Landmark PC Early Access First Impression: Is it a Minecraft Clone?

After many more hours playing this game, it has become very clear that this is no minecraft clone. The game does not look like Minecraft, the game does not play like Minecraft, and the game does not even remind me of Minecraft.

Here are a few reasons that are great differences currently.

Mining

Mining is completely different, you often have to dig into an ore vein to locate other, deeper ore. I thought this was awesome and I find myself looking for clues on the surface of the landscape when scouting out for resources I need.

Crafting

The crafting system is very straight forward, no need to check a wiki page every time you want to craft something.

Building

Building is awesome. There is nothing else like it, but the closest thing comparible is like playing minecraft with world edit and other advanced tool plugins installed, with smooth terrain and awesome block varieties

Block varieties

Speaking of block varieties, they handled this masterfully. You mine a bunch of stone and you do not need to craft stone bricks or decorated stone, you simply just switch your tool to that texture and they all just use basic stone as their source. Same with dirt, and wood, etc.

Grappling hook

Grappling Hook. You have seen it in terraria, and maybe in starbound, well it works fantastically in Landmark (Think the Bionic Commando Reboot)

Transistor PC Review: Simply breathtaking

This game is created by the same makers as Bastion, which is one of my favorite games ever. Upon loading, Transistor is visually appealing, and Logan Cunningham (Rucks in Bastion) makes a reappearance which is exciting. Controls are fluid, music is amazing — I’m very excited to play through this game!

First Impressions

After playing for about an hour, I must say that I think all the expectations I have had for this game are met. Unlike Bastion, which was more of a go-get-em game, Transistor really makes you think and analyze your tactics in battle, especially with the new “time stop” system where you can plan out your actions (each move you make will cost part of your “energy bar”). There are plentiful save points, and a nice level-up system to improve your skillset. The game is mysterious so far, and I think it really fits into the mood. However, some people might dislike how the story isn’t really clear, and you’re just following the path without much reason until (supposedly) later on in the game when things will be made more clear.

My only qualms with the gameplay itself are the somewhat repetitive nature of the fights (although each fight calls for new tactics), and the somewhat tricky level-up system which seems a bit arbitrary. The upgrades arn’t clearly defined as to what exactly they do. Overall, some parts of the game feel like I’m not sure what’s going on or what I’m supposed to do to upgrade the Transistor with, but that just adds to the mysterious nature of the game at the beginning.

Progress report: Deeper into the Game

Having come across the first “boss” now, I really think that I can speak for all people when I say–wow. The way in which the “characters” speak is amazing. The fight had me on my toes, really making me consider the best way to defeat it without losing too much health. I was blown away at how the screen colors changed and blurred as I started to lose more and more health.

Verdict

If you have any doubts on buying this game, your doubts should be dispelled–this game is worthy of your $20; a beautiful second game released by Supergiant Games.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review – A Worthy, Modernized Classic

I’ve been a long time Wolfenstein fan. I played Wolfenstein 3D for the first time when I was younger, and it was on one of those ridiculous shareware demo discs alongside the beloved Doom! Ever since, I’ve kept a close eye on the franchise and enjoyed every iteration, including the recent 2009 game that has sadly vanished without a trace for potential buyers. However, this new entry makes up for that with flying colors and playing just 3 hours was enough for me to say this: This is one game that has blown away my expectations for once, instead of just meeting them head on!

First Impression

Wolfenstein: The New Order hooked me in and never let go. It was so hard just to pry myself from the game so I can rave about it right here! This is it, the one shooter the genre’s been needing for so long, melding so much of what makes the new so good and bringing back what made the old so good. Everything is here that we need, from a great attention grabbing story to insanely rewarding gunplay. The voice acting is top notch while the sound effects of each shot is sweet music to my ears. The game is a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the SOUL.

Content and Gameplay

Everything comes together nicely, and it is packed with enough content to keep you coming back for more. Two alternate “timelines” affect the gameplay in a subtle way, and it is all affected by a hard choice you have to make in the beginning. You will be able to make further choices as you play when approaching each situation. You will go mad over wealth as you search for hidden gold and treasure, while getting to secret locations to find valuable supplies. While you do all this, you unlock perks that power up BJ to fit your own playstyle as you mow down the Nazi scum! Overall, the game is too fun for words, and has very few problems holding it back. No crashes, no game breaking bugs. However, some people appear to have a few problems even RUNNING this game.

Wrinkles in the Rug

However, even with all that said, Wolfenstein: The New Order is held back by a few nagging problems. Just like with RAGE, the main menu has an absurd mouse sensitivity issue, but luckily it is much better during gameplay or when using the “journal” menu. The graphics, although quite lovely (despite lack of anti aliasing feature), put a great deal of strain on PCs not running great Intel processors. The performance is very erratic because of this, but mostly smooth, and doesn’t put a damper on the combat! Besides these, it is very difficult for me to find anything else “wrong” with Wolfenstein: The New Order. I am sure there is something I am overlooking, but at this point, there is very little wrong with this game!

