Review Saturday : Never Alone

Advertisements

Life is Strange Episode 1 Review

I have been looking forward to playing Life is Strange. I have recently finished episode one and decided to share my thoughts in this review. Hope you enjoy it. The playthrough can be found on our YouTube channel. Video review on the way.

Story

Story

Life is strange is all about consequences. From small things like opening cupboards to saving a friend in need. Time plays a big role in this. The player is given the opportunity to redo decisions to see how they turn out. Ultimately these decisions will make a bigger ripple as more of these episodes are released. This first episode is really all about setting things up so you will be spending a lot of time wondering how this will affect you later. Spoiler Alert! The bigger picture is that Max (main character) has to figure out how to use her power to save her town from being destroyed by a big storm.

Max is a shy girl who seems to be confused by life and that shows with some of the things she says. The game plays around with such themes as bullying, abandonment and friendship. I personally felt that it was played out well. Some of the writing was a little off but it is good enough to keep you engaged in what is happening on screen. The characters around Max have somewhat stereotypical but distinct personalities. Her friend Chloe stands out the most because of her free nature even if her screen time isn’t that high.

Gameplay

Gameplay

Like I said earlier this game is all about decisions. Decisions are presented to the user through button presses. One main gameplay feature is the ability to rewind time. It only allows you to rewind at certain specific times, usually after a decision is made by the player. There are times where the game feels like it is steering you in a specific way to progress the story which can be a little annoying depending on your expectations on how freely you expected to use Max’s power.

When you are not using Max’s power you’re spending it looking at things. Posters, photos, laptops and many more things are up to be observed. This can take up most of your time. It kind of reminded me of L.A. Noire where you have to look around for evidence. The games controls are simple to use and pretty responsive.

Presentation

Presentation

This is where I believe Life Is Strange really prevails. The game seems to have this sunset filter on everything and it makes everything look really beautiful. Character models can look a little clunky when they are moving around but it kind of just looks normal for the style of the game. The lip syncing in the game is bad though. I don’t know if this is on purpose or they tried to make it sync but it is a little distracting.

The game also likes to play around with different types of effects on its objects. For example items of interest when looked at have scribbly lines over them. Some pictures have certain filters on them just so they don’t look boring.

The music in this game is fantastic. It uses a lot of indie tracks to help create an atmosphere. The music makes scenes like walking down a corridor seem so much more special. If you are not into this type of music you might not like it but I would say give it a try :).


Good

  • Plays around with meaningful themes
  • Good supporting characters
  • Power is really cool
  • Lovely art style
  • Music selection is great

Bad

  • Writing can be a little weird
  • Sometimes game feels like it is holding your hand
  • Lip syncing is completely off

Story:  8.0

Gameplay:  8.3

Presentation:  8.8

Total: 8.3

Limbo Written Review

Dark monochrome puzzle plaformer Limbo is a fantastic showcase of how simple solid controls can really help make a game an enjoyable experience. At first I thought the game would be a long playthrough but it lasted less than three hours. This made the game short, sweet and simple. Video version can be found here.

Story

jump

About a quarter of way through the game you will find yourself asking why. Why am I racking my brain trying to figure out this bloody puzzle? What am I going to get at the end of this? That question is answered about three quarters of the way into the game. Spoiler Alert! The character seems to be doing this to find a girl. We never find out more about her, we don’t even see her face. All we see is her back. To be fair when I saw her I instantly wanted to find out more about her. She became my pushing force to find out more.

Gameplay

Limbo 1

The puzzles in this game really show how much attention was paid to make them good. They are well thought out with some making the player not just think horizontally, but vertically too. Near the end of the game gravity and magnetism comes into play and timing also plays a big part in making sure your little character makes it through. One aspect of the game that I personally liked was that it felt as though the enemies in this game were not there to simply stop the player from moving forward but to actually drive the game and story forward.

Presentation

jump

The game is easy on the eyes. It is done in a monochrome style so you won’t be seeing much of a color pallet here but you won’t miss them. It is an effective style which helps create a creepy atmosphere. The music is subtle but also loud when something important is happening on screen.

