Hollow Knight’s Upcoming Release


Image courtesy of Team Cherry

By Chris


Indie developer Team Cherry recently announced that Feb 27 will be the release date for their debut game “Hollow Knight“, for PC and Mac. In addition, Team Cherry has announced that this game will also be available for the Nintendo Switch, which the studio hopes to have had released not long after their PC/Mac release.

In this game, you explore an insect world, platforming and battling foes along the way.

The visuals look wonderfully dark and quirky, and the world will feature a cast of characters and even a town in which you can purchase items and converse with the locals. There is an apparent focused on exploration, with detailed backgrounds and several regions (fungal wastelands, bone forests and city ruins). Throughout the world, there will be secrets areas, enemies, and loot.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing features that have been advertised was “dream diving”, where you can explore the minds of friends and enemies. Depending on how this idea is executed, this may be far in the way my favorite aspect of the game.

With a price tag of $15.00 (USD), this title has great potential, provided the final product realizes the potential of its stated features. I look forward to seeing for myself how these ideas are executed.


Image courtesy of Team Cherry.


Bleed 2 Review


By Chris

With the release of Bleed 2, February 2017 was off to a great start. The sequel to one of my favorite indie titles, and my go-to arcade game for all-out fun, I was eager to see if this game be the step forward it looked like in the trailer.

Am I ever happy to say, “it is!” With a tuned-up soundtrack and livelier visuals, the opening stage showed promise. But that improvement, welcome though it may be, is only skin-deep compared to the mechanics.

By far the largest improvement in my eyes is the ability to deflect bullets with your katana, even as you wield the dual pistols. The mechanics for this are intuitive and give the player another avenue for attack, all whilst increasing the pace of the game. This improvement to pacing, when combined with a series of levels that naturally lead into one another, make for a seamless Story Mode experience.

Said Story Mode will treat you to an array of bosses offering a ton of unique battle experiences. For the social, Bleed 2 offers local co-op. For the masochists, it offers both an Arena Mode (where you can take on up to three bosses at once) and an Arcade Mode (where you have only one life to complete all 7 levels).


An improved roster of alternate characters (including one from another awesome indie title), weapons and dash abilities help to complete the picture of Bleed 2 as a full step up from its predecessor. The dual pistols still remain my go-to weapons, however.

Those looking for length or depth of story may be disappointed. Bleed 2, like its predecessor, has a 7-level story mode with a tongue-in-cheek plot that lends itself much more to the arcade gaming experience. Still, with a modest price tag and the aforementioned improvements, I found the experience well worth the cost of admission.

Here’s pulling for a Bleed trilogy!


grimm eclipse

Review by Chris

Over the holidays I had the pleasure of playing through the early access edition of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. Originally a fan-made game, Rooster Teeth has since picked up this project and is in the process of running it to a full release.

This online multiplayer game allows you to join a group as Ruby, Weiss, Blake or Yang and fight off waves of Grimm as you progress through a series of settings familiar to fans of the show. Each character has a unique set of moves, but follows the same general patterns of long and short ranged attacks, providing some balance and shifting character selection more towards character preference than ability preference.

Being a wave-based beat-em-up, the standard is pretty much set in stone. Do you like the power fantasy of pounding away at hordes of enemies with your friends? If yes, enjoy! If no, move on!

During my play-through, I found the gameplay smooth and easy to grasp. The leveling system is straightforward, with points being allocated either to one of three branching skills, or to a selection of basic stat upgrades.


Given RWBY’s cartoonish/amime style, there were no enormous graphical standards to meet. Visually speaking, the characters and enemies are faithful to the series. The environments are spacious, but repetitive within levels, as might be expected for games in this genre.

All in all, this game seems to fit well within expectations for team-based beat-em-ups. An expansion of levels and characters could see this game be a decent release one it is completed. Adding some flair to the environments and more tricks to advanced enemies can help elevate further. I would also love to see some variation in the fighting styles of each character.

As it stands now, I’d recommend this game to long-time fans of the series, provided they don’t mind waiting for the completed product. In the meantime, we still have the third volume of RWBY to keep us entertained.

