Everspace Review

ROCKFISH Games is comprised of a team that for the most part has been together for ten plus years primarily on mobile titles, Everspace is their first venture into the PC and Console territory. The single-player rogue-like space shooter looks to cement the developers place in the market and perhaps provide a great first impression. But is it all space wonder or does it leave me wondering what the hell?

Try, try and try again would perhaps be the best way to describe the gameplay loop in which you are warped into space, fight, loot and keep on travelling until death or success. After one of two potential ends to the run you then need to upgrade your ship ready for the next mission and do it all over again. For those that either bore easily or just can’t deal with repeating the same things constantly, there is only so far you can get before deciding to throw in the towel.

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That being said, it does its best to throw curve balls at you with its roguelike nature of seemingly procedurally generated encounters. Personally, not my cup of tea but I appreciated the element of surprise that loomed throughout my experience.

One run is comprised of numerous sectors that increase in difficulty as you progress through them. Something I’ve not come across before is that death is encouraged by design, because through failure you can then improve your ship and see if you can get further the next time around. This kept me engaged for brief periods before I found the grind becoming tedious. It just took too long for my ship to get to the point of reaching the latter sectors successfully. Accumulating the credits, fuel, plasma and other resources wherever possible came across as more of a chore than something rewarding to take part in.

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The controls are intuitive and do well in creating a pick up and play feeling whilst in terms of difficulty design remaining tough to master. Because of the natural control layout, I became eager to carry on flying around through space shooting things, even when the dying rinse and repeat cycle began to irritate me. Just proving how important setting the right actions to the right buttons is, when it comes to inviting players in and keeping them.

RPG elements are in play and take the form of loadout and perk systems. I felt like I was controlling my personal ships with the look I chose and upgrades I installed etc. Because of this I became more invested and attached to what I was doing. Experimenting with the variety of perks was fun and interesting to see how they affect gameplay.

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On the surface it looks great, its visually pleasing and nails the look of what we have come to expect space to look like. Other ships, fighters and freighters have different designs that build this world and lore around you and the team make great use of colour to represent the varying factions. The blemishes began to appear when you get right up close with textures and you notice the not so fine detail, but that still doesn’t bother me, because if you play how you should, you won’t see that anyway.

Sound is playing an important role in atmosphere building, space is commonly associated by either other worldly sounds or an absence of sound altogether. This however, mixes both in a subtle way to produce the same sense of dread and nothingness. Using ambient music reminiscent of retro sci-fi films and even games, alongside almost classic sound effects for the engines and lasers makes for this slight nostalgia trip I love so much.

OVERALL: 6.9/10 – AVERAGE

Everspace delivers a competent and enjoyable experience the latter of which I feel only lasts so long due to a lacklustre and unsatisfying gameplay loop. The look and feel were enough to draw me in but not quite enough to keep me hooked. It looks great, sounds even greater and plays really well, those who love a grind will find it here for sure. It just isn’t my thing but of course that isn’t to say it won’t be yours.

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Everspace, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

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Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek Review

tinyBuild has done a great job in building its portfolio over the past five years with many titles being well received such as Mr. Shifty, The Final Station and Party Hard 2. There are other games however that haven’t exactly shone bright. Hello Neighbor released last year for the first time yet before that is when it received most of it’s publicity, due to somewhat a broken state of the game in terms of technical issues and in difficulty when in early access. Keen on sticking to the IP, Hide and Seek looks to rectify what went wrong but instead, makes things worse.

It very much feels like a rehash of the original just with differing characters and the intent of building a narrative that leads up to the first title. I didn’t get far, or couldn’t get far into the content due to lack of direction, interest and a lot of irritation. You play as the young daughter of the Neighbor you had to avoid in the 2017 game. This time it’s about hiding from your brother as they play hide and seek and jump into exaggerated worlds that are based upon the reality of their home.

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Whilst playing it becomes obvious that the hide and seek is more a side objective whilst you try to complete different puzzles, and uncover what happened in the events leading up to the game before it. This feels like a piece of DLC and yet is priced otherwise, which wouldn’t be so bad if the quality was there but unfortunately that is not the case.

