Tag Archives: FPS

Prey: Mooncrash review

Prey: Mooncrash is a very clever and highly enjoyable melding of first-person shooting and exploration with Rogue-like death and replay. It manages to create an entirely fresh experience in the Prey universe. Moreover, it’s fantastically compelling.

You are tasked with entering a simulation and reliving the desperate escape of five individuals that are trapped on the lunar base with Typhon enemies. Much like the core game, the Typhon come in a variety of forms, including the Mimics which morph into different objects to deceive and scare the hell out of you, and bi-pedal forms known as Phantoms. Some additional, new forms are also present in Mooncrash, including a tentacle spewing egg and a terrifically named ‘moon shark’. Dealing with these enemies, either through combat with whatever weaponry you manage to find – melee and projectile – or through environmental hazard manipulation, sneaking, or your very own Typhon abilities and skills provided by implants, is the order of the day.

Indeed, there’s a wealth of options as to how you choose to engage, or avoid, conflict, and the same can be said for progressing through the moon base. Multiple paths are available with different obstacles to traverse, whether these are locked doors requiring pass cards, hacking skills, passwords gained by reading notes and emails or the computer terminals, let alone the environmental hazards and enemies. However, a big change with Mooncrash over the core game are the five characters you control.

To begin with you’re limited to a single character, but as you play his unique escape attempt you gradually unlock the additional characters. This can occur when you discover their corpse for the first time, or by achieving the specific story objective for a character. These objectives are present for each character and revolves around one of the five available escape methods, such as using the escape pod, flying out on a shuttle, etc. Meanwhile, additional objectives are also available for each character, should you feel the need to put yourself in great danger and uncover more of the plot.

With the Rogue-like addition of skills carrying over even after death, and the environment maintaining a persistent state for each cycle, after a dozen or so attempts you’ll have the whole cast ready to go, allowing you to use the abilities of different characters to help pave the way for the others. The ultimate goal is the have a perfect run; where all five characters manage to escape during a single, unbroken cycle. However, achieving this is anything but simple.

Determining which characters can do what is largely a case of trial and error and is discovered simply by using them. However, understanding the base layout and what activates what, takes some exploration, and the more you explore the more dangerous it becomes. This isn’t only because of the random spawning of enemies for each cycle but also because of an imposed time limit. The simulation technology you’re using is unstable, and the longer you remain in it, the more unstable it becomes. This instability is measured in levels, and as each level is reached, new enemies spawn and become more aggressive. It’s a clever mechanic that adds urgency and threat with an effective randomness; it’s Rogue-like at its best.

And indeed, it’s these Rogue-like elements that make this such an interesting experience. Items and enemies surprise you with different spawn locations each cycle, the environment also changes throwing unforeseeable obstacles at you, all the while your cast of characters are gradually getting stronger, your knowledge of the base is increasing, and those five escape plans and their order begin to reveal themselves. Pair this with Prey’s environmental storytelling, intense combat and terrifying enemies, and you’ve got a tremendously unique and engaging package.

Prey’s core mechanics of exploration, limited ammo and health, and horror would make figuring out how to achieve each characters’ escape frustrating due to the amount of times it causes your demise, but due to the Rogue-like qualities of skill retention and a semi-persistent environment, it makes this a unique and entertaining experience that’s hard to put down.

Thanks to Bethesda for supporting TiX

Immortal Redneck review

Immortal Redneck doesn’t require a massive long drawn out review, basically because it’s not a massive game with lots of elements to it. What is essentially a roguelike FPS dungeon crawler Immortal Redneck is set in ancient Egypt and you play a mummified Redneck on a mission to try and make it to the top of the pyramid. Not much of why you end up like that is explained but it doesn’t really matter to be honest because there is not that much depth to the game either. That being said, the whole point of the game is to look for answers inside the pyramid but again, it’s not really that important.

Your job is to enter the pyramid and make your way floor by floor to the top, when you enter a room the door is locked and you have to face multiple enemies and destroy them to move on, however, they become more dangerous and more and more concentrated making your journey that little bit harder. You have three weapons to choose from and each are suited to their own speciality but you have to be very careful because if you die you’re back to square one, no matter how far up the pyramid you get to and you have to face a newly generated pyramid.

Exploration is key to each floor and this can be quite time-consuming but if you want to make it to the top it’s worth spending that little extra time looking around for items that may help you in the long run. Each floor has different enemy types ranging from little annoying frogs to big bounding beasts that take a couple of shotgun blasts to put down. Each enemy could drop something such as health or ammo to help you on your way. The enemies don’t mess around though and make you their primary target leaving sections of the game quite challenging and very addictive. Don’t expect this to be a walk in the park because it’s not.

