Archive for the ‘PC/Mac’ Category
This series is basically a review of a modern game but with the context of a retro gamer visiting the present. As such it does not contain a review score and often speaks to concepts and franchises from the past. This article is spoiler free outside of what is revealed in trailers and public demos, which is why the screen shots are so vague.
Resident Evil has had a rocky journey over the last five years, up to and including the “Beginning Hour” demo for this very title. The comparison to P.T., Hideo Kojima’s “playable trailer” for Silent Hills that has since been canceled by Konami, is unmistakable. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want my Silent Hill getting mixed into my Resident Evil, the two should remain mutually exclusive. Couple that with the recent missteps of Resident Evil 6, my personal distaste for Revelations 2, and whatever goal Umbrella Corps. had, it wasn’t looking good. I for one was also a bit worried about the hodgepodge of features thrown at this title including support for 4K resolution, PS4 Pro support, Playstation VR support, and HDR support on all platforms. To my shock and awe, every bad indicator going into the release was without merit as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demonstrates a return to form I have not felt since the remake of the original on GameCube in 2002.
Set in an old farm house in Louisiana, you play as main protagonist Ethan in search of your girlfriend Mia, who went missing years ago. Those that played through the “Beginning Hour” demo, especially if you caught the final “midnight edition” will find the opening scenes to be familiar but clearly re-engineered. I like this touch and I feel it was necessary for how many times Capcom made us play that thing in hopes to figuring out what was with the dummy finger and several other mysteries from the last six months. While it’s interesting to play through – not to mention the reward you receive for completing it with the good ending and the on-edge “kitchen” demo on Playstation VR – none of this is required if you’re just jumping into the main game. It reminds me why I’ve always appreciated the original work Capcom did on the Resident Evil series. Whether it was “arrange mode” in the original, the way the mansion was reworked in the remake, or even the drastic differences between the shack in the demo and the main game of Resident Evil 7, you won’t be able to guess what’s coming. After that opening sequence you will descend into a literal house of horrors and beyond that kept me on the edge of my seat and thoroughly creeped out for a majority of the game’s 8-12 hour campaign.
2016s Game Club selection may as well be renamed “Jam’s gaming bucket list” as the vast majority of the games we have played this year are titles I’ve been wanting to play for sometime but just haven’t got around to. I could use the easy excuse where I say I’m too lazy or too busy but I choose to go with the excuse that I was on a long and arduous quest to find twelve jade statues in order to prevent the end of the world by new year. Fortunately for myself and humanity I completed that quest, surprisingly in Sleeping Dogs as well and I’m able to finish off 2016 with my review of the game. All in a days work I guess.
Sleeping Dogs is an open world game set in Hong Kong where you play as Wei Shen an undercover cop who is attempting to take down the Triads from the inside. Of course its not that easy for Wei. He soon becomes close with the gangs leading you as the player to question who Wei is truly loyal to. While the story is certainly serviceable and well acted by the voice cast I never felt completely invested. There are some emotional moments in the plot with key characters but the ultimate pay off seemed somewhat lackluster. With the game ending open ended and setting up for a sequel, is disappointing since United Front Games has now closed and the chances of seeing this sequel are very slim.
As with most sandbox games there is a mix of various gameplay styles. Sleeping Dogs main stand out feature is the hand to hand fighting system. Wei Shen is well versed in martial arts as is every bad guy in this game who you’ll usually take on in large groups. You can attack and counter in a system very similar to the infamous Batman Arkham games, although Sleeping Dogs appears to have its own rhythm to its fighting system. I found that you had to be very careful with your button presses to begin with. Once you got the games own rhythm down, I was quite capable even with the odds stacked largely against me, once I got to this stage I felt like Bruce Lee (insert broken table). You can also grapple enemies and maneuver them to create devastating environmental kills such as impaling guys on sword fish or smashing someone’s head into a urinal which reminds me of a fond scene from the film True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I remember the first time I read Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft. I had come to it thanks to the Metallica song of the same name off the Ride the Lightning album, which intrigued me because the song had no lyrics despite being based off of a work of writing. Some had touted it as a quintessential bit of horror fiction to rival even the strongest authors of today while others made the predictable claim that it was too disjointed from contemporary times to be relevant, let alone scary. I came away feeling a bit of both. Much of the concepts of the work are for your head to create, but that’s also what made it so horrifying, it was indescribable. Dark Corners of the Earth tries to bring an author and storyline that has dodged popular culture, widespread film, and of course video games for so long. It’s one of the first instances where an interactive medium has attempted to bring Lovecraft’s world to life, no easy feat. It’s not even based off of the main story Call of Cthulhu – although Lovecraft fans are used to the co-branding for various alternative works – but rather the novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth that details a town in New England that has isolated itself from the US. Ultimately the town is inhabited by sea creatures and ancient beings, which is now brought to life with a twist in an unreliable narrator that wavers in sanity. While Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth bites off a bit more than it can chew in overall design, not to mention the odd breaking point in the middle where it literally shifts genres, your ability to keep pace with it results in what could be one of the strongest horror video games of all time.
