Tag: PS4

Dying Light PS4 review – Brain dead

Dying Light PS4 review – Brain dead

Dying Light is yet another game I can add to the ever growing pile of games I really wanted to like. The demo on PSN was fantastic, and I was drawn into this beautiful hell that Techland had created. The demo was an hour long excursion into Harran, a city decimated by the zombie virus that has broken out. Techland wisely didn’t include much side missions, and for good reason; but i’ll get into that later. There is so much this game did right, but for everything it nails, there are 2 or more that were a letdown.

Story

You are Kyle Crane, an employee of the GRE, or Global Relief Effort. This company is pretty self-explanatory, and goes around the world helping others who are trapped by volatile circumstances. What follows is at first engaging, but eventually becomes a cliched, forgettable story of mediocre relationships and passion fueled redemption. The main story is just good enough to keep you going, but completely falls apart in the last 1/3 of the game.

To add insult to injury, the final boss fight was one of the worst I have played in recent memory. It was frustrating, and threw in horribly timed QTE’s that not only felt out of place, but it felt like a lazy decision to make things seem more dramatic. The story just gets silly near the end, and I could not wait for this game to finish. The side missions that the game throws in are one of the worst I have ever seen, and the laziness of the developers really starts to show here. They are not only numerous, but involve the typical side mission tropes. Go here, retrieve/kill that, rinse wash repeat. You’ve done it all before, and not even playing these in online co-op could remedy this.

Visuals

Dying Light nailed the visuals here. Everything besides the character models are top notch, and the game is drop dead gorgeous, and ran with no hitches whatsoever. This game was very stable throughout, and had no bugs at all. The gameplay felt very smooth, and doing parkour around the city had a great feel to it. The zombies all looked amazing, and each location comes to life.

I would’ve liked a bit more variety in the environments, as they do get old after a while. Eventually you get tired of going through tunnels, slums and whatnot. I don’t know why the character models look so bad, they are just kind of…..off. They just aren’t on the same level that the rest of the game is, and they stand out because of that. They needed a lot more work and it shows. The weapons and the executions all were very nice looking, but once again a bit more variety here would’ve been nice. Techland’s last game, Dead Island, had a bit more variety in the weapon crafting, and that is missed here.

Dying-Light-Shot-03

Gameplay

I’ve found some nails, I got a blueprint, and a mean looking sicle. Time to make a death machine am I right? Well…you can. But only for a limited time. This mechanic makes the game feel extremely tedious after a while, as you can’t really get attached to any one weapon. Everything breaks eventually, and has only a certain amount of repairs. While this may sound realistic, it doesn’t make for an interesting game mechanic. A lot of the fun I had from the first Dead Island was doing some quests until I found a blueprint for an awesome sounding weapon, and then I would get to stick with it for a while. That is sorely missed here, and while it does add a degree of difficulty to the game, it gets pretty freaking annoying after a while.

Another big selling point of the game that I was looking forward to was online co-op. It ended up being a minor diversion more than anything else, and I didn’t really care much for it. Sure, it’s nice to have some people around, but if I want to complete my mission instead of getting distracted fighting random zombies and attracting a horde then it just feels sort of weird. Most of the time you can only fight a small amount of zombies, because once more than a few start coming, you are pretty  much screwed.

Also fighting at night was a joke. The “volatile” or buffed up zombies were so insanely hard to kill, that it just stopped being fun after a bit. You combine that with the fact that you can’t see much, there are many patrols, and everything is stronger, and It just wasn’t very fun. I usually skipped doing missions at night if I could, it wasn’t worth e extra xp I got from it. 

The weapons and combat are fine, but they never get beyond that. Sure, there are some nice slo-mo moments where you get a breath of fresh air as you whack a helpless walker in the face, but those moments get old pretty fast. Once you get past that initial rush, there just isn’t much here. The guns are ok, but make so much noise that they aren’t worth the trouble unless you are fighting humans.

This is a difficult game, but if you stick with it, Dying Light becomes a bit easier, but not any more satisfying. There is an overwhelming sense of laziness that permeates the whole game and not only led me to skip most of the side missions, but led me to want to speed through the main story and get done with it already.

