Category Archives: Cam’s Eye View

Cam’s Eye View: 420: Riptide GP: Renegade For the PS4, PC, and Xbox One Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

I have talked about difficulty before and how it can be such a dangerous tightrope of being hard, but fun to play, and hard and not fun to play. I have yet again been challenged to see if this is one of those two situations of difficult gaming with Riptide GP: Renegade. This is a futuristic water-based racing game developed by Vector Unit. So, is this a properly balanced experience that leads to gun gameplay experiences? Well, let’s find out.

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Riptide GP: Renegade is a 3D Wave Race/Hydro Thunder-style racing game where you race through different futuristic courses going through your typical racing-style challenges, like racing laps, making sure not to be in last place, and so on. Your main reward for coming in the top three spots is money that can be aimed at upgrades to make your vehicle better. You can also gain levels to make yourself better and learn new moves. Riptide has no weapon system, but instead a boost system. You gain boost power by performing stunts. Unfortunately, if you choose to use the boost, it better be at the right place and at the right time, because it’s a one-time kind of thing, and you won’t be able to use it at another time. I will get to that later. You can also unlock other vehicles by obtaining them through special races. The game also has multi-player and if you want to complete everything, you will definitely have to take some time, in terms of doing every little thing.

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Graphically, it’s fine. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s not terrible looking either. I like that it’s a smooth framerate, and I never saw any dips or hiccups while racing. I mean, that should be obvious, since racing games rely on control and reactionary time to get good at the game. The music is solid techno with some upbeat tunes that get you into that racing mood.

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So, this game has all the proper elements for a good Hydro Thunder/Wave Race-style game, so what went wrong? Well, it’s a couple of things. First off, the game is unbalanced in single-player. AI players can easily beat you in a race if you mess up once. Yeah, you mess up once, and you will never see second or first place. I was thinking it was the level design at first, but no. While the levels themselves are nothing special, they aren’t badly designed. Anytime I messed up, it was because I failed a stunt landing, or an obstacle got in my way. It then leads me to think it was an AI issue, because this happened multiple times through different challenges and races. I would mess up, and the AI would then hightail it past me, and I wouldn’t be able to reach them ever again. Sure, you could argue that it was a skill thing, but I would disagree. To me, when I play something like F-ZERO or Mario Kart 8, I feel like any time I messed up, it was because of me and not the AI being too smart. There is also a problem with the boost mechanic that’s set up in a really bad way. Once you gain enough fuel to boost, it’s an all-or-nothing style of boost, which seems like a terrible idea. Why not let me keep the boost and use it to my advantage when I need to, and not just blow it all at one time? It’s a bad design choice since you also have to deal with floaty water physics that can affect your turning and speed. It’s a game more reliant on trial-and-error gameplay than actual skill and fun. I hate that about certain games because it doesn’t let me do what I want, and instead goes by unspoken/unwritten rules that hold the game back for just being fun. Sure, playing the game with other friends could get rid of these issues, but by that point, why wouldn’t I just pop in a copy of Mario Kart and have fun there? Oh, and you can’t unlock new vehicles unless you beat certain “characters” in a race. Yeah, I wish I could just buy the new vehicles.

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In the end, I didn’t really have fun with Riptide GP: Renegade. It’s an average racing game bogged down by bad design and AI. I really wanted this to be great, and hey, if you love this game, more power to you, but to me, it’s not worth it. If you haven’t already picked it up, I would recommend waiting for a sale and not buy it at full price. It’s always a shame when a game’s unbalanced difficulty is the reason why I didn’t find the game fun. Well, hopefully next time, it can be all that I want.

This game gets a 5 out of 10.

Cam’s Eye View 419: Small Radios Big Televisions for the PC and PS4 Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Just like how big developers are going into a rut concerning what they think will sell, depending on how popular certain genres are, indie developers are starting to get into that same rut. There are big pushes for first-person narratives, 16-bit-style games, first-person horror games, games that obviously try to be like some of the bigger titles in terms of difficulty, and so on. I’m sure I have talked about this before, but it’s becoming more apparent and draining with how many developers are not trying to make a name for themselves by being unique. This is why I was very intrigued by the adventure puzzle game from the one-man team at FIRE FACE with their game, Small Radios Big Televisions. This quirky little game was published by Adult Swim Games, and I honestly haven’t seen a lot of people talk about it. It’s a good example of being “out of the box”, even among the indie developers. Let’s dive in.

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The game does have a plot, but the storytelling is very minimal, with a world where people obtain special cassette tapes that they can put into their tape player and be transported to these visually pleasing worlds. You, as the player, travel among these big oil platform-like buildings, and must find these tapes to figure out what exactly happened. You travel around by going into these rooms within the oil platform buildings, solving simple puzzles that open up more doors within those buildings. Your main goal is to find those special cassette tapes, enter the weird and colorful worlds they throw you into, and find a special green gem that will open up special doors. Once you do these tasks by either going to certain rooms to use the tapes or magnetizing them, you will move onto the next building and then watch the next story narrative. You do this, and you will complete the game. There really isn’t much to do, and it won’t take you long in beating the game, since if you know what you are doing, you can beat it in two hours.

