Review: Lydia (Switch)

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Lydia_SwitchA short, haunting and intense game about an unhappy childhood leading to destructive teen years and an adult redemption of sorts, indie developer Platonic Partnership’s striking Lydia ($4.00) isn’t either a happy-filled “fun” experience or a game that’s easily forgotten once played. It’s a slice of life story where a little girl goes through a troubles with her alcoholic and otherwise less than perfect parents and as she grows into her teens, things go from bad to worse as a key event takes place that changes a few lives forever.

There’s a use of time as a storytelling element along with the stylized visuals that may go over some heads, bit it’s a simple thing, really. As the game covers snippets of Lydia’s troubled life through adulthood and the ending is a conclusion that’s somewhat of a direct one, it’s a case of seeing her world through her eyes. Her visions go from childlike in her younger years to to more or less her view of reality as seen by someone who’s not an artist, but more a realist in how she deals with a particular and sad issue many go through. The level of humanity here is somewhat intense, as the game’s not shy at using raw language throughout as we see Lydia’s plight unfold in dreams and the real world. Adults can be more monstrous that an imagined creature in a closet.

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Pathologic 2 Comes To PS4: The Only Time “Going Viral” Is A Good Thing

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Grim, the understatement of GIF explanations.

I still haven’t played Ice-Pick Lodge’s rather unsettling survival horror game Pathologic 2 other than a demo from a few years back, but I want to eventually. The first game was quite good, but woefully depressing as its three playable characters each with their own aims, tried to figure out the dealing with the deadly plague that had taken over a small town with only 12 days to find some sort of resolution. That the game initially came out in 2005 makes it suddenly timely in some respects, but if you’re going to go pick it up on PC, don’t expect to be much of a “feel good” experience.

The stylized visuals and very methodical gameplay featured a mechanic where quests disappeared once a day was complete, so fast work was required in some areas lest a character integral to the overall plot expire. The interesting thing was it seemed impossible to do everything that was tasked, so the replay value was in maximizing one’s efforts and trying the figure the most efficient means to work through problems that arose. The tensions that arose from doing certain tasks while the Sand Plague crept inexorably forward made the game compelling, especially when one didn’t use any walkthroughs and took each day as a challenging survival puzzle of sorts.

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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

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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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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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III: Finally, It’s On PS4

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Yikes. I know Hungarian studio Neocore Games have been a bunch of busy bees over the years what with creating, changing for the better and supporting with content its excellent Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor, but I’d actually thought they went and forgot the series that helped put them on the map for a hot minute. Nope, they were just pretty occupied for a while, but wouldn’t you know it, out of the blue, they went and finally released the The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III for a very reasonable $14.99, while dropping the price on the first two games to $7.99 and $5.99 respectively.

Those prices on the two older games expires on February 5, 2020, so go get them now and fast, as they’re quite fun and a bit amusing, packing in a few surprises along the way. I’ll shut up here and let you get to it, then.

 

 

-GW

Rustler: Get Medieval in This Hilarious GTA-Inspired Game

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Yep. This needs to be played for this reference alone.

 

First of all, when I went to install the Rustler Alpha demo on Steam, I was greeted with Grand Theft Horse as a title on the game installer, which was magnificent. Indie developer Justus Games knows which side of the bread their butter in on. Second of all, for an alpha, the game is coming together pretty well. It’s just up on Kickstarter now and is there waiting for you to pledge or the drunken sot with the sword in the banner above may come for you. He’ll be right up your alley if you’re not right up his, as it were. That alley will be dark ad have a few rodents in it, most likely.

Gameplay is much the original Grand Theft Auto and GTA 2 isometric top down stuff but rendered in a nicer game engine with some lusher environments. As with the aforementioned games, there’s humor in all the mayhem you cause and yes, the old ultra-violence means it’s not a child’s game for sure. But there’s that nifty cathartic thing going on here that just works because you get immediate results from your attempts at criminal behavior (or, assorted guards and villagers don’t just stand by while you crime away), so expect to fight as you run run or ride a swiped horse away from trouble, or cause more pain for as long as you can. It’s your choice, but the lead’s character’s seemingly perpetually drunken state can cause him to fall off a horse or otherwise be dismounted.

 

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Review: Terminator: Resistance (PS4)

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Hi!  I’m Darryl and this is my other brother, Darryl and we’ll be killing you in a sec…

TRcoverWell, isn’t this a big surprise?

Reef Entertaiment‘s shockingly good Terminator: Resistance ($59.99, PS4) is the best game in the long running series of games based on the franchise since the one-two punch of Bethesda’s two very solid PC games, The Terminator: Future Shock (1995) and SkyNET (1996). What’s so astonishing is this new game’s developer Teyon is responsible for 2014’s RAMBO: The Video Game, which was raked over the coals critically for a number of issues, with being a simple rail shooter where movement was automatic and had too many QTE (Quick Time Event) sequences and some technical woes some of the biggest problems.

The Polish developer (who also has a branch in Japan) has been around since 2006 making a number of games for multiple platforms and to me, they’re a tiny bit like Cauldron, the Bratislava-based developer who made a number of journeyman-like titles across multiple platforms for a few publishers over the years. Whatever budget they had to work with here, Teyon really took the Terminator license seriously, going back to the first two films for inspiration and knocking it out the park as a result. Interestingly enough, there’s a even a Bethesda Softworks touch in the interaction scenes with other characters as choices you make affect a few outcomes and even the lock picking mini-game is lifted from the later Bethsoft-made Fallout games.

 

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