Gears 5 Review

Gears of War sits comfortably towards the upper echelon of my all-time favourite game series. After being there from the very beginning with the first title back in 2006 all the way through to Judgement, there’s something about seeing The Crimson Omen logo once more that gets the blood pumping. To lead into playing Gears 5 I finally found the time to play Gears of War 4 for the first time in order to get myself up to date and ready for next go around with Lancer in hand. It’s a mad world and will The Coalition succeed in delivering on the hype?

Now, for a third-person shooter that features a ton of gore, larger than life characters and bad-ass ways to execute your enemy, it’s the story that takes centre stage. It’s a shooter with tons of emotion, charm and above all, heart. Kait was first introduced in Gears of War 4 as part of the core squad, this time around she leads the squad and plays a pivotal role in the events of the game and the overarching Gears universe, if you will.

Number 5 follows the events of the previous title closely and directly deals with the final moments of GOW 4, Kait after losing her mother seeks to uncover the origins of her family and of the Locust. She finds herself a part of the very thing she used to fight against, The Coalition of Ordered Governments, also known as COG. Joined by JD, Del and Marcus who along with Kait reform Delta Squad, which is just a nice call back to the OG team.

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Start to finish each mission serves a true purpose, there aren’t any throwaway objectives or battles and all aid progression of Kait’s goal to find out what the hell is going on. Whether it’s traversing winter terrain in the hopes of uncovering the location of a comm tower or putting together a rocket in the harsh dessert, there is a sense of importance and urgency in everything you do that doesn’t overdo it or come across as cheesy. Throughout there are specific moments that add weight to the story and show the real danger present in the world of Sera. Whether it’s sweet victory or a bitter loss, I’m invested and celebrate or mourn each one respectively.

Something that has always stood out to me when it comes to these games is just how distinct and somewhat unique the gameplay feels. The series that popularised cover-based action has this gravity about it that makes it feel not only slower but heavier too, which is weird to even comprehend. If you take the gameplay and transfer it anywhere you could identify that this is straight-up GOW.

Weaving from cover to cover whilst trying to protect my skull from the impending sniper round eager to spread my brains all over the floor is exhilarating. The stakes in battle are very real where wrong moves can easily spell the end and even though respawning is a thing, I didn’t want to get that point. Shooting from cover requires strategy and awareness of your surroundings as the Swarm often flank or aim from afar, especially those with the torque bows that can be crazy accurate and frustrating to come up against.

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Sight and hearing go hand in hand when it comes to combat, using both simultaneously to keep track of any enemy movement and action. Picture this, you’re in cover, pinned down by several assault rifle toting swarm. One by one, you start picking them off, only to hear the distinct clicking noise in the distance, in that moment you swap to your Longshot sniper rifle, and with the flick of the thumb stick you scope in on an enemy looking to hit you with the torque bow and take his head out before he can let go of the shot, I love it.

Something that lets the gameplay down is the gunplay that feels in a way too slow when it comes to aiming and sensitivity that it causes plenty of missed shots, wasting valuable ammunition at sometimes important moments. The reticles feel a bit too big almost as if they were designed in a way for you to miss shots, like there is a smaller invisible reticle inside the one displayed on screen. I hope I conveyed that in a way that made sense to you, if not, well that is the best your going to get I’m afraid.

But to bring it right back around something to commend is the variety of enemies on offer that make every encounter have this sense of eerie wonder. The thought of not knowing which type of enemy will pop up next is unsettling, considering the widely different tactics needed to overcome some of them and the difficulty they offer. If you aren’t prepared for opponents like the Carrier or Snatcher then you’ll be in for a tough fight. Having your wits about you and holding off on using all your explosive type weaponry will pay dividends for sure.

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Boss fights are very few and far between which means when they do occur, they feel earned and not shoe-horned in. The one fight which for those who play will know what I’m on about is downright infuriating, and yet I still enjoyed learning the enemies moves and how to counteract them that the countless deaths felt worth it in the end, like I accomplished something.

By far one of the best if not the best-looking experiences to grace the Xbox One platform, Gears 5 brings an awe-inspiring world to life thanks to both its design and visual fidelity. Each location has vastly different looks but have these underlying common traits of being barren and run-down with a severe absence of normal life. Whilst obtaining all these dark qualities, the visuals glisten with a polish not yet seen by a first-party games from Xbox this generation.

From the world to the characters to even the weapons, all have been designed to accentuate the apocalyptic setting. Ranging from dull colours to the wear and tear encountered on textures through-out, everything comes together to produce this formerly lived in world that has seen its fair share of war. What I particularly love is the evolution of the character designs not only throughout the series but even just in Gears 5, dependent on the location and time in the story there are different appearances that some of the characters go through which show the struggle of life for them.

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Quick shout-out, write-out, type-out, to the sound design of Gears 5 and I mean sound design overall. The music that accompanies those memorable moments and adds meaning to them is very much welcomed, with many pieces being evolved versions of ones that have shown up in the past. Somehow, music has always been one of the highlights of the series and whenever I hear them it sparks this recollection of the events the pieces are played over.

