Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Star Renegades Review: A Beautiful, Strategic, Demanding And Complex RPG

Star Renegades Review

Developed by Massive Damage and published by Raw Fury, Star Renegades caught the eye from its first trailers with a pixel-art DA that featured quality and sometimes original sci-fi environments. This RPG did not, however, ignore its battles by displaying turn-based clashes with a dynamic camera and a strong strategic side. A few years after its announcement, the latter is finally delivering on PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One, and we can finally know if the game is living up to the expectations it has raised. I played Star Renegades on PC via Steam, using a code provided by the publisher. The test was carried out with about twenty hours on the game which allowed us to accumulate several tries on the campaign and go to the end of it for the first time in the meantime.

Star Renegades preview

Impeccable artistic direction

Let's start of course with the strong point of the game. Star Renegades keeps its promises by delivering us here an artistic direction both very well done and rather personal. Whether it is on the planets that we cross, on the images of the characters during the dialogues, or even the animations in combat, it is difficult not to see the quality of the visuals that are delivered to us. Let us return more particularly to the fights. In fact, they appear more lively than ever, especially because of the various animated and visually successful backgrounds. The whole thing is also reinforced by very nice visual effects in combat and by often explosive and exaggerated animations, as well on the protagonists as on the antagonists, in order to give energy to the confrontations. Finally, the camera's shot changes further enhance the action. In short, the visual quality of the title is top-notch and the action is rhythmic making Star Renegades difficult to criticize this point. One would then have thought that this extra work on the character models would result in a less extensive bestiary, but it is not and the title is endowed with a respectable amount of enemies.

Star Renegades fight

However, fights a little more mixed

As I stated in the previous paragraph, the visual quality of the clashes is no longer to be proven, do they really get flawless? Rather complex in nature, the strategic side of Star Renegades is reflected in the mass of information that the player must analyze in combat. The main mechanic is called the "battle system timeline" which displays the chronological order in which the action of the different characters takes place. In this system, attacking before your opponent is essential because it guarantees a critical hit and, in most cases, delays the enemy's turn, or even cancels it. But that's not all, the fights also present a multitude of state alterations and types of attacks, a health bar, armor and shield specific to each character and with different properties, and finally a fury bar to launch different attacks such as combos that mobilize two characters to attack. These skills are, however, of little use at the moment as they are not powerful enough, but a balancing update is planned for the game's release.

The multitude of these mechanics make the fights complex and strategic and will appeal to veterans of the genre but still hamper the accessibility of the title. Additionally, this complexity is also reflected in the combat interface which is filled with information to the brim, making reading information unpleasant. And this is all the more true when activating the "Inspection" mode in combat. This mode lets you know the attack plans of your enemies, but overlooks the screen of visual indicators in large-scale combat, making it sometimes overwhelming. However, not everything is thrown in this interface. In fact, it has been designed to be "intelligent" by informing, just before entering an action, of the outlets that the latter will have during the round, also taking into account the actions recorded beforehand. While this mechanic remains well thought out and useful to players, I noticed that it cannot be completely trusted 100%. In fact, some parameters are not taken into account by the interface, for example with certain status alterations or the death of an enemy during the turn. However, we would like to be able to rely completely on this system, but we mainly remember the times when this "intelligent" interface misleads the player by showing him the "wrong" course of a turn. Fortunately, once all these shortcomings have been mastered and understood, it is possible to know when to rely on this system.

Star Renegades 2DX gameplay

A title that is strategic

Without once again touching on the complexity of combat, the strategic aspect of Star Renegades comes to intervene on several levels. Obviously, the main goal of the game is to keep your squad safe and sound until the end of the game. To do this, you will have to browse 3 maps in an ingenious way in order to collect the most money, experience, and more bonus to strengthen your team. However, choices will be imposed, the maps are divided into zones and it is only possible to explore 3 zones per day, for a total of 9 zones since each mission is established over 3 days. Each then concludes with the appearance of a powerful boss. The game requires the player to plan his route according to the bonuses granted on each zone: bonus of XP, armor, shield, credit, especially as some of these zones will no longer be accessible from the second or third day. You should also be careful, as your team's armor and health gauges do not renew between fights. Finally, the camping phases that take place at the end of the day make it possible to heal or give bonuses to characters by increasing their relationship gauges. In short, every part of Star Renegades requires a lot of thought about many aspects of the game, and it is obvious that such learning does not end on the first try.

But it's this part of the gameplay that makes Star Renegades addicting. Each game allows you to learn from these mistakes and do better the next time, and you have a real sense of progress when some previously tough challenges become much easier with experience. The only regret I might have on this topic is for one of the title’s flagship mechanics: The Imperial. This system informs us of movements in the ranks of enemies by showing possible promotions or deaths of one or more generals of the Imperium. This game system, however, struggles to find any real relevance and remains quite anecdotal during each game.

Star Renegades screenshot of the game

Repetitive or not?

Like any good rogue-lite, Star Renegades also displays procedurally generated elements. Visiting each planet is then the opportunity to discover one of the cards in the game. Since each of these cards is chosen from a selection, we obviously end up falling back on the same after a certain number of games. However, we never tire of these, and as said before each card is divided into several areas that will host different challenges each time. The rather repetitive aspect of this kind of game is rather well avoided with the exploration of maps, camping, and combat phases all intertwined well. Additionally, each game is an opportunity to try and build a strong new team among the thirteen different classes in the game which all display some complementarities with each other, although one or two characters may appear a bit below the standards. alternative.

Endgame also has the merit of offering different rewards to players, thanks to the use of coins collected during each game session. This moment is then the opportunity to unlock new renegades, new traits during the selection. characters or apply a permanent bonus in the next game. However, except for the purchase of new Renegade classes, the other rewards are not really interesting and do not really fuel the desire to restart a game. This is a great shame because, with parts that can reach 3-4 hours of lifespan, the presence of really interesting secondary lenses would have been more than welcome. The title's second wind is more about taking on the game's most demanding difficulty settings rather than unlocking all the upgrades available.

Enemies Evolve to Continually Challenge in Tactical Game 'Star Renegades

A little more context doesn't hurt

If Star Renegades takes us into a reality threatened by a new enemy, this brand new title does not hesitate to shed more light on its history through information snippets that can be found here and there. The renegades thus have their share of history to tell during the campfires where it is possible to develop the relationship between two characters. A few new places on the different planets and the character descriptions also allow you to learn a little more about the game itself. However, this information remains rather succinct and above all allows us to highlight the omnipresent humor of the game that remains pleasant enough without being heavy. It would have been preferable, however, to prevent certain texts, outside of campfires, from being shared between several characters. Finally, if Star Renegades gives a rather serious context to its story and displays a strong enough contrast with its very displayed humor, we would have liked the effort of the game to present its universe through a few texts to be more in-depth and sometimes made less diverted.

Star Renegades game box

Conclusion

Star Renegades offers a good experience for anyone fond of turn-based RPG who is looking to embark on a complex and strategic game. The two big flaws that can be blamed on the title are its combat interface and the lack of interest in the persistent improvements that can be unlocked between games. However, apart from that, the fighting has a good feeling and the overall game experience is really satisfying featuring sublime art direction, fun strategy, and fun classes to play. So make sure you visit the game official website to obtain more details about it. Thank you for reading my Star Renegades review, I will see you later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Spelunky 2 Review - An Abysmal Exploration In The Gaming Arena

Spelunky 2 Review

Yes, Spelunky 2 is finally here, and now not only you will be able to play it on PC, but on PS4 as well! I have to say that I've been waiting for it for such a long time. In fact, I've been waiting for that game since the first appearance back in 2018, mainly after the launch of a mini-trailer that showed almost nothing but except for the title of the game. But since then, the publisher and developer Mossmouth, in partnership with Blitwork, have distilled the information on this game and they just did it very sparingly. The game has been available since September 15 for PlayStation 4, and will soon be available on steam and all other media as well. Spelunky 2 is absolutely a must-have. A legitimate and perfectly mastered sequel to the best 2D platformer of all time.

