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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: LOST REAVERS

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: LOST REAVERS

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By Nick Durham

Well, this is something. Lost Reavers is a free to play multiplayer game published by Bandai Namco and is exclusive to the Wii-U (at least for now). The game is currently in beta (or at least it really feels like it is) and you won’t find many other games like this on the Wii-U at all. Is that a good thing though? Well…let’s find out.

The gameplay of Lost Reavers revolves around you choosing one of four characters to play as. Each character is equipped with a melee weapon and a firearm, and the quick tutorial shows you pretty much everything you need to know. You’re tasked with clearing various rooms, wiping out zombies and other monsters, and recovering relics and bringing them back to your extraction point. Up to four people can play at once, but it really doesn’t make a difference if you have a partner or two or go solo: the game is a breeze, and a pretty boring one at that too.

The game’s environments are bland and its character models stock and stale. There’s a few puzzle-ish elements but they don’t amount to much in terms of challenge. It can become really easy to get swarmed with enemies yet there’s never really any sense of urgency. I know that sounds pretty nonsensical, but the enemy AI is literally all over the place. This is one of the reasons I say Lost Reavers still feels like it’s in beta: the twitchy AI and overall blandness just makes it feel incomplete. The control is pretty twitchy too, and more often than not pretty delayed.

The gameplay itself is just run around, shoot/hack shit, find the relic, run back to the exit. You may occasionally have to heal someone in your party, but probably not because there isn’t much here in terms of challenge. Then again, this is a free to play game, but most of those kind of games at least usually offer something in terms of addictive gameplay to keep their audience hooked and sinking money into them. That’s why fucking Candy Crush made billions of dollars after all. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Lost Reavers getting to any levels like that though. Even if this game was on better selling consoles than the Wii-U or even on the PC, I doubt many would give it a shot.

So yeah, the fact that Lost Reavers is free to play is pretty much the only reason anyone should even consider checking it out. You’ll definitely play worse games in your life than this, but you’ll certainly play better ones too. Check it out for yourself if need be, but otherwise, don’t even bother wasting your time.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

VIDEO GAME REVIEW: CHASING DEAD

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By Nick Durham

As one of the apparently few owners of a Wii-U on the FUCKING PLANET, any time I see a horror title on Nintendo's downloadable e-shop, I end up downloading it. The Letter, Molly Maggot, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water...I fall for it every fucking time. And you know what? I end up hating myself almost immediately after I play it. Some shit never changes. Chasing Dead really isn't any different either in all honesty, although it winds up being better than all those aforementioned games (except for Fatal Frame) , but it still ends up being a bit of a mess.

Chasing Dead is a first person shooter where you play as a cyborg-ish dude named Jake, and you're tasked with mowing down shitloads of zombies. Along the way you get some help from an assistant named Luna (who is filmed in live action, which kind of makes this feel like a Sega CD game from fucking 1993) and there's a super confusing plot involving multiple earths and other ridiculous shit that really has no place in a zombie FPS, but I digress.

The game itself looks like...well, it's kind of hard to describe. There's moments where Chasing Dead looks pretty good...and then it gets choppier than shit due to its piss-poor frame rate. Sometimes during gameplay things appear to be going pretty smooth, and then if anything gets frantic, forget about it. The frame rate drops and the character models glitch, and it doesn't take long for the whole thing to become a mess. The shooting mechanics aren't too bad, but the controls are slightly delayed, so it doesn't really help matters at all.

While playing through Chasing Dead, I felt as if a decent chunk of this game just comes off as unfinished, and it turns out I wasn't totally wrong on that either. In addition to being released on the Wii-U, the game was also released on Steam for the PC, with it's original price of 25 bucks dropped to 10. This was due to those behind the game admitting that the finished product isn't exactly...well, finished. Apparently they're going to be tinkering with it more down the line, but honestly I can't imagine this game becoming any better. After all, you put as much lipstick on a turd as you want to, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still a turd.