Gameplay is uninspiring and repetitive with the major game mechanic coming across as completely annoying. Whilst on the run from the brother, if he spots you the music kicks in to let you know he is closing in and when the distance between you is miniscule the screen fades a little, those parts are okay. When he grabs you however, he lets out this completely obnoxious noise somewhat reminiscent of Roger’s “NYEH” in American Dad. Aside from that, I don’t feel incentivised to go ahead with the levels, there’s nothing to clearly guide the way and when I try to accomplish something, I’m held back by terrible level design and difficulty spikes.

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The most promising aspect of the series are the visuals, delivering a unique art-style that I feel is now synonymous with these games, from the characters to the worlds, the use of varied colours is inviting and urges you to wander and take in the scenery around you. Accompanied with the ambient noises, each level really comes alive and immerses you right before everything else knocks you back into the real world.

OVERALL: 3/10 – TERRIBLE

Hide and Seek is a complete misstep for the publishing portfolio of tinyBuild and yet another step in the wrong direction for Dynamic Pixels, a promising premise with lacklustre execution makes for a forgettable experience.

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Battlefield V Review

Battlefield can often be referred to as the rival of Call of Duty, or at least that’s how many gamers see it, you’re either a Call of Duty player, or a Battlefield player etc. I love both series dearly and oppose the idea that they are in direct competition, in the shooter space sure, but they are both a different kind of shooter compared to the other. Large scale warfare is what the BF series excels in, can the same be said for Battlefield V?

Much like in the previous game, the single-player content is split up into War Stories, smaller mini campaigns designed to give a look into different fronts and perspectives of what it was like in World War II for those in active duty. I loved this take on a campaign in BF1 so welcomed the idea of the developers doing this again. My expectations were set high and I believe this time around they missed the mark a little, primarily in quantity rather than the quality.

Under No Flag (UNF) is based in North Africa in 1942, immediately your thrown into the role of Billy Bridger, a prison inmate turned soldier who looks to redeem himself and prove his worth to others. A relatable character for many and someone I found myself empathising with. The missions are straight forward and place you on wide-open maps with objectives such as blowing things up more than anything. An issue I faced was that the second mission relied heavily on stealth gameplay, don’t get me wrong I love that normally, but Battlefield for me has always been about loud, chaotic action. Fortunately, going in stealth isn’t mandatory, however that being said, going in guns blazing is a tougher fight, all the enemies rush to you, reinforcements get called and you need to keep aware of your surroundings to survive. The final act in this story is very much a worthwhile and earned climactic finish that pits you in a survival effort to take on wave after wave of enemy forces in an epic encounter.

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Nordlys is the story that was a part of the main marketing push, we had brief looks into this several months prior to launch and is set in 1943 Norway. By this time the country has been occupied for three long years, and it’s time to kick the Germans out. Instantly this feels miles apart from the previous campaign, playing as a young Norwegian resistance fighter who seeks to save her mother and liberate her country. Absolutely love it, the fact that already I’m seeing a contrast in Nordlys and UNF in terms of setting, characters and the mission itself. Much like UNF however, there is a heavy reliance on being quiet, sneaking through and silently killing enemies, this time around though it feels like it fits, I enjoyed playing that way in this scenario.

Tirailleur takes place in 1944 where infantry fight in Provence, France. This completes the trifecta in yet again delivering a new environment, varied characters and a new ideal behind why you are fighting onwards. This time you are a soldier taking part in Operation Dragoon, the goal of liberation is still there but Deme, the character you play seeks for him and his allies to be remembered as Kings for succeeding in a mission where no-one else can. Fighting alongside troops and a close friend makes each conflict feel different to the ones you face in UNF and Nordlys.

I adore the variety in the single-player content, the one thing branching all three stories kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth, stealth enters all three and it doesn’t fit, it absolutely works in Nordlys but feels rather forced in the other two. That aside, I enjoyed my time fighting in the desert, going from there to the snowy mountains and from there to the woodlands, it’s refreshing to witness each setting change and puts the point across that in WWII, the war was quite literally everywhere, a scary profound point. Three characters each come from different backgrounds, a white male prison inmate, a female resistance fighter and a black infantry soldier also show that from 1939-1945, everyone was affected no matter who you were.