Conclusion

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a 100% reccomendation for fans of the series. It is also a big reccomendation for fans of shooters as well… and also for those who used to like shooters, but grew to hate modern shooters. This game, in a nutshell, is filled to the brim with SOUL. The thing many games are missing these days!

DreadOut PC Review

DreadOut is an Indonesian survival-horror game that takes inspiration from the Fatal Frame franchise, and pulls a lot from Indonesian myths and folklore. The game is currently incomplete, with a sort of episodic structure. Act 1 is currently released, with a future Act 2 and Free Roam mode confirmed for the future (Act 2 will be free for all purchasers, Free Roam is paid DLC).

First, a recommendation; play the demo on Steam before the main game. The demo is a prequel, where the demo ends is where the game begins. Lasts 15-20 minutes, nothing in the demo is in Act 1 of the game.

You play as a non-talkative protagonist known as Linda, who with a few friends is on a car trip, but they stumble upon a weird deserted city that isn’t marked on their map. The friends go to investigate the town, and soon get wrapped up in some severe hauntings from the strange ghost that start coming out when night falls.

On Budget, Graphics

The game has a low-budget, and it shows. Graphically everything looks outdated, with low-res textures, odd character animations, and the like. There’s also no real-time shadows. The game also has a few bugs. I didn’t encounter anything game-breaking, but a few ‘look through the wall with the camera’, ‘get stuck on an object for a moment’, ‘that character is levitating,’ type of bugs, However, something I found interesting was that they didn’t copy and paste many models. There were a lot of posters around town, and each one was legitimately different. Same with pictures, and just small details all about.Outside of a few chairs or piles of garbage, most of the models were unique to each other, and I was surprised the developers didn’t take many shortcuts.

DreadOut is completely worth experiencing, even as it is now. It’s tense, sometimes terrifying, has the right amount of weirdness to it, and is actually a lot of fun. Its low budget shows, especially in the graphics department, but through clever design, good execution, and variety at hand, manages to be a fun experience.

Mentioning this, something I noticed about the game is that there were a lot of secrets and original assets used for things that most players would probably not even end up finding or seeing. There’s more I have to say on the topic, but I’ll get back to this in a bit.

Atmosphere, Sound, Scares

The game has legitimately great atmosphere. There are some fantastic scares, the feeling of unnerve that is caused by the game. It has an atmosphere to it that most horror games these days are missing from the days of old, sort of a combination of dread and excitement for what’s going to come next. The atmosphere and scares are more akin to something like Fatal Frame or Kuon than Amnesia or Outlast, I should mention. Recommended at night and in darkness, with headphones.

This is backed by fantastic audio design. The music is great, the sounds are great. Voicing is okay, a bit cheesy but enjoyably so. However, with the music, how it is and how it’s used in the game, is really effective, and also I can mention unique. The music is very different than any other horror game I have played, but very effective. And how the music transitions with events going on is very well-done. The audio is also unnerving, and sometimes hearing a weird sound, even without knowing its source or even without it leading to anything, raised the tension. It sometimes gets hard to tell if a sound you just heard is part of the music, or something in the environment, but I say this as a good thing.

And the game does not lie on its laurels. By this I mean a lot happens, and the game never throws the same thing at you twice. I was honestly surprised by the number of ghosts there are in this game, there were a lot more than I was anticipating. Some great enemy variety, and you fight each ghost really only once or twice, there was not a single ghost I think the game threw at you a third time. And the ‘events’ that happen, like scares or atmospheric additions, were all incredibly varied too. This definitely helped to raise the intrigue as you never knew what might be coming next, and some of what happens really goes into the unexpected.

Combat and Puzzles

Combat is similar to Fatal Frame, but a bit more simplistic. There isn’t a charge rate like Fatal Frame, or a point system, but the closer enemies are, the more you damage them when you take a shot. And if you attack them right before they attack you, you deliver additional damage.

Even the puzzles are well done and intelligent. Figuring out what to do is fun, and they do a good job at laying out clues to what you need to do to help piece it all together. They have clever hints and details, while not being extremely obvious either. However, it should be mentioned that those with less patience and less of a desire to figure out cryptic clues may not like how they’re handled. But if you loved puzzles from horror games in the 90s (which have been notably absent in recent years), then you’ll likely be quite happy to see some return to form here.

Length

But there is a kicker to all of this; the game’s current length. Act 1 of the game lasts for about three hours. It ends on a high note, the game gets better and better as it develops and Act 1 has a fantastic climax… But it ends as its getting very good, and leaves you wanting more. Act 2 is coming free to everyone who purchases the game in the future, and I’ll update this review whenever it comes about, but for now what is in Act 1 will probably take players somewhere around 3-5 hours to complete.