Bad

Like I previously mentioned in the half way review the only issue I have with this game is sometimes the checkpoint placement can be off.

Closing comments

This is a short and sweet game. I haven’t played a good platformer with good puzzles in a while so playing this game was a welcome change. I highly recommend Limbo.

Puzzles: 8.8

Gameplay: 8.7

Presentation: 8.9

Total: 8.8/10

Forza 5 Written Review

Video Review

Video version found here

As Forza 6 was announced not too long ago, I have decided to do a review for Forza 5. It is Turn 10’s first title to launch on the next generation consoles and it has gained many things from this leap. Well let’s get straight into it.

Presentation

Cars

Cars

First things first let’s talk about graphics. This game is leaps and bounds above its predecessor. The amount of time it must have taken to put so much detail on these cars must have been excruciating for the developers.This is literal car porn and the game shows no shame in showing off its bits. I found myself spending a lot of time not racing but just simply looking at the cars.

There are more than 200 cars in the game ranging from exotics, muscle, 4x4s and many more. In the previous game it only allowed you to view a small collection of cars up close and personal with Forza Vista. In this game all the cars can now be viewed inside out.

Tracks

The Forza favorites are present here especially with the Nurburgring that was added for free after launch. Apart from those there are some new tracks that you can skid around in your 1 million pound Lamborghini. The tracks look good with a few of them at different times of the day just to show of the lighting in the game.


Gameplay

Handling System

Each and every car is distinct. You can really tell that the racing engine have evolved over the years since Forza 1. The Xbox One controller aids you in really feeling out the car through the corners. This is thanks to the rumble in the triggers.

Game Modes\Features

Rivals

There is a rivals system in this game which pits you up against people near you or on the leaderboard. I personally thought it was a simple well thought out system which helped to spice up each race. I found myself going up against my brother quite a few times and when I did beat him, the bragging rights were awesome. There is a rivals game mode in multiplayer which I will talk about a little later.

The AI cars on the track are not your usual preprogrammed, race line following, stubborn lot. Using the power of the cloud the game sends up information about each player (you included) to be processed and assigned to what the game calls a drivatar. This is basically a digital you. It is supposed to drive like you do and react the way you do. This is a way to make races more dynamic.

Car Customization

I have always praised Forza over the years for how many customization options the game gives you and it is no different here. Forza has either the best or one of the best paint job tools I have ever seen in any racing game. Over the years I have seen people create artwork on their car that you would expect to see done in Photoshop…..yes it is that good.

Top Gear

The added commentary from the Top gear presenters brings a nice familiar touch to the game. I myself am a big fan of Top Gear so I welcomed this when they introduced it in earlier games.


Multiplayer

As subtly mentioned before there are many game modes you can embark with people from around the world. There is the usual affair of circuit races but you also have drag races and some other custom game modes for you to check out. The rivals multiplayer mode also hosts weekly challenges and events. The game makes sure you always have something to do.


Sound

If you want to hear just how good this game sounds, go watch the video at the top. The menu music in this game might not be for everyone as it sounds like it belongs in a Christopher Nolan film. I personally like it.


The Bad

Auction House

With every new iteration on new consoles, comes less content and Forza suffers this same fate. One major thing is the auction house. In previous games this was a gateway to the world. You could buy designs, cars and other little things. It is a feature I felt enriched the experience so much. Hopefully it will be back in the next game.

DLC

DLC seems to have a mixed reception with games. Some people don’t mind it and some absolutely hate it. I personally didn’t mind it all these years because all the games I played didn’t lock down content that was available in the previous games. Sadly this has happened in Forza. Some cars that I previously used in previous games are now locked behind a DLC label.


Closing Comments

All in all I personally feel this is a great game. There is a good amount of content here to keep anyone going for hours on end. You might be sad about the loss of some franchise favorites but I don’t think it is a game breaking reduction. My score is a 8.7/10