Cinematic Horror at Gamescom

I just wanted to do a brief aside about two video game previews we had at Gamescom 2014.

First off we have the wonderfully scary and interesting looking P.T demo (which we played on the PS4) for the newly revealed Silent Hills from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro using the Fox Engine (it’s gorgeous). It’s a game myself and Peter were never 100% confident would ever exist, a new Silent Hill that actually looks like it has some money, care and sense behind it. Obviously, it’s important to stress that P.T was just a demo, and does carefully state that it will not have anything to do with the main game, this reminds me in many ways of the Quantic Dream tech demo that came out before Heavy Rain, way back when in 2006.

And secondly we have ‘Until Dawn’ from Supermassive Games, which uses the also new and shine-y Killzone Shadow Fall engine, and also boasts some big names in its voice/motion capture cast. I actually quite like that it has a slasher movie feel to P.T’s higher end quality. They are both very different takes on the horror genre.

Most importantly I wanted to talk about the cinematic quality. It’s a really interesting shift we’ve been seeing in the video game industry which I think is a great indicator of how serious the industry is now – the big titles haven’t been about kids and family fun for a long time, but about high end design and serious stories. I like seeing the motion capture and care and how they’re starting to get proper actor billing in games, such as in Beyond: Two Souls big casting, all of L.A. Noire and so on and so on. Both these games have this, with proper actors and people involved in making them who also make films. So we’re seeing games that are becoming more ‘Interactive Drama’ in the good sense – a fully fleshed out game that has had care taken with its writing and acting as well as its engine and game play mechanics – rather than one focused on at the expense of another and we pretend that that’s fine because it’s just a game, the whole experience is very well made because these things have such big budgets now.

So, that’s all I wanted to say for now, it’s very exciting to see these kinds of story and genre driven games coming out, and how much horror is still being a more popular genre.

Silent Hill 4: The Room – Let’s Play parts 22 to 28!

We’ve had a bit of a break between Let’s Play vidoes, one of the main reasons for this is both myself and Peter caught the flu, and had it for about 2 weeks in total running between one of us getting better, and then the other catching up, so we didn’t really want to record ourselves with ill voices, since the only thing from us in these LP’s is our voices!

We’re now well, and recorded more. There’s also a whole new episode of Sam & Max to come soon, so look our for that too. Videos of SH4 under the cut!

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The Last of Us – A disk pressing review

I didn’t play the Last of Us when it came out, but I did buy it when it came out and only now have I finally gotten around to playing it. Unfortunately, there won’t be a review of the game because, I, like many others it seems, have had trouble running the game.

Let’s cut to the chase, no this is not your PS3 – it plays other games juuuust fine, no this isn’t every copy of the game; lots of people report no problems at all. Saying that – some people claimed the HD collection ran fine for them, but that was not even remotely true. Anyway though, the disk is thin, flimsy, and the game’s video does not stream from it properly. Also because of most company’s policies on games, it is non-returnable unless you have not opened the game. However. It is remarkably difficult to tell whether or not a pressing is good or not based on the box.

Essentially I have a very expensive ($64) Frisbee. I can get it to play more sometimes by cleaning it in some ways and making other bits dirty, but these things just make it more obvious that the disk is at fault.

PS4 Games so far

Out of the three PS4 games that I have so far bought (the rest have been free or not really for the PS4) I have to say that my favourite is actually inFAMOUS: Second Son. Which was unexpected. I was actually expecting it to be Ground Zeroes or Watch_Dogs. Buuuut; Ground Zeroes has the problem of being a stealth game where you’re timed in missions and you’re expected to repeatedly do the missions.

I have realised over time that when I want to play a stealth game it’s because I want to take my time and take out a bunch of people and sneak to the target. Like in Dishonoured or MGS4. Instead I’m basically running everywhere in the hopes that people don’t see me after playing the game slowly and carefully to memorise enemy patterns, which isn’t how stealth games should work in my opinion. Also the subject matter is kinda vile. Yeah, listen to this tape which is supposed to be a young boy forced to rape a barely legal woman; that’ll be an enjoyable experience (hint: please stop). I really hope the full game is less like Ground Zeroes and more like MGS3 and MGS4.

Then there’s Watch_Dogs. Watch_Dogs is like if you took Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Ghost in the Shell, and Deus Ex and mixed them all together, but with everything you found fun surgically altered to be hard to control and barely present. Playing Watch_dogs is not even remotely as enjoyable as it looks. You feel very restricted, the character moves wrong, the vehicles control wrong. You very certainly don’t feel like a cool hacker, you feel like you have bought a magical phone from a cool hacker. It combines several obnoxious elements about modern gaming and 4chan culture, from the billboards you hack (and by hack I mean you press square) to say hilarious phrases like “Never gonna give you up” and “Over 9000!” to the other-people-can-invade-your-game crap (which thankfully can and has been turned off – although doing so loses all multiplayer progress because … oh who knows) to the throat-cancer barely alive main character. It isn’t bad per se, it just isn’t very good, but it does have a massive detailed world and tons to do. I just wish it was enjoyable to do them.

If I had to summarise I would say that Watch_Dogs is definitely more entertaining than not playing Watch_Dogs.

inFAMOUS on the other hand I was expecting to dislike, for a couple of reasons that I was anticipating before starting the game and a couple new ones I wasn’t expecting. I loved the first game, and didn’t like the second game (note: Second Son is the third game) for a variety of reasons mostly involving a backbending effort to appeal to youth and the horrible things they did to the cool powers from the first game. After hearing that the main character was Troy Baker pretty much playing himself with a side-serving of Laura Bailey pretty much playing herself I was ready for the genericising of the involvement of those two generally foretells. If you haven’t heard them by name, you may recognise them as Snow and Serah, or Silent Hill HD’s James and Angela. Basically, you’ve heard them before, and you will instantly recognise their voices. Troy provides the anticipated “Aw Hell yeahs”, “Haters!”, and “Awesome!”.

However, the game is incredibly enjoyable with only a few irritations, for example, despite the fact that you’re dressed in the obligatory five layers of untidy that are the hallmark of today’s young hipster everyone still manages to think you’re trying to put them in prison for some reason. And the plot has several holes and cartoonishly evil stuff occasionally happens. The controls have also been inexplicably changed for the worse (hover is the same button as jump?!). But who cares? It is incredibly enjoyable, the powers are fun (despite being weird stuff; smoke, neon, video, concrete?), the city looks absolutely amazing, and navigating around the place is such fun, and so are all the little gameplay elements. It really is the opposite of Watch_Dogs where everything you do feels chore-ish with the slight saving grace that it looks a bit cool, whereas inFAMOUS everything is fun.