Satisfying sound effects are essential in making gameplay go that bit further on the addiction scale, because they make you want to continue the fight, to hear the scope in effect of the Longshot or the roar of the Lancer’s chainsaw is just, well it’s just lovely.

Laura Bailey does an outstanding job reprising her role as Kait Diaz and stepping up to the spotlight in a way that shows her vulnerability and yet her strength at the same time. Being able to show a range of emotions and take you on the journey with her. Other notable performances include Liam McIntyre, Eugene Byrd, John DiMaggio and Rahul Kohli who each bring their respective characters J.D. Fenix, Del Walker, Marcus Fenix and Fahz Chutani to life. After writing those, to be honest there are more I want to include like Fred Tatasciore and Lester Speight who return as Baird and Cole, two of my favourites of the series thus far. Needless to say, it’s a damn fine cast.

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The multiplayer offering comprises of three core areas, versus, horde and escape. The first of which has been a staple of the series, since its inception and has often been among some of the most rewarding online experiences I’ve played. Unfortunately for me two glaring omissions have been made in versus when it comes to included game modes, the lack of Wingman and Execution is disturbing. That’s not to say the other modes don’t stand on their own merits because they certainly do and offer different styles of play that allow a bit of a mix-up when needed.

Arcade is a new addition to the versus catalogue and provides a five-on-five scenario that sees characters with passive abilities do battle. It also uses a system almost akin to Counter-Strike in which players need to gain skulls in order to upgrade yourself and improve your weaponry each round, the skulls you receive depend on round-by-round performance. Variety is certainly something the team at The Coalition went for and succeeded upon, whether they’re all quality modes to jump into is the question.

Horde returns and seeks to once again improve on the formula of old, each character is now a hero that have their own abilities and roles to fill. My favourite thus far is a toss-up between Kait and her camouflage ability and Fahz with his x-ray vision. Perks are obtained throughout the game and act as a progression system whilst in each game, being able to improve your survivability by spending power obtained from fallen enemies. A second progression system comes in the form of skill cards which allow for improvements of a character whilst in between matches and are specific to them, levelling up characters will get you closer to the best cards.

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Being able to customise the difficulty and add modifiers allow for replayability and the opportunity to really test your skills, 8 levels of difficulty each one adding a modifier, the latter levels really bring the pain. An issue I find with horde is that it’s only truly fun when with human players, preferably with ones that are talking otherwise you have to put up with bots and the unique challenges they bring due to not being as talented as real players.

Escape is new to the series and allows players to test their will in a battle against both the Swarm and time itself. Fast-paced action which is straight up my alley and that’s not a euphemism. Three players go in, hopefully all come out, much like horde it offers escalating difficulty levels. The biggest inclusion perhaps of the entire mode is allowing you to create your own hives and allow the player base to have at it. The potential is there but after a few go arounds, it does get repetitive and I feel will heavily rely on player creation in the future as opposed to dev created maps. A character-based system is in effect with specific hero’s having their own loadouts and abilities along with the option to add star cards to them in order to boost their stats or net some tasty perks.

OVERALL – 8.8/10 – GREAT

A bar has been set for Xbox Game Studios releases and it’s been set by Gears 5, being perhaps the first, first-party exclusive for Xbox One that delivers a deep story with interesting characters, stunning visuals and an addicting gameplay loop. The multiplayer suite has some surprising omissions but still manages to capture much of the magic that made me stay up for hours into night in its predecessors. The repetitive nature of Horde and Escape dampened my enthusiasm for the package that is Gears 5, but with a campaign as strong as it is, thankfully I can say I highly recommend.

Written by Rhys Baldwin.

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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.)

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.)

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.)

Battlefield V Multiplayer Reveal & Battle Royale Mode Teased

During EA’s E3 2018 Press Conference, it was teased that Battlefield V would be getting a Battle Royale mode. Not only that but they also delivered a multiplayer trailer that gives us a little look into what we can expect when the game launches later this year.

“Every battle is unique. Every mode its own challenge. Battlefield V multiplayer provides unmatched intensity and scale in a sandbox of all-out war.

Take on classic modes like Conquest or experiences like Grand Operations, where you’ll participate in vast historical battles across multiple maps – and modes – and relive moments of bravery and desperation while fighting your way to the final objective.”

Battlefield V will be available on October 29th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Published by Rhys Baldwin.

Paladins Heading To Switch

The hero shooter from Hi-Rez Studios is making the switch to Nintendo Switch, Paladins Champions of the Realm will be available for the home console / handheld hybrid on June 12th.

Purchase the Paladins Founder’s Pack on the Nintendo eShop in order to gain access to the game from next Tuesday (12/6). The pack features all 36 Champions and comes with the promise of all future Champions too. You will also net yourself many Founder Exclusive cosmetic items.

A free-to-play version is currently on the cards that is due to arrive later this summer. At launch there will be cross-play multiplayer, 60fps gameplay and a lot of fun to be had as you play how you want.

Published by Rhys Baldwin.