After a few levels, you will encounter a boss that makes for a refreshing change to the gameplay, you have to use tactics and strategy on some bosses but most are engaging if not a slightly repetitive but still, the challenge makes the boss fights very enjoyable indeed. Choosing your weapon on a boss fight is important and there are loads of weapons available. You have machine guns, shotguns, RPG’s and all sorts of different weapons that give you the upper hand on the enemy. Every now and then a scroll will drop that could give you an attribute, a sort of buff, but this could go either way and be bad as well as good.

There are also different gods that you can choose from depending how you like to play and each comes with a passive skill as well as a special ability such as healing or damage. Each time you die – and depending on how far you made it before – you get the opportunity to use points to upgrade certain aspects of your god to give them the edge on your next attempt. Immortal Redneck is extremely addictive and pulls you into just have one more game. You can last ages or just a few minutes on the pyramid but all is down to you and how careful you want to play.

With the controls being generic FPS, the game is very easy to pick up and start crawling through each stage. For such a small and basic game to have such a replay factor is a massive accomplishment for developers Crema games. The levels are big enough to explore but not too big to get lost and become frustrated by. The sound won’t win any awards but it does what it should and provides the game with character.

Like I said, not too much to say for such a small game but overall Immortal Redneck is definitely worth a play, whilst the visuals are basic and won’t take your breath away the playability makes up for that and gets you hooked as you make your way to the top of the pyramids. I am yet to make it to the second pyramid but that being said I’m not giving up and I’m leaving Immortal Redneck in proud place on my installed games list. Well Done Crema.

Prey review

Prey successfully melds science fiction and horror in a more contemporary and grounded setting that the original title from 2006. It therefore doesn’t feel at all related to its predecessor, posing question as to why it needed to use the name ‘Prey’. However, while its roots are muddy, the title that’s grown from them is wonderfully intense and intriguing, providing an experience that’s a bit familiar in places yet superbly polished.

The likeness to titles such as System Shock and Bioshock is hard to deny, with ‘mystery’ being its primary draw. You play as either a female of male Morgan Yu, waking up in your apartment and given the objective of heading to work. However, the reality of Yu’s situation is quickly challenged as something goes wrong behind the scenes, revealing Yu’s place of work to in fact be a space station in orbit around Earth, and Yu’s memory erased as an emergency protocol. Worse still, the station is infested by an alien organism known as Typhon, capable of shifting their appearance to look like everyday objects as well as sucking the life out of all living things. It’s a threat that must not be allowed to reach Earth, and despite your fractured memories, it’s up to you to figure out precisely what’s going on within the station and destroy the Typhon.

Your main objectives lead you through a well-paced and interesting story of discovery but the station is littered with side quests to further the lore. You’re free to switch between these objectives at will, with the space station open for you to explore, assuming you have the card keys, weapons and abilities to surpass the obstacles. It’s a metrovania style of free-roaming exploration that helps the environment feel more realistic and works to help satisfy your intrigue if the greater lore should grip you. Moreover, there are often multiple ways for you to conquer the obstacles in your way, whether that’s exploring and finding key cards to open otherwise locked doors, or using the neat collection of weapons to make a route – such as the Glu gun that creates clumps of solid matter to temporarily freeze enemies in place or create makeshift stairs to clamber on – or even using your abilities to hack and repair security nodes. It’s wonderfully open.

However, as much as exploration is encouraged by objectives, and required to progress, there’s an terrifically eerie personality to the station that does a tremendous job of putting you off. It’s a rare occasion of an environment looking lived in and mostly brightly lit, but the powerful sense of loneliness and the threat the Typhoon poses makes entering every room intense and frightening.

The spider-like Typhon, Mimics, can shifting into everyday objectives, fooling you into a false sense of security where a room looks harmless when in fact you’re surrounded. As you approach objects that are in fact Mimics, they shift back to their alien form and spring towards you. It makes you paranoid and puts you on edge, and with some superb scripted events in the early stages of the game, you’re quickly introduced to just how devious this enemy can be.

However, Yu does have a few tricks up his/her sleeve. The experiments you were a part of have granted you abilities which can be upgraded and expanded on through a skill tree. Additionally, new technical skills, health and stamina stats, and multiple other upgrades can be purchased and augmented with collectables. Eventually you can become a force to be reckoned with, although the further you commit to certain abilities the more you threaten your own humanity as the story progresses. It’s an interesting exploration of consequences that makes your play through a little more personal.

