Amnesia: The Dark Descent - A Review By TheAcidSkull

An Immortal Classic

Yeah, I realize I'm 4 years late to the party, but with 2015 being flooded with Amnesia and Outlast-Esque upcoming horror games, I realized that, as an avid horror genre fan, I need to keep up and get acquainted with the first person style of survival horror. Over the years, I've been hearing a lot of overwhelmingly positive comments about Amnesia, in fact, remarks like "mentally scaring" and "paralyzing frequently" frequently appeared, so it finally struck me that I wouldn't be a good horror fan I didn't give this game a chance. However, before I move on to the gruesome details I want you to consider something very important. I want everyone to keep in mind that this is me playing the game after 4 (or technically 5) years, which is arguably enough time to diminish the scare-factor of many games.

This is not the case with the Dark Descent. Yes, it may not be as "paralyzing" for me as it was for others, but to be fair I am not exactly the model for the average person, so moving on...

To say that this game is atmospheric is absolutely a huge understatement. Everything in the game, from the gameplay to the environments is designed to mess with you psychologically. You don't really notice it in the beginning, because most of the scares are are slowly and subtly built. In fact, when I tried to pin point the source of such a nerve-wrecking experience, I couldn't really put my finger on it. After some contemplation though I managed to really work out the small hints the game leaves for you. Lets start with the level design and the environments, which are all brilliantly crafted.

For the majority of the game, you spend going through tight corridors and catacombs, all of which are dark and gloomy. After some time though, you really get use to maneuvering yourself in these tight spots. But just when you think you got the hang of it the game throws something completely new at you. There is a section in the game where you enter an open space, and while, as you are reading this, you may think this is a good thing, let me tell you that it's quite the contrary. Personally, it completely changed my game tactic, which is basically the same throughout most of Amnesia's story. (this isn't a bad thing, mind you.)

Speaking of which, the gameplay in Amnesia really needs getting use to, but once it hooks you, and it definitely will, you won't be able to detach yourself from it. Like I said, almost every single element is designed to make you nervous and fearful, which is probably the reason why there is such a huge emphasis on how you interact with the objects. Opening doors and picking things up is not that simple, in the sense that you can't just press a bottom and expect Daniel(the main character) to hold that object, nor can you just open and close doors with the press of a button. No, the controls are much more intricate than that. Instead of simplifying things the game forces you to manipulate and constantly move around your mouse to perform specific tasks. This increases the tension, especially when you are chased by literally an indestructible foe. That being said, the game doesn't bully the player, in fact, the AI is as smart as it should be, and the developers have clearly considered how your relationship with your enemy should synch with the gameplay.

Anyways, since you have no way to defend yourself from these vile beasts, you're main weapon is running and hiding, but that's okay, since these monsters are much like children; after you vanish for a while they start strolling away. You may be thinking that these enemies are very simple to avoid, but that's completely not true. For starters, these guys can easily kill you, in fact, sometimes it may only take one single shot. Secondly, you can't look at your enemies, nor can you stay in the dark for a long time, because that way the player loses his sanity, and as a result of which you may die. The only way to prevent Daniel from losing his mind is by staying in or reaching a source of light, which may be coming from cracks in the castle, your lantern, or the candles/lamps nearby, but yet again, the game introduces a wonderful mechanic that keeps you on constant edge. The lantern you use runs on oil, and not all hallways are lit by candles/lamps, so you need to be very careful to not run out of resources, otherwise you may gradually lose sanity, which will make the encounter with the monsters way more difficult.

I still want to void talking about the monsters, however, I will mention that there are mainly three types of enemies in the game, all of which essentially simultaneously have similar and distinct qualities. In either case, the game does a tremendous job of showing you the hierarchy among these beings, which is another subtle hint to keep the adrenaline going

THE FOLLOWING SPOILER IS WRITTEN IN ITALICS: In one section of the game you see the most common enemy, The Gatherer, ripped to pieces, after which you face the more rare and powerful enemy called the Brute. So imagine that the enemy, which you are helpless against, butchered by another monster. Kind of makes you more nervous, doesn't it?

Moreover, the puzzles in The Dark Descent are both diverse and absolutely fantastic! By "diverse" I mean that not all puzzles are based on collecting and putting 2 and 2 together, sometimes it can be completely based one's intuition and how well you've managed to fathom the universe in which you reside. Amnesia has certain rules, all of which you need to follow, and once the setting clicks with you, some puzzles become more apparent, but that does not mean that they are any less brilliant. Plus, running around for multiple pieces in a monster infested area really tends to mess with your head. That being said, some of the riddles may be too hard to figure out, simple because the indications given in your notes are too vague to follow; thus, as consequence, your progression may be hindered, as you'll be stuck in one specific area for some time. This, sadly, momentarily takes you out of the experience, and while it's not a huge complaint, I though it was still worth mentioning.

