Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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Let’s get two things out of the way straight off the bat. One; TSOT has some loading issues. I mean some serious loading issues. I don’t know why Obsidian find it so hard to ship a game before ironing all of the creases out of the finished product, but hey, that’s life. Now I don’t mean loading issues as in that the game is stuck on a loading screen for five minutes when you enter a shop. In that regard the game performs admirably. I mean that every time you move from one screen to another, or things get a bit hectic in battle, boy oh boy does this game lag and slow down to a near halt. An issue further exacerbated in a battle system that requires precise timing to pull off moves. Two; whoever was in charge of writing the magic tutorials in this game needs to be hung, drawn and quartered. Throughout your time in South Park you will be taught various magical fart techniques from different characters. Taught poorly I might add. As you mess up an instruction for the twentieth time only to have the npc chastise you and then explain to you again in a long vague manor makes for some incredibly frustrating moments.

PHEW! Glad I got that off my chest! Because here’s the thing, it might sound like I’m attacking TSOT, I’m not. I just needed to get those two niggles out of the way so we could focus on what makes The Stick Of Truth one of the funniest, well written and enjoyable licenced games of all time. Let’s begin shall we?

As I just said TSOT is one of, if not the, funniest game of all time. From the minute you start playing the game to the second you finish watching the credits scroll I guarantee you’ll be in hysterics. The game focuses around you, the new kid in town. After creating you’re character from a very generous character creation screen you are whisked away into Trey Parker and Matt Stones gloriously vulgar and satirical world. As the new kid in town it is your job to do what most new kids in town do. Go out and make friends. And it’s not too long after leaving the confines of your parents’ house you bump into Butters who in turn introduces you to everyone’s favourite fat ass Eric Cartman. It seems that all of the children of South Park are currently playing a Dungeons and Dragons style role playing game which has led to an all-out war over who controls the stick of truth and ultimately the universe.

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As expected, and in true South Park fashion, events quickly spiral out of control as the government, aliens, Nazi zombies and underpants gnomes get involved and swept away on the tide of beautiful ridiculousness. In a master stroke though, it never really leaves behind the fact that the events mostly play out in the background. Never losing sight that the children are just playing a game with each other. Having Matt and Trey write the story was perfect as you could probably easily cut all of the cinematics together and have one of the best seasons of South Park ever made.

The true star of the game is South Park itself. Apart from the occasional slowdown when transitioning from screen to screen it looks and feels exactly like an episode from the television series. From the jilted shuffling way everyone walks, right down to the camera angles and southern twangs on the guitar. Almost every building is open for exploration and literally stuffed to overflowing with references to past episodes. I’m not even kidding. I’m an avid South Park fan and have been since it started and I can’t think of a single character or item that isn’t represented or at least referenced in this game. One of the collectables in the game is the Wild Wacky Action Bike for crying out loud!

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The game doesn’t just draw on past glories to get laughs out of its audience however. It also does one of the best jobs of satirising modern videogame culture I’ve ever seen. From the constant Skyrim references that surround your characters ability to use fart magic, to a very memorable moment on a ufo collecting audio diaries that have been left by a disgruntled prisoner who just whines about the uselessness of audio diaries. It’s very fresh and very very funny. And then there’s Canada. Oh my days Canada! But I’ll let you discover that treat for yourself!

For anyone who played and loved Costume Quest then the battle system will feel like very familiar territory. Also not entirely different from the systems used in the various Mario rpg’s the fighting here is all down to your timing and reaction speed. Casting spells and attacking will require various waggles of the analogue sticks and button presses and defending yourself involves hitting the correct button when an enemy attacks you. It’s not perfect by any means as the response time can seem a bit out of sync and, as I mentioned, if the screen stutters when you’re at a key point in a qte that can sometimes mean a game over screen will shortly follow. Had it been in any other game I would probably be a bit harsher on it. However in a game where fights consist of things like Jimmy playing the ‘brown note’ causing enemies to soil themselves in diarrhoea and Kenny impaling himself by accident on his rainbow unicorn, it’s easy to forgive the game some of these things.

