Page 1


CONTACTS AND DETAILS

FROM THE EDITOR

P

at us on the back and give us a gold star, we made it issue number two.

We’ve thought long and hard about what we can improve on this month, and hope we’ve delivered. This magazine is a lot tighter than before and includes more images, information and a ton of small tweaks. Most noticeably, we felt that last issue lacked smaller, more digestible content so we’ve attempted to remedy the situation. Our big reviews aren’t so bulky either. We’ve saved space by adding more text per page and used each back cover as a place for even more screenshots. We endeavour to provide our readers with concentrated doses of video game content. Tighten that belt and tap that vein, this issue is a goodun!

Feedback? Questions? Community submitted topic? Don’t know what to have for dinner? Get a hold of us through email or social media. Contact@Beastby.net @BeastbyBlog /Beastby

CORRECTIONS

Not everyone wants to be that guy, but if you find any mistakes then please let us know. We make a concerted effort to correct any we find, but there’ll always be some that make it through. Drop us a line and we’ll update this issue.

DISCLAIMER

Darren Burchett

Some images may be edited for design purposes such as backgrounds, feature images and photo mode capture.

IN THIS ISSUE...

DO YOU WANT TO WRITE FOR US? WE’RE JUST GETTING OFF THE GROUND AND ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE WRITERS.

DARREN BURCHETT

ROBERT HOGGE

HENRY MELVILLE

DYLAN BISHOP

EDITOR & DESIGN @YABOYBEASTBY

SUB-EDITOR @COLDFOAMY

4

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

SUB-EDITOR @EVILMUSKA

REVIEW EDITOR @DYL_BYL

Running the blog and magazine is more than just a hobby for us. We love making content and celebrating video games. If you think you share that passion then we’d love to hear from you.

SEND US AN EMAIL. CONTACT@BEASTBY.NET

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

10

6 & 18

CONTENTS OPINION 06 CONTROVERSY IS THE WRONG WAY TO BRING CHANGE 08 NOBODY ASKED FOR PROJECT SCORPIO

The article that fanboys got upset over

09 A LETTER TO BIOWARE

PREVIEWS 10 MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA

34

Limping into a new frontier lineup

14 ROCKET LEAGUE DROPSHOT

REVIEWS 18 HORIZON ZERO DAWN 26 NIER: AUTOMATA 34 PERSONA 5 On the cover

42 STORIES UNTOLD 44 SNAKE PASS 46 THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+ 48 HUMAN RESOURCE MACHINE 49 I AM SETSUNA 50 MANUAL SAMUEL

26

FEATURE

52

52 TOP TRUMPS: VIDEO GAME BEARDS

Who has the best beard in the business?!

56 PLAYER SELECT

What we’ve been playing

CHECK US OUT ON

44

@BeastbyBlog

14

42

48

SOCIAL MEDIA

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

5


OPINION

HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

HORIZON ZERO DAWN

CONTROVERSY IS THE WRONG WAY TO BRING CHANGE By Dylan Bishop

I

t’s been an odd start to 2017 in the world of gaming. Multiple big-name titles have released back to back to back. While many have reached critical acclaim, some have also come under fire for cultural issues and diversity.

In saying this, I’m talking specifically about Horizon Zero Dawn. On February 28, Native American blogger Dia Lacina posted an article labeling Horizon as a misappropriation of Native American culture. She chastises Guerilla Games for their vocabulary choice (using words like “tribal” and “savage”) and expresses disappointment in games media for not calling attention to the issue sooner. “Video games have been appropriating from Natives both blatantly and obliquely for decades,” Lacina states. “And as much as we’d like to hope — it’s probably not going to stop anytime soon. But it definitely won’t without your help.” While I won’t touch on the validity of these claims (as the author certainly makes a valid point and knows more on the subject than I do), I think it presents a nice discussion: why do we nitpick these games so? I’m not trying to diminish the argument of cultural appropriation at all. If you believe Horizon mishandles various details and words, that’s your prerogative. But why preach about diversity to the most diverse big-budget game of this generation? Why not point fingers at one of the many, many titles that showcase burly white men, year after year? Horizon puts players in the shoes of Aloy, a capable, independent young woman with survival and fighting skills that surpass those of the men around her. Her tribe is led entirely by a team of older Matriarchs. The group itself is comprised of many different races and ethnicities; I met people of Asian and African descent in the first hours the game. Later, I happened upon Middle-Eastern folks, Hispanics, and a gay man mourning for his lover. 6

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

It’s clear in just a small amount of playtime that Guerilla Games focused heavily on creating a diverse world. In it, all races, genders, and walks of life have an equal opportunity to survive and thrive. Yet instead of celebrating this, we have decided to pick apart the one thing it may do wrong: misconstrue Native American culture with the usage of words like “brave,” “savage,” and “primal.” This sort of atmosphere is not supportive of new, diverse media. You’d think that just over a year after #OscarsSoWhite, society would be openly celebrating any entertainment with a unique, varied cast and placing them on pedestals. Yet here in the gaming industry, we’ve chosen to deride Horizon Zero Dawn on a small mishap rather than praise a major step forward. Such scenarios ask a larger question on our society and the internet: are we all just cynics? Are we incapable of just enjoying and complimenting something every once in a while? Though I understand that it’s possible to critique and enjoy at the same time, I also know that the original author took it upon herself to judge Horizon Zero Dawn by its cover (and reviews). This doesn’t invalidate her argument, but it does make her point seem overly critical. She criticizes it before release, without truly giving it a chance to change her mind. I’m not saying this sort of political correctness should be taboo when discussing video games. In fact, I think those conversations are very much worth having, and will better the industry. However, I also believe there are times where it’s better to focus on the positives than linger on the negatives. Chastising creators endlessly for getting diversity wrong will only serve to push them away from exploring diverse stories. After all, mainstream culture eats up the many, many titles that showcase burly white men. Disowning a dev for an oversight or mistake is the equivalent of building a relationship with a dog or baby by telling them “NO!” over and over. It’s not healthy for either party. We need to be a better, happier place, and encourage the creation of diverse products by supporting the ones that do it (mostly) right, instead of chastising the products that do it wrong. We need to be a society that promotes the creation of healthy, organic diverse stories. Right now, though, we’re one that simply complains about the lack of them, and refuses any attempts that don’t perfectly satisfy our criteria. @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

7


OPINION

PROJECT SCORPIO

NOBODY ASKED FOR

PROJECT SCORPIO By Darren Burchett

I can’t help but feel absolutely down about the Scorpio. On one hand it’s great to have a console that is a real powerhouse compared to current offerings. On the other hand I’m wondering, what’s the point?

L

ast week, Digital Foundry had the honour of announcing the specs of the Scorpio’s innards as well as providing some cold hard performance stats. I won’t go too much into specifics but compared to the Xbox One its processor is 30% faster, moving the clock speed from 1.75GHz to a lower latency 2.3GHz. The GPU capable of delivering 6 of those heavily lauded terraflops, 1.8 more flippy-flops than the PS4 Pro. Arguably the biggest game changer is the inclusion of hardware integrated DirectX12. Essentially, this will reduce computing resources by half on games that support the architecture. It’s all very impressive but it comes at a cost, quite literally. Estimates for the console on release are floating around the $500-$600 price range. It makes you wonder, who this console is for? This doesn’t really excite a PC gamer like myself as I could just spend that money and upgrade my computer even further. You can get a GTX 1080 Ti for a similar price, sporting double the amount of flippy-flops and far superior technology. Many of the Xbox One titles are playable on PC at no extra cost, so an upgrade just makes sense. I understand Microsoft want to create some synergy with their platforms but Xbox Play Anywhere gives me one less reason to own a Scorpio. I see it appealing to people who have a low to mid-range PC, possibly. They most likely already own a console and if they’re looking to get into 4K gaming this could be their only option. If so, they’ll need to pony up the dough for the TV. That’s another $400 for a low-end display. Sure the resolution will be the same, but a TV is the kind of investment you want to go big on so you’re good for at least five years. If that’s the case

8

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

you’re looking at $700-$1,000. That suddenly makes this whole venture an unrealistic one for the average consumer who’s been on the fence. Another hammer to the knee cap of Microsoft is the Nintendo Switch. It has proven, hands down, that people don’t actually care about the power of a console. It’s all about the games and Microsoft is sorely lacking in terms of interesting exclusives (the only titles that will truly take advantage of the Scorpio’s power). Year after year, consumers are growing more concerned about convenience, rather than bleeding edge technology. The Switch has given them that. It genuinely feels like Microsoft are releasing the Scorpio just so they feel like the big boys again. “The best console on the market” was their thing back with the 360 and they want to hold that title again. Apart from the “hard-to-please” gamers complaining of weak, dated consoles, no one has actually asked for the Scorpio. The only ones that feel like they really need it is Microsoft. A plus I see coming out of this is that, if developers are on board, games will start to look even better. This has the potential to give the industry a huge leap in graphical fidelity. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy that consoles are holding the PC back, so to have a potential solution to this is interesting. This is a double-edged sword, though. Bigger leaps in power mean more frequent upgrades, and this is bad news. While I’m sure we all like to see video games getting better (mainly in terms of visuals) this is going to burn consumers out. Hardware iterations will ramp up and then, because consumers refuse to buy, it

will slump again. This disrupts the pacing of the industry, something I feel has found its sweet spot. Also, lets not forget that the other consoles still exist. This makes me wonder if developers are going to prioritise the Scorpio or even show an interest. While we all scoffed at Sony for the PS4 Pro, it turns out that it is taking the right half-step these play-making giants are aiming for. Consumers are content with 1080p gaming and it has been a real struggle for companies to push us into 4K. Sony are making a compromise by deciding not to opt for a native 4K solution, and therefore makes it an affordable one. Most consumers haven’t experienced 4K yet so most would be none the wiser, or simply wouldn’t care. We played a lot of the previous generation in 720p despite having Full HD TVs so why would faux-4K matter? When is all is said and done, it’s about the games. This is the reason I haven’t bought an Xbox One and it’s why I’m struggling to find a point to the Scorpio. Great, the tech is fantastic and achieves 4K gaming, but what can I play on it? Another Halo? Gears of War? I’m sorry, but I think I’ll pass. Gamers go where the games are, and Microsoft have been cancelling games and closing studios left and right. This E3 will certainly be an interesting one…well I hope. Most Scorpio talk has been downright boring, but I’m curious how they plan to market this console. It’s not for your average gamer, little Jimmy’s parents aren’t going to fork over the cash when he already has an Xbox One and Call of Duty. Switch owners certainly won’t care, and neither will PC gamers. Who is this for? You tell me. Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

A LETTER TO BIOWARE

!