So yeah, you'll definitely play worse games than Chasing Dead, but you'll play far, far better ones too. It's an unfinished and fairly uninteresting and uninspired zombie shooter, and you're better off spending your cash elsewhere. If you're a Wii-U owner looking for a new horror game to sink your teeth into...well, I guess you're still stuck with your copy of ZombiU from 2012.

Rating: 2/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Molly Maggot

GAME REVIEW: Molly Maggot

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By Nick Durham

I have come to the conclusion that I am indeed a masochist…or at least I think I am. Why else would I keep subjecting myself to shitty games that I find on Nintendo’s E-shop on the Wii-U? My latest find is called Molly Maggot…and good fucking grief, I don’t even know where to begin.

First and foremost, Molly Maggot is a platform game…sort of. You play as our titular heroine (the fucking thing is named Moly, so I’m assuming it’s a she), an adorable little maggot trying to find your way throughout the rotting flesh of a duck…or a bird…I don’t know what the fuck it is because the animated intro is so shitty that all I can say for sure is that the animal has wings. Anyway, your mission is to munch on blocks of flesh and navigate your way to the end of each zone. The blocks of flesh themselves consist of regular blocks and super rotten blocks that can hurt you if you touch them. After you first start munching on the blocks, you realize that each zone is actually like a maze, and due to the ungodly stage designs, you will get stuck and fuck yourself a lot. Not literally fuck yourself of course though, maggots don’t have sexual organs. I think. Wait, do they? Comment below and let me know, I’m too lazy to go look it up right now.

Now in addition to royally fucking yourself by munching the wrong direction (not a euphemism), you also have the ability to jump. This should help you on your quest, but it doesn’t, because the jumping and platforming mechanics of Molly Maggot are so goddamned terrible that I literally can’t put them into words. I was a fucking English major in college, and I CANNOT FIND THE FUCKING WORDS to describe how bad the mechanics are. Add to that the seemingly randomly generated enemies that pop up, piss-poor hit direction, shoddy animation, and the lack of game music, and you have one of the most hilariously awful games you’ll ever play.

So yeah, can you tell I didn’t care for Molly Maggot? It’s bad…like The Letter bad. That game was two bucks too, and I demanded my money back for that…Molly Maggot is so bad that not only do I want my two bucks back, I want my dignity back. This game is an abortion…and that’s me being nice.

Rating: 0/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Sweet Home

SWEET HOME:
THE BEST SURVIVAL HORROR GAME YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED

By Nick Durham

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Most people tend to think of the original Alone in the Dark as being the first survival horror video game that they can really remember. Resident Evil would end up being the series that would more famously expose the genre of survival horror to mainstream gamers, but did you know that the original Resident Evil was actually originally supposed to be a remake of a game called Sweet Home? Well, it was.

Now you may be asking yourself, what the fuck is Sweet Home? Well kids, sit down, listen up, and crack open a beer or two and I'll tell you a tale: Sweet Home was a game for the Famicom. The Famicom was basically the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. That beloved grey box that we all fondly remember was a bright red and white console (with a disc-based add-on) in its native Japan, and even featured a few bells and whistles (hardwired controllers, a microphone built into the second controller, etc.) that we never got. Anyway, the Famicom had a shitload of games that never made it on our side of the pond, with Sweet Home being one of them.

Sweet Home is a survival horror role-playing game (that in turn is based on a film of the same name), in which you control a party of five characters that must traverse a spooky-ass mansion. You encounter all kinds of nasty beasts and ghosts in random battles (this is an RPG after all), and there's some majorly creepy shit that happens in the process. The mansion itself is like a giant maze, and also features one of the earliest examples of perma-death in a game; i.e. once a member of your party dies, they stay deader than shit. Yes, this game can be totally unforgiving when it wants to be...and can also be super rewarding too.