Furthermore, the sound design is absolutely perfect. The game really doesn't give the player any chance to take a break; at almost every turn there is always something going on. It could be either Daniel's heavy breathing, his teeth shaking, stone grinding, or/and the rustling of chains. The point is that the tension rarely ever fades. Also, considering that you can't look at your enemies without loosing your sanity, nor do you want to risk them seeing you, you'll have to rely on the sounds of their moans and footsteps. Otherwise, you may walk right into your own grave. (The monster will slaughter you, duh)

And last but not least, the story in Amnesia is increasingly satisfying. Sure, it's not exactly brilliant, but it aptly fits the universe Frictional games have created. At the beginning, an amnesiac named Daniel finds a note, left by Daniel himself, saying to execute the Baron of Brennenburg, Alexander. The note also warns you of a constant pursuing shadow, which you mist avoid at all costs. From that point on, you receive bits of the story through audio dialogues between two characters and notes scattered across your journey, all of which are narrated by Daniel. Some notes you will come across one way or the others, but some chunks of the plot are not on your main path, so whether you find these pages is completely up to the player, though not everyone may be willing to go the extra mile and look for lore what with all the monsters running around, unless your like me of course. With that out of the way, I can understand why this may a be a problem for some, and on most cased I'd agree, but in Amnesia's place, this style of delivering the narrative is completely fitting for the tone and the general themes within the Dark Descent. The title is Amnesia, after all, so it makes sense to collect and piece together certain details.

In conclusion, Amnesia is a wonderful horror experience. Does it have some problems? Sure, what game doesn't, but considering all the things The Dark Descent gets right it'd be absolutely unfair to knock of point for minor gripes and inconveniences (some of which may have resulted from my own incompetence, like the ambiguity of the puzzles I mention). Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a powerhouse survival horror game even after 4-5 years, which tells us that it is a timeless classic.

Score: 9.5/10

5 Comments

Top 5 Games Of 2014

I'll be completely honest with you, this would have been a much larger list had some of the games actually arrived on time, but alas, many of my most anticipated installments were delayed to 2015. I could have stretched it out to a "top 10" list, but honestly then i'd had to rank it, and right now I just want to focus on the good.

It's funny though, a lot of the games I was excited for turned out to be mediocre at best whereas the games I was barely considering knocked my socks off. While not an amazing year,It's been an interesting ride to say the least in terms of gaming. Note: This list is completely subjective, obviously, and many may not share my views. Cheers.

5. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Somehow this bastard managed to to find his way on my" favorite video game character "list

I expect to get a lot of flock for this, but hey, what can I say? I enjoyed my time with the game immensely. While definitely a huge step-down from the original game, it does have some great things going for it. Starting with the more negative aspects of the game, the story was disappointing. Where as the original offered some great twists and turns, this one falls flat on it's face in the final act. It's not bad, per say, but throughout the game we have a clear goal in mind. We're on board with dracula's mission and we want him to succeed, yet by the end, that very gaol which Dracula strived for is thrown out the window, and is replaced with some campy melodramatic ending. This was a huge slap in the face for me, simple because I've been on board with Gabriels crusade even way before his full transformation. I see what they were going for, but if they wanted to turn the story into a "revelation" arc, they should have done a better job of wrapping everything up. A few lines of dialogue does not and cannot wrap up a contradictory 20 hour story(more if you count the first installment).

Okay, it may seem at this point that I'm more pissed than happy with LOS 2, but despite my critisism for the how the game turned out, it still, like I said, has many interesting improvements. For starters, the characterization is leaps and bounds better than the first LOS. Gabriel Belmont, or Dracula, has become one of my favorite interpretations of the Price of Darkness. He's a horrible monster for sure, but he commits these horrible acts with such grace and awesomeness you can't help but respect the guy to some degree. Plus, if you've played the first game you can sympathize with him, because you know the horrible shit he has been through. The transition from Knight in shining armor to a murderous monster was executed and done fantastically. Plus, Los 2 does something not many games manage to do, it shows us the characters personality and growth through the gameplay. The whole castle is a reflection of Gabriel's unsound mind, and each monster you strike down represents your own personal flaw. (Silent Hill inspired probably, though I have to say the executed and presentation is considerably different.)

Speaking of which, the gameplay has been refined. The controls feel a lot more smooth and less clunky/stiff, and your moves fit Dracula's character, since it's presented in a much more savage, aggressive and elegant manner, as opposed to Gabriel's more warrior-esque brute force. Though to be honest, the structure and the brilliant methodical style of gameplay is sill maintained, meaning that the game doesn't hold back it's punches if you screw your moves up. (if it ain't broke don't fix it)

Also, I know many people hated the stealth sections, but it's not really that bad. Sure it's dumb and frustrating, but it doesn't break the game.

In conclusion, despite it's negative reception and some apparent flaws, when I look back at 2014, I'll definitely remember Lords of Shadow 2.

4. The Walking Dead: Season Two

Don't worry Clem, Lee will.....oh...right

Not quite as great as the first season but definitely a powerhouse on it's own. Clementine is singlehandedly one of this years coolest video game characters, without a single doubt. After having my heart broken by the first season, I was really interested in how things would pick up from there. Unlike some, I was actually glad that she became the main character, because that way the flow of the game seemed natural. In the first season a lot of what you do as lee is for Clementine, therefore your actions reflect on her. Yes, I understand that the game does have a single story-line and to a certain degree the choices you make lead to the same outcome, at least plot wise, but the game shines when it comes to it's characters. Sure, there's one general "picture", but the player gets to fill the picture with the color of his/her choosing. Clementine, in many ways, no matter how you look at it, was crafted by me, and that's exactly why I really love the telltale games so much.