As in the first Spelunky released, (that was back then in June 2012), the story is quite anecdotal, a pretext like in a Mario, where you can live an extraordinary fun adventure. So if we remember in the first version,  we play as spelunky, a young, impetuous explorer who will have to explore a mysterious cave to discover its secrets (and especially full of dough). But in this new sequel, now the player incarnates his daughter, in other words, it's the young spelunkette, who will follow her parents to the Moon. Embellished with lots of cute little artworks, this story ... well, I haven't yet discovered its outcome, because if you know the game world, you probably know it, but it is pretty hard and after my twenties 'hours of play, I haven't caught a glimpse of the last boss yet. Nop, not at all! And that's rather good news somehow! Why this is good news? Because I got close to 1,000 hours of playing time on the first Spelunky. With that, needless to say, that finishing the game is not a difficulty, and when I play it, I challenge myself (annoy the merchants, not buy any item ...), to make the game full-bodied and interesting and the Spelunky 2 made me relive my experience of the first one, with the same intensity.

Spelunky 2 Review gameplay snapshot

What is a sequel?

There are several types of sequels. There are those who copy and paste the previous title just by changing the scenery a little bit (such as Call of Duty, FIFA or the Mega Man at the time of the NES ...), But, there are also those who radically change direction as when switching to 3D like in Bubsy 3D or many other games. And sometimes, the sequels take up the basics of the first game and enrich it with more refined assets so it becomes it is sufficient to live a new experience without distorting its essence. This is of course delicate alchemy, because you must not fall into repetition, and not stray too far from the game basics. A good example of a successful sequel is Halo 2. It contains the same solid foundations, but with so many new features that we have the feeling of rediscovering the game. So after so many years of maturation, expectations were high for this second episode of Spelunky (my God, this wait was long! Eight damn years!). Because it must say that the video game and the indie scene, in particular, have evolved so much that it was necessary for this sequel to reach the level of excellence of the first one! Getting it right is at least as good as ending up spelunky for the first try. In short, Spelunky 2 lives up to all my expectations.

Spelunky 2 better than the first episode

So what's new?

Once the controller is in hand, you feel the same sensations as in the first Spelunky, the Lego-shaped environment is still present, the jumps and handling as precise as ever, the buttons remain unchanged, the goal of the game still the same. I'm not going to redo the entire inventory of what remains the same. But what's new you may ask me? Well, it is possible to do some horseback-riding somehow. In the levels or in the merchants, you will discover animals that roam happily. If you jump on them, you can succeed in taming them (be careful, they will struggle by moving randomly left and right and you will have to be careful of traps, enemies, and holes). Once docile, they will allow you to jump higher, use a power (the manticore breathes fire for example), and take certain traps or damage for you! One of the most practical possibilities is to burn the turkey mounts. They will then turn into roast turkeys and by tasting them, you will recover a precious point of life. The physics was also strengthened. Water and lava no longer disappear when you destroy the ground but spread, and you will see that it is very surprising! From now on, in addition to the merchants, you will be able to meet all kinds of NPCs with whom you will be able to interact. Some will be in fixed locations, like the turkey farmer in the first level who will ask you to bring back all his gallinaceae. But there are plenty of other NPCs hidden all over the place who will ask for your help, make you participate in games, give you items ...

Spelunky 2 new roguelike available for PS4 and PC

At the end of certain levels, you will have to choose your route, in fact, you will have several possible exits which will lead you to different levels. So it also means that Spelunky 2 offers you a wide and exponential exploration possibility! Plus, there's another very big novelty here available in each level, there are doors that lead to another hidden environment, which is basically another level superimposed on the main level. While climbing the latter in between those levels, you will find objects, treasures, and shortcuts. But there are also allies and merchants hiding there too... And these levels, plunged into darkness, will not be discovered so easily, because only a few entries will be accessible from the main world, the other entries will be hidden in the walls and floor. It is with deduction and a hand of luck that you will find the entrances to these secret passages ... and they still contain many surprises that no one has yet discovered except the developers themselves of course!

Because let's face it, Spelunky 2 makes you dizzy with so much to discover! Especially when we know the first one very well, when we know the incredible richness that is hidden behind a game that seems so simple, in this game when we see the number of endless possible paths, of hidden passages ... we barely catch a glimpse of the astronomical quantity with bizarre combinations which are so many steps to unlock a particular mystery. And that, only time and the community will be able to update it. I'm not going to dwell on a few banalities here, the environments are incredible in terms of wealth, sadism in their traps, ingenuity in the construction of each level, variety in the enemies, the new equipment (I love the booster d weapon: a pack on the back and your whip will make fire, your bombs will be bigger, you will shoot faster with the weapons and with less recoil !!)… everything is here a masterpiece, a work of watchmaking, goldsmith even… everything is coherent, everything is fluid, everything is intelligent ... But everything is difficult!

Spelunky 2 gameplay review

Given the novelty of the enemies, the traps, we find ourselves as in our first parts in the first Spelunky, struggling to overcome the world of mining, then discovering the new world in a few seconds after finishing the first environment and fall into a death trap as soon as it happens… and start all over again with little frustration but a lot of enthusiasm. We feel that Derek Yu designed the game to surprise aficionados of the first Spelunky game, I blame it for taking the number of choices taken that will shock (and make a lot of laughs) above all the regulars. Without saying too much, wait to meet Olmec! Along with his wish to increase the difficulty, the developers have had the intelligence, I will say the courtesy, to remove some absurd difficulties. For example, if a merchant is killed in some way by a monster, they are not going to blame you. And that damn it, it was painful in the first one. Another adjustment, merchants are still belligerent with thieves, but less quick. In fact, they are more easily anticipated, less random in their anger…. Okay, don't piss them off anyway, those old bastards are still tough. There are plenty of small changes that you will need to take into account, as you may die out of habit. For example, the insects that roam in the game will no longer trigger the traps, or if you are on a rope or a ladder when you shoot with your shotgun, the recoil will make you fall, the glove that allows you to climb the wall or the cape, have a smarter use ... lots of small, coherent changes that you will have to relearn to master the game. I'm not talking about everything, it would take too long, and above all, I didn't make all the trick, but just know that Spelunky 2 is a true abyssal exploration in the video game genius. Spelunky 2 makes you dizzy with so much to discover.

Spelunky 2 great graphics, sounds, and great gameplay

Graphics quality

Spelunky 2 is very close to the first episode, but even more detailed and more kawaii! For example, the gait of Cro-Magnon men when they are angry, with their little scowl, and their short little arms, which run over you, frowning and tripping over whatever lies in front of them ... They are just to eat! You only need to take a look at the screenshots to see the magnificent work that is done on the graphic charter to make everything at the same time readable, beautiful, never overloaded, teeming with fascinating details. For example (and I can tell you about 1000 details, but I'll let you discover them), when you play as the little robot when you look up to lift the scrolling and see what is above, it does not lift. not the chin like the others, there is a small antenna sticking out and his eyes turn into radar. Simple, fun, and brilliant! 

What about the music and other sound fx's?

Always in a meticulousness which commands respect, each sound has a role, each NPC, enemies or traps… have its own sound design always identifiable, never heavy, never too strong or too weak. It’s just a gem. The only tiny complaint I have to make here, is about the music that is just as nice as in the first episode of Spelunky, but less varied. In the first one, you had several songs available for each level, which made it possible, by starting over and over again, to always have a little extra variety ... But hey, if we are quibbling about that!

