All posts by Augustus Bel

Until Dawn Review

Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a multiple ending game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It follows a group of friends vacationing at a mountain lodge in the midst of winter, who’ve come together on the one year anniversary of a tragedy, in hopes of gaining closure and remembering the lost.

From the very first decision made by the player, ripples are sent forth that change the story ahead of you. Do you snoop or respect the privacy of others? Do you approach a situation with aggression or do you try to diffuse it? Do you lie to protect someone or let them face the cold truth? All of these decisions present themselves within the first episode and only get tougher with progression. Each character is presented in a different light ranging from the do-gooder clowns to the dark hearted snobs and these impressions, if the player is easily manipulated, can lead to biased decisions.

Throughout the game, you are momentarily removed from story for brief “sessions” with a therapist. Here, you are asked questions specific to yourself concerning fears, empathy or lack thereof for others and the ability to distinguish between reality and hallucinations. Depending on your answers, the environment in which these sessions take place are modified to your displeasure or for those with more morbid tendencies, your great enjoyment.

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Until Dawn has a movie like quality to it, thanks to its amazing graphics featuring spot on renditions of the actors voicing each role. If left idle for a short time the screen closes in on the current character and you can read the stress and uneasiness they’re experiencing in every facial tick and wince. The snowy landscape is quite beautiful in the dark and mysterious way, once described as a “winter wonderland”. Moving along the mountain paths creates soon to be filled in footprints accompanied by the audible crunch of snow, howling wind and various animal sounds. Whether it’s walking across the property on a snow covered tree lined path or exploring the bowels of the lodge, there is always a feeling of eerie discomfort. That maybe you aren’t alone. Did that door just close on its own? Is some raging beast going to leap from the tree line and shred this poor soul? What was that hellish screeching sound? WHERE IS EVERYONE?!

Scattered across each environment are a series of clues pertaining to Hannah and Beth (the missing sisters), the truth about events that occurred at the asylum also located on the mountain in 1952, the mystery man identified in wanted posters whose last known whereabouts were on the mountain and five totem poles. Each of these poles are a different color and are broken into six pieces. The colors are black, yellow, brown, red and white, which represents death, guidance, loss, danger and fortune respectively. When examined each totem gives a vision of a possible future outcome and once all of them are put together, they reveal the true history of the mountain and the tragic situation the sisters found themselves in. There is also a butterfly effect feature that shows what decision lead to a certain action and a character meter showing how your current vessel feels about the others.

Final Verdict:

This game was very entertaining in its story telling and had amazing character development. Not once was I ever bored, though I did lose patience with some characters and found myself vowing to punish them. There were times I was left speechless when characters I wasn’t currently playing with decided to sacrifice another character due to a decision made several episodes ago. What felt like the right decision at the time could result in dire consequences later on. I highly recommend this game. I have and plan to continue playing to experience all the twists it has to offer.

Official Trailer:

 

Developer: Supermassive Games

Publisher: Sony

Played on: Sony PlayStation 4

Review Copy Info: A physical copy of this game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this review.

Volume Three of the Tomb Raider Comic Series Releases this Fall, Leads into Rise of the Tomb Raider

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July 29th saw the release of the 18th and final issue of the current Tomb Raider comic series, titled Cold Light of Day. It was written by Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the 2013 Tomb Raider video game reboot.

laraOn November 24th, just fourteen days after the Xbox timed exclusive launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the third and final volume, titled The Serpent Queen, which covers issues 13-18 will also be released.

Official synopsis:

Lara must save the life of a friend she thought to be dead as a dangerous organization threatens to kill this person for good! But Lara will not be alone as Sam, Jonah, and Kaz join her on this rescue mission! Danger lurks behind every shadow–can they make it in time to save a life they thought was lost?!

According to Rhianna Pratchett, this last arc leads right into the game.

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Volume 3 is available for pre-order for $15.47 on Amazon and other participating retailers. Rise of the Tomb Raider releases on November 10th, for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It will launch in early 2016 for PC and fall 2016 for PS4.

 

Sources: Rhianna Pratchet, Amazon and Darkhorsecomics

Until Dawn’s Pre-order Bonus Revealed

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For this summer’s August 25th release of Until Dawn, a bonus chapter awaits those who pre-order. It consists of a new chapter that will feature a fresh couple, Matt and Emily, strolling on a wintry mountain path, oblivious to their approaching doom.

Originally revealed as a PlayStation move title for the PS3 back in 2012, Until Dawn was later reintroduced in August 2014 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. The main game stars eight friends who are stranded together on a remote mountain getaway with a psychotic murderer, their fates to be determined by the player’s decisions.