The story falters somewhere around episode 4, and yeah it's a rough bump to the overall brilliant narrative, but essentially it completely pays it off with the amazing finally. After season One I didn't really think the game could break my heart all over again, but boy was I f*cking wrong. The choices I made were specifically nerve grinding, and I spent a lot of my time brooding because of how I ended things. If a game can really resonate with me and affect my mood to such a drastic degree, it means it's definitely doing a lot of right things.

3. The Wolf Among Us

Dem huff'n'puffs

I almost put this before the Walking Dead, but essentially The Wolf Among Us has something, which the Walking Dead games lack, originality. Okay, maybe that sounds harsher than it should, but what I mean is that concept of the Zombie Apocalypse has been done a billion times in about every manner possible, so as great as the Walking Dead is, The Wolf Among Us brought something fresh to the table. The idea of different fables inhabiting a gritty corrupt town sounds ridiculously fantastic on it's own, and it was further made better with the fact that the main protagonist was non other than the Big Bad Wolf.

It's always interesting exploring what opportunities and choices exist in different universes, and playing a character with such radical possibilities was an interesting experience. When I say radical I mean that Bigby wolf has the potential to both be a complete monstrous beast and/or noble protector. It's arguable that that Lee could have been a jackass too, but the very essence of Bigby's character allows the player to really stray from the middle ground, where as lee, good or bad, is still a human being in the end.

However, much like the Walking Dead, what shade of "noire" Bigby will be colored with is completely in your(the players) hands. Personally, I was more in the grey area, mostly because I killed twiddle Dum...or was it Dee? Can't remember, all I know is that killing that annoying jerk felt awesome.

Anyways, The Wolf Among Us is a well written, fun, gritty and atmospheric game, which will no doubt leave it's mark on you after you're done playing it.

2. Wolfenstein: The New Order

"I want my Nazi Scalps!"

When the Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced....Actually, that's just it, I wasn't even aware of the fact that it was announced. I've heard of the franchise, but upon reading about the setting of the game I wrote it off as another generic lifeless shooter about killing swarms of Nazis. It wasn't until the small demo was shown that I was genuinely intrigued in what this game had to offer. Eventually though, the positive reception coped with the fact that I wanted a next gem game for my Xbox One, I decided to give it a shot. Suffice to say Wolfenstein exceeded my expectations and it is most definitely my second favorite game of the year.

The gameplay is absolutely spectacular. It's so good that I replayed and beat that game over and over again, which is something I rarely ever do with FPS's. The only other game I can remember that got a similar response from me was Halo, which is a high compliment mind you. Moreover, what I personally liked was that while Wolfenstein makes you feel like a walking, breathing tank, it still holds enough difficulty to make you think before attacking someone with guns blazing, which is where the stealth sections come in. Yes, the AI is definitely dumb, but for a game oriented so much on action the artificial intelligence is in perfect balance with the gameplay mechanics, meaning that the Nazi soldiers are as smart as they should be.

The guns may not exactly be abundant in variety, but the ones you do encounter are and absolute blast. This mixed with the multiple/possible game tactics provides the player with enough diversity and versatility to keep things interesting.

Furthermore, the story may be campy in some areas, but it's definitely pretty awesome. Like I said, my initial response was that Wolfenstein would have some generic nazi killing story thrown in there out of obligation, but after playing the actually game, I saw that it had way more depth and charm than I could have anticipated. In fact, and I don't know if you'll agree, but throughout my journey I reminded of Tarantiono's Inglorious Basterds, thanks to the over the top and gimmicky characters.

I could go on, but the gist of is that Wolfenstein was a interesting, fun, well acted, and well written.

5. The Evil Within

Not sure what caption would fit here....

When I first saw actual footage of the game, I knew that it would most definitely have mixed responses, so I completely understand if many people dislike and/or hate this game. However, for me, this was definitely the most fun I've had in a a very long time. I found myself loving the very flaws I saw many criticize. For example, I enjoyed the letter boxing because it created a claustrophobic atmosphere, I enjoyed the janky melee combat because it emphasized on the "survival horror" aspects of the game, and I most definitely loved the the campy cliche characters who made me laugh once in a while.

Moreover, despite the many flaws people like to point out the the evil within does something not many horror titles have managed to do in a very long time. Throughout my play-through I was mentally drained, and I mean that in the best way possible. The gameplay is so difficult and the atmosphere is so tense that each and every encounter, even with the regular "haunted" enemies, is worrisome and taxing. Not because it's scary though. The game isn't frighting in the traditional sense, in fact, it's much like dead space when it comes to scares. When you are actually playing the game you are always, and I do mean ALWAYS on edge. You, despite the ability to fight back, can be helpless against certain and sometimes all enemies, so you need to tread carefully and you need to analyze and calculate most of the steps you take. Even when you are completely alone, something as simple as a trap can blow you to smithereens.

Furthermore, as a crazy monster fan, this game was a love letter to me, considering the fact that you face a lot of grotesque and uniquely designed monsters throughout the campaign, all of whom have distinct and interesting characteristics and tactics of killing. The Boxhead/Keeper in particular stood out for me, and if there ever comes a sequel I hope this hammer wielding monstrosity makes a comeback!

