The Forest is a cracking survival-horror game that emerged onto Steam in Early Access a couple of months ago, and instead of playing it then, I decided to wait until July, which is traditionally a lovely quiet month, where AAA titles can be put to one side to allow for the sampling of exquisite indie treats and that backlog of games "that I've totally been meaning to play" can be trimmed down before silly season kicks off.
But then I (somehow!) convinced myself to play 50 hours of Watch Dogs. And then the Destiny beta turned up. And then The Crew beta turned up. AAAAARGH!
Even so, I'd wanted to check out The Forest for some time after having it recommended to me my several trusted colleagues and friends, and now I have. It's pretty damn good too.
Everything kicks off it Lost-meets-BioShock fashion. There's a plane crash, you land in a lush forest, it seems like you're the lone survivor, and right at the start you're introduced to a seemingly indigenous chap who carries off the only other passenger with you on the plane -- a young boy. The lack of passengers is probably an alpha thing, and therefore the presence of the young lad (Son? Nephew? Kidnap victim?) is clearly important. You probably have to save him as some sort of endgame objective.
As you'll see in the video, much of the early game is all about foraging for supplies -- rocks, sticks, food, etc. -- and fashioning yourself shelter and a fire. You've got a very handy survival guide that tells you exactly what you need to build structures and furniture, making the level of entry fairly low. But then it starts raining and your fire goes out and you can't find any sticks and you begin to freeze and you eat the wrong berries and die of food poisoning.Click here to read more...
This is how you do survival horror. Just you, a motion tracker, a space station running on dodgy backup power so there are light out all over the place, jumpy human NPCs with itchy trigger fingers, and one of the most terrifying, monstrous creations we've ever had the privilege of being utterly scared by.
Being powerless is something that Amnesia deployed to great effect, but that was combined with some semblance of the unknown. As much as ignorance can be bliss, the fear of the unknown can be a powerful thing. Not knowing what horrors await you can be chilling indeed, and I have to say I wondered how Creative Assembly would go about breathing new life into a creature that lost some of its impact to scare us as its films became more and more action-oriented. I needn't have worried. The clue is the lack of a plural in the title.
The story takes it's lead from Ridley Scott's Alien, set fifteen years after the original film. The flight recorder from the Nostromo has been retrieved and taken back to a space station called Sevastopol. However, communication with the station has been lost, and so a team is sent in to investigate, one of whom happens to be a Weyland Yutani employee by the name of Amanda Ripley, Ellen's daughter. Our demo began in the San Cristobal medical wing of the station, with Amanda tasked with reaching a sort of makeshift base of operations, probably set up by her colleagues. The first-person controls feel a little sluggish at first, but this is not a twitch shooter, and although focusing on items feels a little floaty to begin with, it doesn't present a huge problem. You have your motion tracker, bound to a shoulder button, you have your map available from the menu. Both will prove invaluable.Click here to read more...
It's a bright sunny day and the walk through London to the Bethesda offices has been glorious, albeit stuffed with wide-eyed, open-mouthed tourists in shorts and summer dresses. There's a smile on my face, I'm listening to a playlist of pop-punk and surf rock and Eels. I haven't a care in the world. Ten minutes later, I'll be sat in a darkened cubicle in a pitch black room, grimacing as a reanimated doctor claws the flesh from his own face, and wanting to reassess all of my life choices.
Two hours later and Mark, our Bethesda rep, will laugh at me for almost jumping out of my seat several times and swearing very loudly during my hands-on with The Evil Within. Shinji Mikami is back on point with this game, and it shows.
In terms of the plot, I couldn't tell you what the hell was going on, so all I had to go on was the blurb we've all read time and time again since last year: There's a detective named Sebastian Castellanos who comes across a powerful force upon investigating a recent mass murder. This otherworldly power kills a bunch of Seb's fellow officers, he gets knocked unconscious, and when he comes to his living in a world filled with hideous, hungry, zombie-esque monsters.
The first of the two demos we tiptoed through saw us arriving at in a village, seeking out the patient of a mysterious doctor companion who might know what the hell was going on. We found one of the doctor's colleagues first, tucked away downstairs in the basement of one of the larger houses, burbling away to himself. Presumed missing, he was in fact the aforementioned nutcase clawing away his own skin, hacking away at a body on the table in front of him. A little bit of snooping revealed that there was an object of interest buried inside the cadaver on the table. Only the cadaver hadn't really finished dying, it seemed, so when we cracked open its chest, it burst back into life for a brief second or two, and I promptly ruined my pants.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | PC
Developer: Zombie Studios
Horror games have seen something of a resurgence in recent years on the PC platform, while the genre has slowly bled out on the consoles. But with the renewed indie focus on the PS4, perhaps the things that lie in the shadows and lurk under our beds are set to make a return.
Recent PS Plus freebie Outlast may have been a repetitive effort, but there was no denying that its first-person viewpoint, jumpy moments and sickeningly foreboding atmosphere were excellently put together. You’d certainly be forgiven for confusing it with today’s game, Daylight. Hell, until this arrived on my desk, I’d mentally absorbed it into the same game as Outlast. However, despite the hospital setting and first-person perspective, this is a very different game. And not in a good way.