MASS EFFECT’S HATERS DON’T SPEAK FOR US ALL

!

I understand you’ve been catching a lot of flak lately. People screaming about animations, or lamenting that Mass Effect: Andromeda tarnishes the wonderful franchise upon which it was built. I’ve seen the tweets, the forums, and the comments. I’ve even seen your apt response to employee harassment. Today, I’d like to offer some advice: don’t listen to it. Sure, tweak the game and definitely do better next time. Never throw advice and fair criticism out the window. But insults and harsh words don’t define a game, and more importantly, they don’t define the developers. Anyone can sling nasty doo-doo letters at one another (well-meaning people, laughing trolls, or even your own reflection) but only someone great can take those in stride and fix the underlying problems. Huddle up, catch these awful wads of words, analyze them, and hit it out of the park on your next go. For every mean-spirited bigot in the YouTube comments, there’s three or four twitterpated Twitter tweeters, ready to try a game and give constructive feedback. Not everyone on the internet sucks, but sometimes it can feel that way. Especially if you’re developing a much-anticipated entry in a beloved video game series. Please, don’t give into the echo chamber of the vocal minority. To development teams and casual players alike: keep your chin up, and do your best. After all, we need those steamy extraterrestrial dating scenes. Yours Sincerely Dylan Bishop

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

9


PREVIEW

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA LIMPING INTO A NEW FRONTIER BY HENRY MELVILLE

10

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

11


PREVIEW

MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA

As a departure from the core series, Mass Effect: Andromeda aims to expand it’s universe into depths unknown. A giant leap for mankind? Perhaps not. NEED TO KNOW Developer Bioware Publisher Electronic Arts Platform PS4, Xbox One, PC

Genre Action RPG Origin US Release Mar 21 2016

ith Bioware’s latest effort, the player is plunged into a beautifully diverse world that is full to the brim with excitement, unknowns and adventure. After my short time in the game, I’ve come to the early conclusion that this, however, is not enough. A few glaring oversights plague this game. It is pitiful to think that Mass Effect: Andromeda had so much promise, but has been let down by shoddy game design. There are flashes of brilliance, from the gorgeous visuals, to the astounding depth of character and item customisation. These things are all easily implemented, however. In this golden age of RPGs, (I’m looking at you, The Witcher 3…) if your game doesn’t have these things, it’s an instant flop. The flipside to this, is that Mass Effect: Andromeda completely gashes the idea of fleshed out and important relationships. The first two hours of the game are a rollercoaster of storytelling. You’re probably going to want to bring a sick bag though. After introducing you to your father, who’s also your commanding officer, some seriously heavy themes play out. What sounds like it could be an intense narrative actually turns out to have very little effect. Characters aren’t built up. Relationships aren’t created. Deep emotional ties never come to fruition. I didn’t feel for any of these people. All credible storytelling is thrown by the wayside in favour of ramping up the action and moving the

player into the next phase of the game. I like to think that the writers envisioned a grand space opera full of perilous plot twists, heartfelt moments and thrilling suspense. Instead we receive B-movie actors in a highlight reel that would not be misplaced in a parody movie. The mistakes do not stop there. In fact, it’s insulting to even think of these as mistakes. I can only describe the abomination of facial animation during cutscenes as pure, unequivocal laziness. Twitchy eyes, contorted jaws, bent limbs. The list is endless. What starts off as a humorous encounter, quickly devolves into the status quo. I find it laughable that Mass Effect: Andromeda comes equipped with a difficulty setting called “narrative mode”, when the visual bugs and nasties do everything in their power to rip you out of any immersive narrative that Bioware have haphazardly thrown together. This is 2017. Products should not be released with these glaring oversights and with complete disregard for quality assurance. Whew. Rant over. Almost. For everything this game does brilliantly, there are small details and missteps that infuriate me. The inventory system is a shambles. Navigating it is a chore. I feel like I have to strategically plan my journey through my inventory more than I plan my way through an enemy’s base. Funnily enough, I’m quite impressed by the way Bioware have implemented a loadout

W

12

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET There are echoes of the original trilogy within Andromeda’s terraforming objective. In order to create sustainable planets for the Milky Way travellers to inhabit, Ryder is tasked with discovering and unlocking ancient Remnant technology. It mirrors humanities attempts at understanding the Prothean technology that allowed interstellar travel in the OT. There are many mysteries surrounding the Andromeda galaxy waiting to be uncovered!

@BeastbyBlog

system. Instead of carrying around a battalion’s worth of blasters and armour with you, players must make tactical decisions as to which weapons they will deploy with on missions. Its refreshing, and encourages the player to know for themselves which weapons are best suited for the task ahead. As you unlock more bases on a planet, you will gain access to your armoury during a mission. Sometimes the nature of your task evolves in such a way that a strategic change in firearms may be just what the doctor ordered. Gunplay is also well executed. 3rd person shooters sometimes suffer from a severe lack of precision and simplified controls. It’s a delight to see that Andromeda actually uses this simplicity to it’s advantage. The cover system is intuitive and does not distract from the fun. Walk up to an object of waist height or more, and you will instantly hug it. Don’t

get me wrong, it’s not without fault. On occasion it will throw your aim off where you weren’t focusing on your surroundings, or you’ll think a crate can be used for cover, when you’re sorely mistaken. Aside from this, blasting enemies with pew-pew laser guns is incredibly satisfying. Sound design is a big factor in how enjoyable I find a games’ gunplay, and everything in Mass Effect: Andromeda has an audible kick to it that I love. In fact, the sound design is an all round success. The hum of a cruiser’s innards as it rips through time and space, perfectly painted over a beautifully haunting orchestral backdrop. It’s so incredibly immersive. All of this combines well with the general visuals of the galaxy. Barring the inexcusable mishaps I mentioned earlier, this is a very pretty game. I wasn’t expecting this to be a world where every now and then I’d need to pause, take in a scene, and smile at it’s beauty. These small moments in Andromeda serve as a reminder that this hostile galaxy is full of delights and stories. You simply need to seek them out. In general, Mass Effect: Andromeda will satisfy many gamers. There are missions aplenty, swathes of narratives to explore, and enjoyable gameplay. Unfortunately for me, the inherent issues with it’s quality severely distract from the bursts of exhilarating firefights and storytelling. It’s unforgivable, and in its current state, does not warrant the AAA asking price. As is now the norm, day one patches will hope to alleviate some of the pain. I truly hope that Bioware can rectify the situation. This game has huge potential, and can be a breath of fresh air for the Mass Effect series. As it stands, it’s a sorry sight. Place it on your wishlist, and wait for either a quality assurance update, or a decent price drop.

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

13


PREVIEW

ROCKET LEAGUE: DROPSHOT UPDATE

ROCKET LEAGUE DROPSHOT JAW-DROPPINGLY EXHILARATING BY HENRY MELVILLE

Rocket League is the story of how a small team of developers have managed to take a simple concept, and evolve it beyond anyone’s expectations. Dropshot is the continuation of this grand tale.

P

syonix make game development look easy. It would appear that no matter how many updates they send our way, the fountain of ideas never stops flowing. Snow Day was an exciting twist and change of mechanics. Hoops reached out to fans of basketball and executed it brilliantly. Rumble ramped up the zany, unpredictable nature of the game. Now we have Dropshot, a brand new game mode that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The game mode is played exclusively in a new arena, Core 707. It’s a hexagonal light show that, in all honesty, is a bit bland. However, we’re not here to admire the view. Mechanically, this arena differs from all others in that there are no permanent goals. Instead, the floor acts as your scoring zone, requiring direct hits for it to open up and reveal the abyss below. You can’t employ the same tactics or mechanics in this arena, because it doesn’t facilitate the same formations or rotations as the more conventional maps do. To tell you the truth, your first few games will likely feel as if you’re starting all over again. Thankfully, everything about this new mode is fun, rewarding and damn well executed. Learning how to play in this arena doesn’t feel like a chore. There’s immense satisfaction in pummeling the ball to the floor and hearing the roaring cacophony of tiles collapsing around you. Everyone will hold their breath as they see the sparks of electricity angrily jutting out of the newly designed ball

14

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

as it passes from blue to orange, before you precisely guide the ball to a spot on the floor that your opponents had all but forgotten was open. It’s all very rewarding. Aside from the new game mode, Psyonix have continued their efforts to improve certain aspects of Rocket League‘s quality of life. Season 3 of competitive has come to a close. With that, wheel rewards have been dished out to worthy competitors (I myself am very happy with my blue wheels). Not only that, but Season 4 sees a complete restructuring of how the ranks are divided. There are more ranks than ever before in Rocket League, with the intention being to help differentiate levels of skill in a more transparent way. It’s a welcome change, and long overdue in fact. As is the norm with any updates in Rocket League, Dropshot comes with it’s own plethora of items to unlock. The new Turbo Crate contains decals, bodies, wheels and more that will keep any collector on the hunt for more. All in all, Psyonix are continuing their brilliant support of Rocket League. This hugely successful title only gets better and better. I wish other developers would take note here, because this is the way you satisfy your customers. Not with radio silence or by piling more content onto an already terrible base game. But with continued efforts to make your game better each time, and to keep it that way. Psyonix, I salute you!

