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  1. 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.
  2. If you have been like me watching the Death Stranding marketing campaign roll out since its announcement, then you have been cynically lukewarm about the upcoming Kojima Studios blockbuster. With the cryptic clues among the vague tweets, it seemed inevitable that it would be a fluffed-up experience with little value outside of some expensive cutscenes and CGI babies, or it was going to be one of the most exciting sci-fi games to date… with babies. In the end, it was kind of both. Death Stranding takes place in a world where humanity has been all but destroyed thanks to an event that has mixed the world and another plain of existence called the Death Stranding. When it rains, creatures called Beached Things, those BTs we have been hearing about, are unleashed which walk around. They respond to sounds and all you see in the real world are the claw prints that fill with a black liquid. You play Sam Bridges, the naked Norman Reedus we have seen so much in marketing, who is doing tasks for humanities outposts. Doing so boosts his social media score, a little on the nose but Kojma I guess, and in doing these travels massive distances helping connect with other groups of survivors out in the wild. This is how you will spend most of your time in Death Stranding, out and about doing errands so make sure you get used to that idea. There is a lot to the plot which I don’t want to ruin, because I genuinely enjoyed it. The world is hauntingly gorgeous, the BTs are creepy as hell, and the characters are excellent. The villains in the game are especially amazing, but I don’t want to spoil any of it because if you are as clueless as I was going into the game, you deserve to enjoy it as untouched as I did. The gameplay on the other hand I am lukewarm on. If there are two things I hate in games, it is restrictive inventory systems, and difficulty traversing terrain. Death Stranding does both to an infuriating degree. Sam has a stamina bar which if you are trying to move quickly will make him a lot clumsier. I spent many hours getting mad, especially early on, when he was running downhill, would step up on a rock which would throw him off balance, and I would hold two buttons to try to regain balance before he slams into the ground. It’s cleverly implemented, but I still hate it. Then there is inventory. You know how some people like inventory systems where you can become overburdened with weight, and so many others hate it with a passion? Well I fall in the camp of it’s a game so let me carry as much stuff as I want. I’m not sure if Kojima Studios is testing the limits of fans of the systems or trying to torture detractors but holy hell. Everything that Sam picks up in the world gets lumped onto his back in comically large towers. The bigger or more misshapen the tower is, the more Sam struggles to stay upright, and slows down his walking speed. Mastering inventory management was another pain the ass and a slog, which I’m still no good at. I wound up relying on the auto sort system for better or worse. These two things aside, the game is clever with how Sam progresses. Early on the game can be tense and terrifying as Sam is basically unarmed so can-do stealth takedowns. Quite a few hours into the game he starts getting equipped with guns and the game becomes a bit more of a shooter, though stealth is still a useful tactic. This makes the early game extremely tense, especially as you try to creep past BTs when it’s raining, but as it progresses you become more of a killing machine. Most of the game consists of travelling the world completing the fetch quests. Early on it feels especially like a slow drag, but as the game gets on the pace does speed up. Most of my time with Death Stranding it felt like someone told Kojima early on that the best way to show off his chops would be a massive open world, and nobody had the heart to say that sometimes smaller is better. There is so much time between the plot points where you are doing so little that is dilutes the interesting and weird story that has been built here. The multiplayer element is as interesting as its story. Basically, players can leave stuff in communal lockers and build things out in the world which appears in other games. This means you can build something to get over some terrain, and the next time you see it, someone else has improved it. Thanks to the games social media system, the more you contribute, the more likes you can get, and the more powerful Sam gets. This is one weird system that Kojima has knocked out of the park. On the whole Death Stranding is a great game. The plot is unique, weird and well worth experiencing, if you are willing to put up with the annoyingly dragged out in game missions. I can’t help but feel if this was restricted to a 15-20-hour game that was in a much smaller area then this could easily be a game of the year for me, but that time between plot points holds the whole experience back a little. Despite its flaws I will be diving back into Death Stranding for another play through soon because it's weird story had enough early questions I want to see it all again knowing it's ending. So on the whole it is an easy recommend if you have the time and patience.
  3. 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.
  4. If someone told me at the start of the year that I would be excited to play a game called Untitled Goose Game where you run around as a goose, I would have thought you were mad, especially given how little I liked Goat Simulator. But here we are, my excitement has been met and I am ready to dive back in for the post game challenges some more because what a treat this game turned out to be. Untitled Goose Game tells the story of a goose causing mischief… that’s it. You control a goose by running around, honking, flapping your wings, and grabbing stuff with your beak. You start in a farmer’s garden where you have a selection of tasks to complete, such as getting into his garden, getting him to wear a different hat by stealing the one he’s wearing, and pinching objects to create a picnic down by the lake. This is the game’s structure. Checking off enough tasks gives you a new one which triggers the opening of a new area such as getting said farmer to hit his thumb with a hammer so he will open a gate letting you into the town. Getting in your way are the townspeople who are generally annoyed by the goose if you get too close while they are watching you, and even more annoyed when your task is to pinch their slippers off their feet. The game is gloriously chaotic. When you move objects, people will notice and recover them if you haven’t hidden them well enough before they notice. In this way the game is fundamentally a puzzle one built on some light stealth elements. Having to sneak your way through areas to steal things or steal things to distract people from your main target is fun, and never ceases to get old. What the game does brilliantly is leaving its tasks vague enough that you need to figure out the how’s for yourself. For instance, you have the task of getting the boy locked in the telephone box. How you are going to get him in there requires figuring out how people react to scenarios or changes I not he environment as much as you having to do something specific. The game is heightened thanks to its fantastic art style. Its simple design and colour use are perfect as it makes what you can interact with more obvious on the screen, making it a treat to look at throughout. The minimalist design style translates over to the sound design which seals the game to be borderline perfection. As hyperbolic as it sounds, Untitled Goose Game might be one of the best of the year. It’s simple, fun, challenging, and sure to make you laugh as much as think about the challenges you face. There aren’t many games I would recommend like this, but Untitled Goose Game is an absolute must play. Now I am going to head back to keep working on some of the much harder post game challenges.
  5. I love a stylistic fighting game. The fighting genre tends to have a lot of overlap. Some fighting games will break the mould and do something mechanically mind blowing, but I find the majority tend to have relatively similar mechanical play styles, but it is the other things like the animation or choreography that sets them apart. In this way Skull Girls reminds me of Street Fighter on a mechanical level, and like nothing else in every other way. My first experience with Skull Girls was grabbing it cheap on PC. I was enjoying everything about it except using a keyboard to play so I was turned off. This was before I discovered it became easy to connect your console controllers to your PC but by that stage it was in the past, so with Skullgirls 2nd Encore coming to Switch I was well ready to jump on board with the series again and I am so glad I did. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is beautifully hand drawn with some of the most creative characters I have seen in a game for a while. Whether it is crazy nurse, the lady with an alien creature in her hair, the guy that turns into a wolf, or the cat woman robot, there is so much variety throughout the whole game. With this in a 40s setting, with the New York gang clichés and all, it makes for one extraordinary eclectic mix that had me grinning from ear to ear when someone, or something new came along. The toughest part of a fighting game to master is its difficulty spike. Some ease you in with an easy mode that a five-year-old can beat, others start off way too hard which can turn some players off too early, so they never get to experience the game with some skills under their belt. Skullgirls 2nd Encore falls into the later with AI whooping my ass even on its easiest setting until I got my head around the controls. Having experienced the challenge of this in games like King of Fighters, I knew that perseverance would pay off, but this is going to be a major turn off for others. There is plenty of variety in game modes as well. There is the classic Story mode with each character having their little story as you make your way through a stack of enemies, Trials mode which will help you master combos, Survival mode so you can get whooped by the CPU even worse than usual, and Challenge mode, to make the game harder because you like self-torture. Challenges can be as simple as no jumping or having to beat more enemies, which these days is becoming more essential for single playing fighting games to keep you coming back to beat games that feel hard because of the challenge, and not because a boss is built to be unfair. With little aspects like having multiple fighters in a tag team way, Skullgirls is a mechanically well-designed game. Doing this is only half the battle, and its beautifully hand drawn 2D design looks fantastic on the Switch making it a unique fighting game that fans of the genre owe it to themselves to enjoy on some gaming device. Newcomers need to be ready for a steep learning curve which will punish you for a fair while, but you also get to enjoy all the extra modes and DLC characters so that is a win.
