Yet again, The Game Collection are doing a deal for ZombiU below the £5 price point. The saving may be only a few pounds, but let's be honest here - the fact one of the Wii U's most unique experiences is under a fiver is the important part here.
Ubisoft's survival horror title won’t be to everyone’s tastes (much like those Souls games) but those brave enough to venture into the virtual streets of London will find a game that absolutely nails the terror of surviving against the hordes of the undead. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
I've been playing a lot of horror games recently, with reviews in the past few weeks coming in fairly quick succession for Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within -- two very different games that approach horror gaming from two distinctly different perspectives. For me, at least, I find that one represents the future of the genre and where we're headed in terms of horror gaming, and the other is a testament to the classic foundations upon which horror gaming was built.
I love the classic Resident Evil games, and I still believe Resi 4 to be one of the finest games ever made let alone survival horror games, but I don't find them scary, and I'm not sure that I ever really did. They, much like Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami's latest game, are incredibly good at generating mechanical horror through scarce ammunition, oppressive enemies that require thought and skill to dispatch, and giving protagonists a palpable vulnerability. Knowing when to fight and when to run is crucial in these games, but having the option to fight is key to them as well. Mikami, certainly, is a creator who finds value in overcoming fear.
"Used at the right time and in the right way disempowerment can be the most powerful tool for the horror game creator," he said in an interview earlier this month, ahead of The Evil Within's release. "Sequels are a big problem in horror entertainment. As a horror game series continues you begin to know who the enemies are going to be. Just this knowledge naturally makes the game less scary. So to capture a wider audience designers add more action. That further reduces how frightening the game feels.
"That's one reason I'm making The Evil Within. Also, because the graphical quality of games has increased. This has the capacity to make the fear much closer to you. We can add in a far greater amount of animation and make it context based, so, for example, we can change how a character moves in a certain situation. Really, I'm making this game just because it's fun to scare people. Instead of trying to introduce new ideas I want to return to survival horror's roots. We've strayed from that. I want to explore fear again, and that sense of overcoming fear, one that's unique to games."Click here to read more...
Resident Evil Revelations was a fantastic 3DS game that really brought back a lot of what we love about the franchise. Horror, survival, limited resources and tension, not to mention great multiplayer. It was so good, in fact, that the HD console port actually works, despite the 3DS edition still being my version of choice.
Still, for £11.99, grab it on Wii U and enjoy the updated textures and additional features! Thanks to Ninbox4 @ HUKD!
The Evil Within is a lot like a Greatest Hits album -- a paean, if you will, to the ways in which Shinji Mikami has shaped the face of survival horror of the years he's been working in the genre. It's also something of an old-school indictment of where the genre currently resides, although it must be said that playing this almost directly after having my nerves shredded by Alien: Isolation has left me with a feeling of ambivalence towards this spiritual successor to Resident Evil 4.
The setup for The Evil Within is rather lacking -- our lead, the gruff and gravelly Detective Sebastian Castellanos, is a template of a character rather than one in his own right. It doesn't help that he's backed up an equally forgettable, cardboard cutout partner, and a rookie-in-training who could have been interesting if she'd be given more do actually do. It wouldn't be so bad if the game didn't feel it necessary to force-feed players big eyefuls of unimaginative, by-the-numbers exposition.
Even then, it's a bit of a mess in terms of structure. It's a shame really, because some of the conflict-stuffed narrative beats to The Evil Within are really rather good. The bosses and sub-bosses that pop up here and there are brilliantly, disgustingly designed, but they rather come and go without any particular rhythm or pacing to the wider experience, and they often present hideously nasty difficulty spikes. It's impossible to shake the feeling that this could all have been planned a little bit better, and the game lurches from chapter to chapter with little satisfaction in terms of smaller pacing arcs, with creepy scenes cobbled together in a disorienting and disappointing fashion. Occasionally, there'll be a fairly effective cliffhanger at the end of a chapter, only for the game to squander that tension at the start of the next.
