Prey
PS4
Apr 30
Posted by Ben at 17:12

Prey is a strange thing. The original Ďvertical sliceí we saw of ĎPrey 2í half a lifetime ago looked great, an awful lot of people were suddenly hyped to play the sequel to a game not a huge amount of people had played. This was seemingly a massive surprise to the publisher, so surprising they scrapped it, abandoned Prey 2 completely for years, dropped the number, and have now brought it back as a different Prey game, developed by Dishonored creators Arkane Studios

Thereís currently a demo available on PS4 and Xbox One, itís essentially the whole game, more or less, with various areas being locked unless you buy the game. Slightly confusingly the demo doesnít end when you hit the pay wall, you can continue playing and exploring the environment. Itís an interesting way of doing a demo, I reached the Ďendí of the demo fairly quickly, a locked door I was told explicitly I wasnít allowed to go past, but was allowed to, after turning the game off feeling I was done, return to the game and explore more of Preyís world.

Itís a confusing experience. Narratively thatís deliberate, youíre not meant to know whatís going on, but in every other way Prey left me unsure what to make of it. The levels are open, as youíd expect from an Arkane game, but whereas in Dishonored it felt like you were always being directed, here I was always 2nd guessing my movements. Itís not like youíre getting lost, itís not that big an area and thereís a marker on the screen, but I was skipping areas, feeling like I was missing out. I guess at least it gave me something to do once I got to that locked door.

One of the things that had stopped me exploring was Preyís difficulty. Itís not impossibly hard or anything, but thereís an awkwardness to the early sections of Prey. Youíre mainly facing off against small crab-like enemies called Mimics, they flash about, disguising themselves as items in the environment. Itís a really cool concept, weíve spent our gaming lives picking through every bin, every art-deco ashtray, and now theyíll probably kill us. The problem I was having was that they always seemed to appear on my blind side. Fair enough, thatís what Iíd do if I was them, but Iíve seen footage of other people playing and seeing the mimic dart in to an item, then taking advantage of their own trap and laying waste to them. I never managed to take advantage of them nor my environment like that, bar one time when a larger enemyís route was taking it past an exploding barrel.

Part of the problem, I think, for me at least, is that I primarily play this kind of game on a PC with a mouse and keyboard. Playing on the PS4 thereís a lag to the camera movement, something thatís apparently going to be fixed in time for release. The aiming also feels strangely digital, maybe this is me not being as good as I should be, or used to be, with a controller in a first person game, but enemies were easily darting around me. Iíd eventually nail them, particularly with the Goop gun, but I was having a hard time not taking damage. Without wanting to sound like a PC snob, I canít help but feel that the increased speed of movement with a mouse, and the larger FOV that tends to accompany playing on a PC might have a beneficial effect on my experience with Prey

In some ways the Prey demo is exactly what a First Impressions post should be, a question mark. Thereís enough good ideas in there to get me interested, thereís enough flavour of the weapons and skill trees to know thereís more to Prey than you see here, and itís clear that the world Arkane have built is detailed and filled with opportunities. Ultimately though, I canít tell you what I think of the game or if Prey is for me
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Apr
27
Posted by Mark at 17:11
Japanese media being Japanese media, the Fate series has its suite of promotional webcasts where the people responsible bombard fans with information on what's coming up in the franchise's future.

In this case, Marvelous have announced that there's going to be a sequel to Fate/EXTELLA, the Warriorsalike spinoff that I liked enough to give seven out of ten to.

Rice Digital watched the NicoNico stream to find this out, although the fact that the game exists is pretty much the size of it at this stage.

The first game was released on PlayStations both 4 and Vita and is being ported to Switch- it's probably safe to suggest that the sequel will be at least coming to the Sony console.
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Apr
23
Posted by at 11:02
While the Switch waits for its version of the service to be as much as begun, the Wii U is still getting new games added to it- in North America, at least.

Siliconera reports that the Game Boy Advance games Rayman Advance- the GBA port of the first game in the series- and Rayman 3 are joining the service.

Switch hasn't been left behind, though, as it's getting another of the ACA Neo Geo games, in the form of Fatal Fury.
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Apr
20
Posted by Ben at 13:41
We've known Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 is coming for a while, but we now have a firm date for the latest sequel in the stunning looking Guilty Gear franchise, and it's coming pretty soon

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 will arrive in Europe on May 26th, for both the PS4, and impressively the Playstation 3.