Verdict

Overall, this game is a huge disappointment. Many would say it’s what Dead Island should have been, but it’s too little too late. I wanted to like this game so much, but it ended up being an exercise in tedium. Skip it if you can, and maybe find some other outlet to fuel your zombie desires. This isn’t it.

Score: 5.5/10

 http://youtu.be/9IM3YE0BZuo

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The Order: 1886 Review – A beautiful mess

The Order: 1886 Review – A beautiful mess

The Order: 1886 is rated M for Mature

**Some Spoilers**

The Order: 1886 was a game that I had pretty low expectations for going in. I knew this game was going to be a short, guided experience. This is a game on rails with very little exploration.¬†It’s perfectly content with sitting back, telling you what to do, when to do it, and where to go. While this may be ok with some people, I had a hard time looking past these constraints.

Story

The Order is one of those games that starts from the near-end of the game, then rewinds to the beginning to have you play things out. The whole idea of a covert special ops sort governmental unit is nothing new, but the melding of steampunk style technology, Knights of the Round table werewolves, vampires and Nikola Tesla had me very intrigued.

I’ve always wanted Tesla’s cool inventions to be in a game, and steampunk is always welcome in my book. I was actually surprised by how good the story was. It was filled with interesting, conflicted, complex characters that seemed very real with their own viewpoints on the world around them. On top of that the story at large had many great twists and turns that kept me engaged, and while some I saw coming, most were pretty interesting and definitely helped to motivate me to see this story through to the end.

The fog is strong with this one
The fog is strong with this one

Visuals

By far, this was the best part of the game. Everything is exquisitely detailed, and 1886 London really comes alive. The sound design as well was superb, and each of the weapons not only sounded fantastic, but were a joy to use. The Thermite Rifle was an obvious standout to me. To use it, you have the primary fire fling out a bunch of highly flammable magnesium, then using the secondary fire you hear this “thwoom” sound of a flare sort of thing that sets the magnesium ablaze. This was satisfying to use because not only does it make cover irrelevant as you can shoot over it, but it sets your enemies on fire(i’m totally not a pyro) ūüėÄ

The werewolf transformations were also incredibly disturbing, as you see a normal human transform their body into a ghastly beast before your eyes. The incredibly dark sections looked stellar as well, and the lighting in this game is top notch. Your lantern flickers in the darkness as you strut towards the mysterious future ever so slowly, and you hear the scurrying of rats as well as other little creatures beneath your feet. It’s all really quite immersive, but what brought me out of this was the aspect ratio. The Evil Within is the only other game that i’ve played that’s done this, and it’s a fad that I would like to see die a quick, painless death. The Order displays in a¬† 2.40:1 aspect ratio, which you can see below.

At least The Evil Within had the smarts to put the fullscreen option in a patch that was released later on, but The Order never wisened up. It creates a lot of problems that led to much frustration. It can be difficult to see over cover, and a lot of the time you just can’t tell what the heck is going on. It works for a movie because there are many different angles and you don’t have to control what is going on. It’s just not something that works for a game, and the whole “cinematic” argument for this is just silly. If you really believe in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio so much, fine. At least give me an option to play in regular fullscreen! I hope they make this adjustment in the sequel.

ARGG damn black bars
ARGG damn black bars

Gameplay

By far the weakest part of the game.¬†There are many things that really ticked me off here, to the point that a couple times playing through the 7-8 hour campaign I had to put the game down and play something else. For starters, the only real incentive to explore is to find audio logs. Now pretty much every game in the last 5 years or so(some even before that) gives you the option to listen to audio logs while you play the game. Not here. You have to go into a menu, select the audio log, then wait as it plays it. You can’t do anything else. At first I was fine with it, but then over time I just wanted to exit out of the menu, and listen to it as I walked around. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to get with the times. It’s 2015. If I pick up a goddamn audio log I want to be able to listen to it while I play the game. The voice acting is good, but the content of these logs was not so incredibly interesting that I wanted to sit at the screen and wait for it to finish.

Second, the game¬†literally¬†restricts when you can run and when you can’t. This is another issue that just grates on you the more you play it. Maybe I’m not that interested in the surroundings and want to just get on with the game?! Why the hell can’t I just run when I want to run? Is there a part of the The Order manifesto that says I can’t at least do a jog in a non-combat indoor section? WTF?

