Category Archives: Game Reviews

Half Life Creatures

Yo, after playing Half Life: Alyx, I felt like drawing some alien creatures. I’m also quite tempted to play the other Half Life games, as this was my first.

I believe it’s been two years since I’ve drawn anything on paper, so it’s nice to see that I can still do it! I may even draw more stuff – who knows?!

I’ve started playing Pokemon Sword now – I quite like the graphics and presentation, despite the low Switch specs, and I love how they replaced the random battle system. But they’ve definitely cut a lot of corners: Cutscenes beg to have voice acting, some animations are really bad, home interiors look copy and pasted, many Pokemon icons are too small to make out, routes and towns feel shallow and linear, and Pokemon still don’t have proper cries (except for Pikachu). Oh well.

I never finished Pokemon Clover btw. I loved it, but in the end the difficulty was just too insane for me. I couldn’t beat Prof. Stump, and I swear the AI cheats.

EBF5 Speedrunning

Hey guys, here’s an EBF5 speedrun video that shows off some glitches in EBF5. You can glitch your way to different parts of the map if you change your save file at the right time. I think preparing multiple saved games in advance may be cheating though…

Here’s a speedrun of the first area without any glitches.
I do wonder if EBF5 will be as much fun to speedrun as EBF4 was, as that one had some really fun glitches.

In other news, I’ve been tinkering with my mobile gaming setup.
Pokemon Clover is a fantastic ROM hack – I grin like an idiot when playing it – but I can only recommend it to people who love edgy meme humour. I’m looking forward to trying more creative Pokemon hacks.
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PlayStation VR Review

Hey guys, I’ve been playing a lot of PSVR this month, and it’s been a really awesome experience overall.

But let’s get the negative stuff out of the way first:
• It’s definitely not good value for money. Getting the headset and new controllers will cost you almost as much as a new console, on top of needing to own a PS4. A lot of the games that are available are also quite short, so expect to burn through some cash.
• Apparently the VR controllers are out of stock everywhere right now, so I haven’t had a chance to try them yet! For now I’m stuck with games that use the normal PS4 controller.
• Many games will make you feel motion sickness instantly. In most cases you will quickly get used to it with some practice, but there’s some games that many people will struggle with. So depending on your tolerance, you may be limited to certain types of games.
• If you love very high resolution and realistic graphics… you’re not going to get that here. The graphics on VR games are going to look at least one console generation out of date. Each eye only sees half of a 1080p screen!
• Kids aren’t even allowed to play it! I’m assuming no company wants to accidentally discover the long-term health consequences of VR on kids.

All of those points make it a hard sell for most people. But if you’re an adult who has money and only a limited amount of time to play games, then VR offers a huge variety of experiences to try out. So here’s some quick reviews of my favourite games so far. What I can say about all of these games is that they’re really immersive! When you put on the headset you really feel like you’re suddenly in a different location, and that’s a really cool feeling that can be exploited in many ways.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission

This is a must-play game. It’s basically a 3D Mario game, which surprisingly translates very well into VR. You are the camera, and the whole gimmick of the game is moving your head around to find secrets and to get different views of obstacles, while controlling your robot like you would with Mario. It’s a game that feels familiar and fresh at the same time, and is easy enough for anyone to try it. It really should have been a launch title, as it shows off what the new hardware can do – both the VR headset and the motion controls on the PS4 controller. I’ve historically hated motion controls in games, but we’ve come a long way since the Wii, and the hardware and game design makes great use of them. The music is also catchy as hell. I can’t recommend this game enough, but it’s really hard to explain why it feels so good to play this.
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WipEout Omega Collection

It’s a sci-fi racing game in VR, and just like you’d expect, it will probably make you feel sick instantly. After a lot of practice, I can play it for a few hours now, but the dizziness never completely went away. It helps a lot if you only look forward – which is probably what you should be doing while driving anyway. About the game itself, well, it’s nothing too special. Since it’s essentially 3 games-in-one, there’s a ton of content, and it can keep you busy for a long time if you want.

Moss

If Astro Bot is Mario, Moss is a lot like Zelda. There’s platforming, puzzles, hack and slash combat action, and a simple fantasy story. The animations and scenery are really cute, and you feel like you’re a giant that’s sitting in a comfy little mouse world. This game should cause you no nausea, since there’s no motion to speak of – you always sit in a fixed place on each map. That makes it another good title to start with. However, the game is really short. It honestly feels like half a game. It’s great fun while it lasts though.
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Resident Evil 7

I was dared to play this one, but it turned into my favourite horror game ever. There’s a few janky moments where you are reminded that you’re playing a video game – like for example when you occasionally see your arms float around detached from your body because you’ve sat back further in your chair. But for the most part it works really well in VR, and all of the horror aspects are more exciting and immersive. The hiding segments feel especially natural, when you’re trying to peak around obstacles by moving your head around. The game difficulty is quite reasonable for a survival horror casual like me. The bosses are creative, the pacing is excellent, and there’s even a decent amount of humour in the game. Overall fantastic experience. Even if you’re too scared to play it yourself, it’s worth watching someone else play it.