I feel that going into much more detail about what you do and who you meet would spoil some of the surprises that are in store for you, so I think I shall start winding my review down here. One last thing I will mention is the controversy over the censorship in certain scenes of the game. I caved in and paid the extra money to get the American version as I wanted to experience the game in its purest form. I have no personal experience over how the game is affected by taking these moments out. However after talking to a colleague of mine who is playing the UK copy, he said that the ufo scene (the first heavily censored one in the game) ended up feeling disjointed and broken. He is still enjoying the game though so I guess the only real question you need to ask yourself is how much does it mean to you to play the game without the little snippets breaking the immersion for you.

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And so we come to an end of the review. I loved this game. It is definitely not a perfect game and like I said, it has its fair share of frustrations. With that being said I have never laughed out loud so much and so often at a game, or dare I say it, an episode of South Park, as I did whilst playing TSOT. It is a game that will constantly have your jaw on the floor as you move from one outrageous task to the next. And to be honest, any game where I can go into work the next day and casually say that I fought a load of aborted, Nazi, zombie, baby foetuses last night, is a game that I’m proud to have in my collection.

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Don’t let the understated and almost mute appearance of Strider fool you in the opening of this game. What is about to follow is one of the most explosive and action packed metroidvania games released in recent memory.

Developed by Double Helix Games, the people who also bought you the Killer Instinct reboot on Xbox One, players once again assume the role of Strider Hiryu in this revisiting of the classic 1989 arcade game. However Double Helix have done more than just take the original and slap a new coat of paint on it. Rather than do that they have completely rebuilt and refocused the game from the ground up.

As I mentioned, Strider is now a metroidvania type game. And why is this a good thing? Well apart from being possibly the greatest videogame genre out there, it now gives us a chance to experience being Strider in his purest form. With the amount of backtracking, exploration and combat now implemented in to the game you really get a feel for being the all-powerful ninja like never before.

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For the first few minutes of the game it’s business as usual. You run from left to right, spamming the attack button. Don’t worry folks, Strider’s trusty Cypher is still in play, and his trademark laser katana makes very short and satisfying work of many of the cyber enemies you face early on. However after a few of the early bosses have been vanquished and you’ve upgraded you’re Cypher and abilities a little, you suddenly realise that this isn’t the Strider of old. As you cast cursory glances over your map you can see that various areas that were previously inaccessible you can now gain access to. Perhaps you had the wrong element Cypher for a certain door that you can now smash through. Or maybe that double jump ability you just acquired will now let you reach an impossible looking ledge from earlier. And this exploration is really where the meat of the game is. Straying from the path is a fun, and to be quite honest, necessary past time. Doing this will gift your Strider with a whole host of new upgrades. Be it energy tanks, health increases or just different costumes. Oh and did I mention that some of the unlockables offer up new bonus challenges outside of the main game? Well they do. These range from timing based platform sections where your nimbleness will really be put to the test. And combat challenges that pit you against ever difficult and challenging enemies.

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Now I say that backtracking is necessary as the difficulty in this game can spike in a couple of places. After you’ve played the game for a couple of hours you will really be getting into the swing of things, annihilating enemies with absolute ease, only to suddenly come up against an insurmountable boss who can obliterate you in a couple of screen filling hits. Now like I said this only happens in a couple of places and can be frustrating even with a fully upgraded Strider. However I believe that it is important to remember that this is and old school game with old school sensibilities. Perseverance and pattern memorisation is the key. Stick with it and the sense of achievement is palpable.

I think that the real place where Strider stumbles is in the music department. The whole affair is a rather muted one, with only a couple of little jingles and sound effects standing out. Honestly if you asked me to hum a tune from the game I couldn’t. Even with the music turned right up to the max in the settings it just seems to fade into the background.

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But with that being said that is the only quibble that I have with what I consider to be a phenomenal reboot. If you had played the Vita or 3DS versions of Batman Arkham Origins earlier on last year but found it to be a bit plodding, dull and trite, then believe me Strider is the shot of adrenaline you need. The well-paced gameplay is perfectly balanced with the, mostly, challenging difficulty curve. Bombastic, crazy, hard and always beautiful to look at it is a game that can without a doubt stand side by side with the likes of Guacamelee!, Metroid and Symphony of the Night.