Spelunky 2 review conclusion

Conclusion

After eight years in the development of Spelunky 2, I have to say that this second, is worthy to buy. Yes! A thousand times! For anyone who has played and enjoyed Spelunky this is absolutely a must-have, and this game is simply and perfectly a mastered sequel to the best 2D platformer of all time. And for anyone who's never played the first one, well, there's no reason not to get into the Spelunky series.  If you are interested to learn more about this second episode of Spelunky, make sure you visit their official website so you could get all details.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Serious Sam 4 Review: A whimsical and outdated FPS

Serious Sam 4 Review

Many gamers look in the rearview mirror to scrutinize the past in 2020. So it’s no wonder we are seeing the return of franchises rooted in that same distant past. Publishers are simply surfing this nostalgic wave, and drawing from their repose sagas and iconic characters able to make our “gamer” hearts vibrate in unison. Sam Stone is back to make the powder talk in Serious Sam 4. But this hero, symbol of an uninhibited vision of the video game in the early 2000s, is he still capable of repelling an alien invasion? Sam Stone aka "Serious Sam" and his band of second knives travel across Europe from Rome to Carcassonne, allowing themselves a stopover in the cities of Prague or Pompeii. These utterly cartoonish figures oppose Mental, an alien entity bent on exterminating the human race, and attempt to repel its invading forces. The scenario, pretext for a succession of carnages in the four corners of the old continent, pays homage to the B series in what it has more recreational and mindless. A hero suckled on diesel and fed on gunpowder, a veritable traveling “Reganian” cliché, draws weapons and punchlines without ever taking a break. One thing is certain Sam Stone is back, and above all true to his reputation.

Serious Sam 4 snapshot

The humor, which often taps under the belt and lubricates a narrative sent to the point of bordering on indigestion, may put off some of the players. The wits are bold, anachronistic, and bring back memories of a bygone era when the hero in marcel was a symbol of virility. However, the Serious Sam series was never intended to be subtle, let alone tell a thrilling story. The cutscenes only pass the dishes, introduce the antagonists and launch the following chapters ... no more and no less. Serious Sam 4 does honor, if we can say so, to its predecessors, and wants to be faithful to its origins. The Croteam pays homage in its own way to the video game of yesteryear ... a straightforward, rustic, and edgy approach to FPS. The tastes and colors cannot be explained. As for tone and humor, everyone will find what they are looking for ... or almost. It’s difficult in 2020 to be satisfied with such an uninspired pen. Even if it means doing minimalism, we might remove the very notion of scenario in order to favor the discovery of lore as well. Still, Serious Sam 4 only too rarely exploits its universe. But is there really something to be exploited? This is clearly not what series insiders are here for. Everything here is a question of gratuitous violence and bloody carnage.

Serious Sam 4 review, good old Sam is back

Just drawn and already obsolete, Serious Sam 4 shows the weight of the years upon its release. From a purely technical point of view, the Croteam title cannot decently compete with the standards imposed by the competition. The textures drool. Glitches are legion. Bugs and crashes do not invite instantly (although they should be corrected with the patch "Day One"). And the artistic direction is struggling to make up the whole, but above all, it oscillates dangerously between two styles ... the realism in all proportions of the environments and the cartoonish design of the characters. The sets are empty and partially destructible, a lesser evil you will tell me. This contributes to the explosiveness of the combat phases ... central to the experience. Playing a Serious Sam is like to come in terms with your primary instincts and sharpen your reflexes with the hope of surviving repeated onslaughts from enemies whose only behavior is to rush at you. Artificial intelligence is sketchy if not nonexistent, like the Beheaded Kamikazes, and guided by one thought ... that of eliminating Sam with as much noise as possible. This fourth episode of the adventures of Sam Stone manages to rediscover at times the “old school” feeling of the ultra nervous and explosive shooter that once made the glory of Fast FPS. However, after a few hours of trudging through the levels, a certain weariness sets in.

Serious Sam 4 review, another preview

Covering the green grass of the plains with blood and dismembering the 12 gauge creature won't be long enough. The fun in this kind of game comes from precise level design, new situations level after level, and tons of guns. Assault rifle, minigun, boomstick, C-4 bread, automatic pump rifle, rocket/grenade launcher… The hero of the day is replicable and has mastered the art of spreading the good word. The feeling of weapons in hand is pleasant and partially saves this FPS from the rout. Gadgets like the Black Hole or the Mini-Nuke as well as unlockable skills add to the adventure for a while, but in the end, nothing helps. Arsenal level, the Croteam sees things in a big way, but for the rest, it will be necessary to be satisfied with the strict minimum.

Serious Sam 4 gameplay

Serious Sam 4 is ultimately a cyclical redundancy that always pulls the rope of repetitiveness more and more to the point of breaking it. Going through a dozen hours of déjà-vu sequences involving hundreds of enemies to be pulverized is only a little entertaining. Even boss fights are sorely lacking in punch and struggle to surprise with their two or three patterns repeated in a loop until death follows. Some gunfight and speedrun enthusiasts will be able to put their dexterity and patience to the test thanks to the different difficulty levels or even share a "poetic" moment between comrades with the online cooperative mode (which we were unable to test for lack of players). Still, the love of the “High Score” and performance doesn't change that. Wanting to let off steam is one thing, enjoying it is another. Coming out of retirement after years of inactivity isn't always easy, and Sam Stone has learned it the hard way. Serious Sam 4 is a legitimate sequel to the franchise, true to its origins in both substance and form, but that's it, and that’s the point. Video games have evolved. Players and their expectations have changed in 2020. A franchise needs to innovate, like the reboots of Doom and Wolfenstein, or it will be overwhelmed before it even has time to draw. This is clearly not the case with Serious Sam 4, which is mired in a dated vision of the video game.

For more information regarding the game, visit the Serious Sam 4 official website for all details

Friday, September 25, 2020

BPM: Bullets Per Minute Review, An Astonishing Rhythmic FPS

BPM: Bullets Per Minute Review, An Astonishing Rhythmic FPS

Difficult to innovate in a genre as codified as the First Person Shooter. To find inspiration, you sometimes have to look elsewhere, and then you have to open your horizons. This is how the two AWE studio developers probably conceived the concept of BPM: Bullets Per Minute: they were just seeking a kind of game that is the opposite of the traditional FPS, the rhythm game, and by integrating its gameplay elements into a well-known formula. The result is an intriguing and rather effective game, but also incredibly frustrating at first glance.

BPM: Bullets Per Minute Review,

And you tap, tap, tap, that's your way of loving

The rhythmic aspect of BPM: Bullets Per Minute is a particularly original concept that should be explained clearly because it seems unclear at first glance. But first of all, let's lay the foundations. Besides its musical component, BPM is a classic FPS / Rogue-lite. You appear in a randomly generated dungeon and move forward piece by piece, knocking out all the enemies there until you find a boss that you will need to defeat to level up. In the meantime, depending on your luck, you may find weapons, powers, special items, skill upgrades, cash, vendors ... Die and you start all over again, losing all of what you want. you have unlocked and going back into the unknown. In itself, this formula is not new and we have already seen many FPS in this genre (Immortal Redneck, STRAFE, Nightmare Reaper).

