Video Games / Platform / PS4

All Killer, No Thriller – Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 Review

All Killer, No Thriller – Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2 Review

*The review for episode 1 can be found here. Each episode will be reviewed individually*   The second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a different beast from the first. Where the first episode laid on atmosphere, tension, and some minor survival horror tones, the second episode goes all guns blazing. From start, to finish, episode 2 is much more bullet ridden than the first. The issue is, Revelations 2 isn’t exactly sure what it wants to be, and episode 2 is a perfect example of this. Episode 2 sheds more light on the plot, as well as bringing new weapons and enemies to the series. The plot points are far and few between, but there’s enough to keep the story progressing, keeping the player interested. Both Barry and Claire’s campaign feature new enemy types. These new enemies are nothing more than a pain, mostly due to their mechanics. It’s not that it adds to the challenge of the game, instead, they just frustrate by slowing the game down. This frustration is found in abundance when playing episode 2. The game can never quite make it’s mind up to what it’s trying to be. The erratic nature of the game leaves the whole experience lopsided. From being rushed by multiple enemies, to suddenly finding the pace of the game reduced to a almost stand still. The issue is also reflected in the amount of ammo and herbs dropped throughout the game. More often than not, the player will find themselves drastically understocked , making a number of encounters drag on due to the sheer number of enemies. The constant barrage of action, mixed with some pace killing enemies, results in the whole experience feeling off. Both Claire and Barry run into situations that require co-op actions. These situations don’t feel organic in the slightest. The sole purpose for the co-op sections is purely to remind the player that their companion exists, even if they are under utilized throughout episode 2. Series fans will be happy to know episode 2 welcomes back boss battles, two of them to be exact. Both encounters require little in terms of skill, instead relying on the players sense of spacial awareness. Neither of the bosses provide much of a challenge. Hit and run makes up 99% of each battle, with the 1% consisting of evading the odd attack. The inclusion of the battles is welcomed, resulting in hopes for more interesting boss encounters in the future. Revelations: Episode 2 is solid enough, but staggers to maintain the level it’s predecessor set. While it does progress the plot, with a genuinely intriguing ending, the overall experience is mixed. The stop/start nature of the pace is jarring, often resulting in any player immersion fading away. The new enemy types do little to improve the game, only adding unnecessary frustration. One of the oddest traits of episode 2 is the way it treats supporting characters. Showing up for only a few minutes, then reappearing at random, they almost feel utterly pointless. The series still has plenty of promise, but this promise is worthless unless the game finds it’s feet. Firmly in the shadow of it’s predecessor, episode 2 is simply adequate.  ...

Evolve’s Price Slashed By GAME

Evolve’s Price Slashed By GAME

Evolve, released last month, has had it’s price slashed by UK retailer GAME.   Turtle Rock’s 4 v 1 multiplayer had a controversial release, mainly down to the sheer amount of launch day DLC on offer. The game has since struggled to maintain a strong online presence. GAME are currently selling Evolve for £29.99, complete with the much criticized pre-order DLC. The price cut effects both the PS4 and the Xbox One version. The PC version is currently down to £21.99, which also includes the pre-order DLC. The price drop may signal a influx of new players. Those curious about the game, but not willing to pay full price, will no doubt be tempted by the reduction....

Bloodborne: Nightmare Edition Has Officially Sold Out

Bloodborne: Nightmare Edition Has Officially Sold Out

The GAME exclusive Bloodborne: Nightmare Edition has sold out. The chances of this being re-stocked seem pretty slim, private sellers may be the only option left. The Nightmare Edition was exclusive to UK retailer GAME, with various other options being sold at other outlets. Bloodborne is set for release on the 27th of March 2015.   At a cost of £79.99, the Nightmare Edition contained the following items:   Copy of the game in a steelbook Digital Soundtrack Notebook Art book Quill & Red Ink Set Book Tin In-game content (Bell trinket and Top Hat messenger skin)   GAME listed sometime ago, but have only recently sold out after a price reduction of £10. The collector’s edition is still in stock, offering only the steelbook, soundtrack and art book.   Normal copies are also still in stock, with pre-order DLC offered....

