Review: OVERPASS (PS4)

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Grandma needs to move to a place less hard to get to…

overpass ps4There are a couple of ways to play Zordix Racing’s super challenging and very (very) methodical off-road game OVERPASS ($59.99). You can go into all the tutorials and learn the ropes, failing and retrying as you go, then hit the Career Mode’s many racing events in a few ways, earning sponsors, a team to manage along with race-earned cash to repair rides and purchase plenty of gear and upgrades. You can just hop into Quick Race, Custom Race, or hotseat-based Multiplayer and play on an assortment of tracks with any ride, learning as you play. Or, you can just mix in all the game modes and get an extreme and extremely lengthy experience that’s part driving sim and part puzzle game where you’ll need to successfully navigate some deviously designed courses that will test your skills and patience.

The game could use some patching to fix a few bugs with the physics and free up camera control (holding R3 down to look around is a pain), but even still, a warning comes for casual players: it’s definitely not for everyone, especially those expecting something purely arcade-like. This definitely isn’t a Motorstorm or Baja: Edge of Control despite its announcer’s twangy voice and a bit of genetic soundtrack action. When you approach the game from a simulation aspect, it’s a lot more enjoyable, although as they say, your mileage may vary when all is said and done. There’s definitely a LOT of game here for that money, although the day one DLC might be a bit of a pesky bit of business for some players resistant to that sort of thing.

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“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”

 

Of the two disciplines, the assorted buggies are the most fun to drive here, especially once you get a few upgrades and start fiddling with crafting the fastest and better handling rides. You’ll need to try and damage your rides as little as possible in Career, as repairs stack up and get costly, affecting performance to often great degrees if you don’t repair. Quads are a totally difficult thing to get used to throughout as you need to control the driver as much as the vehicle here, adjusting his or her body on the fly lest you go tumbling down a slope or over a steep hill. The unforgiving nature of the physics here means you’ll feel as if a stiff wind could send your driver flying off that ride, but they’ll fall off before the wind starts blowing anyway. This is clearly NOT a game about stunts and flashy moves and it doesn’t pretend to be. Add in the manual transmission options if you like, and parts of the game get really teeth-gnashing even when you get better at them.

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OVERPASS Launch Trailer: Time To Get Really Dirty

…And a roll or two in the mud is GUARANTEED:

Zordix Racing’s OVERPASS is now available on PC via the Epic Games Store, with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions arriving on March 17. If you want a challenging simulation racer where learning the literal ups and downs of courses that will have you rolling in the aisles when you’re too careless, this game was made to suit you.

I’ll get a review up shortly, but from the hands-on time I had earlier, it’s clear that this isn’t some simpler “accelerate, pull off crazy stunts and win!” arcade experience at all.  That’s going to he hard for some to swallow like a handful of pebbles when they’ve rolled over a few times too many, but I liked the hardcore challenge of the game when I played the demo.

-GW

Review: Dawn of Fear (PS4)

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How come no one has a sledgehammer handy so they can bust the heck through those locked front doors in these games?

DOFYou’ll either like or not like Dawn of Fear ($19.99) for a few reasons. You’ll like it if you’re a big of the classics for the strict, stick to the script “survival” horror gameplay borrowed liberally from the first Resident Evil, with a touch of the more unsettling Silent Hill for good measure, very limited save function, static to a fault camera angles, blind spots, rigid aiming, low ammo counts and all. You’ll not like it for all that if you’re a newer survival horror fan or an old fan of the genre that’s moved on to games with more freedom of movement and a plot that makes more logical sense. Plus there’s a somewhat spotty localization that needed a bit of work, as it’s a bit cringe-worthy on the grammar side. Oh, and there were some pretty awful bugs and glitches at launch, some of which stopped the game cold and either forced a restart, or had you go back to an old save to hopefully restore things.

A recent patch helps a great deal, though. It turned the sluggish movement speed to an always run animation that helps a tremendously (even though the instructions still state holding the Square button runs, when it now doesn’t). Although you’ll now zip into camera angles that switch so fast it’s tricky to not run back into an area you just left. Glitches that were major visual and technical ones seem to be stomped out, but sometimes areas you explore still load in pieces. For example, you’ll be walking running into a dark room in that mansion and the lights suddenly switch on, but it’s not the lights, just an area on the map that’s loading in its pre-rendered details (oops).