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It is common knowledge that perhaps everyone gets Battlefield for the multiplayer, each year it is the most important part of the game to get right. It needs to offer something for everyone and provide enough reason to keep playing beyond just killing people and telling them you fornicated with their mother.

There are six game modes to play with eight maps to jump into, the content is there, now it’s just about execution. Breakthrough is straight up attackers looking to push the opposition back by capturing each point in a sector and then onto the next one. Frontlines takes the Breakthrough style and turns it into a two-way street, like a tug of war with both teams trying to push forward point by point. It also has a smaller player count with 32 compared to Breakthrough’s 64.

Conquest is all out war between two teams with the same goals of holding as many objectives on the map and running down the other sides life count. Domination is basically Conquest on a smaller scale, the same exact rules but with half the number of players. Team Deathmatch is as basic as it gets, just get those kills in a 16v16 environment.

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Finally, Grand Operations (GO) is the pinnacle of the game mode offering, a massive conflict that spans multiple days, maps and even other modes with the outcome of each day affecting the next. By far one of my favourite modes to play in any game. It switches things up and keeps you on your feet. No matter how many times I played the same GO it was different each time in terms of what transpired, due to differing team strategies that can drastically alter the field.

It is unfortunate that the other remaining modes are mostly clones of each other with slight revisions. There isn’t much change going from one to the other and someone who likes to switch it up constantly, may be hard to find themselves pleased.

I am happy to say that the maps are varied, all eight are completely distinct from each other. Being able to fight anywhere, on barren wastelands, in farming fields, upon snow covered mountain tops and in once great cities reduced to rubble, is satisfying. No matter the map, I found myself falling in love with the level design, art design and attention to detail, they feel authentic.

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Visually it is one of the most stunning games I’ve seen, and DICE have done a fantastic job in putting the Frostbite engine to work, which aesthetically always raises the bar. Everything from design to execution impresses, lighting to weather to ‘leveolution’ it all comes together to produce something that can near enough deceive your eyes. The characters are unique, coming with their own recognisable characteristics and appear lifelike at a glance.

The soundtrack is gorgeous and emotive, combining with the visuals it truly makes for an immersive experience. Going from sad subtle tones to loud booming battle pieces it really takes you on a journey. Alongside that you have the sound effects that bring war to life on the screen, rushing around the field has literally never felt so daunting before in a video game. You hear every bullet, explosion and impact it’s quite unsettling at times, just goes to show the power of audio.

Progression is important, without it there is no reason to continue playing, in this case, it’s a little convoluted but a lot of fun and allows for plenty of experimentation. Your loadouts can be different for each side which allows you to not only choose your assault, medic, support and recon class but for both forces, be it Allied or Axis. The same with vehicles, these can be adjusted with specialisations to suit your playstyle. Going further in you can change your combat role, weapon sights, skins, appearance and much more, I felt a sense of ownership of my character, like it was really mine.

OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT

Battlefield V takes the same formula it always has, massive warfare and done little to change it up along the way. Not there’s anything wrong with no straying from a successful path but more innovation is needed to distance itself from previous titles to not be considered a re-skinned iteration in the series. There isn’t enough in terms of story but what is there drew me in hook, line and sinker. Grand Operations is a brilliant achievement in technical design that breathes fresh air into the multiplayer suite. Progression is complex but it incentives you with customisable weapons, vehicles and characters to keep fighting.

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Battlefield V, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Fallout 76 Review

Fallout is one of the most anticipated and beloved franchises over the past decade and serves as one of the major staples in Bethesda’s offerings to us, the gamer. It comes as no surprise still however that the announcement of Fallout 76 was met with mixed responses, an always online, multiplayer game strays from the typical experience we have usually received. Personally, this is the kind of game I yearned for, a massive Bethesda world that I can play with others. But does the risk pay off or is it a mis-step?

What is absolutely clear from the get-go is that story is at the heart of this open-world RPG but it doesn’t out-right take center stage. Throughout my time in West Virginia, I purposely tried to focus my time in the main quests and lore but often became distracted in the side missions, events and in general, mucking about with friends. Whilst the main storyline could be seen as lacking I take the glass half full approach in saying and believing the rest of the content packs out this adventure in a meaningful way. There is no shortage of things to do, sights to see and enemies to kill.