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

PIMP MY RIDE Players were rewarded flashy new wheels to show off their rank from Season 3

PROSPECT

@BeastbyBlog

CHALLENGER

RISING STAR

CHAMPION

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

15


OUR RATING SYSTEM At Beastby.net we score using the star system coupled with positive and negative bullet points. We don’t nitpick with percentages, and we couldn’t care any less about minute decimals. We use the star system because it’s simple. We want to give our readers as much information as possible without muddying the waters.

5 STARS Fantastic in every single way. A title that shouldn’t be missed, and will be remembered for years to come. This is a highlight of the current gaming scene, and it’ll be a tough act to follow. If it has any flaws, they don’t hinder the overall experience in any way.

REVIEWS T

he first half of this year has already kicked some major buttocks. Of course there has been some disappointments, but who’d expect to get so many masterpieces this early on!? We actually had to take a step back and question whether we were being too generous, but it turns out these games really are that good. Undoubtedly the latter half of the year has some treats in store for us, but we’re left wondering: how will it keep pace with what’s already been delivered?

4 STARS Games of this caliber are very well made, and are generally considered to have only a few flaws. However, there are usually some things here or there that prevent them from being the best.

3 STARS Not to everyone’s taste but a pretty good game, when all’s said and done. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not amazing either. The title has more problems than I’d like, and they kept interrupting my enjoyment of the experience.

2 STARS This game began with a concept that had a chance, but its execution was less than acceptable. It’s a forgettable game for a reason. You may pick it up in a bundle and never even play it, but at least you bought it

1 STAR Don’t. Wait for a sale or bargain bin if you must, but this really doesn’t suit anyone. The game has flaws galore, and I just don’t see how anyone can enjoy it. Granted, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion mine is that this one is awful.

16

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

18

26

HORIZON ZERO DAWN

NIER: AUTOMATA

34

PERSONA 5

42

44

46

48

THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+

49

STORIES UNTOLD @BeastbyBlog

SNAKE PASS

HUMAN RESOURCE MACHINE

50

I AM SETSUNA

MANUAL SAMUEL ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

17


REVIEW

HORIZON ZERO DAWN By Robert Hogge

With interest in the Killzone franchise reaching a plateau, Guerrilla Games is putting themselves back out into the limelight with their brand new IP Horizon Zero Dawn. In a market filled to the brim with sequels and reboots, how will this new game fare?

18

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

19


REVIEW HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

H

orizon follows the tale of a bushy-headed native girl named Aloy, who after finding a fancy bluetooth headset in a cave as a child, is set down a path of discovery and wonder to unravel her own mysterious past. She and her adoptive father Rost are outcasts, and live in solitude on the outskirts of the local village. She often inquires why it is that they are outcasts, but Rost makes it a point to keep this information hidden. The land beyond is peppered with strange steel beasts who graze and hunt like any other creature. But they buzz, click, and hum in ways the natives don’t fully understand. There are also several remnants of the “old ones” strewn about the world: mossy street signs, cracked concrete, and towering rusted skeletons of a time long past. But these places are cursed. Forbidden. Only the greatest of warriors and most important of oligarchy are allowed to tread these grounds. In terms of story and setting, the game pulled me in almost immediately with its approach. It toes an interesting line of cognitive-dissonance between what your character thinks they know, and what you already do. Anyone who has seen a sci-fi film since the 70’s should recognize most of the tropes and concepts Horizon presents to the player, but the magic is how it plays off of those expectations. You will always understand what’s going on better than Aloy does, but only just barely. Along the way you’ll meet a variety of NPCs that range from lovable, to douchey, to downright suspicious. I have to tip my hat to Guerrilla Games: they have crafted some seriously great and memorable side-characters for this new venture. My favorite hands down has to be Erend: the brutish,

20

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

smooth-talking, mutton-chophaving captain of the guard. Not only is he very well voice-acted, but his story is heartfelt, and you just end up wanting to give the guy a big bear hug by the end. Aloy herself is kind of a mixed bag. Her design and voice acting are top notch, but I didn’t find myself really connecting with her character until much later on, which is likely due to the nature of how the story plays out. I can’t properly explain what I mean by this without divulging key aspects of the plot, so let’s just say I started off not terribly invested, and ended ecstatically clamoring for more. Her story is absolutely worth hearing and getting excited about. Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

ALL SENSE OF DIRECTION DISSIPATED, AND SUDDENLY I WAS STANDING THERE JUST LISTENING TO THE BIRDS SING. I WAS LOST IN THE JUNGLE.

DINOSAUR LASER FIGHT Not to be overlooked however are the real stars of the show, the mechanical beasts. Each one has a unique look and behavior, and every encounter with a new type presents a vastly different challenge in battle. They range from chrome horses, to cyber alligators, to towering dinosaurs with more firepower than an M1 Abrams. Weaves of steel and piping filled with colorful liquid twist and contort around their frames. Segmented plates of armor cascade in interesting patterns across their bodies, and range in color from Macbook white to charcoal black. It’s quite apparent that they draw heavy inspiration from the likes of Deus Ex and The Matrix, but even then the designs feel very fresh and are a treat to look at. While discovering these creatures roaming around the landscape isn’t always good news, exploring the various zones is an absolute joy. I’m not exaggerating when I say Horizon has one of the most beautiful game worlds I’ve seen to date. I vividly recall the moment I came to this realization. I was walking through one of the more dense forests around sunset, and suddenly the light broke through the trees in such a way that I stopped touching any buttons and just stared. All sense of direction dissipated, and suddenly I was standing there just listening to the birds sing. I was lost in the jungle. @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

21


REVIEW HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

22

“AND MY BOW!”

HAKUNA MATATA

It’s moments like this that set the perfect backdrop for Horizon’s sharp and intricate combat. While nearly all of the weapons in the game are essentially creative variations on bows, crossbows, and slingshots, each serves a specific tactical purpose. Certain bows have special elemental arrows, tripwire arrows, and devastating explosive arrows for breaking armor. Heck, you can even channel your inner cowboy and tie them critters down with a ropecaster! My only gripe is you can only equip 4 weapons at a time. That’s a bummer. From top to bottom, the fights are just spectacular. You may find yourself overwhelmed at first, but unlocking new abilities will even the playing field quite a bit. I’ll be honest though, the slowmo ability when jumping is so useful it’s almost broken. I used it so often during fights, that if you played it back in real-time, I’d look like a coked-out Quake player fishing for headshots. That being said, it’s a good kind of broken, as it saved my bacon more than a few times. Despite all this, the game does fall prey to many of the less desirable “open-worldgame” tropes such as fetch quests, map towers, and resource crafting. However, they make this a bit more interesting by taking the Far Cry 3 approach: where you hunt and kill various creatures to get resources for upgrades. I also very much like that you can generate a miniquest for any item you need to find parts for, and it shows you exactly where to look for that part. Seriously, why doesn’t every game have this feature?

Horizon is a spectacular new IP. From its layered plot-line to its thoughtful second-to-second combat, it’s an absolute triumph for Guerrilla Games, and proof positive that they have gotten their footing back since the last Killzone game. It is also a graphical wonder, perfectly contrasting the quiet solidarity of the wild with the sheer brutality and heartlessness of your mechanical foes. Even though it tries to play it safe in a select few areas, it is still a stellar game that is absolutely worth your time.

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

HORIZON ZERO DAWN Developer Publisher Platform Genre Origin Release

Guerrilla Games Sony PS4 Action RPG Netherlands Feb 28th 2017

Varied and strategic combat Incredibly gorgeous world with awesome foes Interesting story and memorable characters Plays it safe with tired open-world gaming tropes Having only 4 active weapon slots makes changing tactics cumbersome

Hawkeye

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

23


REVIEW HORIZON: ZERO DAWN

24

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

25


REVIEW

NIER: AUTOMATA By Robert Hogge

Looks can be deceiving. On the outside Nier: Automata looks like a run-of-the mill hack n’ slasher where you cut up walking trash cans wearing a french maid outfit. But is that really all it is? 26

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

27


REVIEW NIER: AUTOMATA “Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse, or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle... and wonder if we’ll ever have the chance to kill him.”