Now because of its horror nature and mature subject matter, Sweet Home wasn't deemed fit for American NES players, mainly because a majority of them were super young and enjoying the exploits of a certain stereotypical Italian plumber. So yeah, we missed out on a classic game...at least until the internet became a thing. Various playable ROMs of Sweet Home have been all over the place, thankfully with English fan translations. There's also websites you can find that offer up NES reproduction cartridges that feature the English translation of the game, although these will cost you. So with all that in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend checking Sweet Home out however you can. It's an early classic of the genre, and is every bit as good now as it was back then.

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (2015)

GAME REVIEW: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (2015)

By Nick Durham

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I've had a love/hate relationship with the Fatal Frame franchise since its inception. They aren't bad games, not one bit, for me personally, the promise that each game in the series offers gets overshadowed by sloppy mechanics and overall lack of execution. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is no different, although it does offer its fair share of positives along the way.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the Fatal Frame games usually put you in the shoes of a buxom Japanese babe that somehow winds up combatting ghosts and other supernatural elements, using a camera that attacks the spirits by snapping their pictures. The better picture you get, the more damage you dish out. Rinse, repeat. While never a household name of a franchise, the Fatal Frame games have their fan base, and while I kind of shit on it a little bit in that opening paragraph, the games themselves usually end up being fairly entertaining. This game, the fifth in the franchise, is no different.

You play as various characters at different points in the game's story, running around collecting items, solving very slight puzzles, and taking pictures of spooky ghosts. There's a mystery unfolding as the game goes on, taking place on a mountain range that is infamous for being a hot spot for suicides. Things get a tad confusing from that point forward, but I've never played these games for their stories in all honesty. Nevertheless, there is plenty of creepy atmosphere and haunting moments that take place throughout. Quick shots of ghastly apparitions swinging from nooses or leaping off cliffs really help give the game a sense of dread and spookiness. In the atmosphere department, Maiden of Black Water delivers the goods.

The game's biggest strength however also ends up being its biggest weakness. The game takes full advantage of the Wii-U's massive gamepad controller to use as the game's Camera Obscura (i.e., the name the franchise's spectral camera is called), and it uses it pretty well. Aiming and taking shots of the ghosts is simple and fun enough, and in fact this is the best use of the gamepad I've seen done in a long time. I've owned a Wii-U for a long while now, and not nearly enough games for it take advantage of the pad at all. Maiden of the Black Water happily does. That being said, when things get panicky (i.e. when there's a few ghosts teaming up on you), things get kind of cumbersome control wise. While in camera mode, your character can still move around, which is good, but if you back up against a wall, you wouldn't really know it until you realize you're not moving anymore. Then it's drop out of camera mode, and run a bit to give you a little distance between you and the ghosts to finish dispatching them. This wouldn't be that much of a bad thing, were it not for the fact that the character movement controls themselves are really, really fucking clunky. Trust me when I say: when things get hectic, you're going to get frustrated.

Graphically speaking the game looks good and there are some impressive lighting effects as well. The environments are nice and the character models and ghost effects are pretty good as well. From an aesthetic point of view, Maiden of Black Water kicks ass, especially for a Wii-U game. That, and the occasional gratuitous ass shots don't hurt either.

My biggest complaint about Maiden of Black Water however isn't so much the game itself, but how you have to play it. Now over in its native Japan, this game received a physical, disc release. Over here, it's digital only. Now that's really not that big a deal, but considering the game is close to being 10 gigabytes, and the Wii-U itself has a tiny ass hard drive (mine is 32 gigs for fuck's sake), this shit just doesn't fly. Now the one positive to this is that, at least for now, Nintendo is offering the first three chapters to play for free. Once you get through them, you can purchase the full game for 50 bucks if you feel so inclined. Considering that price tag, there isn't enough here to warrant that, at least for me. Plus Nintendo has apparently censored a number of revealing unlockable outfits for the female protagonists, replacing them with Princess Zelda and Zero-Suit Samus outfits instead. My penis weeps.

