Tagged "Extinction"

Dec 21
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

There was a time when we’d use Metacritic to compile our annual round-up of terrible games. As popular as these pieces were, in terms of page views at least, we’d always hit bumps along the way.

Scores varying between formats were the least of our problems. In most instances, we hadn’t experienced the games in question for ourselves. This, of course, made them tricky to talk about, forcing us to rely on second-hand opinions. We’re also pretty sure that Metacritic’s ‘worst list’ was almost entirely occupied by casual WiiWare and DSi games one year, reviewed by just a scant handful of critics. Hardly thrilling subject matter.

And so we no longer use Metacritic as a reference, choosing to talk about our own hands-on experiences instead. Some of the games below we received to review while others we picked up cheaply, knowing full well that they’re bad.

Spare us no sorrow. Bad games often have their own dubious pleasures. Amusing glitches, terrible voice acting, typos, poorly directed cut-scenes. Between the five games below, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing all these ‘quirks’ first-hand.

Past Cure

The third stage of this psychological stealth shooter involves a PlayStation 2-quality shootout in a multi-storey car park. To paint a better picture: the controls are clunky, the shooting mechanics feel ham-fisted and sloppy, and the cover system can’t be relied on. It’s like something from a pre-Gears of War age. We had already experienced a game-breaking glitch that caused us to fall through the floor, so you can imagine our confusion after falling through an air vent into a weird seemingly unfinished area set inside a sewer.

The textures appeared unfinished and the lighting effects weren’t behaving themselves, obscuring half the room. It appeared there was a puzzle to solve that entailed shutting off the power to cross a walkway, but after ten minutes of head scratching – and one checkpoint reload for good measure – we took to Google to find a solution. Turns out we weren’t alone in being confused. A user on Steam also found themselves trapped in this room, and likewise wondered if they’d accidentally fallen into a scrapped area.

Turns out this was a brand-new puzzle the developers added after the game launched, as they felt it needed more abstract/psychological moments. That’s to say, they patched their already frustrating game with an additional broken, seemingly unfinished, and downright confusing area. Now that’s counterintuitive.

After finally figuring the puzzle out, we found ourselves in a boss battle of sorts which entailed running away from a colossal statue with glowing red eyes. As we frantically ran, not even stopping to look behind, we made it unscathed to the doorway ahead. Inside was an open manhole cover with a ladder leading down, so we took the plunge…and landed outside the level, able to roam around freely in a white open void. Thankfully, the game behaved itself on the second (third?) checkpoint reload and the manhole took us back to the multi-storey car park as it was supposed to.

We gave up playing on the next stage – an extremely unforgiving stealth section with no radar or other stealth game fundamentals, other than a stealth kill option and the ability to crouch.

As bad games go, Past Cure has slightly more going for it than most. The visuals are appealing in places, the voice acting is more than passable, and there’s a degree of variety between missions. But with glitches galore and fundamentally flawed mechanics, only the most determined will ever see it through to the end. For us, even the lure of some easy achievements wasn’t enough.

Extinction

We have an inkling Extinction was once destined to be an all-singing, all-dancing, big budget title with way more variety than the final product. But when budget publisher Modus jumped onboard for publishing duties a spanner was thrown into the works, prompting the developers to dial down their vision somewhat. Just a theory, we should note, but one that stands to reason.

Whatever happened during development, this shouldn’t have launched at full price. Amazingly, there was even a £64.99 deluxe edition with bonus DLC. We pity anybody who coughed up full whack on day one, especially at sixty-five quid, as there’s so little content and variety on offer that even at £24.99 Extinction would’ve come under scrutiny.

It’s a hack ‘n slasher that involves protecting citizens from generic goblin foes while a rampaging giant smashes through a whitewashed city. Defeating goblins charges a meter, which once full sets the nondescript protagonist’s sword ablaze. It’s then time to take down the giant, which entails targeting body parts via a slow-mo feature. Take out their legs and they’ll fall to the floor, allowing their back to be scaled before chopping off their head – something not quite as grisly as it sounds here. If the giant destroys too much of the city, or too many citizens die, then the mission is failed.

This isn’t Extinction’s first mission, you understand. It’s the entire game. This cycle repeats from start to finish. Sometimes you must take down multiple giants, which occasionally have padlocks(!) on their armour which must be destroyed first, and a few new goblin types are also introduced along the way but that’s it for variety.

Extinction is so repetitive and slim on ideas that after around an hour of play missions become auto-generated. It’s as if the developers gave up entirely. It’s also around this point that the Xbox achievements start flagging as rare, making it obvious that most gamers simply gave up too.

Did we mention the deluxe edition cost sixty-five flaming quid?

Agony

When reviews of Agony went live – roughly a week after launch, we should note – critics stood up, leaned out the nearest window and yelled “The name Agony is apt, because it’s pure agony to play.”

Or at least, gaming sites were rife with words to that effect. Agony may look and sound enticing going on screenshots and concept alone – being a savage, gore-filled, stomp through hell – but it’s an utter chore to play. The biggest issue, by far, is that the developers seemingly made it purposely disorientating. Corridors and paths often look alike, the pace is frustratingly slow, and it isn’t long until the ability to scale walls is introduced which makes navigating the levels all the more confusing.

Then, to top it all off, the focus changes from exploration to stealth early on, throwing you straight into the deep end while still adjusting to the wayward mechanics.