T

he cold open for Nier: Automata is certainly brimming with nihilism. It’s the kind of poetically existential thing you’d expect to hear from someone who’s been reading a bit too much Edgar Allan Poe. But after finishing it’s 30+ hour campaign and starting anew, only to see those words cross my screen once more, it feels like quite an apt conclusion to such an amazing ride.

robot may have a soft and endearing female voice, for example. They also might be the most memorable and tragic character in the entire game, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Despite their stark differences, all of Nier’s characters share one important trait: they all feel intrinsically human. They feel pain, fear, sadness, and even love. This is true right down to the most basic enemies you encounter. Some cry out in terrified anger at the sight of you, vowing to avenge their fallen brothers, while others beg for their life as you cut them down. It slowly becomes apparent that there is more to this world than what is initially presented, and not everything is what it seems.

OR NOT (2) BE You begin your journey as 2B, a combat android belonging to the organization “YoRHa”, who is tasked with fighting to protect what remains of mankind. Hundreds of years have passed since the Earth was invaded by aliens and swarmed by their robot minions, and to this day the battle rages on. Humanity now resides on the moon, hoping and praying that someday YoRHa will land the final blow, and they can reclaim the planet. 2B is a hardened veteran of war, and it shows through her cold, distant demeanor as she ruthlessly and precisely eviscerates anything standing in her way. Very shortly into the introductory act however, she is joined by her counter-part known as 9S, who is a reconnaissance model. He primarily assists by gathering data and hacking enemies, using their own weapons against them. He also seems to grow quite bored with his work and is prone to idle chit-chat, much to the dismay of his colleagues. The farther you get into the story, the more you begin to realize that these two androids are the perfect yin to each other’s yang, and that this balance is an underlying theme throughout the entire experience. A large and intimidating-looking male

28

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

KILL (B)ILL

DESPITE THEIR STARK DIFFERENCES, ALL OF NIER’S CHARACTERS SHARE ONE IMPORTANT TRAIT: THEY ALL FEEL INTRINSICALLY HUMAN

@BeastbyBlog

Plot and character development aren’t the only areas where you’ll find nuance, however. The game primarily functions as a thirdperson action brawler, but often shifts perspectives to become everything from a bullet-hell shooter to a visual novel. These transitions between play-styles are often a refreshing change of pace in key scenes, and make for some of the most ear-splittingly satisfying gaming moments I’ve had in a long time. That being said, the core combat mechanics that you’ll be spending most of your time with are no slouch. Platinum Games didn’t just dip it’s finger into this game, it went full Gallagher and smashed it out of the park. And all over the walls. You slash at your foes with dizzyinglyfast combos that bleed directly into your next attack without even flinching. You can also do a familiar last second teleportdodge maneuver and follow it up with a brutal counter-attack. The game wears its Bayonetta influences on its sleeve, and I’d be damned if I said it doesn’t work heavily in Nier’s favor. Although the fighting is amazing and immediately approachable from the start, the way you level and augment your character’s abilities is initially a bit confusing and daunting. Leveling up in general is quite bone-standard: every time you gain a level you get a little bit more health, hit a tad bit harder, and that’s more or less it. Where you find the real meat of this system is in the use of “plugin chips” and “pod programs”. Each YoRHa unit is assigned a floating helper bot called a “pod”. The pod can fire projectiles towards hostiles at will, and never runs out of ammo.

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

29


REVIEW NIER: AUTOMATA They can also be upgraded and customized through the use of “pod programs”, which gives them special abilities and attacks. You start the game with a very powerful laser blast program, but can later buy and equip many others such as a giant digital hammer, or a black-hole gravity trap to hold down your foes while you wail on them. The plug-in chips are a bit harder to explain. Your character has what is essentially a memory pool. Everything from the operating system that keeps you alive to individual elements of the HUD take up chunks of memory, and you only have so much memory to spare. Plug-in chips also take up this space, but grant you special benefits such as more health, stronger attacks, or a bigger window to dodge attacks. You get these chips by either buying them, receiving them as quest rewards, or by killing tough enemies. This provides a fascinatinglydeep level of customization, as you can cut back parts of your display that you don’t need to make room for upgrades, or instead add even more information like enemy HP and damage values. Also, if you are on easy mode, you can install “auto” chips for literally any combat action, and the game will do that action for you. So if you aren’t particularly skilled at dodging for example, equip auto-dodge, press L1 to activate “auto mode”, and you won’t have to miss a dodge ever again.

30

WILL I DRE(A)M?

MINOR SPOILERS (BUT NOT REALLY)

Some might scoff at the idea of an auto-mode, but I absolutely welcome it, because it means more people can enjoy what Nier has to offer. As far as I’m concerned, If I could convince even one person who was on the fence/turned off about this game to give it the ole’ college try, I’d be over the moon. I also feel personally that it is imperative to understand a few key things about the game’s structure in order to get the most out of it. As a result, the following paragraphs may require me to spoil very minor aspects of the game.

Now I know how sensitive some people are to even the most minute of spoilers, so I’ll say this bolder and more clearly: minor spoilers incoming. Skip to the summary if you are absolutely convinced to get the game or want to go in as blind as possible. For those of you still here, let’s get into a few things. Firstly: the game pretty much requires you to play through it multiple times to get the full story. I wouldn’t usually disclose something like this but I feel like it’s, as Burt Gummer would say, “critical need-to-know information”.

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

If you finish the campaign once after 10 hours and put it down, you may walk away from the experience unsatisfied. Secondly: If you do decide to play through the game a second time, I implore you to play it through a third time after that. This may seem like an odd proposition, and arguably a bit unnecessary, but believe me when I say that the game was designed this way. Each playthrough is different, and gives you more insight on the story the deeper you go. But trust me when I say that playthrough 3… Oh mama, it’s a doozy! Don’t cheat yourself by stopping short, you will regret it! Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

HANG ON, R(2)! I am absolutely floored by Nier: Automata. Every character, friend or foe, is presented fantastically and has you constantly questioning what it really means to be human. Each step of the way it continued to surprise me, and even 30 hours in is still introducing new, meaningful game mechanics and concepts. It made me feel like an action anime superhero one minute, and want to fall to my knees and weep the next. Buckle up people, it’s gunna be a bumpy ride!

NIER: AUTOMATA Developer Publisher Platform Genre Origin Release

Square Enix Square Enix PS4, Xbox One, PC Action RPG Japan Mar 17th 2017

Spectacular layered story and characters that only get better with time Constantly shifting gameplay mechanics that keeps you on your toes Extensive replayability Players may miss out on a majority of the game if they never catch on to what the devs are doing

Deus Ex Machina @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

31


REVIEW NIER: AUTOMATA

32

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

33


REVIEW

PERSONA 5 By Dylan Bishop

Persona 5 lets you change the hearts of others. In doing so, it’ll steal yours. 34

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

35


REVIEW PERSONA 5

P

ersona has, and will always be, one of the quirkiest franchises on the market. Talking teddy bears, meat-loving tomboys, gun-toting puppy dogs; you name it, and Atlus has probably put it in the series. Despite the “immature” aspects, Persona has consistently managed to push the boundaries for Japanese roleplaying games. The series has taken large strides to modernize and popularize the genre, mainly by giving it an urban setting and story. After nine long years, the prodigal turn-based series returns with Persona 5 which, quite frankly, blows all previous JRPGs out of the water. For the uninitiated, the Persona series throws you into the shoes of a Japanese highschooler arriving in a new town. Each entry is separate from the last, yet carries thematic similarities and Easter eggs that hearken back to its predecessors. You’ll play through almost every single day for a whole in-game year. This creates a sort of “social simulator” in which you grow closer to your school friends or level up various stats like “charm,” “guts,” and “proficiency.” The tale of Persona 5 begins simply enough, as the protagonist moves to a new school in Tokyo. The reason for the move, however, is much darker: he’s got a criminal record and was kicked from his last school, thanks

36

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

to a recent “assault charge” he erroneously received while trying to stop a rape. This is the perfect setup for the game’s overarching theme: adults don’t always know best, despite their ego. Kids can be infinitely more competent, when needed. Suspense quickly builds as you befriend fellow troublemakers, find a talking cat, and unearth horrible crimes being committed in your community. While Persona 3 tackled secrets and misinformation, and Persona 4 dealt with murder and truth, Persona 5 takes a hearty dive into darker issues that hit much closer to home. Each new, terrible adult has a horrifying secret. What’s a kid to do? That’s where you come in. Soon after moving, the protagonist stumbles upon “the Metaverse,” a distorted world

formed from the wretched wants of corrupt individuals and housing their deepest desires. It’s now your job to masquerade alongside your school friends as “the Phantom Thieves of Hearts” and sneak through these monolithic Palaces to steal the hearts of the manipulative adults around you. Doing so should cause them to confess their sins, or so you hope. Since these Palaces are formed by the subconscious, they are also guarded by the subconscious. Each dungeon asks you to stealthily navigate its halls and take down troves of patrolling psyche-based monsters in order to progress. Ambushing an enemy from behind will give you the upperhand in battle, but being spotted puts you at a disadvantage. Stealth is an important trait