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

When Will The Current Gen Consoles Be Defined?

With the PS4 and Xbox One having spent a decent chunk of time on the market, I find myself asking a question. It’s the games that define a system, often the exclusives, and so far the new systems are debatable lacking in that department. The likes of Ryse, The Order 1886, InFamous and Sunset Overdirve have been decent, yet they’re hardly classics. Keeping in the limits of the last few decades or so, the majority of system have exclusives considered as classics. The PS3 had Uncharted 2, the 360 had Halo 3, the Wii had Super Mario Galaxy 2. Going back even further, the PS2 had Final Fantasy X, the Xbox had Halo 2 and the Gamecube had Smash Bros Melee.   Of course each of the previously mentioned systems had far more than the games listed. My curiosity around the newer systems is around how long it will take for them to gain a classic. It’s still early days, but the exclusives that have came, and went, have all faltered in some shape or form. It’s not that  they’re bad games, it’s just that they haven’t earned the status of ‘killer app’ or system seller. Both the PS4 and Xbox One feel like they are still searching for a identity. The search could be coming to a close, at least for the PS4. The exclusivity of Street Fighter 5 hinted towards the PS4′s direction. Neither system has a truly unique exclusive that defines the console. With the market still wide open, in terms of genres anyway, it’ll be interesting to see which system fosters what. Trying to get grasp of peoples expectations is always tricky, but this generation is a different kettle of fish. The hyper polished games are no longer enough, it’s got to be the whole package. This is something I suspect developers agree with, which perhaps explains the amount of delays in late 2014. 2015 is, hopefully anyway, both the PS4 and Xbox One finally define themselves. This generation is lacking in direction, identity and character. Exclusives can change that.      ...

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

The Best Of February: Monsters & Cooking Cats

February was a pretty decent month of video game releases. The 3DS enjoyed two major releases, while the consoles welcomed Dying Light. The PS4 ushered in it’s new exclusive IP The Order 1886, mental reviews included. One of the biggest surprises of February, was the quality of downloadable games released. Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 was surprisingly good, and a utter steal at £5. Hand of Fate may have been flawed, but the creativity of it’s concept is worthy of respect…and investment. Normally I’d only select one game as my ‘game of the month’ but truth be told, everything that came out in February was worth checking out. There is one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and another unfairly treated by some media outlets.   The Order 1886:   A few months back, I suggested that The Order 1886 would be a case of visuals over gameplay. I was never scathing towards the game, it was more of a case of curiosity. The Order 1886 is exactly that, it’s a curiosity. While some sites (mostly big ones that rated broken games highly) would have you believe The Order is a ‘bad’ game, the truth is, it’s just average. It’s average, at least in terms of it’s dated gameplay, it’s perfectly serviceable but utterly stuck in it’s ways. The technical achievement of The Order 1886 are pure brilliance. While the likes of InFamous: Second Son and Ryse look great, The Order 1886 looks real. The way characters moved, the way their eyes and facial expressions projected their emotions, it all felt organic. The sheer detail in each and every part of The Order 1886 is staggering, bar the lack of reflective surfaces. I enjoyed The Order 1886, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. The universe is genuinely interesting, with a ton of potential, the world is beautifully grim. The story may have been a little on the predicable side, with a hollow ending, but it’s satisfying. Even with my enjoyment of the game, I have to judge it fairly. The Order 1886 has it’s issues, but it’s far from a bad game. Short, enjoyable, and the first in a series with a lot of promise.   Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate:   Oh my, this isn’t just the best game out in February, it might just be one of the best games on the 3DS. With a improved single player, that also gives new players a more detailed starting point, Monster Hunter 4U is brilliant. Gather, plan, equip, hunt. The concept is simple, the devil is in the detail. On the surface, Monster Hunter 4U looks like a button masher, but it’s much more than that. Monster Hunter 4U has a hidden depth, it’s a pure depth which rewards skill rather than investment. Each weapon type alters the gameplay, they all offer a unique experience. The magic in Monster Hunter 4U is mastering a weapon, feeling a genuine sense of personal skill progression, rather than a number increasing on a stat screen.   I could honestly gush over how good the game is for days, but even than I’d be doing it a disservice. The newly added online multiplayer works like a charm, no lag and barely any connection issues in sight. Teaming up with three other hunters to take on huge creatures is thrilling, every single damn time. In a month where a games length has been questioned, Monster Hunter 4U offer hundreds of hours of play. After years of creeping into the West, Monster Hunter 4U has seemingly been the game to truly break into the territory. The only genuine fault Monster Hunter 4U has is a lack of voice chat, and it’s the ONLY fault. A masterpiece, a modern classic, February’s best game and maybe, just maybe, the 3DS’s best game....