You play as a woman that wakes up in an abandoned asylum with only a mobile phone and a lack of memory to go on with. The phone occasionally rattles out strange voicemails from who we presume is responsible for dumping her there. That’s about as much premise as you get.Click here to read more...
This is the first time I've seen ZombiU for less than a fiver, making it well worth a look for any adult Wii U owners. With no Dark Souls games to peel your finger nails off on the Wii U, ZombiU is your best bet for punishing gameplay. It also has some clever uses for the gamepad screen to add atmosphere. So, perhaps one for the more hardcore gamer out there. Try not to destroy that gamepad screen if you're prone to rage-quits though.
Thanks to BuzzDuraband at HotUkDeals.
Is all this weekend's random sunshine and warmer temperatures getting you down? Well, just in-case it lasts, pick up a copy of Dead Space 3, shut the curtains and enjoy its frozen wastelands packed with murderous knife-faced necromorphs. Co-op features for the first time in the series and is well worth a shot, although we'd advise playing through the campaign solo first if you're looking for a few scares.
Thanks to BargainHunter54321 at HotUkDeals.
Despite being an improvement over Resi 5 and Raccoon City, we're still a long way off the glory days of the series. However, this deal offers great value for money. You're essentially getting three different campaigns for under a fiver. One is action-heavy like recent games, while another attempts to return to the older vibe of taking on shuffling zombies in creepy locations. We don't really like to talk about the melee-centric campaign though. Despite being able to finally move while shooting, the controls still feel incredibly dated and sluggish.
Thanks to DDELZ at HotUkDeals.
I love the Wii U GamePad. It's a fantastic piece of kit in terms of build quality and comfort (let's forget the crippling battery life for a moment), with a screen that should allow developers to offer new features and radical usability improvements with context-sensitive icons. Unfortunately, very few games actually use it to any great effect beyond just being another regular controller.
However, an incoming Fatal Frame sequel could change all that.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II will prove to be one of gaming's true Marmite titles this year. Fans of all things horrible, mean and stabby will love it's relentless difficulty and cruel nature, while others will spend their time gaming in a brightly lit room wishing they'd never tried a Souls game. But Zavvi are inspiring a brave purchase with the cheapest price we've seen yet. So, if stubbing your toe or getting parking tickets gives you a chubby, head on over and ask Zavvi for a punch in the face / a copy of Dark Souls II. Be sure to check out some of Carl's videos for the game too by scrolling through our past coverage here.
Thanks to theg at HotUkDeals.
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley has outlined in greater detail the approach to monetisation that the company will be taking with upcoming free-to-play zombie survival title H1Z1.
As we reported yesterday, the game will be free when it launches, although players will be able to get stuck into Early Access for $19.99. But the announcement whipped up a little bit of confusion and anxiety, as do most ambitious F2P titles when they're announced, and familiar questions began to pop up: will it be pay to win? What sort of things can your money buy in-game? How will the game be balanced to ensure a good experience for those who don't want to drop a penny while still managing to make some money?
"You will be surprised to hear we have intentionally left the decisions about what to monetize until we can hear from you," wrote Smedley in a second Reddit update. "This isn't some contrived thing. I'm being serious. It is a nearly blank slate."
SOE are seeking feedback, then, from the community on how to best proceed on this front, but Smedley did lead off with five pointers that'll underpin the basic monetisation mechanisms of H1Z1.Hit the jump to see what Smedley had to say >>
Tesco had Dark Souls II down at this price yesterday, but if you missed out, Amazon is offering the PS3 version of the game for just £25 right now. It's slightly more accessible than its predecessors, but don't let that fool you into a false sense of security -- Dark Souls II will still make you weep with frustration at your repeated mortality
Definitely check out some of Carl's videos for the game too by feasting your eyes on our past coverage here.
With no Dark Souls games to peel your finger nails off on the Wii U, ZombiU is your best bet for punishing gameplay. It also has some clever uses for the gamepad screen to add atmosphere. So, perhaps one for the more hardcore gamer out there. To be honest though, you should probably save up a bit longer and take on the Curator of Cruel, Dark souls II as that gamepad screen looks like it won't take much of a rage beating.
Thanks to philiphunter at HotUkDeals.
Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 (tested) | Xbox 360 | Xbox One
Developer: The Creative Assembly
I'm going to die in a locker.
It was all going so well. My exploration of an abandoned laboratory was proceeding swimmingly until the motion tracker blared into life, catching me out in the open with nowhere to run. The Alien is coming. It's close. I can't fight it. I can't outrun it. But a winking green light on the other side of the hallway promised a safe haven: a locker big enough to hide in, only a short sprint away.
