Friday, 8 December 2017

35/344 The Mummy Demastered (Wayforward) Completed

100% surprised this is a thing... 200% surprised it is a fantastic game. See, this is what happens when you give a developer like Wayford the chance to make something great. Cartoon Network has already figured this out with putting their trust in the likes of Grumpy Face and Capybara games. Now it seems that Warner Brothers are putting their trust in smaller companies to make their movie tie-ins. Well, ok, maybe this is such a huge surprise since they gave the Batman licence to Rocksteady and all they did before Batman was Urban Chaos...

The Mummy Demastered is a 16-bit Metroidvania and honestly, it is a great game but it doesn't have a mechanic that really stands out. It does something similar to Dark Souls in that each time you die you have to find the corpse and recover your equipment. It is interesting but not something that really defines the game.

It really does feel like the most interesting aspect of this game comes from the fact that it actually exists and it is really good. You can pretty much guarantee any game from WayForward will have a seal of quality to it but this still remains a very interesting game. Worth checking out.

Oh yeah, the soundtrack is outstanding. Very atmospheric and very synthwave.

Monday, 13 November 2017

34/340 Pony Island (Daniel Mullins Games) Completed

To talk about Pony Island is to spoil Pony Island.

Play it, enjoy it and then talk about it with your friends who have also played it.

You will not be disappointed.

Friday, 10 November 2017

33/338 Ever Oasis (Grezzo) Completed

Ever Oasis is an original IP from the talented people at Grezzo. Their previous work includes the remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask on the 3DS and the original Zelda game Tri-Force Heroes. Giving that Nintendo seemed to trust them with their most precious of franchises it was only a matter of time before they would release their own IP. Enter Ever Oasis, a village management sim in the same vane as Animal Crossing but with combat.

The premise is simple, the world is ruled by a dark force known as Chaos that is corrupting animals and making the whole world a hostile place. But a beacon within the darkness comes in the form of an Oasis created by a small race known as seedlings and water sprites. The two fuse their magic and create paradises that protect the inhabitants of the world from the Chaos. You are a seedling who has created the last Oasis in the world with the water sprit Esna and it your mission to save the other races of the world by bringing them to your Oasis and stopping the evil Chaos. Among the many great aspects of Ever Oasis, it is the other seedlings that stand out and the feature I want to talk about.

During your adventures, you will come across other seedlings that are either lost in the desert or just so happen to wander into your Oasis. They will come with a few requirements to join your village. This can range from needing a certain item to already having a certain villager in your Oasis. When these requirements are met they will join your Oasis and set up a shop to sell goods. You will then start earning money through these shops so you can buy more items to help stock up the shops. That is, however, not the interesting part when it comes to the seedlings. To level up a seedlings shop you will have to complete quests for them and it is these small stories that have the biggest impact.

One thing you need to know about Ever Oasis is that it is a rather chill and lovely game. It is very relaxed with you saving the world and everything within that world is very pleasant. Even the creatures you fight are not evil, they are just corrupted with Chaos. When you defeat an enemy you are only defeating the chaos within and the creature just runs off afterwards. Everything about Ever Oasis is just lovely. It is then such a sucker punch when the stories for most of the villagers are a juxtaposition to the overall joy of everything else.

One story has you helping a Seedling who has lost touch with their father, only to discover that the father never wanted the seedling in the first place. And the whole story ends not with the father accepting that seedling but rejecting them and running away. Another story has a seedling making food for another villager who they respect and instead of the villager thanking the seedling for making the food they scold the seedling for not doing things on their own and always asking for help. Again that is how the story ends on a sad and sombre note. It is just so crazy that 70% of this game is a pure joy but the seedling quests are just miserable. But not miserable in an "Oh man, that sucks and this is making me depressed" but in a more real world sense. The seedlings remain positive despite all these horrible situations.

