Video Games / Editorials

Phil Fish Wants You To Hate him

Phil Fish Wants You To Hate him

Fez was decent, least I thought it was, at it’s heart it was a fun title that made me feel kinda happy. Fez was colorful, slick, enjoyable and consistent. I enjoyed the game and looked back at it as pleasant experience. After all was said and done, I decided to look into the games development and see how it was crated, this resulted in me finding one Phil Fish. A talent young man, there is no doubt, but a egoistical fella. There’s nothing wrong with ego, look throughout creative media, sports and various other purists, a lot of the best people have a ego. The problem with Phil Fish is…he seems to think the world owes him something, he seems to think I owe him something and that you owe him something. Phil Fish isn’t a person, but a person consumed by a character.   I came to this conclusion after watching ‘Indie Game: The Movie’, a lovely little number that shed light on the hardships, struggles and high points of creating a vision. While everyone featured in the film seemed genuine, real, Mr.Fish always seemed like he was ‘playing’ for the camera. As time went on, and his twitter account became more and more active, it seemed like Mr.Fish had turned heel, full heel. Why do I use a term generally used in relation to professional wrestling? It’s simple, Phil Fish is acting like a WWE wrestler, a poor man’s CM Punk. The way in which he interacts with people over social media, his trash talk of his peers, the way in which he reacts to criticism, it all screams ‘playing a character’. I’ve always wondered why he acts like this, my only real conclusion is bad press is better than no press. In running his mouth, slagging off his peers, going overboard on current events, he earns himself a lot of heat which in turn gives him a lot of press. Phil Fish could announce any game he likes at this point and the internet would be all over it, social media (within video game circles) would be buzzing. Even when he’s not working on projects he stays in the news, he’s playing the system. Ethically, his recent exploits are a little dark. Requesting civil war and insulting his fan base seem like awful moves, but given he’s turned Heel, it’s a easy way to get gain heat. Phil Fish wants you to hate him, he thrives on it, he works lives on it. While you could argue it’s a clever means to stay relevant, the whole concept cheapens the joys that Fez brought. The whimsical charms of Fez feel slightly corrupted when you take into account the attitude of it’s creator. The real shame is Fish is super talented, and truly talented people don’t come along too often. His obsession with trying to play the bad guy is his main obstacle. There’s a hope that maybe one day he’ll change his focus, he’ll stop playing the villain, but that doesn’t seem likely. Phil Fish wants you to hate him, and he loves you for doing so....

P.T – A Word of Mouth Success

P.T – A Word of Mouth Success

The popularity of P.T has made me sit back and change my views on a few things. Demos have became a rarity in the modern market, hype sells and thus the big games have no need for a demo. Heck, even the smaller games tend to release without demos, they’ve became a thing of the past. In place of demos, we now have early access, alpha/beta tests and marketing…this is why P.T intrigues me. P.T is part demo, part marketing…a playable piece of marketing…and that’s fantastic. Word mouth of works wonders, and P.T has been doing the rounds as soon as it hit PSN. Given P.T’s length, content and hidden puzzles, it’s perfect to recommend to someone, even if it’s purely to try scare the hell out of them. When people hear how terrifying a game is, they often want to test it out, see if it’s as scary as people say. P.T’s simplicity opens it up to the masses, anyone can play it regardless of skill level or knowledge on what the game is. P.T goes beyond being a demo, the manner in which it popped out of no where, the way it captured peoples attention, it’s a similar impact to that of the original Flash game Slender. Sure it may have some major names behind it, sure it’s part of a major franchise, but it’s the perfect PR move for a franchise that’s been rather out of date for some years. Silent Hill has struggled for sometime now, while Downpour may not of been awful, Homcoming was just ‘okay’ and the Wii titles went under the radar, the franchise on the whole is stale. Announcing a new Silent Hill title wouldn’t of made much of a impact, but with big names such as Kojima behind it…things go up a notch, and P.T took things even further. Given how many variables exist within P.T, and how many things can go unseen on initial playthroughs, people banded together and began to discuss various things they had figured out or differences during their playthroughs. This was yet another means in which P.T became almost viral, it created a active community for a game just announced, bringing a potential base of buyers already.   While Demos may of became a less popular option for bigger games and names, P.T proves there’s still a foundation to be built upon. While it’s unclear how much of a representation P.T is for the final product (one assumes it won’t truly mirror the final release in most ways), the buzz it’s already crated for the game is staggering. A true triumph in using a kinda demo, kinda marketing tool, to inflate hype for a franchise essentially dead in the water.  ...

