Video Games / Platform / XboxOne

The Power Of The Lost: Why Xcom 2 Has Only Gotten Better

The Power Of The Lost: Why Xcom 2 Has Only Gotten Better

Sneaking in behind a glut of release, Xcom 2 quietly deployed its first expansion pack. War of The Chosen isn’t merely a fresh offering of a few new tricks, but a clear injection of ideas and mechanics that elevate the game to a whole new level. While the new menacing Chosen Advent enemies may grab the headlines, it’s the curious new enemy faction that truly changes things up.   Lost & Found  The initial eye rolling that accompanies The Lost’s debut is both to be expected and respected. They may not share the same name, but The Lost are essentially zombies. Those slow walking, rotting bags of flesh, that have bogged down popular media for nearly a decade now. We’ve seen them at pretty much every turn since the zombie revival burst open with 2004′s Dawn of the Dead. Video games thrive on the undead masses, constantly deploying them into post apocalyptic settings or making them the core focus of a so so experience. Xcom 2 falls victim to similar ideas, The Lost have all the traits of zombies all the way down their shambling movements. But there’s a catch. Instead of being a tired trope that offers little, The Lost add a whole new dimension to the core gameplay. More than just a gimmick, their presence creates more choices and outcomes. They force the player to adapt and manage unforeseen situations. At times, all you can do is endure. Alone, The Lost are merely cannon fodder. Low hit points and the inability to think tactically result in them becoming free kills, at least for a time. A series of clever mechanics around them create a set of unofficial rules of engagement. Aim for the head, keep your distance and never use explosives. For every echoing thunder of a grenade or a near by car exploding, a new horde is ushered. The Lost will pour into the battlefield, heading directly for the source of the sound. No longer a singular token enemy, but a wall of fleshy undead dread. Quantity over quality has never been so intimidating.   Aim For The Head   The once delicate balancing act of dealing with the Alien threat has officially been skewered. The Lost hold no allegiances beyond the need to kill. Be it Xcom or Advent, they’ll take a chunk out of either. Where most developers would leave this as it is, Firaxis Games have gone the extra mile. The Lost can be seen as both an enemy and an asset. Their blind devotion to the kill can be utilized by the plucky commander to the benefit of Xcom. Creating explosions in the heart of Advent squads draws The Lost’s attention. Before you know it, the once deadly incoming horde has not become a valuable tool. But what if it all goes wrong? Accumulation of failures has always been at the heart of Xcom. A few missed shots, a mistaken attempt to lure the enemy. A single slip up and spell the end for an Xcom operator, or even an entire squad. A single miss placed shot, even with the handy free action gained by killing a Lost, generates immense pressure. They move closer and closer with each turn, one after another. Smothering a single operator, refusing to let them escape. Battling between dice rolls and diminishing reloads, the tide of Lost become unstoppable. Overrun Those brief seconds of judgment between turns allow for the doubts to sink. Repeating murmurs of ‘what if’ plague each choice. Dealing with Advent is one thing, you can predict their need for self-preservation, The Lost is a different foe. Slamming round after round into their advance, struggling to keep your head above the tide. It’s truly exhilarating. These are the moments in which heroes are born. Pvt. Sammy Forgotten, Cpl.Pete Peterson, your backup squad you never cared very much. Suddenly they’re providing fire that’s taking out the incoming Lost War of Chosen does a fantastic job of making the best use of forgotten operatives. Be in the off-screen missions found in the Resistance Ring, or an Xcom member of any rank taking down Lost. Everyone and everything fit into the overall movement of the game. It’s a nice twist that an enemy called The Lost can truly make every member of your squad feel useful. A simple threat that creates an extra layer of depth that scales beyond something else to kill. Xcom 2′s The Lost truly is an improvement to a game that was already excelling....