Typically, side quests have a negative connotation of being a waste of time and adding little to no value. I believe that just isn’t the case here, I found myself invested in each one, to the point of seeking out all the possible details that can be discovered by searching the surroundings. Whether it was training to become a fire breather or trying to solve the case of the missing boy it all felt worthwhile.

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It isn’t just what the story is, but how it is delivered too, and I feel the series has done a fantastic job in delivering information through sound, something 76 follows up on in a much more aggressive way. There are few friendly NPC’s and no human allied ones other than the voices you can hear through the many holotapes you will collect along the way. This way of storytelling accentuates the feeling of being alone but still being able to convey the objectives to the player.

Marmite, I can tell I confused you with that, what I want to get across is that the gameplay of Fallout can be referred to as ‘marmite’, you either love it or hate it. Unfortunately for this venture, the same issues arise and if that wasn’t bad enough you have to contend with the bugs that can at times make playing, such a chore. The movement is janky, the menus are cluttered, and combat is lacking in fun.

Frequently, traversing the terrain has resulted in either getting stuck or falling, and that isn’t down to my poor awareness either, it just doesn’t feel natural. Combine that with trying to fight something and I just constantly got caught against something and completely ruined by a swarm of enemies. When that happens time after time it becomes irritating.

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As it was stated during the Bethesda E3 2018 press conference, you play with dozens of players, not hundreds or thousands, because it’s the apocalypse, not an amusement park. It completely makes sense in theory, but in execution it has resulted in a world that feels a little empty, especially when playing alone. It isn’t just the number of players that make the wasteland feel bare, but also how many buildings you can explore, there are far too many structures that are blocked from entry, this makes this vast world seem just a tad smaller.

Going solo in West Virginia is a burden, to stand a chance it’s imperative to grind to get the best possible weapons, apparel, aids and stats. I don’t exactly have the best patience when it comes to grinding, some games get it right and others make it feel like a chore because of either the time it takes to level or what you must do in order to gain experience. Discovering places, killing enemies and completing quests are the ways to gain XP, you can get better percentages through use of certain perk cards, items and joining with team-mates, your incentivised to be in a group and almost penalised to be a lone wolf. Fighting a horde of enemies whilst with some buddy’s is pretty easy, alone, it’s tough, of course depending on levels etc.

Something I love are the random encounters I faced, be it game scripted or player based. I remember one of the scariest moments, I had cleared out a couple of buildings and proceeded to loot the corpses. What followed was a pip-boy stop to scour through my well-earned winnings and all was fine, all quiet etc. What followed was a loud “CONGRATULATIONS!” it was almost enough for a bowel movement, just something so unexpected it caught me off guard. I laugh about it now, but Mr. Prize-Bot is still out there, taunting me. When it comes to player interactions it could be something as simple as being given a helping hand against some enemies followed by the thumbs up emote and going on our separate ways. It might however look something like six players getting together going emote crazy and taking on waves of enemies, either way it brings a smile. Those moments I cherish in games.

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S.P.E.C.I.A.L and perks serve as the core RPG elements that go hand in hand with levelling up and becoming a stronger player. There are seven stats and with each level you can choose which to increase by 1, simple enough really. In reality it’s more complicated as each increase in a particular stat you get an extra perk slot for that specific category, be it Strength, Luck etc. Equip perk cards that you accumulate that can give numerous different benefits. This is where a bit of forward thinking is really needed to know where you want to be and how you are going to get there. I toyed with the system ad nauseam and always found new and interesting combinations.

Now this is technically a survival game and as such there are a few meters you need to be aware of at all times, food, water and HP/Rads. It’s another layer to the game that drew me in, keeping me on my toes and was one of the deciding factors in a lot of my perk choices. I went for perks that gave me the most benefits and bonuses from consuming item to ensure my character was in tip top shape.

