Monday, 18 July 2016

Review: Lego Star Wars - The Force Awakens


Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the latest game in the Lego line. Released on the 28th June, it's a welcome return to the Star Wars Lego games, with lots of classic characters in addition to the new ensemble cast.

Story wise, the game follows the same basic premise as the movie it takes its name from, but with a few missions from the previous movies, as well as some expanded missions (still in the current timeline), too. It also injects some humour into the story, as the Lego games like to do. One such moment that particularly stood out to us was in reference to the moment Kylo Ren has a bit of a meltdown in the movie, smashing things; in the game, we have him storming off to his Darth Vader-overload bedroom, and smashing that up instead (the wee man definitely enjoyed that part!).


If you've played a Lego game before, you'll know the basic structure of them. This one is no exception - and that's not a bad thing, by any means! Naturally, the way these games play are unlikely to change drastically, other than some new mechanics, which is what we were treated to here. A new cover system has been introduced, as well as the ability for buildable objects to be built in a number of ways, giving puzzles multiple parts (therefore requiring just a tad more brainpower). Other than that, the game is very much the same as other Lego games, just reskinned to fit the story of The Force Awakens. The games are great as they are, and this is a classic case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".


The main story can be completed in less than 10 hours, but there are a tonne of things to do after that, giving the game a good amount of replayability. There are loads of unlockable characters, vehicles, and of course there are some things available through the Season Pass, too. So even if you blast through the game, aaand all of the unlockables, there's still more to come via the Season Pass, to get you back into the game at a later date. Plus, at only £7.99 on the Xbox Store (and similarly priced elsewhere), it's the cheapest Season Pass we've bought whilst not on sale!


As previously mentioned, the game plays and feels exactly like the previous Lego games, but this is why these games are so popular. They fit that family demographic, of being easy to play (for all ages), whilst telling the story of popular movies, etc. whilst allowing some couch co-op for you and your friends, or family.

Overall, it's a great game to have, especially if you have kids as they'll get a tonne of enjoyment from it, too, so we'd definitely have to give it an...

8.5/10

So what were your thoughts on Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Entries to the Asylum: Tuesday 28th June - Sunday 17th July 2016.

Almost a month worth of late Entries to the Asylum! Sorry guys!
Been so caught up with stuff lately that I forgot to keep posting when things were arriving, but at last, here they are (also, apologies if I've missed anything, I've tried my best to remember but have possibly missed out something, in which case I'll come back and add it once I remember!):

Wednesday 6th July 2016

- The Witcher 3 & Expansion Pass [Xbox One].
- Just Cause 3 Season Pass.
- Shadow of Mordor Season Pass.
- Unravel.

Thursday 7th July 2016

- Pokémon Pikachu The Movie Box 2007-2010 [Bluray].
- Pokémon Pikachu DS Lite Limited Edition.
- Poprageous Bruce Lee Bodycon Dress.
- Poprageous Tarantino Bodycon Dress.
- Poprageous Triforce Leggings.
- Poprageous Great Scott Leggings.
- Black Milk Matte Black Reverse Suspenders.
- Living Dead Clothing Chibi Zelda Leggings.
- Living Dead Clothing Muz Reunion Dress.
- Living Dead Clothing Lollipop Chainsaw Hack 'n' Slash Cut Crop Top.
- Living Dead Clothing Lollipop Chainsaw Hack 'n' Slash Cut Mini Skirt.
- Living Dead Clothing Lollipop Chainsaw Pink Bummers.
- Deadpool [Bluray].

Friday 8th July 2016

- Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens [Digital].
- Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens Season Pass.
- Octodad: Dadliest Catch Limited Run Dad Edition [PS4]*

*Tie to come later this month due to still being in production.

Saturday 9th July 2016

- Vans X Nintendo Princess Peach Shoes.

Monday 11th July

- Lego Star Wars the Force Awakens Promo Disc [Xbox One].

Tuesday 12th July 2016

- The Magic Circle: Gold Edition [Xbox One].