However, by incorporating the concept of rhythmic FPS, BPM sets itself apart from its cronies. Here, almost all of your actions are linked to the beat of the music, represented in the center of the screen by a bar and diamonds meeting on your viewfinder at the right moment. You can walk and spin around freely, but dashing, reloading, and shooting all go along with the music. Press at the wrong time and your action is canceled altogether. Conversely, if you manage to keep a perfect rhythm, the game can grant you bonus damage. By preventing the player from taking action when they see fit, BPM is making a radical paradigm shift that will force you to revisit the achievements of the last thirty years of shooting games. And believe me, the first few days of play will generate terrible frustration. In fact,, despite its very particular gameplay, the game does not give a gift. The paintings sometimes show up to fifteen enemies simultaneously and they hurt a lot - the slightest projectile takes 25% of your life. This requires constantly staying alert, moving, aiming precisely, and hitting your opponents multiple times to get rid of them with the base weapon. Add to that a reduced range system (which can still be improved) and the rhythmic aspect to take into account: you get tense situations that end badly and, it seems, unfairly. You know what I mean…

BPM: Bullets Per Minute game preview

However, the brain is a great organ and it does click after a few miserable sessions. Without thinking about it, almost mechanically, we get used to the rhythmic constraints. These take on their full meaning in fights against bosses, mini-bosses, and a few powerful enemies whose attacks are also beat-based. From then on, BPM becomes a much more satisfying experience and we find ourselves shooting enemies by headbanging to the rhythm of the soundtrack. Death is less frustrating and you quickly want to restart a game, hoping to be better off this time. For those who would have more difficulty adapting, the developers allow you to customize your game: in addition to the difficulty of the run, which influences, in particular, the number and power of the enemies present in the dungeons, Bullets Per Minute offers an option increasing or reducing the permissiveness of the rhythm bar and an auto-rhythm mode which completely removes this aspect. However, the latter has no interest (unless you are a great journalist) because it makes the game easy and devoid of personality.

BPM: Bullets Per Minute Dev Wants To Bring The Rhythm Action

As in most Rogue-lites, randomness has a predominant place in BPM and chance can simply ruin a run, or conversely, make you almost invincible. It happens regularly to start a game in a world where no loot can appear, preventing any progression of his character during a level, before dealing with a hardcore boss. Or not having any really interesting bonuses, while sometimes the healing/luck/damage triptych unlocked from the first dungeon will make the run extremely easy. However, luck is not everything and you will have to learn to master the rhythmic aspect of the game if you are to succeed, especially in Hard mode.

The originality of BPM also lies in its visual appearance. The developers opted for a saturated filter system and each world has its own dominant color. If one could be afraid of having itchy eyes after a few minutes of play, it is ultimately nothing and the rendering is quite pleasant. I would still have some reservations about the readability of this style which sometimes leads to confusing enemies and backgrounds, which is a shame for such a high-powered FPS. Besides that, BPM borrows elements from Norwegian mythology and has a classic heroic fantasy art direction, without taking risks. So expect to come across medieval dungeons, strange statues, colonnades, lava lakes, and other ancient ruins across the four worlds that make up the game. Ditto for the bestiary, not original for a penny: bats, giant spiders, Ax throwing orcs, wicked wizards, and other ghostly spirits… All of this is sadly agreed upon - except for the funny NPCs / vendors who come to play it down.

BPM: Bullets Per Minute video game scene

Bullets Per Minute is rather provided in terms of content. Even if the runs are ultimately quite short (8 levels, count a little less than an hour to reach the final boss if you do all the rooms), the game offers a large number of possibilities justifying to try the adventure on multiple occasions. . For starters, each world exists in several variations affecting the gameplay (darkness, explosive monsters, slippery ground, etc.). You will also find a lot of equipment, weapons, and powers, each with its specific characteristics and behaviors. For example, a shotgun will have to be reloaded between each shot, always respecting the rhythm of the music, while the submachine guns will work in bursts. The equipment to pick up can also be a game-changer, like this item that simply allows you to fly through the levels. Regarding the level design, if the rooms still look very similar from one part to the other, we quickly notice that some contain secret chests or other power-ups to be unlocked with the right powers. Five characters with distinct statistics and skills, four of which can be unlocked by advancing in the game, also allow you to vary the pleasures. Finally, a few challenges complete the picture by offering to do a pixelated run, a boss rush or a “floor is lava”. In short, there is still plenty to do for a project of this scope.

On the technical side, it's perfect. BPM certainly does not display anything phenomenal but, all the way except for the shadows which cause the framerate to drop, it runs at more than 100 frames per second in 1440p on my config (RTX 2060, i7 7700K @ 4,2Ghz, 32 GB of RAM). The game still offers many options for more modest PCs or players who like to personalize their experience: dynamic resolution, resolution scale, FOV, motion blur, anti-aliasing, post-process, shadows ... Also, I have no not encountered a single bug during my playing hours - which is very rare and should be noted. Well done to the developers of AWE Interactive who, despite the small size of their team, have managed to release a well-finished product.

BPM: Bullets Per Minute The rhythm in the skin

The rhythm in the skin

BPM: Bullets Per Minute is an original concept title, mixing FPS, Rogue-lite, and rhythm game. It is clear that the project led by the two developers of AWE Studio is holding up. Even if we can blame him for the lack of ambition of his universe as well as his bestiary and that the beginnings are complicated, we quickly come to appreciate playing in rhythm with the music and the game finally makes us want to redo a part “just to see”. For more information regarding  BPM: Bullets Per Minute, visit the official site. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hades Review: A Rogue-Lite To Die For

Hades Review: A Rogue-Lite To Die For

When it arrived in early access in December 2018, it could be said that the people looked carefully at the future of little Hades, a game from Supergiant Games - like the previous ones - very promising. Their spinning work completed with the release of version 1.0, have the deities been able to weigh in so that he fulfills all his ambitions so as not to end up in the Rogue-like cemetery without any real added value? Before some popular TV soaps such as Dynasty, Dallas, Santa Barbara and other shows stuffed with twisted family stories and twists that hold viewers in suspense, there were also the Greek gods. In the dysfunctional family genre, you will never get better, or worse. And go ahead that we transform into an animal to seduce a landlady, that we spawn demigods, that we eternally torture too enterprising humans, that we grant privileges to heroes to zigzag disgusting creatures, that we fight, that we are jealous, that we separate, that we tear each other apart, that we put everything to fire and blood when paying the bill at the restaurant ... Greek mythology is a source almost inexhaustible epic stories and absurd destinies, from which many works were inspired - with dry cleaning on the side of God of War. But also and above all a hell of a mess, a warning of everything you need to avoid in order to live a peaceful existence. What Supergiant Games wanted to remind us of through an action game in isometric view which proves that it is not only good intentions that paved Hell.

Hades Zagreus evening

Zagreus evening

Far from Olympus, the Underworld might seem foreign to the intrigues and other mysteries relating to Zeus and the rest of the family. For some time now, one of Hades' sons, Zagreus, whom you play, has taken it into his mind to reach the surface to breathe the fresh air of Greece. However the father always has in its mind the paperwork to managing the new arrivals of the deceased, so he refuses categorically that the idea of its own son. So because of a deity responsible for the kingdom ironed by Zeuz himself, Zagreus will have to try to escape, armies of monsters rise up to kill him, and bring him back to the waters of the Styx, and therefore to the reception hall where wander some missing heroes. And it works. But why go to so much trouble to prevent this son from doing what he wants? There is eel, even Echidna, under the rock. While crossing the Tartarus, the Asphodel or the Elysee, Zagreus will discover many things that will upset his life and motivate him more.

But to progress, you have to beat up again and again through dozens of closed rooms. The scale of the task seems at first quite insurmountable. Our protagonist, trained by Achilles himself, knows how to wave his sword, the Blade of the Styx. The fact remains that the incessant assaults quickly erode and exhaust a very thin health bar. Familiarizing yourself with the use of a classic attack, a more devastating "technique", a projectile with fairly limited impact and the rush is not enough. Hades isn't complicated at all. The precision of the controls means that it is easy to find its automatisms, with a certain pleasure, as the whole story is revealed by an exhilarating dynamism and explosiveness. It is easy to empty the first rooms, sparsely populated. Then a lack of inattention, a badly timed pressure, a semi-boss or a boss gives you a lesson in humility. But remember Jesus - or most Rogue-lites, for that matter: to survive he has to die.