And now I'm going to die. Following my footsteps, the Xenomorph stalks past the locker grille, and for a split-second I think I'm safe as I peer through the slats. No such luck. It wheels and thrusts its eyeless muzzle up against the door, all fangs and slime. I shrink back from the grille, willing myself to sink into the darkness and hold my breath -- both in the game and in real life. Please, please, please just walk away! After what felt like an eternity, the chitinous horror finally sloped back down the hall and I let out a sigh of desperate relief. I've survived... but the Alien is still out there. Waiting. Hunting me.
If The Creative Assembly can sustain this fear throughout the campaign, Alien Isolation could well become the best and most chilling survival horror game we've seen in some time, not to mention an outstanding tie-in. That's a seriously big "if," mind, and the uncomfortable question hanging over what is otherwise a very impressive debut.Click here to read more...
Despite being an improvement over Resi 5 and Raccoon City, we're still a long way off the glory days of the series. However, this deal offers great value for money. You're essentially getting three different campaigns. One is action-heavy like recent games, while another attempts to return to the older vibe of taking on shuffling zombies in creepy locations. We don't really like to talk about the melee-centric campaign though. Even though you can finally move and shoot, the controls still feel incredibly dated and sluggish. You can try all three modes in the demo, so it may be worth a bit of try before you buy.
Thanks to halodudify at HotUkDeals.
Note: You'll need to click through to see the other 'New' options to see Game Collection's cheaper price on Amazon.
With no Dark Souls games to peel your finger nails off on the Wii U, ZombiU is your best bet for punishing gameplay. It also has some clever uses for the gamepad screen to add atmosphere. So, perhaps one for the more hardcore gamer out there. To be honest though, you should probably save up a bit longer and take on the Curator of Cruel, Dark souls II.
Thanks to theg at HotUkDeals.
Revelations is a more of a traditional outing for the series, but that also means it's extremely clunky to play. But at least it's not drawn out into a never-ending borefest like Resi 6. This HD port has given the game a serious graphical boost over the 3DS original, making this the definitive edition for your underfed survival horror needs. Fingers crossed The Evil Within is going to be worth the wait.
Thanks to theg at HotUkDeals.
Dark Souls II will prove to be one of gaming's true Marmite titles this year. Fans of all things horrible, mean and stabby will love it's relentless difficulty and cruel nature, while others will spend their time gaming in a brightly lit room wishing they'd never tried a Souls game. So, if stubbing your toe or getting parking tickets gives you a chubby, head on over and ask Amazon for a punch in the face / a copy of Dark Souls II. Be sure to check out some of Carl's videos for the game too by scrolling through our past coverage here.
Finally dipping below the £10 mark, the time may be right to start filling up your Wii U collection. ZombiU is more Dark Souls than Dead Rising thanks to its merciless difficulty and it has some clever uses for the gamepad screen to add atmosphere. So, perhaps one for the more hardcore gamer out there, or maybe Kevin Pieterson seeing as he doesn't have much to swing at with his real cricket bat anymore.
Thanks to mrdarknight79 at HotUkDeals.
For many gamers, myself included, Resident Evil 4 presents a pinnacle of the series that hasn't been reached since, despite two big budget subsequent releases, as well as a smattering of other lower-key launches too. And as Capcom prepares this week to release Resident Evil Ultimate HD Edition for the PC, it raises into question again why people fell in love with and still adore Leon's battle against the Ganados above any others before or since. And more to the point, why has such a great game not been taken as a basis for later games, and built upon to produce an even greater game? Why do we keep coming back to a game released over 9 years ago for our fix, and how did Capcom not capitalise on it and make two stellar follow ups in Resident Evil 5 and 6?
The first reason for this apparent fall from grace is all in the build up. I remember a quote from Shigeru Miyamoto where he said he personally creates the first level in action games last, his rationale being:
“Your first level (or tutorial, or sequence, or whatever you want to call it) should serve as a prologue for the rest of your game. It should introduce many of the concepts your player will be interacting with through the rest of your game, and it should do so in a way that doesn’t alienate them right away.”
It's so important to get the first part of your game right, as it needs to set the tone and expectation for the rest of the experience. When thinking about Resident Evil, this means building up tension and anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. It needs to get your heart racing in a mixture of fear and adrenaline. Think about your favourite Resident Evil game and think about its opening sequence, whether it's the original's opening cut-sequence and first zombie encounter, or if indeed if it's Leon's experience in Resident Evil 4 in the creepy woods, the aggressive Ganados and of course the facing off against the entire village before the ominous bell tower tolls.Click here to read more...
Most media outlets haven't even been given a chance to try Alien: Isolation yet, but Sega are giving YOU the chance to play the game at the EGX Rezzed event at Birmingham NEC on the 28th-30th March.
Sega seem keen to show gamers the game first-hand with no smoke and mirrors after the utter farce that was the finished product of Aliens: Colonial Marines. So why not head on down? Tickets are available at the event's site here from as little as £9. The game will be playable on PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms. Creative Assembly's survival horror approach certainly has us interested, but we're cautious as to whether they can maintain it throughout a whole game against just one alien. That said, we've been hearing rumours of androids being used as gun-fodder in-between all the hiding in cupboards.Click here to read more...