Details from the game’s official listing:

  • Make the impossible choices where every decision could mean the difference between life and death, but for whom?
  • Until Dawn will shock you with realistic graphics and terrify you with edge-of-your seat gameplay
  • Carve your path to survival with branching story lines that promise no two experiences will be the same.
  • Immerse yourself in a spine-tingling story written in collaboration with famed cult writer/directors Larry Fessenden & Graham Reznick.

You can also check out the game’s official box art.

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The Bonus Chapter pre-order offer is available at Amazon, GameStop, Target and other retailers.

The Evil Within: The Executioner DLC Review

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In the final DLC of The Evil Within titled, The Executioner, surviving STEM takes a turn for the better. Enemies that once inspired fear received an unimpressed grunt before meeting their doom at the end of a massive spiked hammer. Areas that conjured dread at the notion of exploring were now comfortable and cozy. Playing as The Keeper made it all feel like home.

The Executioner, takes place after the main game when a father willingly enters STEM under the observation of Mobius, with the hopes of finding and freeing his daughter previously trapped there by Ruvik. In doing so, he must dispatch the other occupants to end their influence over the girl before the damage done to her mind is irreparable.

Playing as the over powered Keeper made for swift work when dealing with regular haunted. The bosses however, needed a bit more than the swing of the mighty hammer. Referred to as “subjects”, these foes were the level bosses from the main game and as such required a bit more creativity to beat. Such as using environmental traps.

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Upon defeating each subject, the weapons specific to them becomes available for purchase with the Keeper Coins collected from downed haunted. The store also features an upgrade system where you can strengthen your weapons, lessen damage dealt by enemies, quicken your walking pace etc. To gain extra Keeper Coins there is the option of completing several arenas, where the Keeper is tasked with multiple foes at once. After  completion, two additional arenas are unlocked. One of them featuring a face off with Sebastian Castellanos, as well as New Game +.

Final Verdict:

Overall, the experience of The Executioner was pleasant. It wasn’t very challenging, but playing as one of the stronger characters in the game makes that somewhat inevitable. It was nice however, to give the Keeper a touch of humanity and redemption with his goal being so selfless. The first person view had smooth controls and wasn’t a hindrance at all, giving instead new angles on the gore and havoc wrought by a distraught father in search of his child.

Official Trailer:

 

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Available On: Windows PC | PS4 | XO | PS3 | 360

Played On: Sony PlayStation 4

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this downloadable content was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.

The Evil Within: The Consequence DLC Review

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Never have I ever been so happy to get a gun. In the second DLC of The Evil Within, titled The Consequence, Juli Kidman breaks her bonds and goes on the offense. Where once she only had the option to flee, now she’s been granted the ability to instigate the violence in her favor.

In the final two chapters of Kidman’s story, light is finally shed on the core motives of those involved in the crafting of the horrific world of STEM. We learn that Ruvik, though by no means innocent, is actually a victim to the ambitions of the mysterious Mobius organization. Through his obsession to create a world where his sister and life is restored, he is manipulated into constructing STEM and then trapped there by Mobius when he quite literally bites the hand that feeds. His punishment on par with the atrocities he fated many of his test subjects to.

Though not the variety her partner was given, Kidman finally bares arms against her foes with a single shot sawed off shotgun and pistol. The absence of an upgrade system isn’t bothersome as Kidman doesn’t have to face the type of enemies encountered by Sebastian, the Keeper and Laura being gracefully absent. The previously featured Light Lady otherwise known as Shade, isn’t as intimidating when chock full of bullets and the Shadow Man of Mobius seems rather vulnerable to shot gun blasts.

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Through a series of collected audio files and letter pieces found in Keeper head puzzle boxes, a great deal of disturbing truths on Kidman’s initiation into Mobius, her placement on Sebastian’s team, the possible fate of Sebastian’s missing wife, the events leading up to the pairing of Ruvik’s mind with STEM and more is revealed.

Final Verdict:

This second installment was plenty of fun in comparison to the first largely in part to the ability to attack. No one likes being helpless. The pace was faster and there was story insight at every turn with events lacing perfectly together with those of the main game. I would definitely recommend The Consequence for those wishing to have a better understanding of the game. It took a little over three hours to complete without searching for all the collectibles and there is the option of trying KURAYAMI Mode, which unlocks upon completion and envelopes Kidman in complete darkness amidst tougher enemies.

Official Trailer:

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Available On: Windows PC | PS4 | XO | PS3 | 360

Played On: Sony PlayStation 4

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this downloadable content was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.

The Evil Within: The Assignment Review

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In The Assignment, the first part of a series of three add-ons for The Evil Within, we learn the motives and partial true identity of Juli Kidman, the female partner of Sebastian Castellanos, while gaining insight into the background of Ruvik, why Leslie is so important to him and the mysterious organization Kidman works for called Mobius.

