I’ve written a lot about horror games, specifically regarding how the genre has gone through a bit of a renaissance in recent years. There have been a surprising number of quality horror games, and with the recent announcement of a new Silent Hill title, plus Capcom’s supposed effort to bring Resident Evil back to its roots, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing plenty more.
This brings me to this month’s newest horror releases: Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within. Both are modern horror games, yet they both approach the genre from entirely different perspectives. Best of all, you can look at both games as example of how to do modern horror right and how to do it, well, not so right.
In this episode, Andrew, Graham and Henry are joined by Chris Ingersoll as they explore the world of Insomniac’s latest, Sunset Overdrive. This episode’s topics: the cool action of Bayonetta 2, the surprisingly-solid Samurai Warriors 4, Firaxis taking Civ to space, the Xbox One price drop, all the Smash Bros. announcements and the preposterous fact that Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘s Pascal is still saying new things.
(Editor’s note: technical difficulties caused audio issues during the first part of the show. Sorry for the inconvenience.)
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Another Musou game? Yes, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo America have been quite prolific as of late, pumping out releases in the Warriors series faster than most can keep track of them. Even those who love the franchise may be feeling some fatigue, and thinking that Samurai Warriors 4, the latest release, is a good one to skip and take a break. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your wallet), the game justifies itself with refined combat, interesting battlefield strategy and a level of care and polish that has been absent in most Omega Force releases. READ MORE
After the spin-off Resident Evil Revelations franchise made its debut on 3DS, it was ported to home consoles, and with its upcoming sequel, Capcom is tailoring the game specifically for the big-screen experience. Considering the 3DS version used the touch screen to its advantage for several of the original game’s puzzles, what changes this time now that the focus has changed?
What is it?: Capcom’s second entry in the Revelations series takes place between Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6. The game stars Claire Redfield, heroine of Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica, and Moira Burton, daughter of the first Resident Evil’s Barry Burton. The portion we played starts off with both Claire and Moira waking up and finding themselves in a run-down jail. Following a fairly linear path, you try to make your way out of the jail by figuring out some simple puzzles and defeating a taste of the game’s new enemies. READ MORE
Whether you’re enticed by the idea of getting a New 3DS before the North American launch or you want to use the transition to snag an older model for cheap, it’s an intriguing time to jump into the world of 3DS imports. Sadly, it’s not region-free, but if you take the plunge on the hardware, there are a lot of compelling Japan-only experiences to try, even if you don’t know the language! READ MORE
After nearly ten years away from a genre he helped pioneer, Shinji Mikami has returned to his survival horror roots with his latest title, The Evil Within. Focusing less on action and more on atmosphere and the “survival” aspect of survival horror, The Evil Within attempts to bridge the gap between the old ways of the genre and its current status. Unfortunately, it’s an experience that only rarely delivers on its potential.
I’ve been sleeping well lately. Kyla and I moved into a basement suite in an area as close to a video game setting as you can get. It’s absolutely gorgeous; small, curvy roads lead you through architectural wonder. Three doors down is a house with the look of a medieval tavern mixed with modern wealth. The Governor General’s estate is one block away, filled with ponds, flowers, deer and paths tailor-made for long walks and longer talks. The pièce de résistance is a castle right around the corner. Craigdarroch Castle, lit up at night, makes me feel like I belong to a neighborhood instead of living among random people in a random place. READ MORE
Fantasy Life is a game about filling up bars. A collaboration between Level-5 (Dragon Quest IX, Ni no Kuni) and 1-Up Studio (Mother 3, Professor Layton and the Last Specter‘s London Life mode), it’s filled with fetch quests, grinding up skills and crafting items and equipment. These aren’t ways to pad the game length or diversions from the main attraction — they’re the reason you’re here — and it’s not ashamed of that for a second.
And that’s okay, because Fantasy Life is a really good game about filling up bars. READ MORE
Pier Solar and the Great Architects is a return to the 16-bit glory days of the JRPG genre and was originally released for the Sega Genesis in 2010, over a decade after the last official release for the system. It was conceived as an attempt to emulate the core concepts that made other RPGs of that era so memorable, and it largely succeeds in doing so, both for better and for worse. Pier Solar developer WaterMelon ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to remaster the game in HD for release on modern consoles (along with — of course — the Dreamcast), and it is this “definitive” version of the game that will likely gain exposure to a wider audience as copies of the limited-run Sega Genesis version can be very difficult to find. READ MORE
One of the more widely-disliked game mechanics available to designers is player elimination. Nobody likes being forced to the sidelines early while the rest of the players continue the game, especially if that game still has a while to go before it finishes. Sitting around and doing nothing while everyone else is occupied is the epitome of “not fun.”
Some games can make player elimination work, though. As a general rule, the shorter the overall run time of a typical game session, the less of a drag being eliminated early has on the experience. The other main way to overcome the elimination factor is for a game to be as fun to spectate as it is to participate. With that criteria in mind, how does a half-hour king-of-the-hill kaiju battle royale sound? READ MORE