Astroneer: The mining/resource collecting/building game that is my go-to game right now

My base in Astroneer is coming along nicely. To the left is the rover I created with extra storage attached to carry more resources. The blue lines radiating off structures are oxygen lines. If the Astroneer runs out of oxygen he, well, dies. The space ship is directly behind the Astroneer.

 

Astroneer is a space exploration/crafting/resource gathering game that’s in pre-Alpha. That means it a long way off being finished but it’s been my go-to game lately.

I don’t want to compare it to last year’s disappointing No Man’s Sky, because the two only share a few similarities, but Astroneer’s developers, System Era s Softworks, made the right decision by putting the game into Steam’s Early Access program. It cost me $24 and I have to say it’s perhaps the best $24 I’ve spent on a game in a long, long time. It’s also available on Xbox One and from the Windows store.

In Astroneer, you blast off from an orbiting space station and land on an uninhabited planet. There you use a space vacuum to suck up resources like resin, compound, copper, aluminum etc to build a base. As you explore, you’ll come across wrecks of space craft that you can scavenge for parts and resources as well as deep caves that while containing vital resources, often contain deadly plants that spew poisonous gas.

As your base gets bigger you can make things like a 3D printer that lets you print a rover so you can drive farther, weather vanes and solar panels to power all your equipment and, eventually, a space ship that lets you blast off and explore other planets in the solar system.

As you explore the planet, you'll come across crashed space ships. They'll often contain much-needed resources and parts that can be used on other vehicles.

As you explore the planet, you’ll come across crashed space ships. They’ll often contain much-needed resources and parts that can be used on other vehicles.

It’s a hell of a lotta fun. I’ve got some videos here of my base in progress, driving the rover around and one of the randomly generated sand storms that will kill you pretty much instantly unless you’re hiding somewhere safe. Oh, it also has online co-op so you’ll be able to explore and create with a friend.

Astroneer isn’t perfect: It glitches out every now and then and my Astroneer has got stuck in structures forcing a restart, but dammit, if it isn’t fun. Even the way your Astroneer dies is comical: He can suffocate when he runs out of air and he sort of grabs his throat then spirals around, falling to the ground. It’s hilarious.

The developers have said the game could be in pre-Alpha for a least a year but they’re firing out patches pretty frequently to fix some of the problems people have encountered. I’ve noticed frame rate drops when I’ve got too many of the game’s tethers laid out and while my Astroneer is carrying a research item.

I’ve attached three game play videos I took while playing: The first one shows the progress of my base as I build; the second is footage of me driving a rover across a planet’s surface; and the third shows a violent storm as it ravages my base. I’ve seen video and photos of some people sculpting as variety of things using the game’s vacuum gun.

Look, I’m loving Astroneer and I’m excited to see where it goes in the coming months and see whether I can boldly go where no man has gone before …

 

Merry Christmas to you all – and thanks for sticking around

It’s that time of the year, dear readers,  when gaming sites and outlets tell readers what their top games of the year were.

I can’t really do that here: Looking back, I realise I’ve not played a lot of games this year – and I’ve bought even less – but of those I did played, I enjoyed: Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2, Uncharted 4, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Firewatch and Inside. I enjoyed much of The Last Guardian, too, but the experience was just marred too often by the at times too realistic animal AI of Trico, the game’s eagle/cat/dog creature, which made for a frustrating time –  and that’s a real shame.

I want to say thanks so much for sticking around and reading this blog. I really do appreciate it. I know the blog isn’t as flash as many around, or updated as regularly, or have a staff of hundreds that pump out stories by the dozens. I’m one man who loves video games and writing, and believe me when I say this blog is a real labour of love for me: I don’t get paid to do it, I don’t get sponsorship from anyone. I rely on the support of a handful of publishers who have stuck by me since leaving Fairfax NZ – and I appreciate that support and the support that you, the readers, give me.

I sincerely appreciate your support. It means the world to me and I appreciate every single one of you that visits the site. I might not be the biggest or the best or the most popular, but I hope you enjoy what you find.

This will be the last blog for the year as I’m going “offline” for a couple of weeks to spend time with my family, relax and recharge the batteries. Fear not, though, I’ve already got some content planned for the week I return and hopefully the support from publishers will continue and I’ll be able to keep bringing you game and hardware reviews and opinion pieces.

So, thanks again. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year and wherever you are, stay safe. See you next year.