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Graphically speaking, I love the colorful minimalistic graphics. Everything pops, and while it is brightly colorful, there is this mysterious atmosphere that envelopes the factory/rigs that you explore. You also get these weird unnerving vibes when you go through a trippy sequence of the tapes. In terms of visual presentation, it’s definitely a game that you won’t forget about after beating it.

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So, what is wrong? Well, at its price point, I feel like the game is overpriced. It’s good, and it stands out, but it’s definitely a game I can’t recommend, unless you are into puzzle games with minimal stories, and don’t mind the $12 price tag. I think $5 would be more suitable, but that’s just me. I also don’t find myself wanting to play this game again after beating it. Since you know how the puzzles work, and you know what’s going to happen in the story, there is no fun in replaying the game.

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I’m conflicted with Small Radios Big Televisions. I don’t say that a lot, since I tend to be very cut-and-dried with my opinions on games. For the most part, I enjoyed my time with this game, and how I got to play something more unique and different than what we normally get with gaming these days. On the other hand, I don’t see myself replaying it anytime soon. I guess to me, while I do recommend it at a lower price, if any of this sounds interesting and you don’t mind spending $12 on PC or PlayStation 4, then by all means go ahead, it’s your cash and time. Still, I’m glad I got to play it, and I’m happy that these types of games are around. Put in a tape and get lost within its world

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Cam’s Eye View 418: Rive for the PC and PS4 Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

I like to have a good memorable experience with a game. I mean, who doesn’t? If a game is too difficult or poorly designed, then it leads to a miserable experience. You end up wanting to push through to see the entire game, but not because it’s fun or entertaining all the way through. Then you get those games that are a chore or a pain to get through, but do have a lot of fun moments. This was the case with me and Two-Tribes’ last game, Rive. This was a recently released game from the long-time studio that unfortunately closed down due to poor sales of a previous game. In a way, it feels kind of awkward to be like, “yeah, your last game wasn’t consistently fun”, since the studio is now gone, but if I’m going to be honest, that’s how I felt. Why? Well, let’s get into our awesome spider tanks and find out.

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The game doesn’t have too much of a story, or at the very least one that is too in-depth. You play a guy who is stuck inside a spider-style mech inside a destroyed space station. It is your job to find out what is going on, and escape a snarky little AI program. The gameplay is essentially a 2D side-scrolling platformer, where you jump, float, and shoot your way through a massive horde of enemies. You will gain new upgrades, ranging from more health, hack enemies to help you, to new weapons. You can shoot in all directions, and you will need to learn how to use all of your skills at your disposal. This game is hard, and I mean hard. It’s easily one of the toughest of 2016, including Darkest Dungeons and Dark Souls III. You will be constantly moving, jumping, and shooting. There is rarely any downtime, and you will even need to fight giant bosses with their own frustrating patterns. The game is luckily not that long, and can be beaten in about five hours.

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Graphically, Rive is beautiful, with lovely 2D art that sets the mood of you being stuck inside a giant metal station with unknown mechanical horrors stuck inside the same area. The game also has a lot of personality with the different levels, a smack-talking pilot, and a very sinister non-dying robotic antagonist. It definitely helps the game stand out.

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Now then, what’s wrong with this final game? Well, as much as I hate to say it, I feel like Rive leans too heavily on its difficulty. It can be incredibly taxing and tedious to get by certain boss fights, since most of the time, the difficulty comes from them throwing a huge number of enemies at you. It can reach Battletoads levels of cheap, but without the glitches. Granted, I had fun at first with how fast enemies came at me, while I moved to try and escape them, but after a while when you just want to move along, it becomes tricky to want to keep playing. I don’t mind hard games, but if the difficulty due to any number of reasons with the game design becomes too much, then I don’t want to waste my time with them. I don’t have all the time in the world to sit down and invest time into super tough games, or games that need hours to get into them. I also find the humor, while giving the game an identity, to be very generic “meta” game humor. The lead character is essentially a truck driver version of Duke Nukem where he makes all these references. I wish the bosses were more interesting as well. Now, the boss fights can be fun, but most of the time, they are just giant ships. I’d rather them go all out with different bosses instead of having me fight two large ships that count as a boss fight.

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I don’t want to sound harsh, but I have to be honest. I was disappointed with this game. It can be fun and enjoyable, and I might personally not be the audience this game was aimed at, but for a final game from the studio, it should have been better. It should have been better balanced and less frustrating, and not be just about the difficulty. I really can’t see myself playing this game again, but if you are into challenging games with fast-paced combat, then you will probably want to check Rive out. Definitely wait for a sale though. It’s a decent experience, but I can tell I’m going to forget this game as time moves forward.