Battlefield Hardline & Final Fantasy Type – 0 Discounted Among Other Titles At Zavvi.com

Battlefield Hardline & Final Fantasy Type – 0 Discounted Among Other Titles At Zavvi.com

As per every Monday, UK retailer Zavvi are running their Mega Monday sale.   The 24 hour sales includes a range of items from video games to memorabilia. This Monday contains a few deals worth looking at including: Final Fantasy Type – 0 (XB1/PS4) – £30.98 Xbox One (white) console with Sunset Overdrive – £279.99 Drive Club: Special Edition (PS4) – £29.98 Samurai Warriors 4 – Anime Edition (PS4) – £19.98 Battlefield Hardline – (XB1/PS4) – £39.98 Pre-order DMC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition – (XB1/PS4) £22.98   Zavvi are currently running a 2 for £40 offer on ‘Next gen games’. The choice is a little small but the following titles stand out:   Child of Light – Deluxe edition: Short, but a beautifully relaxed video game experience. Strong art style and great soundtrack are note worthy   The Wolf Among Us – TellTales lesser known success story, but arguably more interesting game.   Lords of the Fallen – Dark Souls style effort that may not be a total success, but it’s enjoyable in it’s own right  ...

Evolve Drops Out Of Steam’s Top 40 Most Played – Backlash Towards DLC To Blame?

Evolve Drops Out Of Steam’s Top 40 Most Played – Backlash Towards DLC To Blame?

Evolve has been out for less than a month, and it’s current performance on Steam is rather damning. Given the game’s focus on multiplayer, Evolve currently finds it’s self 41st on Steam’s most played, as of 26/02/2015. While it’s not the be all, end all, it’s still a worrying fact given the games reliance on it’s player base. Evolve came under fire, and rightly so, for it’s heavy use of DLC from launch day. The sheer amount of pre-order DLC offered, along with a confusing array of editions, each with their own DLC, was met with criticism from users and some critics. Currently, there are no statics for Evolve’s performance on consoles. The number of steam players will surely rise at points as new content is released. Steam weekly sales, and event/holiday sales, will also be reflected in the player base when Evolve is on offer. Did the amount of DLC, and resulting criticism, play any part in Evolves fall in popularity on steam? Has the hype train ran out of steam already? It’ll be interesting to see where the Evolve player base goes from here, at least on Steam.    ...

A Solid Start, Ending The Rot – Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 Review