Third, the stealth sections are shit. Luckily there aren’t many of them, but they are the “get seen and die” sort that was also employed in Killzone: Shadow Fall’s epilogue that made me want to throw my gamepad into the wall. Somehow The Order manages to be worse than this by employing a QTE (quick time event) mechanic into the stealth, so even when you creep up on a guy and he doesn’t see you, you still have to press triangle at a certain time. This leads into my last complaint.

Oh man, the QTE’s! There a lot of them, so I hope you like button mashing! I’m sure I knocked a significant amount of life off of my gamepad just playing this, as there were a many section where I had to mush on X for what seemed like forever. QTE’s are something that should be used very rarely in a game, and it just came off as lazy here. They use it a lot, and I grew sick of it very fast just as I have in other games.

Now, this is a shooter at heart, that’s why I played it. In that respect, it’s ok! It’s not better than stuff like Tomb Raider or Uncharted, but it’s solid enough. The shooting feels decent and gets the job done, but little things like having to equip a grenade instead of being able to assign it to a shoulder button really make this game feel like a polished last-generation title. It could’ve been a lot more streamlined.

Lastly, this is more of an observation than a complaint, but local/online co-op was a huge missed opportunity here. In a single player only game, not having any sort of multiplayer really sticks out. You are pretty much always with an A.I. partner of some sort, so why not just have the ability for someone else to control them? I think this would’ve given the game a bit more staying power.

Verdict

Overall, The Order: 1886 was a bit of a disappointment.¬†I can sadly add this to the pile of lackluster PS4 exclusives. This is worth a playthrough for the solid graphics that create a believable world and an ok story that keeps you somewhat engaged. If you can rent it or borrow it from a friend that would be ideal, ¬†but don’t spend more than $10 on it. It’s pretty forgettable stuff, and i’m not sure they are going to be able to make a solid sequel to this without some huge changes.

Score: 6.0/10

Star Wars: Battlefront PS4 beta impressions

Star Wars: Battlefront PS4 beta impressions

As many of you may or may not know, there was a public Battlefront beta that started a little over a week ago for the current generation of platforms. Over 9(!) million players participated in the beta and EA got a lot of feedback and stability foresight. I played on PS4 and while I enjoyed it at first, it wore on me. Lets get into it.

Ill start with what I liked about the beta. For starters, there was very little in the way of technical issues. The beta downloaded fine, looked great, and ran at a steady 60 FPS. So far so good. The sounds and visuals were also very authentic and well done. The highlight was the overshield, a small dome shield that lasts for a short amount of time. When you are inside of it, you can hear the laser beams hitting the edge and it sounds amazing.

Unfortunately, that’s the only good things I have to say about the beta. The base for a good game is here, but it didn’t come close to the feel or fun I had when playing the previous 2 Battlefront games. The game is painfully simple, with no sorts of classes, chat, or even a basic server browser. There is very little to no customization, and many things rely on power-ups and cooldowns which made this feel like a free to play shooter, not a slice of a AAA retail game that’s going to release soon.

Hoth level with Vader
Hoth level with Vader

The actual shooting is pretty unsatisfying, and I wish there was a more variety of weapons. With no sort of chat or anything, it tough to strategize at all with teammates, and I had plenty of cheap deaths. The level design was fine, but they need to be more populated. Even in a full game, there is still lots of running around looking for people to shoot. I tried out the co-op horde mode, and it was by far the most boring part of the beta. You have to do split screen or invite someone to play, you can’t just match up with someone online, which was baffling. It seems like a throwaway mode, and it was also very easy when doing it alone.

This is a multiplayer game only, with no sort of instant action or Galactic Conquest that we had in the previous two games. This is a big letdown, as multiplayer-only games these days don’t have lasting appeal. Even with the full release its just going to be a bunch of game modes you have already seen before, and the walker assault mode was woefully unbalanced in favor of the Empire, but luckily DICE has addressed that.

So will I be playing this when it comes out? Sadly, no. I was looking forward to this very much as I have loved the first two games, but DICE has butchered this into an EA money machine that likely will sell well, but won’t stand the test of time. DICE keeps coming out with things that aren’t in the game which is a shame. This game could have been something to really look forward to, but instead it will be another forgotten attempt at nostalgia.