I Couldn’t Finish The P.T. Demo

I Couldn’t Finish The P.T. Demo

In terms of media, there’s not much that really scares me. Horror films and video game rarely scare me, though some make me uneasy. Big name horror titles from last year such as Outlast didn’t really have much effect on me. I understand how they were trying to scare, but it felt like a haunted house more than a genuine horror experience. There’s a certain craft missing from a lot of horrors, both video game and film. True fear isn’t created by simply creating a ugly image, nor is it created by jump scares. True masters of horror build up their scares, they create tension, they slowly cut into the player/viewer. The P.T demo caught my interest pretty early on. Ignoring the hype, the big names and the brand name, I went into P.T utterly blind. What I found was one small, well crafted, finely tuned experience. The demo starts cold, no trailer, no background, not a single detail…and it works perfectly. There’s a mystery behind P.T that slowly reveals itself, as long as the player is willing to take in their surroundings. Each footstep, each turn of a corner, each opening of a door, it all flows into the creation of tension . The sound effects that inhabit P.T stalk the player making them question and worry. The subtle touches dotted around the demo create a truly uneasy atmosphere in which the player begins to become unnerved…and they cant even out their finger on why. It’s these touches that give P.T a sense of character, a real sense of craftsmanship. *spoilers in video – my live reaction to P.T* The demo had truly sent chills down my spine. P.T shares similar tones to films such as Easerhead and Japanese horror such as Ju-On. It’s all neatly tied together to create a simple, yet highly effective, horror experience that leaves the player feeling utterly at the games mercy. Lighting, sound effects, visual cues, they’re all utilized in such a manner that it leaves the player utterly distraught at what is coming next. P.T managed to do what very few films and video games do, it managed to get into the head, it became more than just a set of pixels on screen. I genuinely felt creeped out, uneasy, vulnerable and scared. It got to the point where I couldn’t finish the demo in fear of waking up the neighbours. If this is a sign of things to come, perhaps we have one of the purest horror titles in video game history on our hands....

The Problems Of Adopting New Systems Too Early

The Problems Of Adopting New Systems Too Early

Buying into new consoles is always a odd experience. There’s a number of elements that come into play, mostly attempts to justify spending vast amounts of money on a system with barely any games. The chief feeling, and most welcomed, is excitement. There’s always a buzz when it comes to walking into the store and picking up the ‘next big thing’. I waited for months, pre-order slip in hand, counting down the days until the PS4 was released. My enjoyment of video games had became a little stale, the PS4 was something to get excited about. New experiences, new features, and as lame as it sounds…them shiny visuals. Killzone: Shadowfall was the main game that had me wishing the PS4 was closer to release, seeing the glory of the game in action was mouth watering. While my PC had given me plenty of visual thrills, the idea that consoles were pumping out these visuals was a wonderful concept to behold.   The PS4 release came around, I booked a day off work and set off to pick up my system. Even on the way there I can recall thinking about all the risks I was taking in terms of investing early. The lack of games at launch, what if it suffered errors like the 360 did at launch? How do I justify spending this much money on such a trivial object. By the time I had picked up the system, paid, and journeyed home, all the doubts faded, only excitement remained. It’s a cycle I’ve went through with every console release since the Game Boy Advanced…and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My traditional cycle, when it came to buying new systems, had been thrown out the window when it came to the Xbox One. After saving up money, I found myself in a GAME store looking at Microsoft’s big fat black box. My feelings towards the Xbox One were a little off, the disastrous E3 (2013), the terrible PR, it had left me a little wary of the system. Even with all that in mind, I found myself walking out with a Xbox One in hand.   I’ve enjoyed my times with both the Xbox One and the PS4, but issues had arisen. By buying both system so early on, I had found myself barely using one of the systems. While the Xbox one had me hooked on Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, beyond that there was little to keep me around. Titanfall was a brief distraction, as too was Dead Rising 3, but the Xbox One was far my system of choice. Multiformat titles were often purchased for the PS4, resulting my library out numbering my Xbox One games by a large margin. The truth is, neither system has games that are exclusive while being must plays. Both consoles offer enjoyable games, but nothing that will make a true impact on the player. While nice visuals are a treat to behold, and using consoles various nifty features (the PS4 touch pad for example) makes for curious enjoyment, neither system truly feels like it’s the next step in video games…at least not yet. Call it buyers remorse, regret, or even nativity, buying into both systems this early on was a mistake. After nearly a year of decent, but not brilliant, next gen (or new gen, if you will) games , the resulting feeling is a little underwhelming. It’s a similar problem that popped up with the release of the Ps Vita and the Nintendo 3DS, so it’s not like this is a new concept. While others may be more than pleased with their next gen experiences, there’s still niggling sense of regret personally, too much too soon feels like the best way to sum up the situation.   2015 is looking far better with a plethora of big name games coming to both the Xbox One and PS4. While 2014 has been a rather sleepy year, the new systems will hopefully pick up traction in 2015, eliminating my lingering senses of regret. At the end of the day, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is still the best next generation experience so far…and that is the biggest surprise when it’s all said and done.    ...