The Assignment relies heavily upon stealth in that there is no other option for survival or progression. Either you ninja or you die. Kidman is equipped with only a flashlight, the odd glass bottle she collects to use as a distraction and the rare axe located in areas of elevated danger that can only be utilized for stealth kills and are destroyed after a single use. Her abilities are crouching and calling out to enemies to get them to move to more desirable locations. There is no upgrade system, but as she carries no weapons that isn’t an issue. The equip menu however, remains accessible. The result of Kidman’s many limitations is a feeling of heightened vulnerability and frantic desperation. I often found myself flat out making a run for it to evade enemies that were moments away from discovering Juli’s presence and just hoping her heel clad feet would be fast enough to whisk her away. If only she were so lucky.

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Playing Hide-n-seek with the enemy.

Dubbed Light Lady, a new enemy featuring the bottom half of a hot nurse, the torso of a demonic venus flytrap and a light beacon for a head, stalks around at an off balanced jog in a torn and blood stained lab coat calling to Leslie in varying tones of deprived creeper. She makes appearances in several areas and is responsible for another new enemy. By shining her light on the haunted playing dead in the area, she is able to turn them into Cadavers. These creatures are bent over backwards with elongated rib cages protruding from their torsos and decked in explosive boils that glow red when they are alarmed.

Accompanying these new foes are some new areas and old ones experienced in new ways. For example, the headquarters for Mobius and finding out that Juli is actually from a village previously explored by Sebastian. Throughout the stages I kept getting the feeling that the reason I couldn’t find any weapons was because Sebastian was always a step ahead and snatching up all the goods. A lot of questions were answered in terms of what was happening every time they were separated and why she made certain choices that seemed cold beforehand. Also, like her partner, Juli had a safe haven of sorts. While Sebastian had an entire mental ward, Juli’s came in the form of a black house cat with a glowing red ribbon tied in a bow around its neck and a comfy couch.

Final Verdict: I enjoyed playing The Assignment for the advancements and insight it offered on the story. However, the stealth made it grueling and sometimes it just wasn’t fun. It became a matter of waiting, because I had to. With no methods of defense, because apparently Juli never had combat training, all caution was taken to not engage the enemy. Towards the end, Kidman seems to be coming to her senses and rebelling as she gains more knowledge about the type of people she works for. Hopefully, this hints at her rising out of submission to Mobius. Looking forward to some ass-kicking in the second installment, The Consequence.

Editor’s Note*: Juli’s adventure will take you around 4-5 hours to complete depending on your skill level.

Official Trailer:

 

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Available on: PS3 | PS4 | XO | 360 | Windows PC

Played on: Sony PlayStation 4

Price: $9.99, included in the Season Pass for $19.99

Review copy info: A digital code for the Season Pass was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Gioteck HC-2 Stereo Headset Review

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The Gioteck HC-2 Stereo Headset is a cable connected PS4 compatible gaming headset. It features large padded over ear speakers, an adjustable headband, a retractable mic, volume control and a mute sliding bar.

Pros:

The HC-2 has clear surround sound audio with ample bass. Though it was made for the PS4 and Xbox One, it is also compatible with phones, tablets and PC, maintaining performance across devices. While playing The Evil Within, I was able to tell with greater distinction, the location of enemies by their breathing and footsteps as they moved nearer or further away. Which was convenient in maneuvering at better timed moments.

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Cons:

Though at first the headset is very comfortable, it only remains so for a short time before the pressure turns painful. The mic movement is very stiff, perhaps in an attempt to prevent movement during use. However, this creates a weak spot in the bend at the base of the connection to the headset. Attempting to adjust the position of the mic while holding anything but the base will result in a crack or full on break.

Final Verdict: 

Skip it!

While the performance of the HC-2 is good, I would not recommend it due to the fact that it isn’t likely to last very long. What is has in performance, it lacks in durability.

Manufacturer: Gioteck

Available: Now

Price: $49.99

Review Product info: This headset was provided to RealGamerNewz by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.

The Evil Within’s First DLC Strikes from the Shadows this March

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Today, Bethesda® finally announced the release of the first add-on of three branching from The Evil Within. The announcement was accompanied by a brief teaser featuring an unsettling voice and a yet to be encountered foe. The Assignment — the first of three add-ons, is due this March.

 

Source: Bethesda Blog

The Evil Within Review

The Evil Within’s First DLC Drops Early this Year

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Early in December 2014, Bethesda announced the first DLC for The Evil Within was due for release early 2015.

This DLC, titled The Assignment, covers the first half of Juli Kidman’s journey through the darkness. It will be followed by The Consequence, which covers the second half of Kidman’s story, and part three which features the infamous Keeper.

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According Tango Gameworks’ John Johanas (a.k.a., The American), “Juli’s experiences are much more dark, lonely, and claustrophobic.”