Hades Review Sisyphus, the family

Sisyphus, the family

We do not guarantee that the more skilled will not find a way to go to the end once by making speak the reflexes worthy of a Golden Knight in the full seventh sense. For the average person, on the other hand, achieving the main objective can take a dozen hours. Several dozen if you are the type who wants to fill the codex and your knowledge of a universe of a delightful richness. During this time, which will never seem long, and we will explain to you why in a few lines, it will be a question of observation, choice, and of course luck and opportunities. Observation of areas crossed, often full of traps for you, but also your enemies, as sneak attacks or tackles against a wall or a destructible pillar and specific times, or place a dodge. Choice of (upgradeable) weapons used, your blade being able to be seen, after unlocking, replaced by a lance, a shield, a bow, or even gloves, helping to try and surely adopt other styles, that a kind immortal skeleton you will help to test. Chance to have the rewards that suit you once a room is clean or when you show up in front of the taciturn and very venal Charon's shop. 

Hades Review promo

The parameters - let's take this opportunity to salute the clarity of an interface of great limpidity - to be taken into account during this torture of virtual Sisyphus do not stop there. The Benefits, in other words the powers of divine uncles and cousins ​​such as Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes, Athena, and so many others, guarantee the acquisition of more or less rare powers that directly refer to their mythological representation. And even an ultimate attack to trigger according to a rage gauge. The bonuses to accumulate are numerous. You will electrify, overwhelm, freeze, intoxicate ... We can even consider, knowing how to spare the susceptibilities, combinations, complementarities. The shimmering bestiary made up of skeletons, lost souls, bomb-throwers, vermin, sharp warriors, chariots (?), Begs to taste. Bosses, like the Hydra of Lerna or the Minotaur, as well.

Theseus you

It is still necessary to take advantage wisely of other subtleties and layers of gameplay to gain power, confidence, and knowledge. We were talking about the choice above. Each cleaned part usually offers several paths. You always have to think about what you want to favor, such as your style: should you spend your money anywhere? Dive into the basin leading to Chaos and suffer penalties before seeing reinforced? Upgrade what you own or try something new? The race towards the keys to then unlock the permanent skills of the Night Mirror, collecting black diamonds that don't fall so easily? Who should you give Nectar to first to improve friendship and get Relics that also guide your outlook? Rather a large health bar, more rights to the resurrection, more speed, resistance, strike force, reach, force to push back? The overall action-style gameplay is very successful, which can only be faulted when the screen is overloaded with explosions and magical effects. It is supported by multiple possibilities, fully and adequately interweaving, like the gameplay, these well-known myths, which give it a rather phenomenal richness. But that's not all.

Hades Review Orpheus the match

Orpheus the match

Hades is a Rogue-lite where death is an integral and indispensable part of the journey. Procedural as it is, it can be repetitive in its design and even its unfolding - although, and the hero, his progenitor or an unknown narrator have fun, surprises are not lacking. But at Supergiant, which has sufficiently eloquent talents to allow me to ignore a thorough description of the visual and sound artistic prowess (Darren Korb, still there to delight) of the game, we could not help but Do more. This plus is writing and characterization, areas in which they have only excelled in the past. Does the story look like a boat? At almost every "resurrection", there are always discussions to follow, relationships to be deepened, and veils of mystery that rise. Thanks to tasty dialogues, brought to life through completely successful complete dubbing, we get attached to Dusa, the shy gorgon, the spleen of Orpheus and the relaxed Eurydice, the austerity of Thanatos, and the severity of Hades. And what about the right to cuddle Cerbère? The progression leads to the discovery of certain links, bits of the past ... And everything that follows after your first escape, such as certain improvements that are believed to be just cosmetic, is not a simple bonus: the price of the real outcome will be new and probably numerous attempts, a maximum investment required, which the most masochists will embellish with penalties, with a premium at the end of the tunnel of suffering, via the Pact of punishments. Supergiant has thought of everything ...

Hades game characters

Conclusion

In the realm of the Rogue-lite, Hades has made itsself a comfortable place by the fireside, where he deserves to rest while gorging on ambrosia. Zagreus' Odyssey, which could make you think of a Bastion having sipped a few liters of Red Bull, has everything to seduce fans of unbridled action, motivated by the idea of ​​starting over and over again certain sequences with writing and direction overall artistry far above the rest. By presenting us a gallery of endearing characters that we are eager to know in detail and by perfectly integrating Greek mythology directly into its gameplay, nervous, precise, rich, and often surprising, Hades presents itself as a work without real heel of 'Achilles, undoubtedly the most successful of Supergiant Games, who does not deserve to fall into the limbo of your indifference. Check out the Hades official website for more details.

Check out the Hades video trailer below as well



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

EFootball PES 2021 Review: An Update Without Any Big Surprises

EFootball PES 2021

You've often read on this blog this utopian commentary about annual sports games: with the little change from year to year, so in this case, I might just update jerseys and transfers for you guys. Well yes, Konami took once again just did it. The eFootball PES 2021 football game was shaping up to be an update in roster and tunics compared to PES 2020, less expensive than usual with no change in content. So what about this game, and are there any good or bad surprises in it? Take responsibility to divide less. This is the motto of Pro Evolution Soccer this season, to settle with the inaction of sports licenses like Madden NFL or NBA 2K. In fact, the studios are focused on the next-gen releases of their famous saga but have laid out almost identical or even sloppy titles compared to the last games, provoking the grumbling of many players. Konami is almost ready to release a new-generation PES 2022 as well, and I think this time they won't miss the turn, but for its part, they will offer eFootball PES 2021 at an affordable price as the same for the new update. No new gameplay, no new content. Seductive in concept or not, the formula is intriguing.

EFootball PES 2021 snapshot

Not the same jerseys, but the same passion

Who says off-season, says license renewal. And on this point, PES trembled a bit. There are many under-mediated leagues under license, namely the Danish Superliga, the Dutch Eredivisie, the Portuguese Championship, the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, the Swiss Championship, the Scottish Premiership, the Russian Premier Liga, and Super Lig Turkish. South America is not to be outdone with the Argentinean, Brazilian, Colombian and Chilean championships, as is Asia (Chinese CFA Super League, AFC Champions League, and Thai Toyota Thai League). More classic, Ligue 1 Conforama and Domino’s Ligue 2 in France benefit from official visuals, all licensed teams, and Serie A TIM also offers the official Italian atmosphere. The two big novelties are the addition of the official Serie BKT license in Italy, with several teams licensed today at the top level (Benevento, Crotone). An add-on to compensating for a loss, Serie A is cut off from two large licenses, those are AC Milan and Inter Milan. No surprise in Spain and England, where both divisions have generic names as do most of the teams, with the exception of FC Barcelona, ​​Arsenal and Manchester United.

eFootball PES 2021 Season Update Review

All these licensed clubs benefit from a seasonal facelift. So you probably say this will make you happier since it is the principle of that iteration of the game. well here you will be able to find the new Bayern tunics, the magnificent black and gold Third jersey of Barça, the Daniel Hetcher kits of Paris Saint-Germain, or the marble visual for Arsenal on the outside. No big oversight on this site and we will almost be delighted not to be able to observe the disgusting dishcloth jersey of Inter on the move. Now, about those transfers, our mood is on the other hand rather half-fig-half-grape. With the patch day one, several big changes in the transfer window were made in the game, such as the departures of Cavani and Thiago Silva from PSG, the arrival of Werner at Chelsea or even the recruitment of Serhou Guirassy in Rennes. But other transfers have been completely forgotten, with the Arthur-Pjanic exchange between Juventus and Barcelona at the head of the gondola (even the arrival of Loïs Diony in Angers ...). We would have liked to see an irreproachable title on this side, knowing that its primary function is to be an update. Ditto for the updates of the leagues (several up-downs not yet recorded in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Turkey) and jersey numbers (Griezmann still has 17 at Barça). In any case, Konami has promised to correct these discrepancies via a big update that has just been released on October 22.