  6. Drunk_Monk

    Gears 5 Review

    Gears of War is one of my personal biggest surprises. When I got my 360 late in the console’s life, I reluctantly gave it a try as it came free with the console and I couldn't have been more shocked to find how much heart was in this game. The American Football sized soldiers that pack more bravado clichés in than I should be able to handle, over the series turned into surprisingly deep and likeable characters, quickly becoming a favourite in Microsoft’s lineup, so I was excited to check out the latest chapter in the series. Gears 4 campaign wasn’t the best received, but I enjoyed it enough. The beats weren’t always the best but it at times felt a bit confused or rushed, Gears 5 picks up right after 4 but instead of being more of the same it manages to tell a story that is as bombastic as you would expect from the series, but feels more constrained and coherent. If you want to avoid playing Gears of War 4 then Gears 5 gives you a brief synopsis of the story so far before it kicks in with the story. As with the previous title it kicks off with you controlling Marcus Fenix’s son JD as he and his team are exploring an abandoned station to try to relaunch the powerful Hammer of Dawn weapon. This time instead of the area feeling like 50 shades of grey, blue, and orange, the abandoned base opens to a scene of colourful blue water and greenery everywhere, more akin to some of the imagery used in The Last of Us. Immediately this gives the feeling that you are playing something different to the series so far. The first act feels much like the series to date, as you take JD and the team through a succession of levels killing the masses of locusts in your way. When the second act kicks off after a big finale to the first, you control Kait and this is where the plot gets good. Kait, who is returning from the last entry, has throughout the first act seemed to be struggling because of the consequences of her mum being destroyed by the locusts in Gears of War 4, but by the time you are controlling her she has more to deal with as people and locust alike aren’t on your side. I won’t touch the plot any further because I enjoyed it and I don’t want to ruin any specifics for you. Gameplay wise this is the same Gears of War combat you are used to. The cover shooting mechanics still feel fantastic to play as your shaky camera has you moving from cover to cover trying to take out the many enemies the game throws at you. The biggest change is there is a little bit more open world action in the middle where you can complete side missions, as opposed to the usual linear corridor nature of the series, and your new robot companion Jack. Jack is initially useful for providing a way to be sent instructions from Baird and sending him over to grab things from hard to reach places, but you quickly accrue upgrades so Jack can be more useful in combat whether it is by giving armor, making you invisible, blinding your enemies, or allowing you to see enemies hiding behind walls. Given the series’ consistently good combat, this is the best kind of update as it adds to the game without detracting from what the game has done so well before. When it comes to multiplayer, I am a casual fan at best, but I was keen to give the new Escape mode a go. With this one you are put into a short mission where you along with two other players have intentionally got yourself caught, and you need to plough through the Hordes base killing them en masse to get to a helicopter in time to be air lifted to freedom. Matches don’t take that long, besides it is a fun enough premise and execution, but it’s the kind of mode I would at best play as an on the side diversion to main multiplayer modes Horde or versus, which are both as fun as they have ever been. On the whole Gears 5 is an excellent entry to the series which tries some new things without losing what we have come to love about it. I did have the odd freeze where I had to restart my console, but I am still using an original XB1, so it is likely chalked up to that. Overall it is easily worth your time, and given the way games pass works, easily worth the few bucks it would cost to play.
  7. Drunk_Monk

    Oninaki Review

    Tokyo RPG factory had so much promise. Wanting to create classic JRPGs that were a little low budget but took a lot of us fans back to the good old days of flawed and grindy glory, that looks a little more like it belongs in 2019. Their first two releases I am Setsuna and Lost Sphere were both received well enough, flawed but kind of good games in their own way, so with the new release Oninaki looking to be a unique JRPG, I was hyped to check this one out. Oninaki is based around the Obon Festival which is a Japanese festival where the dead are celebrated, and they visit their living relatives. Intrigued yet? Kagachi is the game’s protagonist and a watcher. Watchers travel between the living world and a purgatory world called the Beyond where the dead who haven’t moved on linger either waiting to complete their tasks or becoming monsters. Their task is to help the dead move on, and they can do this in ways that can be best described as cold. Early in the game one instance demonstrates this with Kagchi finding a child in the Beyond who wants to visit his parents. Kagachi takes the boy to where his parents are and communicates between the family, which results in the boy stating him not wanting to be lonely anymore, so the parents want to join him. Kagachi obliges and sends the three happily to their afterlives. Initially this was quite jarring as it seemed so cold and… well murderous. As the game progressed these conflicts with my morality became easier as you realise death is a phase in this world, though I was still a touch uneasy about it. The interesting story and world that Oninaki builds is fantastic, but I found Kagachi so damn uninteresting. A bland protagonist isn’t uncommon in JRPGs, but they usually have some aspect of their persona you like or dislike, that at least gives a little personality. Kagachi lacks there and by the end of the game, I didn’t care about Kagachi at all. Even an emo Squall in FF8 at least had me caring about his depressing ass. The gameplay in Oninaki would be best described as…bland. Kagachi gets Daemons who are spirits that give him abilities and define his weapon. Early on you have one spirit so you basically run around using one or two attacks battling monsters in these isometric maps. Within the first hour I was concerned that it was going to get boring quickly. Fortunately, you start unlocking new Daemons quickly then start using ones that equip you with weapons like guns and spears. Daemons get experience as you have them equipped and once you unlock more abilities you can keep using attacks so there is minimal waiting through cooldowns. Unfortunately, despite this variety trickling in, this too becomes boring after a while. Pretty much all the combat, including jumping between the realms as you explore, is so slightly above average that if it was a 5-10-hour campaign it wouldn’t have had the time to overstay its welcome. But in a decent sized JRPG, it is likely you will enjoy it enough to justify the time, but it won’t excite you. The music is fantastic, as you would expect from a Square Enix JRPG, and the art style is fantastic. It has a simple cartoon style without the outlines, similar to Breath of the Wild, but It has a surprising amount of detail. The weirdly proportional characters give it a unique style that makes the game feel like its own bizarre thing. Ultimately Oninaki is a beautiful idea, with a beautiful style, that unfortunately gets boring as the game progresses. A lot of great ideas and an interesting overarching story is ultimately let down by an uninteresting Kagachi with combat that gets repetitive.
  8. Booting up Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden I had no idea what I was in for. The cover art sporting a mutated human, hog and duck all armed had me curious to go into this one blind. Boy am I glad I did because it is a treat that I enjoyed unpacking as I got deeper into it. The game transports you to a post-apocalyptic world that has been destroyed thanks to a nuclear war plus a virus outbreak populated with mutant survivors, human and animal alike. You kick the game off with Dux and Borman, the characters from the cover, as they are out in this wasteland doing their jobs as Stalkers. Stalkers basically go out into the Zone to collect resources for the Ark, one of the survivors’ last communities. I won’t touch on the story too much more because it would be easy to ruin, but your team is sent out to track someone down, and the plot gets engaging. It’s a unique spin on a post-apocalyptic world that fits the gameplay perfectly and is different to the many stories told in this space before. The Zone is dangerous, full of bandits and dangerous animals that want you dead, so how you approach them is critical to your survival. Taking a leaf out of X-COMs books, the battles are turn based system in the classic sense of the word. Your limited team members must do their best to take out the enemies, which can be numerous at times, but what it does uniquely is how you start these battles. When you are wandering around the world, you can spot groups of enemies. Once they spot you the encounter kicks off, but you can do your best to delay this by moving around the area stealthily and take them out before the actual battle kicks off. Using stealthy attacks like the crossbow and moving from cover to cover can allow you to take out enemies meaning a battle can tip in your favour before it even begins, which will be essential with a lot of the encounters. Spread through the world are insanely strong enemies as well which you must avoid at all costs, and the game introduces you to this terror in the first few minutes. The Zone is generally dark and dingy which you need to explore it with a torch. This greatly expands your sight and the ability to spot items like scraps on the ground but comes with a big cost which is that you are easier to spot by enemies, which is shown by them having a bigger detection circle. This is a clever way to integrate a system like that as you don’t trigger enemies without knowing, but you want to keep that torch out as often as possible. Spotting items on the ground is one of the areas where this port suffers a little. To keep the game running smoothly, the fidelity has been dropped which most of the time is fine, but those little details like things on the ground are much harder to see, which to be fair I only had a frame of reference when I checked some comparison videos. The porting also hasn’t accounted for the size of writing, which I found readable, but barely. The Switch is not the best way to play Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, but it is still a good port. The sacrifices made in detail on the screen is easily made up for with its portability if that is how you want to play a game like this and running as smoothly as it does is extraordinary. I can’t believe how much time I lost into this excellent strategy title and can only hope that more comes from these developers.