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

37


REVIEW PERSONA 5 for a Phantom Thief, turns out. Thankfully, the stealth system is built so that a simple press of X moves you between cover spots. It’s quick and intuitive to sneak up on guards, rip off their masks, and start a fight. Here, Persona 5 truly shines. Every member of your party is equipped with their own Persona, or inner-self. These manifest as various creatures and humanoids, each with specific strengths and weaknesses. Bad-boy Ryuji is able to strike enemies with lighting and pack a punch with physical attacks, while the bandit cat Morgana can heal your party and devastate foes with wind magic. As the protagonist, however, you can switch your Personas at will, by changing the mask you wear. Every fight requires a decent array of strategies and tactics. Hitting an enemy‘s weakness will make them collapse, and grant the attacker an extra turn–no matter if they’re friend or foe. This means most fights will consist of team experimentation and movetesting until you find that sweet spot, all while covering your own frailties. These extra turns can be passed to other team mates via a “Baton Pass,” ensuring that you can combo hits on certain elemental weaknesses. Things get interesting, as more often than not, your personal arsenal of Personas may not able to bash all enemy weaknesses, while your teammates’ can. In such a case, you can switch to your appropriate demon, let your elemental magic loose, and Baton Pass your free turn to another Phantom Thief who can pick up your slack. Once every enemy monster is down on the ground, they’re held at gunpoint, and the Phantom Thieves are provided a few options: attack the monster, ask for an item or money, or negotiate with them. Attacking them normally does a fair amount of damage and can quickly turn a battle in your favor. However, the time comes when that extra dough or restorative can really come in handy. Taking either option, though, forces you 38

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

to miss out on the real treat: negotiation. These enemies can be persuaded to join your team! After some quick conversational navigation, the creature may suddenly decide to join you in the form of a new Persona. Your personal progression and stats are pushed forth by the collection of stronger Personas. However, these innerselves can also be combined in a mysterious consciousness known as the Velvet Room. Here, two adorable prison wardens can sentence multiple of your devilish allies to death, only to be reborn as a tougher Persona. This fusion allows you to choose the best moves and skills from your original Personas, and carry them over to a new one with better attacks and less weaknesses. That’s a lot to take in, but thankfully Persona 5 somewhat guides you in the opening hours (almost too much). Surprisingly, each and every mechanic is important to the overall experience, and overlaps with each other in surprising ways. Hanging out with your new Tokyo contacts (aptly titled Confidants) will give

you new skills and abilities in dungeons. Carrying certain Personas can also help you grow closer to specific allies. This all combines to form a very strategic time-management system. The game doesn’t happen in real-time, but performing specific actions will automatically advance time a few hours forward. For example, after school you may have the option to chill with the lovely Ann, train at a gym to raise your HP, work part-time for money and a possible stat increase, or explore the latest Palace. One you pick your agenda, it’s suddenly night time, which provides a different array of options. It’s a gratifying risk/reward system, as players are tasked with choosing the activities closest to their hearts,

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

and are never urged to chase the ones that disinterest them. If these descriptions make you feel that Persona 5 has a heavy emphasis on text and menus, that’s because it does. The experience is most certainly defined by listening to highschool heart thieves banter back and forth, and by optimizing a perfect fighting style. However, Persona 5 touts a high level of quality and panache regarding its UI. Every menu is designed to look like a ransom note, or the inner mind of a misunderstood teen. It’s a refreshing change of heart compared to the uninspired menus of most AAA titles. Each button and prompt is responsive and fast–the battle menu can technically be navigated before the graphic

even unfolds on your screen. These menus are a handsomely clever way to keep the genre fast and fresh. Whereas grinding and fighting in older Final Fantasy games can feel tedious, battles in Persona 5 feel quick and exciting. They provide a visual spectacle and a short brain teaser, then they’re over. The game is entirely built upon bite-sized actions like quick fights, short study sessions, and minutelong conversations with friends. Yet in this simplicity, Persona draws you in: before you know it, you’ve played for 25 hours. That’s not to say Persona doesn’t provide a challenge, because it most certainly does. Each Palace is topped off with a grand heist to steal an adult’s heart, leading to a confrontation with that individual’s “Shadow.” These boss fights normally introduce some new trick or fighting style that you must adapt to on the fly, lest you die. Persona 5 favors those who look for patterns and weaknesses, and chastises those who strike blindly. After all the hard work the Phantom Thieves put in, it’s gratifying to see their targets fess

up to their crimes. Persona 5 creates a harrowing world of adults with unquenchable thirsts for power, willing to step on the heads of those around them in the climb to the top. It’s many shades darker than any game I’ve played in the past few years. This tale is one that you can hear essentially any time you turn on an actual TV. Yet Persona also provides a ray of hope and an uplifting narrative, and proclaims that even children can rise above the murk and do great things to counteract corruption. It preaches change and personal revolution, and asks players to break the chains of society to grasp happiness. If you’re not a fan of lengthy intros, menu-heavy games, turn-based battles, or Japanese titles, Persona definitely won’t change your mind. However, you’d be sorely remiss to pass on it, simply because Persona 5 is arguably even more revolutionary than its predecessors. The charming, stylish behemoth finds new ways to reincarnate “boring” mechanics into ones that are enticing, modern, and bold. It fixes many complaints the general populace has with turn-based games and lengthy RPGs, yet provides next to no flaws in return. Persona 5 is an exquisitely fashionable treat, and will surely steal your heart.

PERSONA 5 Developer Publisher Platform Genre Origin Release

Atlus Atlus, Deep Silver PS3, PS4 JRPG Japan Apr 4th 2017

Astonishing and fun UI design Exciting, tactical combat Somber story filled with charming characters Fascinating time-management system Lengthy introduction and tutorial

Artful @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

39


REVIEW PERSONA 5

40

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

41


REVIEW STORIES UNTOLD

STORIES UNTOLD By Darren Burchett

Stories Untold is an engrossing adventure game that layers up storytelling in clever and surprising ways. With a brief runtime of just four hours, does it achieve everything it sets out to do?

T

his is going to be one of those reviews where I stay vague and ambiguous while trying to advise you as much as possible. Much of the joys of Stories Untold comes from going in blind, so I’m not going to take that away from you. All I had to go by was a handful of screenshots, a one minute trailer and a positive rating on Steam. For someone that makes a concerted effort to avoid knowing too much about a game before purchase, that was plenty for me. Booting up the game, the tone is immediately apparent. A droning synthesizer provides the main menu with an ominous backdrop as you stare at the lonely VHS case on the table. Everything about it oozes 80’s nostalgia, and while many games are adopting this style, for better or worse, Stories Untold owns it. Not only is it an aesthetic choice but it’s a mechanical one too, as you’ll be interacting with a range of equipment from that era across the four episodes. A fair chunk of Stories Untold consists of text-based adventuring but deviates in clever ways, leap frogging various mechanics as you progress. That’s what was most surprising to me. No Code have managed to take age old gameplay and inject modern ideas for a level of inventive design that truly put me on edge. Let me explain. The first episode, one released as a proof of concept back in August 2016, sits you in front of an old

42

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

computer to play a game called House Abandon. Older gamers will definitely get that sweet hit of nostalgia as the title builds on screen, screeching and groaning with every row of pixels that appear. Younger gamers may finally understand what they had to deal with. As you play, everything will feel relatively normal at first, you may even forget that you’re playing a game within a game. After navigating your way through the house, you’ll trigger something that flips the game on it’s head. Objects within the room begin reacting to events in House Abandon. I won’t detail any specifics but, as the game runs with this idea, you can expect to find the whole experience quite mind bending. The following episodes are variations on the same concept

but will have you interacting in a somewhat different fashion. The second episode, for example, sees you in a cramped laboratory carrying out an experiment. You’ll be flicking switches, tuning sine-waves and operating a series of equipment as directed by a manual found on a nearby computer. Like me, you’ll probably fumble around for the first few minutes as you figure out what everything does, but you’ll acclimatise eventually. There’s no failure state to speak of and you can take Stories Untold as slow as you’d like. All the game asks is that you carry out the necessary motions to uncover more of the story. Honestly, these motions do feel like busy work at times. Often you’ll be repeating the same tasks until the story makes its next development.

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

I will also admit that the game gets less scary with time, something I was a little disappointed to find out. This isn’t because you become desensitised to the spooks, but because it starts to make trade-offs to tell a deeply personal story. In spite of this, it kept me heavily engaged. Stories Untold has a wide array of interesting storytelling techniques that were enticing enough that I felt compelled to carry on. The whole game is presented like a television show with a theme tune and opening credits. You could treat it as such and play one episode at a time. I ended up so engrossed in the story and concepts that I played through the entire game in one sitting. I recommend you do the same. Where this game truly shines is in its tone and atmosphere. The

warm lights contrasted against cold environments is very reminiscent of 80’s movies. The machines, in the lifespan of technology, feel ancient and clunky. Interacting with the variety of analogue and digital interfaces is very immersive and lends itself well to the experience. The mostly static viewpoints are brought to life by smart sound design that not only induces nerves, but makes each press of a button and flick of a switch have a satisfying weight to it. This is vastly different from anything you’ll probably play this year, and it’s one that shouldn’t be missed. Yes, its a short experience, not really unusual this day and age, but its a unique one. And if you don’t enjoy Stories Untold? Well the price point of £7/$10 is low enough that it’ll eliminate any regrets.

STORIES UNTOLD Developer Publisher Platform Genre Origin Release

No Code Devolver Digital PC Text-Based Adventure UK Feb 27th 2017

Incredibly atmospheric Unique take on horror Inventive storytelling Can feel repetitive at times

Engrossing @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

43


REVIEW SNAKE PASS

SNAKE PASS By Darren Burchett Snake Pass reels you in with its cute and colourful presentation, only to guilt you with the constant suffering of a once cheerful snake. It’s a surprisingly challenging experience, even if it is a little on the thin side.