That's the thing, The Evil Within works well to create moments of tension and a chilling atmosphere at times, bombarding the player with utterly grotesque imagery, but then it doesn't really know what to do with you once it has your attention.Click here to read more...
How cheap does ZombiU have to get before you buy this criminally-overlooked horror masterpiece?! It annoys me that Ubisoft were brave enough to create one of the most tough, faithful and terrifying survival horror games of the last decade, yet the final product was slapped down for having clunky melee combat, high difficulty and other essential survival horror elements. Ugh.
Anyway, rant over. We've seen it £1 cheaper during a previous Game Collection flash sale, but they're back with a great price nonetheless. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
People tell me that cutting-edge graphical tech is absolutely crucial for attaining that most hallowed of made-up buzzwords: immersion. I understand that point of view and the logic behind it, but also contend that it's complete and total bollocks.
See, for the last few weeks I've been compulsively glued to a primitive early alpha that uses the bare minimum to ground you in an evocative lonely Sci-Fi universe, by making your computer monitor look like a different computer monitor.
Duskers casts you as a astronaut castaway in the depths of space, running out of rations and going half-mad from isolation, desperately eking out the last of your days by salvaging any usable supplies from derelict space hulks. You'll use your precious supplies just to travel between them, meaning that you have to find food or die of starvation, but in a unique twist you'll never personally leave your ship.
Without a viable space suit, you'll instead rely on a handful of remote-controlled drones that become your only means of exploring the wrecks, your eyes, ears and hands, and also your only friends in an otherwise hostile and empty universe. As such, both you and the astronaut stare at the same arcane control interface -- your computer monitor and keyboard -- connecting and immersing you in the game world in a unique and deeply chilling way.
After all, your drones aren't alone out there... and without them you're as good as dead.Click here to read more...
Invest in some underwear, folks! You're going to need spares. The Nostromo Edition for Alien: Isolation is under £35 at Gameseek, and you can knock a further two quid off of the price by using the code 2354682 at the checkout.
Great spot by BazingaBen at HUKD!
Do be warned... potential spoilers ahoy in the video!
Last week was a bit of a shambles, and several releases, along with a press trip, and losing my voice for a day or two meant that Interactive Narratives #2 never happened, sorry about that.
But it's a new week, and a new Wednesday, and I've decided to try to tie this series in with a topical game wherever possible, going forwards, filling in gaps here and there with interviews and other features as and when they come in. I'll still be running the interview I did with Inkle in the near future, and taking a look at 80 Days, but this week I wanted to talk about the one game that's been dominating my mind (and psyche) for the last ten days -- and that game is Alien: Isolation.
So it is that this week's edition of Interactive Narratives takes a look at horror games, and why Alien: Isolation is particularly effective at eliciting an incredibly primal emotional response: fear. I compare it with Silent Hill 2, discuss the differences between story and narrative -- the written plot and the player-driven experience -- and the importance of both to this particular genre.
Happy Alien: Isolation Day, folks! Our review went live earlier today, and here's what I had to say about Creative Assembly's fright-fest:
Alien: Isolation is the most terrifying game I've ever played. It has several flaws (the Alien glitching through your hiding place is a surefire way of ruining immersion), it can legitimately be accused of padding its mid-section, and piling up of Android towards the end can get a bit silly, but I didn't care about any of that, I was simply too busy giving myself heart attacks. Alien: Isolation succeeds in doing something no other game has: doing justice to the Alien itself.
Are you getting stuck into Amanda Ripley's story today? Well, here are a bunch of tips to bear in mind when it comes surviving Sevastopol Station.
Don't be fooled when you get a weapon
This is not an action game. It looks like it would be, right? You even get a shiny little revolver in the first couple of hours. But every game to feature Xenomorphs has lied to you. This thing is unstoppable and relentless and you can't kill it. This is not a first-person shooter, so don't get cocky, kid. Run. Run like the wind. And then slow down, crouch and sneak, and find yourself a hiding place. The Alien is also faster and smarter than you.Click here to read more...
Alien: Isolation is out today and I'm scared to come out of this stupid goddamn locker.
