DOOM

DOOM

A Return to Hell

If you’re familiar with gaming, it’s extremely likely you’ve heard of the name Doom. Hell, even if you haven’t played a single game in your life there’s a chance you know a little bit about it. The original DOOM was a genre defining first person shooter at the time of its release, and it was used as a tool to compare other shooters too. After a long line of games, reboots and even a movie, id Software is attempting to resurrect the behemoth once again, along with the old style arena shooter genre most of us grew up playing. DOOM definitely manages to do this with its stellar campaign, and innovative SnapMap mode without having to rely on nostalgia. However, DOOM struggles when it tries too hard to fit in with current modern multiplayer shooters, and suffers because of it.

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The demons are unique, distinguishable, and incredibly well designed.

For the Betterment of Mankind 

DOOM’s story is very minimal, as it should be. A short opening cutscene gives some background to your overall objective and that’s it. There are no cutscenes in DOOM after that, at least not until the very end of the game. Story is also told through holograms showing past events, and Data Logs can be found for extra lore and backstory if you search for them. The premise of the story is that you wake up on Mars to find that something has gone terribly wrong at the UAC. For whatever reason, a demon invasion has taken place, and all hell has broken loose. It’s your job as Doomguy to rip, tear, and cut off the demon invasion by any means possible. Voice acting is convincing, and for what story there is, it’s quite satisfying in terms of the ending, and the lore is interesting if you’re willing to search for it.

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The Rocket Launcher makes a triumphant return! And yes that’s a Mancubus.

Going back to its Roots

At first, it feels strange playing DOOM. The maps are open and explorable, you can’t reload your guns, secrets are scattered around the map, health and armour pick ups cover the floor, and next to no guns can aim down sight. It feels refreshing. Extremely refreshing.  Within these larger maps are arenas, where countless numbers of enemies are thrown at you. Combat is fast, frenetic and satisfying. Every gun feels unique and each one is distinct due to weapon mods. Each weapon has 2 (apart from the pistol) and they can be swapped whenever you want once they’re unlocked.These mods range from micro-missiles on the Heavy Machine Gun, to the ability to charge 3 rapid fire shotgun bursts. Weapons can be further upgraded with Upgrade Points, the Praetor Suit can also be upgraded using collectible Praetor Tokens that are scattered around each level.It keeps gameplay fresh with every encounter. DOOM allows you to play the way you want to by including Runes, By finding and completing hidden Rune Trials in each level, you unlock Runes to use permanently. Each Rune has different functions, like faster glory kills, the ability to vacuum drops and more. It’s a really cool way to tailor the game to how you want to play, whether that be fast or slow. The chainsaw makes a triumphant return to DOOM, but it’s more than just a novelty. The chainsaw works on a fuel system, and each enemy require different amounts of fuel. Small enemies like Possessed and Imps only require one bar of fuel, while larger enemies like the Mancubus or Baron of Hell use a lot more. The chainsaw kills anything in a single blow, and an explosion of supplies cover the screen when the animation is finished, which I might say are satisfyingly gory. Speaking of gore, Glory Kills are a new and very prominent feature of DOOM. Once an enemy is has low enough health, they’ll start flashing blue or orange. This is indicating that they can be executed, leading to extra health, armour, and ammo. Surprisingly enough, they don’t slow the game down at all due to fast animations, but they still manage to look absolutely incredible every single time. It never wore off through my entire playthrough, which took 11 hours or so, and they’re a welcome addition that I really hope we see return. Besides, if you really don’t like them, you can turn them off in the options menu. Kudos to id for the options too, a lot of stuff can be tinkered with, including a field of view slider on all platforms. The difficulty is perfect. It can get fairly challenging on the base difficulty, and it gets really hard on the higher up difficulties, and I’m looking forward to replaying the game on a harder difficulty. Some of the most fun I had in the campaign, was the boss fights. All together, there are only three, but they’re all fun, interesting and challenging.