They talk about overcoming their shortfalls and not needing the acceptance of their father and so many other similar situations. It really feels like their stories are grander than just a simple side quest, as if they are still working on their problems in the background while you are saving the world. It is such a nice touch and makes each seedling feel more than a quest device.

Ever Oasis is worth checking out based on the Seedlings alone but it has so much more to offer. The combat is relatively simple but very fun, the story is nice with some great final moments and the overall delight in the world is just refreshing. Ever Oasis if very much worth your time and money.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

32/338 Kane and Lynch 2

It feels like talking about Kane and Lynch 2 gives the game more power than it deserves. It is an ever-growing beast that feeds off the words spoken about it. The discussions I have had about this game with friends is astonishing. Is it good? Does it deserve a place amounts games as a hidden gem? Is it more of an art piece than an actual game? Question after questions talking about why Kane and Lynch 2 is even a thing.

I was going to write a whole piece about Kane and Lynch 2 and discover why the hell it even exists. I was going to do research and find out what the hell this game is about but, again, I feel like that gives it power. Kane and Lynch 2 doesn't deserve your time, money or effort in any regard.

Do not pay it any attention as it does not deserve any. Like a spoiled child it will cry and moan for attention but you must ignore it. Only then will it learn to fend for itself and grow.

Kane and Lynch 2 is an awful game. Regardless of what anyone tells you... DO NOT PLAY IT.

Monday, 23 October 2017

31/337 SteamWorld Dig 2 (Image & Form Games) Completed

It felt like the original SteamWorld Dig was going to be a forgotten gem on the 3DS. While some sites reviewed and generally enjoyed the first Dig game it didn't seem to get the attention it really deserved. Then, the game released on PC and suddenly everyone couldn't get enough of Rusty and his block smashing Metroidvania style adventure. 4 years later and the insanely talented people at Image and Form have given us a sequel. Let's get a digging.

Some time has passed since Rusty stopped Vectron from activating and destroying the world. Since doing so Rusty has been missing and only whispers of his name have been heard. Our hero Dot has been following them with interest and purpose, following one particular rumour has landed her in the small mining town of El Machino. El Machino has been having frequent earthquakes and it is down to Dot to descend into the mines, stop the earthquakes and find Rusty. While this seems like a basic setup the world and overall tone of the game are just wonderful. Cowboy and prospector robots were a nice touch in the first game but here they have even more character and style. 

While Dots toolset only begins with a simple pickaxe it soon grows into a plethora of gadgets and weapons to help you advance. From the simple powerups such as sprinting to the ever-awesome grappling hook, Dot soon becomes a walking a bulldozer to dirt and enemies alike. Unlike the first game Dig 2 offers more choice for upgrades. The first Dig allowed you to upgrade your weapons by spending money and that is still present here, however, you can further add abilities to your weapons and tools through the use of cogs.

Cogs can be freely placed and removed from weapons and tools to give you new abilities. Need some more punch with your pickaxe? Get the increased damage mod for one cog. Want to steal enemies health while punching them in the face? Get the Vampire ability for 3 cogs. Need another cog for that increased gem storage mod? No problem, remove a cog from one of your other mods and bobs your uncle you have enough cogs. The system is brilliant, throughout the play through I found myself constantly swapping cogs in and out of mods as I unlocked more abilities. The freedom it offers to change your play style on a whim is great.

SteamWorld Dig 2 currently sits at my number three for best games of 2017. It offered some great fun and it ties the whole SteamWorld Universe together wonderfully. I am really looking forward to what Image and Form do next as they have proven time and time again they are great and competent video game creators.

Monday, 25 September 2017

30/336 Destiny 2 (Bungie) Completed?

I keep thinking about that time I said I will never play Destiny ever again after completing it. How it was just this poor man's copy of Borderlands and it didn't have any legs to stand on. Three years later and I played Destiny up until Destiny 2 dropped, I played Destiny for as long as the game was relevant. There will be no bold claims of never player Destiny 2 ever again. No wild claims of it being a poor rendition of a superior game. I will continue to play Destiny 2 for a long time, I know I will.

