Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Asylum Reviews: Metro Exodus [Xbox One].

With its beautiful yet haunting opening cinematic, travelling through the dingy tunnels of the Moscow Metro, seeing the horrors hidden underneath the surface, we were excited to see what else Artyom's story had to offer. 

Developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver, Metro Exodus has a slightly different take from previous titles in the series. Set two years after Last Light, we follow Artyom on his journey across Russia, abandoning the dark and terrifying underground caverns, in search of a new hope.

Travelling across Russia aboard the Aurora, we get to see an ever changing landscape, affected by the transitioning seasons: from snow covered urban areas, to lush, sprawling forests. It's a far cry from the Metro games we've known previously. And whilst it feels very different, it's for all the right reasons.

At each stop on your quest along the Trans-Siberian railway, you'll get off and explore these vast open-world areas. The surface poses no threat, with clean air filling Artyom's lungs (and being a welcomed change from the toxic Moscow air), but underneath the surface you'll find yourself reaching for your gasmask again. To fully explore these subterranean pockets, you'll need to be stocked up on filters. Up on the surface, there are locations and items to find and whilst the threat isn't quite as constant, enemies will still hunt you down and make things more tense and panic inducing (especially if you're me - well known for being a shitebag with games!).

Ensuring that you move as stealthily as possible is key to survival in Metro. Decreasing the chances of being surrounded with limited ammo is definitely your safest bet. Careful planning of your shots can be the deciding factor as to whether you live or die. The scarcity of ammo combined with my usual "fire blindly and hope for the best" method of dealing with scary situations in games is 100% not the way to go about things here.

Day/night cycles impact the enemies around you, and can make things easier and harder for you in different ways. Night time allows the cover of darkness to assist you in dealing with enemies, but equally makes them harder to scope out and can aid them in hunting you down too. During the daytime, there will be less monsters to deal with but visibility of them (and you) is at an optimum.

The game is absolutely stunning. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best looking Metro game by far. The locations are jaw-dropping, and even in amongst the horror and decay, there is beauty. The level of design and attention to detail that has gone into this game is phenomenal. The lighting alone is really special, from flickering and damaged lights upping the creep factor, to gorgeous sunlight basking you in its glory.

Sound design is fantastic, and really gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end as it sets the tone and level of dread. Listening out for slight noises to try and figure out if an enemy is nearby, or to determine if there are loads more coming your way, left me genuinely worried a few times and resorting to my panic-pause and wait for the sheer terror to subside before getting back to it.

Overall, Metro Exodus was a thoroughly enjoyable game to play and we'd highly recommend anyone to check it out. In the end, we gave it the Collecting Asylum rating of 8.5/10.

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

- V x

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Asylum Reviews: The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition [Xbox One]

Developed by Finnish-based studio Still Running and published by Merge Games, The Walking Vegetables: Radical! Edition is a fun yet frantic twin-stick shooter, with heavy roguelike elements. As with most games in this vein, you start with a simple weapon, and are able to gain new more powerful weapons and upgraded skills as you blast your way through the incoming zombie veg hordes.

With the task of wiping out the infestation of rotting, walking veg set before you, you go off on your quest. A variety of different vegetables - and fruit, which frustrated me, haha - will stumble towards you, with increasing speed and numbers to take you down. As you make your way through them, you'll eventually come to a boss after which, upon defeat, you'll breathe a heavy sigh of relief and wipe the sweat from your now sodden controller.

Boss fights are difficult, which isn't unusual for this type of game, but these bosses truly just soak up the bullets and act like its nothing. They spawn countless projectiles which hugely limit the safe space for you to run around, and leave you panicking - blindly shooting and hoping for the best. The ability to play two-player certainly helps in these situations, as can allow for double the damage on the boss, however it can sometimes leave you a little confused due to everything going on on-screen.

As is usual with roguelike games, death means death. So whether you're playing alone or with a friend, if one of you bites the dust, that's it. If in two-player, the surviving player will continue on until they meet their untimely fate and the permadeath gods strike them down.

When enemies are defeated, gold coins are dropped which can be spent in the in-game shop on new weapons, health items, etc. Similarly all around the map are environmental objects and boxes which can be destroyed to give a chance to gain keys (which can be used to unlock certain buildings) and chests which can give you access to nice shiny new weapons. Bonus Dimensions can sometimes spawn, which gives you a small horde-based arena which will net you an achievement for surviving 20 waves.

The art style is gorgeous, and the bright colours work really well. The neon-ness of everything gives me total '80s vibes, which I love, but the frequent flashing of the mania on screen can often leave you with a bit of a headache. Stages are a little repetitive and samey, so a bit more variation here wouldn't have gone amiss. Controls are responsive, and the default buttons feel well thought out and instinctual. Sound design is great, and the game has a fitting '80s feel with the music.

For all of the game's positives however, it does feel like something is missing. We can't quite place our fingers on it, but the game just falls short a little bit, as it doesn't quite live up to similar games that have been released previously.

 Overall, we were still very pleased with The Walking Vegetables: Radical! Edition, especially given its low price point of just £10.74 on the UK Xbox Store. If you're a fan of twin-stick shooters, and like a challenge, then you should definitely give it a go.

We decided to give The Walking Vegetables the CollectingAsylum rating of 7/10.

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

- V x

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Entries to the Asylum: Monday 28th January 2019 - Sunday 3rd February 2019 [Week 5].

Tuesday 29th January 2019

- Philip K. Dick on Film [Book].
- Crimson Peak Limited Edition [Blu-ray].

Wednesday 30th January 2019

- Bloody New Year w/ Slipcover [Blu-ray].
- Uninvited w/ Slipcover [Blu-ray].
- There's Nothing Out There w/ Slipcover [Blu-ray].
- Splatter University w/ Slipcover [Blu-ray].
- A Climax of Blue Power [Blu-ray].

Friday 1st February 2019

- Hackers w/ Slipcover [Blu-ray].

Saturday 2nd February 2019

- Kill la Kill Part 3 Collector's Edition w/ Storage Box [Blu-ray].
- Rampage Steelbook [Blu-ray].

Sunday 3rd February 2019

- Tenchi Muyo OVA Collection [Blu-ray].
- Opera Limited Edition [Blu-ray].

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I was a little preoccupied towards the end of Week 5. We got engaged! So understandably things fell a little by the wayside here!

But back onto it now :)

What new things did you get this week? 
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...