Star Wars Battlefront Review

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

Journey to a galaxy far, far away…

This is Star Wars Battlefront, a game that revels in its own accuracy of being the most picturesque Star Wars game to date, along with very good sound design, and enchanting worlds to immerse yourself in. Yet, beyond the rusty exterior of its brilliant frontier; deficient substance takes this Star Wars game far, far away from what it should mean to be Battlefront.

“Just look at this…the ground, the vegetation, the California forest…oh wait there’s an AT-ST right there!”

Beauty On The Surface

Let’s get the obvious out-of-the-way. This is the best looking Star Wars – no! This is the best looking video game I have played in years! From the shimmering and sheen of the ferns on the forest moon, to the finishing touches on the tutorial level (look off into the distance to see them!), this is by far got to be one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. The love DICE has for Star Wars is on open display. They’ve crafted the level of detail down to the finest of scratches from the original props themselves. Read my The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Review for more information on the technique behind the graphical prowess of both games. It’s hard to find any faults in Battlefront’s visuals. Aside from some repetition in the hallways of some maps, I’ll say it again, this is a god damn beautiful game. However, I can’t escape the feeling that too much effort went into making this game look like Star Wars, and they forgot about how a great Star Wars game should feel and play. All face value and not enough substance makes for realistic accomplishments of development milestones.

Sound Design
Sound design in Battlefront is Star Wars at its finest. Aside from the unbearable and hilarious voice acting of the heroes and villains, everything else is top-notch. Like the attention to detail in visuals, audio stays on target and immerses you in the ambiance. Blaster fire, vehicles, and sounds of the Ewoks running away from anyone nearby. The best sounds in the entire game come from thermal grenade explosions and the famous vehicle screams in the sky. This too helps to make Battlefront look and sound like Star Wars, but as I’m alluding to, it doesn’t cover up for the overcompensating in multiplayer the game provides.

“Don’t worry Lord Vader, I’ve got your back! Oh shit where did that impact grenade come from?”


Keep It Battlefront Stupid
Star Wars Battlefront is simplified for a casual gamer, and tailored to your very excited Star Wars fan. However, I feel this approach to accessibility sacrifices proper game play design, class/ squad teamwork, adequate controls, and overall team balance. There’s no class system like in the former Battlefront games. Customization is limited to a few cards, weapons, and few appearance alterations. It is clear this game is attempting to reach as wide an audience as possible. And the game suffers in replay-ability and hopes to call fans back for new maps and game modes covering up for its lack of deep features and complexity. Games can be intricate and unique; that’s what makes them enjoyable and frantic. In scrapping god knows what from Battlefront 3, Star Wars Battlefront becomes quite stale and repetitive, and is simple to a fault.

Game Modes
Nine game modes span across only FOUR worlds. You can tell right away there is an obvious intent of the developers to recycle assets. The game modes offered are fun for a few rounds, I quickly lost interest in other game modes after about 20 hours of play. Walker Assault, Drop Zone, Cargo, and Supremacy being the most entertaining, while other modes like Droid Run or Blast seem to be unpopular and difficult to find people for matches. Many of these game modes are one-sided as unlocks are required to improve balance the more you play, and teamwork extends to dropping shields and blasting away at a Walker. While nine game modes sounds like a lot, and it is, only FOUR worlds speaks loudly to the consumer. But I’ll go on about this later towards the end of the review.

Game play Balance
For all of its wrongs, Battlefront does make a few rights. Game play is fun. Unlocks, and star cards make customizing your own soldier a battle of combinations in its own right, although these fun aspects of the game are hidden behind superficial customization such as pointless appearance unlocks, worthless emote unlocks, and a difficult to navigate user interface. With star cards you get a maximum of three cards per hand that allow you to pick and choose your load out that may include: a jetpack for a vertical advantage, or a star card that has limited amount of charges or uses. The ability to use a partner’s hand of cards allows you to use weapons and abilities to give your team an edge. Pretty soon I found myself just purchasing charges instead of purchasing what I really could use, better weaponry to counteract the unbalanced game play.

The release version of the game was quite unbalanced. Combat seemed to be most of the time who could land an impact grenade first, and exploit bad spawns with your barrage launcher. Spawns were also uneven, sometimes you’d spawn and get the jump on an enemy, and other times you’d spawn right into a metaphorical sarlak pit of enemies. One time I spawned as Princess Leia right in front of enemy storm troopers and only lasted about 10 seconds. DICE has since patched and made updates to balance, however my score reflects the release version of the game as that should be the final version!

