Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Asylum Reviews: Cars 3: Driven to Win [Xbox One].

Cars 3: Driven to Win, developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros Games, is based on the latest installment of the Cars movie franchise. A racing game aimed at the younger generation of gamers: it is straightforward and simplistic in its style, with recognizable characters to draw you in.

With a wide variety of playable characters, from lovable Lightning McQueen, to newbies Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez, everyone will be able to find a character that they love. For the most part, I stuck to Lightning McQueen, whereas the wee man liked to change between the characters every time he unlocked a new one.

It's your standard arcade racer, with a bunch of tracks and different game modes. There's Race, the run of the mill race, where the aim is to come in first place. There's Battle Race, same as before, but with added weapons. Takedown, where you need to knock out the other cars as many times as you can. When the time is up, whoever has gained the most points wins. There's also Stunt Showcase, where you need to show your stuff and impress the crowds by pulling off cool flips and tricks. Best Lap Challenge is where you need to get the best lap time on the course. And lastly, there is the Playground which is just a sandbox mode where you can drive around, doing whatever you want till you hearts content. The races themselves aren't all that difficult, although you can increase the difficulty to pose more of a challenge (some of the AI vehicles are surprisingly quick and nimble - damn you Dr Damage!). You have the option of switching on auto-drift, and changing the difficulty modes (with no impact to achievements), to make things even easier, and there's a little bit of customization available for the Cars, allowing you to change the horn as well as the lights/boost. With fuel cans dotted around the tracks, and the ability for your boost to increase whilst drifting, driving backwards, or two-wheel-driving, the boost can be a godsend in those moments where you misjudge a jump and either fall in water or crash into the ground after an ill-timed flip, as these mishaps slow you right down.

There's a few little hidden shortcuts throughout the tracks, as well as signs you can jump into for added boost, and these give the game a little more oomph, as it can feel rewarding blasting through a shortcut to get back into the lead after falling behind. The skill upgrades are also vast, and upgrade slightly different than I'd expected, with points being checked off for doing a certain number of flips in one jump, etc, as opposed to from gaining experience points and leveling up traditionally.

The game is definitely geared more towards a younger player, so we ended up getting bored quite quickly, whereas AJ is still enjoying playing along, unlocking all of the extra characters and trying them all out. Overall, the game does what it sets out to do, but just falls slightly short due to it being so focused on a younger audience, that it's just not as appealing for a more experienced player - at least, not beyond the first few races and challenges anyway. If you have kids, I'd still recommend the game for them, as the difficulty options really opens up the game for a lot of younger players who can't quite get to grips with other racers yet.

In the end, we gave Cars 3: Driven to Win a 5.5/10.

Have you played it yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Asylum Reviews: Cave Story + [Nintendo Switch].

Originally released in 2004, Cave Story was such a fan-favourite that it deserved a re-release on Nintendo Switch a massive 13 years later - after all, it was ported to numerous other Nintendo consoles, so it just feels right that it would be on the newest. Developed by the one-man-mastermind Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya and published by Nicalis, Cave Story + is just the type of game I was hoping for on Nintendo Switch. Having missed all of the earlier versions: from the original, to the Wii, 3DS (and more!) ports, the Switch version has been my first foray into the world of Cave Story.

Visually, the game is stunning. A classic Metroidvania style game, with well detailed areas and lots of exploration to be done, you’ll never be bored looking at the screen. If you’re a fan of these types of games, then you’re in for a treat. You play as Quote, a little robot who has lost his memory, who wakes up on this big, floating island and finds that he must save the Mimiga from the evil doctor trying to capture them.

Throughout your journey, you will come across loads of NPCs who you can chat to. From the Mimigas, who are a small rabbit-looking race, native to the island, to another robot named Curly Brace, who will help you on your way. Talking to these characters is interesting.
The weapon upgrading system in the game is great, and very natural feeling. As you shoot your way through enemies, small yellow triangles are dropped. Collecting these triangles gives you experience points, which power up your weapon to the next stage. Taking enough damage can drop your weapon back down a stage, so you need to be careful! From the first couple of upgrades, your weapon already goes from being your standard projectile weapon to being a powerhouse, mowing down enemies in your wake.

The controls are fairly straightforward, reminiscent of old 8-bit games. A to jump, B to shoot. X brings up your equipment, allowing you to change weapons or check out the map. L and R also allow you to switch between your weapons quickly, which can be more useful when needed. Due to the Switch’s various control styles, this can be played in a number of ways. From using the Joy-Cons detached whilst playing on a TV, to having them in the controller pad, using a Pro Controller or simply just using the Joy-Cons whilst attached to the Switch screen.