  9. You membah back in 1999 when The Blair Witch Project was released and everyone kinda went mental over it? Or maybe you don’t, I mean it was a long ass time ago that I barely remember myself but I do remember the share volume of people falling for the premise and of course how it kickstarted the whole Found Footage genre. I didn’t end up seeing Project until I was in High School, I knew of it, knew it was about a tape found by some people who were hunted by a Predator in a jungle Witch in the woods (which is debatable, I think its a movie in which two dudes fake a haunting to murder a chick, but hey you say tomatoes and I say maters.) Then in 2016 a third movie was released and collective minds were blown for what ended up being an average movie and all was quiet on the Blair Witch front, until 2019. During E3 2019 it was announced that a new Blair Witch game would be the first since the trilogy released in the early 00’s for PC. Developed by Blooper Team the creative minds behind Layers of Fear and Observer both received their fare share of praise and had a great sense of atmosphere. A licence put into capable hands right? Well yes, they did a pretty good job overall and made Blair Witch so much better than it had any real right to be. The game is set in 1996 a couple of years after the events of the first movie in which you play the roll of Ellis an army vet and police officer on leave who after hearing of the abduction of a 9 year old boy, who has been taken into the Black Hills Forest, joins in the search effort with his trusty dog Bullet at his side. Blair Witch is a first person horror game in which you make your way through the forest in search of the boy while solving puzzles and fighting monsters, yeah I will get to that one in a bit. Enough of about all this you heard me mention you get a Doggo as a companion and you wanna hear more about that you say, oh alright I’ll allow it. Bullet, your trusty good boy would more often than not be relocated to the possession of gimmick in any other game; yes I’m looking at you Fable 2. However much to Blooper Team’s credit Bullet is an essential to your survival. He will help you fight, find collectibles and lore while scaring off bumps in the night and tracking the scent of the boy you went in there to save. Like I said he is such a good Doggo. The game also encourages you to treat him, well they let you treat him however you like, maybe you are a terrible person and want to scold him all the time, you can do that but it works out much better if you pats him, praise him and give him treats. Much like other ventures in Blair Witch series this game also has a video camera as a key feature, shortly into your journey through the woods you will encounter said video camera which is also the signal for shit to start getting weird…er than they already are. The camera will allow you to view tapes which will fill in some story more importantly however it will allow you to play special red tapes. Red tapes will allow you to change and interact with the world at hand being your key to unlock all of the puzzles the game holds. Can’t open a door? Find a red tape and play it until you find a scene in which the door is open, return to the door and magically it is open. This aspect is probably the most fun the game has to offer, sure there are some other simple puzzles here there, move switch to allow train tracks to change standard things like that. While red tape puzzles aren’t ever mind blowing they are fun to think about and get involved in. Yes, I previously mentioned monsters didn’t I? If you recall a certain being from the 2016 movie then you will know what to expect from these guys… Kind of anyway. Monsters in Blair Witch are fast, so much so you probably wont even see them movie. So in order to track these monsters you have to rely on Bullet (the dog, not the things guns fire, they are in this game so don’t worry about them) he will show you where they are, by pointing them out and barking. Did I mention just how much of a good boy he is? So yeah, the know gun thing, instead you have your handy dandy flashlight. Much like Alan Wake you will aim your flashlight at the monsters in order to dispell them. Much like the red tape puzzles, it’s fun, nothing brilliant or revolutionary but it’s fun to do. The game does have one glaring flaw though that you can’t do a single thing about and is really hard to look over as it follows you as soon as your character takes his first steps into the game; your walk cycle is super slow and 75% of the game feels like a walking sim. But I mean if you wanted a walking in spoopy woods sim you are in luck. Blair Witch does nothing that will blow you away but sometimes that’s ok as what is here is really solid for the most part. It’s a well put together game which shows care for its source material wanting to work in the confines of it while trying to add its own spin in there without it feeling out of place. If you are a super huge fan of the franchise you may find it lacking as to dig into the real story of The Bell Witch you need to go out of your way to find it in this game. If you are looking to kill some time in a horror themed game with some great atmosphere then Blair Witch will easily fill that gap. Zombie Reviewed a retail copy of Blair Witch on an Xbox One S.
  10. Drunk_Monk

    Control Review

    When I first saw a trailer for Control I was immediately intrigued. The mysteriousness from a total lack of information certainly piqued my interest, and knowing it was being made by Remedy, the people behind the extremely weird Quantum Break I was hyped to see what this game was going to be with as little information as possible. My eagerness to go in blind was rewarded. Note: If you want to avoid spoilers then avoid the next two paragraphs, because while I won’t spoil the game, the first couple of hours is way better not knowing what is going on. Control kicks off with the protagonist, Jesse, in the foyer of a mysterious building which is the Federal Bureau of Control under confusing circumstances. She talks to someone you can’t see as she makes her way through this abandoned building looking through offices until she finds herself in the Directors office to find he has committed suicide. Picking up the gun she has some flashes of images, then the plot starts to thicken. The story devolves quickly into a strange supernatural thriller where Jesse, who is now the director for some reason, must try to purge the massive building of the Hiss which is a supernatural energy that is invading the premises. As she clears areas of this mysterious energy, people come out of their bunkers, and she uncovers items which unlock supernatural powers to her. It’s a story that has taken from so many sources but is bizarrely unique in a genre where it’s hard to be unique these days. I won’t touch on the story anymore because it keeps getting better, and if the above intrigues you then I suspect you will enjoy the ride. Gameplay wise the game is a solid and enjoyable shooter. Early on Jesse is armed with only a gun with regenerating ammo which takes time to regenerate once emptied, so it is important to try to manage it carefully as to not run out. Every time it was reloading, I kept hitting a shoulder button to reload, which took a long time for my brain to stop doing. As you advance this is easier to deal with because you unlock supernatural powers which you use interchangeably with your gun to create fluid strings of attacks. I won’t touch on the powers too much because again these are spoilers that you should unlock as the game goes on, but the earliest one is the ability to lift objects up and fling them at enemies. This comes with a cooldown after so many flings, so switching between attacks is crucial, and so damn fun. What’s most impressive is the way the game provides you with stuff to fling. You can fling physical objects, but also chunks of the scenery, and nothing is more satisfying or fascinating to watch than when Jesse rips chunks of concrete out leaving holes in the room around her. The whole game gives a vibe that reminded me of Resident Evil early on. The feeling of being in one big building, defeating the enemy within is so uniquely RE, and Control takes this idea but makes an entirely different game. This game also gives some scary moments which are more about making feel more uncomfortable than scared. The mysterious thing working with you that Jesse talks to, responds by manipulating your vision slightly which is just the right amount of creepy showing that when they are onto something, Remedy can be the best in class. One of my favorite parts of one of the best games in the last few years, Senua’s Sacrifice, is the game’s use of live footage overlaid in the game world which was constantly unnerving, and Remedy has taken this idea for Control, using it to extraordinary effect. This as well as camera angles at certain moments made me so uncomfortable exactly the way I like thriller games to make me feel. It’s unnerving because it’s supposed to be, not because you are waiting for a jump scare, and with its excellent quality aesthetic, it’s a treat in every way. Control is a game that I hope gets a lot of attention because it is truly something special. It borrows from so many other sources but is totally unique in the way it uses them to tell a creative and interesting story that is a lot of fun to play. I even found myself reading documents to unravel the story more which is a rarity for me. Now, go play Control and thank Remedy later.