Just like Extinction, the Xbox One achievement ratios are telling signs of woefulness. Even such early accomplishments as finishing the second level flag as ‘rare’ (currently unlocked by less than 31% of players), and as of yet not a single gamer on True Achievements can boast of a 100% completion.

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Apr 16
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

With nothing to challenge it, Far Cry 5 remains the UK’s no.1 for the third week running. Sounds like sales far exceed FIFA 18 at #2, as Ukie describes its chart position as “comfortable”.

Backing this up, the ever-insightful GamesIndusty.biz states that “selling around 3,500 copies would have got any game into the Top Ten this week.”

This also sheds light on how Extinction – last week’s only notable retail release – has performed, as the critically mauled action game failed to make the top 40. Our guess? A few hundred copies, tops.

Incidentally, Gun*Gal 2 also failed to make the Switch top 20.

Going back to the top ten, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe rose to #3. GTA V also moved up a few positions, taking #4. PUBG held onto #5.

Sea of Thieves fell from #3 to #6, golden oldie Fallout 4 re-entered the top ten at #7, Super Mario Odyssey took #8, GT: Sport parked up at #9 – rising from #15 – while Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remains at #10 for another week.

Call of Duty: WWII and Forza Motorsport 7 both depart the top ten, meanwhile.

Friday’s launch of God of War should help the UK’s currently flagging software sales. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life stands a good chance of breaking next week’s top five, too.

Apr 11
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

The Pikmin-alike Masters of Anima is one of this week’s highest scoring new releases, currently bettered only by the belated Xbox One version of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice on Metacritic.

Masters of Anima sees a young scholar summoning and commanding armies of stone guardians, used not just for combat but also puzzle solving. We found it to be a polished package with a meaty and challenging combat system. The £15.99 price tag represents good value for money, too – there’s at least 20 hours of play here. We’d go as far to say that some of the greedier publishers out there would have happily charged double.

Enter Maximum Games. We hoped Extinction would mark the start of a new chapter for the frugal publisher – the trailer looked impressive, it had a renowned studio behind it (Iron Galaxy, who took over the Killer Instinct reboot), and he core concept of taking down colossal giants was sound. They even felt it deserving of a £64.99 deluxe edition. The end result? A dull and formulaic experience, with one centrepiece gimmick recycled endlessly.

Most review scores clock in at 5/10. Not all critics were that generous though – a fair few 3/10s have been handed out, while Gaming Trend gave it a miserable 15%. “Someone, somewhere along the line, should have made the call to cancel this game,” they said.

As mentioned, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice arrives on Xbox One this week. The ‘AAA indie’ did the business on PS4, gaining positive reviews and shifting 500k copies in just three months. There’s no reason as to why the Xbox One version shouldn’t repeat this success – it makes good use of the Xbox One X’s extra grunt, and we haven’t seen a lot of big budget titles on the Xbox One store of late. You’ll find review scores below.

Indie platformer Deep Ones – influenced by the ZX Spectrum era – is another we’ve reviewed this week. It’s an extremely low budget platformer that’s rougher than sandpaper, with more than a few frustrating moments. Echoing our 4/10 review, The Xbox Tavern also gave it a kicking: “Deep Ones may be cheap, you’re practically paying to be pissed off.”

For those with a PSVR headset, survival shooter Time Carnage and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-Ality may be of note. Virtual Rick-Ality hit PC (and other devices) last year, gaining favourable reviews despite being a tie-in. From the looks of things, the retail release isn’t due until the end of April.

New release showcase:

Masters of Anima – PS4/XO/PC/Switch

Reviews:
8/10 – Nintendo Insider: “[…] it’s hard not to marvel at the thrill of it all in the thick of battle, and how the many systems that are at play are masterfully woven together”

7.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “Masters of Anima is for those who love to multitask. Ordering various groups of guardians to attack multiple groups of enemies while also moving around, dodging attacks and performing combos can make for a very hectic game”

6/10 – Nintendo Life: “Masters Of Anima is no Pikmin, but if you’re looking for a fantasy land filled with tough enemy encounters and a game that’s relatively straightforward, then this one is for you”

Extinction – PS4/XO/PC

Reviews:
6/10 – Destructoid: “There are some flashes of brilliance every now and then but the over-reliance on the core energy meter idea keeps it imprisoned in the depths of repetitive arcade territory”

4.0 – God is a Geek: “The controls and camera barely work, and the plot is barely even there, told through excruciatingly lifeless reams of dialogue at the beginning and end of each stage; I just can’t recommend playing Extinction”

3/10 – The Metro: “Like most bad games the frustration with Extinction is that it’s not too hard to imagine the better game it could’ve been, especially given its obvious inspiration”

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – XO

Reviews:
9.0 – Windows Central: “Aside from the linearity and slight performance issues, there isn’t much to fault in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It’s a unique title which succeeds in its mission of giving gamers a glimpse into how people deal with psychosis and loss. It also delivers a realistic yet uplifting conclusion in the end”

8.5 – EGM: “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is the action adventure genre stripped of its excess, until a smaller, more personal journey remains. While it may feel shallow and lacking for some, those wanting something other than the usual big-budget 70-hour fare will find Senua’s story to be unlike anything else in recent years”

8/10 – GameSpot: “Though combat is one of the core pillars in Hellblade, the game doesn’t concern itself with offering numerous weapons or complex skill-trees to work through. Aside from some new combat abilities unlocked at key story milestones, Senua’s arsenal of skills and weapons is kept light till the end”

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