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Found 37 results

  1. ZombieRawkMachine

    Gris Review

    Most of you have probably already read our very own Drunk_Monk’s review of Gris in which he described the game as “Beautiful, fun and mechanically sound” and if you have you can give his review a read here. Now this is where I have a hard time reviewing Gris as anything that could be said about this game has already been said. Sure I could harp on about its beautiful imagery and excellent gameplay but I don’t think I need to as at this point in time it’s just like beating a dead horse. In case you may have missed it Gris is a 2D platform puzzle game in which play as a girl going through… something. It’s one of those games you want to talk about but at the same time don’t want to give away aspects for those who haven’t played it. So I am left here trying to figure out exactly what to say about a game that has already been raved about and in short yes all things said about this game are spot on. It’s a beautifully crafted piece that fully shows of the idea of games as an art form. Here is the part where I begin to diverge just a little, yes it is a game but less so of a game and more of an experience. I often found myself turning it off to just let it sit with me, everything that happens and every choice made to put into Gris is very deliberate. From the very beginning of the story in which your character falls to go to fighting against the winds it’s all set up to give you a feel of drowning in opposing forces, of which the game has but the antagonist much like all challenges within the game is less of a obstacle and more and of something to embrace. Like the excellent Journey the story within Gris is vague and told through showing and doing instead of telling and following, again allowing for it to be experienced instead of played. You have a world that reacts and changes with you as your character grows and comes to grips with everything that has happened or happening. This is best reflected in the character herself which starts with a hot head of red hair before changing to blue and the dark black sorrowful dress she wears which slowly grows to enrich her experience with new abilities to uncover. See it’s all about experiencing the game with a tale that is not only incredibly identifiable but beautifully told and blast to get caught up. If you have enjoyed games like Journey, Limbo and Inside then Gris is the game that is begging to be experienced next. Zombie was given a review copy of Gris to play on the Playstation 4.
  2. Coffee Addict

    MediEvil review

    PlayStation may have surprised a few of us announcing the remake of the original MediEvil back in 2017. The 1998 hack and slash adventure game starring the reanimated Sir Daniel Fortesque had been laid to rest in 2005 after one sequel and a PSP remake. However with a little bit of necromancy and a whole lot of heart the team at Other Ocean have brought us this charming but imperfect remake. You play as the great Sir Daniel Fortesque, the Hero of Gallowmere, the slayer of the Sorcerer Zarok except that you didn’t. For you see, Sir Dan was slain by an arrow to the eye whilst charging into battle and somehow the mists of time and the fog of war have led to him being declared the hero of the day. 100 years later when Zarok returned with his undead army and enslaved the locals, Sir Dan is given a second chance to live out his destiny albeit as a reanimated Skelton missing a few bits. It’s a comical set up which leads to a decent inferiority complex, some rather fun baiting from gargoyles, and surprisingly, a French sex symbol. Yes, a sex symbol. Maybe it’s his downtrodden ungainly gait, exaggerated gesticulations and ability to whip off his own arm to bludgeon enemies, I honestly will never understand. He is pretty endearing with his frustrated grunts and desperate attempts to redeem himself. A decent character needs an environment to shine and in Medievil Sir Dan battles to reclaim the lands of Gallowmere and these are a sight to behold. The original game’s creative director wanted to combine Ghouls’n Ghosts and Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas and though the original did a decent job, the remake embodies this dream completely. Each level is surprisingly varied from a Gothic graveyard to a flying pirate ghost ship. The levels are heavily populated with everything from the Addams family’s Thing scuttling along the ground like a plague rat to the headless zombies that charge you and smash into walls when you perform a perfect dodge, this game is full of these perfect touches that ooze charm. All of this framed in a funny and engaging story, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, the gameplay chips away at the goodwill brought from the art design and writing. Hacking and slashing through hordes of the undead should be gratifying but it feels careless and cruel. You don’t always make impact when you should, enemies seem to be able to do massive damage with minor hits and you find yourself accidentally with your back to the enemies. It doesn’t feel slick and the remake should have modernized it. Another creature comfort that’s missing is the ability to save mid level or prior to the boss fights. Given that the game can alternate between a pleasant stroll to a punishing hell ride it would have been nice if you had the opportunity to save. However, if you hit one of these moments of brutality unprepared you will find yourself dumped back at the level’s opening cutscene. I never played the original game, so I am uncertain if the large swathe of faults that are present here are new or dutifully recreated from the source material. Though you can certainly still have a lot of fun in the game, the bugs are numerous and can lead to a lot of frustration. The more comical faults focus around collision detection. I’ve been able to phase through rock, float in midair when I should have fallen to my demise, and at one comical point my foot appeared to get stuck to a chicken. Given the main protagonist is a member of the undead community I found this worthy of a chuckle and felt that it added to the gameplay. What I didn’t find so funny was the camera which truly seemed to be possessed and was gunning for me to rejoin the afterworld. Often it was a nuisance; difficult to control leading to failures during the platforming sections and tipping the balance during combat. At times it would generate its own gravitational field and literally draw Sir Dan towards it including one occasion towards the end of the game where I was pulled into oblivion. There was significant frame rate drops during certain levels and the cutscenes occasionally seemed to have issues with anti-aliasing. It is probably the biggest testament to the writing and genuine charm of the game that I was still driven to finish the campaign as a game without its humor would have been dropped sooner. So, where do I stand on this one? Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Medievil, it’s fun, doesn’t take itself seriously and I love the idea of a fake hero trying to achieve his destiny on a second shot. However, when I look at what games like Zelda: Link's Awakening where they added some quality of life features but kept the main game, I believe they missed an opportunity here to iron out a few creases. 6/10 A fiendishly funny but flawed adventure. Coffee received a copy for this review on the PS4 Pro
  3. I have this nightmare in which I work in an office, I go there day in day out filing the same paperwork, stamping the same stamps only to make enough to scrap by in a tiny lil apartment to house a bed so I can sleep long enough to go and do it all over again. That is utterly terrifying to me, gives me hives just thinking about it. So when Beholder 2 came up my first thought was ‘So this is how I die!’ but alas, I made it through to bring you this review. If you are just catching up on what Beholder 2 is I shall give you a quick run down of the first title which is funnily enough titled Beholder; go figure. The basis of the game has Carl, the player, living in a totalitarian state in which he is appointed a landlord over several places. The Government has set you the task of spying on them and will have you reporting on their deeds, bugging their houses and going through their property. You can either follow orders or rebel against them with each choice changing the way the story unfolds and ends. The sequel however has you playing as Evan who after hearing of his Fathers mysterious death goes to work at the same company called the Ministry in which you will go to work, complete paperwork and maybe you will find out who killed your Father and why. Or maybe you will just become a full on company man who just swan dives into piles of money at the end of the night, choice is yours. You will spend your days in Beholder 2 listening to peoples problems and filling out paperwork according to what they have to say. It all breaks down to several categories, citizens of the city will come in and its up to you to decide if they are making a request of the Government, complaining about something in a general way, they have come to denounce another of their fellow citizens or are presenting information. Once you have decided that you then need to decide just which department it needs to be broken down into like Social Work, Order, Patriotism and many more. Your goal with these is to get every single option correct and if you do you will just earn yourself some money. When you aren’t making your way through your daily quota of forms to fill out there are many quests to be completed in many different ways. One of your bosses wants to collect all the bribes to take a cut from what is meant to go to the Government, do you do as your told or do you sell him out? A lot of people wont help you if they don’t trust you or don’t view you as having enough authority to aid you in any quests so they will actively leave you to die or on occasion through you in front of a bus to further themselves. It is during these more investigation like stages where Beholder 2 took me a while to grasp as the controller layout is kinda of weird and never actually informs you of it plays. On the console versions of the game you use the left analogue stick to move the character and the right stick to activate a field of vision ring to point things out to click on though this can be a pain. There were many times in which I was trying to overhear what characters were talking about so I could manipulate them into doing what I want later on but instead of selecting the characters talking that I wanted to overhear the game would get fixated on searching a pot planet and never switching to the characters. One key mechanic is time, every action you take will eat up time and you only get so much of it in a day. Filling out forms for example will take 2 hours to do 5 forms while a simple conversations may only take 15 or waiting in line for something can take up to an hour leaving you to decide what is important to achieve each day. After the work day is complete you get 3 hours at home to read books and learn new skills or maybe you just want to watch some TV to catch up on the latest shows so you have something to talk about with your co workers to gain their trust. Again it all costs time to accomplish. At the end of every day you also have to pay your bills through money earned filling out forms but you also need to keep enough money to pay for the TV shows you want to watch and bribe any guards who may want to make your day not so great. Decisions in this game are aplenty and are fully up to you to tackle however you wish. The most striking aspect of Beholder is its art style which is all down in a cool black and white noir aesthetic with occasion streaks of red and brown to remind you of its setting. I really do love this art style but I found it would give me a headache as the whites are very bright and pronounced which took away from the enjoyment of playing the game. The settings in the game don’t vary much with each a reminder that you are being ruled over with statues and busts of the overlord all over the place and general prison feel built into each environment, even when you are out doors. At the end of the day Beholder is really good game the demands time and thought be poured into it over multiple playthroughs. I was expecting the office job and paper filling out aspects of the game to be a bore but instead they won me over and left me constantly debating with myself over what actions are going to be the best. If you like a game that has a more slowburn approach to provide you with just as much style as substance then Beholder 2 is definitely one you should be checking out. Zombie played a review copy of Beholder 2 on the Playstation 4.