Anyway, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water isn't a terrible game one bit. Give it a try for free while you can and see what you think. It's not worth the full 50 bucks, at least for me, but you may enjoy it much more than I did. So with all that in mind, give this a shot. There really isn't much in terms of survival horror to find on the Wii-U, and hey, I guess this winds up being better than that other Wii-U exclusive survival horror game The Letter right? That's not much of an accomplishment though, but that's besides the point; getting kicked in the dick by an ice skate is more enjoyable than that fucking game.

Rating: 3/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: The Letter (2014)

GAME REVIEW: The Letter (2014)

By Nick Durham

What the fuck did I do to deserve this? No, seriously. What the fuck did I do to deserve having to play this fucking game? Who did I fuck over in this life or a previous life that has led to me willfully accepting the punishment that is playing?

The Letter? No, you know what, no one answer that. That would be too long a list.

Anyway, The Letter is a first person survival horror game where you take the role of a young man searching for your father who has mysteriously disappeared. Your journey starts in a bedroom and leads to a construction site where dear old Dad was working...or something like that anyway. In all honesty I didn't get too far in The Letter, but I'll get to why exactly in a minute or two. Along the way on your journey you'll walk around a lot in dark areas...and that's pretty much it. To call this game boring is saying it lightly. Literally absolutely fucking NOTHING happens in this fucking game. NOTHING!

Despite the fact that The Letter is boring as sin, this isn't even the game's biggest crime, not even close. First off, when the game first loads, look at that title screen. Did someone make this in fucking Microsoft Paint? Because that's what it looks like. Not to mention the game's graphics overall are untextured, super cheap looking garbage. I've seen early generation PS1 games that look way, way better than this piece of shit. Now I've been playing video games for a majority of my life, and I know firsthand that graphics don't necessarily make a game good or not. That is very true. There's plenty of super fun and enjoyable games that look like shit, but manage to be a great time. This is not fucking one of them.

Second of all, the control scheme for this game is fucking awful. This is mainly because the game's vertical axis is reversed...AND THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO CHANGE IT! That's right. You press one way to move, you move the opposite way. Great controls for a survival horror game right? Not to mention the fact that, as previously mentioned by me so eloquently right above, THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO CHANGE IT! I can forgive the graphics, and I can forgive the lack of horror, but I just can't forgive this. Not at all.

To make matters worse, the game is just so fucking cryptic. Cryptic games used to be the norm back in the 8 and 16-bit days, and they could be fun (and frustrating) to figure out. Figuring them out here is not fun, it's problematic, mostly because of the game's super shitty mechanics. Even just trying to get out of the first room, THE FIRST FUCKING ROOM, turned into a head scratcher. Like seriously...fuck all this.

Upon further investigation, I learned that The Letter flopped on IndieGoGo, only managing to secure over 300 bucks instead of the $5,000 originally set as the goal. The game was dumped upon the Nintendo e-shop for $1.99, and the outcry from Nintendo's Mii-verse is deafening. People feel ripped off, and they rightfully should. It doesn't take long to realize that "The Letter" is not a finished game, not by a long shot. It is, at its heart, a failed attempt at using crowd-funding to make a game, and then failing even further in terms of releasing a knowingly unfinished product with the hopes of churning out some kind of profit. A product crafted by inexperienced game developers that churned this steaming digital turd out as quickly as possible. Why am I shitting all over it like I am? Because the crew behind this promised over and over that The Letter would be granted consistent updates from its launch day to provide an overall better gaming experience. Guess how many updates have happened since the game was released in the beginning of 2015? Not a single fucking one. That is basically what we call a scam folks. Not a super expensive one, but a scam nonetheless.

On the flip side of that, it costs 2 bucks, so I know there are some of you that may be saying "come on Nick, it's only 2 bucks, what did you really expect?" Well, for starters, I expected something that played like a competent video game. I've played free-to-play games on my fucking phone that are way more in-depth than The Letter could ever hope to fucking be. I know it's only 2 bucks, but you know what? I still want my fucking money back.

Rating: 0/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments