Tagged "Shaq Fu"

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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Jun 05
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

While it’s questionable as to whether this week sees something new to please all and sundry, there’s still plenty to get your teeth into.

After a few false starts, Vampyr – from the creators of This is Strange – is now with us. This full-price RPG has gained reviews varying between 6/10 and 8/10, with limp combat and a few technical issues bogging it down. It’s good, certainly, but you may want to lower your expectations a tad.

Scrolling brawler Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is another that has spent a spell in development limbo. Heck, we even recall the Wii U version being previewed in the Official Nintendo Magazine. No reviews are live yet, but in-game footage suggests it’s serviceable enough. However, one Steam user reports of a fleeting 2-hour runtime, so maybe bear that in mind before coughing up £15.99.

We’re still waiting on The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset reviews too. Given the scope and scale of the colossal MMO, we may be waiting some time.

Arcade racer Onrush seems to be going down well, gaining a fair few 8/10s. Critics do have concerns about its longevity though. Hopefully, Codemasters has a post-launch content battle plan.

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker meanwhile is another intriguing FMV game from Wales Interactive, this time laden with Lovecraft references. We’ve rounded up scores below.

Then over on Switch there’s Happy Birthdays, a peculiar sandbox life simulator, and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido…which could be one of 2018’s biggest surprise hits. We’ll take a closer look during this week’s eShop round-up.

With E3 about to get underway next week’s line-up is looking slim. Rest assured we’ll round-up the few bits and pieces hitting the digital stores. We’re hoping for a surprise release or two.

New release showcase:

Vampyr – PS4/XO/PC

Reviews:
8/10 – PSU: “The most important job Vampyr had to do was to present a compelling game about the tragic romanticism of being a vampire, and the fight for retaining humanity or embracing the unnatural power it brings. Vampyr does drop the ball on many small things, but it does that important job superbly”

7/10 – GameSpot: “Vampyr is certainly shaggy and rough in the technical department, but its narrative successes still make for an impactful and worthwhile experience”

6/10 – Destructoid: “The story may be a tad lackluster, and the combat may be clunky as hell, but Vampyr does offer a compelling adventure for those looking for some blood-sucking fun”

Onrush – PS4/XO/PC

Reviews:
8.0 – God is a Geek: “Onrush takes the team-based multiplayer of Overwatch and combines it with a blend of Motorstorm and Burnout, creating one of the most unique and fun arcade driving games of this generation”

8/10 – Destructoid: “Onrush could use some refinement when it comes to its modes but its core is strong, and the foundation is set for a great arcade racer. I’m anxious to see how it evolves and if people will really pick up on the class-based system enough to explore it past the first few weeks of launch, but for now I’m happy boosting off of a cliff and doing sweet flips on a motorcycle to earn points”

7/10 – Push Square: “This brash vehicular experience draws inspiration from several different areas of the industry, but it reassembles them into something unusual and entertaining. A great online infrastructure means you can be in and out of the action in seconds, but the package could do with a little more meat on its bones to fully justify its price tag”

The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker – PS4/XO/PC/Switch

Reviews:
8.5 – Gaming Trend: “The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker is a reinvention of full motion video for the current generation of games. Its quirky and troubled cast gives some spectacular performances, and the text-based elements make this adventure game an excellent way to get into the genre”

8.0 – God is a Geek: “The characters are interesting, and the psychological threads draw out the plot leaving you just as vulnerable as the patients your interviewing”

4/5 – Digitally Downloaded: “The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker’s hook, for me, remains the need to take over as a psychiatrist. It’s not as easy as sitting comfortably and saying things like, “and how does that make you feel?” As Doctor Dekker’s replacement you are toeing the line between your patients’ sanity and insanity, having to decipher clues in their personality or stories to gain insight into what to ask”

Happy Birthdays – Switch

Reviews:
7/10 – GameSpace: “Happy Birthday’s takes a simple idea, decorates itself with some adorable aesthetics, and somehow manages to weaves together a multitude of different genres. It is an enigmatic experience that can’t be categorized, and that is its appeal. If you want something different then this is definitely for you”

7/10 – God is a Geek: “If you enjoy sandbox games and want one that manages to add in quite a few mechanics and systems together, Happy Birthdays is a charming game”

6/10 – Nintendo Life: “Interesting, educational and pretty, but ultimately soulless and a little boring”

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