So, Is The Evil Within a perfect game? Haha nope, but is it a fantastic experience that will please horror fans? I say it is, for me at least.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Sunset Overdrive- And overall fun and well-designed game, but I don't think I'll go back to it anytime soon, and I seriously doubt I'll pick up a sequel or something, since I feel I've had my fair share of craziness from the first game. Fun as it may be, I'm not particularly fond of the general style and atmosphere, but I am glad I picked it up.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition - It's a great game, in fact it's definitely one of the best this year, but it's still an RPG, a genre in gaming I'm not particularly use too yet, so I can't get immersed the way I want to. Plus as someone who plays a lot of hack'n'slash games, the removal of the dodge mechanic and the sudden switch to a more methodical type of gameplay is a bit tough and taxing, so while it is a fantastic experience so far, I doubt it'll be a personal favorite of mine.

You might be wondering why I didn't add destiny to the honorable mentions. The reason for this is because I f*cking despise what Bungie is doing right now, so despite the fun time i've had with the game It doesn't deserve the name "honorable."

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Top 5 Games Of 2014

I'll be completely honest with you, this would have been a much larger list had some of the games actually arrived on time, but alas, many of my most anticipated installments were delayed to 2015. I could have stretched it out to a "top 10" list, but honestly then i'd had to rank it, and right now I just want to focus on the good.

It's funny though, a lot of the games I was excited for turned out to be mediocre at best whereas the games I was barely considering knocked my socks off. While not an amazing year,It's been an interesting ride to say the least in terms of gaming. Note: This list is completely subjective, obviously, and many may not share my views. Cheers.

5. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Somehow this bastard managed to to find his way on my" favorite video game character "list

I expect to get a lot of flock for this, but hey, what can I say? I enjoyed my time with the game immensely. While definitely a huge step-down from the original game, it does have some great things going for it. Starting with the more negative aspects of the game, the story was disappointing. Where as the original offered some great twists and turns, this one falls flat on it's face in the final act. It's not bad, per say, but throughout the game we have a clear goal in mind. We're on board with dracula's mission and we want him to succeed, yet by the end, that very gaol which Dracula strived for is thrown out the window, and is replaced with some campy melodramatic ending. This was a huge slap in the face for me, simple because I've been on board with Gabriels crusade even way before his full transformation. I see what they were going for, but if they wanted to turn the story into a "revelation" arc, they should have done a better job of wrapping everything up. A few lines of dialogue does not and cannot wrap up a contradictory 20 hour story(more if you count the first installment).

Okay, it may seem at this point that I'm more pissed than happy with LOS 2, but despite my critisism for the how the game turned out, it still, like I said, has many interesting improvements. For starters, the characterization is leaps and bounds better than the first LOS. Gabriel Belmont, or Dracula, has become one of my favorite interpretations of the Price of Darkness. He's a horrible monster for sure, but he commits these horrible acts with such grace and awesomeness you can't help but respect the guy to some degree. Plus, if you've played the first game you can sympathize with him, because you know the horrible shit he has been through. The transition from Knight in shining armor to a murderous monster was executed and done fantastically. Plus, Los 2 does something not many games manage to do, it shows us the characters personality and growth through the gameplay. The whole castle is a reflection of Gabriel's unsound mind, and each monster you strike down represents your own personal flaw. (Silent Hill inspired probably, though I have to say the executed and presentation is considerably different.)

Speaking of which, the gameplay has been refined. The controls feel a lot more smooth and less clunky/stiff, and your moves fit Dracula's character, since it's presented in a much more savage, aggressive and elegant manner, as opposed to Gabriel's more warrior-esque brute force. Though to be honest, the structure and the brilliant methodical style of gameplay is sill maintained, meaning that the game doesn't hold back it's punches if you screw your moves up. (if it ain't broke don't fix it)

Also, I know many people hated the stealth sections, but it's not really that bad. Sure it's dumb and frustrating, but it doesn't break the game.

In conclusion, despite it's negative reception and some apparent flaws, when I look back at 2014, I'll definitely remember Lords of Shadow 2.

4. The Walking Dead: Season Two

Don't worry Clem, Lee will.....oh...right

Not quite as great as the first season but definitely a powerhouse on it's own. Clementine is singlehandedly one of this years coolest video game characters, without a single doubt. After having my heart broken by the first season, I was really interested in how things would pick up from there. Unlike some, I was actually glad that she became the main character, because that way the flow of the game seemed natural. In the first season a lot of what you do as lee is for Clementine, therefore your actions reflect on her. Yes, I understand that the game does have a single story-line and to a certain degree the choices you make lead to the same outcome, at least plot wise, but the game shines when it comes to it's characters. Sure, there's one general "picture", but the player gets to fill the picture with the color of his/her choosing. Clementine, in many ways, no matter how you look at it, was crafted by me, and that's exactly why I really love the telltale games so much.

The story falters somewhere around episode 4, and yeah it's a rough bump to the overall brilliant narrative, but essentially it completely pays it off with the amazing finally. After season One I didn't really think the game could break my heart all over again, but boy was I f*cking wrong. The choices I made were specifically nerve grinding, and I spent a lot of my time brooding because of how I ended things. If a game can really resonate with me and affect my mood to such a drastic degree, it means it's definitely doing a lot of right things.

