Resident Evil 2 Remake: E3 Trailer Breakdown

Anyone who… well… has ever heard my talk about gaming will more than likely know that Resident Evil 2 is not only my go-to answer for “Favourite Game”, but also holds a very special place in my gaming history. The escapades of Leon & Claire as they escape Raccoon City forms part of my own plot of sacred gaming ground and with the announcement of Capcom’s intention to remake it I scrunched up my eyes and wished for them to tread gently and carefully with something I hold so dear. With this year’s E3 I awoke on Tuesday morning to take in the two trailers of this revisiting to Raccoon City and as I sipped my coffee, sat on the train, sat through a teleconference, and everything else I did that day, my mind set about trying to process exactly how I felt about what I’d seen first thing in the morning. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I watched them for a second time… and then a third… and then some more to try and figure this out. Honestly I won’t know how I feel about it until January next year when I’m playing it, but for now, here is my breakdown of the Resident Evil 2 Remake… or RE2Make for ease of typing.  Continue reading “Resident Evil 2 Remake: E3 Trailer Breakdown”

Spy Party: Purloin That Guest List

Hello… are you sitting comfortably?…no, come closer… slide your chair in… closer… closer… move in to uncomfortably close territory as though you’re trying to see the flaw in a waxwork. Now start studying my behaviour intensely and try to work out if I’m doing anything devious.. am I?… 

This is what Spy Party feels like.

Spy Party is a game that has been in development for an extraordinary length of time. I first heard about it in an issue of Games tm (so back when I still bought print magazines) maybe ten or more years ago. Since then I’ve kept an occasional eye on the Spy Party website for development updates, I even bought the game in beta (although didn’t really play it at that point), and finally in recent months it has hit Steam; albeit in early access form. It was the simple, yet instantly understandable, concept that hooked my interest, held it for all those years and is what makes it a very interesting experience now I’ve finally spent some time playing. Continue reading “Spy Party: Purloin That Guest List”

Editorial: June 2018 – Vault…ing horse

Tipping of the hat and a “Hey!” to everyone out there for June’s editorial… soooo… are we all looking forward to Fallout 76? At time of writing all we’ve seen of Bethesda’s guaranteed wagon-of-money is a brief teaser showing the occupants of vault 76 preparing to resurface, but unofficially there are rumours of MMO style gameplay, survival & crafting, and inspirations including DayZ and Rust. For me that would be a sharp turn away from what originally drew me to the series at Fallout 3 and I suspect that I’m not alone in those thoughts. Fallout has excelled in the past with its immersive worlds, with focused plots, factions, and overall story which are just not elements that you can really capture in a multi-player experience when (I’m going out on a limb here based on my experiences of Rust) 75% of the players will just be in it to mess with you. Fallout 4 lost a barrel worth of points with me for introducing the building and crafting elements so to hear… even a rumour… that they’re moving in this direction doesn’t fill me with hope. Having said that, a series needs to evolve with the time and hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.  Continue reading “Editorial: June 2018 – Vault…ing horse”

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: Love & Hate

I’ve tried to avoid major plot spoilers, but there’s a chance that there are some minor spoilers lurking in the text below. Also, for completeness, I played the Redux version of the game which has a few gameplay tweaks, slightly enhanced graphics, and loading optimisation.

I’m not sure if subliminally I was inspired by Steam’s latest “event” which is bizarrely focused on getting gamers to acknowledge their growing backlog of… well, whatever has been picked up for a bargain in the past 200 Steam sales yet never played… but I finally decided to fire up “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter”… then some hours later I finished it. The affectionately acronym-ed TVoEC (Pronounced too-voh-eck) jumped out at me x steam sales ago for being a first-person exploration game with some puzzle elements, a supernatural vibe, and seemingly coupled with some healthy reviews & recommendations. The cynical might call it a “walking simulator” leaning heavily on the negative implications of the phrase whilst the more pro-exploration crowd might also refer to it as a “walking simulator” but in a positive light of a group trying to own what was initially a derogatory term. I guess I prefer the more neutral “first-person exploration” as a genre, but given how widely recognised it is as a phrase I don’t flinch at the aforementioned divisive terminology which is a microcosm of the divide that this style of game causes. As I ambled through TVoEC I couldn’t help but begin to see it as a prime example of how and why this genre manages to split gamers. Continue reading “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: Love & Hate”

