The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 23 – The Case of ‘The Mountain’

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we had a special guest in the form of Kii Smith, our games contributor and resident Nintendian. We all chat about Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, casting news from the Agent Carter series and Tarantino having entertaining hissy fits, while Adam realises he may be deeply attracted to Jon Hamm, Kii hasn’t had a day off since London was invented, and for once Gary is the one who tries to start a feud with a celebrity, only this time it is a celebrated children’s author

Gary in 60 seconds this week was the Sci-Fi classic ‘Wing Commander’, starring Freddie Prince Jr.

The main talking point this week was the EGX video games expo that took place in London last weekend, that Adam and Kii were lucky enough to get press passes to attend on the Friday and had the chance to check out a load of upcoming games. They chat about their experience of the expo and their favourite games  they tried out.

If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.


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KiiGX: Part Two

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Kii’s coverage.

A continuation from my Part One!

Mortal Kombat X
I missed quite a lot of the Mortal Kombat series. I remember playing one of them when I was a kid but in my memory it’s just a sea of pixels. However, I did play Mortal Kombat 9 pretty extensively and later Injustice: Gods Among Us from the same development team.

Mortal Kombat X has made some pretty drastic changes right off the bat. Mainly being that at the end of Mortal Kombat 9 (Spoiler) they’re all fucking dead. Barely any of the roster actually made it to the end of the game thus, it was a pretty bold move to continue canonically with the series instead of having another reboot or ‘alternate dimension’ type deal. Due to this, we have an array of entirely new characters that people have never seen before and ones that have popped up in previous games but never been playable. Whereas MK9 was the complete series done right, MKX is the fresh blood it needs. And there’s lots of it.

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I managed to play through two battles, firstly as D’Vorah (Bug Lady) against a Subzero player (I won) and secondly as Ferra and Torr (Piggy Back Chums) against Adam on Cassie Cage (I let him win, mostly). Both characters are from the completely new roster, D’Vorah being a very quick and venomous assassin style and Ferra and Torr being more brute force. Both were extremely fun to play as, especially with the new system implemented in MKX where you have three styles of moves to choose from for each character. For example, with D’Vorah I could choose to focus on her venom, her strikes or her swarm and this gave me different combos and moves for the match. With a presumably smaller roster than previous games, though the total count isn’t in yet, I thought it was an excellent way to give more variation to the characters and keep repeated match ups interesting.

One thing that NetherRealm have brought over from Injustice is the interaction with the background mechanics. Again, this gives great variation to fights as not only do your characters and move set groups vary, but your stage is now much more than a pretty picture behind you. With Injustice, it was pretty obvious what you could grab and chuck at your opponent but I had forgotten about that mechanic entirely until Adam threw a corpse in my face that had washed up on a wave in the Kove. Since he hadn’t done it on purpose it was hard to replicate on the fly, however it was clearly a natural and fluid part of the fighting animation as there was no pregnant pause whilst Cassie Cage lifted said corpse and lobbed it in my direction with me standing there like a numpty.

All in all, it’s a hilariously fun game and I feel that Mortal Kombat X is a fantastic evolution of the series. It’s not often that a franchise has been able to stay around for so long and still be standing up in its own right against all the new and indie fighters that have come in its wake.

 

Sunset Overdrive
I’ll be honest it’s nice to have a good humoured shooter that is devoid of beige. Sunset Overdrive, as the E3 trailers showed, does not take itself very seriously. We played a kind of horde mode where you protected vats of energy drink from monsters that were people mutated by said energy drink. I adore the designs of the game; I played as a small lady with a military helmet adorned with bunny ears, pretty much an animated version of myself. The movement around the level is extremely fast-paced due to being able to grind on rails, hook onto overhead lines and zip line and each character having a really good jump. I hate realistic jump heights in ridiculous games.

We had a wide variety of weapons, all of which were unique and silly which was awesome. I was particularly fond of ‘The Over Compensator’, a fire gushing blunderbuss and because of my fiery over compensating I came second in our group. Fire not your thing? Don’t worry, I also got my hands on a rocket launcher that shot giant ethereal jade dragons and a gun that flung 10” vinyls. If you imagine that the Saints Row team were given LSD and some crayons, that’s pretty much what the weapon blueprints are like.