Overwatch’s Christmas Content Is More Of What Makes Overwatch Great

Overwatch’s Christmas Content Is More Of What Makes Overwatch Great

It’s the Christmas season, Overwatch is in full festive cheer. The latest content drop is filled with Santa hats, elf ears and snowball fights. Aside from all the new skins, sprays and poses, the latest content provides a great example of why Overwatch works so well, and I’m not talking about the gameplay. Blizzard have masterfully built worlds for years now. Their ability to create new various universes, filling them with characters and lore, is arguably their greatest asset. Much like World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch is filled with little details that breathe life into the world.   At this point, we’ve all fallen in-love with the characters, even with their limited back story. Their traits and personalities allow them to become more than just a role within the game. Tracer could have just been ‘the fast one’, Reinhardt left as nothing but ‘the shield guy’, but they’re more than that. Each character doesn’t just feel unique, they act it. Their one liners when they take down a enemy, their remarks when someone gives them a heal. It’s a collection of little touches that give the game, as well as the heroes, some personality. Interactions between the characters is something Overwatch does wonderfully. Various bits of backstory and lore are exposed in these interactions, supplying some level of humanity to a game about heroes.   Blizzard could have messed it up, they really could. Forcing interactions and overdoing one liners is a problem a lot of games suffer from. Blizzard does it in such a organic way that it becomes second nature. Throughout the game, players can find little touches that link heroes together. The recent Christmas content provides a great example of this, focusing in on two characters. Roadhog and Junkrat are partners in crime, popping up throughout Overwatch’s lore. Those with a keen eye would have noticed Roadhog’s latest festive skin features a neat detail on his gun. Tucked away on the side of Roadhog’s scrap cannon is a short message reading ‘From Junkrat’. It’s a tiny touch that would normally go untouched, but its just another reason why Overwatch works so well. Everything feels connected, creating a sense of a genuine world with history and current events. The Christmas event is just another step in Overwatch’s growth, both as a game and a world. The quirks and mannerism of each character, mixed with the interlinking nature of the world, that’s what makes Overwatch flourish....

Battlefield 1′s Four Most Annoying Traits

Battlefield 1′s Four Most Annoying Traits

Battlefield 1 is currently storming the charts, as well as earning high praise from consumer and critics alike. With amazing visuals, intense multiplayer action, and a campaign that’s not too shabby. There’s plenty to enjoy, but it’s not perfect. Frustrations and annoyances float around very aspects of the game, not all of them are exactly DICE’s fault however. These are three worst things about Battlefield 1 -     Scaled Back Destruction - For a game set during a time where the power of explosives and artillery was stunning the masses, not much can really be blown up. A number of walls will remain standing unless hit by certain weapons or vehicles. Dynamite will have little affect on some structures, resulting a look of confusion on the player’s face. Bombs and tanks rip through the map, but field guns not so much. It’s not a major problem, but does take away some aspects of realism and strategy. Past Battlefield games would allow players to blow up would be sniper potions, Battlefield 1 is a little less accommodating. In general, it would have been nice to see more of the map rip and tear under the pressures of war. But hey, at least the Zeppelins look amazing as they crash to earth.     Team Work Makes The Dream Work - Players who join the game in a party will automatically form a squad in-game, awesome. The catch comes in the shape of those squads being set to private by default. It results in most games being filled with random two-three man private squads, making the game feel less of a team experience. Unfortunately it also has an influence on a team’s performance. Squad spawns can change the tide of a match. Effective squads can flank enemies, allowing team mates and push onto objectives. The bigger the squad, the more effective squad spawns are.   Working as a team is not only hugely helpful, but it’s a core principle of Battlefield on the whole. Spot enemies, supply allies, hold positions. It all makes for a successful team. It’s just a shame that so many people stay in their small private squads. Just set them to open by default, please DICE.   Tanks, Snipers And The Pains Of Life - Everyone single Battlefield game ever has had issues with snipers. Those players who will sit at the back of the map, refusing to do anything but snipe. Battlefield 1 is jam packed with these people. Each of the sniper rifles are pretty simple to use, almost to simple. Bullet drop and damage reduction isn’t all that harsh, allowing even the most novice sharpshooter to succeed. You could easily argue that sniping within the game is too easy. The design of the maps allows for players to hide away with relative ease, rarely fearing attack. Counter-sniping is a option, but that only leads to more snipers. It’s not rare to see a game devolve to snipers on top of snipers with even more snipers. Tanks provide their own issues. In short, it’s far too easy to repair them and remain safe. Open maps like the Sinai Desert are often dominated by one or two armoured units. The only real counter to tanks is the fairly short ranged anti-tank grenade, dynamite and mines. They all require the player to get up close however, which is near impossible on maps lacking cover. Projectile anti-tank weapons do very little, forcing players to use the before mentioned tools.   Not Another Pistol - You finally get a Battle Pack and it’s another pistol....

Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel – Review

Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel – Review

This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game. Ashes of Ariandel is the first DLC release for Dark Souls III and it takes place in the new area known as “The Painted World of Ariandel”. Immediately upon entering the new area of the game I was impressed by what I saw. We are presented with a beautiful snowy landscape filled with blowing snow and just an eerie sense of it all. You exit through a cave and find yourself smack dab in the middle of a small clearing with a hill off to the right, the sounds of enemies in the distance and the ever blowing snow concealing things from view. It should be known that Ashes of Ariandel is my first forray into a Souls related DLC since Artorias of the Abyss. I loved Dark Souls II but never really had a chance to sit down and play the game’s additional content (someday). In Ashes of Ariandel you’re transported to the new land of the Painted World of Ariandel after talking to a praying man at the Cleansing Chapel bonfire before he sucks you into a scrap of painting and you’re dropped into this cold, frigid world. As mentioned above one of my favourite take-aways with this expansion is the landscape and the overall tone and setting. It really sucked me in and made me want to continue to progress through this new area and see what it had in store for me. The enemies in Ashes of Ariandel are pretty cool, but they all seem like something we’ve seen before in the past. You’ve got wolves who act similar to dogs but they feel a little more lethal and their howling seems to attract the other wolves in some rather frustrating pack mentality and they ripped me apart on a few occasions. The main force of foes you’ll be taking on are Farron Followers who wield a variety of weapons and from my experience with the DLC, two of those weapons are acquirable. I don’t want to spoil much in the terms of weapons and armor sets but there’s some cool gems in here and I reckon we’ll be seeing people adapting these weapons into their PvP builds, as they seem incredibly useful and viable. Not to mention the addition of the frost based sorceries, the new pyromancy and miracles. These too all feel at home in the game and they really suit the expansion and setting. You’ll also notice that the pyromancy added was one we’ve seen in the core game and it’s finally nice to be able to use that pyromancy for ourselves. One the topic of enemies you have two new bosses added to the game in the form of the Gravetender’s Champion/Gravetender’s Greatwolf and Sister Friede. Both of these bosses are pretty cool additions to the game with the former being the more interesting of the two, in my opinion and the fight and arena itself may remind you of a certain boss fight in the first Dark Souls game. The only downside is that we do just get two bosses in this expansion, and it would have been cool if it could have been rounded out to three bosses but the fact that there’s only two new bosses to take on isn’t much of a downside considering each boss has two foes you’re pitted against at certain times. There’s a familiarity to Ashes of Ariandel and that’s not a bad thing in the slightest. However the real meat and take-away here in Ashes of Ariandel is the PvP arena that can be accessed through the Firelink Shrine bonfire after killing a certain boss in the DLC. The arena is a really cool idea and pits you against other players in a variety of modes. You can tackle it in teams or have free-for-all brawls of up to six players going at each other in a fun and solid PvP environment modeled after the Kiln of the First Flame where you fight the Soul of Cinder at the end of the core game. I played a few matches of this mode and it was quite the blast, and I actually seemed to be able to hold my own unlike in standard PvP where it involved player hosted fight clubs and the standard invasions. This area of PvP seems more open to everyone and the fact that Estus Flasks are restricted in various ways here is a nice touch, no more Estus chugging while taking on other players. For people turned off on the concept of massive group battles in this area, don’t fret as you can still do your typical one on one duels here as well and the match ends as soon as one person is killed. I really enjoyed my time spent in the arena and I can for sure guarantee that I’ll be tackling it again as soon as I publish this review. Will the arena take over the standard PvP practices Souls players are used to? Of course not, but they’re a welcome addition in my book and breathe a new life into the Dark Souls PvP scene. Ashes of Ariandel is a great start to the expansions set to release for Dark Souls III and will have a little something for every Souls player out there. Whether you’re more engrossed in the PvE side of things you’ll have a cool new area to explore with beautiful level design and tough enemies to tackle in your adventure, or whether you’re more a PvP kind of person you have something as well in the form of the Undead Arena which even at the moment has one level I assume we’ll see more in the future in the next expansion or even in free updates. It may feel a little lacking in some areas and be quick to complete in terms of PvE, there’s still a lot worth checking out in Ashes of Ariandel. This was one of my favourite areas to explore in the entirety of Dark Souls III and I wouldn’t complain if we got some more snow related content. In the end, Ashes is a solid first entry into the Dark Souls III expansions and hopefully things only go up from here.  ...