Left Behind Review

Posted: February 22, 2014 in Reviews
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So after two extensive playthroughs and finally managing to pick my jaw up off of the floor, I figured it was time for me to weigh in on my opinions of Left Behind, the only single player DLC to come to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Just a quick word of warning, I am going to try and avoid getting into spoiler territory, however as the game is quite short it’s going to be quite difficult to talk about it without mentioning some key points. So if you want to take the game head on without any idea of what’s going to happen then take my word that this is an incredible piece of content and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Ok so let’s set the scene. Oh and spoilers here if you haven’t even played the main game. So where does Left Behind fall chronologically in Naughty Dogs post-apocalyptic earth? Well, remember at the end of The Last of Us Ellie tells Joel that when she was bitten in Boston she was with her best friend Riley? And Riley was also bitten? Well guess what? You’re about to play through those harrowing events. Fun right? There is also a tie in comic by the name of American Dreams that is set just before the events of Left Behind. Don’t worry if you haven’t read it. It’s not essential, however there are a couple of references that you will miss out on and it is nice to see the world fleshed out across different forms of media.

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Now you might think that going into this DLC and knowing what the outcome of the story is might work against Naughty Dog in bringing us a new perspective on the world of TLOU. I am very very pleased to announce that it doesn’t. In fact if anything this three hour emotional rollercoaster is just another example of how much of a daring developer Naughty Dog is. In the space of time it takes you to complete Left Behind they have thrown so many new ideas and innovations your way that it really did put me in mind of playing Portal for the first time. Not that this is a funny puzzle game. But the fact that like Portal, Left Behind manages to squeeze so many fresh and exciting new ideas into its short play time that you do have to sit back and think to yourself ‘why can’t other developers show this amount of creativity in a massive 40 hour long game?’

Again it’s really hard to talk about a lot of these things as they are so much fun to discover on your own that it would be a shame to ruin them. I will talk about my favourite one here though, so if you don’t want to know then I’ll let you skip onto the next paragraph. As Riley and Ellie are exploring the mall they come across an old arcade. Now of course the game cabinets are broken and derelict but Ellie really wants to play one. Riley takes her over to The Turning cabinet starring Angel Knives. Remember her? Ellie talks to Joel about it when they come across a similar cabinet in the future. Of course the cabinet doesn’t work. However Riley takes Ellie’s hands and tells her to close her eyes. As Riley then commentates on what is happening in the game a fighting hud appears around Ellie’s face as she takes instruction from Riley and you, the player, are given button prompts on what to do. Throughout the whole experience all you are looking at is Ellie’s face. But as she gets drawn into her imaginative game and it concludes on her smile of pure adulation you can’t help but smile along with her as you see the joy she is experiencing. It’s an incredibly touching moment. And definitely one of many.

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However this is The Last of Us, and as we all know a piece of DLC can’t all be about two girls hanging out at the mall. Time to talk about the combat. Now I’ve read in at least one other publication that they thought the combat felt forced and got in the way. I have to disagree. I think that every time you are facing enemies, be they Clickers or humans, it felt completely in context with what was going on in the story. It’s also really nice to be controlling Ellie in combat again. As she is a much weaker and smaller character than Joel you have to rely on stealth a lot more. There is also the new mechanic of luring Clickers and infected to human targets and watch them take each other out. Very satisfying indeed. I also feel that had there been less combat then the climactic finale would have felt a little flat. Word of warning, just when you think you’re safe is when you’re at your most vulnerable 😉

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To be completely honest I think that the only gripe anyone could possibly throw at this miniature masterpiece is the price of entry. Sure if you’ve already bought the season pass and are getting the most out of multiplayer then this hasn’t really set you back more than a couple of quid. However if you, like me, are mainly interested in single player content then you would have had to pony up £11.99. Now I know that this really isn’t cheap at all as far as dlc goes. You could also argue that the length of the game, 2-3 hours, doesn’t justify the asking price. Trust me. Play the game. Enjoy the story. And marvel at the revelations. Then tell me it wasn’t worth it. Furthermore, like I’ve said, I’ve already played through it twice and am now gearing up for my Survival play through.

It might not seem that I’ve talked about a lot but believe me this gripping adventure is filled with collectables, conversations and hidden titbits. It is very very unlikely that you will see everything in your first play through. Naughty Dog have once again outdone themselves and shown that they are still the greatest developers around and not afraid to take risks. If you own a PlayStation 3 then you owe it to yourself to see where Ellie came from and what she had been through before meeting Joel. Like I said, this is a masterpiece and will undoubtedly be one of the best things you play this year.