Base-building is back and was absolutely a much-welcomed addition in the previous game, it solidified the message that the player is the last hope for rebuilding a fallen community. It is also a blinking beacon that signals everyone to have at it and build whatever crazy things you can. This kind of freedom is just refreshing to see, being able to almost change the game world and add your own flare.

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Visual fidelity has never come across as a priority in Bethesda titles, instead opting for design as opposed to fine detail. The graphics seem a little three years ago almost as if the same settings were copied and pasted from Fallout 4. That being said, there are some technical features that stand out and make this world come alive, just things like proper lighting, shadow effects and wind effects go a long way in building an atmosphere. West Virginia has undergone a drastic transformation and it truly does look that way, in terms of the level and the characters, everything has been designed superbly and puts across to the player how horrifying a post-apocalyptic earth could be.

The soundtrack of Fallout 76 is often subtle but can escalate into these ‘epic’ feeling moments. When at its quietest, you know the music is still there floating about, creating tension and when combat begins the pace is matched by the background tune, becoming hectic. Voice acting plays a big role in the immersion building process, be it the grunts and roars from hostiles, a casual chat with a robot or listening to a holotape. The performances vary with some standouts such as The Overseer voiced by Adrienne Barbeau and Mr. Fluffy, my favourite robot in a videogame.

It is with a little regret that I admit I never managed to launch a nuclear missile due to lack of friends available at the same times. This kind of proves a point that some content, like the atomic strike is cut off to those playing on their own unless you keep at it and grind to the max, something not all are willing to do.

OVERALL: 7.2/10 – GOOD

Fallout 76 is a flawed game, by any stretch of the imagination, but be damned there is also something so endearing about it. The deep survival role-playing mechanics go hand in hand with the over-arching theme of Fallout, to survive and rebuild. Its bugs are face-palm inducing and should have no place in a somewhat fully released product in 2018. I fully believe player-choice has been one of the core reasons for me to stay the course and enjoy my time playing, I got frustrated but I also smiled and laughed at the same time, gaming, am I right?

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Fallout 76, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Hitman 2 Review

Hitman is one of the most recognisable franchises in gaming today and has transcended the entertainment medium by jumping over into the movie world. It’s no surprise that another title in the series was on the way thanks to the success IO Interactive saw with the 2016 game. Since then, IO have parted with Square Enix and managed to keep the beloved IP and continue it with Hitman 2. Does it recreate the satisfaction when taking down enemies in a stealth-like fashion, and bring the enjoyable content found in its predecessor?

The stealth genre is filled with fantastic series, like Metal Gear Solid, Dishonored and Assassin’s Creed just to name a few. Hitman however, thanks to its setting, characters and game mechanics, stands out amongst the crop. Agent 47 in spite of his soul-less demeanour is a memorable character that you can cling onto and feel like a badass. From the barcode tattoo on the back of his head, to the lack of hair and even his red tie he is easily spotted in a crowd which makes it more impressive that his cover doesn’t get blown from mission start.

Variety is the spice of life and this could not apply more here, each kill can happen in dozens of different ways and each level is kitted with a plethora of objects to assist in your murder quest. Use everything from your typical guns or knives to falling chandelier’s and electricity. Those who are quick to think on their feet and remain aware of their surroundings will absolutely make full use of the killing playground.

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In terms of content there just isn’t a lot of it, but I guess it is all about quality over quantity which fortunately seems to be the case here. The campaign features just six missions, all of which however can be replayed a great many times and you still won’t have found everything or completed the mission in each different possible way. What’s refreshing about the story is it comes across as concise with no un-necessary padding, my attention was captured through-out and I remained invested from start to finish. I couldn’t help but feel like I had just played through a downloadable standalone piece rather than a full game and the replayability just isn’t enough to sate my hunger for more.

What doesn’t help that feeling of in-completion is that in the menus you can see the story option for Hitman 1 and then a campaign option for DLC that is to come. By paying a little more you can get some extra content although it seems a little disingenuous as it feels needed to complete the package.