H

Have we time travelled? Where am I? Why are my armpits so hairless?! What year is this?! Oh god, I’m a child again! Sorry about that, I’ve just took a drink of Nostalgia, it’s dusty stuff. It seems there are quite a few games cropping up recently that are chasing the 3D platformer again. This isn’t a bad thing, but I’m curious as to how these studios plan on making something that doesn’t have awkward controls and repetitive gameplay. This is where Snake Pass comes in, sort of. You play as Noodle,

44

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

a happy-go-lucky snake. With his pal Doodle, a hummingbird, you will set off on an adventure to save the jungle and restore balance. Saving the world in a 3D platformer likely means collecting stuff, so it’s safe to say that Snake Pass asks this of you. However, while some collectables are just laying around, there are plenty that will require a new type of skill and patience. As Yooka-Laylee has proven, a straight recreation of the 3D platformers of old isn’t really good enough. They often lack any real challenge and the camera

is to blame for many of your failings, so why repeat history? Snake Pass chooses innovation over re-creation and puts a unique spin on the classic genre. You will need to move and think like a snake, wriggling your way around floating chunks of earth, overcoming obstacles and returning ancient crystals back to their pillars. Ok, that last part isn’t innovative, but the controls are. It’s immensely satisfying once you figure out how to move around and climb things. It was definitely frustrating at first, I’d often lose all coordination as I held down Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

certain buttons while having to let go of others. But, the first series of levels do a good job at easing you in and allowing you to grasp one concept after another. The gist of the controls (using the Xbox controller) is to use the right trigger to move forward while rhythmically moving his head with the left analog stick to gain speed and momentum. While climbing, you’ll be using the A button to lift Noodle’s head and the left trigger to grip. The Y button will whistle Doodle over to pick up his tail. He’s not strong enough to lift him up entirely, instead he helps with shifting balance so you’re able to “leap” further and scramble up onto ledges. It’s all very intuitive and allows you an impressive amount of control. The second set of levels are a very different story, however. There is a noticeable difficulty spike and the game expects you to climb obstacles that are in somewhat of a contrast compared to what you’ve encountered before. It’s not ridiculous, just apparent. Now, a fairly big contributor to this spike is the dreaded camera, the thing to plague the majority of 3D platformers. In order to succeed at grabbing collectables you’ll need to wrestle with your view point. Often the game will try and do this for you, but the @BeastbyBlog

level of accurate climbing requires manual camera control. This means releasing some buttons to do so and this would often result in me falling into a bed of spikes or having to start the entire climb all over again. It’s not really a deal breaker as it comes with the territory of this genre, and I learnt at a very early age to live with it. Trust me, I’ve experienced far worse. It’s just that it can be a little frustrating considering that Noodle is incredibly satisfying to control. Your time with Snake Pass will run you around six to eight hours, and during that time, the gameplay doesn’t change a whole lot. The environment in each set of stages certainly offer a variety of interesting puzzles, some being straightforward and others that require some exploring, but that’s kind of it. While some players could play Snake Pass for many hours at a time, I tended to only play a level or two and move on. The lack of variety and paper thin story doesn’t really leave much to get excited about. It is clear that the game exists because of its core idea and nothing else. Snake Pass is a result of a game jam after all, so this makes sense. The visuals are indeed fantastic and the characters cute, but there isn’t anything more to it. It’s just the icing on the cake.

I quite enjoyed my time with the squiggly fellow. It’s a nice deviation from deeper experiences you might be having without skimping on a challenge. Sadly, Snake Pass is incapable of being anymore than what it is: a concept. I can’t see any way it could be expanded upon what with the main character being a snake, but this is totally fine. The game offers up fifteen levels and an additional time trial mode for speed running fans, though I don’t see many playing this mode. Regardless, I recommend you give Snake Pass a go.

SNAKE PASS Developer Publisher Platform Genre Origin Release

Sumo Digital Sumo Digital PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC 3D Platformer UK Mar 28th 2017

Unique and pleasant controls Bright, colourful visuals Challenging obstacles and puzzles The camera isn’t always your friend Shallow

Sssatisssfying ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

45


REVIEW

THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+

THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+ OVERCOMING THE ODDS By Dylan Bishop NEED TO KNOW Developer Nicalis Publisher Nicalis

L

et’s be real here: chances are, you’ve played The Binding of Isaac in some form or another. Whether it was the original release or the expanded Rebirth version, you’ve at least heard of the game. It’s a huge indie success, from one half of the team that developed Super Meat Boy. The little roguelike dungeon-crawler is know a well-known property, and has seen two DLC additions to its Rebirth re-release. The game has stayed amazing, but by adding on so much content, Isaac has made itself a little less accessible to the casual audience. Isaac has always followed the philosophy of “easy to pick up, difficult to master,” with great success. You move in four directions, and shoot tears (yes, you play as a crying child) in four directions. You can also nab trinkets, items, bombs, keys, pills, and other goodies to help you in your quest. Isaac does all of this simply to avoid his mother, who has been told by God to kill her son. As such, Isaac illustrates a scary basement from the eyes of a kid, filled with odd Christian imagery and pop-culture references. While you delve deeper into the depths of your home, Isaac tasks you with killing odd abominations while dodging their attacks. As mentioned 46

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Platform PS4, XBox One, Switch, PC & More Genre Rogue-like

Origin US Release Mar 17 2017 (For Switch)

earlier, it provides the adequate items to do so, but each room is randomly generated as you play. Maybe you’ll find a cool item on the next floor– then again, maybe you’ll just find the one that makes you pee uselessly. Despite being a “bullet hell” roguelike, The Binding of Isaac feels so smooth to control and never asks too much of you. “Dodge a few bullets. Kill a few dudes.” That is, until you die, and everything resets. The world rebulds itself anew, and you need to grab new power-ups. Dying sucks…but it’s also the funnest part of the game. Isaac ceaselessly rewards you for learning the game and getting better. Players learn enemy patterns and random room layouts by playing

over and over; however, they’ll also unlock new item drops and bosses. During your first runs, the game limits the item and enemy pools so that newbies are never too overwhelmed. It saves the crazy stuff for the end: the overpowered stat boosts, the hard-to-hit enemy variations, the screw-you-over-ina-heartbeat room layouts. As you get better, the game gets harder. It’s the perfect training system; in fact, put an AI in there, and you’ll have a cliché anime war machine in no time. I’ve played The Binding of Isaac since its original Flash version, which released in 2011. Granted, I was never amazing at it, but I could get the job done. The same can be

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

said for its updated re-release, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and its first DLC, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Both editions boasted unique modes, enemies, rooms, bosses, and items, but also kept the difficulty relatively normal for beginners. They were fantastic in every regard. After speaking with a few friends and playing the Switch port a few times, I can truly say that the game feels much harder from the get-go. It doesn’t hand you very many helpful, awesome power-ups, but does throw you into your fair share of cheap rooms designed to kill you quickly. Progressing through a run usually unlocks varied and more difficult enemies for your next play, but rarely gives you new toys to beat them with. As I said, I knew what I was getting myself into. I can only imagine what it’d be like for someone who’s never played before. The Binding of Isaac has always been known for its random generation and difficulty, but Afterbirth+ seems to kick these aspects into overdrive. Sure, it adds a new layer of challenge for veterans. But I fear that this update might make things a little too unfair for newbies. Simply put, Isaac is already a game about overcoming the odds and surviving a bullet storm. Was it really a good idea to make it even harder from the outset? Afterbirth+ adds a ton of unique powerups and fun bosses, and helps the 6 year old franchise feel fresh. Once players push past the overwhelming odds and unlock extra characters and upgrades, things begin to turn in their favor. That’s when everything gets fun. The Binding of Isaac shines when you can pick up a myriad of unsettling mutations to test how they work together, and how they might fare in combat. Unexpected runs are arguably the best ones; you discover something new and exciting, or try an item combination you’ve never seen before. It perfectly captures the wonder of playing The Legend of Zelda @BeastbyBlog

on the NES, albeit with a grotesque art style. Sadly, in Afterbirth+, the question isn’t always “Will I enjoy the gameplay loop?” but rather “How many unfair runs will it take for me to have one in which I stand a chance?” Thankfully, the Nintendo Switch lends itself very well to this difficulty spike. Instead of sitting in one spot for hours to hone your skills, The Binding of Isaac can now taunt you anywhere. It becomes the perfect distraction for car trips, plane rides, and wait times between classes. The pixel art pops on the bright, sharp Switch screen. It’s enjoyable and easy to explore this musty dungeon on the go, and all the more rewarding. The addition of Afterbirth+ doesn’t ruin The Binding of Isaac, but it will undoubtedly cause its fair share of beginner rage quits. That being said, once the game has been “beaten” a few times, enough items and characters open up to let you truly enjoy everything the game has to offer. Afterbirth+ adds a ton of unique powerups and fun bosses, and helps the 6 year old franchise feel fresh. As it always has been, The Binding of Isaac is a seminal experience for the industry that all should play; it just so happens that the game is greater with portability.