  11. Drunk_Monk

    Oppo Reno Z Review

    When I reviewed the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom this was my first experience with the Oppo brand, and I was blown away. This premium phone that comes in at half the price of other brands top phones was truly extraordinary, so when given the chance to check out the Oppo Reno Z, their new mid-tier phone, I was keen to see what this brand could do with $700. One of the things I thought was bizarre amd then endearing about the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom was that Shark Fin/Cheese Wedge that rises out of the top of the phone for the front facing camera and flash. This has been axed for the mid-range phone meaning it has the teardrop notch in the bezel, which because of its shape only takes up a teeny bit of screen space. I won’t lie, it had me missing the neat little wedge but when you are looking at mid-range phones, sacrifices must be made. One area that has not had a major sacrifice is with the battery life. The Reno 10x Zoom had a 4065 mAh battery, and the Reno Z has a 4035 mAh battery which is a tiny variance. When I tested the Reno 10x Zoom I intentionally played more power intensive games on it to see how it went but with the Reno Z I thought I would treat it like I normally do a phone, and it surpassed my expectations. Playing hours of podcasts in a day while playing around two to three hours of Fire Emblem: Heroes and Pokémon Masters, I only managed to drop the battery below 70% once. My less than two-year-old phone that I bought for its battery life dies before bedtime every night. The cameras have taken a hit for the price, which is reasonable, but the photos are still surprisingly good. Without the multiple lenses providing the best one for the distance you are capturing, it is limited to digital zoom for those far away snaps. Photos from close range, however, are significantly better than I would have expected for a $700 phone. The screen is a Full HD+, which means videos and games on the phone looks stunning. When using the Reno Z, it never crossed my mind that this was the screen of a lesser phone at all. Even comparing videos with better screens, unless it is side by side with another phone, you would struggle to notice a difference. One thing I had noticed with my not so old phone was with the newly released Pokémon Masters, it struggles a lot. I can play the game, but it chugs way more than a $800 one and a half-year-old phone should, the Oppo Reno Z though runs it like a dream. I didn’t notice chugging animations or overly long load times, which has meant I have played way more of it in the last week than I had days prior. Considering it is sitting in the same price range, albeit newer, I didn’t have high hopes, but I could not have been happier. One thing I have come to expect of mid-tier phones is the sometimes-arbitrary feeling features that get axed. I was not expecting facial unlocking or anything like that, and until I encountered the feature, I didn’t realise how much I love it. No more swiping my pattern every time I want to change a song or podcast at the gym, now I look at it and it unlocks. If that fails because it’s dark, or my son stuck his face in the way too quickly, I stick my thumb on the screen, and if that fails because my thumb is too dirty then I can swipe in my pattern. The latter only happened once in a week. If you are looking for that midrange phone because the $1200 Reno 10x Zoom is out of your price range, you would do well to look at the Oppo Reno Z. It’s a phone that feels and performs like it should be in a higher price bracket, but with some small setback like the cameras only being good as opposed to amazing, you will comfortably get your money’s worth here. Blair as loaned an Oppo Reno Z for review
  12. Katana Zero, what can I say about it? You play as a katana wielding assassin known only as The Dragon as you set about to accomplish each new mission from your employer. There isn’t much to aid you on that task accept for your trusty blade, whatever objects you can find in level to help out and a small set of time bending powers. One life, one target, one blade and a crap load of henchmen in your way. Katana Zero handles like a dream, everything is very responsive once you get the timing down. Your main method of attack is your sword and that will deal with most of your problems, to aid in your dispatching you will come across the occasional bottle or knife which can be thrown and later on explosives can also be added into the mix. Targeting works as well as could be expected with any screw ups purely down to Zombie error. Now I also mentioned you had some spiffy little time bending powers, while they aren’t super original or exciting they are used pretty much exclusively for dodging, puzzles and environmental kills. The time skills are the worst offender in regards to the controls as they can take a level or three to really get a grasp on their time as it is just kind of odd. Judging by these screen shots I am sure by now you have thought to yourself ‘Hey that looks like Hotline Miami!’ and you aren’t wrong. Katana Zero wears its inspirations on it’s sleeve; unabashedly so. What we have here is some developers who took Hotline Miami, The Matrix, Blade Runner, John Wick, that Ryan Gosling movie Drive where he just hung out acting all cool in a jacket, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino, threw them in a blender on the first setting so the elements still had a nice pulpy feel to them then crafted this game. Before each level begins The Dragon will stop to take a moment and put on headphones before pressing play on his cassette player just so you know its cool and nostalgic. However with that being said these style of games with the retro aesthetics and synth soundtracks are becoming a dime a dozen moreover they are all beginning to blur together with it becoming harder and harder to really tell them apart. Luckily for Katana Zero it still has The Matrix and Blade Runner roots in there to hold up with a strong sense of mind bending story that really drives the game forward giving reasons for everything that happens throughout the game including its cyberpunk setting which not a lot of other games do. Katana Zero isn’t the most original or unique game on the market of 2019 it won’t blow you away nor does it really stand out in the crowded sea of nostalgiabait games but at the same time it isn’t really trying to. Katana Zero is one of those love letters to Sci-Fi to that just gets it right, it knows what it is and the story it wants to tell. Zero is crafted by a love of the genre from hiring Mega Man X and Blade Runner on the weekend and if that was you these are your people and this is a game you will get a kick out of. Zombie reviewed a promo copy of Katana Zero on the Nintendo Switch.
  13. Metroidvania has been a mixed reception term for a genre. Based off the general gist of Metroid and Castlevania, you need to platform through a generally 2D world, gaining abilities or powers so you can move back to earlier sections accessing areas opened thanks to these abilities to advance. I have played several Metroidvanias, but never their namesakes themselves, so when a father of the genre, Koji Igarashi of Catlevania fame, was making a spiritual successor, I was amped to see where he would take the genre. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night kicks off with the protagonist Miriam waking up from a coma to discover she is one of two Shardbinders remaining, the other is the antagonist who is leading the demon invasion on earth. As a Shardbinder she can gain powers from demon’s shards which merge with her. The more shards she fuses with, the less human and more demon she will become. This kicks off a story where she needs to stop him while retaining her humanity. The story, like with most Metroidvanias, was soon lost on me. This was due to the nature of spending hours going back and forth through the same areas leaving substantial amounts of time between plot points. This isn’t a problem, rather what I expected of the genre, but the premise is interesting enough, and it leads to the gameplay. You slash and shoot with weapons like swords, guns, or whips, which is the least fun part of the combat. The magic and abilities that Miriam gets throughout the game are the real meat of combat. When Miriam kills demons there is a chance that they drop shards, which stabs into her with a cool stained-glass effect around the screen. These vary from stat buffs to attacks that Miriam can use by having one of each type equipped. Levelling them up with items and getting multiples of the same shard means that killing the same enemies as you go through a section again doesn’t feel pointless. This was the smartest move that was made in the game. Part of the genius of the genre is the way the same areas open to so many things, but it does mean they can become frustratingly receptive. With Miriam leveling up, along with the opportunity to power up with your shards, at worst backtracking felt valuable for some grinding, and at best netted advancing the game forward. This is how I lost dozens of hours into the game and never felt bored; in fact, train trips every day were ending too quickly for my liking. The combat outside of Miriam’s magical abilities is clunky and far from the best part of the game. Slashes and movement are ever so slightly off, which doesn’t take long to adjust to, but can still be super annoying. Another grave annoyance is when you jump up through a floor to another room, if you take your finger off jump, when the new room loads it would stop jumping and you’d fall back down meaning the room below you would have to load again, before you could try doing it again. I played on Switch, which if you compare the game to other versions in side by side comparisons it doesn’t look as good and has slower load times. When I first played the game, I didn’t do a comparison, so I never faulted the games look at all, in fact I thought it looked fantastic throughout. The load times were impacted by the port’s performance, but that was a minor gripe to deal with for the benefit of playing on the go which is perfect for a game like this. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is not the huge step forward for the genre I hoped that Koji Igarashi may have ushered in. Instead it is as described on the box, a damn good example of how to make a Castlevania that is engaging, entertaining, and as addictive as it is frustrating.