Dead Rising 4 review: Jingle bells, jingle bells

Many of you may know that I have a teenage son, Mitchell, who is a pretty dab hand at stringing a few words together as well as a fine gamer (he can kick my arse when we play co-op). He’s a long time fan of the Dead Rising series so I thought who better to give Dead Rising 4 to than him. So I did. Enjoy.

 

In Dead Rising 4, you return to Willamette, the setting for the first game.

In Dead Rising 4, you return to Willamette, the setting for the first game.

Video games have come a long way from when they were first developed over 40 years ago. What was once a simple principle involving sending a little white ball from one side of the screen to the other between two white slabs, has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. The term “video game” is incredibly broad and continues to expand every day as new games that break the barrier of what is considered to be a conventional video game are developed.

However broad this term may be, zombies and video games go hand in hand. Raise your hand if when you think of video games, you think of zombies?( If you did in fact raise your hand, you probably shouldn’t blindly follow the instructions of an article.) All jokes aside, you wouldn’t be alone if you did put zombies and video games in the same basket. In fact, I probably would, too.

The Dead Rising series is potentially the most successful zombies franchise to date, ruling out Call of Duty zombies because technically it’s a game mode, not a primary franchise.

The Dead Rising series was the first zombie, beat ’em up game that I truly delved into and continue to thoroughly enjoy to this day. The fourth installment of the main series brings us back to its origins somewhat, as the original protagonist, Frank West, a photojournalist looking for his big scoop, is brought back with more badassery than ever before.

Dead Rising 4 is set in Willamette, just like the first game, but the world is immensely bigger. Unlike the first Dead Rising, you are not just limited to the confines of the mall the entire time, which is a welcome change, as you can explore the chaos that has unfolded in Willamette since the first outbreak. That’s right! I said the FIRST outbreak. Willamette has had a pretty unlucky run. DR4 is set sixteen years after the events of the first game, during the Christmas period, and one year after the events of Dead Rising 3, though feeling as if it acts as a soft reboot of the series. The Christmas theme does get a little irritating after a while though, I’m not going to lie.

I can’t help but feel as if Capcom have gone for style over substance in DR4, which is a real shame. For longtime fans of the series like myself who have been playing since the first game will feel a slight hint of nostalgia when entering Willamette’s Parkview mall, which was the primary setting for the first Dead Rising.

Willamette Mall in its Christmas livery.

Willamette Mall in its Christmas livery.

However similar the new Parkview mall appears visually, the flow just isn’t the same – something just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s the fact that not as much focus was put into the mall itself in DR4 because it only acts as a transition point from getting one from one side of Willamette to the other, rather than the setting for the whole game like in the original.

It appears as if the mall’s main focus is pointless areas like a lacklustre go-kart track and a shipwrecked pirate ship. I feel like this primary focus on these nonsensical areas took away the nostalgic feeling from the first game and didn’t add any memorable personality. Capcom really missed out on massive opportunity to capitalize on the nostalgia and bring back an iconic classic to excite the fans. Instead the new Parkview mall just doesn’t feel the same.

What I love about Dead Rising 4, though,  is that, yes there is a clear story to follow, (a fairly decent one too, I might add) but if you just wanted to mess around and free roam, there is nothing to stop you from doing so.

If you’re feeling so inclined as to “chop till you drop” without thinking too much, you can, which is a really awesome thing. I won’t say too much about the ending because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone if they decided to purchase DR4, but I will say that it pissed me right off (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

If you’re a longtime fan of the series, this is a definite pick up, as it brings back that classic Dead Rising feel into a whole new story. I wouldn’t say that the story is amazing in comparison to some other big titles of 2016, but as far as a beat’em up story goes, it is pretty great. I do not believe that anyone would be disappointed or regret their decision in purchasing Dead Rising 4, as long as they go into it treating it like a whole new game and not some direct comparison to the original.

Nostalgia is a funny effect that often leads us to believe that what we have experienced in the past is far superior to what we have now, even if it wasn’t. So my advice is, do not play Dead Rising 4 and find every single flaw or gripe with the game and constantly think that it is sub par because they changed a few minor details. Entering with an open mind guarantees that you will enjoy the game. I think that’s where most reviewers have gone wrong. They treated it as a direct sequel to the original, rather than a series reboot.

What Capcom have managed to do is recreate the same sense of absurdity through the game’s crafting system. The crafting is still hilariously fun. There are so many different combos that make absolutely no sense whatsoever but still make for a truly enjoyable experience, there is no denying that Dead Rising 4 is fun. I can’t remember the last game that I played where it was possible to have so much fun by doing absolutely nothing. There is nothing better than coming home after a long, hard day at work, putting your feet up and slaying hordes of zombies with big hulk fists.