2014 In Reflection: The Disappointments So Far

2014 In Reflection: The Disappointments So Far

As the busy window of major release comes ever a closer, it seems like a good time for a spot of reflection. 2014 was set to be the next generations first year of glory, but has it been the case? 2014 has been a strange year, filled with delays and more questions than answers. With hardware questions and concerns aside, the games of 2014 (so far) have been a mixed bag. Major releases, returning favorites and under the radar games, plenty of choice. 2014 has so far left a slight bitter taste in my mouth, mainly due to the failings of some of the biggest games. Pointing out disappointing games is easy, what’s hard is underlining exactly what made them disappointing. Watch Dogs, arguably the biggest game released so far, was a prime example of curious disappointment. Watch Dogs is not a bad game, in fact it’s a decently crafted game with some nifty ideas….but that it never goes beyond decent. Watch Dogs felt safe, so safe that it became unremarkable. When a game is ear marked as one of the biggest releases of the year, it’s hard not to expect something beyond decent. Watch Dogs came and went, it’s impact never truly felt as profound as it was once expected to be. Watch Dogs wasn’t the only big title to result in underwhelming reactions, EA made sure they took that crown with their half arsed UFC title. After a full year of hype, PR, heavy marketing campaigns and constant plugs, EA’s début UFC title felt like only half a finished product. While the game looked and sounded fantastic, the gameplay was uneasy mix of arcade and realism. For a game that boasted about how true to life it was, the gameplay felt silly. The stand up was decent, the ground game was a utter mess, the lack of content was unforgivable. EA UFC, as a whole product, was utterly hollow. While Watch Dogs felt like a flat, but well crafted game, EA UFC felt like a rushed out cash in on the fattest growing sport. A true disappointment in every respect.   Titanfall fronted Microsoft’s Xbox One charge, the next big thing into competitive multiplayer, and to it’s credit the majority bought into hype. Familiar gameplay married with smooth movement, jet packs and mechs, it’s easy to see why Titanfall created such a buzz. Upon its release, Titanfall was hugely enjoyable. The fast paced action, the meta game, the game within a game, the engaging action, it all worked. Titanfall is well made, it’s confident, but it’s also lacking. The lack of maps and game modes hurt the game in the long run. Titanfall soon became a overly too familiar experience, and was yet another game lacking content. After all the promises of Titanfall changing the multiplayer shooter scene, the end result felt more like a sign of potential rather than a statement of intent.   On the flip side, InFamous: Second Son shared a similar fate. While the game was truly beautiful and well crafted, a wafer thin story and lack of content left the game falling short of high standards sets by previous entries. Second Son was hugely enjoyable, but it’s abrupt ending and sloppy story detract from the overall experience. After the story was complete, the lack of content truly became clear. Traveling around the environment is initially fun, but wares thin pretty quickly. Taking out enemy outposts and collecting bits and bobs was the only real additional content, which was a crying shame. A good showing of what the PS4 is capable of, but hardly a compelling experience like the last two InFamous titles.   2014 has so far provided a number of disappointing games, but it’s also played host to some surprises. Surprise contenders for Game of the Year, fantastic modern experiences bleeding with classic mechanics, a pure fun. These surprise titles have all offered something different and already began to earn themselves a cult following. We’ll look back at these titles in the next reflection....

Darkwood: Horror Done Right

Darkwood: Horror Done Right

When you think of horror games nowadays the likes of Outlast and Amnesia come to mind. However, there’s one title that has left me pleasantly surprised. Gone is the first-person perspective and we are now given a top-down survival horror game titled ‘Darkwood’. This game proves you don’t need next-gen visuals, or the playstyles of Amnesia/Outlast to make your game scary. Darkwood does everything you’d expect from a horror game in a top-down, minimal world. Sure, the game is only in Early Access on Steam so it’s pretty early in terms of development but from what I’ve played it is one of the eeriest, creepiest, and most fun horror games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. I’m glad to see a studio take on a game of this format. I can be quite honest in saying I’m tired of seeing all the Amnesia/Outlast clones in terms of horror. Darkwood is a refreshing take on horror, and a game I can safely enjoy sinking numerous hours into. It feels like every time I sit down to play the outcomes of my journeys are going to be different every time. It’s sandbox survival horror and it works really well with the appearance and style of the game. I recommend everyone check out Darkwood on Steam. It’s probably the best horror experience I’ve had this year. Without a doubt. Also, be sure to check out my video on the game below to get an idea of what it looks like in motion. The game may be $15 but it’s well worth the price. I guarantee it. Steam Store Page: [Click Here]...