This is the game that had me interested in the Xbox One and I still really want to play the entire game. Nathan may find that the rest of the Lighthouse team have crashed his house to have a go.

 

Splatoon
Oddly enough, playing Splatoon after Sunset Overdrive, I felt a good few similarities. By no means are the game actually the same in game play or design, what I mean is that they are both bright, cheerful and fast-paced with unique ways of travelling through the level. Splatoon, being a Nintendo title, is extremely accessible to all ages and abilities. You play as an adorable little squid person who has an ink gun. The name of the game is to have the most floor coverage of your coloured ink by the end of the round. Kills actually mean very little, so if you’re just jumping around and ‘splating’ people but not getting your ink coverage then you’re not actually being any use to your team. On the flip side, if you’re playing with your little brother who isn’t very good, he can hang back and ink everything from a safe distance without having to be in contact with enemy players whilst still being helpful to your score.

Onto my aforementioned unique movement. Being an adorable little squid person, you can jump into your ink and swim around in it. This allows you to go up walls, under grates and into trees whilst being completely invisible to the enemy. One tactic I saw was a player sitting in a tiny ink spot that the enemy thought nothing of, when the opposing team had run ahead, the player jumped out and starting inking everything in the enemy base with their colour. So whilst the game looks childish, there can be some pretty decent strategies if you want all out squid warfare and thus isn’t patronising to more experienced players.

And then…

I was going to add a segment about Smash Bros since we managed to watch the final of a tournament whilst we queued for Splatoon. But who am I kidding, it looks great. It’s all I can really say on the matter, the cast is strong, the game play looks great and it’s really fun. I didn’t get to play it but I have been playing my demo copy on the 3DS almost non-stop. I was also insanely jealous of people on my street pass who had been playing the ‘Special Demo Copy’ which has all of the characters unlocked and that one Japanese guy who actually had the full game. I’m buying it, I’m playing it and no I will not shut up about it.

So, there we are. EGX as a whole. It was a fantastic experience and I’m so happy that The Lost Lighthouse got to attend. Adam and I were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day and I really wish that we could have covered more. Sadly we are merely human so until we evolve into mythical cyborgs we were destined to be, we’ll cover as much as physically possible (and maybe get more people to go to more days). I really enjoyed the show and I’m looking forward to being able to attend more.

On that note, Fenton and I are covering PlayExpo on the 11th October in Manchester! If you’re coming then feel free to say hi. I’ll be the tiny person with the Hylian Shield with the big guy who’ll be glued to Mortal Kombat X.

Kii

EGX Round Up – Part Three: Bayonetta 2, Sunset Overdrive and Splatoon

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Adam’s coverage.

And now for the final part of my EGX round up from last Friday, which Kii and I attended as press for the first time to check out some of the various games coming out soon. So far I’ve mostly just talked about survival horror games (see part one!) or other violent supernatural games (part two!), so I’ll finish off with some of the more light-hearted ones we had some time with.

 

Bayonetta 2

I think I’ve said before on The Weekly Rapture podcast, but I absolutely love the first Bayonetta game. Platinum Games delivered a wonderfully over the top experience, with gameplay that feels totally chaotic without a loss of control over what you are doing. The story of Bayonetta the witch and her fight against the angelic forces is ridiculous, as she wields a range of different weapons including guns attached to her heels, torture executions and hellish attacks that render her naked as she uses her hair (which makes up her latex-looking costume) to summon huge attacks that devastate her enemies. The character is imbued with a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek sexuality and fan service, with the game knowing it is being silly and having a lot of fun with it.

Unfortunately for WiiU-less people like myself, the sequel is only coming out on Nintendo’s system and not a Sony or Microsoft platform. My knee jerk reaction to this would be to get angry at exclusivity for a game I really wanted, but reports were that there simply wasn’t the support for Bayonetta 2 and that the project was effectively dead in the water until Nintendo swooped in and saved it by acting as publisher. Understandably they would want exclusivity for this (and this hasn’t made me anywhere near as annoyed as the Rise of the Tomb Raider kerfuffle on Xbox One), and it is down to Nintendo that the sequel is actually coming out at all.

