Britain is going to hell in a handbasket. Brexit has deeply divided our nation, our economy is tanking, the major political parties are in turmoil, and worst of all, England were humiliated by Iceland at the Euros!
Whatever happens in these turbulent times, at least video games remain an unchanging, unbridled source of entertainment for everyone. Don’t venture outside; it’s weird and scary. Stay indoors. Video games will keep you safe.
Apparently, I’m a slow learner. I really should have learnt my lesson when I first played P.T. – the playable teaser for the ill-fated Hideo Kojima/Norman Reedus/Guillermo Del Toro Silent Hills reboot. A fifteen minute dabble was enough to tell me that this aborted-fetus-in-the-sink-horror-fest was ill suited to my feeble constitution. By the moment that banshee/witch/bride/creature/Nigel Farage/thing first sprang toward me (panic settled; the details still allude me), I’d had enough. I wiped those Satanic verses of code straight from my system. I supposed I wanted to make sure my PS4 knew I meant it.
Never again, I cantoned to myself. But then, whaddayaknow, Sony’s 2016 E3 press conference laid down one new bombshell, Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour. It all sounded terribly familiar: a mysterious, free, playable teaser orientated in first person perspective. All the signs pointed toward the solemn fact that I shouldn’t touch this game. But did I learn? No. Did I mention it was free?
Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour made me blubber in fear. “Just go, don’t look back” was the uneasy motto that propelled me ever forward through the sickening, dilapidated homestead I found myself stranded in. I whimpered, I palpitated, I wished it could all be over. But, when I do actually look back now, it all seems so trivial. For the most part, the currencies of fright in this playable teaser consisted of ugly dolls, whining door hinges and locked doors. Hardly the stuff of fables, right? And yet, the team behind Resident Evil 7 still managed to disfigure these mundane images of everyday life into an experience of truly horrific proportions. My imagination went into self-destruct mode. That microwave? That’s a serial killer. That door? That’s a demon. That plate? That’s a plate… that wants to kill me. By the time I got to the real horror, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and wish the world away.
I have to hand it to Capcom, that was legitimately terrifying. It seems that the long standing publishing house has learnt more than a few new tricks from Kojima’s doomed endeavor. The spirit of blood curdling, nail biting horror will be very much alive in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, it seems. Will I be partaking come January 24th, 2017? Nope, never again.
I’m about to say something that will no doubt shock and disgust my website colleagues here; Unravel isn’t a very good game.
Undoubtedly, it is a stunning visual exercise. The backdrops are quite simply gorgeous. However, I have some real problems with the gameplay side of things, especially that you seem to be able to brute force your way through many of the puzzles. Specifically, on the second level I solved a puzzle which just didn’t feel right. I attached my yarn to a flap, pulled it open, then ran under it and hammered the jump button until it let me through. Feeling that something was awry, I looked up the solution and found it to be a fair sight more complicated than the method I used. There were a few other moments like this that didn’t really feel like an accomplishment. I felt more like I’d accidentally cheated the system as opposed to working something out.
There are a lot of mechanical frustrations too, such as how your yarn lasso often misfires, dropping you in the drink and making you replay sections. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was any sort of precision or an element of timing, but as it is, sometimes the lasso automatically attaches itself so long as you’re pressing the correct direction, sometimes it doesn’t. The game is pretty boring too. Once the visual splendour has worn off, there isn’t a whole lot to keep you engaged. Sorry Dallin, I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.
For me, this week had all been about the lead-up to Inside. The developer, Playdead, received mass critical acclaim after their first game, Limbo, debuted all the way back in 2010. The adventures of that little boy venturing through creepy grey and black locations was one of the first arcade games on the Xbox 360 that I genuinely enjoyed, so Inside has been on my radar since its first showing at E3 2014.
I was not disappointed. Inside had everything I wanted and, in true Playdead style, surprised me in a few ways that I wasn’t expecting. Inside is as unsettling and as creepy as Limbo and this other little boy’s adventure from outer-suburban cornfields to ravaged inner-city buildings was continuously engaging. Time went by so fast, which is a testament to how well made this game is.
It can easily be argued that this game is ‘Limbo 2.0’ but I don’t see it that way. Inside is its own entity, despite the comparisons, with more detailed visuals that allow a more intriguing tale to be told. How much of that tale’s coherency gets through to the player is another story.
But I’ve already said too much. For the seven hours I spent with Inside, it was a blast – even if I had to pay through the nose for it. Stand by for Power Up Gaming’s full review of the game very soon, coming to you courtesy of Jamaal Ryan.