Mordheim: City of the Damned – Console Edition Review

Mordheim: City of the Damned – Console Edition Review

I seem to be in the Warhammer-themed mood, so of course I got my hands on Mordheim: City of the Damned. Mordheim is a tactical-rpg based on the tabletop game of the same name, where you control one of five factions (now with the DLC you can play as Witch Hunters) each of whom have their own abilities, classes and play-styles. The factions include the Sisters of Sigmar, Mercenaries from the Empire, Skaven, Cult of the Possessed and he Witch Hunters with the recently released DLC. Since the game is a tactical-rpg you’re in control of a small warband with a set amount of units who move about in a turn-based fashion.You’re given the opportunity to improve their warband’s strength by recruiting, leveling, improving and customizing a roster of combatants as well as their equipment. It plays very similar to games like the XCOM series with each of your units taking part in combat and if they fall in battle there’s chances it can lead to a permanent death and that unit can never come back, which emphasizes the player is careful with each of their engagements with the enemy. That being said the combat in Mordheim doesn’t feel that fluid and straight-forward and at times feels boring and I felt myself waiting to progress to the next mission. However, when you do get the hang of the combat the game does get a little more fun, and taking down enemy units feels super satisfying. I can see the combat turning some people off as there does seem to be some kind of steep learning curve here, but if you can stick it out for the first couple of missions you’ll be good to go. Another downside of the combat in the game is that for most of the time the enemies are incredibly stupid in the fact that they’ll just stand there and let you beat the crap out of them with your units which sort of enforces the boredom factor as you never feel like you’re being challenged during these encounters and the whole “units can stay dead forever” doesn’t really have much of an impact if the enemies you encounter aren’t much of a threat. The load-times in between missions is also incredibly slow and at times made me want to shut the game off and go to something else, and I even found myself listening to music and watching YouTube videos to pass the time. It’s kind of disheartening having to wait through these load-times only to be greeted by the boring combat and terrible AI. Enemies and your units alone seem to be able to take a lot of damage and your weapons and attacks never really feel like there’s weight to them. You could probably do more damage throwing spaghetti at your foes than with the weapons you’re given in the game. That being said there’s a lot of really cool things going in with the campaign and ways that your units can be affected throughout their journey in Mordheim. For example, I play as the Skaven and seeing my units get affected by their injuries permanently is a neat little addition that most of these kind of games don’t do. One of my units fell during battle was only knocked out and survived the events of the battle, but ended up with a permanent hearing problem that would affect him in certain ways with ambushes and what-not, that’s pretty friggin sweet. The saving grace here in terms of combat is diving into the multiplayer if you’re sick of unintelligent foes who offer no sense of dread. I hadn’t gotten the chance to spend much time on the online component due to not finding many matches but the matches I did find were the stand-outs of my experience with Mordheim and made me have more fun with the combat than I had in the solo part of the game. If you’re looking for something to go toe-to-toe with XCOM you probably won’t find that in Mordheim but that’s not to say it isn’t worth dipping your toes into. The game does have its positives with the whole unit customization and the lingering effects that can take hold of your units after each battle if you don’t play too smart, but sadly this isn’t much of a worry due to the incredibly stupid AI. It’s still a neat addition and thankfully there are modes for the online portion where these types of things can carry over to your units during offline play in the singleplayer campaigns. Customizing your units and giving them their own stories is one of my favorite parts of the game and is probably what’s going to keep me coming back as well as the new warbands they have the possibilities of introducing. In the end Mordheim isn’t an awful game, but it’s not great either. It falls somewhere in between and that’s okay. The combat feels meh most of the time (unless you’re playing online), the load times are atrocious, but the customization and vastness of the campaign makes the game worth checking out. Each unit develops into their own character and that’s really cool, and I’d like to see more games take that approach. If you’re into the tabletop version of Mordheim you’ll probably be somewhat into the video game and if you’re a diehard tactical-RPG fan than you may feel right at home here with the game, just don’t go in expecting something like XCOM and you should be fine. This game definitely has a particular group of people it’s going for and definitely won’t appeal to every gamer. Warhammer Tabletop and Tactical-RPG fans should feel right at home....