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Telltale are back baby!

For anyone who played the absolutely phenomenal episodic series of the Walking Dead last year the above statement should already have goose bumps of excitement racing over you. For anyone that didn’t let me fill you in very quickly on why Telltale have become such a big deal.

When the Walking Dead game was revealed a couple of years ago it was greeted with a rather muted response. This wasn’t the game we were looking for. Not only was the game brightly cell shaded and very cartoony looking. But also it was a point and click adventure game. How was a game based on a TV series based on a comic book known for its incredibly tense situations and sometimes harrowing sequences ever going to translate to a point and click? Well how incredibly wrong we were. Not feeling completely unlike like Heavy Rain, the Walking Dead proved to be one of the most emotionally driven, incredibly acted and gripping games of the generation. And it looks like Telltale are back with another belter.

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Based on the Fable series by Bill Willingham, The Wolf Among Us is once more a cell shaded episodic adventure series. However after raising the bar so high themselves last time can Telltale push it even higher when the only competition is really themselves?

The short answer is ‘yes’. Wolf Among Us is, so far, an incredible experience. I say ‘so far’ as only episode 1 is available at the moment. The subsequent 4 episodes will be getting released on a monthly basis. Anyone who has played the aforementioned Walking Dead or Heavy Rain will instantly feel at home. The main protagonist is guided through the story with the right analogue stick whilst the left is used as a curser for highlighting objects and characters in the environment. All interaction is done with the buttons on the right of the controller. Unfortunately having interaction mapped to the directional buttons seems to have been left out this time around which is a little bit of a shame as I felt that that was a more natural way to play the game.

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And what a game it is. As I said before Telltale are masters of characters and setting and The Wolf Among us is no exception. The basis is that years and years ago all the characters we know and love from all our favourite fairy tales and Disney movies all got exiled to an area of New York called Fabletown. You play as Sheriff Bigby Wolf (big bad wolf) whose job it is to protect the Fables from one and other. The attention to detail in the environment is absolutely incredible and is something that a lot of bigger developers could definitely take note of. For example one of the characters you interact with early on in the story is Toad (from Wind in the Willows) Toad lives in the slums of Fabletown with his family, and has an equally dirty mouth. Calling your character a ‘furry pricked gob shite’ behind his back. However it’s not until later in the game when you’re in his apartment you really getting a feel for the character. Anyone familiar with the Wind in the Willows will know that Toad is an avid motorist. And it’s when you see the display of hubcaps from his different cars that he owned in another life that you really get a pang of sympathy for him and a real feel for who Toad is.

Other little touches are the brand of cigarette that Bigby smokes. Huff and Puff. And the fact that his apartment keeps getting gate-crashed by one of the three little pigs. An alcoholic smoker by the name of Colin. Who believes that Bigby owes him after blowing his house down hundreds of years ago. It’s touches like this that make the game truly special.

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I wont go that deeply into the story as I don’t want to spoil anything but if you’re a fan of Film Noir there is a lot to eat up here. It’s quite conventional as noir goes to start with. A dame, a fight and a death. However as expected the extraordinary setting turns the conventions up to 11 and leaves the game on quite a startling cliff hanger. As in The Walking Dead your choices matter and will affect to some degree how the story plays out and presumably will eventually resolve. As you interact with characters you are constantly reminded that your responses will be remembered by them. The big choices in the game are a bit more obvious than The Walking Dead. Twice the game actually grinded to a halt in order to give me time to choose between two pivotal options. But rather than feel intrusive it is nice to take the time to weigh out the bigger choices you have to make. I will say that as you are playing as the law there are quite fitting elements of LA Noire thrown into the mix, except they don’t feel quite as dull and muddled as their counterpart.

The music also deserves a very special mention. You’ve seen Drive right? Well that’s kind of the score you’ve got here. And it fits like a glove. The low dull hum of techno electronic beats compliments the gritty neon slashed streets of downtown New York perfectly. Always unsettling and always waiting for you in the shadows.