  14. If you are anything like me, then you have watched the prices of high end phone increase wildly out of your price range as you weep into your pillow at night. Watching the top phones hit or get close to 2k was terrifying to someone who not that long ago felt that dropping 1k was a huge investment. Fortunately Huawei and Oppo hit the scene to make their top range phones at the slightly more palatable $1200-1500 mark, so I really wanted to see if the new OPPO Reno 10x Zoom was worth while. Opening the massive box that the Oppo comes in and lifting the device, I immediately knew this was a significant step up from my mid-range Samsung device that is only a year old...which was still a blimmin $800 device. The phone feels and looks premium with its stack of cameras down the back of the phone, and it’s screen taking up the whole front of the phone. It comes with a basic hard case in the box which is handy because a case needs to account for it’s quirky camera features which I will address next. It has a nice slit down the back so it’s rear cameras stacking neatly down the centre are all exposed, as well as the Oppos logo if you want people to know the brand you are sporting. One of the biggest features of the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, and reason it has it’s weird as hell name is it’s cameras. If you are anything like me then you have seen the premium phones rocking some sweet cameras with multiple lenses to get some absolutely amazing photography that regularly looks like professional shots, all the while your mid range phone rocks one lense that gets an above average photo, but looks like it has been done with a cheap digital camera. Like the more expensive Huawei P30 pro, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom rocks a series of high quality lenses that even with my time using it produced some amazing family photos. The 10x zoom isn't technically a 10x Zoom, but a combination of 5x zoom and digital zoom. Either way the quality of the photos is well above its price point. The most unique element of the phone is it’s wedge that raises out of the top of the phone with its flash on the rear side and the selfie camera on the front. When you choose either of these options in the software, the phone automatically raises it’s wedge, and puts it away when no longer in use. It’s so clever that when you drop the device, the wedge recognises it and retracts before the phone hits the ground to avoid it damaging the mechanism. I had to hold it a couple of inches above the ground to beat the mechanism, and odds are that is an unlikely scenario when you have the camera or flash out. The advantage of this wedge presents is the screen doesn't need to cut off at the front for the camera to sit above it, or have one of those annoying looking bezels that cuts an odd chunk out of your screen. Instead the whole surface is real estate up for grabs for videos or games, and with the phones gorgeous 1080p screen you want to be using as much of that surface as you can for that sweet sweet content like your games. Over the years my personal stance has gone from total up-turned nose snootiness, to casual enjoyment, to a point now where I play a lot of casual games like Mario Run, and obsessively play a handful like Fire Emblem Heroes. This means that I have really tested a phones ability to hold a battery charge, and this is a major sticking point for a new phone I buy. My Samsung A7 has a beast of a battery, and the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom was able to handle my abusive use of its battery throughout the day better than expected. I regularly still have 15% battery at the end of the day which included gaming on my commute, my lunch break, walks, and any other times being able to game on my phone was convenient. It handled all of my regular games perfectly, and that screen makes games look fantastic. One little annoyance was that Teppen, which is a Capcom card battling game that was just released, wasn't available on the Play Store. The phone has easily enough resources so I hoped sideloading the app would do the trick, but still no luck. Hopefully Capcom increases the selection of devices it works on, and it’s not Oppo’s fault, but if you had been curious about the game and looked forward to checking it out on your new phone, then this is something to keep in mind. One other little note is that it has also done away with the 3.55mm jack as well. Out of the box it has a pair of headphones that connect to the USB-C port, and a USB-C - 3.55 mm cord can be less than $20, so it’s not a big deal these days, but worth considering if you love your 3.5mm jacks. With the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom running in at $1299 so it is sitting well below its competitors prices and with some deals like the one at JB HiFi right now you can get a UE Boom 3 and save more money if you sign up with 2Degrees. So as far as value for money goes, it really feels like a premium device, at a premium price from 5 years ago. Blair was loaned an OPPO Reno 10x Zoom for review
  15. If there is one thing I love about indie games, it’s the ability for someone to turn a personal story into a game so that the world can experience their vision. EA has been funding some smaller games that would otherwise be indies such as Unravel but Sea of Solitude is the first one of their games that isn't simply an indie game, but truly an indie vision at its best. It may not be the biggest hit, but boy is it important. Sea of Solitude has the protagonist Kay waking up in a boat. She is a black and fuzzy monster that for the most part looks like a girl; unlike the monsters she soon discovers. Initially she is tormented by an underwater monster that swims around saying some mean things letting Kay feel worthless. In the early stages of the game she is trying to get to where her trusty glowing orb is guiding her as she tries to avoid being eaten by the monster. As the game progresses, she confronts more monsters who are all representations of her family and friends, who all possess many bigger forms such as a wolf or chameleon. These monsters seem less like they want to eat Kay and far more like they fear her by acting defensively. Each monster has a story to tell and their own burdens. As Kay tries to free these people of their monster forms, she discovers her role in their torment, and in doing so also frees herself from those demons. The game itself is a simple puzzle game. Most of the early game has Kay driving her boat to semi submerged structures and trying to find a way to cross them or swim between them while making sure the monster swimming around her doesn't get close enough to eat her. As the game progresses, she spends more time on her feet trying to get through stages in buildings or around snowy constructs, but the general gist is that she needs to find memories, removing their corruption so she can connect and heal her loved ones. Aside from the trusty ability to jump and swim, Kay is armed with a flare. For the most part firing the flare shows Kay the direction she needs to travel. The flare also kicks in with the closest things to battles where hitting an orb causes a wave to disperse either incapacitating enemies or turning them into blue good ghost like things. The gameplay itself isn’t overly unique, but it is functional and fun enough to keep making your way through the story continues at a reasonable pace. Only two bosses posed a challenge for me, the first it took me a bit to realise what I needed to do, and the other was genuinely challenging enough for a few retries, but not hard enough to be overly frustrating. What the game has done better than most is its aesthetic. The game uses a striking cell shaded style without the cells, like Breath of the Wild’s style. This makes the game an absolute treat to look at while you are dealing with the emotional blows it hits you with regularly. The animations, especially things like the sea foam. On the whole Sea of Solitude is one of the best-case scenarios when it comes to a small indie game. It looks beautiful, plays well, and tells a personal story that deserved to be told, while being short enough to not overstay its welcome. If you can handle being reminded of how you are a failure, then this is an absolute must experience.
  16. One of my early gaming memories was playing Monster Truck Madness on our old PC many years ago which began a short but strong obsession with Monster Trucks that even to this day leaves me remembering Snake Bite’s fangs and Monster Patrol’s massive spoiler. So, when I saw a new Monster Truck game was landing this year, my eyes were fixed squarely on Monster Jam Steel Titans. The game drops you straight into a truck testing out the ropes. You are given a brief overview of how to drive and do some tricks from ramps. From here it is immediately clear that Monster Jam Steel Titans is far less sim, and far more of a tricks game with monster trucks with crazy physics that have you doing flips or rolling around a lot. The game makes no attempt to sneak in a story, instead opting for a campaign that has you making your way through championships of varying lengths consisting of a set of events. Events come in a few shapes and sizes varying from having to get a high score from tricks, to winning standard races, to making your way through a series of beacons. The tricks challenges are made harder where some require you to achieve a two wheel based trick for a combo to count, and the races come in a challenging variation where you have to do multiple laps of a small area to beat an opponent through a small knockout tournament. So far so good right? The game’s biggest flaw is so close to a strength which is its callous disregard for physics. If the game embraced its silliness in the same way that SSX treats snowboarding physics then it would be great, but the campaign has you doing a series of events which can be long. When you are neck in neck on a race and clip a wall which sends you flying off in a barrel roll that lands you in last place it is extraordinarily frustrating when it puts you on the back foot for the whole series standings. The way that Championships are set up is a little annoying as well. Entering one you don’t know if you are going to be doing six events or 20, which is an unnecessary design flaw, as if that info was there, I didn’t easily find it. One night as I battled to hold 3rd place I was praying that every event was my last one, which turned out that I was probably about halfway through when I started itching for it to end. The game consistently felt like it was torn between a silly over the top tricks game, and a serious racing game which causes some unnecessary problems. When my trick would flip out of control or drive on one wheel it regularly wouldn’t register tricks based on those physics, which if it did could easily work in its favour. Instead it winds up breaking a trick multiplier because its time doing a barrel roll killed the time to land another trick. The game is at its most fun when you avoid doing those campaigns and instead tackle single races. This way the consequences of the game’s physics stuffing you up doesn’t sting and it instead becomes a bit of fun. Free roaming around the courses outside of the races is also a lot of fun as you can enjoy the chaos to its fullest. Monster Jam Steel Titans is a tough game to recommend. I had an absolute blast playing the game, unlocking Monster Trucks and then wrecking them on courses, but its championships feel like an important aspect of the experience that makes the chaotic physics feel like a bug instead of a feature.
