Nidhogg II: Get Eaten, Win Game

…with a deft flick of your wrist the tip of your rapier neatly disarms your opponent. They stand. Stunned for a second before you run then through, their body hanging momentarily from your sword, dripping purple. Then they crumple to the ground and you run. That was the last hurdle. All glory is yours… you are consumed by the Nidhogg in triumph… 

In a moment of impulsiveness over the festive break, I picked up Nidhogg II for the Switch. I own the original for PC and it is the sort of game that can be quickly wheeled out at a gathering for some fast multiplayer action if called upon. Given that the Switch is now our portable gaming unit of choice, picking up the sequel on that platform (with it’s handily built-in multiple controllers) seemed like a great way to both try it out and convince my friends to drop in for a round or two at some opportune moment. The concept and gameplay of the two titles are very similar, so for the uninitiated it works like this: Continue reading “Nidhogg II: Get Eaten, Win Game”

Sunset Overdrive: The Good Type of Grind

Some years ago, way back in the early days of my blogging exploits, I wrote about ‘Dying Light’; a first-person-zombie-blasting-open-world-free-running cocktail which, despite being good fun, carried with it a healthy dose of ingame annoyances that grated on my nerves given the extended playtime of this type of game. The article listed a handful of features that I felt were superfluous to the experience and could happily have been hacked away to create a more streamlined game.

In the weeks before festiveness ’18 I picked up ‘Sunset Overdrive’; freshly released on PC it dangled the temptation of some open-world exploration in front of those idle evenings when trying to digest too many mince pies with the added draw of being slightly reduced to entice in that PC market. In summary it is a third-person-zombie-blasting-open-world-free-running cocktail that comes with a chaser of not featuring any of those features that I found so annoying in Dying Light.

…ok…ok, so they’re actually humans that have been mutated by drinking a new type of energy drink, but fit all the criteria of zombies for these purposes.  Continue reading “Sunset Overdrive: The Good Type of Grind”

Resident Evil Outbreak: Here Comes the B-Team

… as the intro kicks in we see the events of William Birkin’s confrontation with the Umbrella agents play out amid the unfolding imagery of the spreading infection. Outbreak is a game firmly seated in the lore and style of the original trilogy. 

It’s no secret that I love the first trilogy of Resident Evil games; they were the reason I owned a PlayStation and consequently a big part in why I graduated on to a PS2 as soon as it was released. Unfortunately there weren’t any Resident Evil titles confirmed for PS2 at the point of release and through its life it would play a surprising second fiddle to its contemporary consoles in those tales of S.T.A.R.S. & Co. especially considering how the first games had been such prominent titles in its predecessor’s roster. The two big RE titles that would find their way there were both ‘exclusive’ to other consoles at launch: RE: Code Veronica being originally made for the Dreamcast and RE4 setting sail with the GameCube. PS2 didn’t even receive the fantastic REMake of the original or similarly styled RE: Zero. I did play and enjoy RE:CV at launch on the PS2 but had drifted further away from the series by the time I would have been able to play RE4 and when I finally did get around to sampling it in recent years I wasn’t a fan of the new, action-heavy, style of gameplay.

Between these two titles was dropped the PS2 exclusive RE:Outbreak subseries (Outbreak & Outbreak File #2) which could be considered some of the last Resident Evil games to feature the classic style of gameplay and shambling zombies. They shared the fully 3D backgrounds of RE:CV, but maintained the fixed camera angles (albeit with panning and tracking) that defined the feel and pacing of the early games. Given my own background I find it hard to believe that I owned both of these games and barely explored them at all before trading them in – I think I may even have sold ‘Outbreak: File #2’ with the cellophane still intact given that I didn’t finish Outbreak itself. A couple of weeks ago however I spotted Outbreak for £5 in a branch of popular-chain-of-used-games-stores-here-in-the-uk and decided that it was worth a revisiting. Continue reading “Resident Evil Outbreak: Here Comes the B-Team”

The Invisible Hours: I Was Sure the Cat Did It

Mr. Swan carefully replaces his broom next to the kitchen window and slowly edges back toward the table. He gingerly picks up the porcelain cat and works his fingers around it to make sure that it is the item he was searching for. Satisfied, he fumbles his way in to the dining room before positioning the cat on the polished oak table and making his way toward the hall. Little does he know that his day is about to take a downward turn.

I sat on the floor and watched Mr. Swan do this several times. The porcelain cat must be the key to it all otherwise why would he have been so careful to move it? The positioning was too precise yet random, the item too intriguing with the dragon motif on the base, and the eyes of the cat too searching, too intelligent, their glazed stare had witnessed too much. Of course ultimately it was just a porcelain cat, one detail in this play that had a surprisingly insignificant role in the a larger sequence of events where everything felt deliberate.

‘The Invisible Hours’ is a VR experience from Tequila Works (although it is now playable in non-VR) that truly deserves the ambiguous qualifier of being an ‘experience’. I’ve mentioned in the past that one of my worries for VR gaming is that it will become the home of ‘experiences’ rather than actual games however in this case the qualifier is justified as there is no traditional gameplay to speak of however please don’t let that put you off one of the more unique and satisfying VR titles that I’ve picked up so far in my Vive adventures. Continue reading “The Invisible Hours: I Was Sure the Cat Did It”

Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep

This is Mission Commander Big Boss. The following article contains spoilers for the original Metal Gear. The game is thirty years old, do I still need to warn you? You have been warned! 

In my recent 20 year retrospective about Metal Gear Solid for PS1 I mentioned that the original Metal Gear for NES was one of the few games that I own for that system and yet I’ve never completed it (to clarify, my NES is not a childhood console, I picked it up about ten years ago on eBay). With that thought gently turning the cogs of my mind I decided to finally play it and see where the series began and how it shaped the follow up monster of the PlayStation 1 era. Blowing the dust off both the console and the game I fired it up and…

Continue reading “Metal Gear (NES): I Feel Asleep”

Duck Season: With Paprika

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Duck Season”… also whilst I’m warning, so does the trailer for “Duck Season”.

I’d lay a guinea to the fact that most of you reading this are of that very specific age to have grown up knowing the simple time pressure of renting a videogame from Blockbuster. Three-day rental, five-day rental, it made little difference, there was always a race against time. How far could you get before the return day approached? I can’t say that I had that many of the pre-requisite entirely free weekends which coincided with a Friday night adventure through the fabled door below the ripped ticket stub in to the land of blue, yellow, overpriced snacks, and disappoint of realising that although they had about a hundred of the empty cover boxes of the latest movie you needed to find one of the generic boxes to actually rent that movie. Game rental for me was indeed a rare treat, so much so that I can remember almost every instance of it during the 16-bit era… and they were all mediocre titles at best. Continue reading “Duck Season: With Paprika”

I Expect You to Die: James Bond without much James Bonding

The opening title sequence of a game is rarely something mentioned in a “review” (if that is what I do here…) but in the case of “I Expect you to Die”, the opening titles are a notable VR experience in themselves. The player is a passenger through a Bond inspired, highly stylised, red & black dichromatic intro sequence complete with Shirley Bassey style theme music. It’s an homage to everything that the game strives to be – an over the top Spy experience paying tribute to Connery and Moore whilst keeping its tongue firmly in cheek.  Continue reading “I Expect You to Die: James Bond without much James Bonding”