This game gets a 6 out of 10.

Cam’s Eye View 417: Darkest Dungeon for the PS4, Vita, and PC Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

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Difficulty is a hot button topic for many, since what may be considered difficult for one person could be easy for someone else. Or, in some occurrences, you get those snobbish jerks that boast about how it wasn’t hard for them, and say you aren’t good enough to beat the game. First off, those people can go bugger off somewhere else, because they are some of the worst types of people. At least, if they are malicious about it they are. It’s gotten to a point where a lot of indie games love advertising that they are hard. Listen, it might have been a selling point back in the day, when game developers had the idea how to make a game worth its price tag by making it difficult, but you can’t just make it the only thing worthwhile about it. If the game isn’t fun, because the developer focused too much on the difficulty, then that’s a huge problem. So, why am I talking about difficulty at length? Because that is the focus for this review, Darkest Dungeon. Out of the cesspool of Early Access and Kickstarter, Darkest Dungeon was one of the most well-known success stories, because it was one of the best examples of doing a good job on both sides. It was a game that highly advertised that it was hard, and it was going to mentally break you. Still, is this RPG by Redhook Studio a really good game? Or is the difficulty too overpowering for my mortal mind? Let’s find out!

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Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based RPG that sets you into a nightmarish world where you go into this rotting and miserable town to take care of the troubling Lovecraftian horrors that consume the area. All due to an idiot who, while on an expedition to gain riches, unlocked a hellish portal that unleashed unspeakable horrors upon the land. The main goal is to take a group of adventurers of different classes that include, but are not limited to, crusaders, highway men, lepers, bounty hunters, vestals, plague doctors, and abominations. The combat takes place on a 2D plane, and you must make sure you place your crew in the right spots to take full advantage of their abilities, like keeping long-range fighters and healers in the back, and your heavy hitters upfront. You will need to go into different parts of the tainted world and do a slew of objectives, from exploring a certain number of areas, to clearing out all combat rooms, or taking down giant bosses. As you go into these dark dungeons, you will be able to take supplies with you, ranging from torches for light, to food to feed you all when you are hungry. On top of the monsters, you will need to watch out for possible looting and traps that could hurt you or put more stress on your characters. We will get to that part in a second. The combat is turn-based as you choose the different attacks and abilities to take down the creatures in front of you. It can be pretty tactical and stress-inducing once the game introduces the elements of stress, corpses, and heart attacks. Yeah, your characters you fight with don’t have flawless personalities. On top of some of them being greedy or arrogant that could ruin your formation of said heroes or stress the others out, you have a bar that’s above your health meter that you must keep track of. If it reaches a certain capacity, your characters will unlock a trait that could either help you or ruin your time in the dungeon. If the bar fills up more, the heroes could have a heart attack and die without even being attacked by a monster. It can be a bit much, but you can turn off stuff like corpses that get in your way in battle, and make the experience less stressful. Over time, you will need to make sure your favorites are in tip-top shape for the end goal, and that means you have to make sure they aren’t stressed out. You can recruit new “heroes”, upgrade your weapons and attacks, and take on whichever challenge you want. The game is lengthy at a recorded total of 50+ hours to get everything done. It can be taxing, since managing your party is tough, and characters stay dead if they are killed.

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The graphical presentation was great. The Hellboy comic-style art really fit the vibe of this utterly depressing world. It gives off the vibe that you see in the Dark Souls or Salt & Sanctuary. You are in this non-stop world full of unmeasurably horrible things, and there is no hope. Not even a tiny sliver of it to give you the push to keep going. The music also compliments the world by being moody and atmospheric. It makes you feel like you are in some of the grungier locations from Game of Thrones, where you feel the grime and the blood that’s mixed in the mud as you walk. It’s a fully realized world.