No Man’s Sky Backlash Represents A Possible Consumer Turning Point

No Man’s Sky Backlash Represents A Possible Consumer Turning Point

No Man’s Sky may be Steam’s most poorly reviewed game, but that doesn’t reflect the game itself. If Hello Game’s product was merely disappointing, maybe even bad, no one would have been talking about the game this late after release. Reaction to the game speaks volumes about the state of the modern industry, at least from the consumers point of view. Some critics and publications may have went into overdrive trying to defend the game, but the consumers had no time for it. No Man’s Sky was sold on lies, not just a few white ones either. From features being promised then revoked only to be subsequently hidden under stickers on printed copies, there’s a lot to be infuriated about. Sean Murray had teased, promised and dazzled the masses with his showcasing of No Man’s Sky. Flashy buzz terms married with veiled answers to questions along with simple bright eyed charm, it was hard to resist the hype. His beguiling nature helped paper over the cracks in most of No Man’s Sky presence across various expos. When you market a game on hype and charm, people become invested. At the end of the day, your’re still asking for a full price entry fee from the customer. This forms a strong connection between the game and the player, which sounds good…assuming the game is what was promised. The sheer backlash towards No Man’s Sky is justified. Consumers didn’t feel underwhelmed with the game, they felt lied to. It’s not a nice feeling, sparking instant bitterness within the victim. Comparing what was promised, to what was delivered, leaves some truly mind blowing realisations. How could a game be sold on that many lies? A game worked on by the ‘indie’ scene we were told to love and cherish so much. Why did only a handful of well known critics try to ask the hard questions prior to release? Steam’s user review system is infamously brutal. The boiling pot of hobbyist reviewers, dank meme addicts and trolls, no game is safe from its taint. No Man’s Sky undoubtedly has a number of troll reviews on its store page, like any other game. The primary factor in this store page’s review is just how many reviews consist of concise critiques on the game, rather than blunt ‘F**K DIS GAME’. No Man’s Sky represents the very worst of modern video games. It’s not rare for games to be marketed and hyped on lies, just ask Bethseda’s Todd Howard or Gearbox Software’s Randy Pitchford. No Man’s Sky is the folk in the road, perhaps even the enlightenment the video game consumer has needed. In the age of social media and blogging, consumer reactions/impression carry much more weight. It’s why the days of sites like IGN and Gametrailers dictating popular opinion are over. Streamers, Youtubers and those with large social media followings are the new frontier. Those same people are often consumers who have happened to fallen into their own place of power. Could Sean Murray’s little bundle of lies turn out to be an important game for reasons he didn’t plan? Hello Games have since closed down the Reddit for No Man’s Sky, all while they rarely seem to comment on the game itself. Robotic statements that never answer anything, silence from Murray himself. It’s been a disaster for a game that was seen as the darling of the industry not that long ago. Consumers have expressed their displeasure with a product they bought in good faith. Could the industry learn from the follies Hello Games? You’d hope so....