A Solid Start, Ending The Rot – Resident Evil Revelations 2 – Episode 1 Review

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1 feels like the game Resident Evil 6 should, and wanted to be. The episodic approach to Revelations 2 isn’t just another experimental move by Capcom, but a beneficial move for the sake of game. Filled with fan service, references and the positive elements of the original, Revelations 2 is a curious step in the right direction. For £5, Episode 1 is two hours of setting up the rest of the series. Franchise familiars Claire Redfield and Barry Burton both feature, both of them with their own experience and gameplay style. Diverting away from the awful fire fights featured in Resident Evil 6, Revelations takes a much more subdued approach to it’s gameplay. Claire’s portion of the game is a slow burning affair, with less ammo and fire arms available to her. Barry is armed to the teeth from the get go. While his sections may be more action orientated, there’s still a degree of vulnerability lurking. There’s a distinct difference in both respective sections, giving the game a genuinely varied experience that consistently remains enjoyable. Both parts of Revelations 2 feature co-op mechanics. Claire is accompanied by Moira Burton (yes, THAT Burton) while Barry teams with a young child named Natalia. Both newcomers have their own unique uses that feed into the tone of their sections. Moira, as a result of the plot, only wields a crowbar and flash light. Natalia possess the ability to see enemies through walls, alerting Barry to their presence, as well as crawling into small spaces.   The co-op nature of the game is the weakest element of Revelations 2, at least as far as Claire’s part goes. Moira, as a character, is utterly insufferable thanks to a mixture of weak writing, voice acting and a annoying personality. Her constant whining and f-bombs grinds throughout the entire time the player is with her. Moira’s self proclaimed roles of ‘torch holder’ and ‘door opener’, make the character feel a little pointless. It’s utterly bizarre when a character’s main role is to point a torch at something.She does posses some usefulness in the shape of her ability to stun enemies by blinding them. Natalia is much less of burden. There’s a clear relationship developing between both her and Barry, giving the game a little touch of humanity. Her abilities of pointing out enemies, and crawling into small spaces, give her a legitimate place within the game. There’s something sinister behind the character that’s hinted at, obviously setting up plot point to be revealed in later episodes.   The biggest issue with the co-op focus is the AI and mechanics. Switching between characters can be down with a button press. The problem is, when the player switches characters, it often leaves their past choice frozen on the spot for a few seconds. It’s a issue that rears it’s head towards the later stages of Claire’s section. A few nagging issues with AI running into enemy attacks also make a cameo from time to time. When in control of Moira or Natalia, who both lack any real ranged attack, the AI tends do little. Claire and Barry, when controlled by the AI, will stare into space, or trot around in circles. Even when the relevant skills have been unlocked, the AI is near useless in a combat setting. The ease of switching between characters does curve the majority of frustration thankfully. Underneath the core gameplay is a skills system. Players earn points by their how well they perform in-game, as well as collecting items dotted around the levels. Skills range from improving the healing factors of herbs, improved weapon and ability damage, among a few other curious enhancements. It’s not exactly an essential addition, but it does add a little bit of welcomed depth and customization. Revelations 2 – Episode 1 does a fairly decent job of placing the player in a interesting setting. The prison island provides for some challenging encounters, most of which carry that classic Resident Evil feel. The level design is similar to that of the tight, dark spaces of the first Revelations. The chaotic nature of Resident Evil 6′s level design is a long distant memory.   