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Unfortunately, Darkest Dungeon has one major flaw. That one flaw that sort of ruins the end game is, well, the end game. After a while, you get the feeling that the developers didn’t really have an idea how to properly end the game. That’s because once you start getting into what you have to do, it gets repetitive and tedious. It’s clearly the case when you realize you are in the final dungeon with all of your favorite “heroes”. Once you beat it, you have to do it three more times with three other groups of heroes. That means you can’t use the ones you have been investing your time with for the other three runs. It becomes less of a horror RPG, and turns into a management simulator. The game becomes more of a chore, due to the reliance of the randomized nature of the dungeons and monsters. This is meant to be a soul-crushing game, like the already mentioned Dark Souls games. However, even the Dark Souls games lets you feel powerful once you find the right weapons, and know how to take down each challenge that gets in your way. Darkest Dungeon, on the other hand, is unrelenting, and it makes progress tedious. I feel like the vocal minority that loves super hard games because they are super hard, got to be too loud for their own good while this game was in Early Access, and that is probably why the game is like this. I don’t mean to fully put the blame on that community of people, but they never seem to realize that there is nothing wrong with having an easy mode or more customizable options to make the game easier for those not into teeth-grinding difficulty. It’s a shame too, since so many of the problems with this game could be fixed in a sequel, and I do hope they can make a sequel or another RPG in the same style, but with more customization options so that anyone can tone the difficulty to their liking. I don’t have time to play super-challenging games, and while I do enjoy some of them, I tend to play more games that aren’t just repeatedly bashing you against a wall. I want to say I can fully recommend this game, but since the last third can be such a painstaking chore, there is no real reason to beat it. Just start over to enjoy the first and second part of the game. Yes, it’s meant to be a difficult game, but just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean anyone can use that as an excuse for having problems. It’s like saying that I should ignore a film’s problem because it has an A+ cast and amazing visuals even when the story and execution is horrible. Oh, and while you do have a huge list of “heroes” at your disposal, the game is obviously meant for certain heroes to shine, while others are just for experimenting.

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Don’t get me wrong, I do love Darkest Dungeon, and I do think it’s one of the year’s best games. It’s also another super-successful Kickstarter and Early Access experience that showed what you should do if you want to do either Kickstarter or Early Access. However, I think it loses some points for that third act, whether it is the developers or the community to blame. I can easily recommend it, but at the price it is right now, I don’t think I would pay that much. Maybe wait for a sale to get it. It’s a good game with a troubling third act, but it’s still a haunted and spooky good time.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Cam’s Eye View 416: Dragon Quest Builders for the PS4 and Vita Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

To be honest, I went into another rut this year about caring about video games. I think this time it’s because of the transitional period. Sony and Microsoft are pushing out stronger versions of their consoles, Nintendo is being tight-lipped about their new console, and there is this giant push for VR gaming and 4K gaming, two things that I don’t really care for or want to invest into. It also felt more like 2014 in terms of gaming, where there were good big-budget games, and a bunch of great indie games, but a lot of the tent-pole releases have been underwhelming. Luckily, for as questionable as they have been this year, Square Enix has produced one of my favorite games of 2016, Dragon Quest Builders. This title caught the curious eyes of gamers for being compared to the indie mega hit, Minecraft, in terms of the square-ish world, and how you have to build everything. Personally to me, I think it’s even better than Minecraft, and games that try to be like Minecraft in terms of crafting survival games. Let’s dive in.

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This game has a unique setting. Well, in terms of Dragon Quest, it’s pretty unique. It takes place around the same time as the first game, but instead of the hero beating the evil Dragonlord, instead, the villain wins and plunges the world into darkness. Multiple lands go under the rule of large creatures. You play as the Master Builder, and your goal is to rebuild the land, save its people, and take down the baddies that plague the worlds around you. Unlike most crafting survival games, there is an end goal and a story. I know that may sound shocking, but you definitely get the Dragon Quest-style story with lore and a mystery as to what exactly happened in the past.

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Dragon Quest Builders is an action RPG with crafting/survival elements. You will be dropped into four different worlds with different situations, from dealing with sick characters to regrouping a bunch of tough guys to get back their female leader. The worlds have their own set landscapes and levels that you must travel to get new items, defeat monsters, and to finish quests. After completing certain quests, you and your townsfolk will need to defend the town from a horde of monsters in a horde-mode-style action sequence, where you must use your weapons and your wits to defeat the monsters. After beating certain monsters in this sequence, you will be able to obtain portals to transport you to different parts of the land you are in, so you can find materials to upgrade your town, yourself, and to fight more iconic Dragon Quest monsters. Since this is a crafting/survival game, you will need to watch out for the durability of your weapons, armor, and your life. You will have a hunger meter by your health meter, and you don’t want that to hit the empty side of things. It will start depleting your health if you don’t take care of it. After beating a certain number of horde mode-style fights, you will then fight the boss of the world. Each boss will have its own attack patterns and weaknesses, like having a super invincible wall for the Golem fight, or a crossbow to take down the giant Hades Condor. After beating all four worlds, you will be able to take your crafting needs and take them to a mode where you can build whatever you want, and share with your friends online. Dragon Quest Builders is less Minecraft and more action RPG.

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The game is beautiful. As usual with this franchise, the colors are vibrant, the memorable Akira Toriyama art style makes characters pop out, and the music is mostly tunes from the previous games. The writing is also classic Dragon Quest, with quirky dialogue and puns galore.