“Spawn. Die. Repeat. Roll the DICE for a kill.”

Vehicular Man’s Laughter
Unbalanced combat falls to the ground and takes to the skies. There is a lack of rebel vehicles and support especially in-game modes that are dependent on vehicles and anti-vehicle weapons. Against all odd doesn’t really work well for rebels in the multiplayer arena. Anti vehicle weaponry is withheld to new players until later levels, which is counterproductive to the casual approach of the game.
Land vehicles like the AT-ST are fun to play while you can stay alive. Get in the right position and you can take out enemies from a far. However, I found myself dying quite quickly after spawning on Hoth. Even trying to hide behind a downed AT-AT couldn’t offer me any protection. It took awhile to find the vehicle pickup, and to be destroyed right after spawn was ridiculous.

Flying vehicles are equivalent to flying a Battlefield jet around in a death match map space. In the release version of the game, vehicles are too fast for the space you are given and controls are way to sensitive. If a game is made for PC, especially with the accessibility approach ever apparent, it’s surprising that flying vehicles are unnecessarily difficult to control. And that’s only the beginning. Speeder bikes for the forest moon of Endor are laughable. The controls are way too sensitive be default and using the mouse is a battle. Try steering a speeder bike and evading trees at the same time, hell I would crash into that tree myself! Controls and extra abilities from previous Battlefront games that made vehicles fun to use are gone.

Heroes & Villains!

You may be wondering about each character and how it affects game play. Well, as of release, picking the right Hero for the right game mode can result in long kill streaks. My longest streak lasted 20 kills with Luke Skywalker. Equally so with Darth Vader in the Beta. These characters are ridiculously good. But again, the game suffers unbalanced hero combat as players can dominate the field similar to a Call of Duty game. Time limits from the Beta should make a return.

Luke Skywalker wields his Return of the Jedi light saber and wardrobe. He is the opposite to Lord Vader with similar powers to influence the battlefield. Han Solo shoots first with his DL-44. His attacks are: shoulder charge, lucky shot, and charged shot. Princess Leia is more of a team player hero, and can bring along with her Alderaan Body Guards, which is an interesting dynamic choice in battle. She can drop pickups and shields to support other players. This is really the most coordinated you’ll have to be during Battlefront if you are lucky to even be a hero, let alone see a hero pick up.

In contrast, Darth Vader is the most fun character to play. Carrying his red light saber and dawning his cape, he’ll show you the wicked powers of the dark side. He is the most daunting with his saber throw and force choke. Oh I cringe when I hear the sound of a thousand throat muscles constricting. Emperor Palpatine is the funniest of the character, no really. He is like a super villain out there. Shoot lightning from your fingers or spin through the air like that one time he did that in Episode III. Emperor also can spawn bodyguards to aid him in battle. He seems really out-of-place, but compliments Leia the only way DICE could. Boba Fett is quite powerful, and another good reason to bring back time limits for Heroes. His jet pack is stronger than any other unlock. He is able to fly around and can become an easy target, but can gather range kills staying back from the fight.

Singleplayer Has Lost Its Campaign

No campaign, just training, ai battles, and “survival” mode. What happened to EA’s directive of only putting games up for sale that have both singleplayer and multiplayer? For a game that costs $79.99 at retail value is unacceptable. Any sort of excuse for a singleplayer in Star Wars Battlefront feels rushed, and could’ve been way better. For brief moments we see cut scenes of small exposition for what could’ve been. As a fan of Star Wars, I know that story matters, and for a game that could’ve made a significant impact, it left out a critical piece of art. All that remains is the finest piece of junk in the galaxy.

Money Talks

I’ll have my next thousand words for you, but first, we’ll let these images do the talking to let your anger flow for the next paragraphs…

“God, is that what I think it is? OK going 3rd party for this. Got it for a decent $50.”

“Imagine what it costs for Australians. NO! It gets better!”

“………… …… ……. …….”

“No really…. ….. …… ….. … …”

Other Issues

Disconnection problems have been occurring since the beta. Keep in mind I’ve only had this problem with this game. An EA game of course. I couldn’t reconnect so much so that I’d just close up the game after at least 20 tries. You know normally you’d be able to connect effortlessly like with Battlefield, or hell, even in Titanfall, but this would boot you out after waiting 20 seconds in the pre match lobby. No, longer, even after the map loads! This was by far the most frustrating aspect of the game. And even DICE was like…ya you lost connection to “EA Servers” hey not us!