  4. Zombies were once cool, I remember a time before they were super popular and filled with mostly boring or annoying characters yelling at Carl to get back in the house. Those were some good times. The last zombie themed thing that I really just enjoyed was Zombieland, it was just good ole fashioned dumb fun. Ever since the original movies release back in 2009 demand for a sequel was solid, it was a project that was happening and then it wasn’t happening, then there was the TV show which would lead into a sequel and that TV show didn’t even make it passed the pilot stage killing any momentum a follow up movie had, until now anyway. To coincide with the release of the Double Tap Sony tasked High Voltage Software to make a licensed game to tie in with the movies released. If you are aware of High Voltage I dare say you would be wrong as the studio dates back to the 90’s with their first Woody Harrelson tie in game based on White Men Can’t Jump. They have had a rather storied career working on things like Hunter: The Reckoning, The Conduit and hell they helped out with Saints Row IV, Call of Duty 2, even Mortal Kombat X. Now those were so good games, they even gave us the utter brilliance of things like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude and all those half of those Phase 1 Marvel games… Oh dear god what have I gotten myself into. Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip has you playing as one of the four main characters as they travel around America in a top down twin stick shooter. Each character supposedly has a unique trait like damage, speed or accuracy though they all felt exactly the same right down to their super move which is gained from killing enough zombies. You will spend the 10 minute levels (15 if you are lucky) moving through an area completing objects such as going to the bathroom, turning on theme park rides and destroying port-a-potties while collecting various weapons which all feel and function exactly the same. Every now and then you will be interrupted for some dialogue/plot from the characters, though Abigail Breslin is the only actress to reprise her role, full of unfunny and unskippable dialogue from a Jesse Eisenberg impersonator who is actually more entertaining and less annoying than the actual actor. Despite all those flaws and overall mediocrity the game is kinda fun, especially if you can get the full 4 player co-op going on. It doesn’t help make the game suddenly brilliant but there is a level of competitiveness that goes on with kill streaks, end of level rewards to level up stats and dumb things you can do like turn on amusement park rides and coax zombies to run in front of them to get squished. With that same kind of token the game is stupidly easy, I didn’t die once, not a single time and I didn’t have to try very hard to stay alive. The only really bad thing about this game are the load times, my god are they terrible. I feel like I spent more time in load screens than I did in the games 2 (if you are lucky) hours of gameplay. However if you want to grab 3 friends or people who will just put up with you for 2ish hours some beer, pizza and talk some smack in a top down twin stick shooter that feels like it should have been released when the Xbox Arcade first launched. Pick up Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip, but only if you can get it for a cheap price as once you have gotten through it there isn’t exactly a compelling reason to go back for another round trip. Zombie was proivded with a review copy of Zombieland: Double Tap - Road Trip for the Nintendo Switch.
  5. I’m not sure just how many of you will be shocked to learn this but I am a bit of a Metal Head, in particular 80’s metal. Glam/sleaze, thrash, Goth, NWOBHM but none more so than that classic heavy metal sound that gave birth to Power Metal. Just that feeling of total domination within the depths of my core bands like Manowar, Dio, Grave Digger, Helloween, Iced Earth, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden is just hard to beat. It just goes hand in hand with particular styles that I am so used to, particular artwork, comics and games just bleed je ne sais quoi. All this is just say I needed a segue into the overall atmosphere for the review of Valfaris. Valfaris is a very simple tale belonging right at home in Heavy Metal magazine and the movies it produced the French counterpart which inspired it Metal Herlant. Valfaris was once a intergalactic paradise, a fortress among fortresess that was so grandiose it put the Death Star to shame. Or atleast it did until one day it just mysteriously disappeared, poof gone, only to reappear sometime later in the orbit of a dying sun. Now it is up Therion (the character you play and a proud Son of Valfaris) to return home and find out what evil has taken over the once beloved paradise. Like holy crap that sounds metal right? It gets even more metal when your spaceship is unable to dock on to the planet so you just crash it into a bunch of bad guys within the first 30 seconds of starting up the game. That is the kind of game Valfaris is, I could tell you how it handles, looks and sounds but they aren’t a huge part of what this game is about. Don’t get me wrong, all that I just mentioned is just like a dream, running, jumping, controller lay out it is all beautiful. I found ZERO issues with any of them, they are for lack of a better term perfect which makes it hard to really tell you about as all I can do is apply emphasis on just how excellent it all is. Instead the focus of Valfaris is it’s heavy metal roots, it’s general aesthetic from visuals to sounds is somewhere between Heavy Metal, Judge Dredd and H. R. Giger, which as someone who loves those things is awesome. It’s dark and grimy yet full of vibrant highlights and rockin’ tunes, which funnily enough sums up the game. You get a gun, laser shield and a sword to start with, you make your way from left to right, right to left, up to down and down to up killing everything in your path while making sure you stay alive which isn’t as easy as it sounds as you only get a couple of hits until you die and you head back to a checkpoint. Checkpoints are nicely distributed though so it never feels like you are having to fight and replay your way back through tonnes and tonnes of game. The only real negative I have is that the game can rely a touch too much on trial and error gameplay as there is a chunk of luck involved with enemy spawning. Along the way you will find better weapons, chainguns, swords with better abilities all the good stuff you would expect in a game of this magnitude to make shorter work of enemy soldiers, monsters, robots and bosses. This tiny aspect leads into possibly the coolest feature of the game, upon unlocking new weapons and equipment the game throws some epic head banging metal at you before the character himself turns to the screen and starts headbanging. That is the type of game Valfaris is, again funnily enough that kinda sums up everything you need to know it. If you wanna run around in a 2D environment shooting and slash all kinda of enemies while listing to some killer tunes and have a fondness for Heavy Metal then this is a game crafted for you. If you don’t have a huge fondness for those things, it’s still one hell of a game the plays so damn well. I know a couple of people who have already put it in there top 10 games for the year and at least one of them is putting it up for serious consideration for his game of the year. He also falls into the category of NOT being a metal fan so that goes to show just how great Valfaris is and can stand on its own. Zombie played a review copy of Valfaris on the Nintendo Switch.
