A huge game has hit recently with Resident Evil 7 and Joe checked it out while we also checked out the retro return of a classic beat em up, some stylish dungeon crawling and more.
Resident Evil 7 (Joe): Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is a return to glory for a series that was in desperate need of new blood. Though drastically different from recent installments in its first-person, haunted house, spook-o-rama approach, the overall mood is very familiar. Weird house. Weird inhabitants. Weird shit all around. RE:7 is not the “definitive” Resident Evil game. Instead, it’s an excellent attempt to right the course of a sinking ship headed for the rocks. Though the story feels flat (and predictable) at times and any ties to a greater Resident Evil universe are forced at best, the gameplay is engaging and genuinely creepy most of the time. But like any good Resident Evil game, there comes a turning point where you realize, “I actually have a lot of shotgun ammo now… Let’s rock!” In short, despite its few super obvious faults (Really? That’s the resolution to the Baker Family storyline?), Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is the blood transfusion the series desperately needed. For the first time since playing the original Resident Evil game for Playstation, I was actually nervous about what was waiting on the other side of doors. I found myself making some tough decisions at item boxes (and spamming the hell out of my saves). Hell, there were a few shrieks thrown in, too. Manly, masculine, firm-gripped shrieks, of course.
Warlock’s Tower: Stylistically and gameplay wise, Warlock’s Tower pays homage to the old school Game Boy, particularly it’s puzzle games. You play as Bob the Mailman, who has to deliver an important letter to the Warlock who lives at the top of a deadly tower. As Bob makes his way through each room, he has only a certain number of moves before he’s killed. The key to the puzzles is to figure out the order you will collect coins on the ground that will reset your moves to the number on the coin. Eventually traps, keys and enemies get added to complicate things but it’s a great, addicting puzzle game and, while I haven’t tried the mobile version, that might be the best way to relive the glory days of Nintendo’s portable system.
Phoning Home: In Phoning Home, you play as a robot named ION whose spaceship has crashed on a mysterious uncharted planet and he has to work with the ship’s AI, ANI, to gather resources, build devices and figure out a way to signal back to their homebase for a pickup. The world looks great and there are lots of resources and creatures to find and ANI has fun, dry British vocal style but the style and pace of gameplay really isn’t what I normally get into. If you’re a fan of more slower paced exploration, you might want to check it out but I need a bit more action and a quicker pace.
Ryse: Son of Rome: I believe Ryse made it’s way around the bargain circuit last week, I got it on sale for $5 on Steam last week and I believe it was also in a Sega Humble Bundle as well. It was one of the huge Xbox One launch titles, showing off the graphic prowess of Microsoft’s new box but I think under $10 is the perfect price now for this Roman action game. You play as Roman soldier Marius, reliving his illustrious career battling barbarians across the Roman Empire. There are some awesome looking scenarios, like the Ancient Roman equivalent of the Saving Private Ryan D-Day opening and the action is fun but repetitive, with the main gameplay gimmick being the executions that require a certain set of button presses as Marius chops off arms and disembowels his enemies. There’s also some simple strategy as you command a squad in a shield wall or direct arrow volleys. If you’re looking for a fun historically themed action game with some Batman style combat and brutal finishers, definitely check out Ryse the next time it’s on sale.
Gunman Taco Truck: Combining fast paced shooting sections with Diner Dash style restaurant management, Gunman Taco Truck takes place in the far off future of 2020 when the world is a nuclear radiated wasteland but people still need their fix of tacos, so you drive your food truck across the country, gathering ingredients like giant bugs and cows along the way and then making a variety of tacos for the customers at each stop. You can also gather scrap and money to buy upgrades and new ingredients and the quicker you make the tacos, the better the tips and the more money you make. It doesn’t do anything too radically different from similar food making games but the setting and shooting between stops makes it stand out and if you’re fan of that style game, it’s worth checking out.
Heavy Metal Machines: MOBAs like League and DOTA are still juggernauts of multiplayer but Heavy Metal Machines seems like it might offer a little bit more accessible and fun twist on that genre. Instead of the lane based, minion killing gameplay of typical MOBAs, Heavy Metal Machines is more setup like a sport a la Rocket League, where each team is trying to deliver a bomb to the other team’s base. All the hero characters are in the Twisted Metal vein, each driving a distinctive vehicle that is one of three categories. Some are designed to carry the ball while others are better suited to attacking and defending. The matches go to 3 bomb deliveries and you gain experience that can be used to upgrade your weapons as the match progresses. The population is kind of sparse for multiplayer right now but the few matches I played against bots seemed fun and the idea is much easier to grasp than DOTA or League but it needs the players to give it a shot, so definitely check it out as it’s free to play right now in Early Access on Steam.
Brut@l: It’s been out for a bit on consoles but Brut@l is now available on PC. Paying homage to the earliest games of the dungeon crawling genre, where the graphics were all created with ASCII art, Brut@l has you exploring dungeons that are like the 3D realization of those text based games and it looks fantastic, almost Tron like, and you can also check the map which zooms out to look like an old school ASCII game. After you pick your class (each of which has different starting skills and strengths) you’ll be dropped into a randomly generated dungeon and you can see how deep you can go before being killed. Along the way you’ll collect letters which will let you create and then enchant various weapons and there’s a great mechanic involving potions where you don’t know what the effects of each color is until you either throw it at enemies or risk drinking it yourself. One might heal but the other might set you on fire so it’s a gamble after you create each one the first time. The action is also super fast paced and feels great and it keeps adding new twists, like elementally charged enemies who may need to be taken down with a weapon enchanted in the opposite element and you can dodge over and around the enemies to try and score attacks. If you’re a fan of Rouge likes and dungeon crawling, definitely check out Brut@l.
Double Dragon IV: Throwing back to the original NES series of Double Dragon beat em ups, the “fourth” chapter in the saga of Billy and Jimmy Lee is out on PS4 and Steam right now. Battling to San Fransisco and then eventually hopping a ship to Japan, the Lee brothers have to stop a new gang called the Renegades, who are preventing the Lees from opening dojos that will teach their martial arts technique. The gameplay is very old school, going all the way back to the first game, as you can’t back attack when surrounded like in Double Dragon II but there are some new attacks that will let you manage the swarms of enemies you’ll encounter, especially later on when they are throwing a gang of boss characters against you. The game starts out almost mind numbingly slow and easy but it does get more challenging around the fourth or fifth level but it’s a bit too simple and boring when compared to the last Double Dragon game, the hilarious, over the top and awesome Double Dragon Neon, which I would recommend instead of this but if you have to have that old school Double Dragon gameplay, this is available to check out.