Beta and Release Sound Clipping
Another issue that occurred with an EA game was sound clipping. Once I got the sound clipping issue figured out, I could enjoy the music and the true breadth of sounds available. I had to raise the bit rate of audio output to the highest to remove the clipping issue. Why this would be like this in Beta and at release is beyond me. How could they have not heard this? View the sound clipping issue if you’d like in my Drop Zone Beta Game play video. Anyways I fixed it. I could peacefully try to tolerate everything, and try to enjoy the game.

“I find your lack of [content] disturbing”
On to the real light and dark of the matter. I find the game’s lack of… content… disturbing. I could talk for hours about this, but I like to start with this comparison as it shows two distributors for who they really are. Let’s compare Battlefront to a popular Valve title in Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS GO.) Which game has more maps? CS GO. Which game has more weapons? GS GO. Which game is multiplayer only? Both! Ah ha! And that’s when you really think to yourself well which game will have more longevity and community…obviously CS GO. Price tag for CSGO? $16.99 I think you know where I’m going with this one…

Seduced By The Dork Side
Oh and before I forget another obvious thing lets go into the price tags… for standard edition alone it will cost you $79.99 (CAN) for the base game, but wait there’s more! For $10 more at $89.99 you will get extra worthless content including a ridiculously overpowered and unbalanced weapon that will kill you in pretty much one hit. I’ve seen servers littered with this awp..i mean OP weapon. Next lets jump to the ULTIMATE EDITION which according to EA is “yeeeeee the most populahh” Jesus fucking Christ. You know, I’m supposed to be reviewing the game content in itself, but this is god damn ridiculous. You know what I’m reviewing? The price tag for the game content that should be there! Cough up $159.98 (CAN) for the base game, worthless unlocks you can get while playing the game, and a season pass ($69.99 CAN) we know absolutely nothing about! This game should be worth $49.99 max. This has to be malpractice in the gaming industry. This is unethical. This is, oh what the hell, you’ll buy it anyway eh? IT’S A TRAP!

Less Is More?
If the ol’ saying “less is more” is fundamental to the way Star Wars is, then EA has seduced fans into purchasing less for more. EA. It’s in the game……if you pay $159.98 that is. For a publisher that once had the slogan…”Challenge Everything,” they have fallen off the side of their flat earth on this flat world view they now have of the average consumer. It seems like ever since they released Battlefield Premium, they could slowly raise the price of add on content, and gouge us as if we’d never notice. No wonder this company has gathered so much distaste.

Return of The Review

Load up a map and you’ll fall in love with the world you’re in because the fan boy in you will love that it looks and sounds like Star Wars. It’s a love hate. Feel me, I enjoy this game. Battlefront offers enjoyment in small bursts, and is fun to play for awhile. But any enjoyment fizzles out, because really this game was rushed/ realistically put together to cash in with the release of The Force Awakens. There were several years before, in which this game could’ve used to become legendary, but instead the developers chose to focus on what would sell the game to the fan boys and suckers who would buy this game in a heartbeat. In no way can you say this game lives up to the hype and the quality of its predecessors, because any positive would be followed up with an over glaring negative. We like to think less is more in the original trilogy, well at least Star Wars Battlefront lives up to that.

Beautiful environments
Quality sound design
Heroes and Villians are fun to play for awhile
9 gamemodes for different ways to play the game

Lack of content: only 4 worlds, no campaign,
Difficult PC controls for flying vehicles
Superficial customization
Balance issues, lack of teamwork required
Doesn’t live up to its predecessor, especially with modern standards for quality


Final Score 2.5 / 5

Buy it if you are a hardcore Star Wars fan!
Buy it from 3rd party for more respectable price, or later on sale if you can wait.
Don’t buy it if you have a distaste for EA, this will only fuel your hatred!

My Top Five Ghouls in Fallouts 3 and New Vegas (..aslo, Fallout 4 was announced!)

By Chris

Aha! Fallout 4 has finally been announced. This gives me a justifiable reason to write a Fallout entry, so the “slobbering fanboy” stamp can only be faintly applied to my forehead.