  17. When I first saw the art for My Friend Pedro starring a banana with a face, I was expecting to be in for a comedy experience along the lines of Rick and Morty. What I didn’t expect was a game that was funny in a twisted and violent way, that made me super uncomfortable to laugh as I smeared the world with my victim’s blood. My Friend Pedro is a side scrolling, hyper violent, shooting game that isn’t a shooter in a classic sense. Instead it is probably better described as a physics tricks game, that has a shooting mechanic at its core. By this I mean your enjoyment of the game isn’t getting through tricky spots without dying, but more trying to get through a stage killing enemies in as creative ways as possible while trying to pull off flips, swing from chains, run on barrels, and all kinds of chaos. The game opens with Pedro the banana waking your character up. After a brief introduction he instructs you to start killing people, and as the game progresses, he gives you more abilities to kill people in more creative ways. That's the extent of the story, and I don’t know why this masked protagonist is masked let alone his life story. With some of the games in Devolver Digitals past, that shouldn't be too surprising. What was surprising was how little this is a side scrolling shooter, and how much it becomes an addictive physics tricks game. You can slow down time, do flips in the air, control each arm so they fire in different directions at the same time, and hit enemies with other stuff that I don’t want to spoil. Things like the multiple arms tricks are hard to get the hang of, and even now I wouldn't say I am good at it, but boy is it bizarrely fun. The game’s aesthetic is the bleak image of a city’s underbelly, which is beautiful…in a well-designed ugly city kind of way. Smashing your way through glass panes, shooting enemies through grates and mass murder has never looked so good, well outside of a John Wick film. It’s hard to put into words how aesthetically pleasing, and jarringly awful the game looks. Again, it’s what you would expect from a hyper violent game published by Devolver Digital. The hardest thing to adjust to is the slow pace of the game. It feels slow and clunky, with controls that feel a little floaty at times. This is part of what makes the game great, as long as you can adjust to it because the game doesn’t focus around fast platforming or action, it’s about trying to do cool things, and its pace will make sure you take the time to do it. The slow pace isn’t always favourable such as times where I didn’t quite know where to go, I would regularly find the solution by jumping at what I thought was a wall, or something like that. Normally this wouldn’t be a big detraction, but the slow game speed made this significantly more annoying. Platforming can be frustrating too as the masked man would regularly miss a platform by what seemed like less than a millimetre, or platforms that you aren’t supposed to access because that isn’t the solution seemed to only not work because of an invisible barrier. Despite some minor annoyances, My Friend Pedro was not the game I expected, but it is the game I am glad I played. Trying to get high scores through excessive bloodshed is as satisfying as it is entertaining, and you will easily lose hours to the game if you let it…. I did.
  18. Most PSVR launch owners will have bought the PSVR worlds game which came with a selection of games and experiences to test out their new toy. It wasn't fantastic value as a full game, but it was a great way to see the variety of what VR could offer, though a couple of gems lay in that collection that were well worth exploring. One of these was the rail shooter narrative heavy The London Heist. Sony heard the calls for that to be expanded with the new game based on that experience, Blood & Truth. The question left is should it have stayed a short novella, or did it warrant the full novel? Blood & Truth kicks in with you sitting at a table in a small room as you begin to be interrogated by Colin Salmon, one of those great actors that I always remember as “Hey, it’s that guy”. As with The London Heist, you get as much in these plot heavy scenes as you want to put into them. You can pick up the file in front of you and instead of putting it down fling it at your interrogator, if you are feeling it pull the fingers, or you can sit back as the scene unfolds in front of you. These stationary scenes aren’t as common as I expected, as the game chooses to put you into the action as much as possible, kicking off with a flashback to when you were in the SAS. Because the game is so plot heavy, I won’t touch on more than this except to say it’s a cliché, over the top, action movie in the best possible ways. The high energy explosions and gun play makes for a fantastic narrative experience that isn’t overly unique across the mediums, but for VR it’s a new way to experience what we already know. The first minor surprise was that they have incorporated in a lot of action scenes where you move around. This is done with the classic point to a circle and you character moves there, which is done with the field of view reduced to obviously fix that getting sick feeling that VR is struggling with. Moving between cover in a flash to shoot at enemies while you are out in the field feels satisfying. One minor annoyance I had, especially early on, was that when you move to stage of the game where you need to pick a lock or interact with something that doesn’t involve shooting it requires putting your gun away. The pistol is fine because you can see in your VR space where the holster is, but with bigger guns you need to sling them on your back and use the same button for firing to put it in place. This meant I regularly sprayed bullets into the ground behind me as I was trying to put it in place. The driving action scenes are the best part of the game by far. They serve as a fast-paced rail shooting game that is as pulp action flicky as they get but they are so damn fun. This was taken from the London Heist and expanded on, making for the most fun action I have experienced in VR since… well The London Heist. The game is made so much better thanks to decent voice and motion capture acting. A silly action flick can have some weight to its characters, and the cast here does the job well. It helps heighten this linear game from an OK VR experience to something special. Blood & Truth isn’t a game I would say buy a VR unit for, but if you have a PSVR unit then I can’t recommend it enough. It starts to flex what can be done within the limitations of the platform to tell a truly entertaining tale, and at around eight hours it feels like the perfect length for a single player VR game.
  19. 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.
  20. Now class I would like you all to take your blenders and mix Doom along with Wolfenstein to form the base for our other ingredients. Next you will need to add a healthy cup of The Binding Isaac, measures don’t need to be exact as this is to give the previous additions some form but make sure you mix thoroughly before pouring into a glass.. Lastly you will need to take some Altered Beast and you are going to want to be delicate here as we only want to carve out the exciting transformations so the rest of it you can disregard, now we need to freeze the parts of Altered Beast we want until they are nice and solid, luckily we have some here that I prepared earlier. Nice dose of nostalgia there really brings out the pulpiness of our mix and what we are going to do is grate the frozen Altered Beast over the top giving us Hellmut: The Badass From Hell to truly enjoy at our leisure. Those mix of games are the best way I can describe Hellmut: The Badass From Hell. A top down twin stick shooter that allows you to transform into a varying mix of hellbeasts to run through a set amount of procedurally generated levels fighting demonic bosses and collecting loot, power ups and all kinds of differing transformations. Once you make it to the end you do it all over again there is nothing too new to the formula in that regard but Hellmut isn’t trying to set a new standard instead it is all about doing the formula solidly while giving a distinctive flavour that is all its own. There is nothing overly flashy with the graphics but they work, most of the scenery is full of objects and colours you would expect to find in castle over run with demon hordes; a lot of browns and blacks. Hellmut though casts this aside and it has very little focus as yeah the castle itself is a little bland but everything happening inside of it is as colourful as vomiting a rainbow. Bright neon colours forgo accenting the levels and arenas instead they take on a life of their own filling the screen with greens, blues, pinks, reds, purples and oranges granting life to every area you pass through. The controls are smooth and basic, one stick moves you another stick aims while a shoulder button fires, the other firing a weapons special attack, one more to use any medical supplies you may have and the final button allows you to choose a transformation. It’s simple and it works especially when you are in the midst of a bullet hell like arena with enemy projectiles flying at you from every direction. 98% of my mistakes and deaths were purely player error the controls were never factor into it with that 2% being the odd occasion of too much going on at one time that it becomes difficult to keep track of everything or just dumb bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time when enemies spawn but it just be like that sometimes. What about those transformations I keep mentioning? Ultimately this games key attraction is the ability to transform into varying creatures through out the game all with their own look, feel, abilities and weapons. You are given two to begin with (though you can only choose one to begin with, a Rat King that can fire a canon filled with rats which have been coated in a rubber gel like substance allowing them to bounce off walls and a hulking stitched together monstrosity wielding a huge hammer that flies about Thor/Kratos style. In most levels you can encounter a diety who will grant you new transformations provided that you can A) afford it and B) prove yourself worthy to obtain. These transformations appear randomly you may get the one you didn’t choose to start with or maybe you’ll end up as a Demon King who shoots multiple homing energy projectiles at a time or an Orc Fairy who can teleport away out of danger. Finding them all is half the fun. If you read the title; Hellmut: Badass From Hell and thought to yourself “Oh my god yes!” then this game is right up your alley. It’s fun, it contains some bullet hell madness and does it all while wearing its pulpy aesthetics unabashedly on its wrists. If these kind of roguelike games are for you this is a must add to the collection and if you have never played one there is a good chance it will win you over. However if you aren’t into run and gun games that are all about dying to retry then Hellmut has nothing new to offer you other than a solid experience in the genre. Zombie was provided with a promo copy of Hellmut: Badass From Hell.