Aside from the campaign, DOOM comes with a multiplayer mode, but it feels out of place. It tries to hard to fit in with today’s modern military shooters like COD and Battlefield. Things like loadouts, and not being able to pick up guns feels very out of place for what is supposed to be an arena multiplayer shooter. The Demon Rune feature (which lets players take control of 1 of 4 demons) feels forced and underdeveloped. Demons are ridiculously powerful, they have lots of health and one shot any standard foot soldiers. I can’t help but feel it’s unbalanced, especially when the only way to bring them down is by having specific guns, and grouping up as a team. The game modes are standard, Team Deathmatch, Soul Harvest (which is kill confirmed) , Domination, Freeze tag, and Warpath. The most interesting are definitely Freeze Tag and Warpath. Freeze Tag is essentially search and destroy, just without the bomb planting and perma-death with each round. It has an interesting reviving system and I can say that plenty of fun can be had with this game mode. Warpath is a moving king of the hill. The zone is constantly moving through the map, which was different and a very interesting concept. The multiplayer has extensive customisation for guns and armour too, which is very nice to see.

SnapMap is DOOM’s inbuilt content creator. It acts as a hub where you can play fan made maps, and create your own. Some of the stuff iv’e played has been really cool. People have remade old school Doom levels, parkour maps and mini games that you can play with friends. The editor is amazingly deep and complex, but simple enough for beginners to easily get started, and the tutorials for the editor do a good job at getting you started. SnapMap is definitely something that people will be contributing to for a long time, there is plenty of fun to be had playing different maps and you can get a lot out of it to boot.

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Hell is very well done in my opinion.

Devilishly Good Looking

DOOM looks superb. The UAC facilities a dimly lit, and detailed. Hell looks awesome, various bones are scattered on the ground, massive structures are imposing and awe inspiring to look at. Enemy design is incredible, the amount of detail put into these models truly show just how grotesque these demons are. Mancubi walk around with their stomachs hanging out, Revenants look like they’ve had their muscles freshly exposed, and it’s all awesome. The game is 1080P 60 fps across all platforms, but it’s definitely best on PC if you have a good enough rig. Frame dips, while inconsistent, are very apparent, and they only ever occur when a tonne of enemies are on the screen, along with explosions and drops going everywhere. Do keep in mind that the Xbox One version suffers from this more than the PS4 version does, simply because of the lesser hardware. This is an incredible technological achievement for id that we don’t see often. Connections to multiplayer were also spot on, I never once had a problem with connections, and thankfully, DOOM uses dedicated servers!

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The Foundry, is one of the most open levels in the game, and it’s only the third level too!

Verdict: 8.5/10

DOOM has done an extremely good job at providing what most shooters lack. A solid single player experience. It’s nice to just sit down and just mindlessly kill demons without being heavily invested in a story. It’s a refreshing break from the way games are today, and brings memories back of a simpler time when story almost always took a back seat. While it may not have the best multiplayer component, DOOM does a superb job at going back to its roots and modernising what made DOOM so special. SnapMap will keep the community playing for ages, and hell, maybe a few tweaks to multiplayer could have the effect it needs to really boom. I cannot wait to see what they do with the series from here, I can see myself revisiting DOOM over and over whenever I feel like I need to just unwind, relax, and kill some demons. Trust me, DOOM is perfect for you if that’s what you’re looking for.

Positives

-Amazing campaign

-Fun boss fights

-SnapMap

-Fast, intense, and frenetic combat

Negatives

-Multiplayer definitely needs some changes

-Occasional frame dips on console

Thanks for reading guys! The next few reviews might take some time because it’s 4 games. I’ll be doing all three Fire Emblem games, and Overwatch. I’ll get Overwatch out before Fire Emblem, simply because I’ve played a solid chunk of the open beta.

-Harry

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

A Thief’s End

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End marks the end of Nathan Drake’s story, and a damn fitting end it is. Uncharted 4 serves as an example, an incredible feat of game design, that will forever be remembered and loved for years to come. A fantastic story, beautiful graphics and slick game play makes Uncharted 4 a marvel to behold, even if it’s third act is a bit self-indulgent.

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The environment vary from tropical jungles and snow capped peaks, and each and everyone looks beautiful.

