased PC footage. CD Project Red also provided reviewers with the actual review footage. That’s right!! The embargo did not allow reviewers to capture their own gameplay. That is a red flag right there. I would go as far to say that this is very misleading in the marketing of Cyberpunk for console gamers. To cap it off Cyberpunk 2077 is rocking an eye watering and painful Metacritic score of 2.3 on PS4 as I write this. For a game studio as big as CDPR this is unacceptable. In fact I believe it is heartbreaking for gamers that are trying to play on base consoles. With most other game developers I would be worried that the game would be broken forever but as we know, CDPR are a dev team that show long term support for their games.
As I write this the Resident Evil 3 Remake has a 6.3 Metacritic score for the PlayStation 4 and an even more shambolic 5.9 on the Xbox One version. This forces me to question just how much of a miss the long awaited Resident Evil 3 Remake was for Capcom. This comes after last years Resident Evil 2 Remake; making a much bolder impression on the series' fans. At the time of writing this Capcom's Resident Evil 2 Remake rocks a bold 8.8 Metacritic user score. I am unable to fully explain why Capcom clearly missed the mark in delivering the Resident Evil 3 Remake to its full capacity but what I can do is share some of my feelings in playing through the game twice on stream. Having played through it twice I feel like I'm in a position to navigate towards answering whether or not the RE 3 remake is worth buying today?
The first thing I noticed about this remake was just how beautiful it looked. Even the darkest and greyest corners of Raccoon City seemed to ooze charm. From the crackling of small fires in the dilapidated streets of Raccoon city to the warm neon glow of Moon Donuts. Resident Evil 3 shines in the aesthetics. The constant backtracking provided an opportunity to take in more of the gorgeous details each time I went by. One point worth noting in regards backtracking, was just how small Raccoon City felt compared to Police Department in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. That's right, Raccoon City Police department felt larger than the entire geographical layout of Raccoon City. Now this is not a scientific fact! I can, with certainty, memorise the streets in the latest Resident Evil 3 remake but if you asked me what was on the second floor of the East Side of Raccoon Police I would not have a clue. It felt as though Capcom had rushed the world known as Raccoon City to a point where I felt disappointed. After all, the amount of missing content in the remake is frustrating enough (Raccoon City Park, Graveyard, The Press Office and more), let alone what was there; felt a like it needed a bit more meat on the bone. Needless to say, Raccoon City, and surrounding areas, look totally lush.
Performance wise, Resident Evil 3 Remake did not feel too bad. As I write this I do not recall any painful glitches and the general mechanics felt okay. Bosses comprised of mutated variants of Nemesis, each feeling slightly more difficult as time went on. My first playthrough was on a normal difficulty to which it actually felt a little too easy. My second playthrough, however, felt more punitive. I played on the hardest difficulty setting which almost brought me to tears on stream during the rooftop Nemesis battle. Nemesis had a flamethrower mounted to his back. In any normal circumstances a flamable barrel would be easy to ignite and essentially would destroy anything in the blast radius. Not on hardcore mode! I must have spent three hours jostling with this immensely difficult variant of Nemesis. The step up in difficulty from my first playthrough to the second seemed like worlds apart. It felt like there should have been a difficulty mode in the middle.
Days Gone is much more than a game to me. Days Gone is my perfect escape from reality. Survival is a concept that we live by everyday. Most of us do our best to look after ourselves in order to survive the strongest way we can. Days Gone is no different. Survival takes a different notion in Days Gone and in particular Deacon is guided by finding his one true love amidst a Post Apocalyptic, Freaker infested world. This is not a review of Days Gone so if you are here for a review then I suggest you read no further. If you’d like to hear about why Days Gone is an important game to me then read on.
A Dilapidated look
Days Gone’s world is immense. Broken bridges with nests flailing out of them, overgrown plants and vines consume the cemetery, tunnels that are so packed full of broken down cars you have no choice but to go slow and sketchy NERO checkpoints that lurk on corners! Days Gone delivered a vivid world that I become immersed in each time I played. I felt captivated the rain hitting the broken tarmac of the long roads! I enjoyed traveling the dangerous roads in different towns, taking risks to stop for gas at the gas station pumps whilst hearing a Freaker make ground behind you. Days Gone executed the environments in such a way that I felt continually immersed.
It’s not all gritty though. Extremely late on in the game Days Gone starts to deliver some new weather fronts that I was not expecting. Snow capped mountains produce equally as much danger as the lower broken roads that hug the riversides. The key here is the timing though. I felt intrigued by Bend Studio’s decision to introduce a more varied weather system so late on in the game? For me Days Gone was the gift that kept on giving which is one of the reasons I could not stop playing it.
Deacon was both trapped and free at the same time; bound by his mission to find his wife yet freed by the open road being able to travel between various settlements. The more missions Deacon completed the XP we could spend on improving the experience. For me I found that fine tuning my bike was rewarding!
Man of Medan seems like a long awaited title from Supermassive Games; developers of Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn Man of Medan is an interactive horror game that forces players to make timed decisions. Each decision impacts the proceeding storyline, characters and more. Man of Medan is the first chapter of Supermassive Games' Anthology series (The Dark Pictures). Supermassive Games are set to release a new chapter within 6 months of the previous. The next chapter is called Little Hope which seems to ooze Silent Hill Vibes. Once you beat Man of Medan there's a sneak peek in to Little Hope pegged for a 2020 release. It looks brilliant!