You will understand that this test will not last forever, since it is almost similar to last year. Almost, since Konami has not released the same version in terms of gameplay as that of PES 2020 released last September. This is obviously the most patched version of the latest title available to us, with two significant improvements. During the past season, the positioning of goalkeepers on certain specific actions has been reviewed, and several large balls have been erased. It doesn't eclipse a few frustrating counters or imprecise exits, but it's a step forward. Same story for the AI, especially in defense, much more skillful to impose itself physically than in the early days of PES 2020. It is therefore the best possible version that Konami has released to feast on the field. A careful cocktail of entertainment and rhythm, conducive to intelligent constructions and well-conducted counters although requiring a certain mastery. The visual aspect does not change at all and remains the best of the series on the modeling of faces, player animations, and stadiums, as well as the transcription of the soundscapes.

PES 2021 REVIEW: COME FOR THE BALL PHYSICS, STAY FOR THE DEFT THROUGH BALLS

League of remastered

The content also offers the same qualities and defects as its predecessor, point by point since copied identically. The basic menu is very austere, and the interface often cluttered when it comes to changing the game plan, or navigating within the Masters League / Towards a Legend game mode. The latter struggled to renew themselves in the format, were even accompanied by a few squares (impossible to precisely configure the transfer amounts in LDM) but remain identical. Sufficient to occupy novices who are new to the license, extremely redundant for regulars. Hopefully for the latter that the next adventure on PS5 and Xbox Series X will breathe new life into the modes of the saga. Note the presence of the Euro 2020 event mode, already present on the previous title.

The online, despite the visual of its sad menus, does the job, especially because of the MyClub mode, leaning Ultimate Team made in Pro Evolution Soccer, and classic multi-coop modes. The Matchday is still in the game, with its challenges framed at the team level, or online competitions scheduled at specific times. In short, all the salt of the license without the worry of online optimization at the exit. The most fun is being able to play up to three in cooperation while challenging your partners with your match performances and trying to win the match. For the novelty, we will have to wait for the new engine and gameplay of the next title, but this "eFootball PES 2020 Ultimate Edition" at the reduced price is a great opportunity for those with the cold to jump in.

EFootball PES 2021 Review: An Update Without Any Big Surprises

Conclusion

It was planned, it is assumed. eFootball PES 2021 "Season Update" is not more than a rerelease of PES 2020, without any changes to the game modes. The optimization of the title at release, which benefits from the latest gameplay updates of PES 2020, namely goalkeepers less prone to dumpling and a redesigned defensive AI compared to the release of the last title is the main positive, with the jerseys of the teams updated. On the other hand, I regret the disappearance of Inter / AC Milan licenses, and a day one update which does not include all recent transfers. For the rest, PES 2021 retains the same qualities and defects as its predecessor while waiting for the new generation of console. For more information I invite you to visit the official website for all details about the game.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Road To Guangdong Review - Lots Of Effort For A Family Dinner

Road To Guangdong Review

What a seductive idea to embark on a road trip, crossing China with the sweet hope of discovering corners that we are not used to seeing in video games. This is the initial proposition of Road to Guangdong, which offers us a dented car as a coach to cross this Chinese province in order to reunite a family who is trying somehow to keep a bond. Sunny, the heroine of the story has just inherited the family restaurant after the death of her parents. Without much experience, she nevertheless takes responsibility for it and decides, on the advice of her aunt, to go with her on a road trip to convince all her relatives to join her for the annual family meal. But also to bring all the family recipes that will perhaps make the success of the restaurant when it reopens. Under the tunes of Lulu Wang's The Farewell, the game puts all the emphasis on the roots of this young woman who finds herself under the weight of new responsibilities, reconnecting with a family that she doesn't see often. There is something really touching about these meetings during which the family is revealed little by little. We discover a new social environment, with other worries, a different atmosphere where everyone has something to say about how they feel about the upcoming family reunion. And it works pretty well, even if the dialogues are sometimes confused due to Cantonese expressions whose meaning is not explained by the English subtitles (like "Guu Ma", which designates an aunt). We also appreciate the presence of dialogues during which we must arrange to be in the right papers of our hosts of the day in order to convince them to join our meal; the main objective is to bring together as many people as possible for D-Day and to have the family recipes.

However, these sequences are especially interspersed with long driving phases, road trip obliges, during which one tries to arrive at the next point aboard a car which breaks everywhere. Vehicle management remains fairly basic, but the game still asks us to pay attention to the level of gasoline and oil, as well as the wear of several parts so as not to break down on the edge of the road.  A worn-out engine struggles to accelerate more and more, a worn oil filter causes leaks, bad tires end up being felt on the steering of the car. But this management, as minimal as possible, quickly loses its interest: with regular service stations and depots where you can collect spare parts, you have never really been in danger. This management of the vehicle and the fear of breakdown quickly becomes anecdotal, so much so that it constitutes the main problem of the game.

Road To Guangdong Review - Lots Of Effort For A Family Dinner

A long and endless straight line

in fact, these driving sequences are particularly painful: the vehicle is unnamed heaviness, providing no driving pleasure, also the fault of trips that all look alike. Endless straight lines, an almost total absence of dialogue since our aunt, constantly by our side, refuses to speak in the car. But, above all, everything is alike. Not very long to complete, barely a handful of hours, the game still loses a lot of time taking us through very long journeys - infinitely longer than family meetings - with a vehicle that we never want to drive, with calamitous management which consists simply in recovering all the engines in spare parts to resell them at a good price in order to never run out of money to refuel and carry out repairs. The gas stations are also all alike, with the same single employee, with dialogues that repeat from start to finish. In reality, Road to Guangdong quite largely destroys friendly family gatherings with a whole side of the game that is of no playful interest, as if the developers had decided to lengthen the journeys for the simple need to lengthen the life of the title.

Without relief, the environments do not raise the level either since they all look a little alike, each region crossed having its own theme (the countryside, the modern city, the old town ...) where all identical buildings are repeated. for miles. The game is not helped either by a visual aspect that lacks something, with an artistic direction that has the merit of trying things but lacks warmth. The fault also with the Switch version of the game passed between our hands, which struggles to display the same thing as on PC but above all, which paddles a lot in portable mode. The aliasing and the clipping coming to put an end to a game that definitely does not have much for it. We can still concede to it the presence of a rather cute soundtrack which takes up Chinese tones and which sometimes offers, when all the stars align, a slight moment of grace with the right sound in the right atmosphere. Unfortunately, with only two or three titles that run in a loop on all the sequences in the car, we quickly made the rounds.

Road To Guangdong gameplay

Conclusion

Painful: this is how Road to Guangdong could be summed up. We almost fell for the encounters with members of Sunny's family, sometimes very sensitive, but all of this is unfortunately interspersed with completely failed driving sequences, in an unflattering visual style. Long roads most often make you want to sleep because of the monotony of the game, dialogues are rare and nothing catches the eye when you cross a China where everything seems to be alike. And it's still a shame, for a game that uses the road trip to tell its story, to fall asleep at the wheel ... Please visit the Road To Guangdong game official website for more details.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Crysis Remastered: A dispensable gaming console version

Crysis Remastered: A dispensable gaming console version

After a passage on Switch, this version of Crysis arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Basically, these new versions are identical to the Switch version, and therefore to the original material. So it’s the form of this remaster that interests us today. The lifting operated did not convince me on PS4 and One. If the differences between the original assets and this new version are visible and the textures turn out to be finer than those of the Switch game, the models remain rudimentary and do not stand up to the comparisons with the latest Far Cry for example. However, I have noticed some progress on the lighting effects which gain in heat and finesse. The PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions have 3 options. Quality, which favors the resolution, Performance, which locks the resolution to 1080p and jumps the framerate, and finally, Ray Tracing which lives up to its name.