A Christmas wreath + a car battery = a whole lot of carnage!

A Christmas wreath + a car battery = a whole lot of carnage!

To this day, the Dead Rising franchise is the only series in which I can think of, where a player would trade an assault rifle for a knife and a pair of boxing gloves. That’s what makes the game so enjoyable. The fact that you can have so much fun with something so stupid as a Christmas wreath and a car battery is an incredible thing and really speaks wonders about what Capcom has been able to achieve with the series.

Dead Rising 4 was played through to completion on Xbox One using a code provided by Xbox NZ.

Win a copy of The Last Guardian & a The Last Guardian T-shirt

thelastguardian tlg_orange_phoAfter a wait of what seems almost like forever, PlayStation 4-exclusive The Last Guardian is finally out on the PlayStation 4, and thanks to the great team at PlayStation NZ, Gamejunkie NZ has one copy of The Last Guardian and a T-shirt to give away to one lucky reader.

The Last Guardian tells the journey between a young boy and a bird/cat/eagle beast called Trico as they have to escape the prison they both find themselves in. The two become inseparable friends as their journey through the game progresses.

You can read my thoughts here but  Trico can be, at times, stubborn and temperamental, just like a real animal. I’ve got a dog called Drew and he reminds me a lot of Trico with his mannerisms and behaviour.

I forgot completely about how much time I have for this so I’ve decided to make it really simple to enter the draw: In the comments section below or on the GamejunkieNZ Facebook page, I want you to tell me in 50 words or less, who would be your inseparable partner on a journey like that undertaken by Trico and the young boy in The Last Guardian. Tell me why you made your choice, as well.

As with all competitions, there are terms and conditions, so here they are for your reading please:
1) The prize is one (1) copy of The Last Guardian on PlayStation 4 and a The Last Guardian T-shirt. You must supply the PS4 yourself to play it on.
2) The competition is only open to those living in New Zealand and must have a valid New Zealand address that the prize will be sent to.
3) The competition is open from December 13 until 7pm on December 19. I will contact the winner by DM or email.
4) Entry is by writing in the comments section on the GamejunkieNZ Facebook page or on the comments section in this blog who would be your inseparable partner on an epic journey. Feel free to like the page as well (I’d be forever grateful).
5) The decision of the judge (that’s me) is final and the prize will be mailed out to the winner by PlayStation NZ. Hopefully it’ll get to you by Christmas, but no guarantees.

The Last Guardian: A boy and his dog/cat/eagle thing

The Last Guardian™_20161130214145The Last Guardian is about a boy and the dog/bird/eagle he finds himself with and their journey together.

It’s beautiful, it’s heart-warming, it’s charming, it’s emotional, but it’s also yell inducingly frustrating at times and shows the strain of it’s almost 9 year development cycle – but I love it to bits.

The game starts with the unnamed boy, covered in weird tattoos, lying next to the  wounded dog/cat/eagle, a shackle around his neck, chaining him to the ground. It’s rocky relationship to start with: The boy has to gain the trust of the creature by removing spears from his feathery hide and find him food, but as the relationship develops, the pair find they need each other to negotiate the game world and escape. Before too long the pair are inseparable, relying on each other to survive. It’s a story of survival and friendship.

Trico is undoubtably the star of the show: He’s a marvellous creation that exhibits behaviour unlike any video game animal I’ve seen before. He behaves and acts like you’d expect  say a cat or dog to: He cautiously puts a paw forward as he enters a room he’s not sure about, his eyes glowing brightly and wide open; He’ll suddenly scratch behind an ear, feathers fluttering around; He’ll jump backwards and forwards across towering pillars as he tries to keep an eye on you as you negotiate a puzzle; He’ll jump up and down in excitement after wiping out a troop of the game’s glowing eyed, armour-wielding warrior dudes out to get you.

He bellows and roars when he’s hungry and agitated, his eyes glow depending on his mood.  He cowers in fear when confronted by strange glass “eyes” until you’ve smashed or destroyed them. Trico is remarkable, remarkable beast and one that I quickly became very fond of.

The Last Guardian™_20161205231119But like my real-life Samoyed Drew, though, Trico can, at times, be too realistic, not doing what you want him to or go where you want him to. Just like my dog Drew.

At times, Trico is stubborn and unpredictable. Just like my dog Drew.

“Trico is like a real animal, ” people will say, “they’re unpredictable. He’s unpredictable. That’s part of his charm”.