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With that in mind, I still really wanted to give the demo a go. Gone are the days where I can afford multiple consoles in a generation, so I’ll have to resort to good, reliable friends to get the chance to play the game when it comes out (i.e. I’m going to go to Kii’s and play the WHOLE game in one night). In the Nintendo WiiU section of EGX, after a short queue, the attendant asked me if I had played before, and was I any good. I resisted saying ‘actually, I’ve got a platinum trophy for the first one on PS3’ because that would make me sound like a dick, and instead decided to play it down because this would be the first time I would have had my hands on a WiiU controller, playing a game I hadn’t touched in three years. We were given the option of playing a tutorial and a single verse (sequence), or going straight into a boss fight. I thought the former would probably be a good idea, lest I make a fool out of myself.

The gameplay was exactly as I remembered it, and I eased into the controls relatively quickly (I have been playing games for nearly two decades now, so I learn quickly). The DMC style gameplay, as with the first game, makes it very easy to feel like you are kicking a lot of ass, and the witch time mechanic made a welcome return as well as some more torture kills. The brief verse we got to play was fun and familiarly ridiculous, fighting members of the angelic horde on the back of a fighter jet that the upcoming boss was trying to knock out of the sky. There was a quick glimpse of Bayonetta’s BFF Jeanne, standing on another jet upside down (because witches), then your fighter takes a big hit and heads towards the boss. Then the demo was over. Despite an unfamiliarity with the controls, I still managed a silver medal for the verse too. Kii got bronze. ‘Nuff said.

The demo was a little on the short side, but this is looking like more of the same but better,which is really what you want in a good sequel. In a later conversation with one of the Nintendo attendants, while Kii was hunting all sorts of monster ultimately, I was told that Nintendo are bundling in an HD version of the first Bayonetta with the special edition of the game, and in a way that is pretty uniquely Nintendo they are including extra skins for Bayonetta to wear in the game (not sure if this was just the sequel or the first game too) using Nintendo characters, like Samus or Link, that include unique moves and actions based on those skins. This struck me as pretty cool, and interesting as usually extra skins are just that and therefore a little boring. It’s nice that Nintendo are going the extra mile with it, and while I am genuinely sad that I won’t be able to get my hands on Bayonetta 2 easily, I am glad that Nintendo are ensuring that the series can continue. It’s already out in Japan, but is due out over here on October 24th.

 

Sunset Overdrive

The only game we actually got the chance to try out over in the Microsoft section was Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac Games and published by Microsoft. We queued for a while, and we were flagging quite a bit by this point in the day. Lots of wandering around with the crowds, bright lights and various demos at the end of a long week led to us needing a serious pick-me-up at this point. Sunset Overdrive looked to be that sort of game, with the trailer from back at E3 making it look like a lot of insane and colourful fun.

Sunset overdrive

While I think the game actually supports eight player co-op, we put in a team of 6 and took part in ‘Chaos Squad’, in which we had to defend vats of an energy drink from hordes of OD’d. Looking it up now, the OD’d are humans who drank too much of the newly released energy drink Overcharge Delirium XT and were transformed into monsters, and the player controls customisable employees of the company that made it to take out these monsters. You’re given a pretty decent range of weapons, from highly explosive rocket launchers, shotguns and the harpoon gun the ‘Captain Ahab’, all of which are great fun, and you move around grinding rails and lines exploding the creatures trying to get more energy drinks. Being somewhat addicted to caffeine in all it’s forms (I can quit any time I want!), this was a somewhat harrowing look at my future as a mindless zombie needing a fix. After a lot of colourful kills of the various OD’d, nearly dying myself a couple of times, we finished the mission successfully. I came last, but the other group playing at the same time failed. So I was better than them at least.