It’s fair to say Capcom have successfully implemented the best of Revelations enemies into the follow up. From slow traditional zombies, to more aggressive La Plaga variants, there’s decent range of threats to encounter. The slower enemies do tend to run into a few issues when it comes to movement. Getting caught on the environment seems to be a growing trend towards the end act of Barry’s segments. While it’s not a major issue, it does detract from the players immersion, cheapening the atmosphere. By the time the two hour episode is over, there’s very little of the plot revealed. Beyond a few minor hints, the plot remains distant, allowing for the characters to be firmly established. It would be harsh to criticize Revelations 2 for it’s plot so early into the series, it is episode one after all. From what is shown, and previewed via the ending, there’s promise within the story, albeit a typically Resident Evil plot.   Replay value comes in the form of ‘Raid mode’, a Mercenaries like mode that’s surprisingly well crafted. Players choose a character, their gear and a set of skills, before being deployed into the field. Raid mode is a nifty run through multiple levels, gunning down enemies left, right and centre. Each enemy rewards the player with experience, allowing them to purchase more skills for their character. New weapons can be found across the map, allowing players to further customize their load-out. The mode is pretty basic, but hugely satisfying. There’s a odd sense of progression at the core of each run, even more so when beefier weapons are found and equipped. Much like Mercenaries before it, Raid Mode feels like it could become Resi’s next big mini-game. For a game released on both current generation and last, Revelations 2 hold up fairly well in terms of presentation. While there is a lack of detail in parts, the visuals on the whole are decent. Enemies provide gory imagery, with decent amount of detail on show. Human character models are adequate but look slightly robotic at times. The environments, at least indoors, look good enough to carry the brooding tones. Outdoors, the game struggles to look as slick. Rocks and trees have a noticeable lack of detail compared to the rest of the world, but this is merely nit picking. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 1 is fine starting point for the series. Solid gameplay, decent production values , allow the game to blossom into a enjoyable bite sized experience. Capcom have managed to dial in their efforts into a much more precise experience, avoiding the messy nature of Resident Evil 6. With all the traits of the first Revelations present, a long with some improvement, Revelations 2 could just be the next big Resident Evil. It’s just a shame there’s no offline co-op. For £5, it’s hard to find reasons not to at least try Episode 1. The Raid Mode is genuinely great, the core experience is solid, with a promise of more to come as the series goes on. Capcom have seemingly found their feet once more. The nose dive in quality the Resident Evil franchise has suffered, it finally seems to be over.  ...

