Articles tagged with pc


 
 
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
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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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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Mar
18
Posted by Ben at 18:18
I really liked Lost Dimension on the Vita. It's got it's problems, but it's a decent modern strategy Jrpg that nothing like enough people played. Good news then, thanks to Ghostlight Lost Dimension is getting a second chance with an upcoming PC release

Lost Dimension kind of mixes Dangonronpa's idea of a traitor amongst your group, with a trial of sorts to work out who it is. The problem I had with that mechanic, while an interesting idea, because the traitor is "randomly" selected, there's no motivation in place for them to do it, something Danganronpa mostly got right.

Anyway, I really liked it for the free-moving rpg combat, which you can see in the video I made no one watched, posted below. Lost Dimension is coming to Steam later this year

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Mar
17
Posted by Ben at 15:21
2Dark, the isometric horror from the creators of the legendary Alone in the Dark is out now

2Dark is available both physically and digitally on the PS4 and Xbone One, and also available on Steam, priced at £34.99 for the physical edition (which includes a few extras like an artbook, a cd, and a steelbook) and £18.99 for the PC version

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Switch
or die trying
Mar 12
Posted by Mark at 19:15

Getting a timely name change seemingly to avoid confusion with a certain newly-released console, Switch - or die trying is another in a long line of precision platformers.

In Switch, you play as the letter I, whose friends- the rest of the alphabet- have all stopped talking to him because he's a bit too self-absorbed, so he sets out to perform acrobatic feats in the hope that it will make them all love him again.

The game's core structure doesn't deviate too much from the templates left behind by the likes of Super Meat Boy and its imitators- the player must reach the goal in a number of self-contained levels by making seemingly improbable jumps and navigating assorted obstacles.

The main weapon in I's arsenal is that old platform favourite, his double-jump. Double-jumping allows him to switch (a-ha!) between his lower- and upper-case forms. Oddly, however, the developers have chosen to put this second jump onto a different button to the normal one.

The game opens with the phrase 'Gamepad strongly recommended', and it's not wrong. On keyboard, the dobule-button-double-jump is a feat of finger gymnastics that isn't entirely comfortable, and distracts from the environment-traversal aspects of the game. Using an XBox pad, the default setting of A to jump and RT to switch helps to give fast double-jumping a nice, natural-feeling rhythm.

It's a motion not entirely dissimilar to clicking your fingers, which is another comparison to that Nintendo console I'm sure the developers would be really happy to hear about.

This isn't the only quirk the game brings to the genre- I is also able to shoot at objects to open doors and even transform platforms, although a reliance on hiding moving targets behind a wall you have to keep sliding down and jumping back up means that on occasion this aspect can feel a lot more like luck than skill.

In later levels elements of the environment such as platforms, barriers around targets and even streams of lava are toggled based on I's current case, similar to forgotten XBox Live Indie title Nyan-Tech, bringing the game slightly into puzzle platformer territory.

As well as simply reaching the exit, each level has two extra objectives in a target time and a collectable ink drop. At the end of the level you are awarded the standard one to three stars for doing so, but progression is kept primarily to how many levels have been finished, relieving the frustration of being unable to get that speed star by a few milliseconds.

The precision platformer is an increasingly oversubscribed field, and a very easy thing to get wrong- and while Switch - or die trying is hardly going to go down as a classic in its field, its gets enough right to stand above some of the genre's less accomplished efforts.
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Mar
12
Posted by Ben at 17:05
We took a look at Slime-San a week or so back, based on what I played it's pretty promising.

You might roll your eyes at this but Slime-San is a retro, tough as nails platformer, and while that might sound well-trodden, it's shaping up to be a good one

Slime-San will be available from Steam and Humble Bundle on April 7th
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Mar
01
Posted by Ben at 15:17
Not captured by us I hasted to add, instead it's a promotional video from Square Enix that takes a look at Nier: Automata's rpg mechanics

NieR: Automata comes out of PS4 and pc in a week or so, on March 10th

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Torment: Tides of Numenera
Video Review
Feb 28
Posted by Ben at 03:01

Our review has just gone live for Torment: Tides of Numenera, and it's a good game. It's very much a story driven game though, so a video of it might not be that exciting

So it's with that dirtying of the water that I present our hour long gameplay review of the PS4 version of Torment: Tides of Numenera. This is recorded on the PS4 Pro, not that that really has any bearings on performance. As good as the game is there's a fair few technical problems, lot's of hitching, and the animation seems to run at a lower framerate from the camera.

