If you haven’t heard of Overwatch, then you’ve probably been living under a rock as it has been marketed and hyped to hell. But does it live up to that hype?
Yes and no. If you are looking for a solid, hero-based multiplayer shooter that is far closer to Team Fortress 2 than the MOBA genre, you’ll probably dig it. However, the levelling system and micro-transactions are setup like a free-to-play game.
Have you ever watched your childhood gun downed in front of you? Because that is what it was like playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. I grew up on the old-school cartoon and movies, had a ton of action figures as a kid, and even had the album put out by the turtles with a post of it over my bed. I also didn’t have many friends.
So you probably wouldn’t be surprised when I say I was looking forward to this game. I mean, who wasn’t? A Turtles game developed by Platinum Games with a groovy comic book art style, how could it go wrong? But wrong it is, oh so wrong.
This virtual reality exclusive takes place during the age of the Vikings and deals mostly with a bit of their mythology. The game starts off with the player character dead and being offered a second chance at life as long as they take an oath of silence, hence the title. From there you’ll have around two hours of slowly pacing around listening to dialogue from other characters that spin a very shallow story.
The developers describe the game as a “narrative experience that focuses on emotion over gameplay” and call the game “movie-length.” At least the developers aren’t directly liars, as the game took around two hours to finish, and there certainly is little in the way of gameplay. The majority of your time will be spent walking or standing still and looking at characters as they deliver their dialogue directly at you or other characters. The only thing that otherwise qualifies as gameplay is a short segment where you’re tasked with shooting a few deer with a bow early in the game, something that you’d think would be foreshadowing using the bow again in the future—but you’d be wrong.
Growing up I always wanted to be a paleontologist because I was obsessed with dinosaurs. Instead, here I am a lowly game critic, but every cloud has its silver lining, mine being that I get to review all the video games with dinosaurs in them—like this one. If only this game were good.
Time Machine VR has you traveling back to the times when dinosaurs were still alive and researching their behaviors in hopes of finding a cure for an ancient virus unleashed from the melting ice caps. The story is told through full-motion video sequences and voiceovers from your AI guide. Flat FMVs inside of a VR game is just an odd choice considering video can now be recorded specifically for VR, but I suppose it makes sense if in the future we are still using flat screens. Regardless, the story isn’t all that interesting nor all that important.
Let me put it bluntly—this PS4 exclusive is one of the worst games I’ve played this year. Other than character designs, there isn’t a single thing about Shadow of the Beast that can be considered anything close to good. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times at decisions made by the development team, wondering how they thought they were good ideas.
The first time I laughed was at the very beginning of the game as the player character is being lead around on a leash like a kinky BDSM-pet roleplay. After slaughtering some monks who don’t fight back, you come to a baby in a crib. Seeing this triggers some memory and you break free from your chains as your captor grabs the baby and starts to run off but not before you wound the evildoer.
If you’re thinking about picking up a virtual reality headset and aren’t sure if you should get the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, get the Vive. The Vive has so many advantages over its competitor the Oculus Rift that it already feels like a generation ahead.
While the Rift currently offers only sitting and basic standing experiences, the Vive has room-scale VR and it is a game changer. What this means is that you can walk freely around a predetermined space in your room as long as the lengthy cable on the headset can reach. The headset and (included) custom controllers are tracked in real-time with extreme precision. You also don’t have to worry about walking into a wall, as the Chaperone feature will cause a wireframe outline of your space pop-up in front of you when you near the edge.
Due to the short development time developers have had with the Vive and Steam’s seemingly non-existent quality control, most things available for the Vive are cynical Unity store asset flips or simple basic experiences.
Currently, there are around 200 different pieces of software on Steam for the HTC Vive — and of the ones I’ve played, I can honestly say that The Gallery is my favorite, and the only game built with motion controlled virtual reality in mind that resembles a traditional experience.
If you’re like me, you yearn for the days when video games weren’t trying to be gritty and realistic all the time, you remember the N64 and PSX platformers fondly, and you miss the pure unadulterated joy they brought.
I have some good news for us; Lucky’s Tale is here to scratch that itch if you’re willing to buy an Oculus Rift. As the ‘pack-in game’ that comes free with the headset, Lucky’s Tale’s job seems to have been to show that virtual reality can do more than just first person experiences, and it mostly succeeds with some caveats.