Survival horror isn’t exactly my favorite gaming genre, but I saw that Outlast was for free on PlayStation Plus a couple of months ago. I can’t say no to free, so I downloaded it and spent some time playing it. Just for the record, this is the scariest game that I have ever played. It’s so scary that I had to stop playing for awhile. It is just downright frightening. This type of genre is not my favorite, but Outlast was unique enough for me to buckle down and play through it. Here is what I thought:
Outlast is a survival horror game developed and published by Red Barrels. The game play is in first-person perspective; however, it cannot be described as a first-person shooter because there is not actual shooting. The game came out for PC in September 2013 and was released for PlayStation 4 this February. It uses the Unreal 3.5 Engine. Outlast is more of an indy-game, but it has so far gotten some good reviews from critics.
The story follows journalist, Miles Upshur, a mild-mannered reporter who unfortunately doesn’t like fighting back. Upshur has gotten a tip from a person only known as “The Whistleblower” and is going to check out some crazy things going on at Mount Massive Asylum. At first glance, the asylum looks like it’s not even in use: there are no guards, doors are locked, and everything appears are be abandoned. After breaking in, Miles comes to the realization that there is some really dangerous and scary things happening in the asylum. Instead of gathering evidence, escaping becomes his main goal.
What could possibly go wrong in a creepy looking asylum, right?
Overall, the story was pretty interesting, but there was something lacking in it, as if Red Barrels could have done a little more with it. It’s a typical horror plot with some slasher elements. The game is really, really scary. Incredibly scary. I found that there were times where I’d scream and throw down the controller. Gamers looking for scary will not be disappointed. However, I was hoping for a little bit more of a story than that I got. Players get a lot of jump scares but not a lot of meat to the story. The gore is pretty amped up, though. In fact, it is a huge aspect of the game: severed heads, bodies everywhere, and pretty much anything that would remind you of a Saw movie. Squeamish players would probably not like this game, but if this is your type of thing, you’ll probably like this game. As a game in the horror genre, Outlast is one of the best that I’ve seen.
Outlast is in first person perspective, but this is not a game about fighting for your life like most first person games. Upshur is described as “not being a fighter,” so unless a scripted scene takes place, the player’s options are to run, hide, or die. This was quite annoying for me at first because I can’t stand games where I can’t fight back. I’ve always thought that if anyone is pushed far enough, he or she will find something to fight back with, even if it’s just a make-shift melee weapon. Then again, I will say that not being able to fight back makes the game ten times scarier. There’s nothing more frightening than running from something trying to kill you that makes your heart pound a bit harder.
Instead of fighting, the player will spend a lot of time hiding in lockers from the inmates in the asylum.
As a journalist, Upshur gathers evidence by filming his surroundings. The only light you get to use is from the night vision on the camera, which is very handy since many of the areas are pitch black. Unfortunately, the night vision is hard to see out of. This may actually make the game scarier in a way. You also have to conserve the night vision because it will drain the battery quicker. You can find more batteries but depending on the difficulty, they can be few and far between. In true survival horror-style, you have to be a bit stingy with the batteries if you want to use the night vision during the really important times.
Overall, the controls are a bit stiff, and I found it kind of hard to move around the way I am accustomed to in most newer games. When climbing ladders and scaling ledges, you can’t look down, which was quite annoying. The game really didn’t feel as polished as other games in first-person perspective that I’ve played. I was disappointed with this because I might have liked the game a lot better if the controls were a little more fluid.
The graphics were unfortunately the most disappointing part of the game. Initially, I didn’t notice them as much because many of the areas are really dark. However, after looking at bit closer, I noticed that a lot of the inmates at the asylum weren’t designed very well. They didn’t look that great. I’m not a video game graphics expert, but the characters looked like they were lacking a lot of detail. If you look at them up close, there isn’t a lot of detail. This was disappointing for a game that pretty much came out on PC and next-gen console only. Then again, I do understand that this game was a smaller project. Besides, you probably won’t notice it that much anyhow because it’s always so dark when you play.
There’s something off about the way the characters are built.
Though I don’t really like the survival horror genre, the game was pretty interesting to play. I doubt that I will be playing it again because I don’t like spending my free time feeling scared. However, if you are looking for a game that will scare you, this is definitely the game. Overall, most fans of the genre will enjoy it, and I am now a little curious to see how Outlast will compare to the upcoming The Evil Within, which comes out in August.
Sine Mora is a game developed by Hungarian and Japanese game developers Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture. They have been well received and have been made available on PC, many consoles including the OUYA, as well as receiving mobile game releases. I can’t speak on the merit of the mobile adaptations of the game because I played the game on PC, so consider this a review of how the game plays on PC and consoles.