Wednesday 13th July 2016

- Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty Limited Run Physical Copy [PS4].
- Dangerous Golf [Xbox One].

Thursday 14th July 2016

- S.H. Figuarts Trunks Premium Color Edition.

Saturday 16th July 2016

- Song of the Deep Collector's Edition [Xbox One].

Lots of reviews and stuff coming soon!

Also, got a few of our art prints framed yesterday too. Need to get the mat things for them as the frames are slightly too big, but to finally have a bundle of them framed feels great!

What new things have you gotten recently?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 11 July 2016

Review: Lost Sea


Lost Sea is a roguelike game developed by Eastasiasoft, whose previous games include the likes of Rainbow Moon and Söldner-X. When I say roguelike, I mean it in a very vague manner; the game does have the procedurally generated levels and permadeath necessary to deem it as such, but the sections that are generated as you move throughout the level are pre-rendered, and extremely limited in number - resulting in an often confusing repetitiveness, that can make the game feel a little like a chore.


Permadeath, albeit with some credits and experience carrying on into successive runs, can be frustrating as hell, but that is something that obviously defines the roguelike genre. The characters you can choose from each run are varied and pretty well designed, however they are definitely lacking the names and character differences such as weapons, abilities and/or stats, that other roguelikes have to differentiate between playable characters, and also give a bit of change to each playthrough, rather than having most go in the same way. This is something I feel that the game could have benefited greatly from, and would have given it much more replayability.

The game itself is pretty, I'll give it that. With bright, beautiful scenery throughout the levels - be they desert, snowy, or swampy (etc.), are lovely to look at, and enemy character design (as well as the companions who can tag along with you) are great, too - if again, a bit repetitive.


 Playing through the game, it can be quite laborious at times. The game isn't overly hard, but with limited health, and permadeath a constant threat considering that it only takes a few hits to completely wipe out your health bar, playing the game can take quite a bit more time and effort than I can be bothered giving. Although, I will admit that this constant cycle of death keeps you coming back for more, in a "Just one more run..." loop. The length it takes to get through the game can be quite offputting however, as it takes much longer than the average Binding of Isaac run, to get through the game - especially as you cannot save progress, or even exit out of the game to do something else for a while, before coming back. Instead of having a "suspend-save", it just starts you back at the beginning. Every. Damn. Time. Essentially, the game is designed for you to sit and play through it in one go, but that just isn't feasible, considering how long it takes to actually work through it. You can Warp to other stages after defeating each boss, but this also impacts negatively on your playthrough (such as losing character progression, for instance).


The companions system is something I like in games, adding additional party members and weighing up who to keep (and who to give the boot!) in order to give you the best possible playthrough you can get. It's a little under-developed however, as most of the companions have a vast range of abilities, meaning once you unlock the ability to have 2 or more following you, you pretty much don't have to worry about anything stopping you, such as broken bridges or locked chests. A smaller ability set for each companion would have been better, giving you more of a difficult task in deciding who to take along with you from island to island. The companions are also sadly useless when it comes to combat. Not only do they not help you fight (not that it's needed, anyway), but they don't even run away from enemies - instead curling up in a ball, oftentimes right where an enemy is gonna get them, meaning that you often kill off companions through little fault of your own.

A maximum of four companions can follow you at any one time, which is great, but having so many follow you (in a line, no less) can cause some issues, especially in levels where there a lot of turning as they usually end up stuck behind a wall or down some stairs, which can definitely be quite annoying when you have to double back every few minutes to retrieve someone.


Lastly, boss battles are a nice change of pace to the game, signifying the end of each "Stage" of the game, however these also tend to veer onto the repetitive side of things again.

Lost Sea is a game that, no pun intended, you can get lost in for a while, and is a great little game for just passing the time, but don't expect anything too groundbreaking with it. At a price point of £11.99 in the UK (from the Xbox store at least), it's priced fairly for the amount of gameplay you get.

Overall, we'd have to rate it a 6/10.

Lost Sea is available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC now.