The use of limited stamina and inventory space adds a pleasant slice of survival horror to proceedings, enhanced considerably by the fast shifting and attacking of the Typhon as well as the wonderful use of music to intensify encounters. Running out of stamina and being unable to deal damage to the alien menace while being attacked does tread a thin line between frustrating and enhancing the horror. Meanwhile, the humanoid Typhon and human enemies require different tactics to overcome. It results in a clever set of combat encounters that force you to use a variety of different weapons and strategies to deal with the differing types and differing numbers you encounter.

A crafting feature allows you to create ammo, health and other items from machines strewn around the station. These machines use scrap and items you find, breaks them down into compound parts which can then be used to create whatever you please, assuming you have the blueprints. It means ammo and health are scarce, and improvising is encouraged. Environmental hazards can be used in combat to help even the odds, switching to different weapons is often necessary, and food items can be picked up and consumed to regain a little health and stamina. Mostly, this encourages you to avoid combat and run, enhancing the horror aspect to good effect.

Indeed, Prey does a great job delivering a smart FPS, survival horror hybrid with an intriguing setting and story. There’s some unfortunate technical limitations that can lead to some occasional frame rate issues and some long loading times between areas, but the journey of discovery and combat against the Typhon aliens aboard the space station is a highly satisfying, intense and rewarding experience. It’s a reboot that strays considerable from the original vision but successfully builds something new from the ashes of the Prey IP.

Thanks to Xbox and Bethesda for supporting TiX

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition review

It’s not often that I’ll play a first-person shooter other than Halo. It’s even less often that it’s a re-imagining of a title that was first released on the Xbox 360. Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition from People Can Fly is one such game.

Bulletstorm isn’t usually the type of title I’d pick up. Not because I don’t like first person shooters, more the fact that I’m not a massive fan of being led around by the nose. I’m much more of an exploration kind of shooter fan than scripted paths and direction. That being said, I went into Bulletstorm with an open mind, especially as I’d not played the initial Xbox 360 release from 2011. I was pleasantly surprised.

Taking place in the 26th Century, Bulletstorm sees you take the role of Grayson Hunt. Grayson is the leader of Dead Echo, a covert hit squad under the direct command of Star General Sarrano of the Confederation of Planets. Sarrano, unsurprisingly, uses Dead Echo to clean up some of his dirty work, and, learning this, Grayson and his team desert. They become Space Pirates and ten years on, encounter Sarrano’s cruiser, the Ulysses, ramming it over the planet Stygia. Your story is taken up from there on in.

Initially, you have a few tasks to perform to save the life of team member Ishi Sato. Ishi was critically wounded during the crash and has been repaired by the damaged ship’s medical systems using cybernetic and robotic components. The AI on this repair is rather aggressive, however, turning Ishi into something of a loose cannon. During the initial search for power, you find an Instinct Leash.

Bulletstorm

This device is an interactive energy whip and tactical points-scoring system. The more kills that Grayson performs, in the most creative manner, the more points that you will earn. More points equals more ammunition and weapon upgrades as you progress through the game.

The weapons that Grayson has access to range in type and effectiveness. The weapon select allows you to choose between the primary automatic rifle and two secondary weapons. Choosing wisely could mean the difference between progressing on to the next chapter, or dying a horrible death at the hands of the local hybrid-mutant population of nuclear-winter crazies. You have good selection of combat weapons to choose from. From  a magnum-type pistol  to an explosive tipped flail chain launcher, there should be fun for everyone in the loadouts.

The loadouts are accessed through the Instinct Leash communicating your kill-score to drop-kits. You can choose to upgrade the weapons in your arsenal and purchase more ammo, but in truth, you’ll probably max out your ammo as there are so many crazies around, you’ll be buried in spent casings.

Bulletstorm

Importantly, the weapons are fun to use. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the firepower at your disposal is drab and lifeless, or worse still, ineffective. The standard automatic rifle does feel slightly underpowered though, and you can find yourself emptying clip after clip into certain enemy types before you try something else. The Instinct Leash allows you to get creative too. You can use it to whip enemies from behind cover towards you or into hazards like giant spikes, electrical wires or hungry plants. This can rack up your points and can be a source of amusement as you whip them towards you and give them a hefty boot away while trying to take their head off with a well-placed bullet.

There are a number of local mutant types that will come at you without hesitation as well. There’s no sneaking around trying to avoid conflict in this one, its full-on, in your face violence here. Once these are out of the way, by whatever means you have at your disposal, hell, even kick them off a platform, they will drop something useful, like a small amount of ammo. You can even use the Instinct Leash to pick that up if you’re desperate.