The game itself is a horizontal shooter where the gameplay involves controlling airplanes through a barrage of projectiles while attacking your opponents. In terms of bullet hell it isn’t as hellish as some other games I’ve played but challenging nonetheless. The challenge largely comes from the bosses, whom can be frustrating if your weapons aren’t leveled up enough. The game doesn’t involve skills as much as it involves strategy due to two factors: capsules and special attacks. Different capsules have different effect, which can save your life when dodging especially difficult bullet patterns or a barrage. Special attacks depend on the character you’re playing. Special attacks tremendously help when you’re trying to finish off bosses when used wisely. The game can be played either in story or arcade mode, with only arcade mode having the most difficult settings, hard and insane.
I would highly recommend this game if it wasn’t for the life system and the game’s pace. You’re “alive” (your plane doesn’t randomly blow up) as long as your timer doesn’t run out. This would be perfect if the game was more rapid, or the landscape progressed along with the player, but no. The screen drags along to an almost unbearable snail pace. Your time gauge only get replenished if you get the appropriate powerups and kill enemies. This is extremely inconvenient when you’re in the hard or expert mode with less time in a part of the game with barely any enemies. In story mode they were obviously designed as exercises in control with cramped spaces and few enemies in the way, but they’re needless and frustrating when you’re praying the next giant slug comes out so you can replenish your time gauge seconds away from instant death when you haven’t even been hit by one thing! Even the great capsules you can’t use in story mode don’t make up for this major flaw.
Even in story mode this was frustrating.
Not only does it make it inconvenient to play in arcade mode, but the game itself feels dragged out when playing in story mode. The cut scenes even have a fast forward option if you don’t want to spend 5 minutes looking at footage of planes flying. Hell even when you play the game there are “cut scenes” with the plane flying by itself, but there are no different camera angles, transitions, or anything else that would prohibit the player from flying normally or continuing to play.
When you’re buying this game consider you’re only getting it for the story mode. The story itself is pretty good, although a bit confusing with anthro animals and planets and races and whatnot. This however did not keep me from enjoying the characters whom had good dialogue and made me more interested in the story. When story mode is finished you unlock an encyclopedia with all the info on the world of Sine Mora, which I’m halfway through and found pretty well done. A lot of thought went into this game; if it weren’t for its fatal flaws it would’ve been another memorable shooter, and what a shame. This is definitely a game made with love, considering how much planing went into a story where you only see the characters on the side of a dialogue box.
I love Durak, she’s a badass!
Sine Mora is a good game, but you should only expect to kill a few hours with it since it has low replay value. Try it if you want to but, just don’t pay full price for it.
The light novel series better known by its anime, Sword Art Online, has already spawned a console game and it looks like its second console game is getting a great treatment. The first game has only been available on the Japanese market to the chagrin of many fans. The second game has been announced for release in Taiwan with a great perk. The game will be released in traditional Chinese and English. Which means the fanbase of English speaking countries around the world may cheer to this Asian release.
I can’t play them because of DRM you say? No worries! The game will be released on the PS Vita, a completely region free console (thank you Sony). So pre-order a copy at your local importer today, today is a great day for English speaking anime fans everywhere.
Set in an alternate storyline this game will probably surprise and please you in ways the anime couldn’t.
This new game will be released April 24 of this year.
Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is a beautiful game perfectly offset by a dark and bloody story. In Brothers you set off from a nice peaceful town, where the biggest obstacle is a random bully, in order to save your ailing father to dark and bloody areas filled with despair and death. As you travel across the world with their unique controller setup you’ll have to navigate countless simple puzzles and save the occasional NPC who will in turn help you along your journey; which is only becoming more and more perilous as you go.
In between these moments, however, is where you’ll experience the bulk of the game’s brilliant storytelling. Brothers is a nonverbal game where the characters speak in a fantasy language and your only context are the characters heavy use of hand gestures and actions that do a wonderful job of making everything clear while also showcasing each brother’s personalities. While the older brother’s actions are far more focused on helping his father the little brother’s interactions with others and the environment are more carefree.
Simply going down the alternate paths will reward you with experiences you would have otherwise never knew existed. For instance I’m moving on to the next area and I look down to see a man standing on a chair. What I didn’t notice until I went down his path to look was that there was also a noose tied around his neck. Now you can either watch a man commit suicide or have the older brother hold him up while the little climbs the tree and unties the knot. Brothers is full of moments like that in each and every area and the controls really enhance the experience.
In Brothers you simultaneously control them maneuvering a series of puzzles working together through beautiful landscapes. Each brother is assigned a half of the controller and it works flawlessly. While you use the analogs to control each brother’s direction the triggers control their actions. The only problems I experienced with the controls were user based which at times can cause a little frustration. I would routinely have the little brother running into some random wall because I was paying attention to the other or use the wrong side of the controller and falling.