What are your thoughts on Lost Sea?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Review: The Technomancer


The Technomancer is the follow-up to Spiders' 2013 game, Mars: War Logs. Being someone who has never played that game before, I was a little worried I'd feel lost starting out in this game, but luckily the game seems to be perfectly fine to play as a standalone title (which I imagine many people think it is due to the lack of a link name-wise to its predecessor).

You play as a newbie Technomancer - someone who wields the power of electricity - Zachariah, who the game gives you creative control over his appearance. I did my usual, and had a look through all the other face options, etc. before reverting back to the first one shown since I felt that he looked the best. 

The game is set on Mars, 200 years after it was colonized by humans. Different factions are at war with each other, etc. The story is there, it's just not utilised as well as it could have been. At times, the game is reminiscent of Mass Effect and Fallout, with the dialogue options, morality scale and the overall feel of the game, but I'd say not as polished, or deep, story-wise as those.


I will say, it's not a bad game. Not at all. The RPG elements of the levelling systems are great, and I really enjoyed the different fighting styles (and the fact that you can switch between them instantly). Crafting and armor upgrades were also done really well, and I enjoyed messing around with what I could do to my weapons (admittedly, mainly my staff) to improve them.

The combat had its issues, such as it sometimes felt a little slow, but that could have purely been my own fault - I tend to be shit at parrying attacks - and I died a helluva lot within the first few hours of playing. It almost felt like Dark Souls, in that "fuck I'm dead again, but I must go on" kinda way.


The voice-acting wasn't very good, and lip-synching was poorly done alongside it, so cutscenes with characters felt awkward to watch, but this again was a minor gripe, especially considering the game looks beautiful otherwise, and it's not as though it's being done by a AAA developer with endless budget, so I can forgive it for that.

All in all, the game was enjoyable, albeit frustrating at times, and for RPG fans, this might be right up your alley. And we'd give it a 7/10 :)

What did you think of The Technomancer?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Review: Inside


Playdead's Inside is an absolute masterpiece in gaming and I cannot fault it in any way. It's not often that a game truly grips me to the point that I want to keep playing it through to completion as soon as I possibly can.

We got Inside on Thursday, and by the Friday both of us had already 100% completed the story, as well as finding all of the secrets - therefore netting all of the achievements - and then found the alternate ending, too. Oh, and we then went on to watch a friend play it (so our cumulative third playthrough within 24 hours of getting the game), and have been watching people play it on YouTube, as well.


It's that good, honestly.

Now, I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't go into too much detail, but the game is fantastic. The visuals, whilst still mostly monochromatic, now have the odd pop of colour here and there, and the lighting is spectacular. Playdead really know what they're doing with their games: first Limbo and it's eerie atmosphere, with completely black and white, very simple visuals making some puzzles a struggle due to the limited scope of what is visible on screen, to Inside, where the visuals have been cranked up a gear, but still retains the ambience and further adding more threat to the game, making this one of the most panic-inducing games I've played in a while.

The familiar logic based puzzles make a return, with some seemingly impossible sections of the game actually very simple to execute, once you've wasted 20 minutes trying to work it out. From smashing your little submarine through doors, to using mind-control to open out of reach doors, the game really makes you think outside of the box at times, as well as sometimes confusing you, after you overthink a simple puzzle causing it to take much longer than it should have.


Everything you do in Inside has a worrying sense of foreboding, with a tiny little glimpse of relief dotted throughout. The creepy water girl is chasing you, and you get out of the water - phew - only for you to plunge back into the depths minutes later, and as the water encloses around your nameless character, the panic sets in again. 

Oh no, I'm in the water again.

Despite these moments of terror, the game does a fantastic job of keeping you invested - and not wanting to turn it off in fear - and almost forcing you to continue playing. Why does the girl keep trying to kill me? Who is she? Where am I? What is going on here? All of these questions, and more, are swirling through your head while you play, and as with Limbo, most of these questions go unanswered come the end of the game.


