A Fresh Look at a Decent Port – PC – The Wonderful 101 Remastered – 2020

20200509215747_1The Wonderful 101 Remastered
PC
PlatinumGames
Genre: Action Adventure
2020

Back in 2013, the Wii U was in the midst of its relatively short console life, still producing games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions and other games that have gained cult status in recent years since. When folks got a whiff of an idea that The Wonderful 101 was going to be re-released somehow, a wave of excitement washed over my social media pages.

To be honest, I had no idea what the game was. I had heard of it way back when it had come out but beyond the title, I had no clue what it was and didn’t know if it was something I would get into based on what I had heard from folks. It fell to the wayside for me and by the time I had any more inclinations to go back and check it out, the Wii U had fallen out of circulation from my TV.

Cut to 2018 when Hideki Kamiya had mentioned an interest in porting the game to the newest Nintendo console. Shortly after, a very successful Kickstarter campaign to gauge interest and a ton of support from the gaming community brought the game’s remaster to fruition. Publishing on their own, PlatinumGames made good on their promise to bring The Wonderful 101 Remastered to their fans. As someone who had never gotten to play the original, I was interested to see what made this a title that so many people had become so excited to see a port for.  Continue reading

Third Time’s A Charm – XBox One – Dead Rising 3 – 2013

20200316204415_1.jpgDead Rising 3
XBox One
Capcom
Genre: Action Horror
2013

In the effort to continue covering some series that seem to have fallen by the wayside, the Dead Rising series has been of interest to me. It had a strange journey where when it was popular, it seemed to take a slow and steady slide into obscurity rather than have a sharp drop off in popularity or inexplicably never producing a sequel despite having a foundation worth working from. Dead Rising was a hit and a breath of fresh putrid air to gamers and the second game seemed to have a load of publicity leading up to its release.

Dead Rising 3 didn’t feel the same way. It was advertised and fans of the original two games gave it some word of mouth but I remember feeling like it came out with a whimper considering the success of Dead Rising 2. Even with less time between the release of the third after the second- there were four years between Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2, but three years before we would see Dead Rising 3 after that- it seemed like Capcom wanted to capitalize on the series’ reputation.

It did take me some time to check out the third entry myself, mostly because it was exclusive to the XBox One, a console that I didn’t have, and the PC after a year. I wasn’t much of a PC gamer in 2014, though, so it was only recently that I had the ability to continue the madcap zombie adventure the series had set expectations for. Playing through it again for the sake of analysis, though, I wanted to see how the game would stack up without years of anticipation behind it. Continue reading

That Fine Line Between Derision and Admiration – Nintendo 3DS – Creeping Terror – 2017

20190413100028_1Creeping Terror
Nintendo 3DS
Nikkatsu Corporation / Mebius / Aksys Games
Genre: Point-and-Click Horror
2017

The beautiful thing about the survival horror genre is that there are always developers trying to innovate and find new ways to break through the separation between the player and the distance of the screen to send shivers down spines and adrenaline through the roof. It gets tough with so many hands in the pot, though; for every Eternal Darkness, there is a The Ring: Terror’s Realm.

What happens when Japan’s oldest surviving film studio decides to jump into the ring, though? Nikkatsu Corporation is just that company and knowing quite a bit about films, it makes sense that they would eventually want to strike out into other media. Their first game to the development credit appears to be a PS Vita game from 2016 called Tokyo Tattoo Girls. While it doesn’t look up my alley, it genuinely seems like a strange first step for a company that’s been around for over 100 years.

Their second effort (so far as I can find, at least) was 2017’s Creeping Terror and it appeared on its surface to be a Clock Tower homage, which was the perfect draw for me to look further into it. As a fan of a number of games in Aksys’s catalog, it seemed like a safe enough bet that I’d at least enjoy it for a little while. It’s hard not to be wary as a horror fan, though. Some companies just throw some dark corridors together, slap some stickers on the outside comparing their game to “x”, and lure unwitting hopefuls into a web of mediocre and uninspired jump scares with nonsense plots.

Not that I’m jaded- but I had some hesitation heading into Creeping Terror. Continue reading

Delving Into the Black Abyss – PC – Conarium – 2017

20190912223611_1.jpgConarium
PC
Zoetrope Interactive/Iceberg Interactive
Genre: Horror Adventure
2017

Most horror fans of any medium have at least heard of H.P. Lovecraft in passing. If you haven’t read one of his stories, you’ve probably at least heard of “Call of Cthulhu” due to the tabletop gaming system or the number of video games that have been released with the name attached. Some others like “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “At the Mountains of Madness” have seen references in film and games, too. Of his tens of stories that he wrote, only a handful have gained mainstream popularity of any kind. His style, however, is reference constantly.

“At the Mountains of Madness” is of special note here. During his lifetime, Lovecraft had a preoccupation with the idea of an expedition to the Antarctic and what could be found there. While most of the works that come out referencing his works take place in small towns with strange and isolated inhabitants- The Sinking City, Call of Cthulhu, and Dark Corners of the Earth, as examples- only a couple that I’ve run into have examined this setting in any way aside from a passing mention. Conarium is the most recent that I’ve come across.

I picked up the game as one of the Epic Games Launcher’s free offerings and if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have stumbled across it in any way shape or form on my own. I’d never heard of Conarium, but I knew I was looking for some horror games for the Halloween season and found it a stroke of luck that this would pop up in my notifications. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but as any hapless Lovecraft protagonist would, I steeled myself and prepared for a step into the unknown as I booted the game up for the first time. Continue reading

You’ll Have to See For Yourself – PC – Stories Untold – 2017

Image result for stories untold gameStories Untold
PC
No Code/Devolver Digital
Genre: Text-Based Horror
2017

Before all of the fancy graphical wonders and high-octane action sequences that developers have been crafting and hooking audiences onto in recent years, the wonders of the imagination ran free in a genre now referred to in most circles as “interactive fiction”. For anyone not familiar with these types of games, they tended to consist entirely of words describing the action and environment. From there, the player has to type out what they want to do with a series of commands or directions- want to go down that hallway to the north? “NORTH”. Think that desk might have something interesting? “LOOK AT DESK”. Everything was in your mind’s eye- for better or worse.

While the style has generally fallen out of fashion, there are plenty of folks who put together games akin to the old text-based adventures. One such group who has paid homage to the genre recently is No Code, the minds behind a moderately known game called Untold Stories. At first glance, it might look like the title card was swiped directly from an episode of Stranger Things. While it might seem derivative, though, it’s actually designed by Kyle Lambert, the artist who designed the posters for the show. Finding that out was step one to ending my hesitation about checking the game out.

Of course, amidst the ridiculous backlog hacking I’ve been doing recently, recommendations from trusted friends help pull certain titles forward. After a bit of praise from my buddy Brad over at Cheap Boss Attack (who you should totally check out, by the way), I decided to push up Untold Stories on my playlist since it seemed short and also seemed to have left quite the impression on my fellow horror gaming buff. I recently got to pop the game on and got ready to type my little frightened heart out. Continue reading