As it is now, it’s a bit short, and still to be seen how long the entire package of the game will be (if Act 2 will be just as long, longer, or shorter than Act 1), but what they have here is fantastic, it legitimately is one of the best classic-styled survival-horror games to release in the last few years, and I think genre enthusiast who like certain elements of horror games that have been absent since the days of old will really appreciate the game. It’s well-paced, well-executed, but due to the length for Act 1 maybe a little undercooked right now.

It feels like the length may have been a budget thing. The developers only had $26k to make the game, and my guess is that they were running low on funds and decided to release what they have so far to help development costs. And I hope it works, there is a very confident horror game here, and honestly some of the most fun I’ve had in a horror game in a while.

The weird thing is the secrets I mentioned earlier. There are complete sections of the game you could miss if you don’t do some exploration. There are ghosts you won’t fight unless you go off the beaten path. A tip to the wise is when it turns night-time and before you enter the school, don’t enter the school like the game suggests and instead head back towards the town you just came from. There are literally four different types of ghosts if you head backwards at this point that you’ll never encounter in the main game. And little hidden areas and easter eggs to uncover all about. So on that front, there is some really cool optional content to explore in the game.

Sweeteners

There’s also a few cool unlockables. Once you complete the game, you unlock three additional outfits, all of which are actually pretty well designed, and can be used on a second and later playthrough.

There’s also a few side areas you can explore right now that don’t really lead to anything, which I can only guess are there right now for the possible future Free Roam Mode (a lot of buildings and side-areas off the beaten-path are currently inaccessible or kind of barren right now, and I assume will be open in the free-roam mode the developers are working on).

Wrap up

I want DreadOut to succeed. I really liked what was here, I’d even go as far to say this has serious potential to be one of the best horror games for fans of the genre to release in the last few years. But Act 1 goes by easily in 3-5 hours, and as of the moment of this review there are no conclusions here.

But DreadOut is completely worth experiencing, even as it is now. It’s tense, sometimes terrifying, has the right amount of weirdness to it, and is actually a lot of fun. Its low budget shows, especially in the graphics department, but through clever design, good execution, and variety at hand, manages to be a fun experience.

The Last Tinker: City of Colors (PC) Review

The Last Tinker: City of Colors is a 3d action-platformer similar to Banjo-Kazooie and Wind Waker (Zelda) with an unique art style (think DR. Seuss) set in the gorgeous world of Colortown. The color palette consists of reds, blues, greens, purples, oranges, yellows, and whites. The video settings are standard PC options- VSync, Texture Quality, etc. The game runs great on almost all PCs and looks great with any settings option. The Last Tinker runs on the Unity engine, showing us the versatility of the engine and how good games look on it. The engine and graphics are great and are NOT outdated by any stretch of the imagination.

The Last Tinker’s story is pretty straightforward and even sometimes “childlike” in it’s presentation which is a downside, dealing with issues like racism, sadness, anger, and fear which is good for kids but doesn’t feel the same for adults. But it makes up with funny and cute characters. The dialogue is cringe-worthy and some of the characters are really annoying and cliched to the ‘T’. But I absolutely LOVE the world and the lore of this universe. There are three spirits in The Last Tinker, each has a different punch, a different special move, and a different problem to solve. You will find them throughout the story. There is the Red Spirit- Anger, the Green Spirit- Fear, and the Blue Spirit- Sadness. Each spirit is in charge of their own districts. Red Lizards (Red District), Blue Bears (Blue District), and Green Turtle-things (Green District). Which has torn Colortown apart and it’s your job, as a Tinker, to bring them back together and to defeat the Bleakness (White).

Sound is top notch, music is phenomenal, and the voice acting is comprised of oohs, awws, chirps, and other noises. I don’t like the VA but you can easily turn it off in the options menu and still have SFX and music on. The music is your typical PS2 platforming game OST with some groovy and immersive songs.

Now to the gameplay! Platforming is done by pressing forward ‘W’ and ‘Space’ will allow you to automatically jump to a specific platform. Combat is really interesting. So you punch with ‘LMB’, ‘MMB’ up, and ‘MMB’ down and you dodge with ‘RMB’. (There are also combos and different moves to unlock; for ex: ‘RMB’+ ‘LMB’) The Red Punch (‘LMB’) can defeat the enemies in game, the green punch (‘MMB’ up) can make enemies scared and run into deadly traps, and the blue punch (‘MMB’ down) can immobilize enemies and are weak from the back. The Red Power is a, for lack of a better word, ‘Berserk’ mode where your DMG is up and your speed is up. The Green Power lets you freeze time to solve puzzles, platform across fast moving objects, and position yourself in a tough fight. The blue power gives you invincibility against anything including the snow-like bleakness. There are also light puzzles which can be solved with your powers/ punches or with Biggs and Bomber. Biggs and Bomber are mushroom folk that use abilities to solve puzzles and to get collectables. Using different punches shows off their different abilities. There are also amazing boss fights.