  6. For the uninitiated Trine is a series of puzzle platform games developed by Finnish developer Frozenbyte; who also developed the Shadowgrounds series. The first Trine was released in 2009 to really positive reviews while it follow up Trine 2 was released two years later in 2011 and received an even more overwhelmingly positive reception. After taking a break the franchise returned four years later with Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power which upon released was meet with a rather large ‘Meh’ with most citing it’s incredibly short length making it almost pointless to play to which the VP of Frozenbyte countered saying that to increase the length of the game would have cost an additional 15 million which they didn’t have. Now here we are, another four years later with the newest entry into the series, but have the devs learned from their last mistake? In the Trine series you control three characters which you can switch between at any time; a thief, a wizard and a knight. Each of the characters have their own abilities, play style and leveling up paths which allows different puzzles and platforming sections to be completed in multiple ways. You have a wizard who can levitate and conjure objects, the thief possess a bow and arrow and the knight tends to lean towards brute strength. Each character can use these skills at any time to complete the levels through puzzle solving, platforming and combat which means that there are multiple ways to complete each level. Them levels though, they sure do feel long, I mean they look great with a beautiful coloured art style but their length. Ok their length probably isn’t too bad their is just very little personality going on with the characters or narration, its very very flat in a baby’s first fairy tale way and it makes it all drag. Being both a puzzle and platform game there are two incredibly crucial elements that Trine 4 needs to nail in order for it to be a success; both the puzzle and platforming sections. How do these elements fare I hear you asking, well I am pleased to report that both are pretty good. 45% of your time in The Nightmare Prince will be spent platforming, climbing, jumping, dashing and collecting you know the aim of the game when it comes to platforming, controls are key. Controls within the game for the most part work incredibly well, jumping is nice and direct with very little float to it and there isn’t too much sliding momentum meaning you can move pretty precisely without cheap deaths. The controls themselves however aren’t 100% as it all felt a little too sensitive often leaving me jumping further than I wanted or attaching ropes to the wrong places or at its worst completely resetting puzzles midway through, but its all just a minor gripe. Another 45% of the time in the game is spent solving puzzles which all work logically and are never really too taxing, but there is a hint system which can be set to go off after so many minutes of not figuring a puzzle out. I left it on the default setting at 6 minutes and it didn’t go off once during my play through. Trine tries to pride itself on the multiple ways to get through levels in particular with it’s puzzles, or at least it does at the beginning until it segways into more complex lengthier puzzles requiring the use of all team members. Your wizard will help you avoid obstacles and create platforms, the thief will connect ropes to pull on doors and shelves while also possessing the ability to freeze moving platforms in place which leaves the knight to ram into things or use his shield to block projectiles. As for the puzzles themselves… again they all work and are logically done but there were only a few times where I was left thinking “Wow that was clever.” as pretty much every puzzle is just a variation on the first tutorial puzzle you do which lead to it all feeling incredibly bland and repetitive even when slightly new dynamics slowly get introduced for a level. Right now I know exactly what you are thinking, 45+45 only equals 90 what about the other 10? Well firstly, well done, top effort and a gold star goes to you for knowing math. Secondly the answer to your question is combat! I put an exclamation mark there to show emphases and create excitement which was really a mistake on my part as combat is the weakest element in the game. Combat takes place randomly throughout the levels in little sectioned off arenas where you will be confronted with the same 2-4 enemies at a time which can be dealt with in a single hit. I found myself groaning when these moments occurred as not only where they boringly pointless but put speed bumps in what feel like incredibly long levels. What does all this mean? Honestly I’m not quite sure. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince as a platformer is fun, jumping around and solving puzzles is fun when the momentum allows it and continually carries it forward. The rest of the game around that core however works against taking what could be a fun lighthearted dash through a beautiful storybook fantasy world and turns into a dull drawn out game. There you have it, there is a lot to like about Trine 4 and being able to play it here and there may help break down some of the monotonous aspects that drag it down. Zombie played a review copy of Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince on the Nintendo Switch.
  7. I have to admit, my most recent escapades into games that revolve around mutants, tend to be focused on avoiding my gizzards being unceremoniously removed and devoured by said mutants. It comes as a breath of fresh air that even though you play as a girl named Kai, when you venture into Mutazione’s desolate city with its mutant inhabitants, you are warmly welcomed rather than ingested. Mutazione delivers an engaging story of sorrow, loss, and redemption without a hint of cannibalism. Kai is the daughter of a woman born in the mutant zone; her mother had escaped with her grandmother to live a normal life. You’re called to visit your estranged grandfather Nonno, who on his deathbed, is asking for you. He is the last of a group of scientists that arrived to study the island after it was hit with a meteor that triggered the mutations in both the plants and people. You are tasked with helping your grandfather and the island’s inhabitants during this time of upheaval. This is a slow, strange and intriguing game. From the outset, in the prologue, Mutazione combines comedy with a sense of melancholy. Its themes focus on the ostracization of a people, a story with dark and mystical overtones including the fracturing of a community with the way that they hold together. That said it balances this with a levity brought about by some surprisingly deep characters. Each of the mutants and humans has a story to tell, told in its entirety by text as there is no voice acting. With the exception of the gardening, which I will focus on shortly, the gameplay isn’t taxing. You’re directed to your next objective by entries in a diary and these consist of talking to someone or growing something. There not much room to get lost and though there is some exploration at no point in the game did I find myself wondering where to go. The only time things do slow down is when you decide to focus on creating gardens which are where I found myself happily pottering around. In Mutazione you see the mutated plants react to music and the environment around them. Use the right music on the right plant and it grows to maturity within seconds, allowing you to free your inner Titchmarsh, creating living masterpieces. As you explore the surreal environment you collect the seeds and spores from the mutant plants that you can use as the building blocks for your garden. The plants themselves create music and once your garden is complete it fills the void with an orchestra of music. I found it strangely addictive and as you are utilizing music to aid in your garden flourishing, I also found it relaxing. These gardens become part of the backdrop of the game and you can clearly make out your creations from across the village. It’s not only the village that changes; as the gardens grow the villagers open further. Memories are triggered by the revitalization of the landscape and change the direction of the story. It is a great achievement of how interwoven all components of the game are and nothing feels tacked on to increase the playing time. The title describes this game perfectly, Mutazione is a surreal yet beautiful game. The simple art design coupled with the bold contrasting colors and strong story creates a wonderfully bizarre setting. This is a game that has the feels and is certainly not a survival thriller. Those looking for a gorefest can look elsewhere. Those who want to take life at a chilled pace while watching things grow, both flora and fauna are welcome here. 8/10 Coffee received a copy for review.
  8. Discuss all the latest and greatest Playstation VR titles. What have you been playing? What are you excited for?
  9. Square is absolutely doing their best to ensure you have no spare time with their onslaught of re-releasing, remastering, and re-everythinging their games, and I am loving every second of it. Their awesome looking remake of Trials of Mana is coming next April and looking at the new TGS trailer, it is looking fantastic. Blurb: Square Enix Ltd., have unveiled that the highly anticipated remake of Trials of Mana will launch worldwide on 24th April 2020 for the Nintendo Switch system, PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and STEAM. The latest trailer introduces viewers to the game’s cast of characters and beautiful accompanying orchestral score. Players will get a closer look at the upgraded character models, switching classes, and new combat system as it plays out in an epic battle against fearsome foes, as well as hear the English voice over for the first time. Originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3 in 1995, and later making its debut in the West with the Collection of Mana on Nintendo Switch earlier this year, Trials of Mana is a full, high-definition remake of the third entry in the classic Mana series. Trials of Mana seamlessly brings the beloved story and characters to a new, modern era of players with real-time combat, beautiful 3D graphics and updated gameplay. The game tells the story of six heroes as they battle against the forces of evil that threaten a world where Mana has been weakened. Players will craft their own experiences by selecting a party of three from these unique characters as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Those who preorder the physical version of the game for the Nintendo Switch system or PlayStation 4 system will receive a Rabite Adornment DLC, allowing players to gain more EXP after battles up to level 10. Trials of Mana will be available physically and digitally for the Nintendo Switch™ and PlayStation®4 systems, and digitally available on STEAM® from 24th April 2020.
  10. The Final Fantasy that landed on GameCube in 2004...so was played by none of us, is coming out on the 23rd of January next year. Having never played a GameCube I am very curious and excited about this one. Blurb: Square Enix Ltd., has announced that the beloved action-RPG adventure FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES will return with brand new features as FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition for the Nintendo Switch system, the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and iOS and Android mobile devices on 23rd January 2020. The co-operative action RPG FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES has been completely remastered, now with brand new features to make the experience more enchanting than ever! Playing with friends or solo, explore a stunning fantasy world and make new memories as you bond with fantastic characters through fun action-RPG gameplay. New features for FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition include: Updated Visuals and Audio – Experience the world of FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES in stunning new ways, with upgraded graphics and audio updates enhancing the magical adventure like never before. New Character Voiceovers – Playable heroes come to life with brand-new voiceovers as they cast spells and battle ferocious monsters. New Online Multiplayer – Play online with up to three friends to overcome the dangerous monsters and dungeons that fill the world*. No players are left behind, as FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition supports cross-play functionality. New Dungeons and Bosses – Challenging new dungeons and bosses have been added to the game, allowing for even more fun and exciting gameplay opportunities. New Character Appearances and Items – Stand out with brand-new looks and artefacts to equip and use throughout your magical journey. FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition will be digitally available for the Nintendo Switch system, PlayStation 4 system, the App Store and Google Play Store on 23rd January 2020.
  11. When I started researching The Church in the Darkness I came across the phrase ‘Designed by Richard Rouse III’ now I knew that name but didn’t know why. Luckily for me we have that handy thing known as the internet which promptly gave me the answer I was looking for. Richard Rouse III was lead writer and creative designer for The Suffering and its sequel Ties That Bind. Those games were amazing so I was more than in like Flynn to check out his latest horror action title which was inspired by real life cults. The Church in the Darkness has a very basic premise; you are an ex law enforcement officer looking for your nephew who has gotten himself caught up in a cult. That is pretty much all the information you need to go into each proceedurally generated map. You choose some items to start out with guns, ammo, health whatever items you want to cater to your play style and are then thrown into the task of making it to the Cults camp through whatever means you choose, stealth, guns blazing, it doesn’t matter as its all completely up to you. The Church in the Darkness when boiled down is an amalgamation of an isometric roguelike that wants to be more open narratively than other roguelike games currently on the market. This idea of an open narrative is far and away the games greatest strength and is achieved in a manner to other proceedurally generated items in games like enemy placements, item picks and the ilk. Each play through of the game you will find that within the camp things change and not just the usual map, enemies and items as previously mentioned. Instead you will find that Cultists and its leaders (played brilliantly by gaming voice actors John Patrick Lowrie and his wife Ellen McLain who you may recognize as the voice of GLaDOS from Portal) will have their beliefs changed. Not only will what the Cult believes change from play to play but all of the AI’s allegiances change as well giving greater options on how to end the mission but also a greater personality that a lot of its contemporaries are missing without relying on nostalgia. Navigating the maps is relatively with the right amount of onscreen prompts and a decent map making it easy to tell where abouts you are in a landscape which looks mostly the same. Green for the jungle, brown for the wooden cult compound but it works for its African setting. Graphics look nice for the most part with most important things being easily recognizable the downside to this isometric style is that everything else can be hard to differentiate from each other. For instance when stealthing through a level I found myself taking out cultist while walking right past guards as the red sash the guards carry isn’t always noticeable. As for the controls, while yes they work as intended and are completely adequate I couldn’t help but feel some of the buttons had a weird layout which is easily remedied but as a whole they all felt sluggish to command. All in all The Church in the Darkness isn’t a bad game, it has some really good ideas. I think the game will garner a dedicated fan base for the way it uses narrative and historical cult events to tell its stories and in that regard it is a runaway success. However the open narrative and way of telling this story are kind of its only huge selling points, everything else is perfectly adequate. It plays well enough, looks nice enough, sounds as it should but in this current gaming environment where indie devs are throwing out roguelikes at a dime a dozen it takes more than a couple of solid ideas to really stand out. Is it worth playing? Yeah I had fun for the first couple of hours seeing just how things would change and the cult would develop moreover show off its beliefs. After the novelty wore off however I was left with a serviceable game that would be fine to fill in 15 minutes here and there while I had other things to do.
  12. How can one sum up the experience of Observation in a sentence? It’s like The Cloverfield Paradox but good? It has all the tension of Alien without the haunted house vibe? Can leave you scratching your head in a DAFAQ Space Odyssey kinda way? They all work yet can only give off a slight presence as to what you actually get by playing the game. Observation is a Narrative driven Puzzle based game which sees you on the Space Station Observation in the near future. A strange event has caused it to lose all power and have issues with its orbit. It is here we are introduced to the games main character Dr. Emma Fisher as she begins to address the player as Sam. Sam or System Administration and Maintenance is the ships A.I. yes you read that right, it is a space horror game where you play as the Stations A.I. overseeing all that you can. After some strange lights and noises everything blacks out as you lose power, find your memory banks damaged and for some reason you have transported the ship to Saturn where it isn’t supposed to be. That is the first 5 minutes of the game, everything the game wants you to know about the story and mystery therein is presented straight up off the bat. The pacing in Observation is for lack of a better word; perfect. The story is constantly moving forward but not in a way that is hard to keep up with, questions arise and get answered only leaving you hanging when it needs to dial up tension or play something into the greater mystery. Plot and story telling are among the highlights of Observation however with this being said the ending may come off unsatisfying to some, I really liked with its less is more approach to telling it’s tale but the build up is better than the pay off which is a shame. Observation is a great game to look at earning some mad props to No Code for creating a game that looks as good as Observation looks for the budget it was made on. The main colour themes through out the games play time change from a white and blue to a black and grey almost sepia colour palette which creates a beautiful safety with a lingering sense that something isn’t right to pop the tension off with that uncanny valley effect sepia can give off with its nostalgic vibes. The games biggest flaw for me was controlling the AI Sam and the learning curve that comes with it. While it is never bad it does become rather sluggish. Throughout the beginning of the game its rather simple Five Nights at Freddy’s camera switching gameplay allows you to explore and get a feel for the Space Station you are stranded in. While in this mode will be zooming in and out to read signs to figure out logic puzzles, scanning objects and opening doors it all works simply enough press R2 to scan followed by X to open, touch pad to quick jump all over the Observation etc. The problems come when you get control of drones to explore everywhere in the ship you couldn’t before and even stroll through space in some very cool set pieces. The drones are sluggish mostly allowing you to move in XYZ Axis’ meaning you need to slowly course correct in what feels like tank controls. This wouldn’t be so bad but you can look around in normal sleek and speedy fashion often leaving you disorientated more over leaving you lost in the vacuum of space. Ultimately Observation is a game that is best going in as blind as you can as it is one of the ones where talking too much will ruin the experience. The bottom line is play it, aside from some clunky controls it is one of the best games you probably missed so far this year. Observation is all about narrative fire and foremost it is driven by the mystery surrounding it and its quick pace keeps up with all the thrilling events yet allows the player to explore while leaving its secrets behind a curtain until they need to be revealed. Skips the Let’s Play as Observation is a force that deserves to be experienced first hand. Zombie was provided with an advanced copy of Observation to review on the Playstation 4.
  13. If you weren't too sure or haven't tried the series before, have I got great news for you. You can download the demo for Dragon Quest Builders 2 on PS4 now! Blurb: Square Enix Ltd., today announced that a downloadable demo for the upcoming DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is now available for budding builders to download free-of-charge from the PlayStation®Store. The demo allows players to choose a boy or girl builder and includes two parts from the game including the Tutorial and Isle of Awakening areas. Additionally, the demo will give builders a taste of the gameplay while introducing the brand new story and characters, as they prepare in their battle against the Children of Hargon to bring the power of creation back to the land. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 launches on July 12, 2019. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 is a charming block-building role-playing game and completely standalone experience featuring new characters, an expansive world, unlimited building combinations, and a storyline that’s sure to satisfy long-time fans and newcomers alike! For those new to the game, the recently released “World of DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2” showcases the new building mechanics and tools for players to build and harvest, a variety of locations to explore underwater and above ground, and powerful attacks builders can use on the battlefield to defeat monstrous beasts.
  14. When my wife looked up at me horrified as I screamed ‘Objection!’ during one of the animated courtroom battles, I knew I was hooked to this trilogy. Given its anime style, Phoenix Wright is a timeless delight that has transitioned perfectly from the DS to the switch. This is the Capcom’s anime courtroom comedy-drama with a fresh lick of paint and it’s a welcome remaster. For those haven’t tread the dangerous tightrope of the courtroom, you play as Phoenix Wright, a budding lawyer tasked with obtaining a “Not Guilty’ verdict on an increasingly bizarre and genuinely interesting mix of defendants. To do this you must first utilize your detective skills and scour crimes scenes and surrounding areas for clues, interview suspects and witnesses in order to build your case. Once you have gathered all the pieces for your trial arsenal you will enter the court and let battle commence. The Courtroom is the heart of this game and where the most fun is to be had. Though Phoenix is an enthusiastic, loveable character he is a rather clumsy lawyer who needs all the help he can get. He certainly wouldn’t be my lawyer should I ever decide to get on the wrong side of the thin blue line! Fortunately, on your first court case, you are hand-held through the basics of the court. You listen to testimonies of the witnesses in order to find inconsistencies that you challenge with the now iconic - ‘Objection!’ Finding these inconsistencies and seeing the witness squirm as you tear them apart is such a guilty pleasure. It’s not perfect, however. It can be frustrating when you lose ‘life’ when you pick the wrong one of two seemingly identical pieces of testimony whilst attempting to nail the witness to the wall. Compounded by the fact that sometimes you truly are grasping at straws to find connections that have only the most tangential of links. I’ll be honest, there was more than one occasion that I saved the game and kept trying random combinations till I hit home. My main gripe with the game strangely also happens to lead into one of the series’ main strengths. The exposition phase in-between trials, where you explore the world, finding information and evidence to bolster your client’s defense can be cumbersome. There is a lot of treading old ground moving through the same areas looking for clues and even more time traveling to link two clues together. As you progress in the series, new additions to gameplay try to add some of the drama from the courtroom to this part of the game by adding in the Psylocke capability. Where you can present evidence to witnesses that is clearly hiding something to break them into revealing an essential plot twist. It’s a welcome addition but it does little improve the issue. This is a text-heavy experience and not for the faint of heart, it is a visual novel after all. You are given the option to skip the dialogue; however, doing so would remove the main draw to the game. This is the combination of fantastic writing and the amazingly eclectic mix of personalities that populate the world. You can’t wait to hear more of the backstory of the colorful cast of characters. The story is tight and as you progress through the different cases the same characters weave in and out of the plot bringing continuity and charm. These include the judge whose verdict seems to swing back and forth like a metronome, a downtrodden cop Dick Gumtree whose sole pastime seems to be being berated by prosecutors and the prosecutor Miles Edgeworth whose single-mindedness to win makes victory against him all the more sweet. This is all wrapped up with humorous dialogue that throws every pun it can into the mix. The Phoenix Wright Trilogy was a blast from the intrepid introduction to the courtroom to the final crack of the gavel. It might not be for everyone, with its heavy focus on text dialogue but it is a charming adventure that’s well worth your time. Coffee received a copy for review
  15. I am sure we have all had those games that aren’t by a well known developer but there is something about the artwork, thematics, stories or trailers that piques your interest. This happened to me with Fade to Silence, each new thing I saw regarding the game just expanded my curiosity about it so I jumped at the chance to review it. However we all know exactly what curiosity did to the cat right? Fade to Silence was developed by German studio Black Forest Games who previous gave us Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams which I remember had some massive hype to it and was a decent platformer… that they are still pimping out to this day… But hey they also made the Giana Sisters remake for the DS which was a cool way to pass some mindless time. They also had the distinction of bringing back every bodies beloved gaming feline Bubsy with the Woolies Strike Back in 2017 but every dev is allowed one not so great game under their belt right? This wasn’t a sign of things to come, right? So ya boy Zombie downloaded the game, as ya do, sat down excited to dive into this world moreover to satisfy all those curious nudgings running around my noodle about Fade to Silence. The game booted up to greet me with the main screen, normally this doesn’t need to be mentioned in a game but in this instance I was kind of baffled as the games title screen simply had a flashing triangle. I don’t mean like a ‘Press triangle’ on a PS4 controller to open the main menu I mean more like play button on anything kind of triangle. I mean I guess at that screen you do want to press play but no new game, load game, select chapter or anything just play consequently this shocked me as I’m just not used to it I guess. However it can’t be a sign of things to come right… right? Boom we start the game and get presented with the difficulty select screen with Fade to Silence offering the ‘Easy Mode for story focused player’ and the current trend of ‘Git Gud Scrub’. Along with the standard brief of what the the difficulty is really doing you are informed that if you don’t play the Git Gud setting 75% of the game will be locked out to you. By all means have different difficulty settings, sometimes I just wanna sit back and get absorbed into the story while other times I hate myself and need to be tortured by doing a 2 Player run on Battletoads but what is the point of this? I know a few games during the PSX era like Twisted Metal would cut off after the first boss with a pat on the head and a sign saying you are now good enough to try move up in the world. That gives you a sense of accomplishment… along with some slight annoyance not just well this is clearly too hard for you so we need to get rid of most of it for you. Why bother? Then after I finished ranting I got thrown into the story, I think, I’ not really sure as it just throws you knee deep into a chase scene where you die, but you don’t and there is disembodied voices talking to you but not actually explaining anything. This, this is a trend you will need to get used to as anything and everything is explained in a way that just doesn’t make much sense, its a snowpocalypse there are monsters called Rippers and you need to go find survivors but maybe you don’t as you need to look after them all with micromanaging, crafting, feeding and resource gathering. That my friends is one core ingredient to this game, micromanaging induced false morality, yay. The other is combat ripped right out from the SoulsBourne franchises only those games are good with technical skill and thought actually put into them. Combat in Fade resorts to dodging and hitting while paying attention to a stamina bar (sounds familiar right) only your stamina bar here is so small you only really get one action before it depletes. What do you with only one action? Do you dodge and live? Or do you attack while they block (the enemies are either attacking or blocking there is no inbetween)? Maybe you want to wait for that sweet spot where they are open just before attack, good idea only you have used up your stamina attacking so you can’t block or dodge so goodbye health. Not that you could do much with the stamina anyway as the controls are sluggish and just god awful. Sure you could try running away but you get locked into the battles and the camera wont let you focus on much else during these moments… or any moments really. The camera is almost as sluggish as the controls this however doesn’t really matter as there is nothing to see, unless you love the colour white as the games entire colour palette is either white or black. All monsters look alike and you’ve seen that style of monster done plenty of times, black, spiny and a little bit of red mixed in to give it some colour every now and then. There is also a whole magnitude bugs and glitches throughout the game which are supposedly worse on the Xbox version, the devs are aware of these and are apparently working on with a recent patch coming through at 10GB but I didn’t notice much difference. Normally when I review a game I don’t like to focus on the negatives of a game as there is enough people out there who do that as it is. Instead I like to focus on why you should play a game, factors that make a game worth your time or not. I want to let you people know if its something you should grab when you can or wait till its on sale to check out if it looks like something you are into. Fade to Silence on the other hand is just not a good game, it is completely comprised of elements which have been popular as of late but with no real knowledge of why they are or how they work. Fade to Silence is at best a Frankenstein patch work of jigsaw pieces from multiple puzzles crammed together to try and capture the magic of others. Zombie was provided with a promo copy for review.
  16. Quirky JRPG fans rejoice. Super Neptunia games have gone in a new direction with Super Neptunia RPG, and it's coming west to Switch and PS4! Check out the screenshots, opening cut scene and blurb below for why I'm getting my hype on. Blurb: Story The self-proclaimed hero, Neptune, awakes in a familiar world, but has no recollection of anything other than her name. With the help of a mysterious girl named Chrome, as well as three other familiar faces beloved in the Neptunia series, Neptune embarks on a journey through the mysterious dimension to try to regain her memory. Little do they know, the world they inhabit is under attack by an enemy who wants to take civilization back to the time where 2D reigns supreme. Can Neptune and her friends save the world and 3D games as we know it, or will they be flattened into two dimensions forever? Key Features New Me in 2D – Your favorite Goddesses jump from three dimensions to two! Artisan Studios and Compile Heart proudly present new, vibrant backgrounds and newly developed 2D animations hand drawn in this action-inspired side-scrolling RPG! With Artisan Studios and Tsunako collaborating to create new background and character art, fans and newcomers alike can see Gamindustri in a new 2D perspective. Where You Lead, I Will Follow – With four Goddesses to rotate on-the-fly during battle, players can change their formation type and unleash devastating attack combos. Depending on which Goddess is leading the pack, players can strategize attacks from four different formations: Strike, Magic, Support and Heal! Goddess ‘bout to Break! – Strut your stuff and dish out your special Break Attack to ensure victory! Armed with their classic ability to transform, the Goddesses gain additional stat bonuses that enhance their attacks and lay waste to any enemy! Put a +2 Str Ring On It – Strengthen your Goddesses by utilizing Skills and Abilities that can be unlocked with weapons, armors, or accessories! Strategically assign Skills and rearrange your abilities for each battle.
  17. Before you finally put the final box on the one containing your Vita, it may be worth pulling back out for this charming looking gem.... or just play it on your PS4. About Furwind Furwind is a colorful, pixel art style, action-platformer game that evokes the challenging classics of the gaming days of past. Embark on this epic adventure in which a little fox will fight the ominous darkness that is invading its homeland. Features: Guide a little fox in his adventure to defeat forces that are devastating the Forest. Complete the different episodes, exploring levels full of life and color with a unique pixel art style. Navigate dangerous areas, filled with traps and risky characters! Use your powers to reach inaccessible places, heal your wounds, and bring destruction to your enemies. Enjoy an inspiring OST with ambient and atmospherics sound effects that bring life to the world you’re exploring.
  18. Thanks to the latest PS4 update you can now play your PS4 games in your bed...if you have an iOS device. Apparently it only works on WiFi though, so no luck for those who want to jam Days Gone on the bus. PS4Trophies has a handy video to show how to get it going on:
  19. Could not find a topic for it, surprisingly. Anybody still play this? Whats ya favourite weapon, monster etc, and any thoughts on the game?
  20. During my childhood and adolescent years, I would often find myself exploring historical sites such as Roman ruins, ancient castles, and stately homes. Not only did it give my exasperated parents something to keep me busy during the holidays, but it also fueled my love for history. My strongest memories are the fantastical stories told by local people (often gardeners and housekeepers) that had been polished and refined with the generations. Stories about faeries leading fine people astray, devils waylaying travelers and princes locked away in towers fuelled my imagination. I was skeptical as a child but the environment in which the tales were recounted would ground the tale in real life and make it harder for me to push aside the ghost stories so lavishly told. Déraciné (from the makers of Bloodborne and Darksouls) has magically captured these stories and lovingly crafted a beautiful little tale that is perfectly told in VR. In Déraciné you take the role of a brand-new Faerie born on the grounds of an English boarding school. No one can see you as you pass hauntingly through the corridors of the school. You can move in amongst the inhabitants as they are frozen in time interacting with them in order to help them. You are rewarded with cutscenes showing how your tinkering has either aided or worsened the child’s plight. As you unlock these brief cut scenes you discover more about the mysterious past of the school as you unlock and open new areas you heartily want to explore as Déraciné is clearly the most beautiful game on PSVR. The School, chapel and surrounding grounds are so well realized in VR, with nooks and crannies that beg to be explored. The game maintains a dark and eerie sense as it progresses that constantly made me feel on edge for the children. The tale is tightly woven and even hours after putting the game down I would realize another branch of the intricate plot. With Déraciné, the team from Software utilized the move controllers for locomotion. A combination of teleportation to predestinated spots, click turning and gesturing with the headset control your movement around this world. Turn and look and you will see blue hotspots where you can teleport to. Circles that glow and have a greater aura surround points of interest where you get to investigate up-close and interact with characters and the world. Though I am a strong supporter of smooth motion in VR (I’m one of the fortunate few who doesn’t get motion sickness) this system works well in this setting. By highlighting certain areas, it streamlines the experience allowing the story to flow rather than getting stuck for hours when you either can’t find object A or you don’t make the connection. The one downside is it can feel slightly jolty having to haul yourself from one side of the school to the other. This does occur often as you suddenly find the item you’ve been searching for but overall, I felt it didn’t detract from the game. This is a point-and-click adventure game at its core, find item A that works with B and outcome C will occur. It’s a simple mechanic that is well worn in the world of adventure gaming. If you are used to the genre you will breeze through the gameplay and be able to focus in on the story as this game has decided to avoid the mind-taxing puzzles that you would find in games like Grim Fandango in favor of more beginner friendly ones. Though I would have liked more of a challenge, the intricate story and astonishing environment kept me firmly on track for the six-hour run time and brought me back for a second run. What I love is how VR and the proven team at From Software have taken this classical (some may say old) style of gameplay and elevated it to something new with the ability to be fully immersed into this fantastical world. 9/10 Coffee received a copy of Déraciné for review.