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Like anything I review, I have some problems with the game. While I think the combat is satisfying, it definitely could have been deeper, with more combos and a dodge button. I also wish it could have done more with the survival aspects. Like, take out the hunger element. It becomes more of a chore when you get into the third world, where the only food thing you can get at the start are monster eggs from tough chimeras, and fishing for sardines, but you have to make the fishing pole by getting materials that are blocked off in an area guarded by a knight. Each time you start in a new area, you are stripped of your items and armor, and begin each area with only a club, a giant hammer, and that’s it. I got rather annoyed and stressed due to how uncommon the monster eggs are, and how they hide off an entire area behind a tough enemy that you need to get by, because there is a material on the other side that you need to make a fishing pole. Even then, some food items need other materials to make happen, and in the end, the game does slightly fall into that trap of feeling like babysitting your lead character. Granted, weapons, armor, and other things don’t break as often as bad survival games make them break, but still. In a way, I would have preferred if this game was just a fun simple action RPG with base-building. Not that I don’t get why they went with elements seen in Minecraft, but since this game does Minecraft better than Minecraft, you want to see it be better, and hopefully we can get a sequel out of this.

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In the end, I loved Dragon Quest Builders. Yeah, the game might stress you out at times with the difficulty and survival elements, but it was a blast, and is easily one of my top five favorite games of the year. If you haven’t played this or bought it, and haven’t played it yet, I would highly recommend doing so. Just make sure you have a PlayStation 4, because from what I have heard and seen, the Vita version is obviously inferior to the main console version. If you love games like Minecraft, but have failed to find a game like it, then you should easily plop down asking price for this game. You get a lot of content for your dollars, and it’s a super fun game. I can’t wait to see what they can do with this sequel. Good job, Square Enix, you might have made everyone upset about forcing micro-transactions into Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but at least you guys pushed out a great Minecraft clone.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

415: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for PS4, Xbox One, and PC Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

When games that attempt to try something original, you want to be very supportive about it. However, you also have the conflict of the potential of this “unique” game not being good. So, do you support the game due to its unique gameplay, story, and setting, even if it is flawed? Well, in some ways, yes, but for me, I won’t give a unique game a free pass if there are legit flaws with the game. This is where Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst comes into play. The original game was a surprise to everyone, with its focus on fast-moving platforming, and less of a focus on combat and gunplay. Catalyst, a reboot of the series, attempts to refine the experience by being more about melee combat and improved platforming. Does it succeed? Well, let’s find out.

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The game is a reboot/prequel to tell the origin story of Faith Conners, voiced by Faye Kingslee. She recently got released from prison, and rejoins a group of rebels that try to take down the big corporations that are trying to be in full control of the entire city and its people. Yeah, you can say I didn’t put too much focus onto the overall story, but when you see one “a free spirit taking down a giant conglomerate” story, you have seen them all.

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If you played the previous game, then you should be fairly familiar with this new game in the franchise. It’s a first-person fast-paced platformer that relies heavily on platforming design inspired by those parkour specialists, where you use the surrounding buildings around you to traverse the city. The gameplay has been definitely improved upon, with the platforming feeling more fluid and easier to control. The levels don’t feel so clunky, and it felt great being on the move and knowing how to wall-run, wall-jump, and running across buildings to evade the bad guys. They took out gunplay in this game, and instead put more emphasis on the melee combat, the first game’s biggest weakness. It definitely feels more varied with the ability to punch, kick, push or kick enemies into a wall or into other enemies, and while there is one section where you can’t avoid enemies, you can pretty much go through some major areas without punching a guy. The game is now open-ended, with a huge world to explore, and multiple side-objectives to take part in, like racing challenges, deliveries, and hacking large signs. There is even this “multi-player” element, where you can compete with others and beat their time challenges. The game will take about eight or so hours to complete the main story, and a few more if you decide to take on the side challenges or keep playing the “multi-player” aspect of the game.

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Graphically, this game is beautiful. It might be a sterile, mostly egg-white-looking world, but what were you expecting with a world of oppression and big business? The facial details and textures of everything are really pretty to look at. It actually looks as good as that ambitious, if forgettable Quantum Break. The music is once again atmospheric and techno, which fits into this bleak futuristic world into which you are placed. If you are curious about the composer, it’s the same individual that did the soundtrack for the first game, Solar Fields. The voice work is solid, but I would say it’s done well enough to show that the actors were trying to make this script work.