Brilliance In Mediocrity – The Order 1886 Review (PS4)

Brilliance In Mediocrity – The Order 1886 Review (PS4)

Console exclusives come with the burden of massive expectations. Regardless of who makes them, or what the concept is, there’s not many places to hide for the exclusive. The Order 1886 isn’t just another exclusive, it’s carrying the flag for the PS4, as well as for cinematic video game experiences. The problem is, like most games of it’s nature, the blurring of lines between cinema and video game, results in some major issues. Set in a alternative London, The Order 1886 is a heft mix of classic themes from both history and Gothic horror. An ancient struggle between Humans and Half-Breeds (a mixture of human and animal) rages on. The Order exist to protect humanity and end the Half-Breed race. The uprising of a rebellion, and suspicious goings on within London, forces The Order into action.   The Order 1886 is simply a technical marvel of it’s time. The visuals, direction and overall performance, are by far it’s best traits. While other games on this generation of consoles look good, The Order 1886 looks real. From the first second, till the last, the production value is nothing short of breath taking. The world moves and breathes in a manner you’d expect if you were to look out the window. The sheer level of detail in every nook and cranny all drip into a beautiful image, it’s a genuine work of art. The sheer attention to detail showcased across most of The Order 1886′s settings is something that should be noted and awarded. It’s obvious that Ready At Dawn have went to great lengths to recreate London in all it’s Gothic glory, while adding a touch of alternative to it. The lighting plays a vital part in breathing life into 1886 London. Shadows cast in a organic manner, light reacts to it’s environments, the result is some truly breathtakingly framed locations.   Ready at Dawn have arguably set a new benchmark for character models and animations. There’s a eerie sense of humanity to the faces of The Order 1886′s main cast. Their skin rumples as they talk, hair sways in the wind, eyes glare with a sense of life. Clothing lays upon the characters, reacting to movement in a totally natural way, it’s far from the stiff nature often seen in video games. Presentation can only cover so many cracks, and The Order 1886 has plenty of cracks. Story is vital component to the cinematic focus, and unfortunately The Order’s tale is a bit of a mess. The plot tends to jump around, ultimately becoming rather predicable. It’s not that the plot is bad, it’s perfectly serviceable, it simply never makes the most of the universe it’s set in. The quality of the voice acting, and presentation, saves a number of potentially dull scenes.   The sheer marvel of seeing a character’s face, match the emotion of the voice, is what prevents scenes from dragging. The key issue with the plot is the manner in which it ends. When a major plot point is revealed, it’s almost discarded within the next few scenes. The ending of the game almost entirely ignores what was presented as the turning point in the story. While the ending isn’t terrible, it feels more akin to the ending of a chapter rather than a story. Gameplay is easily The Order 1886′s main fault. It’s not because it’s bad, it’s because it’s utterly dated. The ambition and success of the presentation is not reflected in the gameplay what so ever. A basic cover shooter, with a variation of bullet time, is exactly what The Order 1886 is. There’s nothing new, there’s nothing creative, it’s simply dated. Run, take cover, shoot, repeat, it’s the core of the game. There’s no room for tactics or creativity, there’s not even a gimmick to fall back on.   To Ready at Dawn’s credit, they do try to change things up at various points, it’s just not very well implemented. Attempts at stealth are nothing but a frustration that feels totally alien from the rest of the game. There’s a few times when the player is tasked with looking at a box until some dialogue is thrown out, it’s sadly a comedic farce that truly cheapens the cinematic angle. The odd mini game is also chucked in, at some points feeling slightly forced reminders that they exist. Potential is something The Order 1886′s gameplay had. Given the Half-Breed enemy, it feels like the lack of fantastical enemies, is a missed opportunity. Players find themselves gunning down humans for the most part, with the odd werewolf. The Human enemies are barely a threat, most enjoy hiding behind cover throwing out the odd shot. Werewolves are initially interesting to tackle, but soon become a utterly repetitive exercise of shoot, dodge, press triangle.   Quick time events make up a rather sizable portion of The Order 1886′s spine. Each chapter includes at least a handful of quick time events, mostly attached to a plot points of sorts. In all fairness, the Quick time events don’t feel as intrusive as they do in other titles on the market, they do however feel far too regular. For every well placed quick time event, there’s two that come off as totally unneeded, ruining any feeling of immersion. Performance wise, The Order 1886 is incredibly smooth. The frame rate never suffers from a noticeable drop, textures never pop in/out, draw distance is spot on and there’s little to no bugs to be found. Ready at Dawn have polished their work to the extreme, resulting in them creating a impressive technical achievement. After the year of broken and buggy games that was 2014, The Order 1886 comes onto the market in a technically flawless state. The Order 1886 is truly a technical marvel, raising the bar for visuals on consoles. Ready at Dawn display their ambitious attempts to create beautiful scenes in every chapter of the game. The same can not be said for the gameplay, it’s the exact opposite of ambitious. The Order 1886 is a dated playing experience wrapped up in top end presentation. It may be decent, but it’s hard to look past how rigid many of it’s mechanics are. The plot is adequate but far from compelling, which is a shame given how well it’s all acted. The end leaves a lot to be desired, as well as being blatant sequel bait.   With no replay value, and a campaign clocking in at around 6 hours (normal difficult), The Order 1886 is the definition of shallow. Average has never looked so good....