Leaving these questions open to interpretation is part of what makes Playdead's games so good. The general consensus of Limbo's ending was that the boy was dead. This was not only referenced and evident throughout the game itself, but its title. The boy being in Limbo, before passing on to the afterlife, etc.

Inside really leaves you thinking at the end. Leaves you thinking a few things actually, namely: "What the actual fuck?" "Oh my God, that was amazing" and "So what did it all mean?".

Co-creator of the game, Arnt Jensen, tries to make the games impossible to decipher. He admitted that fans got scarily close to figuring out the whole story behind Limbo, which actually disappointed him a little - he'd wanted it to remain unknown, at least for a longer time.

With Inside, I believe he has remedied this, and achieved his goal. The underlying ideas are there, which you can pluck out: government, mind-control, biological experimentation, etc. but you can't really piece these things together, at least not in a way that makes you go "Ahhh, now I know exactly what it was all about!".

It's a clever ploy though, leaving everything up to the player's imagination, and it's something that I would say gives the game massive replayability, beyond the fact that the game is amazing in the first place. You play again, hoping to decipher more of the puzzle, and then again, and you watch other people play it. You recommend it to friends, and actively watch them play, seeing the cogs turn in their brain as they try to make sense of it all.

It's a fun, puzzling and enjoyable adventure from start to finish, and I genuinely cannot praise it enough. And for a game that I can safely say that I can't figure out, it's not a negative (like the damn dummy finger in the Resi 7 demo!), it's something that actually makes the game more interesting, and makes you more intent on finding out the truth.


All in all, we both agreed that this game is a straight 10/10 and we genuinely hope that Playdead keep making games like this for a long time, as they are that amazing.

What did you think of Inside?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Friday, 1 July 2016

Microsoft E3 2016 Announcements

Microsoft's conference was one we were really looking forward to, and we got to see lots of great footage for their upcoming releases.

Xbox One S



While not a game release, this was something we were really happy about. Our Xbox is on its last legs, and with it being the 500GB model, it really doesn't take much to fill it up - and we can never decide what to uninstall to make room. So this reveal, which was for a smaller, slimmer Xbox One, with a 2TB harddrive, an internal power brick (yes!) and 4K ability (so will upscale games to 4K, providing you have a compatible TV), it's a no-brainer that we want to get it. It doesn't have a Kinect port however, (although one will be available separately) so if Kinect gaming is your thing, you may need to weigh up the pros and cons of getting it when it is released in August, especially because of the next point:

Project Scorpio

Microsoft also showed off its next iteration of the Xbox One console, due to be released in 2017. A more powerful console (allegedly, the most powerful console ever), with 6 teraflops of power, while the next version of the PS4 (codenamed Neo) will only have a reported 4.14. And to put those numbers into perspective, the current Xbox One has only 1.32, and the PS4 has 1.84. So yeah, massive increase in power. Obviously, the number of teraflops alone doesn't equal a better console, it's what developers and such choose to do with the power available to them that will make or break the console (and ultimately get preorders). Calculating teraflops is essentially how many operations (or trillions of operations) can be done per second, so obviously the higher the teraflops. the faster the game will run, etc, etc, yada yada yada.

Regardless of all this teraflop nonsense, the details given for Scorpio look great, and even though it's coming out fairly quickly after the release of the Xbox One S, I still plan on getting both - Xbox One S for now as our current Xbox One is dying, and upon release of the Scorpio, we'll get that and pass the S on to the wee man (therefore retiring both of the household first-iteration Xbox Ones).

Gears of War 4

We also got to see some great footage of the next installment in the Gears franchise. It looked amazing. We got to see series co-creator Rod Fergusson and Laura Bailey (who voices Kait) demo the co-op gameplay, which, true to old Gears of War style, looked amazing. Releasing in October this year, this is one game we are really looking forward to, especially after the reveal of a much-loved character: Marcus.


It was also revealed that a new character would be brought into Killer Instinct: General Raam.


And lastly, in Gears of War news, we were shown the Limited Edition Gears of War 4 Elite Controller, which is just beautiful. Priced at £159.99, it's certainly expensive, but with the standard RRP of the Elites being £129.99, an extra £30 for a Limited Edition one isn't too bad.