THE BINDING OF ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+ Addictive levels of replayability Charm and quirk out the wazoo Creative item combinations and unlockables Sharp graphics with responsive controls Almost unfair difficulty in the early game

Bizarre ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

47


REVIEW

HUMAN RESOURCE MACHINE

HUMAN RESOURCE MACHINE

THE HEADSCRATCHING SORT-OF SORTING GAME By Henry Melville NEED TO KNOW Developer Tomorrow Corporation Publisher Tomorrow Corporation

S

o you want to be a corporate lackey, do you? Great! Do you have a deep understanding of coding logic, mastery of mathematics and a keen sense of problem solving? No? Well, that’s probably not going to do you any favours in Human Resource Machine. Masquerading as a simple drag-and-drop puzzle game, HRM is a challenging title that asks you to learn fast, screw up, and fix your mistakes. As a nameless employee, your job in this bland world is to take items from an inbox, and drop them in the outbox. Riveting stuff so far. However the conditions of each task change with every level. Each puzzle completion equates to a year of the unexciting worker’s life, and ramps up the difficulty as you pass through the building. Earlier in the game you may only be required to drop numbers in if they are positive in value, yet its later stages may require that you must also turn negative numbers into their positive equivalent before dropping them in the outbox. As you progress, you unlock new commands that allow you to subtract, add, jump through your code, and many more. Although they sound like they could be helpful, the addition of these new commands often presents even greater challenges. I’m not a coder, and at times the difficulty of these puzzles was infuriating. At it’s 48

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Platform PC, Switch, Wii U, Mobile & More Genre Puzzle

Origin US Release Mar 16 2017 (for Switch)

core, this is a game of logic, and so the occasional brain strain eventually turns into relief when you crack the code. This is until you realise you spent 36 commands on a level, where the game challenges you to complete it in 23 or fewer. I’ve not felt a sense of stupidity quite like it before! These performance objectives are a fun way to implement replayability, but at times I felt so exhausted from completing a puzzle that I definitely wasn’t up to the task of trying again. At times, the most infuriating part of Human Resource Machine is it’s controls on the Nintendo Switch. In handheld mode, you can quickly pick apart puzzles with the touch-screen interface. Switching over to TV mode instead required you to use the JoyCon as a pointer, utilising the advanced gyro to estimate where you are pointing on screen. It felt slow and quite often required re-calibrating to find its centre again. I’m struggling enough as it is without the damn controls taunting me! In all honesty, I did not expect much from this title. Certainly the loose plot that plays out feels much like an afterthought. You definitely aren’t picking up this title for the charming characters or the misplaced story, however. I won’t downplay the humour that the quirky employees emit, its a nice break from mashing your mind with sorting items.

Despite minor issues, Human Resource Machine is a charming title with surprising replayability, and a depth of puzzles that will keep you entertained for hours. You may want to consult your dermatologist however, due to the sheer amount of headscratching involved.

HUMAN RESOURCE MACHINE Challenging puzzles Performance objectives offer replayability Fun, quirky characters Nintendo Switch controls are lacklustre Oddly displaced plot

Resourceful Beastby.net


I AM SETSUNA

BACKLOG REVIEW

I AM SETSUNA

ALMOST A HEARTFELT CLASSIC RPG By Dylan Bishop NEED TO KNOW Developer Tokyo RPG Factory Publisher Square Enix

I

n today’s industry, role-playing games seem to be taking off in many different directions. Titles like Persona 5 push the genre forward in new and intriguing ways, while modern action RPGs like Horizon Zero Dawn branch off in another direction entirely. Yet the old-fashioned turnbased top-down games of yore are all but abandoned. Square Enix understood this dilemma and in response created I Am Setsuna, a traditional RPG from their newest studio, Tokyo RPG Factory. The team was formed solely to recapture the look and feel of SNES-era RPGs such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, which is perhaps the only feat their debut title accomplishes. I Am Setsuna follows a small envoy whose task is to safely escort a “Sacrifice” to the Last Lands. This Sacrifice just so happens to be the titular Setsuna, a beloved party member. If you can’t see where this is going, I’ll spell it out: I Am Setsuna is incredibly dark and melancholy. The entire quest is about bringing a friend to the altar, so that she can die to save the world from agitated monsters. This undertone sets up a memorable journey, as you cherish every fleeting second with your team. The world here is absolutely drenched in sadness. It’s constantly snowing, the colors are all faded, @BeastbyBlog

Platform PS4, Vita, Switch, PC Genre Turn-based RPG

Origin Japan Release Feb 18 2016

and a beautifully haunting piano orchestrates every scene. Each new town provides some hardship to overcome, or hides a revelation about the past. Sorrow is omnipresent, which makes the small, hopeful moments in the story that much more special. Quaint scenes help flesh out the plot, as every character is interesting, mysterious, and charming. Fights use an active-battle system: once a character uses their turn, they must wait for a bar to refill before they can attack again. Unique spells and abilities (known as “Spritnite”) can be used to turn the tide in your favor. By pressing a button during an attack animation, players may add special effects or extra damage to an attack. This can only be done once another bar has filled up. Although Setsuna has deep stores of aesthetic and charm, I can’t say the same for its gameplay. Combat feels shallow, as the various Spritnite never affect the fight as much as you’d like them to. Some will help you do more damage, while some will do fire damage in a small area. Others can boost your gauge refill speed. Enemies in these bouts often feel copied-and-pasted from the earlier sections; usually, they boast simple palette swaps and stat boosts. Even the boss fights feel unimaginative, as their only challenge is their

ridiculous amount of health. Every battle is fun, though not especially distinct from the one before it. Setsuna certainly looks and feels like an old role-playing game, yet sadly never sets itself apart as something new. It emulates and masquerades as the games that enraptured you years ago, but never presents new fighting tactics, side quests, or mechanics. Somewhere in this over-simplicity lies the heart of a good game. I Am Setsuna provides a nice time capsule; a glimpse into the past, and a look into the future of turn-based experiences. The title forms a sturdy base for the studio to build upon, and with a few more mechanics, it could easily be fantastic. Yet in its current state, it isn’t. I Am Setsuna is a fun, memorable journey that ultimately leans too much on nostalgia, and never toys with any unique, meaningful ideas.

I AM SETSUNA Haunting atmosphere and setting Charming characters and story Barebones combat, equipment system, and sidequests

Half-Hearted ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

49


BACKLOG REVIEW

MANUAL SAMUEL

MANUAL SAMUEL

A GAME THAT STRUGGLES TO FIND ITS FOOTING By Darren Burchett NEED TO KNOW Developer Perfectly Paranormal Publisher Curve Digital

W

hen I first saw Manual Samuel on the Steam storefront, I had high hopes for it. As far as indie titles go, anyway. It looked like a goofy, gimmicky, good time. Much like Octodad, I could play it, enjoy it, and move on. It’d be a short experience but one I’d look back on with fondness, and one that’d join the pantheon of must-play indie experiences. Only, this is one we’ll probably be forgetting. The game starts off in a quaint cafe with our vessel-to-be Samuel catching flak for missing his girlfriend’s birthday for the third year in a row. After receiving a lecture over his laziness he shrugs it off, explaining that because he has a rich and successful family he can just coast through life. This doesn’t go down well and the conversation ends with a swift strike across the face with a bottle of broccoli juice. This is when the player is handed control. You help the dazed and confused Samuel to his feet and work out how to use his limbs. The triggers move his legs, shoulder buttons move his arms, and the face buttons will control…well… his face. The controls

50

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Platform PS4, Xbox One, PC Genre Adventure

Origin Norway Release Oct 14 2016

are fairly straightforward but when pressed in the incorrect order, or not at all, Samuel will fall into a heap on the floor. Controlling someone manually is, as you’d expect, clumsy and slow, but entertaining at the same time. One aspect of Manual Samuel I enjoyed, aside from the control scheme, was the narrator. The sarcastically dry storytelling provided throughout is tonally correct for a game like this. While the humour didn’t always land, it was a nice surprise to hear him react to the player’s actions. He’d often remark if I’d taken too long (sometimes telling me exactly what to do) or ad-libbed if I kept repeating the same action unnecessarily. It’s just a shame that every other character is without merit. So, Samuel stumbles outside in pursuit of his girlfriend, and as he limps across the road he’s hit by a truck. As the narrator puts it “The impact renders him eight types of dead,” whatever that means. This is when we meet Death, arguably the most annoying character, who has a deal for Samuel. If he’s able to “manually” survive for the next

twenty-four hours he can have his life back. A difficult task regardless, but even harder for a man who’s never had to lift a metaphorical finger. Of course, Samuel agrees and we’re taken back a day before the accident. After getting the hang of blinking and breathing, we set off on our day while Death practices his kickflips in the background. This is when the clever and interesting mechanics of Manual Samuel come into play, and they make you truly appreciate our “automatic” lifestyles. Having to juggle basic bodily functions is hilariously chaotic, and the first few levels are filled with many forehead slapping moments. How could I be so stupid to believe that I could inhale while having a mouth full of hot coffee?! There’s something inherently funny about struggling to complete mundane, everyday tasks, and that’s when Manual Samuel is at its most entertaining. Sadly, the game takes a very different direction that misses the point entirely. The second half turns into somewhat of an awkward brawler as it tries to Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

adapt the mechanics to fit the story. You’re no longer laughing along as you endeavour to live a normal life, instead you’re required to complete a bunch of precise sequences with imprecise controls. It’s frustrating, especially as the story isn’t engaging enough to will you to the end. Manual Samuel would have been a better game if it didn’t put its mediocre story in front of the mechanics. A simple tale of a man just trying to get through the day would have been sufficient enough to let players enjoy the gameplay. I’d much rather struggle with grocery shopping and mowing the lawn than fighting robots and demons. It’s an odd story, one filled with uninteresting characters with dialogue that often fails to stick the landing. It’s like playing a video game adaptation of a TV show I’ve never heard of, and the only people who get the bigger picture are the developers. It’s not a terrible game by any means, and it’s cheap enough that it may warrant a purchase from anyone curious enough. It’s just a middle of the road indie title that may satisfy the QWOP fans out there, if those people actually exist.