Warhammer: Vermintide – Console Edition Review (Xbox One)

Warhammer: Vermintide – Console Edition Review (Xbox One)

Last year, our very own Sean Halliday got to sit down and review the PC version of Vermintide, which you can read here. Fast forward roughly a year later and I got the chance to sit down and play the console version of Vermintide. Let’s get down and dirty with the Skaven. – If you’ve ever played Left 4 Dead you’ll notice some familiarity upon jumping into Vermintide. The game is a co-op first person game where you take control of one of five heroes and must proceed from Point A to Point B all while completing a series of objectives and taking on hordes of humanoid rat creatures known as the Skaven. In the game you have your primary melee weapon, and your secondary weapon which can range from longbows, crossbows, rifles to even pistols and shotgun like weapons. Each character has their own set of weapon types and special weapons they can unlock via the loot system. Upon completing a mission in the game there is a small dice-rolling segment that determines what kind of loot you can score. Sometimes you’ll score some substantial loot in the form of weapons or hats for one of the five heroes, or you’ll score some loot that isn’t that great but thankfully you can do away with that later. In between missions you’re thrust into a cool little “hub” area which is an Inn and upon leveling up you’ll unlock certain areas inside that can aid in your survival against the Skaven. Such areas like the Forge allow you to salvage your loot for materials that can be used to upgrade your equipment, or even fuse items together in the chances of creating a better weapon, trinket, or hat for your characters. The equipment and loot system is definitely something that Left 4 Dead needed and it makes Vermintide have an extra layer of replay-ability because you always want to keep making your characters stronger and getting them that better loot to make playing on the harder difficulties much more manageable. Replayability is always possible due to the vast amount of different enemy types for the Skaven. Similar to Left 4 Dead there are special variants of the Skaven that will do their best to hinder your group’s progress through the mission. I noticed during my time spent with the game that there were two types of Skaven that seemed to be the most dangerous and those always seemed to be the Packmasters which is a Skaven that is similar to the Smoker from L4D, but instead of a massive tongue it snares players with an actual snare and will drag them away and slowly suffocate them. The other being a Gutter Runner which is a Skaven that is incredibly agile, fast and will drop smoke bombs to get away and hide before pouncing on an unsuspecting player. Some of the other Skavens are more straightforward in dealing with, but these two always seem to cause the most trouble during my play time. And thankfully, due to the AI director the game is never the same twice while playing through. Enemy spawns will be different as well as item spawns so the next time you’re running down some narrow corridors trying to avoid a Rat Ogre (this game’s L4D Tank) there may not be that helpful health potion sitting in a chest. That said, sometimes the “item spawns” can be a bit ridiculous. I found more often than not that the chests we’d come across while playing were mostly empty which is a bit disheartening when you really need to heal yourself while playing on the Hard difficulty and above. The higher difficulties are great for replaying the game as they can reward you with better loot for your characters which in turn makes your runs on the subsequent higher difficulties much more easier and less stressful, unless the AI director decides to be an unbalanced turd which then you’re gonna have a bad time. One of my other nitpicks about the game is that there seems to be a balancing issue in terms of enemy spawns and difficulty spikes. A full group of my friends and I were playing through some of the DLC mission (these were paid DLC on PC and were bundled for free with the game for console players) and we got to a point where we had to hold out against waves of Skaven while destroying portals. This was the Normal difficulty and everyone had good enough gear to cope with the situation, as well as we were communicating like a good team should in a game like this. However, the AI Director thought it’d be neat to throw continuous Rat Ogres at us which proved to be nearly impossible, but thankfully the developers have noticed the amount of issues involving impossible moments during gameplay and are working on fixing those. There were also numerous moments where the Director would spawn in some enemies, but their pathfinding would end up being broken and they’d just remain stationary and harmless allowing for easy picking. This happened twice during my playthrough to Rat Ogres and countless times to standard enemies. There were also moments where I’d spawn in to a mission that was in progress and fall through the map to either my death, or get stuck and not be able to progress through the game. So, there’s a handful of bugs and technical issues inside Vermintide, but not enough to make the experience a bad one. The game is still a blast and one of the better games I’ve played this year and on this generation of consoles. The console versions also get bundled with the Last Stand DLC which is a horde-mode style gametype where you just have to survive against endless waves of Skaven. If you’ve played similar game-types than you know what to expect here. My only gripe is that Last Stand feels a little too difficult at times, and I’ve yet to even get a Bronze rating on any of two maps for this mode. It’s still a fun, and exciting mode but the real meat and potatoes is in the core, Adventure mode. The game is also exceptionally beautifully in a gothic sense. The game is full of dark and twisted environments, but they never get to the point where everything is hidden from view. You can really take in the amount of work the developers took to make this world and it shows. The player models are fantastic, the environments really stand out, and the Skaven designs are just so gnarly and seem to walk the line of humanoid and rat so closely that you could picture these things running amok and actually being a force to be reckoned with. The entire audio system is fantastic as well from audio cues, character dialogue brimming with comedy and the individual sounds for each enemy really brings everything together in one amazing package. In the end, Vermintide is a solid addition to the console line-up and is a must have title for any person who loves these types of games. It is recommended that you have some friends to play with, but the community seems to be good enough in terms of helping people out and working together. The game has a ton of replay value in the terms of the higher difficulties, loot system and ever changing gameplay every time you boot up the game. The developers have also mentioned continued patch support as well as new DLC to continue in the future for all versions of the game. Vermintide is well worth the price-point and I can see myself playing this for a long time to come.  ...