Resident Evil Remakes: What About Outbreak?

Resident Evil Remakes: What About Outbreak?

With the announcement of yet another version of Resident Evil, the question popped up of which Resident Evil game truly deserved a remastering. There’s been a few remakes of early Resi games, most notably the ones that appeared on the Gamecube, but there’s one entry that always felt like it was out before its time. Online survival co-op horror with RPG elements and slight PvP features…Resident Evil: Outbreak always felt like it’s ambition was kept down by limitations of the time. While it’s easy money, something Capcom would like to entertain after the last few years, to remake Resident Evil, it feels like grounded already passed. Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Directors Cut, Resident Evil Remake and now a HD remastering. There’s nothing wrong with it, if anything it’s a nice reminder of what survival horror was rather than what is is in the modern market. At the end of the day, it’s Resident Evil…it’s core market is already there and willing to pay, as previously said, ‘easy money’. The concept of remaking Resident Evil titles is exciting, at least to me, purely based on the hope that Outbreak would get the remastering treatment. Back on it’s original release the game was victim to the limitation of the PS2′s online capability. To make matters worse, Outbreak didn’t even feature online play in Europe, leaving a whole territory missing out on the experience. Outbreak, as a concept, sounded fantastic. Playing through one of five scenarios, as one of eight characters in a co-op survival horror experience was a pretty neat idea. Which each character having their own skills and perks, players were forced to work together by solving puzzles, surviving threats and making choices based on the characters skill set. Outbreak, at least looking back at it, felt like a game that was well ahead of everything else in terms of online co-op. Players working together could achieve success, but there was also a dark art to the game…being infected and not telling anyone. Sneaky players, who had been victims of infection, could hide their wound and wait until they turned, granting them the chance to kill the other players. It’s a tiny touch that gave the whole co-op concept a minor PvP touch. Take this concept, and throw it into the modern day industry. Online play has come so far and is now considered the normal, voice commutation is no longer a rarity, systems are far more capable of hosting such concepts. This is why the concept of a Outbreak remastering/Remake is such a appealing notion. The chances of it happening are admittedly slim, even more so given Capcom’s rough few year sales wise. There’s still a hope, not a expectation, that if this is a sign of multiple Resi remake then maybe, just maybe, Outbreak may get the remastering treatment it deserves....