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Like I said this is only episode one of a 5 episode series so there is still room for things to improve. Not everything is perfect. Frame rate still chugs in-between loading different scenes and as a result the game crashed twice on my second play through. This is a problem that was evident in Monkey Island, Sam and Max and The Walking Dead, and it’s becoming less forgivable as each new game comes out.

However tiny little gripes aside I can’t do anything but wholeheartedly recommend The Wolf Among Us. It’s a mature, graphic and unique game that pushes all the right boundaries whilst retaining an identity that is entirely its own. A superb game with depth that demands multiple playthroughs for you to see all it’s hiding.

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GOOD MORNING WORLD! Ok so I know it’s been a while but not to bore you with the details apparently planning a marriage takes up more time that I initially thought. That and Borderlands 2 and all its glorious DLC isn’t gonna play itself right?!?

Ok so here we go again. Just a tiny little review of a brilliant little IOS game to get me back into the swing of things! And the game in question is Rayman Jungle Run!

This game is the perfect example of two things. First, it’s the perfect example of how to make and update an iPhone game. Secondly it’s a perfect example of a developer not being lazy and just porting over a mobile version of the original console game.

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See Rayman Origins is one of the finest examples of the platforming genre this generation. Old school in its difficulty and requirement for the player to have pinpoint precision with the controls, it would have surely been a mess on a touch screen gaming device. No doubt requiring the player to use those nasty virtual touch screen directional buttons. Yuck. So rather than do that, Ubisoft have gifted the world with an all new Rayman game, albeit in the same glorious cartoon style that mimics Origins and now Rayman Legends.

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The whole premise of the game is that you start off with four worlds that each showcase Raymans different abilities, jumping, flying, wall running and punching. The player is then propelled forward through each stage like an infinite runner a la Jetpack Joyride or Canabalt. So instantly the issue of having to use directional buttons is nullified. All the player has to do is worry about tapping two buttons. One for jumping and one for punching. This creates one of the most streamlined and enjoyable mobile platforming experiences to date.

In each stage there will be 100 Lums (little yellow glowing fly things) to collect. Often this proves a tough but thoroughly addictive challenge. Do this and then you will get a red tooth. Collect 5 of these and then you will unlock an underworld level for that stage. Now these are tough! REALLY TOUGH! I’m not even exaggerating! These are some of the hardest levels in a platfroming game I have ever come across! There are no Lums to worry about in these stages, just pure hard-core platforming! However they are designed so well that you cannot help but try, try and try again! And the feeling of accomplishment that you get when completing one of these stages is palpable!

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The music is taken straight from the console games but changes each time you play or retry a level. A small but ingenious stroke. This means that on the tougher stages that you are constantly retrying you are never bombarded with the same tune again and again!

So there you have it. At this point in time Rayman Jungle Run has also had a lot of free updates. Most of which have bought whole new worlds for you to tackle bringing the grand to total up to seven. And all of these updates are free. The only micro transaction in sight is for new character skins which is a measly 69p. this is how IOS gaming should be. A perfect game. go buy it!

Oh there are also lots of wallpapers to unlock and achievements to obtain….GO BUY THIS GAME NOW!

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Blood Dragon is the perfect piece of stand-alone DLC. Much in the same vein as others that have come before it, Infamous, Sleeping Dogs and Red Dead Redemption, it is an expansion that removes itself entirely from the lore and sensibilities of its predecessors. Infamous Festival of Blood was all about Vampires and Sleeping Dogs and Red Dead Redemption continued the horror trend with ghosts and zombies. Now as much as it was fun to hear about these expansions I am sick to death with zombies and the un-dead this generation. So I was over the moon when the teaser poster for Blood dragon was released and it looked like someone had vomited the 80’s everywhere! The neon, the heavy metal logo, the wire frame mountains and the deep hues of navy blue and dark purple. I couldn’t have been more hyped if I tried. I just hoped that this wouldn’t be another bland stand-alone disappointment. It wasn’t!

Blood Dragon starts with a glorious 32bit style cut-scene that is as ridiculous and far-fetched as it is funny! The game is set in an alternative 2007 (you remember those sci-fi action films from the 70’s and 80’s that showed the year 2000 as a war torn holocaust? Yeah, this is that!) And the world is recovering from the fallout of Vietnam War II. You play as main protagonist Sergeant Rex Power Colt. A renegade soldier who, to quote the game, is part man, part machine, ALL cyber commando. And his mission is to thwart a cyborg army called Omega Force and save the world from another nuclear catastrophe like the one that befell Canada!