3. The Wolf Among Us

Dem huff'n'puffs

I almost put this before the Walking Dead, but essentially The Wolf Among Us has something, which the Walking Dead games lack, originality. Okay, maybe that sounds harsher than it should, but what I mean is that concept of the Zombie Apocalypse has been done a billion times in about every manner possible, so as great as the Walking Dead is, The Wolf Among Us brought something fresh to the table. The idea of different fables inhabiting a gritty corrupt town sounds ridiculously fantastic on it's own, and it was further made better with the fact that the main protagonist was non other than the Big Bad Wolf.

It's always interesting exploring what opportunities and choices exist in different universes, and playing a character with such radical possibilities was an interesting experience. When I say radical I mean that Bigby wolf has the potential to both be a complete monstrous beast and/or noble protector. It's arguable that that Lee could have been a jackass too, but the very essence of Bigby's character allows the player to really stray from the middle ground, where as lee, good or bad, is still a human being in the end.

However, much like the Walking Dead, what shade of "noire" Bigby will be colored with is completely in your(the players) hands. Personally, I was more in the grey area, mostly because I killed twiddle Dum...or was it Dee? Can't remember, all I know is that killing that annoying jerk felt awesome.

Anyways, The Wolf Among Us is a well written, fun, gritty and atmospheric game, which will no doubt leave it's mark on you after you're done playing it.

2. Wolfenstein: The New Order

"I want my Nazi Scalps!"

When the Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced....Actually, that's just it, I wasn't even aware of the fact that it was announced. I've heard of the franchise, but upon reading about the setting of the game I wrote it off as another generic lifeless shooter about killing swarms of Nazis. It wasn't until the small demo was shown that I was genuinely intrigued in what this game had to offer. Eventually though, the positive reception coped with the fact that I wanted a next gem game for my Xbox One, I decided to give it a shot. Suffice to say Wolfenstein exceeded my expectations and it is most definitely my second favorite game of the year.

The gameplay is absolutely spectacular. It's so good that I replayed and beat that game over and over again, which is something I rarely ever do with FPS's. The only other game I can remember that got a similar response from me was Halo, which is a high compliment mind you. Moreover, what I personally liked was that while Wolfenstein makes you feel like a walking, breathing tank, it still holds enough difficulty to make you think before attacking someone with guns blazing, which is where the stealth sections come in. Yes, the AI is definitely dumb, but for a game oriented so much on action the artificial intelligence is in perfect balance with the gameplay mechanics, meaning that the Nazi soldiers are as smart as they should be.

The guns may not exactly be abundant in variety, but the ones you do encounter are and absolute blast. This mixed with the multiple/possible game tactics provides the player with enough diversity and versatility to keep things interesting.

Furthermore, the story may be campy in some areas, but it's definitely pretty awesome. Like I said, my initial response was that Wolfenstein would have some generic nazi killing story thrown in there out of obligation, but after playing the actually game, I saw that it had way more depth and charm than I could have anticipated. In fact, and I don't know if you'll agree, but throughout my journey I reminded of Tarantiono's Inglorious Basterds, thanks to the over the top and gimmicky characters.

I could go on, but the gist of is that Wolfenstein was a interesting, fun, well acted, and well written.

5. The Evil Within

Not sure what caption would fit here....

When I first saw actual footage of the game, I knew that it would most definitely have mixed responses, so I completely understand if many people dislike and/or hate this game. However, for me, this was definitely the most fun I've had in a a very long time. I found myself loving the very flaws I saw many criticize. For example, I enjoyed the letter boxing because it created a claustrophobic atmosphere, I enjoyed the janky melee combat because it emphasized on the "survival horror" aspects of the game, and I most definitely loved the the campy cliche characters who made me laugh once in a while.

Moreover, despite the many flaws people like to point out the the evil within does something not many horror titles have managed to do in a very long time. Throughout my play-through I was mentally drained, and I mean that in the best way possible. The gameplay is so difficult and the atmosphere is so tense that each and every encounter, even with the regular "haunted" enemies, is worrisome and taxing. Not because it's scary though. The game isn't frighting in the traditional sense, in fact, it's much like dead space when it comes to scares. When you are actually playing the game you are always, and I do mean ALWAYS on edge. You, despite the ability to fight back, can be helpless against certain and sometimes all enemies, so you need to tread carefully and you need to analyze and calculate most of the steps you take. Even when you are completely alone, something as simple as a trap can blow you to smithereens.

Furthermore, as a crazy monster fan, this game was a love letter to me, considering the fact that you face a lot of grotesque and uniquely designed monsters throughout the campaign, all of whom have distinct and interesting characteristics and tactics of killing. The Boxhead/Keeper in particular stood out for me, and if there ever comes a sequel I hope this hammer wielding monstrosity makes a comeback!

So, Is The Evil Within a perfect game? Haha nope, but is it a fantastic experience that will please horror fans? I say it is, for me at least.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  • Sunset Overdrive- And overall fun and well-designed game, but I don't think I'll go back to it anytime soon, and I seriously doubt I'll pick up a sequel or something, since I feel I've had my fair share of craziness from the first game. Fun as it may be, I'm not particularly fond of the general style and atmosphere, but I am glad I picked it up.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition - It's a great game, in fact it's definitely one of the best this year, but it's still an RPG, a genre in gaming I'm not particularly use too yet, so I can't get immersed the way I want to. Plus as someone who plays a lot of hack'n'slash games, the removal of the dodge mechanic and the sudden switch to a more methodical type of gameplay is a bit tough and taxing, so while it is a fantastic experience so far, I doubt it'll be a personal favorite of mine.