The Last Of Us: Not Making a Big Deal Over Sexuality

The Last Of Us: Not Making a Big Deal Over Sexuality

The Last Of Us has swept up high praise from nearly every corner of the industry; critics love it, players adore it, and it’s proven to be a huge success. However, one part of the game that has gone somewhat unnoticed is how The Last Of Us dips its toes into something of a taboo topic, even in the modern day state of video games. That taboo topic is one of homosexuality. It’s so subtle and underplayed that the chances are most did not even notice it, and that commands respect to Naughty Dog and their writing team. To put it into context, Naughty Dog have been accused of being slightly ‘dude bro’ with their approach to characters this generation. Nathan Drake is a good-looking chap that has sharp wit as well as a way with the ladies, but people took Nate’s character and used it as an accusation of Naughty Dog being rather shallow when it comes to characters. This is where The Last of Us steps in, showcasing that Naughty Dog can do serious and realistic characters in equal measure. Homosexuals are generally an under-represented group in video games. For example, when a character is shown as an ‘out’ homosexual, they tend to be used in a comedic way (see Grand Theft Auto), or play up to a stereotype in some way or another. In comparison, The Last of Us has bucked this trend and isn’t even making a big deal out of it, which is exactly what was needed. Early in the story, Joel calls in a favor from an old associate in the shape of a man named Bill. As an isolated lone wolf figure, Bill lives his life as a scavenger who takes pride in placing traps around his town. He’s a stocky–some may say quite fat given the times he lives in–gentleman around the age of late 30s to mid 40s with a rough appearance. With long, unkempt hair and a scraggy beard, not to mention a face full of dirt and scars, Bill looks like a seasoned survivor. He’s all too aware of the world and the harsh realities of the universe The Last of Us is set in. Joel describes him as something of a loner with odd ways, and Bill’s early interactions with both Joel and Ellie mirror that. While Bill is not given much backstory, there are hints and nods towards his life and his losses. Bill talks about his partner (he stutters and rephrases this a few times) and the disagreement between them. It’s a mere nod at first–most wont even notice it–but towards the end of the chapter, it comes full circle. After encountering a large group of infected, Joel, Ellie and Bill rush into a nearby house in which they find the hanging body of Bill’s partner Frank, and true to his nature, Bill puts up a cold front to discovering the death of his partner. But his facial expressions show he’s clearly been affected by the death, and Bill explains some of Frank’s characteristics to Joel in a slightly heartfelt way, with a hint of bitterness in the background.   A suicide note by Frank can be found in the room in which his body was found. Taking this note to Bill causes him to give more thoughts on Frank, revealing that Bill is more affected about his partner’s death than first thought. Bill departs from the group at the end of the chapter while Joel and Ellie continue their journey alone. The proceeding cutscenes reveal that Ellie swiped some items from Bill’s shelter, including a comic, a music tape, and a magazine. The tape is used as a means to unveil the true connection between Bill and Frank, while the magazine is a publication full of muscle-bound men in their underwear, with said magazine being the equivalent of a ‘lad’s mag’. (For those unaware, a lad’s mag is a magazine full of pictures of topless female models.) Ellie comments on the photos, making an observation on the size of the men’s genitals. The magazine, Bill’s use of the term ‘partner’, and his love/hate views on Frank–they all point towards Bill and Frank being a couple, lovers torn apart by the frustrations and tensions caused by the world they live in. Bill is not a stereotype; he’s everything but that. This is testament to how most people go through the game without even noticing his sexual orientation, and it’s a credit to Naughty Dog that they have created a character that manages to embody a rather taboo subject in video games while staying far away from stereotypes or desperately drawing attention to the subject. This is a positive sign that some writers and developers are starting to understand diversity and how to implement that into a cast of characters in a natural and believable manner. This is hopefully a sign of things to come, and hopefully a sign that the industry is starting to mature when it comes to these kind of things....

Quick Look: Habitat

Quick Look: Habitat

A few days back I got the chance to sit down with a wonderful little indie-game titled Habitat. It is a real-time, physics-driven orbital strategy game where you build, fly, and fight with the unique space stations that you create out of space debris orbiting earth. In its simplest terms it is a strategic space survival game. The game is developed by a studio named 4gency, and this is one of the better space simulation/strategy games I’ve played. It’s in Early Access right now, so take that into account if you decide to dip into the game. Here’s my video below of my Quick Look into the game. If the game tickles your fancy, and you need a romp through space then I can’t recommend it enough. Expect more videos like this for the site regarding indie games. It’s a fun one. You can purchase the Early Access copy of Habitat right now over on Steam for $14.99 Plus, slapping a fire-breathing T-Rex head onto your ship is awesome. Expect an actual review later on in the future when the game leaves the Early Access stages. Store Page: [Click Here]...

Why Styx: Master of Shadows is Worth Watching

Why Styx: Master of Shadows is Worth Watching

The stealth genre is making somewhat of a comeback, albeit a rather quiet comeback (no pun intended). The likes of Thief and Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeros have added to a very small library of recent stealth games. It’s not that the fan base is no longer there, it’s just that stealth games rarely seem to make it to release. Thankfully a new stealth game is on the way–a fresh new game with no ties to past franchises. Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth title set within a fantasy setting, complete with all the humans and elves you could expect. Players take up the role of Styx, a goblin anti-hero, who just happens to be a master assassin and thief. As with most classic stealth games, Styx will task players with completing various tasks with a sense of finesse, leaving no clues behind.   It’s refreshing to see another stealth game in development, even more so when the main character isn’t what you’d expect from such a game. Goblins, by their nature, tend to be rather cheeky little gits, so the idea of playing as a master assassin/thief who just happens to be a Goblin is instantly appealing. Given Styx is set in a fantasy universe, the range of enemies and allies players could run into during the course of the game will be extensive, with plenty of creative freedom being available. The environments will also offer plenty of opportunity for players to approach objectives if the available screenshots are anything to go by. There’s a number of core RPG mechanics behind Styx‘s stealth gameplay. Players can earn experience and unlock new skills and abilities. Add to this six full talent trees and there’s plenty of depth promised. While there isn’t a whole lot known about Styx, the concept alone is interesting enough to grab the attention of fans of stealth games, as well as extending the appeal to those who enjoy fantasy settings. Be sure to keep your eye out for one of the more unique offerings set for release this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbT6nM4qpW4...

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