Building up to Man of Medan's release I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Horror games with nautical backdrops don't really float my boat. In fact the ending of Resident Evil VII felt flat to me as we were stuck on that damn ship! Dark, damp and dreary ships! I can think of much scarier settings for a horror game. The question remains though: did I enjoy Man of Medan? The answer is: not as much as I enjoyed Until Dawn; which for me had a much more appealing backdrop, more characters and a longer story. Man of Medan is slow to kick off. A group of upcoming divers hire a boat, which includes a confident female tour guide. With a crate of beer the five of them set sail in to the South Pacific Ocean. Without spoiling the story the five of them find themselves in a hostage situation and end up slamming directly in to a missing Ghost Ship from the 1940's The true horror seemed to start from this point in the game which was already over one hour in.
If you've played Until Dawn you will be familiar with the choice based narrative of the game. Choices or there lack of will impact on the bearing of the next stage of the game. I found the opportunity to make decisions somewhat slow and frustrating. Frustrating in a sense of there only being three choices each time. I would have preferred to have more options to choose from as this would have increased the pace a little.
Man of Medan had some surprising jump scares. Could there have been more? Absolutely. I felt that the balance was tipped in favour of Man of Medan feeling more like a Walking in a dark ship simulator rather than a pacey horror game. I would have loved to have had more jump scares, however trivial.
Gamescom 2019 is over but the impact of the event is still fresh in my mind. What with games like Cyberpunk 2077,Death Stranding, Borderlands 3 and more it's no surprise that Gamescom attracts well over 350,000 eager gamers from around the world. Gamescom, in Koln, Germany, has been operating for over ten years and had show. This year was my first year at Gamescom and I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Yu Suzuki most notably famous for being the lead developer of the Shenmue series amongst other classics like the Outrun series, Space Harrier and After Burner.
The absolute highlight of Gamescom this year was Cyberpunk 2077. I watched a live gameplay demo of the upcoming CD Projeckt Red title; Cyberpunk 2077 in which I saw two different ways to approach a certain part of the game. One Cyberpunk was the Strong Solo whilst the other was the Hacker. The area we were in was called Pacifica. The graphics, despite it being early gameplay footage looked smooth, bright and sleek on the big screen. I should also point out that this demo was being shown on an Xbox One X. The only bad thing I can say about Cyberpunk 2077 is that we have to wait until 2020 to become fully immersed in its world.
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.
Shakedown: Hawaii is my latest game discovery! This is surprising considering the game has been in development for a few years. Shakedown: Hawaii is an upcoming open world action game that is geared around rebuilding your reputation as a CEO. Now that sounds like an ambitious foundation for a video game but before we tackle Shakedown Hawaii’s juicy bits it is important to pay homage to how this game looks.
If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s then the 8bit and 16bit era should be well known when it comes to gaming. Shakedown: Hawaii looks stunning with brightly coloured sprites. The overall look seems to be a mashup of Sim City, Grand Theft Auto, Streets of Rage and Metal Slug! Shakedown: Hawaii oozes charm for sure. In fact the concept art below reminds me of Grand Theft Auto V. Now if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is!
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.
GTA V launched in September 2013 and has since earned Rockstar a mammoth six billion dollars in revenue. Arguably this is not from game sales but is attributed to the successful longevity of GTA V Online. Rockstar focused their creative energy towards dropping new heists, missions, flying cars and more and wow did the GTA V community love it. In fact there GTA Online is one of the biggest streamed video games on YouTube Gaming as I write this. That's impressive considering GTA V is almost six years old! We are not here to hash out the marvellous wonders of GTA Online. Oh no. It was GTA V's main campaign that reeled me in back in 2013 and if anything I've played the GTA V main story 95% more than I have ever been online? This makes me questions why Rockstar never gave the gaming community GTA V Story DLC? Why did they focus solely on GTA V Online? I don't have a definitive answer on this. I can speculate that Rockstar were so happy with the GTA V story that there was no need to expand it? Or perhaps Rockstar quickly realised the monetary value of online gaming gaming? Kotaku interviewed Rockstar's director of design who also could not give a definitive answer on why GTA V did not have any story dlc.
I recently completed GTA V in 2018 live on stream and purposely stayed away from GTA V Online. I wanted to go through GTA V one more time. Once again I donned the shoes of Franklin, Trevor and Michael amidst the crime ridden city of Los Santos. There was nothing that felt stale about getting behind the wheel again in Los Santos. I would go as far to say that I cannot think of another game released around the same time as GTA V that held up this well.
GTA V got a boost with a HD re-release which added more detailed textures, better lighting, vibrant colours and more. GTA V really does look great even in 2019 specifically on the current generation consoles. In fact Grand Theft Auto V looks pretty decent on the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Over the Grand Theft Auto history I cannot specifically say that any of them have bad graphics but even if they did I believe GTA V holds its strength in the gameplay over anything else.
We start the GTA V campaign with Franklin. Franklin oozes personality and adopts a sense of swagger that is familiar with that of Carl Johnson from GTA San Andreas. I'd argue that its that sense of familiarity between personality traits that reel you in from the start of GTA V. Not to mention that Grove Street is right around the corner from Franklin's house. Now that is some serious gaming charm.
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