Well, that might work in the real world where I accept I have to deal with my dog’s stubbornness,  but I play video games to escape the real world, not to face the same problems I face with my dog in real-life.

Trico’s stubbornness really came to the fore in two puzzles in the game involving water: Both took multiple attempts to solve – and a couple of complete restarts of my PS4 to kickstart the AI – before Trico actually decided to play ball and do what he was supposed to do.  I was literally yelling at him to do what I was telling him. These two puzzles became a frustrating trial-and-error scenario where he just refused to do anything I told him. Frankly, it shouldn’t be this hard to control a video game animal.

Look, situations like this didn’t make me like the overall experience of the game any less, but it did mar the experience at little and frustrate the hell out of me.

The Last Guardian™_20161130221348One of the other annoyances in the game is the camera.  Frankly, at times it’s a bastard, often obscuring your view so you can’t actually see what’s going on or where you have to go, especially in a tight spot where a jump is required, or zooms in so close to the action that your screen turns black, blocking your view.

For a game that has been in development for so long, there was plenty of time to get the camera right. Again it didn’t ruin the overall experience for me,  but I’d be lying if it didn’t frustrate me a lot and have me  yelling at the screen sometimes because I just couldn’t see what the hell was happening, especially when I was trying to guide the boy back onto Trico’s back while being attacked by armour-wielding warrior dudes that wanted nothing more than to kidnap me and pull me into the walls.

It’s strange: For every frustration The Last Guardian threw at me, something wonderful and magical happened next to calm me down.

The Last Guardian is a flawed game, there’s no denying that, and at times it shows its age and PlayStation 3-designed root (especially in some of texture work), but despite all of that, I can look past those flaws because  The Last Guardian is a beautiful game that tugged at my heart-strings with its telling of an incredibly emotional journey of boy and dog/bird/eagle thing. The more I played, the more I loved Trico and his mannerisms, frustrations and all.

The Last Guardian™_20161208195936

Something that took my breath away  was the sheer scale of the game, too: You can’t help but be impressed with director Fumito Ueda’s direction when you look at the size of the structures and environments of the game, especially when the boy is standing at the top of a massive tower and you see what lies beneath you.  The sense of scale is immense and you really do feel as if you’re clambering about a massive centuries-old forgotten city with crumbling towers, delapidated buidings and ruins.

Animation of Trico and the boy are also impressive, too, with Trico’s mannerisms so lifelike that you’d think you were watching your own animal (if you have one). It’s those little touches that give Trico and the boy those real-life qualities.

The Last Guardian is a flawed game, and I’d be lying if I said you won’t get frustrated playing it, because you will, but play it for the amazing story of friendship and adversity between a boy and a dog/cat/eagle thing and you’ll find a game that has a lead character that will capture your heart like it did mine and take you on a rollercoaster ride that will have your emotions on edge.

Watchdogs 2: Hacking in San Francisco

Let’s get this out of the way first, shall we?

Marcus Holloway can take selfies around the virtual city of San Francisco.

Marcus Holloway can take selfies around the virtual city of San Francisco.

I get the feeling that Watchdogs 2 is the game that Ubisoft wishes the first Watchdogs was.

The first Watchdogs was massively overhyped by Ubisoft and I think that was its downfall, to be honest. It was never going to live up to the massive expectation Ubisoft heaped upon it.

I bought Watchdogs on PC but stopped playing it after a handful of hours (I was part way through a mission where main character Aidan Pearce had to infiltrate an inner city prison) because, frankly, I lost interest.

WATCH_DOGS® 2_20161130182756Watchdogs 2, by comparison, is a complete contrast to the original. Instead of being dark and gloomy, Watchdogs 2 is popping with bright colours and sprinkled with popular culture. Its lead character Marcus Holloway is a much more personable and likeable character than Pearce ever was, too.  Holloway is a genuinely interesting character,  even if the underground hacker group that he joins is a little too clichéd and seems like the game’s writers watched too many ’80s movies to get inspiration. Marcus is quite with a witty response and has a swagger about him that just fits with the more jaunty vibe of Watchdogs 2.

With a narrative tightly focused on Marcus’ hacker group using the power of social media and popular media to bring down the conglomerate behind the increasingly pervasive ctOS, Holloway can hack just about everything in the city, from scissor lifts and control panels to garage doors and other people’s phones. It’s intuitive and works nicely and there’s something satisfying about being able to blow up an underground pipe after you’ve driven over it, causing issues to anyone pursuing you. Doing that never got tired.

