Monday, 23 March 2015

Revisited by zombies and fighters

Another small update here on my blog. Been playing a few games recently, which I thought I'd mention quickly. I'm currently working onfinishing Alien: Isolation (for the Xbox One) and Dragon Age: Inquisition (for the PS4), two fantastic games, but I'll review those at a later date. I have also finished Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Ori and the Blind Forest, so keep posted for more reviews. Here are some quick reviews though of games I've bought digitally on the Xbox and PlayStation stores.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Platform tested: Xbox One

Spartan Assault is a quick twin stick shooter set in the Halo universe. I believe it previously was a mobile game. The game gets straight into things, with fairly short missions to complete. There's a set goal of each mission and you can replay them to achieve higher scores. Adding skulls, which give you harder challenges (like less amo etc.), will increase your score even further.

The visuals are fairly clean and simple, but run at a smooth 60fps in 1080p. The levels, colouring and design distinctly have a Halo vibe. The controls are feel precise and responsive like a typical twin-shooter shooter should. I especially enjoyed that the weapon characteristics from the main Halo games were kept for a completely different genre game like this. The assault rifle feels fast and sprays just like in the main Halo games, and the pistol is slow but powerful.

Strangely enough there isn't a local coop option, which begs me to ask: why?! It's one of those genres you simply take it as granted there's a coop option. Especially since the top down view is very suited for two players. There's a clear feeling of something missing when playing this game on my own. It's like this genre just begs to be played with a friend sitting next to you laughing and shouting! You can play it online with a friend though, but it's one of those games that would have suited local multiplayer.

All in all, it's a fairly average experience, with some fun moments and a clear Halo design, but nothing out of the ordinary. You can buy at a fairly low price on either the Xbox One or the old Xbox 360 (which runs in 720p), so if you are in need of some fast and challenging shooting missions, the game is actually fairly hard, then go ahead and pick this up.



Dead or Alive 5 Last Round

Platform tested: PlayStation 4

I've reviewed Dead or Alive 5 twice before, here and here. The latest instalment, titled Last Round, is the series debut on the current consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (the update is also available on the last gen versions of DOA5 Ultimate as a patch, without the new characters, stages and costumes) as well as scheduled for a PC release! A buggy as hell debut, especially for the Xbox versions, showing that Tecmo haven't really spent much time on this upgrade. A lot of users have experienced there saves, which can be transferred from the Ultimate version, being lost. These errors have luckily been patched as of late, but the developers' (Tecmo) twitter account turned into a nightmarish bug-fixing list at one point.

last Round is a fantastic fighter if you haven't touched any of the entries of the DOA5 games yet, but I would have seriously enjoyed some graphical updates for the Xbox One and PS4 versions other than a simple resolution bump. The textures on the environments look low on detail and are kind of washed out. There 's also little depth and blurring going on with the camera work during fights to give a more fancy visual effect. The actual fighters themselves still look really good though, and kind of save the game, but the visuals are clearly just the same as the PS3 and 360 games running in 1080p@60fps instead of 720p@60fps. Kind of dissapointing.

The character roster in DOA5LR is even larger than before; sporting even more costumes, new haircuts and a couple of new stages to fight on. It's a varied package for those wanting a new fighting game, especially on the new consoles as they are lacking a great game in this genre. The end result for me leaves the game as being very average, since I've played the last versions. You can, however, add a star if you haven't played any of the DOA5  games. Tecmo really need to step up for the next version though, hopefully with a full and proper sequel in the form of DOA6.



Resident Evil HD Remaster

Platform tested: PlayStation 4

While still a fantastic game, you can read my review of the GameCube playthrough I had a couple of years ago here. I still feel Capcom have got away with calling this a HD Remaster rather cheaply as the backgrounds are not re-rendered in HD; they are simply upscaled from the GameCube (or at least a similar, low resolution source). The 3D models and some of the rooms, especially the outdoors ones with vegetation, have been upgraded and got a bump in graphical fidelity and detail.

This could have been an excellent upgrade had they re-rendered everything, but ends up truly just being an upscaling with HD characters and enemies. Not that it looks bad or anything, it's acutally and impressive job considering the source material. I really do recommend people that haven't played it to truly play this amazing survival horror game. It's an example of an excellent remake of the timeless classic on the original PlayStation back in 1996.

RE is still the most unique game in the series, and has a fairly uncommon layout and progress compared to other games. Especially compared to games these days. There's a perfect balance between shooting zombies and solving puzzles. I really like the fact that you stay in one area throughout the game, forcing the player to get familiar with the layout of the game's mansion, slowly opening new areas up to the player. There is something satisfactory about unlocking new doors to further explore the buildings within. 

Probably one of my absolute favourite games of all time, though I'm a true fan of the PS1 original, I warmly recommend players that are unfamiliar with this classic to purchase it immediately and play it!



Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

Platform tested: Xbox 360

I received this game through my Xbox Live Gold Membership in February, so I powered up the old Xbox 360 and gave it a spin! The game lets you control two brothers through a colourful fantasy world, each brother is controlled with each analogue stick on the controller. It sounds a little confusing, but it plays fairly easily. Together the brothers must help each other out on a journey to save their ill father and find his medicine. They traverse through new areas they explore together, it feels a lot like a long journey. Think of it as a sort of coop game for yourself. 

Brothers was an enjoyable, but short, adventure game with some good puzzles and original gameplay along the way. The presentation and storytelling is very good, and it's environments, set in a atmospheric fantasy world, really pulls you in.

The tragic story and it's rather depressing ending leaves you kind of mortified though. You don't actually feel good when you finish the game, not because of the actual gameplay, but the story. Leaving the player with such a feeling isn't exactly something that most will remember with a positive memory. I would maybe also have enjoyed the game as a coop game, but I guess it leaves a stronger impression of loneliness playing it on your own. The whole game is set around controlling two characters with one controller.



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