MANUAL SAMUEL An entertaining first half Retro-kitschy art style A soundtrack to match A terrible second half

Uncoordinated @BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

51


FEATURE

TOP TRUMPS: VIDEO GAME BEARDS

TOP TRUMPS Can you feel it? Just a small hint of change, gliding through the valley on the wind? More and more of our beloved video game characters are sporting beards. We have no clue why this phenomena is happening, but it’s about time we started getting this beard-mania organised. Here are Beastby.net’s official (not really) Top Trump Video Game Beards!

ZANGIEF The Red Cyclone represents the Motherland with style, power and a beastly bush. Sharp cuts and strong growth go hand in hand to strike fear in any opponent. Bonus points for having an astoundingly unique chest hair pattern. There’s fighting like a bear, and then there’s looking like one too.

JACK BAKER You’d be forgiven for not noticing that Jack sports a mighty man growth considering his most ghastly features revolve around the visceral regeneration of his body. Make no mistake, his bushy grey beard is actually well kept, and even survives through the severe burns he receives in the first act of Resident Evil 7. Truly horrific. 52

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

JOEL With Clickers and bandits running amok, Joel couldn’t have a clean shave even if he wanted to. Yes, it may be on the scruffy side, but it gets the job done: Joel is not a man you want to wrestle for a bottle of water. Also, He scores bonus points for the salt and pepper action he’s got going on.

DR. ROBOTNIK When you spend so much of your time building an obtuse amount of sphere-shaped death robots, facial hair only proves to be an occupational hazard. Thankfully for Eggman, the “fuzzy caterpillar” look not only prevents him from looking like an albino Diglet, it stays flared out violently to each side. Probably due to flying around in that egg pod so much.

GERALT

PROF. ROWAN Though he may be old, Professor Rowan knows his way around the Pokémon world. Not only that, he definitely knows his way around a razor blade. Opting for a sideburn and stache combo, his face is both dignified and rockin’. @BeastbyBlog

Geralt’s beard is a lot like his fighting abilities: versatile, stylish and majestic. It’s a damn shame when he’s forced into civilised company and made to hit the razor. If we had it our way he’d stay clear of the pompous “nobles”, but the man does have a business to run. Luckily, it seems meditation and mutation give Geralt the hair growing speeds he needs to return to form.

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

53


FEATURE

TOP TRUMPS: VIDEO GAME BEARDS

GORDON FREEMAN Saving the world from a threat you accidentally helped create doesn’t leave you with a lot of time to worry about style. Gordon is a simple man with straight-forward goals, and likely trims his mane with the business end of a crowbar. Even so, when you see this glasses and goatee combo emerge from the shadows, the last thing you’ll be thinking about is his grooming habits.

ADAM JENSEN If only Adam put as much time into developing a personality as he has pruning, shaping and dying his beard, we might’ve got an interesting protagonist. There comes a point where hair-care goes too far. Unfortunately for Mr. Jensen, he missed his stop at Man-Crush City and found himself at a Jafar fan club in Try-hard Town.

TORBJÖRN Torbjörn has some fantastic facial hair, which couples with his Swedish accent to give him an eerie resemblance to Warcraft’s Dwarves. Players should be sick of seeing it though, as a good Torb gets Play of the Game in almost every match he’s in. 54

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

BILL The oldest and most experienced L4D crew member, Bill is a seasoned badass who is willing to put it all on the line for the team. He embraces the grey, but doesn’t seem to do much more with his beard aside from possibly shortening it with a bowie knife. I also can’t imagine boomer bile is an easy thing to wash out in a rush. Gross.

KRATOS Forget all of those times Kratos killed a god or brought down a Titan: he never truly became a man until he grew that immense, testosteronefuelled beard. It seems he’ll need it for the latest iteration of the God of War series, too. Not only to retain some warmth to his body (however minor), but to give his son something to aspire to.

DOCTOR LIGHT The robotics expert Dr. Light also happens to be an expert in grooming. His beard must have caused quite the trouble when he was putting together his various Robot Masters, but its excellence pays for itself. We hope that he steers clear of Cut Man, though.

@BeastbyBlog

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

55


SELECT

GROUNDHOG DAY IN SAPIENZA HITMAN DARREN BURCHETT

It’s a sunny day in Sapienza. Again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lived this day, all I can say is that I know this part of town like the back of my hand. Silvio Caruso will be meeting his golf coach, Roberto Vargas, for another lesson soon. After that he’ll have another session with his psychiatrist, and the hopeless chef will regrettably serve up lunch with spoiled tomatoes. Hmm, how should I ruin Mr. Caruso’s day this time? Exploding golf ball? Nah. It was pretty hilarious last time, but I’ve done that already. Dress as his psychiatrist and smother him with a pillow? Too boring, and I don’t want to have to hear about his mummy-issues. Oh! I could put him in the wood chipper! Wait. I’ve done that too. Well, I could dress as a plague doctor and slit his throat with a circumcision knife. Sure! Why not. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been playing Hitman. Despite purchasing the entire game on day one, I’ve only just started my dive into this fascinating thing. I am in complete awe with the amount each level has to offer, and I didn’t expect to have the overwhelming urge to try every option. There’s just one thing, though. There’s still four levels I’ve yet to try. I cannot 56

ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

get enough of the Sapienza map. It is an example of incredible level design and, as well as being a beautiful location, provides variety like no other. Compact, windy streets. A huge mansion. Castle ruins. A church. Beach. Docks. Underground lab! Have I got your attention yet? Each provides something new and exciting for your next assassination attempt, and I can’t stop. Each level I’ve experienced so far feels like an ant nest. Everyone and everything is going through the motions like clockwork, and it’s not until you start poking with your stick that the world starts to react. It’s also like a field of dominos, and when you knock one piece over there’s no telling how much of a knock-on effect it’ll have. And I’ve run out of analogies for now. Hitman is a special game, people. I can’t believe I’ve waited until now to play it.

WHEN ANGELS DESERVE TO DIE DARK SOULS 3 ROBERT HOGGE

Most of my gaming this month has been directed towards the ones I reviewed, but when not doing that I was able to dive into the Dark Souls 3: Ringed City DLC. I was grinning from ear to ear for the most part, except when encountering one specific enemy: the angels. They are infinitely frustrating, unrelenting, and the way you get rid of them for good is frankly absurd. Outside of that though, I’ve been having a blast! The spectacle and environmental puzzles have been extremely satisfying, and the first boss threw me for a loop in such a clever way, I can’t even be mad that he wrecked me shortly after. I honestly cannot wait to dig further and uncover the mystery that lies within. Beastby.net


BEASTBY.NET

STILL THE BEST PIXAR FIRST PERSON SHOOTER ON THE MARKET OVERWATCH DYLAN BISHOP

Aside from playing Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn, March was a month of connections for me. It was dedicated to strengthening bonds with friends and family, and what better way to do that than with Overwatch? Almost a year after launch, our small group of six stays consistently enthralled with Blizzard’s competitive shooter, thanks to healthy doses of characters, world lore, game modes, and skins being injected on a regular basis. It’s genuinely exciting to see how the game’s meta will evolve next, whether through a balance patch or a hero release. As expected, April 11th was met with one such event: “Overwatch Uprising.” For the next few weeks, players can cooperatively battle against hordes of robots in the streets of London. This small mission ties into Overwatch’s extensive in-game history, and sheds some light on

the backstory of certain heroes. The new PvE mode is genuinely fun and fresh--it proves that Blizzard could create a bright, colorful campaign mode, if they wanted. Until then, Uprising suffices, as do the plethora of new, themed “Origin” skins. It’s astonishing that Overwatch is still relevant on all platforms. It’s rare to see a console game that’s played more than six months after release. Nevertheless, Blizzard has created something truly special: a charming, animated multiplayer title, where all players feel that they’re contributing. Whether you want to spam the dwarfish turret engineer or play every hero in the game, Overwatch is a fantastic title that everyone should try.

GREAT PASS! S#@%! NICE SHOT! CHAT HAS BEEN DISABLED FOR 3 SECONDS... ROCKET LEAGUE HENRY MELVILLE

It’s that time of year where players new and old are thrust into a maelstrom of unpredictability, unbalance, and downright ridiculousness. Yes folks, Rocket League’s rank resets are a difficult time for all. I sometimes like to think that this is the moment I can sherpa some newbies and help them climb the ranks of greatness. Instead, I’m forced to steal balls, compensate and obliterate players who definitely didn’t deserve it. Matchmaking is a tricky problem for Rocket League’s season refresh. After all, we all have to start somewhere. But being thrust into a lobby where your teammates couldn’t tell the difference between their boost button and their own goal @BeastbyBlog

makes for cringeworthy viewing. There is great satisfaction, however, in somehow taking down a full squad of Grand Champions in Hollywoodsports-movie fashion. Rocket League is a game like no other. The raw emotion and elation when on a hot streak is quickly dismantled as you crash down the ladder faster than you can say “Wow! What a save!”. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Dropshot has made for a frantically fantastic distraction from the woes of ranked play. The new mechanics and visuals are a real treat. It’s this consideration that Psyonix have for their players that has me continuously hooked up to the Rocket League needle. I’m now closing in on 700 hours played, and there’s no signs of me stopping any time soon. Fingers crossed I can hit my target of Diamond rank this season! ISSUE 02 MAY 2017

57


@BEASTBYBLOG /BEASTBY CONTACT@BEASTBY.NET

Beastby - Issue 02 May 2017  
Beastby - Issue 02 May 2017  
Advertisement