Note that the two options helped a lot in the visual quality over performance, but, the framerate will never exceed 30 FPS and there are occasional drops in the refresh rate. Display distance suffers as well, especially when using a Super Armor sprint. The Waow effect of software ray tracing is less marked here than on a PC. It remains noticeable during the night sequences and in certain interiors, but by day, under a blazing sun, the difference is barely noticeable. So I recommend its use to appreciate certain rainy night areas mainly, but I will quickly tend to prefer the performance mode for most of the adventure.

Crysis Remastered character with weapon

A technical assessment that leaves you perplexed

Unfortunately, this performance mode is not visually stunning. It is the same for the “fat” versions. The rendering is similar but the refresh rate is locked at 30fps, which does not prevent it from dropping steadily. The standard models of PS4 and Xbox One obviously cannot take advantage of the visual optimization modes of their more powerful counterparts. Even worse, in this mode, the Pro versions do not hold 60 frames per second despite the unimpressive rendering of the title. The framerate rather fluctuates between 40 and 45 frames per second. Whatever the mode, Crysis Remastered is far from a console graphics stallion. Globally vague and outdated, these versions do not allow us to attest to a marked technical gap between Crysis Vanilla and this Remaster. Plus, there are regular bugs across all media. Some models of vegetation are sometimes limited to two dimensions. On another occasion, there are some sound effects problems. So, I have even noticed some particularly such as abrupt musical transitions and themes which are launched without any reason at all.

Crysis Remastered scene

At its launch, Far Cry had sold the small world of FPS by bringing together countless qualities grouped where no one was looking, too busy eyeing Doom 3 or Half-Life 2. Today, we did not let it take, everyone, knowing that the old creators of Crytek technical demos have it in the gut. We won't spend hours telling you about the technical quality of Crysis. If you have the PC that is going well, you will have the crème de la crème, Formula for  3D in front of you. So that's all, it is all being said. Obviously, all this comes at a price, the game flattening the most muscular configuration settings when you pushed the hardware to Very High.

Crysis Remastered review

In 2020, you and all your friends from the elite of the American army will find it immersed in the heart of the Philippines, mainly on a very good-sized island with a very dense jungle. This is how the first phase of the game starts in which you will sometimes be alone, sometimes accompanied by an entire army. All this to try to understand why the North Korean army is so passionate about an archaeological excavation site which will turn out to be the site of the crash of an alien ship evoking a giant freezer. It is so in the jungle that you will make your weapons with the Nanosuit. With a simple press, its wearer can open a radial menu giving access to special skills. Predator-style speed, strength, armor or camouflage. Each of these abilities will consume your energy in a different way. The armor will only drain your batteries when you take a hit, the speed will give rise to brief bursts of boost, the force decreases with each hit, finally, the invisible mode drains your reserves with each movement. One of the very great strengths of Crysis resides in this Nanocombi, especially if you couple it with the open environment of the jungle and the artificial intelligence system that drives it. Even if certain natural limits exist, the jungle of Crysis is largely open enough to find there a multitude of paths to follow to rally our various objectives which, through a skillful narration, will sometimes change along the way or will be added to optional secondary objectives. Ready to do battle with enemy forces? Go for the main road. Would you rather be left in peace? Drill your way through the ferns. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to contemplate the simply grandiose environments of the game and notice how the vegetation comes alive when you cross it.

Crysis Remastered Switch

Completing the objectives itself will leave you with the choice of weapons. The Nanocombi is the ideal tool for those who want to choose their approach. Stealthy or nag, the mastery of special abilities allows a little all the weird stuff. If at start-up we tend to limit ourselves, we quickly realize that approaching in stealth mode, switch to Force to grab an enemy and swing it over the rest of the troop before leaving in Armor or Speed ​​to finish the job at shotgun, is good. Likewise, by thinking quickly, we will end up resorting to unexpected combinations of powers, precisely to cope with what we had not planned. This is without to mention the more perverse approach since the advantageous physics of the title that will take on its full meaning during fights. Trees that give way under impacts or collapsing huts are not only aesthetic, they are also practical. Why not lure your enemies under a roof that we will have nicely trapped in C4 to then shoot in stealth mode and blow everything up? Or drop a few palm trees here and there? The openness of the playing field, the diversity of possible approaches, and the reactions of the AI, which bypasses you, calls for reinforcements and, communicates, make Crysis, at least in this first section, a title that is full of surprises that we can practice many times without replaying the same sequence. The jungle of Crysis is quickly becoming what is called in super hype video game jargon: a sandbox for emerging gameplay. And besides, it's beautiful to die for.

Crysis Remastered PS4

But the game evolves with the progression. During your exploration, alone or accompanied, of the jungle, you will have to make use of vehicles, in particular an armored vehicle, in a phase which at the time almost makes you think of Call Of Duty. Almost only, since you can leave the machine to find a way to clear the way by going to neutralize the enemy defenses. Clean the soldiers carrying missile launchers and go to clean the enemy armor before going into Camouflage mode to approach tanks and stick a charge on the armor. All this before coming to one of the FPS game phases which remains the most confusing that I have known: the entry into the alien ship and its progression in weightlessness. To be honest, my opinion will undoubtedly differ from the general opinion, but personally, I would have shortened the whole of a good half nevertheless the scene remains quite memorable and opens especially on the continuation of the game, which does not simply nothing more to do with its first part.

Crysis Remastered Xbox ONE

So the villains E.T. wake up and project their icy breath on a part of the island. We are then made to understand that the sandbox is over, the game suddenly becomes more linear and scripted. Finally, before we understand that we contemplate the new aspect of the environment, your weapon covered in frost, the visor of the suit that freezes when you stand still, I know, I said that we would not spread out on the technical aspect but once again, it tears off a retina in a few images. But the environment or the progression are not the only elements to change. Gone are the vindictive North Koreans, make way for space creatures that look like the mechanical octopuses of the Matrix. They are far from being smart but have the answer to compensate for the nut that serves as their brain. And we will stop there the listing of the levels which mainly aimed to show the structure of the game and its way of reversing its own codes in order to constantly surprise the player. First free as the air, you will then be subjected to a thunderous staging which enjoys a dream realization. So, is Crysis the FPS of the year? If not, I find it hard to see who could claim to take his place.

Crysis Remastered PC

However, it is not perfect. Here and there we will find passages that are more regrettable than others. I have already mentioned the crossing of the alien ship which risks becoming a beautiful subject of contention, we can add this flight through the forest, pursued by a chopper. Obviously conceived as a scene where the developers hope to see the player in a jeep or equipped with a missile launcher, it becomes a plague for those who have neither, forced to run in regularly taking cover to recover his health, until finding shelter at the next objective. The AI ​​can also be surprising, often very powerful, it has its empty passages and leaves soldiers in disarray in the face of death, no doubt dazed by your superpower when they are not simply frozen in place. More annoying, the bugs are a defect from which Crysis is not exempt, from the inopportune return to the Windows desktop (and under Vista, it is a lot of suffering) to the objective that does not trigger, it will quickly be necessary that 'EA is releasing a patch to bring some stability to the set. Physics itself has its slack, shooting at a watchtower with a missile launcher to see the sniper occupying it not even having moved a hair, that's all funny. Finally, and ultimately the biggest regret, Crysis lacks body. He has the technique, the open-ended gameplay, the vibe, but he lacks the atmosphere, the personality, the tilting thing, as we've seen in other shooters, from Deus Ex to Half-Life 2. It is not really serious in itself, but it is undoubtedly what it lacks to become an ultimate reference. So, it's just a huge benchmark for solo FPS.