This game looks like it will be a huge amount of fun, with either online and local multiplayer. I have no idea what the single player will be like, but with a set up as ridiculous as this I’m sure it will be entertaining. The game is heavy on style, reminding my visually of Jet Set Radio and other similarly vibrant games. The team behind Rachet and Clank seem to be putting out another interesting IP here, and I hope I get the chance to play it when it comes out on October 31st (I’m going to trick Nath into buying it).

 

Splatoon

The last game we played was Splatoon back in the Nintendo section on the WiiU. There was a really fun vibe from all the folks working there, cheering on the two teams facing off against each other. On top of this, there was a Smash Bros. final going on on the big screen behind us that we kept watching too, with the emcees throwing out loads of Nintendo goodies in between events. We soon got to the front of the queue for the game we were supposed to be watching, and one of the Nintendo attendants showing off the game very patiently showed me the controls. I clearly struggled a little bit with the motion action of the WiiU controller to look around, especially as it was attached to the stand by a cable which dramatically reduced the range of movement (though I understand why they would need it secured).

In Splatoon you fire ink from what looks like a super-soaker, and the aim is to cover as much of the level with your team’s ink as possible. When you run out of ink, you can dive into sections that are your colour already, swimming around in it as a squid and replenishing your ink. You also move more quickly this way, but can only move in your ink and can’t attack. You can spray members of the enemy team with ink too and blow them up, gaining more points for your team. Covering as much as possible can also unlock a limited time bazooka, which lays down a lot of paint and devastates your enemies.

The game was extremely fast paced and animated, and was a really enjoyable multiplayer. We used absolutely zero tactics as a team, and as a result lost the round by only 0.1% ink coverage. I did get the highest score on our team, and the second highest in the game, so clearly I’m better at WiiU than I am at Xbox One. This was great fun, and I think it would be a good party game, but I am interested to see what other modes Splatoon has. I’m sure we will see more before the release early-to mid 2015.

 

 

After we we finished with Splatoon we headed upstairs to check out the indie games section. We looked around and tried a couple of games, but by this point we had been wandering around EGX for nearly seven hours and we were totally shattered. Kii and I both decided that it was time to call it a day, a real shame as we hadn’t finished our list of games that we wanted to check out, and had barely touched the indie section properly that really deserved a couple of dedicated hours to check out. However, we had managed our time through the day as best we could, so we had essentially overestimated how long everything would take. To get through everything we had wanted to get to, we really needed at least two days at the expo.

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But overall, for a first time attending a games convention like this as press, with the intent on covering our experience in various articles, I think it was pretty successful. The opportunity to play several games that aren’t out yet was great, and I really enjoyed all of them. EGX was busy without being heaving (though Saturday may have been a lot worse), and with no queue being ridiculously long (though the COD Advanced Warfare did look pretty damn long). I definitely want to go to more events like this, but I think to give the convention its proper due and cover everything we would like to we would need to be there for more than one day or take more than two of us to cover it (or both). Looking forward to the next one!

Adam

EGX Round Up – Part Two: The Order 1886 and Mortal Kombat X

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Adam’s coverage.

On to part two of my EGX round up from last Friday, where Kii and I received our first press passes to check out and cover the gaming expo. After a healthy dose of survival horror (see part one!) we went back down to the main floor to check out a few more games (and to give Kii a break from all the horror!).

 

The Order 1886

There were probably four games I was most looking forward to trying out at EGX. I have already talked about the first two, Alien Isolation and The Evil Within. The Order 1886, the Playstation 4 exclusive from Ready at Dawn and SCEA (due out February 2015), is another and the last I actually made it to. We wandered around for a while trying to figure out where it actually was, before realising it was in the same Playstation demo booth as Bloodborne (the other game I was very keen to try) and Until Dawn. So to try any of these three games you had to join the same queue, taking around 30 or 40 minutes, with an attendant coming through and splitting us up depending on the game we wanted to play. The Order was the most popular, so the queue was the longest, but to play another game in the same booth would mean re-queuing from the back of the line again. As such, I didn’t get the chance to play Bloodborne so we could get to some other game, but The Order was the game I really wanted to check out.