You might be wondering why I didn't add destiny to the honorable mentions. The reason for this is because I f*cking despise what Bungie is doing right now, so despite the fun time i've had with the game It doesn't deserve the name "honorable."

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Nightcrawler - A Review By TheAcidSkull

You know, with all the Blockbuster movies coming up, it's really easy for a small gem like this to fall through the cracks. Nightcrawler was, in many ways, a great surprise. On the surface It doesn't really look like it's anything special, but once you get passed that you'll see that this film, albite crazy in some aspects, is more really than a love of movies out this year. I'd like to start by saying that I'm a avid fan of the horror genre, so much so that frightening me or creeping me out isn't exactly a difficult task, considering that more often than not, I tend to find horror movies more fascinating than unnerving. So when I say that this movie disturbed and creeped me the hell out, you know that it's a very hight compliment.

Despite my Horror movie parallel, Nightcrawler isn't scary, per say, but the movie does manage to crawl(no pun intended) inside your brain. What I mean is, it makes you think about a lot of things, which we probably don't consider very often, for better or worse. Now before I get to this, I'd like to talk about the story, which is surprisingly simple.

Our main protagonist is Louise Bloom, played by Jake Gylenhaal, a unemployed thief who will go to surprising lengths to make a quick buck. One day Lou discovers something he is very good at and personally loves doing, which is documenting and video taping news. Like I said, the plot sounds pretty simple, but it's the execution that really stands out. Lou, for all intents and purposes, is a Psychopath. Right from the start you know that something is off about the guy, but you just don't know how crazy he is. He usually speaks very intellectually, sounding much like a punctual ,sophisticated man, but gradually you start noticing that Lou isn't even human, relatively speaking. And this, my friends, is where the movie starts creeping you out.

Seeing Lou, such a disturbed pathetic excuse of a man, walk around the office and get praised really left a sour taste in my mouth. I know that there are people like him out there, but the very idea that a monster such as he crawls(again, this pun is not intentional!) around unnoticed really got to me. It's stuff like this that that really manages unnerve me, because deep down in my heart I'm haunted by the idea that somewhere someone is acting as if he's all nice and kind while stabbing his own friends in the dark filthy corners of an alley. Basically, what I'm saying is that we get to see just how one man can weasel his way out of all kinds of situations, which again, increases the creep factor, considering you come to the conclusion that a lifeless shell of a man may achieve some important position in our society, simply because he always, ALWAYS goes the extra mile.

What's intriguing though, is that you don't really hate Lou either, or better yet, you're so invested in his story that you just want to see how he manages everything. You're with him back when he represented basically nothing, so watching him move up the food chain really manages to hook you and drag you along the ride. Okay, "drag" sounds very negative, but I assure that it's a definite plus for the movie.

Moreover, the disturbing nature of this film wouldn't have been so powerful without Gylenhall's fantastic performance. I was literally floored at how well he conveyed Lou's snake like nature. It's not the fact that he talks as if he were a emotionless yet sophisticated drone, it's not the fact he cons people, and it's definitely not the fact that he goes to inordinate lengths to get his footage that makes him so interesting and scary. Lou's, or better yet Jake's greatest strength, is his demeanor. I swear, a couple of scenes made me literally point out how screwed up the guy looked. There is something about Lou's face that makes you aware of the fact that this guy is simply out of his mind. You just know for certain that Louise Bloom is simply not there when you talk to him; he's just off living in his own twisted world.

Like I said though, when you initially talk to Lou, or meet him personally, superficially he seems like a man who has a plan and is after a specific target. He's ambitious, smart and efficient, but once you get passed these qualities it's not hard to see that he is mentally troubled and anti-social, if not completely insane. One of the characters in the movie, Rick Garcia, kind of represented the audience. He's along the ride, thus, he usually points out what the audience is thinking at the given moment. He's not particularly a good human being either, but he's portrayed by a good actor and I can't really think of one scene where he was overused. He existed to bring out Lou's more...crazy characteristics on the outside, and I have to say that the kid got the job done.Come to think of it, everyone's a really good actor here, and most of them, like Rick, bring one aspect of Lou out in the open.

Furthermore, Nightcrawler really illustrious the shady side of news reporting. It shows that a desperate human being will sometimes turn a blind eye to facts for personal gain. I feel that news reporting is a very crucial area of business, because it's a source which keeps people informed. However, when the story overshadows the actual facts, then we have a real problem, because at that point not only are the people blatantly lied too, but it also allows the problem to slip through the cracks, thereby negating any chance of finding an actual and probable solution.

In conclusion, Nightcrawler is well acted, written, and executed, however, above everything else, it's the kind of movie you don't need to watch 3 times for it to stay with you. This film, as mentioned above, makes you think and question a lot of things you know and believe about human beings and society itself. Thus, I personally feel that it's definitely worth checking out!

Score: 9/10

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Sunset Overdrive - A Review By TheAcidSkull

You think the picture's chaotic? Wait until you see the game

It's becoming a tendency of mine to pick up games I wasn't even considering this year. First Wolfenstein, then The Evil Within, and now I've come to Sunset Overdrive. The reason I picked it up though, is probably because of the fact that I was sincerely happy that there was another open world game, which focused on mind blowing fun, and really, that's what Overdrive is all about. If you want a quick description of the game the only thing you need to know is that Insomniac games decided to take the zombie apocalypse, the punk rock aesthetic, parkour, insanity, some seriously ridiculous guns and decided to role them into one single adventure.