  21. Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse is an action adventure hack ‘n Slash by indie devs onebitbeyond that can be played as a single player or co-op experience. The game has a very bare basic story in that every 100 years the evil witch/sorceress Mormo returns from the grave to try and claim the land for herself and legion of monsters with only he chosen one(s), known only as Sword, to pull the magic sword from the stone and slay her or die trying. It’s very basic and it’s job is only there to give a reason for the gameplay which is where this game tries to shine. The main gimmick behind Swords is in that 100 year cycle which becomes evident during the games tutorial. You play as your first Sword waking up on the beach with no idea whats going on only for a Dung Beetle to appear and tell you of Mormo and the sword and what you expect to learn during a tutorial. You are instructed to face Mormo which you only for her to instantly kill leaving the world to 100 years of her evil tyranny until a new Sword is awoken. This is when the game really begins; this time however you are told a couple more details, here are things you can do to weaken Mormo and as soon as you reach the same level as her time is up and you must face her. Do you succeed in slaying her or fail and level the world to another 100 years of her rule before trying again. From this point on you are left with one of those where do I go and what do I do type of games. You are told what to do but not where it is, what to look for or anything else truly helpful as the character meant to tell you these things in the game has forgotten due to old age. So you can go through the make location by location finding these things to make Mormo weaker or you can just level up and go face her that is entirely up to you. Regardless of what you do and whether or not you beat her the experience is the same as it all builds up to a new 100 year gap, new Sword, slight variation on what you had previously achieved. You don’t have to go it alone though as there are stickers that you can apply to your body and sword for resistances, boosts, elemental damages and the like. Coins to earn, and boy are there a lot of currencies to collect with a main currency to spend at merchants, then different areas will have there own currency to spend on the items therein and a mystical space whale who yet again has their own currency. Upgrades for weapons to find in dungeons. Health stores though I never really needed them as health was dropped all the time by enemies. A few side quests scattered about. The standard fare you expect to find in this type of game is here, it isn’t reinventing he wheel but it is trying to do its own thing with it at times. The combat is fine albeit sluggish, it is very easy to over shoot a monster while swinging a sword resulting in some damage being taken. It tries to inject some strategy into combat by having monsters fight back with unavoidable attacks if you are too close but all you really need to do is walk away to avoid them. Occasionally in dungeons I would get trapped in a room as every entrance and doorway would close in a glitch meaning I’d have to quit out and restart the dungeon. Load times are really inconsistent with one room loading instantly then that same room taking 30 seconds or so to load next, nothing game breaking but it can be long enough to ruin the momentum you have going. The visuals and sounds are perfectly fine, nothing you will remember but they do their job. The biggest gripe I have with visuals, sounds and even with the writing at points is how it is seemingly trying hard to replicate the feel of Adventure Time but with the caveat that it doesn’t quite know what actually made Adventure Time special and work so well. This could be that Adventure Time is willing to just be Adventure Time and use whatever the situation calls for, if it needs a smart joke it puts in a smart joke or if it needs to be slightly more adult it’ll be slightly more adult. Swords of Ditto doesn’t do this and if they are making a joke about the Dung Beetle doing what Dung Beetles do then it breaks it down to the safest age of saying “Poop” and hoping it’s funny. Unfortunately that is all there really is to the game. It’s short with a single cycle being able to be played through in a single sitting. Dialogue is constantly repeated with nothing really changing between areas and cycles. But it is fun while it lasts and completely perfect to play in short bursts on the bus or with some minimal time to kill as it is constantly saving so if you do need to quickly shut it off chances are you are good to go. If you are in need of some Zelda inspired goodness to fit into a gap here and there then you could do worse than picking this up on the cheap but there are better options out there. If however you want to spend some Zelda inspired time with your kid then Swords of Ditto will fill that gap up nicely. Zombie was provided with a promo copy of Swords of Ditto to review.
  22. I feel the need to prefix this review with some slight information about me and the original Resident Evil 2. I didn’t like it. I miss the boat during its original release but eventually went back to play it around the time Nemesis came out and that game I loved. To this day it is my least liked main entry into the series, I know I’m whack. I found more enjoyment in playing 6 than I did with 2, hell I found more enjoyment in 6 than I did with 4, come at me bro! Very little about 2 appealed to me when I played it back in the day, but when I saw the first sights of this years remake I was excited. Now is as good a time as any to jump in and see if it can win me over after 20 years. Back in 2015 Capcom released a Hi def remaster of the Game Cube remake of the first Resident Evil game which was still damn enjoyable as it was on the Game Cube and the original release of the game back in ‘96. But it wasn’t enough, the fans wanted more, the fans were a chorus of a zombie horde chanting for a remake of the franchises most beloved titles. After putting the disc in and letting the patches download I was amped to grab my bombstick and put a stop to the zombie menace. Once the game was loaded I was confronted with my first hurdle, which of the two campaigns to begin with. Leon or Claire? Neither character thrilled me back in the 90’s as I found them bland a trait that one I still feel carries while the other got to branch out in Code Veronica, yes I can’t stand Leon Kennedy. So with that choice easily made I dove in and the game looks really nice, character models are beautifully rendered, environments fit in the rundown Racoon City and the zombies squish nicely when they lose their heads. Capcom really nailed the more cinematic approach to the remake and it shows through the games campaigns feeling bigger than it once did even though it is practically the same game from 20 years ago. The puzzles work as well as they did and zombie slaying is still satisfying thanks to tightened controls allowing you to dispatch the undead at your leisure. The UI is more friendly to use, sound crisper than ever before, I mean all the things you expect from 20 years of technological advances to be there are there and used perfectly to replicate a 20 year old game as a modern contender. Resident Evil 2 (2019) plays well, is a fest for the eyes, carries the torch for franchise solidly and is the closest you can get to that original experience of playing Resident Evil 2 for the first time without acquiring a time machine. Herein lies its problem, it is too faithful. Sure some things have been changed around or have been fleshed out. Characters that were just there to fill in some information or guide the player now have personality but all in all it’s the same game. Not enough has been changed to really make it feel fresh or blow me away. I couldn’t find any tension in the situations even with the big moments like with Mr. X not making me feel any anxiety as they were pretty much scripted the same way only with a coat of fresh paint making it nicer to look at. Did this latest installment win me over and change my mind about the second installment? No, while I can see why it deserves the praise as it plays remarkably well and looks really nice it all fell flat to me lacking tension or anything new making it a struggle to get through. If you are just looking for a good zombie this will easily fit the bill as there is a lot to like. If you are after the next revolutionary Resident Evil game, this isn’t it but there is more than enough to keep the fans foaming at the mouth for more. Zombie was provided a promo copy of Resident Evil 2 for this review.