Fun, Fresh But Flawed – Hand of Fate Review (PS4/PC)

Fun, Fresh But Flawed – Hand of Fate Review (PS4/PC)

A mish-mash of games and concepts, Hand of Fate is truly intriguing. A combination of card game, Dungeons & Dragons and action RPG, Hand of Fate is a ambitious attempt to create something new. The ambition on display by developer Defiant Development is worthy of applause, the problem is, Hand of Fate is a mixed bag of success and failure. The heart of the game is a battle of wills, and luck, between the player the masked dealer. Sitting opposite the dealer, in a dark candle lit room., the cards and dealt and the game begins. The cards are split into two sections, items and encounters, the game begins and the player finds themselves a little confused. Hand of Fate doesn’t concern itself with traditional tutorials. The games rules are explained to the player with each move they make, with the masked dealer slipping in banter and trash talk between lessons.   With all the core rules covered within the first 15 minutes, Hands of Fate enters it’s ‘proper’ stages of the game. This is where experience starts to find it’s rhythm, players choose their path, the cards are played, the whole thing starts to take shape. Hand of Fate shows it’s unique personality with each card turn. Much like a classic pen and paper RPG, Hand of Fate lays out a encounter for the player to approach, often with choices to decide upon. Each choice brings with it a chance of failure or success. Instead of rolling a dice based on stats, players select a shuffled card that represents either success, or failure. It’s a extremely simple concept that results in insane amounts of depth. With each card hosting a encounter, the nature of the card game gives each play through a unpredictable pattern. It’s extremely rare the player ever runs into the same layout of encounters across any given play session. It’s one of the best elements of traditional pen and paper RPGs injected into a video game.   The unpredictability of the cards results in resource management becoming a key factor to the core game. Each player movement consume one piece of food, given the amount of cards on the board at each time, managing the food count is key. There is of course means to gain extra food, mostly through encounters and various items, but this is more a question of chance rather than certainty. The devil is in the detail, and this is one of Hand of Fate’s finest features can be found. Adapting to the situation, planning how to spend food, choosing what cards to put into each deck, it’s a fine balancing act. The item cards open up new ways to approach the game, with certain items giving the player various perks and enhancements. Examples include helmets which increase food gained by 45%, thus lowering the burden of micromanagement, and armour that boosts players defence.   While the card elements of Hand of Fate are brilliant, another core part of the gameplay falls short. A large number of encounters put the player into a arena in which they must fight enemies dictated by a card. Bandits, Skeletons and Ratmen are just a few of the enemy types players will face off with. The main issue with these encounters is the combat. With no combinations or room for creativity, the combat is nothing more than bashing the same three buttons, with the odd press of a shoulder button. Attack, dodge and counter form the holy trinity of Hand of Fate’s combat system, and it all feels extremely shallow. Fighting enemies becomes repetitive and tiresome, leaving a yearning to return to the card game side of the game. Countering becomes a nuisance as soon as ranged enemies are introduced, spamming counter quickly takes up a large amount of each fight. This spam leads to the player being locked into a train of countering animations prolonging each battle by unnecessary lengths.   Combat encounters highlight another big issue for Hand of Fate. Unstable frame rate issues and crashes rear their ugly heads when there’s more than seven enemies on screen at the same time. The frame rate becomes such a issue that players will often soak up cheap damage they have no chance of countering/evading. It’s a major issue when fighting the likes of the Ratment, who leave clouds of damaging gas in their wake. The crashing issue isn’t a regular occurrence, but given how a session must be completed in order for it to be saved, it’s a progression halting bug. The frame rate issues would be a little more forgivable if Hand of Fate look decent during these sections. The visuals and animation feel rather alien on a system like the PS4 or a modern PC. Simple environments, dull colours and clunky animations give make for some rather uninspired viewing. At certain points, it’s easy to think the game was came out in 2005 rather 2015. The visuals at the actual game table are considerably better however. The masked dealer boasts decent detail and smooth animation, the environment is dark and brooding, but with a touch of old school charm to it.   Technical and visual issues aside, Hand of Fate boasts a huge amount of playtime. There may only be two game modes, but both make use of replayability of the core game mechanics. Story mode tasks the player with taking out a boss at the end of each game. Every boss has it’s own trait, skill and attack pattern, allowing them to be more than just a quick re-skin of a familiar enemy. After clearing out each line in story mode, players unlocked relics which buff various stats. As story mode goes on, defeated bosses will make more appearance as encounter cards get more and more challenging. Endless mode is exactly what the name suggests. If challenge is what a player seeks, Endless mode offers it in abundance. Resource management and luck become even more vital as players move through every encounter the game has to offer. It’s not exactly a mode that will appeal to everyone, but people looking to test themselves will eat up the harshness Endless mode offers.   Hand of Fate is quite a refreshing, even with it’s issues. The card side of the game is where Hand of Fate showcases it’s finer qualities, it’s unfortunate the combat is so shallow. The frame rate issue is hard to look past, the hefty consequences of death results in frustration when the player takes cheap hits due to a significant drop in frame rate. A frequent audio glitch is also worthy of note. Defiant Development have made a fair effort at a ambitious concept, while the game may fail in parts, it’s still a rewarding experience. With hours upon hours of game time, with any two play sessions rarely being the same, it’s hard not to recommend Hand of Fate. For the price of £14.99, Hate of Fate is solid, but flawed. Enjoyable, interesting, but plagued by technical issues that will annoy many....

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