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 boasts a rebalancing of characters, the return of Baiken, and improved tutorials. If you have Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator then Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 will also be available as a digital upgrade on both PS4 and PS3

Trailer below

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Apr
19
Posted by Ben at 13:12
I have incredibly fond memories of playing Micro Machines 2 on the Megadrive, using 4 pads thanks to the two extra ports on the game cartridge itself, and playing 8 player races thanks to the pad sharing mechanic. I'm of a generation that is watching Micro Machines World Series with impossibly high expectations

It's with some relief then that Codemasters have released a trailer for the upcoming Micro Machines World Series, and it's actually looking pretty good

Race and Elimination modes are back, as well as a 12 player battle mode and online modes, and nicely, 4 player local split screen. Micro Machines World Tour is set to release in June on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Trailer below
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Talking It
Down
Apr 17
Posted by Ben at 14:09

Many years ago I wrote a God Mode On post called ĎGeneration Gameí, and now I regret it because I canít think beyond that title for this post. I mentioned in the last God Mode On that it was something of a 2 parter, that my conversation with the 20 year old had led me down a mind path that brought me to this topic. If the extended generations, both from the prolonged PS3 and 360 generation, and the topical mid-point refreshing of the generation weíre seeing this time around. I donít really have a problem of the 1.5 versions of the PS4 and the Xbox One, in fact I have a Playstation 4 Pro and am quite interested to see what the Scorpio can do, even if I canít see myself picking one up. I feel like 5 years ago Iíd be furious at the prospect of the console audience being split, the haves and the have-nots of gamers, the early adopters being punished with inevitably inferior versions of games. Honestly, typing this, I feel like thatís what this post should be about, but itís not, Iím not that angry

Possibly itís because I felt this generation was underpowered when it began. Rather than another lengthy generation like the last one, I was expecting a truncated one, that the consoles were too feeble to sustain themselves. So maybe thatís why, maybe I feel like itís taken until the past year for this generation to really begin, certainly Iím playing on my Playstation Pro more often that my PS4, which was very much 2nd fiddle to my PC, but then, weíve just come through one of the best 3-4 month periods in gaming I can recall, and Yakuza 0, Persona 5, Nier Automata, even games Iíve not got around to like Horizon, theyíre all games Iíd play on PS4 even if they were available on the PC. The other reason Iím not as angry I would have been, and this shouldnít be discounted despite how much of a nob it makes me sound, I have more disposable income now. Previously Iíd have been fuming on point of principle AND because Iíd feel like IíD been screwed. Iíd scraped and struggled to get myself a new console, then it gets usurped and thereís no way Iíd have been able to justify buying the replacement.

Not that Iím a rich man, nothing like, but Iíve enough money to hand that the reason I donít have a Nintendo Switch or a GTX 1080 is because I donít think itís worth it yet, for me, not that I canít possibly afford it. But this does bring me to the point. Weíve just entered a post-pre-Brexit world here in the UK. Weíve pulled the trigger and timeís slowed to a crawl, in 2 years time the bullet is going to rip through our skull and stain the walls and carpet with tragedy, and it absolutely has consequences for gaming.

The obvious ones are the developers, thereís a lot of talk of companies leaving the UK for EU Europe, I suspect a lot will stay, but itís a strong possibility that our various industries will shrink. Itís not here I want to focus though, instead itís on the micro scale, on us as individuals.

The leap from my conversation with the 20 year old and here is how many consoles I had as a kid. We werenít a rich family, 3 kids will do that to you. We were actually quite late getting a console, or a computer of any kind, getting an Amstrad CPC464 (green screen, keeping it real). Eventually we got an Atari 2600 with a bunch of (largely terrible) games, then a NES that got taken off us and given to someone else. None of these machines was new, they were all off people, I think my dad spend £100 on the Amstrad, somehow convincing himself it was going to be used for work, despite us not having a printer or a disc drive with it. The Atari was £20 off a some kid from schoolís mum to my mum, and we were delighted with it and its terrible games. Eventually I got a Megadrive 2 for christmas and my brother a Master System 2 the same year. Iím not sure what happened to the Master System, but I was forced to sell my Megadrive (and 32X) to my auntie, something Iíve never quite got over.

Iím sure hand-me-downs have never gone away, but it doesnít, currently, seem to be anything like as prevalent as it was. I know my relatives have bought their kids new DSí and new 3DSí over the years. Their own PS4s too. The one area where the hand me down does still seem to thrive is phones, probably because they cost a fortune, but I suspect itís where we might see ourselves going in the next few years.

As the economy shrinks and being outside the EU bubble starts to take hold, prices of electronics are going to jump. Hopefully game prices stay down, as much as I baulk at the cost of new console games, buying from online retail does make us one of the cheaper countries in Europe, but Iíve no idea if that will last. When the price in £ starts to equal that in $ and Ä all of a sudden those new consoles are going to seem incredibly expensive. I think weíll increasingly see people upgrading from the PS4 to the PS4 Pro, or from the Xbox One to the Scorpio, with their old console being passed on to a family member, child, or friend. I know this happens already, I just think itís going to become more common, more of a necessity. Iíve kept both my old 3DS and my old PS4, the latter is used as a Sky Go player for the front room, and occasional ďhow does this run on the standard Playstation 4Ē machine for review purposes.