As you make your way to specific locations throughout the ravaged city, using a pre-defined path, you will eventually come up against a heavier boss battle before progressing to the next Act or Chapter. These will sometimes involve a little more of the story being revealed or occasionally, will suggest something other than a professional relationship blooming between Grayson and Ishi. Odd.

Bulletstorm

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition has had a graphics update by all accounts, although not having played the original, I wouldn’t be in a position to comment on the differences. It also provides the Overkill Campaign mode, granting immediate access to all of the available weapons as well as six new Echo maps. There is also a great Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour DLC available with voice clips from Jon St.John himself.

The voice-acting in Bulletstorm is OK. It won’t win the game any awards and some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy, but it helps to keep the game, and more importantly the story, clipping along at a fair old pace, and there’s plenty to keep you entertained throughout. There are several hours of gameplay in the story alone and with multiplayer, Overkill and the Duke Nukem optional DLC, there’s enough to keep you seriously entertained for a long time to come. With all of that in mind, is there anything I don’t really like about Bulletstorm Full Clip Edition?

Well, I can’t help but feel that it’s all a bit samey. The mutants either come at you in some sort of suicidal frenzy or they hide and try to pick you off, making a swift Leashing inevitable. There’s little variation in the attacks or the way you end up defeating the hordes of nutters trying to end your existence. There’s no health indicator either. Take too much damage, and to be fair Grayson can take a lot, and the edges of your HUD turn red until you hide for a bit of time. This can be irritating of you’re in the middle of an important boss fight.

Bulletstorm

On the whole, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition lives up to the hype of the original release. The graphics are futuristically gory in a good way and most things are pretty well animated. The story keeps you engaged throughout and the voice-acting, while not Oscar-worthy, is good enough to get you through the cheesy dialogue. Save for repetitive waves of attacks and being led around a specific route to your goal, the game is well worth picking up to add to your collection.

Thanks to People Can Fly and Xbox for supporting TiX

Prey Opening Hour trailer released

The highly anticipated reboot of Prey is due out in a mere few days, May 5, and to whet your appetite that little bit more is a new trailer.

The trailer promotes the Opening Hour demo, available now on Xbox One. This will allow you to check out the first hour (or more, depending on how you play) of Morgan Yu’s first day on the job. Before Prey’s May 5 release, kick off your journey through Talos I and fight the alien invasion that’s threatening all of humanity.

Destiny 2 officially revealed

Rumours about Destiny 2 being imminently revealed have been floating around for about a week now, and with Activision confirming the sequel would be hitting shelves this year back in February in their Fourth Quarter 2016 results, it’s no surprise to finally see something official.

Destiny 2 was announced a couple of hours ago (at time of writing) with a rather unceremoniously posted image on the official Destiny Twitter.

Details on the sequel unfortunately end there, but E3 is fast approaching so we won’t have long to wait until we find out what’s next for the FPS MMO.

 

Call of Duty: WWII leaked images

Yesterday a Reddit user posted several images supposedly from the next, yet to be announced, Call of Duty title. These images reveal the name of Activision’s new CoD, Call of Duty: WWII, as well revealing the setting as indeed World War II.

[Leak] Call of Duty: WWII – /r/WWII – TheFamilyVideoGamers

We’re not entirely convinced of the legitimacy of these images just yet. The poster claims to be the one behind similar leaks last year which were later proved true, but the live action shots and simplistic name seems a bit off. One of the images in particular looks straight out of Saving Private Ryan. However, historically, leaks for the new CoD do rear their head around this time each year, and inevitably Activision will reveal the truth at E3, so not too long to wait for official confirmation. In the mean time, takes these images with a grain of salt and we’ll be sure to update you if their legitimacy changes.

Titanfall 2 review

With Vince Zampella and his team of Infinity Ward veterans at the helm, there was hope that Titanfall 2’s single player offering would be something impressive. And indeed our hopes were realised. It’s not the most gripping story overall, but smart level design that compliments the fast, fluid movement of your pilot, as well as an excellent bonding experience between you and your Titan’s AI, makes for a pretty compelling tale.

Whilst the original Titanfall’s storyline saw you fight both sides of the interstellar conflict, piloting mechs for the IMC and the Militia, Titanfall 2 focuses on John Cooper, a Militia fighter stranded on the planet Typhon attempting to stop the IMC from powering a devastating weapon called The Ark. After a Vanguard-class Titan, BT 7274, loses its pilot, it’s up to you to repair the hulking, walking mass of guns and missiles and jump into the control seat.