 

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Samurai Shodown: We’ll Take A Slice On Switch, Please

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A farewell to arms and a few other body parts…

Well, it’s here and Samurai Shodown has landed on Nintendo’s Switch in fine form. Those who pre-ordered the physical version via online sources or walk in to Best Buy or GameStop to buy the game before March 25, 2020 are getting two nice goodies, a free controller skin (seen below) and a digital copy of Samurai Shodown 2, a port from the Neo Geo Mini.

Digital pre-orders just get the Neo-Geo game because the process of teleportation won’t be figured out until about… (checks year 2100 textbook) the year 2093, but even then it’ll be a highly flawed process and only available through some sort of Amazon Prime Plus Plus Premium service, with a 20% success rate. In English, you might want to go out and get some brief exercise to pick up a copy of the game much sooner. Good cardio if you sort of double-time it there and back, I hear. Well, read this post first, of course – I need the traffic before you go out in it.

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OVERPASS: Console Release Bumped To March, PC Still Landing Feb. 27

 

According to publisher Nacon North America, all three console versions of Zordix Racing’s hardcore off-road simulation driving experience OVERPASS have been moved to March 17th, 2020, but PC fans using the Epic Store get their ride sooner on February 27, 2020. This is actually good news for Nintendo Switch owners, as it’s now launching at the same time as Xbox One and PS4 versions and in reality, some PC games are released before their console counterpoints anyway, so the delay here isn’t that unreasonable in my book.

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Go ahead, play the theme from Rocky

 

Here’s a short video of Zordix Racing’s Head of Production. Joakim Eriksson taking the game for a little spin to wrap things up (it’s educational!):

 

 

Yep, the good times are going to roll soon – I can’t wait.

-GW

Three Arrows You Don’t Want To Duck

Arrow Video and Arrow Academy have got your back this month, but you may want to check it for a few sharp objects (ow!) as all three releases in February might be somewhat hostile to your health. Let’s take a look:

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One Missed Call Trilogy

Deadly Manor

So sinister, so good this month, but I hear from a friend that Manon is a really nice and bleak dramatic flick from a master of suspense, and I like Clouzot’s work quite a lot. The other two are new to me, but I do want to take a look at these at some point.

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She’s really going to be pissed when she wakes up and finds out someone went overboard with the whole “I’m going to bury her in the sand” thing.

-GW

Review: Bayonetta and Vanquish 10th Anniversary (PS4)

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Just make sure you stick the landing, Miss B.

BVYou’re not buying that excellent Bayonetta/Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle ($39.99) from Sega strictly for the plots of both games, that’s for sure. Both titles hold up mostly excellently in terms of visuals and controls, but the writing is more of an excuse for some lengthy and visually lovely in-game cinemas that pad out both run times. Granted, both games are made to be highly replayed, especially Vanquish, which seems short at about six hours, but there’s a lot more to it once you mess with the difficulty and as with Bayonetta, play through like the bad-asses both characters are. If you’re into both games, they’re far from “one and done” experiences.

 

 

The two stories here actually enhance how wonderfully crazy and brilliant the gameplay is for both titles, especially when you go from hanging onto every word in cut scenes and free yourself from simple button-mashing to pulling of perfectly timed strikes of all sorts in the flagrantly sexy Bayonetta to taking down enemies and bosses with the fast slide and shoot moves from Vanquish. That said, the latter’s plot about Russian-led forces commandeering a huge US-built microwave-powered space cannon to decimate California and threaten to do the same to New York might be something a few players might find blows their minds a bit. Bayonetta’s still phenomenal opening just throws you into battle as it plays out, then teaches you the ropes before the real challenge begins. Trying to explain the plot here? Good luck – just enjoy the cut scenes instead and kill a lot of enemies and bosses when they’re done.

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“I thought you just used microwaves for Hot Pockets and cold coffee!”