Ghost Mode is currently in beta and a much-welcomed addition to the series, with two players going head to head in a competitive environment, who can be the better assassin basically. Same starting point, same target etc with each player going about in their own instance whilst being able to see each other but not out-right affect the other players world. I had a blast with this mode as a result of the tension and urgency that it brings to the plate. There’s nothing quite like casually making your way through a heavily guarded area only for the indicator to pop up that tells you your opponent has killed the target. Upon this happening a 20-second timer begins forcing the fight sort of speak, either eliminate your target to even the score or forfeit the point. Consider me hooked on this adrenaline rush.

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Sniper Assassin is the second new additional mode to the series and serves as the co-operative experience whilst also remaining slightly competitive. Compete against someone whilst working together to take out all targets from afar in a limited timeframe. It’s the best of both worlds with the competitive aspect coming up in just keeping track of how many kills each player has. The downside to both modes is that currently they are only available on one map each, which adds more weight to the lack of content argument.

Then we have Contracts, user-created missions, almost. Players can jump into one of the maps and select an NPC, however you kill that marked NPC will be tracked, saved and then available as a contract for other players around the world to try their hand at it. This provides another way in which IO have made the small amount of content go a long way and provides that quality. Challenges, Mastery and Unlockables combine to form this sense of progression as you rinse and repeat your way through missions to gain more experience and satisfaction in completing things 100%.

I am a huge fan of the visuals, more so the effects and design as opposed to fine detail and fidelity. Walking through a typical suburban neighbourhood whilst taking in the view of American flags rippling, trees swaying and leaves falling sets an atmosphere that almost contrasts to your objective of well, killing people. The brightly coloured street doesn’t share many features with some of the other areas you will encounter, showing the sharp differences in the locations as to which your assassin job will take you to.

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Sound has been put to good use in conveying what is going on, building the tension exactly where it needs to and then bursting into a rush when things go awry. You need to be using your ears when tracking your enemies, as there are a ton of things to pick up along the way, vital information primarily.

OVERALL: 7.9/10 – GOOD

Hitman 2 delivers a well-paced story, deep gameplay mechanics and a ton of replayability. To go back to the argument of whether there is enough content, I want to say for the most part yes but only if your happy playing through the same few missions just in different ways and trying to 100% what you can. Personally, the amount of content just isn’t enough to keep me invested and I found myself becoming disinterested after a couple of play-throughs. A little more content would have gone a long way.

Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Hitman 2, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

 

Earthfall Review

Shoutout to Rhys for being awarded the Friendly-Fire King of Earthfall 2018.

There is literally no better way to describe this other than: Earthfall is like a somewhat buggy spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead with aliens instead of zombies. It feel like an uninspired phrase to coin in on but it has never been more true, never have I felt the mechanics of Valve’s first-person zombie masterclass recreated so well. It feels more like homage than replication.

Earthfall was developed by Holospark, a team made of people that have had their fingers in many pies over the years. People who’ve had a hand in Destiny, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, No One Lives Forever 2,,Call of Duty 3, F.E.A.RBioshock Infinite, Dawn of War III & inFamous 2 to just name a few. It’s safe to say the team carries some hefty calibre.

It scratches that itch, the itch I’ve not been allowed to touch for years. Can you believe that it will be 10 years in November, nearly a decade since the launch of Left 4 Dead 2 and Earthfall is like the cooling balm needed, because that itch has been turning into something I caught once… we won’t go into detail.

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Four survivors (players or A.I) fight their way through hordes of aliens on a mission to exterminate the invaders. It’s set some years after invasion and seems mid way through terra-forming – there is alien fauna mixed with our own across the landscape. Our four heroes are searching for the hive, to take out the menace at the source.

Maybe it’s the fact that I had overplayed the hell out of L4D2 but I find Earthfall’s protagonists much more engaging. Their backstories and portrayal feels much less “b-movie” than I had expected. Voice acting is great and thankfully keeps the game “cheese-free” due to zero cringeworthy lines of dialogue.

Visually it meets the mark, volumetric lighting a standout for me. Running the game on maximum settings with a constant 115 frames per second was pleasing to say the least. It’s attainable due to the nature of the game. L4D2 ran perfectly well when it launched back in the day and other similar games managed to do so – Vermintide springs to mind, that and its recent sequel manages to amaze in its optimisation. Earthfall is no different.