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So far so silly. And it doesn’t stop there. During the game Rex will jump the shark (literally), ride self-aware cyber blood dragons and assassinate this world’s version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Short as this game may be it never lets up on the action. Like Far Cry 3 you still have an open world to explore but it’s much smaller and much more traversable than its predecessor. This being said the map is still full to the brim of cyber demon wildlife to hunt, enemy barracks to liberate, side missions and a plethora of collectables to seek out. And this is a game that wants you to succeed. Very early on you can unlock maps that show you where all the collectables are. This makes exploring and hunting feel like much more of an adventure and less of a slog.

Levelling up Rex has also been streamlined for a quicker less hassle experience. Gone are the skill trees of FC3. Instead every time Rex gains a level he will gain a pre-selected ability. This ranges from an extra health slot to increased speed and reduced noise whilst in stealth mode. Thus away is taken the stress of deciding where to drop skill points.

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The weapons also deserve a special mention as they are a joy to mess around with. Not since Borderlands 2 has a game made me smile as much as when I’ve upgraded some of these machines of death. You start off with the basics (all of which are named to reference some awesome action films. The shotgun is aptly named the Galleria 1991, a direct reference to the Terminator films) but soon these are pimped up to the max! My basic one barrelled shotgun is now a quadruple barrelled explosive flame ammo’d weapon of mass destruction. And it kicks ass!

The main story arc isn’t that long but the distractions in this dingy violet world are vast. Every time you liberate a base this then unlocks side quests which in turn upon completion award you with exp, money and new upgrades for your arsenal. So there is soooo much here to keep you occupied. Even after the main story is done you are free to explore and maim to your heart’s content whilst you strive to obtain 100% completion.

The music is also fantastic. A mixture of grimy sci-fi clichés such as the Aliens or Terminator themes. To full out full blown awesome 80’s cock rock! Seriously there is very little time for you to frown during the course of this game as you’ll be smiling so much.

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I only have very two tiny little niggley niggles with the game. The first is that I played through on normal and the game goes very quickly from being fairly challenging to a walk in the park. Mainly due to the very generous amounts of experience that is handed out for very nearly everything you do. And the other is that WHERE THE HELL IS THE FINAL BOSS FIGHT?!?! The end of the game does a brilliant job of ramping up the tension and action for what is surely going to be one of the greatest fights in videogame history, only to relegate it to a short 32bit cut scene. For shame. It did make me feel a little short changed after enjoying the journey to this point so much.

And finally a very quick word on the stars of this masterpiece, the blood dragons themselves. Towering and menacing, these neon striped beasts really are a force to be reckoned with. Not only are these deceptively large hulks quick on their feet (claws?) but they can also shoot freakin’ lasers from their eyes! YEAH FROM THEIR EYES! However they can be of help to you in the game. You see every time you loot the body of a fallen enemy you take their cyber heart. Now cyber hearts just so happen to be a blood dragons favourite treat. So after you have stealthily infiltrated an enemy base and lowered the shields surrounding it, just find yourself a nice quite spot and toss a heart into the middle of the barracks and sit back and enjoy the carnage as one of these unstoppable beasts tears it apart for you!

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That about wraps things up really. There still feels like there is so much to talk about and go into but half the fun is finding all these silly easter eggs and references yourself. Like I said at the start this really is a perfect slice of gaming. At £11.99 you definitely get your money’s worth. With so much content, action, humour and gameplay at your fingertips you will probably be left asking yourself, as I did, why can’t some full blown full priced retail games be this good? Well stop wasting time listening to me wax lyrical for another hour. Go and download this game. It’s a simple as that! You won’t regret it!

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When you think of Resident Evil what do you crave? Limited ammunition? Tough creative bosses? A whole complex to explore with plenty of backtracking and a secret underground lab? Silly dialogue? Crazy buildings designed by insane architects with a fascination for weird keys?

Then stop right there! You are obviously an old school RE fan who has been left wanting a classic feeling RE game since Resident Evil 4. If you do fall into this category then I strongly urge you to go out now and pick up a copy of Resident Evil Revelations HD and enjoy the best RE game this generation! Everything I mentioned in the list above is here in this game, whole and intact!