We Happy Few Is Nothing Like Bioshock, Avoid Disappointment

We Happy Few Is Nothing Like Bioshock, Avoid Disappointment

We happy Few has seemingly got many people confused. When ever you see a gameplay video or Early Access lets play, you’ll be sure to see someone mention Bioshock. The unfortunate thing, at least for them, is We Happy Few has little to no shared Bioshock vibes. Gameplay is based purely on survival, this is not a simple case of shooting your way through. The player is vulnerable, struggling to keep their head above water. Areas are open, allowing the player to explore and discover. Yes, We Happy Few is played in the first person, but that’s one of the few similarities the two games share. The tone of the game is totally different from the underwater dystopia rife with social issues and political intrigue. We Happy Few is much closer to the likes of The Twilight Zone and 60s/70s BBC news coverage. It’s all very polite and clean, regardless of the subject matter. It’s how We Happy Few creates its creepy and unnerving atmosphere. Forced smiles, blocking out the dark past, ignorance is bliss…even if it comes at the cost of your mental state. Bioshock was much more direct experience. The world was already falling apart by the time you arrived. You, as the player, weren’t part of Rapture’s population, you were merely a visitor. We Happy Few is from the point of view of someone who has lived within the culture. They’re part of the system, a system which is breaking them down. It’s a pretty major difference between how the two games frame their stories and approach. Most importantly, We Happy Few simply plays differently. As mentioned before, the game is focused mostly on survival elements. People expecting a straight laced shooter may be underwhelmed to find that combat makes up very little of the game, at least initially. It almost feels that We Happy Few and Bioshock are being lumped in together through it being ‘the easy option’. In all fairness, it could be association through the imagery. Both games are set in the early 60s, resulting in the two games sharing similar culture traits. Clothing, language and music are both heavily defined by their time period. Beyond that, any connection made between the two is questionable at best. Do yourself a favour, don’t go into We Happy Few expecting anything like Bioshock. Survival mechanics and rogue-like elements will be the only thing you’ll find, not a story driven shooter with minor RPG elements....

Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide Console Release Officially Dated

Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide Console Release Officially Dated

The console release date for Wahammer: End Times – Vermintide has finally been announced.   Coming this October 4th, consoles players will be able to get in on the Skavern slaying fun, complete with all the DLC. Last Stand, Drachenfels and Sigmar’s Blessing are all included as standard.  Vermintide was one of last year’s surprise hits, replicating the Left4Dead formula while adding onto it. Although the game had its initial gripes and annoyances, the console version will be free of that.   Fatshark’s regular updates and new content allowed the game to thrive, carving out a nice spot for itself in the market. Even if Warhamemr isn’t your thing, Vermintide is brilliantly chaotic co-op action that rarely fails to entertain.  ...

We Happy Few Preview – Solid But Uninspiring

We Happy Few Preview – Solid But Uninspiring

*Based on the Early Access build After creating a lot of buzz, mostly thanks to its tone, We Happy Few might not be the joyous experience many are expecting. At its core, We Happy Few is a survival game with some creepy imagery and themes. The Early Access build opens up a fair amount to play with, but it’s not exactly fun. For all of the world building and scene setting the initial five minutes indulges in, the gameplay is uninspired. Players must take into account thirst, hunger and fatigue. There’s various other effects that need monitoring when trigged, such as bleeding and sickness. Gathering materials and supplies forms the spine of the Early Access build. For a modern title, these mechanics are dated. Go here, pick this up and combine it. It’s where the build lives, and unfortunately, dies. Most of the time spent playing is walking around looking at the same NPC models, buildings and hearing repeated lines. The crafting system itself is so basic that feels more tacked on than developed. There’s quests to complete, all of which require certain materials to be gathered. None of the quests in the Early Access build come even close to being interesting. We Happy Few’s struggles continue with its inventory management. Items take up slots in the backpack, with the slots dictated by the item’s size. This causes a fair amount of time fiddling with the inventory in order to make room. This won’t be a issue for many, but is worth noting. Menus feel like they were made with consoles in mind, leaving the PC version feeling a bit clunky. That’s perhaps the best way to describe We Happy Few’s Early Access build, uninteresting. For all of the unnerving elements the game initially promises, it melts into mediocrity This is particularity true with the combat. Attack and block, that’s about as deep as it gets. The audio feedback may sound brutal, but the combat itself is far too light to be satisfying. One element of We Happy Few that does work is the procedurally generated town. Each time you play, the town will differ in certain aspects. It keeps things slightly fresh, even if the size and layout remains familiar. The environment featured in the Early Access build is dark, gloomy and depressing. Characters will mutter under their breath while expressing grief, or straight up lashing out. Streets are painted with shades of grey, with very little colour in sight. A curious feature found in the build was the ability to change the look of the world via pills. Popping a Joy will cause the environment the light up, bursting with colour and joy. Graffiti will change to show happy messages, NPCs will cheer the player on. Even the sky gets in on the act by spawning a rainbow. It may be a small touch, but it works wonders in the context of the game. Most people will pick up on the ‘Britishness’, which is a fair point. There’s a strong 1960s BBC vibe to the whole game. The initial few minutes use it to the game’s advantage, but once the game starts it soon runs thin. NPCs will mutter lines that become increasingly insufferable. Repeating quirky words and British stereotypes does not result in comedy gold, just annoyance. We Happy Few’s Early Access build gives a fair idea of what to expect, even if it’s not all good. The crafting system is extremely basic, doing very little to enhance the experience. Combat is light and lacks any satisfaction on sense of impact. There’s brief flashes of what the game could be, but it is so far hidden behind some mediocre mechanics. Fans of survival games will get some thrills out of it, but will ultimately feel trapped. The Early Access build lacks the charm and unnerving nature the game gained attention for. There’s still plenty to flesh out and build upon. In it’s current state, it’s all rather uninspired.      ...

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