WATCH_DOGS® 2_20161130180820Marcus has a few gadgets at his disposal, too, to help hack the world, with an airborne drone and small motorised drone, a RC jumper that he can deploy  to infiltrate tricky environments, places, highlight enemies and even remotely hack computers to make things easier as he skulks through enemy territory.

Like all open world games these days, Watchdog 2 is overflowing with an abundance of activities to do but I almost wondered at times if there were too many things to do. Marcus’ phone seemed to be constantly buzzing with a new quest or side mission. The story takes pot shots at popular culture (Scientology for example) but as nice looking and vibrant as Watchdogs 2 is something kept nagging at me while I was playing it, gnawing at my brain.

Then I realised what it was: I kept on comparing Watchdogs 2’s game world to that of GTAV – and Rockstar’s open-world masterpiece just kept on trumping Ubisoft’s San Francisco. GTAV just seems to do open-world so much better than the others. It’s cities looked lived in and populated. Look, Watchdogs is a great game but I guess if you put any open-world game up against GTAV, its shortcomings are always going to come to the fore.

You can pat dogs in Watchdogs 2. Nice.

You can pat dogs in Watchdogs 2. Nice.

The main story missions are the standard “Go here, do this/collect this/talk to this person then move to the next one” variety but I found Watchdogs was a lot more enjoyable and at its best when you go off the beaten track and forget about the main story missions. Doing things like using your phone’s Scout app to track down landmarks dotted about San Francisco and take a selfie in front of it to gain more followers, petting dogs, eavesdropping on conversations. Watchdogs 2 doesn’t take itself too seriously and I like that.

It has some things that niggled me. The police force in particular is really, really aggressive (in fact, I found the security forces in the game in general really aggressive). Once, I slightly grazed a police car as I negotiated a two-lane road. Instead of the minor reaction from the police I was suspecting, suddenly I was being chased by five police cars, complete with a police woman yelling at the top of her lungs for me to pull over. When I eventually stopped, I was expecting a telling off and to get arrested. Nope: Two cops pulled out guns and started shooting. Talk about over reaction, fellas.

I haven’t touched on any of the multiplayer because, frankly, I don’t really play multiplayer but there is something called seamless multiplayer which I’m guessing is when another play can enter your game and attempts to hack your phone. This happened to me twice and  you have to find the person before they download your data and escape.

The first time I didn’t find the guy (he was on an overpass above where I was) but the second time I found the guy hiding behind a bush nearby. He took off and I gave chase, trying to hit him comically with taser bolts: It didn’t work. He hijacked a motorbike and drove off. It was interesting, to say the least.

WATCH_DOGS® 2_20161130180552Watchdogs 2 is a fun game that has a lot of charm and it’s much better than the dark original and it shows that Ubisoft has learned some things as it refines its open-world games. Sure, the narrative is  a little too bogged down in clichés for my liking but I grew to (kind of) like Marcus’ fellow hackers the more the game progressed.

Watchdogs 2 isn’t my favourite game of the year and it doesn’t do anything innovative to move the open-world genre along – and if you’re bored with open-world games that tick all the required boxes, then this isn’t the game for you – but its fun for a bit, and worth a look if you want a game that has an upbeat vibe and plenty of content to keep you occupied for a while.

  • Thanks to Ubisoft for the PS4 review copy of Watchdogs 2.

Dishonored 2 thoughts: Two for the price of one

Here are some impressions of Dishonored 2. I’ve sunk about 10 hours in so far but thought I’d give some thoughts before it’s too late and the game has slipped from the end of year radar. If you’re wanting a review that delves into minute features of how the movement is or how the controls feel, go elsewhere: You’re not going to find too much of that here.  Thanks for reading.

I really wish I had the far reach power that Emily Kaldwin in Dishonored 2 has.

Far reach gives Emily the ability to reach high obstacles or cover distance in a short space of time. Once it’s upgraded, you can also grab objects and generally cause havoc around the cities of Dunwall and Karnaca.

Dishonored 2_20161124204212I’ve already thought long and hard how I’d used far reach. SHAZAM! I’d far reach to the kitchen from the longue to turn on the coffee machine; KAPOW! I’d transport up to the roof to clear out the gutter beside the garage that I should have done months ago;WAP! I’d transport myself to the front of queue at the coffee van outside work. Sure, far reach is great for stealthing into buildings through high open windows or out-of-reach doors but, man, imagine the possibilities during the normal work day.