Okay, so let’s meet the obligatory spreading of hype before we get to my self-indulgent fun time. If you haven’t already seen the trailer for Fallout 4, you can find it at Fallout4.com. But let’s face it, you’ve already seen it, bitched about what’s sticking out of that Deathclaw’s back, did a double take at what appears to be the Mysterious Stranger sauntering down a noir-like post-apocalyptic street (which better be in the game, and hopped on the Fallout subreddit to gush. Hurray! Splendid! Jolly well done!

Now that we’ve dispensed with the giddy crap (which will resume in you probably hallway through this sentence, so I can really say what I want… humble flubble prop!), I wanted to take this opportunity to gush about one of my favorite parts of the Fallout franchise: Ghouls.

No wasteland is quite right without a healthy Ghoul population. With the loss of their skin due to radiation poisoning (don’t think about that too much), a voice like Nolan’s Batman whilst chain-smoking and the ever-present risk of turning feral looming overhead, Ghouls are reviled across practically all cultures in the wastelands; that is saying something in a universe where some asshole programmed a radio station A.I. to repeatedly play the song “Johnny Guitar” for people who have already suffered enough.

Ghouls are a pretty good conduit for exploring themes of discrimination, doom, loneliness, hopelessness and comradery. After striking out from the D.C. ghoul haven of Underworld, and the care of his adoptive mother, Gob is found banging desperately on a static-ridden radio to seep out a bit more distraction from his wage slavery to Moriarty in the Megaton’s Saloon. Scarred and maddened ghouls wander the skeleton of Bakersfield, helping to create their reputation as flesh-eating zombies, before being rampaged by hulking mutants. Deep in the Mojave, a cult of the dejected find hope in their leader’s plan to build rockets that will lift them to their promised land. These are a few examples of what this race adds to your wasteland wandering.

Moreover, Ghouls, with their extended lifespan (again, don’t overthink it), offer expansive historical and cultural insights. If nothing else, their experiences make them deliciously jaded, and you may find yourself laughing out loud at their sardonic humour.

So, without any further distractions, I would like to give you a list of my five favorite Ghouls from Fallouts 3 and New Vegas:

#5: Willow

willowAfter pumping these characters, I don’t blame you for rolling your eyes at this pick. Willow is the sentry for Underworld, which is situated in the old Museum of History in Downtown D.C. She is mostly there to establish where you are and what kind of relationship the Ghouls have with the outside world (spoiler: not a good one). What makes her so endearing to me is how laid back she is. Here she is in the middle of a warzone as the lone guard of a city full of the most hated kind of wastelander, and she is doesn’t so much as draw at the Lone Wanderer. Instead she confidently struts about her patrol, greets you, makes fun of you, makes fun of the giant Super Mutants that menace the area, then calls the other faction of hulking soldiers in power armor “those other assholes”. Why isn’t she a more fleshed out character, and why is she not a possible companion? I need more Willow in my life!

#4 Beatrix Russell

2015-06-03_00001Gun-toting cowgirl guard, booze enthusiast, and BDSM dom… I present to you, Miss Beatrix Russell. Again, the question is, “why can’t you recruit her as a companion?” Can we at least go on an optional bender with her that leaves you waking up naked in Cottonwood Cove’s slave pen with five thoroughly sodomized legionnaires scattered around your hungover carcass?

Mod community? Am I missing something?

#3 Dean Domino

2015-06-02_00004Little bit Rat Pack, an little bit Oceans Eleven, Dean Domino is a pre-war star with a silver tongue and a knack for explosives. Seriously, he kills things with explosives. He even threatens to blow your ass through your head when you first meet him. He’s kind of a dick, but he’s also got the smoothest sense of humour and a slick charm that can win you over, even if he is a raging hard-on.

#2 Carol

2015-06-02_00001The adoptive mother of Gob, Carol runs Underworld’s inn win her partner Greta. Yeah, Ghouls are progressive. Suck on that, Brotherhood of Steel!

Carol offers you a glimpse of what D.C. was like when the bombs fell, and the harrowing days afterwards. By describing her seeking refuge, losing her skin and hair and Ghouls banding together to form Underworld, she gives you a good once-over of the depressing birth of the Capital Wasteland.

She is also goddamn sweet. Grandma-level sweet. I have to kill Moriarty every play-through, because I can’t stand the idea of her finding out Gob is a slave in Megaton. And don’t you go telling that sweet old woman such terrible news, you bastard!