Throughout the 6-8 hour tale, the characters of Cooper and BT bond, and the relationship they share proves far more interesting and compelling than the story would otherwise be alone. As their friendship develops, you’ll find yourself truly caring about what happens to the duo, and you’ll learn more about each of them as they share jokes and stories from their pasts. It’s reminiscent of Master Chief and Cortana, adding some much needed personality to the series and its lore, better grounding you in its fiction.

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The rest of the experience is set piece after set piece, separated by some platforming and slightly slower paced sub-missions. To anyone who’s played the Modern Warfare Call of Duty titles, its structure will feel familiar, and much like those standout Call of Duty campaigns, Titanfall 2 throws some spectacular set pieces into the mix. Indeed, you’ll enjoy the impressive fireworks of massive mechs firing missiles and huge calibre guns at each other, and there’s a selection of nice surprises on offer that you might not see coming. It offers some excellent sci-fi action.

Moreover, the platforming throughout is absolutely terrific. The speed of wall running and leaping, followed by sliding and performing thruster boosted jumps, all before felling an enemy with deadly melee attacks or accurate gunplay, is superb. It all happens at a breakneck speed but remains intuitive to pull off, making you highly agile and adding dimensions to combat and platforming that you don’t expect from a first-person shooter.

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BT also feels great to pilot, feeling as agile as the heavy Titan from the original game but with some new tricks up his steel sleeves. You can customise BT throughout the campaign as new features and weapons are discovered. There are eight in total and these give you access to new weapons, such as a grenade launcher, and new talents which include the good old fashioned barrage of missiles and reflector shield, as well as the new wall of flame that travels across the ground. Additionally, there’s the custom cores which act as BT’s special ability or ‘Boost’, these range from a laser shot from the chest, a sword for dealing huge amounts of melee damage, or a minigun that locks onto enemies.

Of course, Titanfall 2 also includes an extensive multiplayer. Attrition returns, acting as Titanfall’s take on Team Deathmatch, as well as Free For All. Meanwhile, Amped Hardpoint challenges you to capture points, however, unlike the original Hardpoint, this time sticking around a captured point ‘amps’ it for extra credits. Of course Capture the Flag returns alongside Pilots vs. Pilots, which takes the Titans out of the equation, and Last Titan Standing makes them the focus, and Skirmish, which offers a variety of objectives. However, the new Bounty Hunt mode is the standout.

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Bounty Hunt splits the match into three waves, with your objective being to earn cash by killing the enemy and then depositing it at a bank to earn points. However, there are also bounties spread across the map that earn you large bonuses. If you’re killed whilst holding money, your amount of cash is halved. The strategy then, is measuring up the risk/reward of earning too much cash before depositing, however, Banks are only available at certain times. It’s easy to accidentally become a big target for the enemy, adding a great aspect of teamwork as you either group together to defend big earners, or team up to take them out on the enemy team.

Customising your titan and loadout has changed somewhat from the original title too. Gone are the burn cards and there are a more distinct selection of Titan types to suit multiple play styles. Fans of the original’s chassis customisation options are likely to find the new options have simplified the experience a bit, but there’s still plenty to tinker with, with a large range of weapons, attachments, perks, Boost abilities and cosmetic options for both your Titan and pilot.

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The multiplayer maps have also been transformed into larger, more varied locations. These better cater to the wide variety of playstyles, with sniping locations, open areas for Titans to roam, plenty of elevation and wall running opportunities for pilots, and interiors for close combat.

Indeed, Titanfall 2 does a great job highlighting the series strengths: agile pilot movement, and impactful, exciting mech combat. The single player campaign’s story is fairly shallow but its focus on Cooper and BT’s relationship is excellent and memorable. Meanwhile, the fast paced, action heavy multiplayer with its tweaks on the original formula are the cherry on top or a very well-designed title.

Thanks to Xbox and Respawn Entertainment for supporting TiX

Duke Nukem 3D Anniversary Edition coming to Xbox One

It’s time to gets some fresh bubble-gum and ass to chew and kick respectively, as Duke Nukem 3D: Anniversary Edition World Tour will be hitting Xbox One on October 11.

Gearbox announced the return of Duke Nukem during their PAX West panel yesterday, revealing that you’ll be able to play the game both it’s original form from 1998 or with updated visuals and a faster frame rate. Additionally, it’ll includes new music composed by Duke Nukem 3D’s original sound designer and new one-liners from Duke’s voice actor Jon St. John. Furthermore, you’ll be able to enjoy in-game commentary from the developer.

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford said:

for Allen, Richard, Lee, and Jon to all come back together 20 years later to bring a whole new episode to the classic game is just one of those rare and incredible things that I hope will bring joy and happiness to hardcore video game fans new and old,

So get those lizard skin boots shined and ready for alien ass kicking, soldier.