I must admit that when I first played, I expected A to open doors for me, and I spent a very frustrating 10 minutes angrily trying to open the door just to get out of the first segment. Oh how dumb I felt when I finally got out. (You hold down, btw)…

The level design is fantastic and intuitive, training you along the way without the need for a tutorial. A bit of forethought is needed when moving along some of the levels, for instance, one bit that happened early on has you moving along this long corridor area. There’s a wave-looking enemy down on the ground underneath the walkways, however you need to drop down there a few times to progress. The music is fast-paced, and made me try to race through this part as fast as I could, which led to my untimely death quite a few times as I’d drop to the ground without properly timing it, causing the wave-enemy to get me. When I finally had this part over and done with, I was so glad to find a save point! Save points can be found frequently, and make the game so much easier to play if taking your Switch out and about with you. No worries of starting a section and then being stuck without a save point for half an hour, losing all of your progress if you need to stop playing for whatever reason.

Cave Story+ can be beaten on average in 6.5 hours (or around 9.5 for a completionist) according to HLTB. It can be done as a speed run, being completed in 1h20, but for me, it took me around 8, or so hours. There are multiple endings however, which allows for a lot of replayability.

A challenge mode is also available, essentially setting you off against the clock in segments of the game with predetermined weapons. All you have to do is get through it as fast as you can.
Two player will be coming soon, so it will be interesting to play it again co-operatively.

I really would recommend that you play Cave Story in one of its iterations. And being that the Switch version is the most recent, I’d definitely suggest that you pick it up if you have a Switch. You won’t be disappointed.

In the end, we give Cave Story + a 9/10.

Have you played Cave Story? Which version did you play, and what did you think about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Asylum Compares; One Punch Man: UK vs US Collector's Editions.

So here it is, our One Punch Man UK vs US Season 1 Collector's Edition comparison!

Just to confuse you, I ended up taking the photo below with the US copy on the left, and the UK copy on the right! But for the rest of this comparison review, I am doing the UK version first, followed by the US one.

The US version on the left (which is technically called the Limited Edition as opposed to CE), I purchased from RightStuf due to it coming with a bonus lapel pin (which is currently still available at the time of this post) - total cost, shipped to UK was $66.96/£53.49 - and luckily I didn't get any customs fees on my package (although this is something you may want to prepare for if ordering from RightStuf, as my previous order - My Hero Academia, was hit with £21~ customs!).

The copy on the right can be purchased at Amazon or Zavvi for £34.99 (or £24.99 for the DVD version). It just released on the 17th July, almost a full three months after the US had theirs released on the 25th April.

The US version is Region A locked, so if you're in the UK and looking for One Punch Man, unless you have a region free Bluray player, (or if you just want the US Edition), then the UK version is your best bet. Unfortunately I can't tell if the UK one is locked to Region B - sorry!


So here's the front and back covers of the UK version. Typical BBFC logo in the bottom right, and the box itself is made from nice shiny chipboard. I really like the UK Anime CE/LE releases, as they all tend to be in similar style packaging so all go together nicely on the shelves :)

The contents of the UK Collector's Edition: an artbook and a digipak :)

Design on the back and front of the digipak shows both cyborg Genos on the reverse, and Saitama on the front.

Two Bluray discs inside.

Art book, with a "Secret" jotter-style design.

And now on to the US Limited Edition. Similar style design on the cover, with Saitama punching, this time with a cutout slipbox, giving the illusion of him punching straight through the box..

Aaand the reverse...

And the bonus lapel pin (only with orders from RightStuf while supplies last!)

With the slipcover off - title on front and information/stills on reverse is printed directly onto the transparent slipcover.

Cut out on front of the slipbox allows Saitama to show through from the cover of the bluray, not actually printed underneath.

The US version also includes an art book, but with a different jotter-style design.

Pack of artcards (more photos further down).

Artwork on the Bluray case.

Four discs in this release. Two bluray, and two DVD. In the UK, DVD version has to be purchased separately.

Next we have the character art cards. Six in total, and the reverse is the same on all).

Reverse of all of the art cards :)

And finally, the art cards can be put in front of the bluray keepcase to enable you to choose which character you want on display!

We really like both Editions however the US one does come out on top. If you're in the US, or have a region-free Bluray player then you've definitely gotten lucky with this release. If you're in the UK, then if you're looking to watch One Punch Man, you may be better off sticking with the UK version - or do what we did and buy both!

We declare the US Limited Edition the winner!

Overall, there is just far more going on with the US Edition, from the slipcover and the ability to change out which character you want on display, to the bonus pin (although this won't be available forever) and the fact it includes both the Bluray and DVD copies. It was a tough decision, as we do prefer a digipak to a standard amaray, but everything else included boosts the US one to the point of us not even minding that!

Have you got either of these Editions? Have you watched One Punch Man? What do you think about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Unboxing: Gris Special Reserve Edition [Switch].

Another of the recent deliveries from Special Reserve Games is this stunning edition of Gris. One of the things that I really like abou...