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So, what is wrong with Catalyst? Well, unfortunately, a lot. First off, the story is forgettable. It’s yet another generic “screw the big companies that we must take down so we can be free” stories, and I’m sorry, but it has been played out so much in recent years, that it’s not very creative. I didn’t really care to remember anyone’s names, because the characters were boring. I know DICE probably doesn’t have the best scriptwriters, but they could have put more effort into the story. I also found the lack of gunplay not a bad idea, up until you reach an area that you can’t escape and have to fight a horde of enemies. This part is tedious, because they will throw in a few too many long-range enemies that you can’t deal with, due to the fact that they won’t let you shoot anyone. The melee combat is good and all, but the level itself is not equipped enough to give you a fair shake. It’s the one part of the game that goes against its own rules, set for no reason. It’s infuriating, and it doesn’t auto-save after each round. I wouldn’t mind all this, since I have played a lot of games with a bunch of mediocre sequences that no one in the testing group thought to speak up about, but since the story isn’t great, why should I complete the game? The game is also rather repetitive, with not a lot of variety in terms of platforming and challenges. I’m sure it would be challenging to make a huge variety of memorable challenges for a game all about platforming, but still. The world also feels fairly empty. It sort of makes sense, but I wish they had put more life into this stale, clean city. I also ran into some glitches, like soldiers shooting at walls, and yet the bullets would still hit me.

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I really want to be supportive of Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. It’s a solid game with some truly fun and satisfying platforming, but it’s weighed down by a boring story and sometimes tedious combat. I think it’s fair to say that if you haven’t played this game yet, give it a rent, and if you like it, get it for cheap. It’s good to always try something new, but sometimes, being different and unique isn’t enough.

This game gets a 6 out of 10

414: ABZU for PC and PS4 Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Here we are with the second game from PlayStation’s PLAY 2016. This is ABZU, an “experience” game done by the art director of Journey. This was easily one of the most anticipated games from the last couple of years. I think it’s obvious when you watch the trailers why people got so excited by this game from developer Giant Squid. Its bright colors, pleasing art style, and atmospheric gameplay looked like it was going to be this console generations’ Journey. So, does it reach the heights of Journey? Or does it sink to the bottom of the ocean? Let’s put on our snorkel and goggles, and find out.

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You play as an individual in a swimming suit, flippers, and an interesting helmet as you wake up in essentially Water World, but without the multi-million dollar loss. Essentially, you need to find out where you are and what the heck is going on around you. There is actually a plot and an interesting twist, but I won’t divulge it here. Unlike a lot of these “experience” games, I was kept pretty invested with the overall story, which is something that rarely happens.

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ABZU, if it wasn’t obvious from what I have said or from its trailers, is a game where you swim your way through an enchanted world of water and sea life. The main goal of doing so is to bring a world back to life while finding out where you came from. You do this by solving simple puzzles and going to shrines to bring more sea life back into the water world you are in. You can obtain little robotic helpers to help solve the simple puzzles, and you are able to swim around and grab onto large sea creatures. The overall game will not take you long to beat at about two hours, like most of the “experience” style games. It’s definitely a calming game to whip out every other day if you want some soothing tunes to listen to while you meditate or work.

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ABZU is one of the prettiest games of 2016. It has an incredibly bright and colorful pallet, with dark blues to represent the deepest parts of the ocean. It easily captures the beauty and the unknown of the ocean world. The music is also calming and whimsical at points. This should be no surprise, since the composer, Austin Wintory, also composed the music for Journey, worked on The Order: 1886, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, The Banner Saga, and The Banner Saga 2. It’s one of the best soundtracks of the year.

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Unfortunately, there are some problems with this experience. I found the controls to be clunky. The best part about Journey was that it was easy to pick up and play. The controls here just felt slightly awkward, which is a shame, since I recently got done with Uncharted 4, and that game had really solid swimming controls. While I did love my experience with ABZU, I do wish the overarching plot was more substantial, along with the gameplay. For example, they had the experience part down, but they forgot to make the predominant plot worth anything, like Bound. I do love this game, but I do wish there was more to the overall game than just being light on story experience.

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Still, despite my criticisms with the game, I really enjoyed my time with ABZU. It’s another home-run in terms of the four PLAY 2016 games. It might be a tad too pricey for some at $20, and I can understand that you want to wait for a sale to pick it up, but if you love Journey,Bound, or any other kind of game that is calming and unique, then definitely pick ABZU up. Just make sure you know how to swim.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Cam’s Eye View: 413: Dungeons II For PS4 Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

When you think of real-time strategy games, you think of the PC market. Not that it’s a bad thing, but when I think of these types of games, I think of keyboard and mouse controls. For a while, the genre was stuck on PC, due to the controls on console controllers. That was, unless you worked around the controls. This has happened before with games like the ever-amazingPikmin franchise. Brutal Legend, while still clunky was also a valiant effort in terms of the RTS genre. That is why I was excited to see Dungeons II make it to the PlayStation 4. I contacted the developer, got a review copy, and found myself really enjoying this game on the PlayStation 4. Sure, there are a few clunky elements, but if you love games like the oldDungeon Keeper games, then you will fall head over heels for this game.