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Akin to the above mentioned titles, Earthfall is not short of enemy variants. Light and heavy infantry, ones that run up and grab you by the head before running away, ones that pounce on you and keep you pinned, some explode and others spit at you. Then you have the heavy-weights, a futuristic energy shielded squid-like thing that causes an E.M.P on arrival and the massive brute similar to the Tank from L4D but this time totes a massive laser cannon in its mouth.

Gadgets and weaponry are just cool, although being able to use a 3D printer to print an infinite amount of firepower may be making things a little too easy. Three versions of an mp5, two versions of an AK47, a few shotguns, a sniper, couple pistols and a heavy Gatling gun or flame thrower… standard fair for this type of shooter. The plasma rifle is my favourite by far. The barricade gadget is one of the most welcome items I’ve come across in gaming for ages, forming a mesh-fence barricade with automatic door to block access from the waves of aliens and you can upgrade them with an Arc grenade to give them an electrified effect.

Where the game falls short is in its length (at least for now), it has just 2 campaigns – each five missions long and maintaining the usual linear paths of hold/defence of the genre. A.I on both sides – the aliens and your companions – needs some refinement. Such as one of my guys refusing to pick up a weapon or the grabby-alien not really running away when he gets hold of you. The balancing of the aliens also needs to be questioned, the Thresher (pouncer) for example carries far to much health and deals too much damage for my tastes and the biggest guy, you know, laser-cannon mouth, is not fast enough to catch you unless you have lost a serious chunk of health yourself.

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Even on the games easiest setting it can still be quite unforgiving. However this is made easier by the fact you can revive players on the spot. Like L4D you get knocked down and can still fire you pistol for a time or until you get incapacitated. After which you must then search for the last survivor in cupboards or rooms along the route to recover the team to its full. Earthfall lets you revive them there an then, unless you’re being battered and have to leg it.

And as I mentioned earlier, the fact you can print endless weaponry offers the player too much power, a hold-out mission at a church stands out in particular because you can print infinite Arc grenades and the better of the AK47’s. As long as those playing understand the very basics of the game it becomes very difficult to lose the battle. Shoutout to Rhys for being awarded the Friendly-Fire King of Earthfall 2018.

This was genuinely hard to write about. The gameplay is great and it all looks sexeh, aside from a few niggles, bugs and some needed tweaking I can see Earthfall being a title I return to for years. Adding a few more campaigns would be number one on my to-do list. If you love the L4D format, love aliens or just solid shooters you can’t go wrong here.

OVERALL: 7.4/10 – GOOD

Written by Michael Jones.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Earthfall, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)

Far Cry 5 Review

So here we are with another iteration to the Far Cry franchise but this time with a twist from it’s original exotic far away places, Far cry 5 is the same experience you come to expect from the franchise only this time it has a twist, that twist is its set in a local that is far more relatable.

So here we are with another iteration to the Far Cry franchise but this time with a twist from its original exotic far away places. Far Cry 5 is the same experience you come to expect from the franchise only this time it is set in Hope County, Montana, a location that is far more relatable, and much closer to home for our American cousins, of course it’s a fictional town filled with its own demons and those trying to escape from them.

The very beginning of the game sees you travelling by helicopter with a U.S. Marshal to arrest this cult leader who has been capturing people and torturing them to follow his fanatical ways.

This is where the game first introduces you to Joseph Seed aka The Father of Edens gate or PEGIS (Project At Edens Gate) as the locals call them. As you walk past all the cult members in the early cut scene you are introduced to the leader and his 3 generals with a moment that brings chills down your spine.

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Your first choice in the game is to arrest the father or leave, that’s your choice to make, but let’s go by my choice for now. As you take the father in handcuffs to the extraction helicopter the cult start to become enraged around you and shout and scream at you, once the father is on the helicopter you see how devoted they are, they jump into the blades of the helicopter sacrificing themselves and causing the helicopter to crash.

From this moment is where Far Cry gives you the reigns albeit for a short period, once you have escaped the cult and located a safe bunker you’re introduced to the first character that will talk to you through the whole campaign, his name is Dutch. This instalment in the series changes up it’s standard formula of using specific named characters, in hope county you are an unnamed deputy so it’s down to you how you look and what you wear. The customisation is not incredibly detailed but does give you enough for variety in character looks, after all variation is the spice of life.