All of these ideas - when rolled into one - create something very distinct and interesting, so even if you enjoy some of these concepts, chances are that you may not like the final product. Basically, I'm just telling you to know what you're getting into, which you probably already know.

Now I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the people picked up the game for the sake of the aesthetic and the gameplay rather than the story, because for the most part, sunset overdrive is very cartoony and overly ridiculous. The game constantly makes fun of itself and all the usual game tropes it uses, and there is nothing really wrong with that. Some may enjoy this type of 4th wall humor and some may not. Personally, my experience was a little mixed on this. The first 4 to 5 hours were very fun to play, but really weak in terms of story and humor. I barely even chuckled, and most of the jokes kind of made me cringe rather than laugh. It had it's moments, I'll admit that, but overall the beginning isn't something I genuinely liked. That being said, I'm glad that I kept playing, because at a certain point in the game everything picks up and never looks back. The humor becomes sharp and funny, new and diverse characters are introduced, and the game generally manages to stand tall in the very tone or style the developers have chosen.

Moreover, every character in Sunset Overdrive can be considered a walking and talking apocalypse cliche, and I mean that in the best way possible. Whereas some of the comments and remarks came off as cringe worthy and boring, the characters really brought the game to life for me. They are diverse, fun and absolutely crazy. Almost every guy or girl you meet in the game has his or her own unique gimmick, which I'm sure everyone will enjoy. The writers don't hold back on using these stereotypes to their fullest potential either. Plus, you can tell that the voice actors are having a blast, since they did such an amazing job of portraying their given roles. I'm sure you'll have - much like me - a personal favorite among the plethora of side heroes you meet. In many ways, they make the bizarre and crazy story of Sunset Overdrive much more coherent and enjoyable.

Sunset Overdrive also gives you a lot of freedom on how you want to look. I wasn't even aware of this when I picked it up, but after the weak and pathetic customization options in Destiny,I was very happy to see that I had so many options. When I sit in front of a screen for 30 minutes, trying to decided on what my face should look like, it means that the game is something right. What's humorous is the instance I'm referring to was at the beginning of the game, where you're sort of limited on what you can wear. As you proceed and advance further, you will unlock new costumes and clothe, all of which you can easily buy and purchase with money gained through slaughtering mutants, bandits and robots.

Speaking of which, while the enemies do share similar visual qualities, they do differ in interesting and unique ways. Most of the powers the enemies have exist to serve the gameplay, which is fantastic if you ask me. In Sunset Overdrive the most integral rule is to always stay in motion. The gameplay mechanics and level design is completely built on the idea to allow the player as much freedom of movement as possible. This is where the game really shines. The gameplay manages to make you feel both invincible and helpless simultaneously. While grinding and jumping around different platforms and ropes, you have an enormous advantage over your foes, whereas on the ground, you are as slow as a slug, which makes you extremely vulnerable, especially when facing hordes of enemies. But the game doesn't make you overpowered, since most of the enemy "powers" I mentioned above are aimed at hindering and stopping your constant motion, thus making you easier to kill. You're goal is to avoid these attacks while trying very hard to keep yourself from stopping. This may sounds simple, but when actually playing it's much more difficult to execute than it sounds. Granted, the game does leave a lot of room for mistakes, because I've encountered some overwhelming odds at certain points, and I know for a fact that I would have been extremely frustrated if the game had forced me to start the whole section all over again . Luckily, sunset overdrive isn't a trial and error game. The main goal of here is to provide a fun but somewhat challenging experience, which, is something the developers accomplished with flying colors.

Furthermore, to further add layers to the gameplay, Insomniac games added a lot of weapon and power variety. Through certain missions you unlock new amps, which in some ways adapts to your style of gameplay. I didn't experiment much with it, but for the most part all of the powers seemed very useful in many ways. But like I said, it won't make you too powerful. For example, most enemies have this very annoying jab attack which knocks you off balance, but through a certain amp you can repel these foes upon contact. However, you'll have to sacrifice the ability in exchange for a new one.

These upgrades aren't limited to your physical capabilities though, since these amps can be applied to guns as well. Which brings me to my next point, the guns in this game are absolutely, fantastically and amazingly insane. The gimmicks and names alone are absolutely hilarious, but they enhance the experience in multitude of ways. As I said, the main focus here is to allow the player as much freedom as possible, thus, the guns have unique properties, which allow the player a lot of room to experiment and find the style the find the most comfortable. Personally, before going into a fight I freezed most of my enemies to keep them in place, and then proceeded to bomb them with acid sprinklers and Teddybear grenade launchers. And if this wasn't enough, you can plant different traps around the area, all of which have unique abilities that grant the player some degree of crowd control.

However, I was a bit disappointed by the boss battles. Don't get me wrong, the game has two very cool and interesting boss battles that utilize the core gemaplay mechanics, but essentially, as the characters in Sunset Overdrive point out themselves, most of the battles only include easy mini-bosses. This is in no way a huge problem, in fact, I had a lot of fun during these mini encounters, but after seeing what the game can accomplish with it's level design and gameplay during the boss sections, it kind of burst my bubble when we didn't get to see more interesting mega fights.