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The Order 1886 appears to involve a squad or division of enforcers that hunt and battle supernatural threats in an alternate, steampunk inspired Neo-Victorian London, utilising a variety of advanced weaponry (another character was using a weapons a lot like a Proton pack from Ghostbusters) to fight various creatures and violent criminals. In the demo, you play as Galahad (I’m not sure if you get the chance to play as multiple characters or just this mutton-chopped badass), and The Order join a group of constables who appear to be engaged in suppressing armed rebels or terrorists. Galahad is equipped with a Thermite rifle, which involves firing a combination of a flare at the enemy and spraying them with rapid-fire thermite rounds, which alone do little damage but upon contact with fire cause a huge ignition, setting enemies aflame. Lots of fun.

The demo doesn’t give too much away in terms of story, but hints at supernatural elements, for example a team member is grazed by a bullet and instantly heals the wound by drinking a tincture from a vial around his neck, and it shows off the Neo-Victorian environment. As this is just a snapshot of the game however, nothing is spoiled regarding where The Order are heading or why they are fighting these people. A succinct demo, that showed off the gameplay and the setting for the game, and left me wanting more by the end.

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The unique setting of The Order 1886 has me hooked, and I enjoyed the gameplay a lot. There was a fair amount of cover-based shooting, which isn’t a new mechanic but if you are going to use it it is important that it works and fits the game style. This felt like the system perfected by Gears of War, feeling heavy as you duck behind cover and move with all your gear without being sluggish. The only part that worried me was that around halfway through the demo the system froze, and one of the attendants came over and kindly rebooted it for me so I could start again from the beginning. A few minutes later, the same thing happened to the lady playing to my left. Now clearly this isn’t occurring on a level that is worrying the developers if they still felt they could show the demo at the expo (and it is a relatively early demo too), and it didn’t happen to me a second time through. But crashing for two people next to each other isn’t exactly a rare occurrence, unless it really was a total coincidence. However, I’m not worried as I am sure it is something Ready at Dawn are aware of, and with over four months before release I am confident that issues like this will be ironed out. Aside from that minor point, I am still very excited for The Order 1886 and will be keeping an eye on it as it gets closer to release.

 

Mortal Kombat X

This was actually one of the first games we tried out, while we were just wandering around the convention floor when we first arrived. Mortal Kombat X was developed by NetherRealm Studios, and we found it in one of the Playstation booths so played it on PS4, though it is also coming out on Xbox One. I won’t pretend that I play many fighting games anymore, but when I was younger I was pretty in to Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur and even way further back Killer Instinct on the SNES (I also love Smash Bros.). I never seem to buy new fighters because I only really get a lot of enjoyment playing with people live in the same room, but I always really enjoy them when I get the chance to play any beat em up round a friend’s house. The first trailer for Mortal Kombat X was very pretty and moody, so I was looking forward to the chance to try it out.

MKX

Kii and I faced off against each other, she choose Ferra and Torr and I chose Cassie Cage, and we fought on a stage called ‘Kove’ (we get it Mortal Kombat. Everything has to be spelt with a K). The graphics were very nice, which only highlighted the gore to come, and the fighting stage was fun with a few things to throw and other interactions to try out. Kii was a lot better than me, as she plays fighters more often and there was some overlap with the DC Injustice: Gods Among Us game that NetherRealm also developed. However, I still won. Because I am a badass. Or she let me try out my X-ray move which put me at a significant advantage in the last round. Whatever.

This was a whole heap of violent fun, the X-ray mode particularly being hilariously gruesome. As we played this downstairs, we actually were trying the censored version of the demo, with the full version only being upstairs in the 18+ section. Fatalities were blocked on this version, resulting in a victory that lacked any sort of fanfare. However, aside from that I don’t see how this was a censored toned down version. The X-ray mode attacks were all insanely violent and gory. I think Cassie Cage’s involved popping the opponents testicles, which you got to see, and others showed hands being shoved into chests, ripping at internal organs.

Am I going to buy Mortal Kombat X? Probably not. Will I play the hell out of it when I visit Kii and allow her to beat the shit out of me on it? Definitely. If fighters are your thing, this is shaping up to be another great Mortal Kombat game.