Crysis Remastered PC, PS4 and Xbox ONE consoles

If Crysis Remastered remains a fun title to play in 2020, it is struggling to compare against the new open-world FPS references. The Switch version could be interesting due to the nomadic nature of the support, however, to see in these versions PS4 and Xbox One a sufficient reason to relaunch the title 13 years later. The framerate drops regularly on classic consoles while the Pro versions never reach 60 fps, even in Performance mode. We will retain from this Crysis Remastered its software Raytracing which occasionally has its small effect, but which we will quickly deactivate to find a comfortable frame rate. For more information visit the official website for more details on the game.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Final Fantasy XVI, The Countdown Has Begun

Final Fantasy XVI

As Final Fantasy VII Remake was just released and we took an incredible slap going through it, we figured it would be worthwhile to look a bit into the future now. The future of the great Final Fantasy saga should in all likelihood be made up of Final Fantasy VII Remake 2 and Final Fantasy XVI. In any case, in the more or less near future, that is what we can imagine, especially since episode XIV (MMORPG) is meanwhile in a dynamic which should keep it going for at least another five years. But before we talk about the hypothetical sixteenth installment, let's look at the last ten years of the license, in terms of the major canonical episodes, and before the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake. We were treated to Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, Lightning Returns, XIV, and XV. In this batch, only Final Fantasy XIV, which is therefore an MMORPG, has achieved fairly unanimous critical and commercial success. As for the other titles, and despite their qualities, they were far, even very far from being unanimous among the players, and this is still the case. However, were these games bad? Absolutely not, and we can see by looking at their Metacritic ratings from the time that on average they were even rather at the top of the basket, judge instead:

  • Final Fantasy XIII (2010) – 83/100
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2012) – 79/100
  • Final Fantasy Lightning Returns (2014) – 66/100
  • Final Fantasy XV (2016) – 81/100
Apart from the Lightning Returns episode which acts as a mishap, we can also see that the grades were on average quite good. Because of this, we could say that there is nothing very special to take away from all of this, and even finally, the series was able to get back on the saddle with Episode XV. But take a look at the Metacritic ratings given to the episodes below, excluding MMORPGs:
  • Final Fantasy VII (1997) – 92/100
  • Final Fantasy VIII (1999) – 90/100
  • Final Fantasy IX (2001) – 94/100
  • Final Fantasy X (2002) – 92/100
  • Final Fantasy X-2 (2004) – 85/100
  • Final Fantasy XII (2007) – 92/100
We can see that in our two lists, we find a course error indicated in red. We see then that at one time, a "course error" meant for the series to receive an average of 85/100, whereas when everything was going well, the games were all without exception made to the pantheon of the genre. But over the last ten years, the best title in the series has failed to even match the worst of the time, again on the basis of the average obtained. What we wanted to highlight here,  is that the series hasn't gotten bad, far from it. But in seeking to renew it, whether it's the XIII's combat system, the time management in Lightning Returns, or the open world of the XV, we've gone from greatness to just great games. Because of this, the dynamic of the series has gradually chipped, and even if commercially the last episode sold very well (over 9 million), it will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of players. , especially because of chaotic development and a rather opaque DLC policy.We are now in 2020, Final Fantasy VII Remake has just been released on the market, and its Metacritic average has now stabilized at 88/100, which makes it the first non-MMORPG Final Fantasy to come close to the standards of the great era, in more than 10 years. But it wasn't by chance, and it took a lot of work to get there.

Final Fantasy XVI, The Countdown Has Begun

A formula that has reached maturity?


If you look at Final Fantasy VII Remake, you really realize that the last decade has been very much used to shape its form. It includes an ATB bar, a Shock system, as well as a sphere to improve weapons, based on what could be found in Final Fantasy XIII. And Final Fantasy XV for its part seems to have served as a prototype in order to be able to experience the action in real-time, and we even notice that the summons have also retained a bit of the spirit of Final Fantasy XV, for the Remake. Of course, to tie it all together, we have the sap inherited from Final Fantasy VII, its Materias, its special attacks, etc. But the bottom line is that on the gameplay side, Square Enix seems to have found an excellent compromise between pure action and turn-based action in the Remake, as they've been trying to get out of the classic turn-based game ever since. long time. The action is more controlled here, the animations are better choreographed, the camera is better managed… In short, we can say that with this Remake, their work has finally reached maturity, which bodes only good for the future, with a system whose base could become their new standard, and which Final Fantasy XVI could well take advantage of to begin with.

Final Fantasy XVI under the thumb of Naoki Yoshida

Final Fantasy XVI under the thumb of Naoki Yoshida?


At the moment, we call it XVI, but it's a name that has not been confirmed by any means, and Square Enix might well call it something else. However, we know, as we mentioned above, that it will not be an MMORPG, title XIV is currently at its peak and still has at least one expansion to offer us. We also know that at least two major projects are in development in Divisions 1 and 3 of Square Enix, all for the next generation of consoles. Division 1, which Yoshinori Kitase was in charge, is also responsible for Final Fantasy VII Remake, and we can easily imagine that the sequel to the Remake will not be made by the same team that will also be behind Final Fantasy XVI, especially when you see the amount of work the Remake requires. Suddenly, Division 3 would be found to accommodate the development of Final Fantasy XVI. This would make all more sense since the producer of this division is none other than Naoki Yoshida, the man who has carried Final Fantasy XIV on his shoulders for more than 7 years, and who has been able to bring this game to the top, him even allowing you to fight against the giant World of Warcraft in the world of subscription MMORPGs. More than just a technician, Naoki Yoshida is first and foremost a fanatic in love with the license he works for, and players appreciate him greatly for his human side and his way of communicating. His Division 3 project has been in development for a while now, but it remains to be seen whether this will actually be Final Fantasy XVI.

Final Fantasy XVI scene preview

As far as I am concerned, I would like to see a return to fantasy, like the one we could find in the ninth title. The image that had been revealed during the announcement of the new Division 3 project was also more in this direction. We could see an aircraft hovering over a gigantic map, inevitably sending us back to the right time when we could navigate the map at our leisure. With a photo-realistic aesthetic to scale. It's hard to imagine finding this system, unfortunately, but with a return of more “cartoon” graphics, it could work perfectly, like a certain Ni no Kuni II. So, with Final Fantasy VII Remake, what finally struck me in hindsight was the lack of real decision-making on the part of the characters on our team. If you don't tell them what to do, they ultimately don't make very meaningful decisions. So, now that we have seen that the base of the combat system has a certain maturity, we would not be against a return of the Gambits from Final Fantasy XII to some extent, and which allowed the actions of others to be pre-recorded. characters.

For example, the very basic “heal if life below XX%”. The complete system of Gambits would be a drag on the dynamism of the fights, but a small touch for at least some basic actions would be an idea to dig. In the end, very little is known about this hypothetical Final Fantasy XVI yet, but what is certain is that it will see the light of day on PS5 and Xbox Series X, unless there is a problem along the way. I really hope that the ten years that have just passed have enabled the series to rebuild its game system so that it is finally ready for the future, and if we were rather wary a few months ago, Final Fantasy VII Remake gave us back the little spark of hope that we had long lost, by proving to us that the license was back on top. And you, what would you like to see in Final Fantasy XVI? Check out the video below for a glimpse of the prototyped game.


For more information regarding  Final Fantasy XVI, make sure you visit the official website for more details.

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