Both games allow for unskilled players to get in their kills although the latter game is more punishing if you try and flail through it and refuse to pick up on all it’s trying to teach you. Then again, it may take a bit of getting used to the controls in both titles for some who’ve not yet played both games – your mileage will vary based on how adept you are at picking things up and dealing with the forced camera angles in Bayonetta. Vanquish has a bit more freedom in its camera, but on the harder modes (there are four difficulty settings), speedy, precise play becomes a must. Continue reading

Zombie Army 4 Launch Trailer: You Bought A Bigger Boat, Right?

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Hmmm… this could be trouble…

Rebellion is maybe going to cause a rebellion at retail and on digital stores and their up to 4-player Zombie Army 4: Dead War will be the cause. I do need to play it at some point, as back on PS3, the series has always been a sort of reliable insanity for me where you know what you’re getting into from the title and can’t expect anything more than a developer having a bit of gory fun with the subject manner in whatever ways they can. I like that sort of thing because reinventing the wheel isn’t what’s intended, but a new set of spinning rims sure will do you good. Well, that and the zombie sharks in Dead War, which I have some (not so) important questions about, have me quite curious.

To wit:

Are they German-speaking sharks? If so, can players use “Hallo! Bitte beiß mich nicht!” as a command? If they’re undead, does this mean they’ll follow you even more tirelessly because a tired shark who stops swimming will die (allegedly) while a zombie shark will pretty much come at you forever? Am I overthinking this a wee too much? Stuff like that. I’ll wait kindly for the developer to come up with a few answers, but here’s the trailer below the jump to keep you warm while hell freezes over before I get my answers.

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Overpass Hands-On: A Scoop Of (Extremely) Rocky Road, Please

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(sings): “Bumpy roads, take me home…”

 

Bigben Games wants to be your racing simulation racing studio of choice (WRC 8 was a pretty excellent sim on PS4 and my favorite console racer last year), and its upcoming off-road title developed by Zordix Racing in Sweden, Overpass (set for release on March 12, 2020 and March 17 for Switch) is certainly shaping up to be a really solid game experience. I got an hour or so of playtime with the PC version and can report that it’s going to fascinate some and frustrate others, but this is actually a really good thing. If you’re more used to arcade-style racers where all you do is floor the accelerator and powerslide to the fastest victory you can manage, well, here comes a game that’s a test of skill where learning the literal ups and downs of the tracks becomes part of the game and speed needs careful mastering and consideration.

 

 

Does anyone remember Spintires? If so, imagine that with faster off-road racers in mind and the needs to both master a track’s hazards and nail in a quick time despite those hazards. Overpass does this somewhat magnificently, with analog triggers and a thrilling use of controller feedback where you’ll feel the road beneath your ride of choice and need to navigate through the environment unless you want more free badly done rolls than you can find at an Olive Garden.

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SAMURAI SHODOWN on Switch: Big Things, Smaller Packages and Big, But Little Surprises

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It’s time to Switch things up…

samuraishodown_package_switch (1)I’ll tell you, games can get you in trouble if you’re careless. Case in point, SNK’s Samurai Shodown has always caused me trouble because it’s intentionally misspelled the word “Showdown” since its initial installment in arcades in 1993. Which has lead me to ducking fists and feet ever since when I try to correct a fan of the franchise on occasion who spells the word incorrectly outside of the game title. (CHOP! Ow!)

Hey, sorry! My internal spellcheck just goes haywire when I see it. It’s not your fault! Anyway, here’s a peek at few trailers and screens look at some new content for the upcoming Unreal-4 powered Nintendo Switch version, ($49.99) which is coming on February 25, 2020 and looks pretty nice, by the way. Even nicer, players who pre-order the digital or physical version of the game before its release date will get a neat freebie -a port of the Neo Geo Pocket Color game, Samurai Shodown! 2 as a bonus.

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Better still, pre-orders for the physical version from GamsStop or Best Buy get a cool bonus controller skin, so hit up one of these retailers if you’re in the US and want one before the game ships.

I still have my old NGPC here, so even though the Switch port will be an exclusive to the console, It’ll bring back memories playing it now on Nintendo’s home and portable wodder system. I actually missed the PS4 version of the game when it was last year (oops), but I think I can still nab a copy from the PlayStation Store when I need to.

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