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The main goal of Dungeon II is to go through different missions, building up your dungeon with loot, traps, guards, and special rooms, and then once you obtain enough to take over a small town, you venture out of your dungeon, and take down those goody-two-shoes that put you into the ground in the first place. You are essentially playing a real-time-strategy game mixed with a Sim City-style building mechanic, where you expand your dungeon with a floating evil hand. Throughout the game, you will gain little goblin creatures that will act as your servants as they break down different blocks to open up new rooms. So, you got servants, but what about minions that can take down the heroic individuals that want you taken down? Well, you get a vast array of monsters like orcs, snake people, and tech-savvy goblins, to name a few. You will need to manage your resources to build new rooms, traps, and ways to keep your army strong, drunk, and ready to beat down on some good guys! As you build up your rep and army, you will also be able to use magical spells, and gain special unit types that can give your army special abilities. The overall experience will take you about 15 addictive hours, and that’s not counting the multiplayer mode.

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Dungeons II runs on the Unity engine, and it uses pretty cartoony graphics. Think of pre-World of Warcraft Blizzard games like Warcraft 3. It looks great with also a bit of visual reference to the Overlord games. It also has a great sense of humor with the narrator and the world they have built that is similar in tone to something like Shrek. The music is also very similar to something like Shrek or the Overlord series, with grand scale fantasy music that fits within the game’s quirky world.

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If I had to complain about a few elements of the game, it’s easy to make it hard to pick out certain units to deploy first when you are attacking the enemy. What I usually do is simply send out the large group, and while controlling everything in the game is done well enough, knowing how limited you are with a controller, it can still be a tiny bit overwhelming and clunky to maneuver certain menus. I also experienced some slowdown when opening up huge areas in the dungeon.

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Overall, Dungeons II is a great game, and a great port to the PlayStation 4. If you love strategy games, and are not a PC gamer kind of individual, then you should definitely pick this game up. It not only shows the great use of the Unity engine, but it’s also a great example alongsidePikmin and Prison Architect, in terms of how to port these games to consoles. If you are interested, you can get it for the PlayStation 4 and PC. Just sit back, and enjoy slapping some goblins!

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Cam’s Eye View 412: Headlander for the PS4 and PC Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

I got really excited for this year’s PlayStation PLAY 2016 line-up. Over the past couple of years, it always felt hit-or-miss in terms of the games. Some would be brand new titles, while the rest were more or less PC ports of indie games. This year though, they are all brand new, and quite frankly, some of the most anticipated games of this year for me. I am getting review copies for two of the games, and I’ll make sure to make note of which ones I do get in my reviews, but for now, I think it’s time we step into Double Fine Productions’ newest hit game, Headlander. This is easily one of the oddest games of 2016, where you play as a head inside a jet-propelled helmet. It was published by Adult Swim Games, and is the first of the four titles released for PLAY 2016. So then, does this Headlander land successfully as a game, or should they have maybe stayed in the vacuums of space?

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Like I mentioned above, the story puts you in the, well, head of the last human in the galaxy. You start out in a ship called the Starcophagus, and then you are broken out by a helpful AI program, and are sent off to stop an evil robotic overlord that has essentially made everyone transfer their body and mind to robotic bodies. The most interesting part of this game’s setting and story is the tone. It still has a lot of that great humor Double Fine Productions is known for, but it’s also a bit more serious. It’s probably one of the more serious stories they have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed a lot at the dialogue and the voice work, but it’s interesting to see Double Fine do something a tiny bit more serious.

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Headlander is a 2.5D metroidvania-style action game, where the main mechanic of the game and your main form of traversal is your flying head. You sound pretty weak by that description, but the game has a fun and unique mechanic. Any time you see a robot, good or bad, you can essentially vacuum off their head and land your head on their body. You will need to do this if you are going to survive the metallic locations that you are going to be floating around in. You will need to use different colored robots to open specific doors, and be able to fight back against other robots. You will even need to use your head-hacking ability to solve some side-quests, like finding a dog, or taking down multi-colored robots. The combat is very much like the gunplay you see in games like The Fall, where you use the right analog stick to aim your gun. Along with being able to steal robot bodies, you can also gain upgrades to move faster, be able to break through barriers, and slow down time to get through tricky situations. The overall game will take you about six hours if you want to get through the entire thing, but add on an hour or more if you decide to find all the upgrades. It’s a pretty solid game in terms of difficulty, and you will probably die a couple of times, due to how hectic the game can be when lasers are hitting the fan.

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Graphically, Headlander captures that cheesy, funky sci-fi vibe that the 70s and part of the early 80s brought to the table, with a lot of disco-ish style choices thrown in throughout the game with the design of the robots and the color pallet. The game, for the most part, ran pretty smoothly, with slowdown happening only once during my time playing through the game. The humor of the game is like I have mentioned above, a bit more subdued their usual outings, but when the jokes do land or the writing gets full of quips and clever, it’s all that Double Fine Production humor that you are used to, and love. The voice cast provides a lot of great talent, including the main villain being voiced by Phil Proctor of Rugrats fame as Howard DeVille, the friendly AI ERL voiced by Jon Lipow, MAPPY was voiced by Invader Zim himself, Richard Horvitz, Nika Futterman, David Kaye, and Steve Blum to name a few. The music was also well done, capturing that vibe that you would get in films by John Carpenter or the recent Netflix series, Stranger Things.