“We took a “Rashomon” approach to things with Juli’s campaign in the sense that “each person sees things differently.” In real life this is true, but inside STEM you can imagine how warped things would get!”

More information regarding parts two and three will be released later this year.

All three parts are available as part of the Season Pass for $19.99. If you haven’t finished the main game, then you should do so to avoid any spoilers in “The Assignment”. If you haven’t played the game and are wondering if you should give it a go, check out our review here.

Source: Bethesda Blog 

Video Game Writer Rhianna Pratchett to Write the Next Tomb Raider Comics Arc

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On November 20, 2014, award-winning scriptwriter Rhianna Pratchett, announced via Twitter, her partnership with Dark Horse Comics to write the next set of Tomb Raider comics. Though she was co-writer on a few of the previous releases (issues 7-12), she will be the sole contributor as of issue 13.

Starting a new arc, this issue finds Lara employed at the British Museum enjoying a quiet life. Suddenly, she is thrust into a game where a thought to be deceased friend’s life is in danger.

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Issue #13 cover

Pratchett has an extensive background, with titles such as Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword, Bioshock Infinite, Mirror’s Edge and several others under her belt. She was named one of the top 100 women in the UK gaming industry and holds the position of co-director of the 2012 created Narrativia multimedia production company. She is taking over for comic book writer Gail Simone.

Issue 13 is due for release on February 25, 2015 for $3.99.

Source: Darkhorse

Just How many People Sold their Souls for The Evil Within?

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Bethesda Softworks’ recent survival horror title, released on the 14th of October, The Evil Within, sold 818,816 retail copies across all platforms within its first week. At the top of the list, was the PlayStation 4 version, selling upwards of 420k units worldwide, according to vgchartz.com.

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Everyone wants a piece of Bassy.

Coming in second placce, was the Xbox One, with 143,845 units sold. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC platforms sold 126,169, 77,840 and 44,573, respectively.

Sales in Europe and North America were almost identical coming in at 304,178 and 305,654.

Note* These sales only represent the physical copies of the game as vgchartz does not track digital sales. With that in mind the overall sales could be a lot closer to 1 million. Seeing as it has been almost a month since release, it has probably surpassed that by now.

If you have yet to pick up The Evil Within and are wondering if it is worth your time, check out our review and see why it scored a Silver Game award.

 

Source: Vgchartz

Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals Review

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Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals by bestselling British novelist and comic book writer, Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent, is a novel continuing Lara Croft’s adventure and takes place between the events on Yamatai in the Tomb Raider reboot and the next to be released game title. This tale is considered cannon and acknowledge as such by developer Crystal Dynamics.

The story starts off with Lara being thrown into a panic attack by the startling and loud backfire of a neighbor’s car engine. As she takes to the streets of London, for a therapeutic walk to soothe her nerves, she receives a call informing her that Sam (best friend, roommate and designated damsel in distress), has been admitted into a hospital. Upon her arrival, Lara discovers her friend is in a coma suspected to be induced by a drug overdose.  However, having both recently survived supernatural events, Lara has her own suspicions about the cause of Sam’s condition. Therein, begins the quest to find an artifact of legend with healing capabilities able to restore her friend to health.

Lara travels to several locations around Europe in search of information and leads, meeting with professors, antique collectors and shady business men with auras of danger. In her pursuit of the relic, she finds there are others who would kill without hesitation to gain possession of it and Lara must fight for her life in order to save Sam’s. Savvy as she is, Lara is able to gain the trust and employ the help of hastily made acquaintances, using their skills and knowledge to advance her progress or escape danger as necessary.

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Story line aside, the delivery left more to be desired. Everything was over simplified, there were no puzzles or need for in depth thinking, answers were basically thrown at her and the vocabulary and descriptions were basic. The action scenes were fun, but the majority of the down time was spent giving trivial descriptions of Lara navigating city streets and public transportation; if only to display her observation skills and paranoia, to then watch them fail her miserably on more than one occasion. Having seen and experienced the trials of Yamatai alongside reboot Lara, there are certain things she should definitely be able to handle. Not so, in this novel. It’s as if she’s starting over in skill level. Retaining the memory of her previous adventure, but none of the character development.

Final Verdict:

I will not claim to not have enjoyed the book at all, but my expectations for a Tomb Raider title were not met and often times I found myself bored and actually making an effort to continue reading. I would recommend this novel to a younger audience, not formally acquainted to classic Lara or reboot Lara for that matter. Large font, basic vocabulary and simple writing earned this novel a 7.2 rating.

Overall Score: 7.2/10

RGN Rating: Bronze Novel

Authors: Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent

Publisher(s): BradyGames

Pages: 343

Available Now at: Amazon | Amazon UK | GameStop | Barnes and Noble | BAM

Price(s): $12.99 USA | $13.99 CAN | £8.99 UK

Review copy info: A physical copy of the book was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.