Puzzles or I guess obstacles are obviously the main challenge of the game and all of them use the teamwork component. Whether it’s the big brother using his strength or the little brother using his size each obstacle is easy to navigate for the most part. The challenge comes when you have to “quickly” traverse the area. You’ll be so focused on doing it right and finding your rhythm and it may take you a little longer than expected. The best part about this, however, is that there isn’t a task that will take you forever to figure out or even do. The “harder” ones will take you a few tries tops and you’ll be on your way. Once you learn the controls you’ll be able to fluidly move through every challenge.
Brothers is an extremely short game, but appropriately so. You won’t have this incomplete of rushed feeling by the end of it. Brothers is a must play for anyone who can appreciated a good story and in my opinion should be enjoyed by all. Gamers and non-gamers alike. It’s truly a beautiful game. 9/10.
You can find Brothers: A tale of two sons on Xbox live arcade or currently for free with a PlayStation plus membership.
Titanfall will be available on the Xbox One and PC on March 11th in North America, March 13th in Europe and Australia, March 14th in the UK and New Zealand, and on the Xbox 360 on March 25th in North America, and on March 28th in Europe.
Doesn’t flow off the tongue like Jay-Z Hard Knock Life Vol.2 song “A week ago” unlike the timeless Rap classic album Nintendo’s reputation amongst gamers has been a tumultuous one & hasn’t really been good to look back on. Though while the “gamers” have rallied against big N’s relevance in gaming today. Nintendo has continuously remained profitable and as a business that is the core thing for a company to remain successful. Gamers as fickle as we are as a whole are nothing to scoff at. The gaming community rallied around all that was Nintendo throughout the 3rd and 4th generation but, as the 5th generation reared its head. It seemed as if throughout all the years this company has gotten right they have lost what essentially made them great. Let me dust off the history books and take a peep into them to see what the catalysts was that landed them into this peculiar situation. Generation 5 when Nintendo 64 was released by the big N there was so much hype surrounding what could be. There was its new weird looking controller introducing analog control stick tech into console gaming along with 64 megabits of power. It seemed as if things were all good except for the fact Sega’s Saturn & newcomer Sony’s PlayStation was a CD based platform. That to me was Big N’s major 1st misstep because we all know Nintendo stayed with the old ways of console gaming mediums, Cartridges. I believe this is why Nintendo started to lose its grip on the gamers. Though, a long time ago for most of you modern gamers the gamers whom are in their late 20’s to mid-30’s should remember how the N64 was a wasteland of 3rd party titles rarely seeing jewels that were popping up on the competitions CD based platforms.
Though, the games that did show up by Nintendo’s efforts to collaborate with 3rd party developers & utilizing & acquiring new in house ones. They were able to remain profitable and provide us gamers with classic titles like Mario Kart 64, Star wars Rouge squadron, Mario 64 and let’s not forget the title that made the FPS genre popular on consoles James Bond’s Golden eye to name a few. Those weren’t enough to steamroll the legions of developers from leaving Nintendo home console behind. The flexibility of CD wasn’t the only reason they left Nintendo in the corner. It was their overall business practices that seemingly drove a lot of business away because of that but, it took the likes of the new challenger of the throne Sony’s PlayStation that gave them a place to call home. In return the Sony PlayStation won the 5th console generation. Along with that stole a good portion of the market share Nintendo had for years. During Gen 5 games like Banjo-Kazooie while fun and enjoyable could not bring in new adult gamers into the fold when there were mature titles being released with cinematic experiences unseen for the most part on the N64.
As Generation 5 came to a close and new gamers of a higher age bracket came into the market. Sony Playstation had experiences and cutting edge technologies that you couldn’t find in Nintendo’s home console. Though like a well primed company that it is Nintendo still remained profitable even after losing significant market share along with maintain some of the fiercest fans out there. Granted their profitability wasn’t all hinged on their home console efforts all the while Nintendo is an game company so, as they somewhat floundered their market share Nintendo has the portable gaming market in their pocket protector. Pulling in gangbusters of cashola into their bank accounts later to be infused with some of their future home consoles. Titles like some of their tried and true franchises and new IP’s like Pokémon flourished on this platform but, also new gadgetry and technologies sprung up throughout the Game Boy’s lifetime. Though the portable market is virtually owned by Nintendo for the most part the home console side of things is where Nintendo should start to tighten its grip. From here on out Big N had an uphill battle going into the 6th generation. Stay tuned for the second half of my vision in “Double-edged sword Part 2: Now you’re playing with power”