Actually, now that I think about it Domino (a power that lets Emily link up to three people together, delivering the same fate) would also make an amazingly good power to have when I’m stuck in a conversation  at a social gathering I can’t get out .

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Emily Kaldwin and Corvo Attano, the two main characters in Dishonored 2. You can play as both, this time (not at the same time, obviously).

OK, domestic use of Dishonored 2’s powers aside, the game is set 15 years after the events of the original and long story short centres around the player having to reclaim the throne of Dunwall after a usurper – Delilah – suddenly appears and seizes control. Expect a tale of supernatural powers to soon follow as you play either as Emily Kaldwin, the deposed monarch of Dunwall, or Corvo Attano, the assassin from the first game and Emily’s father and protector.

Veterans of the first game will know that there two play styles you can take with Dishonored 2:  Low chaos, where you try to be as stealthy as possible, generally strangling people unconscious and hiding the bodies; and High chaos, where it’s hell be damned and woe betide anyone that gets in front of your blade/pistol/grenade/spiritual form as you leave a bloody mess in your wake.

Like the first Dishonored, I intended to play low chaos and after the first mission all was going well: I’d killed no-one and made sure I’d hidden unconscious bodies. Sadly, as it did with the first game, everything turned to custard at the Addermine Institute and my low chaos plan went out the window. From there, it was a mixture of both play styles.

Dishonored 2_20161124204915

The heart of Emily’s dead mother, Queen Jessamine, helps locate runes and bonecharms that can be used to upgrade abilities.

Part of what I like about the Dishonored games are the supernatural powers that are fuelled by magical runes and bonecharms dotted about the game world.  Corvo’s powers include Blink, which teleports him to a chosen point; Devouring swarm, which conjures up rats that dispose of dead bodies; and Bend time, which lets him slow down time, while Emily’s powers include Far reach, which propels her to another point; Shadow walk, which turns her into a shadow, and (personal favourite), Domino, which lets Emily link up to three enemies together so they share the same fate. Sure they can make Corvo or Emily overpowered at times, but hell, they’re fun.

I decided to play through as Emily as while I like Corvo, I felt that Emily was the chance to play as a new character that I hadn’t played as before. When I have a spare 20 hours or so, I’ll play through again as Corvo.

Far reach and domino were without a doubt the best powers for me while playing as Emily, and played with a mix of the two and dark vision, a sonar-like power that shows the location of nearby enemies, I was able to generally make my way through the game world without too much trouble. I really like that using a combination of the powers means you can find routes to objectives that aren’t immediately obvious. I like that about the Dishonored series: I you think about things you can usually find a couple of ways to reach a destination.

I played the PlayStation 4 version (I was keen to play the PC version but, frankly, my GPU wouldn’t be able to play the game well anyway. Plus, the issues with the PC version are well documented) and visually,  Dishonored 2 looks nice, with the rustic artistic style of the original that looks realistic in places (faces, water) but stylised in others (buildings, the general world). Karnaca also feels more a city than Dunwall did in the original game, with far more citizens going about their business

The clockwork soldiers freaked me out. Seriously.

The clockwork soldiers freaked me out. Seriously.

Enemy AI is much smarter this time around, almost to the point sometimes of being overly alert to your presence if one of them spots you, as my son found out on his way to the Clockwork Mansion during his play through and had to restart multiple times after being spotted by an overzealous guard (which alerted every other guard nearby). The clockwork soldiers in the mansion, too, are a pain in the arse if you get cornered by one.

On the technical side, load times on PS4 are noticeably long, and are long when the game has to reload after you die. I wonder whether a faster drive would help load times but I’ve no idea. I also noticed frame rate drops during periods of intense melee combat where sometimes you’ll have to fend off three or four attackers. That’s not ideal when you want to block and fend off foes.

karnacadishonored2There is the odd graphical glitch every now and the odd weird thing every now and then: In one mission, an enemy that I was about to stealth knockout suddenly disappeared from view (she was also floating in mid-air instead of the railing she was supposed to be sitting on) & in the same mission, I was suddenly informed that a key character had been eliminated while I was heading towards her office – to eliminate her.  Thanks a lot, game!

I haven’t had a lot of time to play this week (plus my son is hogging the PS4) but I’ve got about three missions left until the game’s finale. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far but is it as good as the original, which I played on PC? I’m really not sure yet. I’m enjoying it but I don’t think the narrative is as strong as the original game’s was.

Only three “missions” to go till I’ve really made up my mind, eh?

If you’ve got any questions about the game, ask away in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.