A title with a massive cult following, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines was plagued with bugs thanks to rushed development. Once it was finally patched to good working order, the game didn’t seem to play nice with Win7+ operating systems until a recent final patch came along that makes the game easy to run and play. You can find that patch here if you own the game on Steam or GoG: http://www.patches-scrolls.de/patch/4647
Fred jumps in, makes a character (Nosferatu), and proceeds to play the opening missions. This is a quick look to get a feel for the game and was originally broadcast on our Twitch channel. This is to become a regular series with a different class character as Fred discovers the intricacies of this forward thinking title.
***NOTE: I know I suck at the game and I know Nosferatu is not a good starting point if you’ve never played. This was discovered after the fact but clearly hinted while we broadcast. A new series of Let’s Play videos will be coming with a new character class.***
For whatever reason, the West gave up on the scrolling shooter genre back in the 90s. Sure, games came and went after the 32-bit generation, but for the most part series that had existed for decades like Gradius, Darius, and even R-Type ceased development. In Japan, however, the shooter – sometimes called shoot-em-up or the divisive shorthand of shmup – has evolved along with new franchises and coveted developers. Otaku, weeaboo (foreigners obsessed with Japanese culture), and shoot-em-up fans like myself remain aware and hungry for the new and challenging titles that come from the East. Of those modern franchises, there are few developers more notable than Cave and there are few franchises more recognizable than DoDonPachi. The name is a pun on both the literal meaning, angry leader bee, and the fact that “don” is onomatopoeia with bullet fire in Japanese. The story is somewhat irrelevant at this point, mostly because we never saw a release of any of the DoDonPachi series outside of limited release in arcades, but suffice to say it revolves around fighting various human fighters under the control of a large bee set on world domination. The “don” is fitting as well because your ship will be putting out literally hundreds of bullets every second and a sea of bright pink and blue bullet-fire will be coming back at you in retort. This sub-genre is known as danmaku (“bullet hell”), which is a fitting name given the minute-by-minute gameplay. Why does any of this matter? Because we’re finally getting a Western release of DoDonPachi DaiFakkatsu (aka Resurrection) on Steam that is part of an impressive resurgence of the genre for this region. DoDonPachi Resurrection is gorgeous, brutal, and feature packed to the point that both the veteran shooter fan and newcomers can find plenty to do and enjoy every potentially frustrating second.
There is no writer quite like H.P. Lovecraft and there’s definitely not a whole lot of games like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. A divisive title that is seen by some a tiresome game of pointless challenges while others revere it as the quintessential horror video game. Fred and Jam delve into the design, development, and campaign of this unique horror title.
DoDonPachi Resurrection will premiere on Steam October 14, a title previously exclusive to Japan. Here Fred takes a look at the initial stages and describes basic gameplay. This footage was captured at 4K/UHD resolution (3840×2160) and then downsampled to 1080p.
This quick look was originally posted on The B-Team Podcast (www.thebteampodcast.com) and have partial co-ownership with this site. This is re-posted with permission.
This week Jam’s pick was Psychic World. An action platformer originally released on the MSX as Psycho World (it was Japan only), this title received wider regard in the West as a Game Gear title and those in Europe may have also played the Sega Master System version. Fred and Jam dissect the development, gameplay, and version differences between this largely forgotten title by an almost unknown developer.
The Technomancer reminds me of one of those relationships before I got married. It’s dynamic and I enjoyed it, but ultimately I got to this point where I knew our time would have to end. Much like those relationships, it probably lasted a bit longer than it should have, but that doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time. Far from it. Regardless of your opinion of nitpicks like whether or not the faces compete with modern powerhouse franchises or exactly what genre it should be labeled as, The Technomancer is offering a throwback to the complete package of RPG we saw often last generation. That wouldn’t have made it stand out were it not for the fact that a title like this is somewhat rare these days. Sure, everything is going open world, but releases of RPGs that heavily integrate decision and story are somewhat scarce and especially if you’re looking for sci-fi or cyberpunk. So despite its flaws and not necessarily being able to keep up with its more established peers, The Technomancer is a worthwhile experience.
I’m guessing not many played developer Spiders’ first title Mars: War Logs, which you may be surprised to know is now available on PC and even Xbox One thanks to 360 backward compatibility (also on PS3). It really is the early version of what would eventually become this title and established the lore of human colonization on Mars and the core of what the technomancers are. That title was short, the combat was harshly integrated (especially for gamepads), and while I liked what it was doing I couldn’t get too invested. Having played Mars: War Logs did allow me to appreciate how far Spiders has come in its sophomore effort on the concept, but it’s in no way necessary as a buffer for this title. Newcomers and veterans alike will be introduced to Zachariah, a graduating technomancer that is coming to terms with his newfound powers and prepared to utilize them in an effort to keep the peace and eventually find a way back to Earth. He’s not unique, many technomancers work for Abundance, a mega-corp that provides security on Mars and all technomancers are to guard the order’s secrets in an attempt to discover a way back home to Earth. Beyond that you are free to hit the ground running in an open-world chock full of icons that represent main and side quests. Along the way you will inevitably face combat, both in and out of hub locations, where your action fighting skills will be tested from start to finish. I’ll return to the combat in a minute, but it’s important to note that the separation between non-combat zones and combat zones is blurred here, which I don’t often see in the modern world of RPGs that includes MMOs. It may not be much of a change, but it struck me as somewhat unique.