  21. NZ gaming and pop culture site CultureJam is giving away a PS4 or an XB1 with Read Dead Redemption 2, and some sweet runner up prizes. Jump over using the below links and enter every way you can, so some NZGC members can get some sweet sweet stuff. https://culturejam.co.nz/win-big-this-xmas-with-culturejam-and-pricespy/ https://culturejam.co.nz/win-big-this-xmas-with-culturejam-and-pricespy/
  22. The idea of jumping late into an iterative series of games can be daunting and in the past has been part of the justification of why I have personally not explored certain games. Fortunately, Warriors Orochi 4 allays my fears by warmly welcoming newcomers with a fast paced, crash course to the Warriors’ series that allows you to explore as much and as little of the world of Orochi as you wish whilst stacking up one massive hit combo. As a newcomer to the whole Warriors series, the aspect I feared the most was the story. Having three prior games in the series with a whole wealth of games from the initial Samurai and dynasty Warriors progenitors, I was fearful that I would be left clueless about the narrative, adrift in a sea of characters that I new nothing about, hacking n’ slashing through battlefields with no true understanding of the goal. Fortunately, the writing team lead by Yoshitaka Murayama have crafted an engaging tale that skillfully introduces people to the characters and history of Orochi, whilst binding classical Eastern Asian charters to Greek/Norse mythology. I was initially was skeptical of how they were going to clash these completely different worlds together but was genuinely intrigued by the winding plot, filled with alliance changes and surprise twists. Zeus brings groups of historical Japanese and Chinese warriors to another world where you win allies along your quest to find his nefarious reasoning . Though like Game of Thrones it’s easy to forget certain characters apart from your favorites the overall story is strong. For those of you who don’t like blocks of text for story exploration be warned, there is a lot of it in this game both in the main storyline and in the optional load screens. Fortunately, it can be skipped for the most part. Each of 70 levels in the main campaign is between 10-20 minutes long and consists of you taking your team of three elite warriors though a map wiping out hordes of minions whilst targeting enemy officers until you unlock your way to the final goal whether this is a boss or an escape point. Though this can sound a little repetitive it’s made more interesting as there are convoluted paths across the battlefields, multiple fronts that allies are battling that you need to bolster an almost endless ambushes and reinforcement. The game constantly keeps you on your toes by turning the tides of battle. For extra loot at the end of each level there are optional extra goals such as defeating certain enemies within time frames or not allowing certain allies to get defeated. The levels gallop by at an awesome tempo charged by some great techno and rock music. On normal mode you are godlike parting armies like Moses and the Red sea where the normal soldiers will barely touch you. I found it a bit too easy at this level and strongly recommend aiming for the harder modes, which reward you with greater challenges or loot. Your warrior has a multitude of attacks to use in their path to conquest. You have standard, musou, magical and union attacks to name a few. Musou attacks are powerful attacks unleashed after charging a two tier musou meter. Magical attacks are bestowed by sacred treasures with are elementally charged. What I enjoyed about the system was how well these worked together and complimented each other. The system allows instantaneous switching between characters allowing you to combine their skills to create maximum carnage. For instance utilising a crowd control character to bring everyone together using a vortex like attack to switch to a powerful magical character to obliterate the harvested minions works perfectly and the game encourages you to find such combinations in order to beat the level at the higher ranks. Warriors of Orochi 4 won a Guinness world record for the number of playable characters (170) and though this may sound great to some this raised multiple concerns for me prior to playing the game. Choosing my ideal team, ensuring even character progression and a lack of character depth were all potential issues with such a massive, unfamiliar ensemble cast. For the most part Tecmo has done an admirable job of dealing with those concerns with implementation of a mock battle system, character tit bits and a well-realized progression system. The mock battle system is a quick, painless way to explore multiple characters attributes and abilities before risking them in battle. Tecmo make it easy to slot forgotten or new characters back into your team due to the encompassing progression system. Active characters not only gain EXP but also a stockpile of growth points that can be used to level up any characters without the sometimes tedious requirement to go back through old levels. I was surprised at how smoothly this played on the Switch; even with swarms of enemies being torched by my magic boar there was no noticeable slowdown. Granted the faces of the multitude of enemies are a little bland and the scenery blocky in places but this is hardly noticed as you are swept up in the tides of war. The short runtime of individual battles was great for my commute and I kept finding time to squeeze in an extra game in order to try get the elusive S Rank battle grading. Putting aside the huge cast of characters and the long lineage of the game, you will find a fun action battle game that is easy to pick up to play in both small or long sitting that is ideally suited to the Nintendo Switch. I am unable to comment on how different this instalment is from its progenitors but as a standalone its a great game thats well worth your time. 8/10 Coffee received a copy of Warriors Orochi 4 for review.
  23. In the Summer of 1926 H. P. Lovecraft wrote the story The Call of Cthulhu and two years later in 1928 he unleashed it upon the world. The tale is a rather simple transcribing of notes about a statue which leads into investigation to cult worshiping the titular god; this then lead to an entire shared universe called The Cthulhu Mythos. Like many pulp authors of the time his popularity waned with the times leaving The Myth to slumber until the 60’s wherein it began to stir and infect the minds of the masses. Growing up I had a vague idea who Lovecraft was but it wasn’t until 2007 that I begun to submit my mind The Great One when a mysterious trailer for a movie (which later turned out to be Cloverfield) left the Interwebs arguing over whether or not the movie was about a lion, Voltron or Cthulhu. Since then he has dominated Pop Culture from South Park to this years Tree house of Horror, hell even before all this bands like Metallica and Black Sabbath were singing their praises about the Mythos. Now in 2018 I am presented with the gift of reviewing Call of Cthulhu based on the tabletop game of the same name (Arkham Horror in some later editions) and developed by Cyanide Studio. In Call of Cthulhu you play as Private Investigator Edward Pierce a World War I vet who in risk of losing his P.I. licence takes a case on Darkwater Island regarding the odd circumstances in which the Hawkins family perished in a fire. Call of Cthulhu wastes zero time in getting you where you need to be after setting up your characters statistics you get on a boat and are off to Darkwater. The bulk of the game is centered around investigation and to aid your character in that you have 6 skills in which you can invest Character Points; Eloquence, Strength, Psychology, Investigation, Spot Hidden, Occult and Medical. This system allows you to discover and investigate how you want to, if your strength is high enough you can TRY to intimidate some or force objects alternatively you may want to talk your way out of it and TRY some eloquence. I say try because it is just that, you may have the necessary C.P. in order to do that but since this is based on a tabletop RPG the game will roll some good ole RNG dice to see if it has worked out. Upon learning certain occult dealings the game really got under my skin and I ended up throwing my controller across the room in scary moment. Another flip side to this is just how it will impact the characters you interact with, early on in the game trying to be eloquent with the local fisherman will often alienate them as they aren’t a fan of the big words you use. As you investigate you will find certain things depending on your choices on how to do things and where you look, the more you find the more dialogue options will open up allow you to get closer to the truth. Call of Cthulhu will have you spending a good 90% of your time investigating even during stealth sections while avoiding monsters you will still need to keep on your toes to find all the information you can to help you move forward but the game does this with a huge warning; how much knowledge is too much knowledge? Being a detective Edward Pierce is a man based on fact. Being a WWI vet Edward Pierce is a man with many scars. These small aspects of backstory are incorporated into the game mechanics in a sly way, your sanity. Being trapped in small places gives you panic attacks, dealing with supernatural entities freaks you right out and facing a cosmological god… I bet you can imagine. So, throughout the game you will have to keep an eye on a bunch of different sanity meters which just like your C.P. can allow you to see different things and open up different dialogue options. Are you cray cray enough to drop down the rabbit or are you too sane to get the answer that lies at the bottom? Again you must beware as both come with a price. I am a zombie who loves him some Lovecraft and The Cthulhu Mythos in particular so it is with a slightly heavy heart that I say Call of Cthulhu is a hard game to recommend for everyone. The first two acts are really good, near brilliant even despite some less than stellar voice syncing. Unfortunately the last act falls to pieces in a sense that could very well leave the player scratching their head unless they discovered the right things and put the time in to put it all together. The game is at its best when it’s unsettling while messing with your mind leaving you unsure if that the creature in that flash of lightening was there or if it is just your mind playing tricks on you. If you want a game that doesn’t hold your hand, leaves it up to the player how they want to play and what they want to get out of it I say submit and become what the voices are telling you. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. In his house at R’yleh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. Zombie was provided with a review copy of Call of Cthulhu.