Brothers

Uncharted 4 does an extremely satisfying job of closing the series. After some enjoyable back story, Nate and Elena are trying to lead normal lives in an effort to leave behind treasure hunting, exploring and risking their lives in general. It’s not too long before Nate is confronted by his long lost brother Sam, who needs Nate’s help to find Captain Avery’s pirate treasure. I’m going to leave it at that simply to avoid spoilers, because the story is absolutely fantastic, filled with twists, a fantastic cast and an excellent antagonist. Nolan North again delivers a fantastic Nathan, and Troy Baker does an amazing job as Sam. Uncharted 4 feels emotional, believable, while still managing to have light hearted, funny moments scattered throughout the story. I cared about what happened to the characters and I gave the game my undivided attention when a cut-scene plays (which by the way is a seemless swap from gameplay). The whole cast is developed, and everyone feels well fleshed out, and unique.

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Air take-downs are stylish and satisfying.

Familiar, but New

Uncharted 4 does just as good a job, if not better at delivering slick, solid, fluent game play. It plays the same way the previous Uncharted games do, you explore multiple environments, scattered with enemies to fight, some platforming sequences and jaw dropping set pieces. Uncharted 4 perfects this formula to a tee. The addition of the grappling hook adds for some fresh verticality in combat and makes platforming extremely enjoyable, it’s also worth mentioning that the camera and grappling hook work in perfect harmony. Gun play feels impactful and slick, while melee combat feels meaty. The set pieces in Uncharted 4 are jaw-dropping, even if a few aren’t very creative. There are 2 or 3 however, that go above and beyond the limits of imagination. These moments make Uncharted 4 an experience to behold. The one thing Uncharted 4 struggles with is it’s third act. It’s overstays it’s welcome for far too long, and most of it becomes a forgettable mess of gunfights and platforming, but the finale manages to pick it up again, leading to an incredibly satisfying conclusion. Uncharted 4’s multiplayer was definitely not an after-thought for Naughty Dog. Much like The Last of Us, Uncharted 4’s multiplayer has plenty of potential to keep you hooked for a long time. It takes the fluent platforming and gunplay into various modes. Each map has grapple points scattered about, making for a refreshing sense of verticality in each match you play. The modes include Team Deathmatch, Plunder and Command. Plunder involves each team fighting for control over a relic, that must be picked up and delivered to the spawn point of your team. Command involves a point that must be captured in order to obtain points. All the game modes are enjoyable, but Plunder is easily the most unique and fun to play.

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The Madagascar set piece is the best in my opinion.

A Flawless Finish

Uncharted 4 is the most beautiful game I have ever played. Period. The amount of detail invested into each environment is phenomenal. The crystal clear water, orange dirt of Madagascar, it all looks amazing. The campaign only runs at 30fps but this never bothered me once, and no frame dips were apparent either. The game is incredibly polished, I couldn’t find any glitches throughout my 11 hour playthrough, which was a delightful surprise. Multiplayer runs at 60fps which was an incredibly smart decision by Naughty Dog. The multiplayer doesn’t look quite as good as the campaign, but you won’t have time to marvel at the environments during fast and frenetic gunfights.

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The jungle in particular looks fantastic, with lush greenery and mysterious ruins.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a new standard for narrative and storytelling in video games. It’s a marvel of a video game, that gets almost everything right. A solid campaign, solid multiplayer and a fantastic, fitting conclusion to a fantastic series. I’m incredible excited for the expansions and will no doubt cover the single player expansion when it’s released. Kudos to Naughty Dog for what they’ve created and best of luck to them on their future projects!

Positives

-A technically flawless game

-Slick, smooth, fluent gameplay

-Solid multiplayer component

-A few incredible set pieces

-Fantastic story and conclusion

Negatives

-An overly indulgent third act

Thanks for reading guys, DOOM is up next. At this stage, i’ve completed the campaign and just need to spend some time playing multiplayer and SnapMap. Hopefully the review is up tomorrow, if not in the next few days! – Harry.

 

 

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3: What We Deserve

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3: What We Deserve

An Average Finish

The Walking Dead: Michonne’s third and final episode serves as a very average conclusion to the mini series as an episode. It manages to do what the first two episodes couldn’t, evolving the supporting cast so that the player actually cares about them. However, in the process of doing so, What We Deserve seems to forget what the first two episodes did so well. The fight scenes are nowhere near as awesome , which is quite disappointing. Michonne is continued to be well fleshed out, and is stupid as the final choice might seem on paper, it’s a legitimately hard choice to make. The supporting cast are further developed too, and it works out quite well. I cared for Samantha and her two brothers, an obvious comparison is here between the brothers and Michonne’s daughter, and i found it to be quite affecting. The story finishes with a very strong reveal, but What We Deserve is barely a satisfying conclusion.