Itís probably for the best this is looking like itís going to be another long generation, possibly the longest one yet, because Iím not sure Britain is going to be in a position to be buying consoles i 2 to 3 years time.
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Apr
11
Posted by Ben at 13:28
I'm sure you're aware, but Sega have been teasing some Bayonetta news over the past week. The more optimistic amongst us have been hoping it will be the announcement of Bayonetta 3, unfortunately not (but never say never). Instead the more conservative theory that it was a port of the original game to PC turned out to be the big Bayonetta news

Not that I'm sniffing at that, prior to the WiiU getting a port of the original Bayonetta I'd have leapt at the idea of a steam port, particularly one priced at the Bulletstorm-antithesis price of £14.99

Bayonetta is on Steam right now, and boasts 60fps, up to 4K resolution, Japanese and English voice tracks, and some more advanced graphical options like improved anti-aliasing and SSAO lighting

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Apr
10
Posted by Ben at 12:26
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is coming to the Nintendo Switch in the fairly imminent future, and Nicalis have announced that they're teaming up with Headup games for a physical release

There's no firm date as to when we'll see The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ on store shelves, but we do know that it will be in Quarter 2 and priced at around Ä39.99 (depressingly that's probably a straight translation to £39.99 :( )
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Hue

Apr 08
Posted by Ben at 14:50

We could have reviewed Hue a while back, back on its PC release we were offered it, but we didnít have the time unfortunately. Itís nice then that going back to it, buying it with my own money, and playing it because I wanted to, has revealed Hue to be a fantastic little game.

Hue is a puzzle platformer, a 2d indie puzzle platformer if you can imagine such a thing. It tells the story of a young boy named Hue, his mum is a brilliant scientist who has discovered a colour beyond the visible spectrum, and has unfortunately lost herself within it. The story is told through letters that sheís left for Hue, and act pretty much as the beginning of chapters. The story is centred on her struggles as a scientist, her regrets, and her realisations. Itís a strange one, thanks to the superb soundtrack (itís really is a standout), the first half of the game feels morose, and I spent that period waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the tragedy to reveal itself. It never really happens, Hue is actually a charming game, relatively philosophical, but itís not as heavy as it initially appeared.

The gameplay is whatís important in Hue, and fortunately it more than stands up. As you progress through the world you systematically pick up colours. Hue can use these colours to change the world around him, meaning things hidden in a blue background will show up in another colour, obstacles or traps or one colour can be made to vanish if you match their colour. In simple terms, expect moments where you have to make a jump and while in midair switch the colour to provide you with a platform to land on. As you progress youíll encounter elements that alter the colour of objects, meaning you have to start thinking on multiple levels rather than just simple timing or block moving puzzles

And thatís Hueís strength, it keeps providing you with something new to think about. ITís very easy initially, instead forcing you to get to grips with switching colours on the move, but it doesnít dwell on a puzzle set for too long, nor does it repeat ideas all that often. The difficulty is pitched almost perfectly too. Thereís definitely a slightly turbulent feel to your progress, youíll be stuck on a taxing puzzle for a while, then race through the next few. Generally though very little of it seems unsolvable. Thereís no hint system, but, and maybe I got lucky, I never really needed it, playing about with the mechanics, trying and failing, would invariably reveal the next step.

It is a criticism I would level at Hue, up until fairly close to the end itís almost immaculately balanced, then it throws a couple of puzzles at you that involve mechanics that havenít been the focus up until then. Iím sure some people will race through the levels that had me stumped without a problem, then get stuck on the ones I tore through, everyoneís different after all, but it was a moment where I could have done with a hint within the game. Thereís a slight feeling that Hue outstays its welcome, actually maybe thatís unfair, more that the structured pacing of the game is discarded towards the end. Up until then youíve picked up a colour, then done a chunk of levels, before picking up another. It feels like the game should end 1 set of levels after picking up the final colour, but it continues well beyond that.

Not that Hue is a long game, maybe 4 hours or so, plus thereís some hidden items to find if thatís the sort of thing that motivates you. For the most part though I loved Hue, I wish the emotional connection I felt I should be having and the gameís narrative had managed to connect somewhere along the way, but aside from that Hue is a masterfully put together game, a real standout amongst itís indie-puzzle-platformer peers.
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Apr
07
Posted by Ben at 15:15
We took a look at Slime-San the other week, and was quite impressed with it. Well good news, it's out now on Steam

Priced at £8.99 (£8.09 for launch) Slime-San is a challenging, rapid-fire platformer, not unlike Super Meat Boy and N+. It's not ordinarily my genre but I was quite impressed by Slime-San when I played it

While it's only on PC at the minute, Slime-San will be heading to consoles later this year. It's also part of this months Humble Monthly Bundle, but I think that information is a bit late.
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