  23. Drunk_Monk

    Days Gone Review

    From when Days Gone was announced through all the marketing for the game until now, I wasn’t hyped. It looked like someone had grabbed a random popular TV show, with an idea from a random trope generator, Sons of Anarchy meet your new foe, zombies. Even making the zombies seem unique by calling them freakers felt like they had done a worse version of The Last of Us’ fantastic take on the genre. Yet within the first hours I realised there could be something special here, and by the end of the game I was blown away by how wrong I was going into this new pillar in the PS4’s huge library. Days Gone tells the story of Deacon St. John, a biker guy who is separated from his injured wife Sarah as he puts her on a medical evacuation helicopter, choosing to stay with his fellow biker guy Boozer to help him as he is also injured from the freaker apocalypse. you join Deacon and Boozer five years later as they are living their post-freaker lives. Deacon seems to be struggling to let go of the idea of her being dead, as announced to the player by Boozer, and so his journey through the landscape continues. The story is surprisingly decent. It feels like it should be packed into a tight linear game as the emotional beats can be diluted as you get stuck into events in the open world, which will affect players who play one or two hours a night or less. There is some quality cringe worthy content in the flash backs to Sarah and John’s lives, but thanks to some quality voice acting plus animation, even the cringiest stuff still adds value to the characters being built on the screen in front of you. One of my concerns before tackling the game was that Deacon and co. would be gruff angry biker guys feeling more like a generic action guy stereotype. Instead Deacon is a nice guy. His relationship with Boomer had me engaged throughout the game, even as they kill plenty of freakers and people alike. You will be traversing the open world on Deacon’s bike a lot of the time, which I initially struggled with handling, but I soon adjusted. You will spend the game upgrading the bike to be more powerful and badass, but like the plot I don’t want to spoil too much on this front, it is fun unveiling this as the game progresses. The open world itself is detailed enough to be impressive, but I found that there wasn’t too much variety in the landscapes, it was a lot of the same as you explore new areas. What does make your whole time in this landscape interesting is the presence and variety of freakers. The first two you encounter is the classic undead running zombie, and the creepier is the newts which are children zombies. Newts run away from you to high places when they see you, unless you enter their turf or are low on health. It is an interesting dynamic that adds to the game. I won’t touch on too much more of the variety of freakers, but they appear randomly in the wild which makes them feel like dangerous wildlife in any other game. With limited ammo it is a good idea to try to stealth or outrun them in the wild, which makes random encounters with them, even in some relatively open space, tense. These tense moments are excellently mirrored against moments where you are swarmed by masses of freakers that is as much a technical achievement as it is a bombastic action scene that need to be quickly handled to avoid being overwhelmed, usually by hitting them with Molotov Cocktails as you retreat. The gameplay overall feels good. Crafting immediately reminded me of The Last of Us’ with a crafting wheel that uses scraps and items you found to make healing or attacking supplies. On top of this is the ability to modify your melee weapons like a baseball bat, into more awesome melee weapons, like a baseball bat with nails. This adds a little variety, and thanks to melee weapons breaking, you will have ample opportunities to try all out all the variants. Except for general flaws of the open world genre like repetitive missions, Days Gone is a much better game than I could have expected. It’s not perfect, but despite its flaws it is a great game that takes from so many others, and makes its own mark, in a way that only a biker zombie shooter can.
  24. Darksiders was a series I always meant to check out, but it laid dormant in my backlog. Then came the release of Darksiders Warmastered Edition, and yet it didn’t manage to be launched on my PS4, so third time lucky with the Switch release, I have discovered I should have been enjoying this sooner, for all manner of reasons. The Switch port of Darksiders Warmastered Edition is good, I will say that from the outset. The quality of the graphics had been shined up for the bigger consoles, dropping a little for the Switch which still winds up much better than the original, and fantastic for a game on a handheld system. This is what impresses the most, the game looks and plays so well on the Switch that playing it for the first time this way easily makes it feel like a great new Switch game. For those unfamiliar, Darksiders tells the story of three kingdoms, Hell, Heaven and Earth that are preparing for a final battle. The ultimate powers decided that shouldn’t happen, at least while earth is loaded with weaklings, and so the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are kept in hiding waiting for their seals to be broken. War finds himself awoken landing on earth to see a battle underway between Heaven and Hell. With humans not looking quite prepared and his brother also not present, things start to look fishy. He begins fighting before he is suddenly pulled in front of the Charred Council. War is questioned about why he went there and caused the battle to ensue. Unbelieving of the battle happening before he lands there the Charred Council eventually lets him return to investigate where his brothers are and what happened but with a weird beast The Watcher in tow to guide, reporting on War. Returning to Earth it turns out many years have passed; humans have been slaughtered while the battle between Heaven and Hell continues. The story is overall OK, but the idea of Heaven and Hell being against you, with the setup of the Four Horseman being a separate entity to the lot makes the whole game feel like a unique spin on older formulas. I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing a different version of older God of War titles as it is essentially the protagonist vs everyone as you bring down beasts much bigger than yourself. Well God of War without all the bits that seemed geared towards young male teens anyway. There are some minor things that make the game feel a little clunky like general movement and finicky issues such as doors not presenting the action button unless you are in the right spot. Being too close to a door to be able to open it feels as old as it comes. Fortunately, those minor gripes feel minor as the rest of the game has aged better. The whole aesthetic with the angels and demons’ design, to the Hell infested Earth, to the weapons are still cool looking on the Switch’s screen in handheld mode that is fantastic for a game being played on the train. I would be happy with any new games looking and running like it on Switch. As someone who didn’t beat it the first time, it does feel like a new game for the Switch. Upgrading weapons, the weapon variation and combat in general is all solid. Hacking n’ slashing your way through masses of creatures from Heaven and Hell is so satisfying, even more so when you unleash War’s rage form which turns him into a winged hellish looking monster. The puzzles aren’t overly complicated, but can be time consuming, but exploring the huge areas of the game is interesting and fun. Ultimately if you haven’t played Darksiders yet or wanted to play the remaster but didn’t find the time, the Switch port is a fantastic way to do it. It feels strange playing such a detailed and big game on the go that runs buttery smooth. There isn’t anything more for returning players though, so you need to fall into one of those camps for it to be a strong recommendation.
  25. With the massive slew of Final Fantasy games being ported to the Switch, people will get to jam games like Final Fantasy 12 on the go for the first time. More importantly than this though are the quirky side games that may have evaded some of us, and for me Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! Is one of them. Now I can say, I am so glad it hasn’t evaded me anymore. For anyone who hasn’t played the game yet, and this may be surprising to Final Fantasy fans, the game is a Final Fantasy Rogue-Like of sorts. Chocobo is a treasure hunter with his companion Cid, who find themselves sucked into a vortex and dropped into a mysterious town. Exploring they discover a lot of people have lost their memories, and a weird baby hatches from an egg that is dropped from the sky. Bear with me because it gets less weird…. Nah it gets even weirder. The baby allows chocobo to enter people’s minds to free their memories, and this is where the rogue like action kicks in. Each of the townsfolk’s minds are a dungeon with an assortment of levels. Chocobo needs to explore each level of the dungeon, to ultimately get to the end to fight a boss and free the persons memories. The stories do get darker and twisted but I’ll leave it there. It’s a bizarre story but if you’re anything like me then that’s not why you are coming to the game, and its weirdness won’t put you off it. The real draw to this game is the iconic Chocobo as the protagonist, and it’s as delightful as it sounds. Chocobo’s vocabulary consists of the classic Kweh and some people for no apparent reason understand him/her. The whole game with its simple design is as cute and charming as Chocobo, even when it gets dark and dingy. Most of your time will be spent in the dungeons, and they get hard fast. Travelling throughout them you encounter loot and monsters. The dungeon is built on a grid so every time you move, monsters have their turn, though it does use different amounts of turns depending on a monster’s speed. You must face and attack a monster on the grid when in range, but they return with their attacks, so careful placement is necessary to make sure you aren’t surrounded then destroyed by a mob of monsters. One flaw is the lack of health bars above monsters so it’s harder to tell when you should get one last hit, or when you should try to run away, which becomes annoying as the game’s difficulty ramps up. Weighing up taking too many health items into a dungeon which will sacrifice bag space for loot is something I spent far too much time worrying about. But you don’t want to find yourself hungry and low on health either, because a lack of food means health depletes with every move. Thanks to a level of randomisation, it’s tough to tell what you do and don’t need for a dungeon. This is made more frustrating by the fact that if you are knocked out, you will lose everything except equipment that Chocobo actively has equipped. Saving regularly is essential because it is so frustrating to lose everything you took into a dungeon in the first place. Chocobo isn’t the only Final Fantasy reference to be had here. It feels like any new game in the series with characters like Cid, to classic monsters like Iron Giant and the terrifying Tonberry, as well as remade versions of classic Final Fantasy tunes. It’s a delightful mash up of Final Fantasy in a new genre. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! Is a delightful gem I am so glad to finally experience. A few minor quirks aside like some shonkyness with controls are small hurdles to jump for a delightful side experience that long-time fans shouldn’t miss.
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