I can't really say much about Destiny 2. It all feels so new and it keeps going and it is an MMO. I could come back to this later on but I am not making any promises. I will continue to play Destiny 2 and if I have any thoughts later on down the line I will do a Let's Talk About...

Not much to say right now... Sorry people.

Monday, 18 September 2017

29/335 Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (Capcom) Completed

Frank West is in a bad place. After selling his story of the Willamette Incident and becoming a world-famous author he got caught up in a scandal. Down on his luck and missing his 15 minutes of fame he needs a chance to get back into the people's good books, he needs to be the hero of a new story. But Frank being Frank means that he is highjacking Chuck Greens tale and retelling it in his own way. Frank West is going to Fortune City to find his success in Terror is Reality! Except naturally, everything goes wrong and once again he is wrapped up in a conspiracy involving even more zombies.

If you are unfamiliar with the Dead Rising series of games they are a semi-open world beat-em-up in a very loose sense. On a basic level, they are one man against a whole horde of zombies and some people who have lost their shit because of said zombies. You will be spending most of your time saving people, killing zombies and psychos, and watching the panic-inducing clock tick down. While most people groaned at the clock in the first Dead Rising (myself included) it has now become a staple for the series to drive stress and panic. You see Dead Rising works over the course of three sped up days. Within those days you have a very limited amount of time to figure out who let the zombies escape and started this whole incident. The clock is probably the games strongest tool in its very bloated arsenal as it has the player constantly watching and planning the best route to people, places and weapons.

If the player really wanted they could just follow the story missions and finish the game but Dead Rising has a whole host side quests to deal with. As you are exploring Fortune City you will come across people in need of saving. You can completely ignore them and just get on with the main mission but if you save them they come with rewards and the satisfaction that you did a good thing. These side missions are the reason you will fail the main story, they are so tightly packed into that ticking clock that deviating from the path and trying to save everyone is not only a great achievement it will make you lose all your hair. Completing some side missions will have you going down to the wire to get to the next story mission.

However, if you really do want to ignore all the side missions and focus entirely on the main story you will not be bored. While the main story is the usual "Bad guy did a thing, go kill the bad guy" it is the setting of Fortune City that shines brightest. A huge playground of toys, weapons and clothing for you to use to defeat the zombie hordes. From the usual zombie slaying devices such as the humble baseballs bat to the more ridiculous such as a dildo, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to how you want to dispatch of the next zombie.

Dead Rising 2 also introduced the maintenance rooms. These wonderful workshops allow you to mix two certain items together to make a single more powerful item. As an example, you can take the wooden baseball bat and combine it with a box of nails to make the spiked baseball bat. That is just one of many examples of brutal zombie slaying devices. Eventually, you will find combinations that allow you to shoot lasers, a helicopter with knifes for blades and my personal favourite the laser sword. It is just another name for a lightsaber but damn does it do some damage.

You may have noticed that I haven't really focused in on what makes Off the Record different to the original Dead Rising 2. That is because honestly, it is not all that different. Co-Op multiplayer is there, some new combination items and the story is somewhat different but all in all, it is the same game. The setting is the same, story is the same but with a slightly crazy ending and a large majority of the missions are exactly the same. The only real key difference is the ending and you getting to play as Frank West.

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a great game but not all that different from the original Dead Rising 2. You could honestly get either and be very satisfied with the ensuing chaos that is the Dead Rising games. If it is on sale I would say get it and just turn off your mind. It won't change your life but Dead Rising will surely entertain you for a while. Just kind of ignore all the cringy misogyny that Frank West likes to throw around and the developers revel in like a trashy 1960s movie... Although the game does pay a lot of homage to old zombie movies so maybe it is all meant to be tongue in cheek... Anywho, play the game and laugh.