 

Come back tomorrow for the final part of my EGX round up!

Adam

 

EGX Round Up – Part One: Alien Isolation and The Evil Within

Adam and Kii went to EGX in London on Friday. Here is Adam’s coverage.

This Friday Kii and I had the privilege of receiving press passes to the EGX show, taking place from the 25th-28th of September at Earls Court, London. EGX is a huge gaming expo in which developers bring along demos of their upcoming games. Aside from sprawling sections for the big developers and gaming systems, there were also dedicated areas for indie teams too, as well as developer talks, stalls selling games merchandise, gaming charities and competitions. This will be the first of a couple of articles covering the games we played, my thoughts on them and the convention itself.

 

Alien Isolation

The new Alien game from The Creative Assembly (published by Sega) is one of the games I have been looking forward to the most this year, as I feel I have been missing out on survival horror recently, and the trailers and footage so far for the game seem to be hinting at that gameplay style, as well as tonally being very much in line with Ridley Scott’s original film. We took the lift up to the 18+ area of the expo, and joined what looked like a reasonably long queue leading out of the large walled off black area surrounded with the game’s logo. Joining the back, we were furnished with a free prequel comic. While this is a great bit of promotion and generous, to me it set off alarm bells as if to say ‘you are going to be here a while, here’s some reading for you’.

However, these fears were totally unfounded as they let the whole queue in one chunk, showing us a trailer and filling us in on the details of the demo and our objective, and that we had 10 minutes, while the previous group finished up. We were then led in and allowed to choose PS4 or Xbox One. I have to say I wasn’t expecting how well equipped some of these demos would be, as at a guess it looked like they had at least 30 of each system running the game. We sat down in the dark, green tinted booth, provided with some beefy headphones for full immersion, and started up the demo.

 

The objective was simple – get from point A to point B without being horribly murdered by the xenomorph. As Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, you start in a small room with only your motion tracker to pinpoint where it is, and a nearby flamethrower for defence. On the first attempt I missed it, going straight through the door into the access corridor. Creeping by as the alien stomped past, I thought I was clear but he turned and my brain briefly failed and tried to apply the tactic for dealing with clickers in The Last of Us, standing totally still. The alien is not a clicker. Rushing forward, the xenomorph was on me in a split second, right up in my face. Killing me in an instant, it felt like the monster had me personally and the second mouth was about to go right into my face.

Loading up the second attempt, the gravity of the situation had sunk in. That was how easy it was for grizzly doom to occur. I had been a little spooked by the atmosphere before, but now my heart was in my throat. I looked to my right, and Kii had already quit after her first death, Survival horror is not her deal, and this game seemed to be delivering just that. I remembered the flamethrower this time, but did not remember the controls for using it so fared no better at all. The death sequence was longer this time, with the highly evolved killing machine pinning me down before murdering me horribly. Grim.

Third attempt, I took it slowly and snuck around every crate and wall, but he still saw me. This time I hit him with a short burst from the flamethrower, and he scuttled off into a vent. Picking up the pace a bit, I made it to the end of the section and through the next door. Following my objective marker, I got to what I naively thought must be the exit and the end of the demo. Victory!

 

LOW POWER. FIND GENERATOR TO RESTORE POWER TO DOOR.

 

FUCK!

 

As I turned, I saw him drop from another vent into the corridor my objective marker now pointed me down. I proceeded with my motion tracker out, still seeing him in the distance. Suddenly, I lost him. The blip got closer and closer and he seemed to appear out of nowhere. I aimed the flamethrower again, but it was empty. I didn’t even bother to run. Game over man.

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The Alien Isolation demo was, for me at least, a perfect glimpse of a game. The tone and atmosphere were exactly what I wanted from an Alien game. I was almost too terrified to move for most of it, and the total lack of supplies and the feeling of being completely outmatched by your adversary made the game very much seem like true survival horror. This wasn’t you trying to figure out how to defeat a difficult boss fight. This was you trying to avoid a predator that was hunting you, and was very good at it. The self-contained nature of the demo gave nothing away about the story, the graphics were excellent and controls were fluid. The game is out in just over a week, and I am very much considering finally getting a PS4 to play it on. The release date of October 7th just so happens to be my payday, and I’m reasonably sure I can survive a month without food.