Whoever it was at Capcom that suggested that the series returned to its roots needs a goddamn raise. Everything about this game feels like classic Resi!

The game is set in-between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and you will get to experience play as Jill Valentine for the most part whilst occasionally jumping into Chris Redfield’s shoes and a few other forgettable characters. The main game itself is set on the SS Queen Zenobia. A huge abandoned pleasure ship where Chris Redfield’s tracker went dark. So it’s up to the other protagonist from the original Resident Evil and her partner Parker Luciani (the least annoying of the new characters) to track down the ship and find Chris.

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Like I said the majority of the game is set on the Zenobia, and acts as a huge explorable environment just like the mansion or RCPD police department from previous games. But fear not, the environments are just as varied as the review scores for RE6. You will be exploring abandoned casinos, wartorn shopping malls to grand brightly lit halls. The narrative will occasionally take you to some other environments such as a snowy mountain range or a Hunter infested Office block. As I said these areas aren’t as much fun as the boat. Mainly because it detracts from the main story and you just find yourself wanting it to be over as soon as possible so you can get back to the fun of exploring the Zenobia with Jill.

And boy oh boy exploring the Zenobia feels GREAT! It is classic hardcore RE down to a T! In place of generic zombies are a whole new plethora of tough slimy enemies created by the new T-Abyss Virus (yeah, I know). You will constantly be on edge as these slippery bastards can appear from anywhere! Another welcome trope that returns is the scarcity of ammo. In many a chapter I found myself completely out of bullets with only a knife to defend myself. I personally loved this as I had to re teach myself the joys of ammo conservation.

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Furthermore in relation to the exploration, SILLY KEYS ARE BACK! And they all have a navel theme (anchor key etc). You will find yourself on many an occasion, as you wade through old reports and journal entries, chuckling to yourself as you read about why certain mechanisms and keys were necessary in the creation of this ship. It’s just all so dumb but never the rubbish Michale Bay dumb that 6 aspired to. It’s more of an endearing dumb. Think if Amanda Bynes was a computer game.

Combat is fine. More along the lines of Resident Evils 4 and 5 than 6. Nothing to write home about but it does the job perfectly. One noticeable change to proceedings is the Genesis Scanner. Pressing the appropriate button will let you scan the immediate area for hidden items and clues. You can also scan enemies and after a certain amount of them have been scanned you will be rewarded with a green herb. This is neither here nor there for the most part as herbs aren’t that uncommon but it is an invaluable tactic during the games ultra-tough boss battles.

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Then after you have exhausted everything the Zenobia has to offer there is Raid mode to tackle. This is a mode that can be done either in single player or multiplayer form and is pretty comprehensive and deep. Think of this as mercenaries with a bit more bite and varying objectives. You have a vast array of characters to choose from, all with their plusses and negatives. For example Jill is an expert with a pistol but won’t wield a shotgun as effectively as Chris. All characters can be leveled up, as well as equipped with their own individual loadouts. BP (the currency used in Raid mode) can be used to buy new weapons, ammunition, upgrades and buffs. My one major gripe with Raid mode is that ammo does not reset for each match. So say, for example, you use start a match with 8 magnum rounds and use them all in that match, when you start a new match you will still have no magnum rounds. You either have to spend BP on replenishing your ammo or wait until you find some in a game.

Finally a quick shout out for the score of the game. In a word, brilliant. Suitably eerie, sweeping orchestral music haunts your ears as you search the dilapidated surroundings of your sea bound tomb. Always managing to keep you on the edge of your seat without ever feeling like it’s intruding on the experience. It spookily echoes the genius that was the music score of the original RE.

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And talking about echoing the series roots, the game does end with a hint that Jill and Chris will be returning for another outing in a similar vein to Revelations. ONLY THIS TIME IN A MANSION! If that’s not reason to get hype bananas up to the eye holes then I don’t know what is!!!

So there you have it, a fantastic, but not perfect, return to form for a beloved and cherished franchise. This may not be the absolute return to form that die-hard fans have been wanting for so long. But it is without a doubt a step in the right direction! Go and buy this game and step once again into the world of survival horror.