I've been scared by games before. Silent Hill 2 is hands-down the creepiest game I've ever played. I love/hate the way that game messed with my head, the grotesque carnival of misshapen enemies, distended and crooked, that triggered genuine revulsion. They weren't just zombies, they were hideous apparitions that made me feel physically ill. Elsewhere, there were moments when games like Condemned and Dead Space and Fatal Frame and even Doom 3 made me jump and weirded me out.
But nothing has ever quite terrified me like Alien: Isolation.
In the past, Xenomorphs have been hazardous cannon fodder. In fact, up until this point, there's never been a game that really captures what it means to come face to face with that perfect organism. No game has ever succeeded in capturing the sheer terror of coming face to face with the Geigerian monstrosity. It took the team behind Total War to do that.
I've been having nightmares since I started playing this game. Before last week, I hadn't had a nightmare in about five years, and even then they didn't feature monsters. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the last nightmare I had before this involved drowning in a sea of letters from banks or HMRC or the Student Loans Company. Once, I was crashing a mate's couch and I realised that I'd forgotten my toothbrush, and I dreamed that all my teeth fell out and I could only eat plankton. You know, relatively boring stuff. Lately, however, I've been dreaming of Sevastopol Station, and the multi-mouthed monster in its bowels.Click here to read more...
Could Alien: Isolation be the game the series has deserved all these years? Most early reviews have a positive vibe to them and our very own Matt Gardner is shrieking his way through a review for us as we speak. Be sure to check out his Opening Scenes video from the link above. You should act on this deal fast too if you want to get the game for an astonishingly cheap £32.85 as we expect it'll be back up to £40 soon.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII at HotUkDeals.
Today’s session sees our detective leading man making his way through a sinister mansion full of strange noises, tortured sobbing, wet ripping sounds and a host of nasties sporting dead-eyed barbwire couture. Forget any concerns about the ‘haunted mansion’ cliché, this is the sort of nasty setting we’ve missed in recent years. And don’t forget, this is just one stage of Shinji Mikami’s blood-soaked love letter to the genre he helped to define.
It’s also the first decent taste of horror on new-gen hardware and it suitably impresses on the graphical front from the start. It’s the shadows that really put you on edge though. Be it the flickering shards emitted by your gas lamp as you edge down a dim corridor, the light behind a sheet betraying the twitching silhouette or the gradual pouring of light into a dark room as you slowly creak open a door into the unknown.
Enemies are often first spotted via their shadow as they stagger around a room in a daze before the smell of your flesh sends them into a frenzy. The crazed residents certainly have an undead look to them, but they aren’t your usual shufflers, instead they’ll dash at you, bringing up memories of everything from 28 Days Later to Siren: Blood Curse. Why they’re often wrapped in barbwire is the sort of question we’re not sure we’re ready to answer.
Some will attack with gaping maws and scratching paws, but others carry knives or even shotguns. Headshots are often the best tactic, although blasting half a skull apart isn’t always guaranteed to stop them. Wilier enemies wear bullet-proof masks, so you’ll either have to shoot them in the back of the head or give them a belly full of lead. Because life needs to be tougher for Sebastian, some enemies reanimate and come back at you, either straight away or the next time you come back to the area. He can burn a corpse to put them down for good if he has any matches, but just like bullets and health packs, they’re in short supply.Click here to read more...
Following the success of Resident Evil Revelations, the superb 3DS survival horror title that had the chops (and HD assets) to survive on home consoles, the news of a sequel was music to our ears. Revelations 2 will star Claire Redfield and Barry Burton's daughter in an all-new adventure, promising to focus on gruelling and tense survival in a mysterious island facility.
However, Capcom have now announced an interesting little wrinkle. The game will eventually be available on a single disc costing approximately £25, but it will initially release in four weekly downloadable episodes at $5.99 a pop, with the option of a season pass with an extra discount.
Our take? This is ruddy brilliant.
Not just because we've got more choice over how to buy it, but because Capcom have finally woken up to what went wrong with Resident Evil 5 and 6.Click here to read more...
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.