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Verdict: 6/10

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3: What We Deserve serves as an average finale for an average miniseries. This is definitely the weakest Walking Dead season Telltale has released. Hopefully season 3 doesn’t follow the same path, I doubt it will.

Positives

-Surprising reveal

-Developed characters

Negatives

-Very average finish

-Weak combat sequences

Thanks for reading guys, up next is Uncharted 4! Have a great day – Harry.

Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero

Do A Barrel Roll!

Star Fox Zero hopefully marks a new start for Star Fox as a series. The last Star Fox game we got, was a 3DS remake of the fantastic Star Fox 64. Star Fox Zero is the latest outing for the Ace Squadron, which comes exclusively to the Wii U. So after almost 5 years, does Star Fox Zero deliver the console experience Star Fox has been needing?

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From left to right: Falco, Slippy, Fox and Peppy.

Feels Familiar

Star Fox Zero’s story, to no surprise is minimal. This is by no means a bad thing, it is a Star Fox game after all. The Lylat system is under attack again and it’s up to the Ace Squadron Star Fox to save it once again. You play as Fox McCloud, the son of James McCloud who was killed by Andross. It’s Fox’s job as the new leader of Star Fox to identify the threat to the Lylat system, and stop it with the help of his co-pilots. The story doesn’t evolve much from the introduction, but story isn’t what we worry about when we can pilot an Arwing.

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The Arwing looks fantastic in Star Fox Zero

A Return to Form

Star Fox Zero manages to make game play a strong stand out amongst the story and production values, and for good reason too. It feels incredibly familiar if you’ve played Star Fox before. You’ll shoot lasers, fire off bombs, and take control of various vehicles in a wide array of environments. The big feature of Star Fox Zero is that the Arwing is controlled with the Wii U’s gyroscope, making for a very engaging and interactive experience. Some people are going to absolutely hate this, and for good reason. At first, it feels awkward, slow and clunky. It might seem easy to put down at first, but if you stick with it and grow used to the way Star Fox Zero controls, it becomes highly rewarding, skilful and enjoyable. The learning curve here is harsh, but well worth it. These gyro controls aren’t just used for the Arwing though. Much like Star Fox 64, the Arwing can transform into other vehicles such as the Landmaster, the Gyrocopter and the Walker. The Landmaster and Walker are a good break from the usual flying, and work well in the stages they’re placed in. The Gyrocopter on the other hand feels out of place, slow, and monotonous. The stages are all well designed for each vehicle, and they’re all unique. Star Fox Zero’s boss fights are almost like mini puzzles. Each is different, refreshing and some of them were quite challenging. Star Fox Zero has branching paths to different planets you could’ve missed on your first play through and once you finish the game once, an arcade mode is unlocked, allowing for lots of replayability.

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The Landmaster returns, and it’s the best it’s ever been.

A Smooth but Unattractive Flight

Star Fox Zero unfortunately looks very average for a Wii U game. While environments are expansive, and there can be a lot on the screen at any given time, Star Fox Zero could still be improved. Thankfully Star Fox Zero runs at a solid, consistent 60FPS, which is very much needed for a game like Star Fox. I still can’t help but feel that the game can look better, but at least it’s in HD.

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The water textures look decent, but the rest are iffy.

Verdict: 7/10

Star Fox Zero barely hits the mark for the Ace Squadron’s latest outing and first outing for the Wii U. It plays well, has some really intense boss fights and most of the Arwing transformations are varied enough to keep it from getting repetitive. Star Fox Zero definitely struggles where it doesn’t shine, but thankfully, gameplay isn’t the department where Star Fox Zero struggles. I’m interested to see what happens with Star Fox now, but I have a feeling it won’t be too long until we see a new game for the NX or 3DS.

Positives

-Landmaster and Walker

-Unique environments

-Challenging and interesting boss fights

-Runs incredibly smoothly

-Replayability

Negatives

-Harsh learning curve

-Looks average

Thanks for reading guys, next up is the third and final episode of the Michonne mini series followed by Uncharted 4.