Inside the box, other than the controller itself, it has:

• Gears of 4 themed carrying case
• Set of 4 metallic red paddles
• Set of 6 thumbsticks: standard (2), tall (2), and domed (2),
• Set of 2 D-pads: faceted and standard
• Custom red USB cable
• AA batteries
• Download code for unique multiplayer lobby emblem and three Gear Packs

And here is the clip they showed of it at E3, which just flat out convinces me that I need this controller.


Sea of Thieves

Rare were of course there to show off more of their upcoming title, Sea of Thieves. We'd been really hoping we'd get to see a lot of it, as we'd not seen a lot prior to E3, and boy, we got what we were wishing for. This looks fantastic, and extremely fun. It's the perfect game to play with friends, but they have also assured that if you don't have anyone to play with/don't want to play with other people, that's fine, you can still play perfectly well alone. 

You are of course a pirate in Sea of Thieves, and you spend the game building your ship and your crew, and going out on the open seas.


Not only does it look insanely fun, but it is beautiful too. I had been hoping to see this game release at some point this year, but sadly it's another 2017 release - coming out in February.

2017 certainly does seem jam-packed with releases. *gulps*

Scalebound

Platinum Games were there too, to show of their upcoming Xbox exclusive, Scalebound. We've been anxiously awaiting further news of this game since we fell in love with it at E3 2015, Sadly, this is another game delayed into 2017, but ultimately, all of these delays don't worry us too much, as long as it is going to lead to a better game at the end of the day.


The main character Drew totally gives me the same vibe as DmC's Dante - not that that's a bad thing. I really enjoyed DmC - and the gameplay is looking great. Really hoping we'll get a CE announcement at a later date.

ReCore

We were really excited about this game when it was first shown back during E3 2015, but whilst we're still excited about it, we have a few reservations, too. Allan pointed out at first that the movement of the characters is a little clunky and how it doesn't look as good as we'd expected. I actually agree with this, despite initially refuting his opinion. 


With Keiji Inafune at the helm, we had hoped that it would be amazing, but after the recent issues regarding Mighty No 9, we don't know if he's maybe stretched himself too thin. After all, he did do the Mighty No 9 Kickstarter, then tried to do one for Red Ash (a game and an anime series) before Mighty No 9 had even been released, all whilst obviously working on this game in the background. And Mighty No 9 hasn't exactly been handled well by critics.

All we can hope is that in the few short months to release - since yes, it's coming this year - it ends up looking and playing great. Also, it has a pretty cool CE. £149.99 however, which is pretty expensive for what it is, but I've got it preordered anyway (of course).


We Happy Few

We got to see the fantastically creepy We Happy Few, which was Kickstarted a while back. It is looking great, and we're eager to play. Developed by Compulsion Games, the game is hopefully due to release this year, although with them stating that they are likely to be in Game Preview/Early Access for 6-7 months, after it goes live on July 26th, that means it's probably going to be another 2017 title.


Described on Compulsion's website, We Happy Few is "a game of paranoia and survival, in a drugged-out, dystopian English city in 1964", and yep - that pretty much sums it up. And we can't fucking wait.

Final Fantasy XV

We got a new trailer for FFXV, showcasing the battle system implemented in the game. Feels weird that we only have until the end of September to wait for this game to be released! We are super-duper excited for this one, especially as the combat is different to the previous installments, now taking more from the KH style of fighting.


Dead Rising 4

We had a very brief showing of Dead Rising 4, in which you play again as the original series protagonist: Frank West. Set again in Williamette Mall, the original game's location, albeit this time taking place during Christmastime, and with more places to explore, we can't wait to be back in Frank's shoes again. 


With even more awesome weapon customisation, we're looking forward to diving in and seeing what weird and wonderful tools of destruction we can create. And with a release date of December 6th, this year, we don't have too long to wait.

