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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Elevator (In)Action

(Thanks, HAMSTER Corporation!)

A few days ago, I got stuck in the elevator here with another guy who, after we let Security know of the issue via intercom and they said they were on it, started asking me about sports. Well, that was a dull, but enlightening (for him, I think) mercifully brief conversation. I told him I didn’t really watch sports except when I popped by a friend’s place and a sport of choice was on TV. If I’m asked who I like, I almost always counter ask “which team is winning?”, which by the way, has gotten me a few mean looks over the years, but quite a few more laughs. Like a perfect pitch, it’s all in the delivery, I guess. Well, and it depends on a good mix of catchers and not some folks who want to hit you hard with bats, as well.

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It’s a mugging, I say!

Anyway, I think the guy looked at me as if I was a space alien visiting from somewhere, but my joke about the elevator being a busted TARDIS went a few feet above his head. It’s a good thing I made no jokes about needing a new companion in my travels, as if you don’t get one Doctor Who joke, you certainly won’t get a second one. I did mention that I have played some sports-themed video games and still do from time to time, so at least he was looking at me a lot less suspiciously after that information.

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Hotshot Racing – Still An Apex, With A Curve As The Lead

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Those extra-wide tracks mean no Hard Drivin’ (ha-ha). Three people will get the reference.

Remember an in-progress game called Racing Apex from what, a few years ago? Well, thanks to developers Lucky Mountain Games and Sumo Digital, along with publisher Curve Digital, that game has become Hotshot Racing and it’ll be set to ht the track this spring. The trailer below shows off some nice 60 fps single player mode gameplay, plus the game will support up to 4 players on a single screen with a lower frame rate that still looks pretty solid. Check out the zippy new trailer below:

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Yakuza 0 – Your PC & Xbox One Are Going On A Trip

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Well, you can tell by the way he uses his walk…

 

 

The only reasons yours truly didn’t request a PC or Xbox review copy of Sega’s outstanding Yakuza 0 for myself was I’ve played the excellent PS4 version already, don’t currently own an Xbox One, and hell, my backlog on Steam just went under the two-year mark a few days ago, only to go way back up thanks to a few new games popping into my inbox which need to be reviewed. Oh, and I finally just got an Epic Games Store account because I’be been offered a few codes for games exclusive to that store. Everything eventually gets a review, but pacing them out by myself is an issue. I’m all for cloning, by the way.

Anyway, if you’ve got Microsoft’s all in-one wonder console ™ and haven’t bought or played this yet, go do so. It’s only $19.99 or FREE if you subscribe to Xbox’s Game Pass Ultimate. Yakuza 0 is an immense game that’s rewarding from a few story and gameplay elements, you’re not going to complete it quickly, and there are way too many things to hold your interest through the game. You’ll see, and if I don’t see you around after that recommendation, I know how to not reach you because you’ll be busy for some time. Trust me on this, as I’m buried in the fantastic Yakuza Remastered Collection on PS4 and yipes, those are three long games to replay, but the improvements are well worth it.

-GW

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

Operencia: The Stolen Sun: Getting Hungary For More of This Classic RPG

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I’m a little late to the party, but great games still need love…

Hungary-based Zen Studios, known for years worldwide for its solid Pinball FX series, is taking a little detour and it really looks as if you need to come along. The place they’re going may be temporarily sun-less, but it’s still quite stunning.  Operencia: The Stolen Sun is out now on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One family of consoles and is coming on March 31, 2020 for Steam, GOG, PS4, and Switch and I’m betting it’ll be a welcome surprise to those who think the developer is all about recreating and enhancing some excellent classic to their own newer modern digital pinball tables.

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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

TT Isle of Man 2 Hands-On: Lightning, Unbottled

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Let the good times roll, indeed.

KT Racing has done quite a lot of work on TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 and it’s simultaneously quite a thrill and terrifyingly good so far. Major fixes to bike handling. road surfaces, lighting, weather effects and more all add an even more realistic feel than the first game, and the greatly improved Career Mode and an all-new open world area to practice (or just take relaxing rides) in make this a pretty superior sequel.  Taking a build of the PC version out for a spin, many of the changes were amazing right from the start. Bikes all felt much better and the the ground effects were excellent overall (as in you don’t automatically go flying off your ride of choice at a jump or bump in the road). You can still wreck at high speeds, but it feels is if it’s your own fault for misjudging your speed, deliberately slamming into things, or not paying attention to the road surface.

Overall control is much more responsive as turning the bike is a lot more intuitive. In fact, the new handling model in third person views requires you to pay attention to both the driver’s positioning and the beautifully rendered road ahead of you. In first person, the game has a view where braking lifts the rider up in a realistic manner, as well as a nice optional helmet camera that adds to the immersion factor. The game is easier to get into, but NOT easy, as zen-like concentration and learning each course in the only way to master the tracks here. If your bike is wobbling and weaving from your own handling mistakes, expect to wreck, as the game demands perfection, practice, and patience.

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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

TT Isle of Man 2: Make or Brake Time

Keyvisual_FinalI haven’t played a TT Isle of Man game since two solid games way back on the PlayStation 2, so I’m sure I’ll wreck quite a lot while I try KT Racing’s new PS4 game TT Isle of Man 2 and guess what? I’m okay with that. I’m gathering from the videos I’ve seen that it’s not going to be a simple “jam down the pedal and go” kind of game some may want or think is coming, and to me it’s clear KT has been refining a bunch of elements over the last installment they did that should appeal to fans of the sport while getting novice players to want to go riding like the wind. Here’s a look at a few game footage trailers and a brief interview:

 

 

Both of these classic bikes are available as pre-order content across all systems by the way:

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