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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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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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

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:

pre-order TT

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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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DOOM Eternal: More Kicks To The Devil Butt, Guaranteed

 

I did love the DOOM revival from 2016 because the game managed to be as fun to play as it was funny when necessary. It also defined its lead as a total demon-slaying nightmare that, yes, even some of the demons feared and you weren’t just killing them for fun and games. All that slaughter was your job because some rather stupid smart people had messed around and screwed things up by letting those demons into onto Mars (science!) and you were the person chosen to clean up the mess with how shall we say, EXTREME prejudice.

DOOM Eternal looks as if it’s also packing the same zippy no-cover fast-kill action as the last game (which was a welcome return to form from the first two DOOM games from the ’90’s), but as with the revival, I prefer to go in as cold as possible and be thrilled over knowing whee every enemy and secret is out of the gate. Kids, this is how gaming never gets old for me. The less I know, the better the game gets. On that note, I’ll probably ignore watching important spoilers from this moment on, as that new trailer sure teases a whole lot, doesn’t it?

 

 

-GW

Bayonetta and Vanquish Come to PS4? Sign Me Up!

I did a double take at first because I hadn’t seen the trailer when I found this out and thought for a second this was a new game with both characters in it. Nope, but it’s still thrilling news here for PS4 fans who didn’t pick these games up when they came to PC or when they debuted earlier on certain consoles. To be frank (Hi, frank!), I know I’m going to prefer the new console versions over playing on PC if the frame rate is stable and I don’t need to sit there and tweak settings to get something acceptable. That said, I may need a PS4Pro at this point just for the performance upgrade alone, *sigh*.

Ah well, we’ll see what happens with that particular wallet fight. In the meantime, PlatinumGames, you keep on what you’re doing – I’ll see you in February.

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Talk about a certified Platinum hit…

-GW