Additional Notes: There are many collectables to get throughout Colortown. While some story levels are bigger, the majority are quite linear. The game is also really easy. And the rail sections of the game are completely annoying and are really blurry so you can’t see obstacles up ahead. I finished the game in 10 hrs. and there is a total of 14 Steam achievements.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this game to anyone looking for an old-school 3d platformer reminiscent of Banjo Kazooie and Sly Cooper. With that being said, the game suffers from childlike dialogue, story, and presentation. But overall it’s a wonderful experience that’s worth playing through a few times!

This review was originally posted here.

Child of Light Reviews are in: a solid game for your collection

Undecided whether to get Child of Light? Reviews have been filtering in, and it’s looking to attract a solid reception on launch. Here are the freshest top reviews from reputable sources.

Eurogamer – 8/10

Child of Light stands as a wonderfully realised venture into unfamiliar territory for Ubisoft – and a welcome reminder that the industry’s major players still have the creative flair to push beyond the lucrative safe ground that they so often favour to create well-crafted, highly-polished gems such as this.

Full review here

Destructoid – 8.5/10

Child of Light will satiate pretty much everyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans, and even then, they’ll find plenty of enjoyment. There are a few minor issues here and there that hold it back from instant-classic status that could be enhanced in a sequel or future work, but regardless, Child of Light is a noble effort from Ubisoft Montreal, and another win to put in the studio’s diverse portfolio

Full review here

Gamespot – 8/10

Child of Light is a remarkable adventure. I wouldn’t have thought that was true during the first couple of hours given that my expectations of what kind of game this was shattered when reality showed its face. But once I accepted the sadness that is so intertwined with every element, I grew so much closer to Child of Light. It’s easy to heap praise on the combat because it’s so interesting and engaging, and it’s certainly a high point in this adventure. That’s not what makes Child of Light stand out, though. Rather, it’s how confident it is in its own feelings of woe. There are so few games willing to explore that dull ache that I became mesmerized by Aurora’s journey, even when I needed to step away from her plight while I regained my composure. Child of Light is a wonderfully realized, somber adventure, and I couldn’t be happier that such a game exists.

Full review here

Gameinformer – 8/10

Child of Light isn’t all style with no substance. The writing and story suffer due to Ubisoft Montreal doubling down on the whimsy factor, but that doesn’t stop the gameplay from being accessible and entertaining, and a new game plus option keeps the adventure alive for additional playthroughs. Child of Light isn’t a top-tier RPG, but its solid mechanics and visual flair ensure that it also isn’t a forgettable one.

Full review here

Having said all these, are you getting Child of Light? Next question: On which platform?

Dark Souls 2 PC Review: You probably won't like this game

You probably won’t like this game. You will die, your ego will be crushed, your soul exhausted, and you will inevitably fail at every turn. Yet somehow in those moments when you do succeed, learning from every agonizing death, it is one of the most triumphant feelings in the world. Those heart-pounding moments where you narrowly dodge a towering giant monster’s killing blow and swiftly strike at him with your last ounce of stamina, bringing him to his knees and finally overcoming him… are the most rewarding moments you will ever experience in gaming. But to get there, prepare to die. A lot.

About the game: Dark Souls 2, like Dark Souls, is a 3rd person RPG set in a fantasy world filled with nasty beasts that are much more powerful than you. Bosses are even more powerful, and require gaining knowledge through fighting them (and dying a lot). Think MMO raid bosses, except here you’re on your own.

The combat is the shining star of the game. Every enemy has their own movement patterns and attacking styles, which turns every enemy into a sparring match and a mental game of chess against the AI (which is impressively brutal). Learning enemy attack patterns is the key to succeeding (bosses included), and boss fights in particular challenge you to try new techniques.

Your stats can be upgraded throughout the game and you will grow stronger. The armor and weapons you find can be upgraded as well in order to customize your character to your fighting style. Want to be a nimble rogue that dual wields daggers? A sorcerer in cloth armor that attacks with spells from a distance? A heavy armored knight with a tower shield and giant axe? You can build your character to be any of these, or any combination of these.

The bottom line is that this isn’t a game that anyone can pick up and enjoy. This is an extremely difficult game that is made for patient people who enjoy complex stat systems, experimenting with different play styles, and adapting to the challenges that the game throws at you. If you can handle it, Dark Souls 2 is a masterpiece that should be experienced by anyone who calls themselves a gamer. Getting through it, on the other hand, will test you in ways you haven’t been tested before. You have been warned.

Keep Calm and Praise the Sun.

This review originally appeared here.