Robinson: The Journey

Here’s a sort of adventure game about dinosaurs. It’s quite a casual game – not far off from being a walking sim, but there is fair amount of simple puzzles and platforming. It’s all about exploring alien jungles, climbing cliffs, and scanning weird creatures, while being accompanied by your pet dinosaur and a helper robot. A nice little experience, but once again, this game is very short.

I’ve also recently started Battle Zone and Here They Lie, which also seem to be very good games.

Playstation 4 Binge

Hey guys, I borrowed my brother’s PS4 over the holidays, and played through some great games. Figured I’d write a few quick reviews about them as I’ve got some thoughts, so here it goes.

Inside
Inside has some of the most fluid animation I’ve seen in a game. Every movement feels incredibly natural: The way your character stumbles after a jump, objects flexing as you walk on them, the way background characters react when they see you, and so on. It’s a spooky puzzle-platformer game that tells a story without words, and does it well. It’s a good game to study if you want to see how much feeling can be conveyed with relatively simple graphics.

Unfortunately, it’s very similar to Limbo, which is a good thing, but also makes it feel much less groundbreaking. I’ve already played something like this before.

The Last of Us: Remastered
The Last of Us is a masterpiece. It’s the first game I’ve ever played where I would consider the storytelling to be as good as a top-notch TV show or a movie. The cutscenes are exciting, and the scenery is detailed enough so that areas in the game actually look like real places. Even the gameplay enhances the story: The characters visibly work together, get power ups as a result of story progress, and actions have consequences. It’s all tied together.

Also the general variety of pacing and combat is very refreshing. You may be fighting thugs, soldiers, or zombies. You may be chased, ambushed, navigating complex terrain, stealthing your way through an obstacle course, or just having an all out shoot-out. Each enemy encounter in the game felt different, and the game rewarded taking your time and experimenting with approaches.
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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
If you’ve heard anything about this game, it’s probably that it’s an incredibly slow-paced walking sim, where your character can’t run. This is very accurate, but I feel like it adds to the weird dream-like atmosphere. It’s much easier to enjoy if you play it first thing in the morning or just before bed, when you’re very sleepy. I thought the voice acting was great, and I liked the way characters were portrayed as glowing lights – it meant that you could imagine real people instead of falling into the uncanny valley of modern games. Anyway, it’s different from any game I’ve played before, and if you’re in the right state of mind and don’t rush it, it’s easy to look past its flaws.

Until Dawn
Until Dawn is a fun interactive-horror-movie to play with friends. It’s got some very pretty graphics – though the framerate is noticeably less than 60fps. There’s a lot of story branches, and although I’m unlikely to play through the game again, it’s still fun to talk to other people about how many characters died in each other’s playthroughs.
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Call of Duty: Black Ops III
I played through the campaign mode just to say I’ve completed a Call of Duty game, but apparently I didn’t pick the best one to start with. I found the gameplay and story excruciatingly boring. There’s no sense of pacing: Every mission is just over-the-top action and chases and explosions – there’s no stealth missions, or moments to enjoy the scenery, or time to question the choices I’ve made in the game. It just flies down a linear path at a constant full speed. The characters are as bland and shallow as they can be – I don’t think any of them ever told a joke or talked about their history at all. The dialogue is mostly made of military cliches. The enemies types become repetitive very quickly.

Also I just outright suck at CoD. I’m okay at other FPSs: I can play Doom or Halo. But something about CoD just never clicks with me, and I die a lot even on easy mode. I can’t tell which guns to use in which circumstances, nor how aggressively I should be moving forward. *shrugs*

Doom
I’ve already played new Doom several times on my PC, but only on the lowest settings (being 5 or 6 years old, I suppose it’s good that my PC can run it at all). I played it again on PS4 to compare graphics and controls – and woah does it look good on a huge 4K TV. Until I get a new PC, I should probably enjoy AAA games on console for a while.

Anyway, I definitely prefer playing FPSs on PC – mouse controls are more accurate and it’s much easier to switch weapons with all the keys you got. But Playing with a controller wasn’t too bad. It’s still nice to have the comfort of sitting on your couch.

Oh, and Doom is a great game. Probably my favourite of 2017.
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Alwa’s Awakening Review

Hey guys, today I finished Alwa’s Awakening, here’s a little review.
It’s a charming NES-style platformer that’s enjoyable if you can be patient with it’s flaws.
alwa's4The platforming is quite slow paced, with the challenge being more about planning your actions in advance, rather than muscle memory and super fast reactions. So it likely will play a bit differently than what you might expect, and if you’re expecting something fast paced you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

Also the game is a bit rough around the edges, and there’s some parts that look a bit rushed. Such as, well… the ending. A slightly more complex upgrade system could have helped make things more interesting too.

But if you can look past all that, the game offers some unique gameplay mechanics (you can create blocks and bubbles to aid in platforming and combat) and super appealing art, and should keep you busy long enough to justify the price point.

I’d definitely like to see a sequel or similar game with improved gameplay and polish.

Anyway, I’m always looking out for NES style games because the style really appeals to me. Is there any great ones you know of? Besides the obvious stuff like Shovel Knight, 1001 Spikes, etc.

I feel like there’s a lot of them out there, but few that do a really great job of bringing the best elements from the past and present together.
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