 

The Evil Within

Next we checked out another one of my most anticipated games, The Evil Within from Tango Gameworks, Bethesda and original Resident Evil architect Shinji Mikami. The promise of more survival horror, the pedigree behind its creation and the footage seen so far has also placed this on my list of ‘if it’s good, finally go next-gen for it’ games. We queued for a bit longer this time, maybe 20 minutes. Bethesda had provided cardboard versions of a safe to put on your head, with a flap for the door, based on one of the monsters in the trailers (most people used these boxes to carry around the rest of their merch). We were again given the choice of PS4 or Xbox One, with a decent number of systems on hand, and sat down in front of the game. Kii was very clear with the attendants that she wasn’t playing. Fool her once horror games? Shame on you. Fool her twice? Shame on her.

 

First was a short series of clips from throughout the game, all out of context so no spoilers. I couldn’t hear any of the dialogue through my headphones, which were quite quiet and fuzzy. I wasn’t sure if this was intentional so as to not give away any story, or if the headphones were just broken. Probably the latter. Anyway, after a tantalising clip show, the protagonist Sebastian Castellanos (an excellent name) was dropped outside a large ominous looking mansion (Mikami loves his mansions). After testing out my revolver on some crows (which dropped shotgun shells for some reason. Maybe they were shiny, but survival horror games should probably have fewer ammo pick ups and drops than that), I arrived at a grand courtyard area with a fountain. Being very used to similar third person games, I fastidiously looked around the courtyard for ammo and collectibles despite having a limited time to play and collecting items being meaningless for me playing a demo.

Entering the mansion, there was a brief glimpse of what looked like a patient on a gurney being rushed through a huge metal door by some doctors, slamming shut behind them. After a bit more exploring, I encountered my first enemy, being some form of zombie/wight/maniac. When you kill an enemy, as well as looting ammo or other pick ups, you can also drop a match and set the corpse on fire. I’m not sure what function this plays, maybe they can reanimate if you leave them? Presumably this is something that will be clearer after more time with the game. Needless to say I did it to every enemy just in case (even killing one with fire after knocking it down with a shotgun blast), to the point where I seemed to run out of matches. Admittedly, I probably didn’t need to set the dead crows on fire. Lesson learnt.

When the second enemy appeared, the screen started to distort in a combination of a hallucination and static, and a hooded man appeared and stalked towards me. I ran, tail between my legs, and he disappeared. Next, I found a room containing a severed head with the brain exposed, surrounded by tools and probes attached for study. A mini game started, playing a recording to give hints at where to insert the probe. Getting it wrong damaged your own health somehow, and one of the attendants tried to explain the section to me from behind despite the fact that I was wearing noise cancelling headphones. Moving on, I went up the stairs in the atrium and ended up in a large library. A few of the enemies looked particularly grotesque, some being wrapped in barbed wire of with part of their face hanging off. Heading up a ladder, the hooded man appeared again, This time I tried shooting, with no effect, and then decided to see what would happen if he reached me. Maybe it really was a hallucination and he would just disappear? I was wrong. Before disappearing he knocked me down and nearly killed me. I then got the hell out of there, and started to continue into the mansion, but our time with the game had ran out.

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The Evil Within demo wasn’t quite as close to classic survival horror as I would have liked (thought this may be unrepresentative of the rest of the game, and I still have high hopes), but it certainly captured the atmosphere of the original Resident Evil and that is definitely a positive. There was a really freaky resonance that felt familiar and new at the same time, with effective if standard gameplay mechanics. The trailers and some of the character design indicates there may be some over-reliance on gore over genuine scares, but that remains to be seen in the context of the game. Regardless, my excitement for The Evil Within has not dulled at all after playing the demo, if anything it has gone up and I’ll be looking forward to the October 14th release.

 

Come back tomorrow for some more ramblings about some games I played at EGX!

Adam