Anyway, the footage is captured from a fair bit in the game, and I complete at least one side quest, so there are some slight spoilers, nothing too story heavy though. Still, bear that in mind before watching

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Torment:
Tides of Numenera
Feb 28
Posted by Ben at 02:47

The old-school Western RPG has had something of a resurgence over the last few years. Not that weíre falling over them now, but with the Shadowrun games, Wasteland 2, and Pillars of Eternity, weíre seeing about one a year. As much as Wasteland 2 had a weight on its shoulders so too does Torment: Tides of Numenera, acting as spiritual successor to Planetscape: Torment

I donít really have the space in this review to detail the plot of Torment: Tides of Numenera, but the brief outline is that someone figured out how to live forever, creating bodies to inhabit before jumping to the next one and abandoning the Ďcastoffí body to live on. These castoffs are often revered or loathed for their creators actions, you are one of these castoffs. Your ability to manipulate the ĎTidesí has drawn the attention of a creature called The Sorrow, it hunts you and you Ďfatherí through the physical and psychic worlds.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is dense with mechanics, but it starts to make sense as you progress. Initially the levelling up system, the cyphers (powerful items), and the stat pools are all a bit bewildering, but it does start to make sense. Torment: Tides of Numenera uses stat points for its various mechanics, in combat youíll use your pool of physical to increase the strength and chance of success for your attacks. If youíre trying to persuade someone in conversation youíll lose the indigo intelligence pool, the more points you spend the greater the chance of success. You need to be careful though, once these pools are spent theyíre gone until you refill them with items or rest

When I was planning the video review for Torment: Tides of Numenera I was struggling to pick a bit of gameplay that included combat. I was hours and hours in when I started to think about it and Iíd only had 1 fight, an easy one right at the start of the game. Iíd had opportunities for more, but Iíd managed to talk my way out of it, but itís not like I was tripping over offers. Truth is combat is often more trouble than itís worth, youíre not falling over health items, youíre often charged a small fortune to rest, and as well as eating all your health, chances are youíre going to burn all your stat points too.

Itís not that the combat is horrendously bad, but itís definitely the weakest part of the game, and itís difficult to spec for. This isnít Fallout, handing out a beating isnít often a solution, but even if it was the moveset isnít there to make it especially fun or interesting, you find yourself using the same moves, spending the same skill points because you donít really have a lot of options. Anyway, it took me a while to get it drilled in to my head, but itís really not what Torment: Tides of Numenera is about. While to claim that you never need to fight is maybe bending the truth, itís certainly not where the focus is. You can usually talk your way out of it, intimidate someone in to backing down, convincing them itís not in their best interest, or simply, just not taking on that side quest.

Youíll spend huge chunks of time in Torment: Tides of Numenera talking to people, reading their stories, learning about the world, its culture and its inhabitants. Thatís what the game is about, not endless combat. While some of the lore is, to me at least (sorry fans of Numenera), a bit nonsensical, some of the stories contained within are fantastic. The writing is uniformly superb, and itís hard to think of many games that can boast missions, and side missions, as interesting. A big part of it is that stories go beyond where youíd expect. In another game youíd be given a task, youíd go and find the thing, return, complete the quest. In Torment youíre given a task, have to speak to someone, do a task for them, they tell you to speak to someone else, at which point the narrative takes a turn, then you have to make a decision about how to act. Side quests and main missions are lengthy, you can spend hours making very little concrete progress, this is more of a plus than it sounds, so dense are they



The characters too are fantastically written, your character, the Last Castoff, is probably one of the weaker and least interesting youíll encounter. Your potential teammates all have distinct personalities, and while some of them are very typical, thereís some who reveal themselves to be more than they appear. They each have their own stories that play out as you progress through the game, again, some of them are great. I really like them as characters too, Erritis is definitely worth adding to your party, the heroic bastard. The NPCs and quest givers are generally fairly good too, thereís one or two where their characterisation means their message gets lost a bit, but given what weíre used to having a few misses is easily forgivable. Itís not all good news though, while the combat is a black mark against the game, itís worth mentioning the technical problems.

Without seeing the PC version for myself I canít say for sure that this isnít an engine issue. The game judders on PS4, thereís a framiness to the animations, itís not a fps issue as such, the game world seems to run at a higher framerate, it just isnít smooth. Thereís also a hitching that occurs sporadically. More than sporadically, itís not constant, and given the nature of the game itís not game-breaking, but it is regular. Itís probably most noticeable in the Sagus Cliffs area, itís not caused by having the view too zoomed out, itís not caused by too much going on on-screen, as it occurs in much smaller, quieter areas, and it occurs on both the Standard PS4 and the Playstation Pro. It may not be a huge problem, but itís enough to say that if you want Torment: Tides of Numenera and have access to a decent PC, thatís probably where you should play it.

Iíve had a few other bugs too, generally itís been small things like the health bars flickering, the sound disappearing for a bit, small things that donít really have any bearing on the game. I have though had items fail to appear in my inventory, itís only happened once, but given that you never really have an abundance of items it doesnít inspire confidence. Iíd have written it off as me imagining it, but I also had an issue where an item that should have allowed 5 uses vanished after one. It was a useful item too. Again, none of this really affected my enjoyment as such, but had I not noticed the missing items and saved, I may not have been able to finish a quest.

Iím not sure fixing those issues would all of a sudden turn Torment: Tides of Numenera into a classic, as good as the narratives can be there is something heavy going about the whole thing, or maybe thatís just personal taste. Still though, for the right person Torment: Tides of Numenera is going to be ideal, were the combat a little better Iíd say itíd be pretty much essential for fans of the genre, but either way I donít think it will disappoint too many people

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