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Once you have created your character you are introduced to a quest that shows Ubisoft has heard the gripes that fans have had with their early iterations of the series and they even poke fun at themselves. But of course we all know which part of the games we all had issues with and that is of course the 100 Towers you have to climb to earn weapons and skill points.

Something long time fans found is the staple of unlocking weapons and locations, fear not however, this is the only time in the entire campaign you have to do this and Dutch even references that in his communication at the end.

Driving is back but this time with more control than ever before, you don’t feel like the vehicles in the game are unrealistically hard to control and getting from one section to another is easier with the inclusion of planes and helicopters which are something new to the franchise.

The county of Montana is split into 3 large regions each rich with side quests, collectables and side games to play or ignore that’s your choice. Each region is run by one of the father’s generals and they hint at which one you should start off liberating first and yet the choice is completely yours.

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Each section can be liberated by completing the side quests and destroying certain objects which differ in each region, in John’s region you have to destroy the silos containing fertilizer that the cult uses to create explosives for example. As you traverse the map you don’t have set pointers on where you should go but instead the story missions occur only after you have conquered enough of the territory which is another first for Far Cry.

Each territory is unique to the general who over sees it and the enemies vary from each zone to the next, the story itself feels solid and fun to play through with characters that don’t seem impossible or unrealistic.

This new formula makes you search out parts of the map for secrets such as prepper stash’s that grant you guns, cash and skill points. You gain these skill points from finding skill books or completing objectives, like getting 100 kills using a pistol, the skills you unlock help with progression through the tougher region and allow you to improve your character and adapt it to your play style.

You’re introduced to your companions by finding their quests in the world or rescuing civilians from the PEGIS, the named characters have set quests that in the end afford you the ability to call on them for help throughout the game.

The iconic character is Boomer who’s traits allow him to mark all enemies close by and even steal their weapons and bring them to you, every recruit-able character be it named or otherwise has unique traits, the civilian characters unlock two traits as you use and play alongside them.

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The map itself is as you’d expect from, lots of secrets areas and wildlife that is not always friendly. You almost feel as if it could be a real place even the stories you hear around the world help to entrench you deep within this worlds lore.

A new addition is the inclusion of Far Cry arcade, this mode lets you use the skills you have unlocked in missions created by the map maker, something that’s very enjoyable to play around with and includes assets from other Ubisoft titles.

Now we talk about the dreaded micro-transactions that have plagued games for a while now, although these are present, they are not game changing and are just a quick way for those of us who do not have the time to play for hours to unlock weapons and vehicles. If you don’t have enough cash for a costume or vehicle then you can use the currency which is a reward for completing the weekly challenges or finding small amounts in game. Not once did i feel I was locked out of content by this barrier which is a great move, but for those of us who want the benefits but don’t have the time to grind for them it’s helpful.

The weekly challenges change each week and grant you unique in game costumes and weapons that would not be available by any other in game means. These challenges set you out to complete a milestone by doing a certain task such as playing arcade for 20 minutes which would reward you with the vector and an in-game arcade skin, the challenges also offer you silver bars which are micro-transaction items.

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Now once you’ve finished the main story and completed as many side quests as you choose to, there are other activities such as the clutch Nixon events which gives you a vehicle and pits you against the AI in extravagant courses somewhat reminiscent to that of Evel Knievel.

For those who want to just spend time and admire the county of Montana there are fishing spots that you can go to and even try and break records set in each region, upgrade your fishing rod and have fun, but beware of bears.

The customisation available for the weapons is a fun inclusion and allows you to customise how you play the missions using your favourite weapons. Each weapon has a standard set of attachments and even skins that can be used, each of which change how the gun operates and often changes the play style of the game itself, want to go stealth then throw on a silencer etc. Although the customisation is limited its not small enough to feel useless.

Overall once these activities and side quests have been completed Far Cry 5 still brings you back with the Arcade builder, but having said that the game can become stale after a prolonged period of time, this is something they can improve on with more DLC, weapons and enemies to fight.

OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT

Reviewed by Adam Walters.