Theme Hospital: This Hospital is no Walk in the Park

Despite “Theme Park” being one of the first PC games that I owned, I somehow managed to avoid most of the other big Bullfrog titles. My first PC gaming incarnation was during the mid-90′ which coincided with the golden age of the great amphibian developer so how I managed to steer clear of their work is a mystery …. sure, it’s not one that’s going to sell many novels, but it’s a mystery nonetheless. For anyone who doesn’t remember the gaming world of 20+ years ago, Bullfrog were responsible for a string of PC gaming success stories, many of which were ported to the consoles of the time, but given that most of their catalogue involved a mouse interface to some extent it was pretty obvious which market they were aiming for. They were responsible for the aforementioned “Theme Park”, the mesmerising 3D landscapes of the “Magic Carpet” games, “Dungeon Keeper”, and of course “Theme Hospital”. That final title is one that I only really knew from the odd “go” at a friend’s house, but it came across as a quirky cartoonish, slightly bizarrely toned, hospital management game that at the time I wasn’t remotely interested in because it didn’t involve a fast hedgehog or blasting some kind of demonic aliens; looking back I had pretty terrible taste in games at that age. Continue reading “Theme Hospital: This Hospital is no Walk in the Park”

QotM*: Umbrella Employee #57832

*Question of the Month is an apple crumble with a really good crumble-to-fruit ratio brought to us by Later Levels

This month’s slice of question pie has been dished out by the fantastic Pix1001 who runs a streamlined train over at “Shoot the Rookie“. Check out the MASTER POOOSST! for a little more about what her particular brand of cereal is. Right now, I’m going to get on with the business of this month’s question which is:

if you could live in any video game settlement (ie a town, village, city, etc), where would you choose to live and why; and what role would you play in it?

Wow – so this is quite the topic. Let’s face it, we’ve all daydreamed about living in our favourite in game setting from Hyrule to Rapture, but I think personally I’ve spent more time imagining what it would be like to live in Resident Evil’s Raccoon City more than anywhere else. It’s not your traditional utopia, but given the game’s impact on me, I always had dreams of roaming the police station and wanted to step in those detailed pre-rendered rooms to delve deeper in to that world.

I also guess that like most people in Raccoon City, I’d work for Umbrella because someone has to do all that evil science right? Unfortunately I just don’t think it work would out to be the idyllic experience I’m imagining…. Continue reading “QotM*: Umbrella Employee #57832”

Men in Black Retrospective: I Put My Hands… On My Head…

The second half of the 90’s was alien territory; it came after dinosaurs ruled the cinema, but before pirates and zombies made a well deserved and ultimately overstayed return. It was a revival for extra terrestrials, who had last been big in the late 60’s and 70’s following the space race, thanks in no small part to the dramatically lit FBI duo Mulder & Scully and their stories of a confusing filing system. Right in the middle of this resurgence of interest fell Barry Sonnenfeld’s movie, Men in Black, which showed moviegoers a lighter side to the alien invasion with this witty and clever insight in to the fictitious agency charged with keeping their presence a secret. It’s quirky, funny, and about as 90’s as things get with Will Smith taking the leading role backed up by Tommy Lee Jones, and has some neat ideas along with special effects which were impressive at the time. If this were a movie blog, I could easily ramble about the film for pages, but I want to focus on that always tricky game tie-in. Continue reading “Men in Black Retrospective: I Put My Hands… On My Head…”