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Unfortunately, a few bad circuits did pop up with my playtime with Headlander. I found the game could have used a bit more variety in terms of gameplay. It doesn’t really kick in until the halfway point. It would have been nice to see more bosses that took advantage of the mechanics given to you. You literally get two major bosses, and that’s it. The action screen can also be a bit too hectic at times, with too much visual stimulation.

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Headlander definitely starts the PLAY 2016 off strong, and is easily one of my favorite games from this year. It’s funny, creative, and overall fun to play. It’s worth the price of admission. If you love the quirky Double Fine Productions-style of gaming, or metroidvania-style games in general, then you will fit right in with the company’s newest game. I guess you can say this game will cause heads to roll with joy and laughter. Sorry about the pun.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Cam’s Eye View 411: The Magic Circle Gold Edition for PS4, Xbox One, and PC Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

It’s hard to feel optimistic about the game industry sometimes. It seems like we can’t go a day without something shady happening in e-sports, a game industry higher-up saying something stupid and inconsiderate, games being rushed out with buggy results, a lack of creativity from bigger budgeted games, indie games hive-minding around trends and killing them as fast as they can, Kickstarters failing to deliver or delivering at all, certain minorities in the fan communities ruining it for everyone, and you get the idea. It’s partly a reason why I have slowed down on writing game reviews. Not that I don’t still enjoy it because I do, but sometimes my interest for the industry drops off as I work on other articles for my website. I think a game that encapsulates that whole cynicism is The Magic Circle Gold Edition. No, it doesn’t represent everything that is wrong about the game industry, but instead builds a rather humorous and interesting experience around it. It might have its flaws, but it’s easily one of the more memorable games that I have played in a while. Let’s dive in and see what’s up.

The Magic Circle puts you into the shoes of an unnamed individual who happens to be the hero of a fantasy RPG stuck in development hell. As you complete the rather pathetic condition the game is in, you get contacted by what is essentially the creative spirit of the game. You are then given the powers to essentially edit everything around you. Can you screw over the almighty designers’ plan? Can you salvage an actual game? The best part about this game, like I mentioned above, is its cynicism. While it is a jab at all the tropes of what could possibly go wrong with a game stuck in development hell and delusional dreams of grandeur of a designer voiced by Dr. Venture from The Venture Brothers, James Urbaniak, it’s still optimistic and hilarious. Some of the jokes don’t hit, but you will pretty much get a laugh out of the majority of the clever writing and how the story progresses in the game.

The Magical Circle is essentially a first-person puzzle game, where you gain the abilities of a PC god. If you see an enemy about to turn you into deleted data, you set a trap and catch it. You can then edit the beast, and either make it useless, or attack your enemies, or do I what I did, and make an entire army of monsters with different abilities and have their attacks do the hard work. This is pretty much all you do in The Magic Circle. You hack, explore, hack critters to solve puzzles, and so on. It will take you about three or so hours to complete, and maybe an hour or two longer if you want to complete everything. The only real reason to replay the game is to find other creative ways to solve the puzzles in the game.

Graphically, it’s the only time where looking like a bad unfinished game is the point. The graphics look like a game stuck in development hell, and if you have played any game that was in this situation, like Duke Nukem Forever and Ride to Hell: Retribution, you know what I mean. The 3D graphics look pointy and rough, the pixel art is hard on the eyes, and it’s just a fitting presentation. The voice work is also really good, with I think James Urbaniak putting in the best performance of being an ego self-indulgent game designer with too high of goals for a game that has been stuck in limbo for years.

So, what’s actually wrong with the game you can’t write off as “that was meant to be the case”? Well, some of the solutions are obtuse, in terms of finding certain upgrades or puzzle solutions. I also found no real reason to pick up the game again. It’s fun, but I never got that personal feeling of “man, I want to play this again!”. Why should I buy a game if I don’t ever feel like playing it again? Open-ended puzzles aren’t a good way to bring me back. I can solve the puzzles a different way each time, but the story is going to be the same. The puzzles also weren’t fully satisfying. I don’t know, I never felt that feeling of, “aw yeah, that was great!” from The Magic Circle. In a way, it feels more like the game banked on its humor and cynicism more than being a great overall experience.

However, even with those complaints, I did enjoy my time with The Magic Circle, but I don’t see myself coming back to a game like this. Maybe in a long time I will, but not anytime soon. If this game sounds like it’s something you would enjoy, or if you like games that are similar in tone to Hack n Slash, then you will probably enjoy it. It’s not an underwhelming game, but just like the game itself, there could have been more to it.

This game gets a 6 out of 10.