Forza Horizon 3

As usual, Forza's graphics looked immensely beautiful. I used to love the Forza games but haven't played either of the previous Horizon ones, and with over 350 stunning cars, and beautiful looking gameplay I must say, I think I might now.


Halo Wars 2


More footage shown of this, with details of a multiplayer beta (along with a trailer for it) too.


Despite being a big fan of Halo, I've never played Halo Wars. I do like the look of this one, so might be time to actually play the first.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Coming from CD Projekt Red, the team behind the amazing The Witcher series, we had hoped for more footage of their already-in-development game, Cyberpunk 2077. Sadly, we didn't get that, but we did get a (kinda) brand new game announced.

When I say kinda, it's because the card game already exists within their The Witcher franchise, but its popularity has seen the need for them to create a full game based on Gwent. (Also, is it just me or is this the year of the card game reveals? From this, to The Elder Scrolls and Fable, it seems like we're getting a bundle of them all at once!).


Sadly, we've yet to fully get into The Witcher (not through a lack of wanting, as we are dying to play the games, but through a lack of time!), so we don't fully understand the appeal of Gwent, yet. However, maaany of the friends I have in the gaming/collecting community love Gwent, so hey, who are we to judge!?

State of Decay 2

When this trailer started playing, we all looked at each other in a moment on panicked excitement. The "Trumbull County" sign didn't make us realise what it was, we were just so intent on figuring out what this game could be, that we overlooked the damn sign that pretty much confirmed what it was. We saw zombies. We knew it wasn't Dead Rising 4, and it was unlikely to be another Dying Light. And when the characters stepped out of the car, and the music shut off, the trailer-y score kicked in and initially made me scream Left 4 Dead. I genuinely thought this was a return to the L4D franchise, but in a new, open-world scale.


And then the camera panned up and over the car, revealing the artwork on the hood, and we all knew it was State of Decay. Whilst a second State of Decay is certainly something we're still super excited for, and can't wait to play, my initial panic of it being the next Left 4 Dead did leave me somewhat disappointed.

However, that being said, we're really looking forward to it, and a little sad that this is yet another for the 2017 pile.

Inside

The next game from the creators of Limbo, Inside looks amazing. Being visually similar to Limbo, in that the color palette is almost completely monochromatic (akin to Limbo) with only bits of colour here and there as highlights in the environment.


You play as a young boy, struggling through a world where evil forces are experimenting on humans. The boy, much like in Limbo, can die in various gruesome ways, before being sent back to the last checkpoint. We loved Limbo, and are extremely looking forward to this game. Due for release on Xbox One on the 29th, we definitely don't need to wait long for it!

Xbox Play Anywhere

A brief mention of this here, as its something that had been discussed previously: the cross-buy aspect of games between Xbox One and PC. Obviously, we have seen this with a few recent releases, such as Quantum Break - you bought it for Xbox One, you also got a copy for Windows 10. Microsoft seem to be really pushing this now, and a lot of games shown this year at E3 will have Play Anywhere ability from launch, such as Gears of War 4, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2 and many more. This is something that will make a lot of fans happy as Sony has had cross-buy for a while now with PS4 and Vita, but combining Xbox One and Windows 10 is sure to be a great thing for many, especially as DLC is all cross-buy too.

The only issue with PA is that it is only for Digital copies (y'know, otherwise you'd just buy a game to get a free PC copy, trade in the one you bought and then boom, practically free game), but that's an understandable condition.

Microsoft Design Lab


The video explains it all. Can't wait till this comes to the UK.

So what were your best bits of Microsoft's conference?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 27 June 2016

Entries to the Asylum - Friday 24th - Monday 27th June 2016.

A few entries to the Asylum over the past few days:

Friday 24th June 2016

- Rocket League Collector's Edition [Xbox One]

Saturday 25th June 2016

- Payday 2 Crimewave Edition [Xbox One]

Monday 27th June 2016

- Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Preorder Bonus Poster

I have a few reviews and unboxings for you all in the next day or two, as well as my backlog of other articles, such as my thoughts on the rest of the E3 conferences, etc.

What new stuff have you got lately?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x