#1 Raul

2015-06-02_00002Raul Muthafuckin’ Tejada

The Old School Ghoul.

Raul is easily one of the best companions you can have in Fallout: New Vegas. Aside from his handy mechanical skills, Raul is an unstoppable sarcastic force of nature that will take the piss out of everything you accomplish or hope to accomplish in the wasteland. There are times I will stop in the middle of the Mojave and repeatedly engage the dialogue options. His smartass remarks never disappoint.

As if that wasn’t enough, he, like Carol, is a pre-war Ghoul with a story. In fact, his post-war experiences from Mexico City to Nevada provide him with a rich background, which he shares with the Courier as they travel the wasteland. Not to spoil anything, but if you play New Vegas, you have to finish his Old School Ghoul quest.

They Bleed Pixels


Review by Chris

One of my top picks for 2D platformers, They Bleed Pixels has the ideal blend of fast-paced action, frustrating (yet fun) obstacles and atmosphere. Today’s review is more of a heads-up. If you haven’t already picked up this game, jump on Steam and do so!

This is a Lovecraft-inspired hell of a platformer that takes you through a myriad of dark worlds, teeming with enemies ready to give you the day-one prison treatment. These enemies are, of course, accompanied by buzzsaws, pulverisers and death plunges into Mortal Kombat-style spikes. Though the backgrounds are a treat for the eye, the actual platforms can get monotonous when there isn’t a buzzsaw barreling towards you.


The combat is a few steps up from the hop-on-head style of Mario, but is still a fairly simple system, and is easy to get the hang of. The frustration is going to be in dealing with enemies in night, trap-filled quarters, or when you are jumping desperately from wall to wall with a banshee on your ass. You save your in-level progress by filling up a health bar and standing in a safe area to create a checkpoint.

The game follows the story of a girl who is sent to an academy for “troubled young ladies”. There, she discovers the Necronomicon (or what is heavily suggested by the theme of the game to be the Necronomicon). This book causes her to have a series of dreams that would most accurately be described as a cross between Hellraiser and a Pink Floyd music video. These are the levels through which you will be dashing, hacking, clawing and leaping to completion. She then wakes up with her hands covered in blood, and repeatedly tries to discard the tome to no avail.


This plot is told through pictures, and works well with the pixel/ink-textured storybook atmosphere. It isn’t The Count of Monte Cristo, but it serves the gameplay well. The main character has a simple design, with a badassery that is underscored by her FREAKIN BLOOD-SOAKED CLAW HANDS!

Once again, this review is more of an affirmation for the uninitiated. If you feel interested and are wondering if They Bleed Pixels is worth the money, it is.

Gone Home Review

gone home

Review by Ryan

Gone Home walks back and forth between video game and an interactive story, more so walking towards the latter and down memory lane. This review will be short, because the “game” is quite short. This experience is really only deserving talk, because of building storm of reception surrounding it. Gone Home is a love letter to those who appreciate the adventure mystery experience, or fourth wall-breaking novelty, and on the other side of the split reactions, there are those who would put the game down and go home.

Gone Home goes big in little ways, touching on modern and nostalgic themes, and is scattered around a mood-changing space to stir feelings across the spectrum. The setting is an empty home in a storm with a great accompanying soundtrack to some emotional responses. As you turn each page of the story and walk from room to room to room, information and images create feelings of someone else in the home with you. I couldn’t help have a feeling like I was being watched. Slowly and surely, you make your way to obvious ending location, with a surprising twist that provides closure of definitive subtext to the player who pays attention. If you look at your average gamer who would not pay attention to the little things, everything other than face value won’t matter. This game tries hard to make subtext matter, but the way you figure everything out, just really didn’t matter to me.

Clearly, gameplay doesn’t matter. There isn’t much gameplay beyond walking around an empty house, selecting items, and moving them around to reveal further context. This game could’ve been more than what it was released as. It is too minimalistic in its approach, and rarely touching in emotional responses, and more so touching in that you can touch almost everything in the entire house, but that’s it. It is what it is: a story-driven adventure game based on exploration and subtext. It’s a beautiful story that may be worth your time if you are curious. It is a rather uneventful game, yet I was glued to complete its very, very short but relevant story. Thought-provoking, but dry. Powerful in that something this small can create such a large reaction, but ultimately flat because of its own sense of importance.

I feel like the reception of the game is undeserving. After all, the storm is what got my attention. Don’t get me wrong, there is an experience here worth taking when you have some spare change in your pocket to buy it, but the over importance given to this game is beyond me. Maybe it’s because of the medium this story was released in, or that this topic is so relevant to some people they feel it would be appropriate to have a bias towards it. Gone Home has a good story much like any other good book containing literary devices, but is an incomplete experience. Not my cup of tea. Oh look a tea cup, let me pick it up and move it around. Go bigger next time, Fullbright.

Buy this game to form your opinion for a buck or two.

Bastion: A Review

Reviewed by Vladi

(Bastion Trailer)

Kid knows he’s the bee’s knees. He knows his game plays like a Caelondia tune on a fine-strung harp, and he don’t need to tell you twice. Hell, even once is one too many.

Ladies, bottom dwellers, and gentlemen, today we look at Supergiant Games’ Bastion. Bastion is an indie production developed in 2010. The game had much critical acclaim as it came out. It won the Game Critics Award at E3 for Best Downloadable Game, and was nominated for the Best Original Game at the same event. It continued to receive nominations, primarily for creativity and best soundtrack. All of them are well earned, as we are about to take a look at this beauty.

Bastion’s an action RPG set in in the fantasy world of Caelondia. Our story starts  as the Calamity has destroyed much of the known world. The floating cities of Caelondia have mostly all sunk. With civilization in tatters, the world is once again a savage garden, with monsters and bandits running amok, it resembles a very western Wild West. Our main protagonist is the Kid, a white-haired little bad-ass in rusty armor.

Kid means business.”

He remains entirely silent throughout this game. Our story is told entirely through our dynamic narrator, Rucks. Rucks has this amazingly bad-ass voice. It’s like a husky, Clint Eastwoodish, Film Noire voice. And the lines are written accordingly for it. I remember first playing this game, and a couple of minutes in, I more or less kept playing because I just wanted to listen to this guy say stuff. It’s really entertaining, and it really sets the mood/tone for the game. I’ve never before been impressed by a voice in a game, or narration for that matter. But this game knocked it out of the park with this narrator.

Unlike most games, you don’t have to trade one good thing for another. The gameplay is a lot of fun. You walk around platforms and use an arsenal of weapons to fight through levels. You have a good variety of weapons, all of which can be upgraded and equipped in different slots. The vista of possibilities really makes the gameplay enjoyable all throughout the game. If you get bored with one style, or it simply isn’t your thing, you can switch up your weapon slots, and thus change your approach to the combat. The customization is baffling in its simplicity. In fact, that is something I am going to come back to again and again with this game. Everything is very simple. It’s easy to do, and it provides for fun gameplay. You don’t have to spend hours learning how to play this game, you just pick it up and have fun. No need for tutorials or try-harding here.

“Kid needs to pick out his tools for pwnage. Folk in Caelondia loved killing things.”
“Now that the kid has something to pwn with, he needs to pimp it out. People in Caelondia loved pimpin’ their somethings.”

You’re also given one more way to customize your experience. We’re given the Distillery. Here you can activate potions you’ve managed to collect or buy along your adventure, which give you some form of enhancement. The cool thing about it is that there are sometimes trade-offs. You’ll get one good affect with a bad one. The Deardrum, for example, will give you 100% critical strike, but you have to be at 100% health to use it, making you have to play with great care and stealth. The Leechade will give you life-steal on strikes, but it will reduce Tonic potency by 66%, making you rely on your brute combat skill instead of special abilities. You have figure what kind of customization goes well with your style, or if fail that, just what would be pure fun.

“Kid has to choose his poison. Folk in Caelondia sure loved a drink.”

Now, if having an awesome Noire Clint Eastwood voice isn’t giving you an eargasm just yet, take this in. The soundtrack of this game is OUUUUUUUUTTTTTT offffff THISSSSS WOOOORRRRLLLLLDDDD! I don’t mean the ‘out of this world’ type where you youtube the first and last track once in a blue moon. I mean every single track on the list is off the hinges. Not only does it unhinge doors in every scene of the game, but it’s also addictively awesome to listen on its own. There’s a great versatility in the song roster. You get folk,  a bit of rock, some middle eastern tunes and everything in between. Just this crazy variety of sound and style you wouldn’t expect in just one game, or from just one composer. Darren Korb‘s the man. Between him and Logan Cunningham (Rucks), you’re in for an audiogasm.

Here’s a little sampler of the OST:

Honestly, in good conscience I can say that this is one of the best games I’ve ever played. At least one of the best all-around games. Nothing about it is strictly revolutionary, but it just does everything really, really well. You have gameplay that is engaging, entertaining, and easy to pick up. You have colourful and beautifully designed levels to draw you into the world that literally assemble before you as you discover them. You have a good story to keep you going. You have this great soundtrack to accompany your gaming experience, coupled with a narrator which adds all the colour and shading needed to give that extra dimension. Hands down, one of the best games created recently. I am not often impressed with games. There’s a lot of them that I like playing, or enjoy from time to time. But this game definitely did enough things right to earn my eternal props (can you really hope for more in life?) Definitely an amazing experience. Give Gaben your money and go download now!

Go on, Kid, give it a try.

Metro: Last Light

Review by Ryan

(Image Source: http://www.videogamesblogger.com/ )

“He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

In Metro Last Light, a single player-only adventure, you play as Artyom, who struggles with survival between hell on earth, and something worse underground. Based on a series of post-apocalyptic novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky, but not directly ported from, Metro: Last Light is a dark, chilling, and atmospheric tale of how one man holds the key to the saving of the many souls.

Image Source: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02572/lastlight_2572629b.jpg

Spoiler alert: there be monsters, Captain

While fighting through the reign of fire, you experience an open, but limited field to its game play, rich context, and strikingly beautiful environments. I haven’t felt a comparable journey since the pacing of Half Life 2. Minor gripes appear rarely, but are overshadowed by a great story. Metro: Last Light is a thrill ride all game developers need to be jealous of, and any gaming enthusiast needs to play.

It’s easy to feel immersed in the level design, and to build an immediate connection with the narrative woven throughout the world. Explore the radioactive surface of a war-torn Russia, finding filters to survive, but turn around only to see two mutants staring at you, drooling with hunger. Have a guard stumble upon your wheels, and kill him upon surprise with a knife to the head. Take on new enemy types as you progress through catacombs, swamps, and a moving train. And all the while making moral choices, and understanding your world, to decide the fate of the Metro.

(Image Source: http://videogamewriters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/xlarge.jpg)
On normal difficulty, Last Light offers a few glimpses of real scarcity in its survival with more than enough filters to breathe. Luckily, more difficulty options exist for those who like a more challenging experience. There are off-the-beaten-track moments of chilling horror with mysterious happenings that, in retrospect, appear cliché and out of place underneath the reign of fire atmosphere. Forgivable interfaces for purchasing weapon customizations are forgotten as well once you return to the action.

And that action is usually of your choice. Choose to be a pacifist, a panther, or a hunter. For me it was satisfying to try as many different approaches as possible to liven up the game play as it did have moments of repetition – necessary as they may have been for the story to stay on rails. On first play, those choices were leading me to an uncertain conclusion as to what ending I would achieve.

Replay value exists in the form of choosing different styles, and in exploring any moral choices you may have missed. Attention to the world around you is key, and determines your final choice. The more engaged you are in the story, the more you care about what people say, the more difficult your final decision will become. While there is no real physical reward for playing the game to its full potential, there is potentially a more rewarding outcome after completing the main single player campaign.

Despite some flaws here and there, this is an incredible experience during first play through. There is a lack of motivation to instantly pick it back up and play it over again. However, it is one of those games you will want to keep installed, because once you get on board, it doesn’t stop.


(Image Source: http://static.techspot.com/articles-info/670/images/metro-last-light-benchmarks.jpg)

Yet, there is one thing that is certain. Last Light, like its predecessor, is always going to be on sale for a great price during Steam Sales. And that is a steal for what you get in return. Everything about this game communicates a front-to-back care for the finest of details. Personally, this is a game that sets the bar high for the first person shooter genre, and must be a call to action to studios. Envy this, and try to do better. Metro: Last Light is one hell of a ride.

Rating: Steal!


(Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro:_Last_Light#mediaviewer/File:Metrolastlight.jpg)