  24. Possession is nine tenths of the law I have my father to blame for my love of adventure games. He was the one who introduced me to the self-depreciating humor or Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island and the comedic calamity exhibited by Rincewind in the Discworld series. Because of this when I heard of Flipping death, an adventure platforming game that stirred memories of another great, Grim Fandango, I couldn’t wait to delve deeper. There are many interpretations of what occurs once you slip off the mortal coil depending on your beliefs but for Penny of the recently deceased things are not what she expected. You see poor Death is a bit knackered after centuries of guiding souls to their resting place and needs to take a break, so given a comedic set of circumstances Penny is given the temp job of being the Grimm Reaper. You’re tasked with the duty of solving the real-life problems that are anchoring the ghosts in limbo so that they can move on. For anyone who played Zoinks’ amazing Stick it to the Man, you will instantly recognize the cartoony, zany and exaggerated art style that is implemented here. The game is essentially 2d but objects in the background hint at the mirrored worlds of the living and the dead. Flatwork peaks is a weird and wonderful town of eclectic characters both living and deceased that opens up further and further as the chapters progress. Though I found the living world to be pleasantly bizarre, like something out of a Roald Dahl novel, I prefer the world of the dead with buildings coming alive trying to eat you and the humorous spectral inhabitants. Given the titular mechanic you are able to flip between these worlds in order to solve puzzles by possessing the living. The mechanics of the game are fairly simple but change contextually. In the land of the dead, Penny can gracefully run, jump and utilize the scythe warp to get to new heights. It’s unchallenging platforming but the focus here is the story. In the real world whomever Penny possesses handles aptly like a puppet was being dragged around on strings. Each of these characters having their own special ability that allows you to progress through the crazily logical puzzles to reach a comical goal. The warping I found a bit tricky as you have to throw the scythe and then click to order to warp to wear the scythe is on its arc. This often led me to being thrown in random directions before I got the hang of it just like I imagine a real temp would do. The game is laid out in chapters that have humorously narrated introductions in which you must help at least one ghost to successfully complete their unfinished task. Each one of these fantastical ghosts has a backstory that you’re able to play through during well-created rerun sections. These are hilarious, and my favorite was either the witch who had to remind me that it was hard to think straight as her head was perpetually on fire or the superhero who had a vicious run in with a laser. Once the main story is complete, you can utilize chapter select to clean up any side quests that you may have missed but the overall experience clocks in at around 6-7 hours. I definitely recommend a second play through to appreciate the in jokes and nuances because with Flipping Death, Zoink have crafted a comical gem. As judge once said, ‘Death is no way to make a living’ but it can certainly make a decent temp job. 8/10 Coffee received a review copy of the game
  25. The Metal Max series of games was a complete mystery prior to me playing the latest installment. The series has been around for 27 years and produced 14 games (Including the Metal Saga games). How could a whole series of RPG games where you get to play as tanks in a post apocalyptic, monster filled world skip my attention for all these years? Well part of the reason behind this is that until this year only one of these games has been released in the western market…on PS2…to a lukewarm reception. When up against the likes of Rogue Galaxy, Kingdom hearts 2 and sandwiched between Final Fantasy X and XII you can see how this title was lost into the ether. With Metal Max Xeno, published and developed by Kodokawa games they aim to take a second shot at the western market. The game takes place in the desolated Tokyo bay where there has been a machine led apocalypse in the vain of Horizon Zero dawn (or the Matrix for you movie goers) and only a handful of humans are left trying to survive. You take control initially of Talin, a half man, half machine hunter who is out for revenge against machines (called SoNs) that murdered his mother. Soon you team up with the crew of the Iron base, a lone outpost where you regenerate and repair your tanks, and take on the desolate wasteland. Sounds interesting? Well not quite. Graphically this is certainly no Final Fantasy 15, character animations are straight out of the PS2 era, their motions are very jilted and with very limited expression. This is forgivable as not all games have a motion capture budget like Rockstar but what isn’t forgivable is the dire environments. When you’re in tank, sand and a lifeless desert surround you. There are limited focal points and those, which are visible, are blocky and unimaginative. I found myself getting stuck repetitively against barriers that weren’t even there. This still came as a pleasant relief to the inane boredom generated by the forced on foot sections. Scattered around the map these areas are essentially deliberate time thieves aimed at artificially prolonging the game. They are trite, dark and repetitive corridors of almost identical terrain with absolutely no redeeming visuals. Copy and paste multiple times with treasure chests, which attempt to lure you forward, multiple monster encounters and you have the on foot sections. I recognize this as an RPG staple for game prolongation but the blazon laziness exhibited in its application here is mind-blowing. The redeeming factor could have been the story but unfortunately this is found wanting too. The familiar tale of machines becoming sentient and turning on mankind is a well-trodden road and Metal Max doesn’t bring anything new. I just didn’t care for the plights of my characters with their stories as wooden as their animations. There seemed to be a preoccupation with sexual themes, with the pressured dialogue around sex and repopulating the earth being poorly done and rather disturbing. Further to this, the attempts to add little time capsules of the catastrophic event are poorly realized and I found myself just brushing past them towards the end of my play through. For all of its faults the RPG and Battle mechanics are sound. The fights are turn based and allow you to jump out of your tanks to perform character specific special moves. There are deep and varied customization options for all of your tanks in the main hub of Iron Base, which evolves as you get more and more knowledge from exploring the outside world. I really enjoyed pimping my tank with tropical colors before putting ludicrously overpowered weapons on it. It made a significant difference to my success in battles and was one of the few additional options that I enjoyed undertaking. Your characters set-ups are also customizable but essentially I preferred just avoiding battles on foot. The enemies that you encounter are highly imaginative and often humorous in there depiction. Metal Max Xeno feels like a poor remaster of a decent PS2 era RPG albeit with all the faults and none of the modern RPG benefits. The decent battle mechanics and customizable tanks cannot make up for the lack of an engaging story, poor design choices and general laziness in presentation. It’s hard to recommend this game to any but the diehard fans of the series. 5/10 Coffee received a review copy of this game
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