Furthermore, the main structure of almost every single assignment in the game boils down to "Go from point A to point B", which, is usually really boring and annoying, but In Sunset Overdrive the missions, while the the same in many ways, have specific embellishments that set them apart from one another. Plus, to be fair the game addresses and makes fun of itself on the mission structure so I guess it's okay. Personally though, I hope that next time around they'll think of more diverse ways to tell the story, because, despite the versatility, at certain times doing similar errands got a bit tedious.

In conclusion, if you manage to blow through the story and/or single player quickly, there's tons more to do in Sunset Overdrive. There are numerous side missions, collectables, enemies, and online challenges to keep you entertained at all times. Basically, you have a lot of excuses to take enjoyment in Overdrives insane punk world with wonderful cartoony visuals, great music, witty(though initially tedious) dialogue, and interesting gameplay.

Score: 7.5/10

This game gets a smile that would make T-800 proud.

11 Comments

Friday The 13th Remake - It Isn't Bad

Recently there was a thread asking us to list our favorite horror films, and after listing Friday The 13th (2009) as one of my favorite horror movies, @the_stegman pointed out that he was glad there was someone else who really liked this new version, since it gets so much hate on every other forum. This got me thinking - "Why do people dislike this new take on the film?"- because, in all honesty, having just recently watched the first four Friday the 13th movies, I still don't see why anyone would consider this any worse than what has been done before. In fact, in a lot of ways I feel like this pays a lot of respect to the original films while does something a bit new.

I've heard some complaints before, and yes people have the prerogative to hate anything they desire, but my problem here is that I don't really get how this movie deviates from the original version.

First of all, lets put aside the fact that it's a Friday the 13th movie at all and focus on what kind of movie it is. The new remake has all of the basic elements that satisfies the Slasher Horror movie genre. A bunch of horny, immature and wild teenagers who want to have a good time are gradually killed off by a monstrous killer. This is the basic formula behind almost every slasher film. You can mix up the setting and give the killer different motivations, but in the end it boils down to a bunch of teenagers being killed one by one.

On that front this movie doesn't disappoint at all, in fact, I'd say it even beats some of the previous films, considering that the actors, for one thing, are way better this time around. I understand that slasher films never had good acting, but at the very least it feels like these characters are actually real and don't exist in the movie purely to be slaughtered like cattle. The performances are fresh in my mind, because, as mentioned above, I've watched the first four films quite recently due to halloween, and let me tell you that some of these characters in these films are just there to show what stereotype they fit through the dialogue only. In the remake though, despite the clichés and campy-ness, I felt like these were actual teenagers who just wanted to have fun. Okay, I'm not saying that this movie jumps leaps an bounds above the rest (The 4th chapter was still the best Jason movie IMO anyways), but in terms of performances I don't see a huge difference, in fact, I'd say that it's overall just as good or slightly better than the first 3 installments.

The next common complaint I consistently hear relates to Jasons characterization, which I honestly never understood. Jason is literally a mysterious, mentally-challenged, badass mommas-boy who is really good at killing. This is the basic core of the character. There is literally nothing more to him.

I've heard an argument that Jason is smarter than he is in the previous films, with his traps and underground tunnels, but really, is that such a big deal? Or the better question would be, is he really smarter than he use to be? If he is, it's not by a huge margin. Jason is still dumb as hell IMO; he can't talk ( totally Ignoring Jason goes to hell), and he won't be able to tell you what's 2 plus 2, but as far as killing goes, he's the smartest guy in the movie. I mean, being mentally challenged doesn't mean you can't really get that hang of relatively simple things, and how hard is it to dig a tunnel(with his power) or set up a trap? Sure you may get hurt in the process but Jason is an undead monstrosity who wants to protect his home, so I doubt he'd be considered with these things.These are all technical things which can be accomplished physically through practice and nothing more. Plus, he's never been a slacker in the killing department so I don't know where the "he's to smart!" argument comes from. In the 4th film he cuts of the phone lines so people can't call for help, he silently moves around the area without anyone noticing, and he's very creative and methodical in how he kills his victims. So judging from this you can see that even before the remake he did have a good idea of what he was doing.

Plus, above everything else, Jason kidnaps a girl who looks like his mother. Sounds familiar? It should, because in the second film of the original franchise, the main character Ginny literally survives only because she puts on Mrs. Voorhees' sweater and fools Jason into thinking that she is his mother. See? Not that different.

Moreover, The actor portraying Jason, Derek Mears, doesn't fall behind Kane Hodder, despite his obvious lack of experience with the character. What's surprising is that a lot of people seem to like the Jason vs Freddy version more, even though Jason's movement and portrayal was much different to how he behaved previously. Don't get me wrong, I think Freddy vs Jason was fun as hell, but unlike Derek Mears' interpretation, Jason moved and behaved much like frankensteins monster - he was slow and big. Not only that, but the writers behind the horror icon team up made Jason fear water, despite the fact that he has used the lake to his advantage on numerous occasion. However, In the remake, right before the movie ends, Jason propels his way out of the water and decides to finish the job and kill off the remanning teens. See my point?

Honestly, the only disappointing aspect of the new movie is that Jason is less subtle and less creative in how he kills his victims. Most of his kills are pretty basic, which isn't really a big deal; or at the very least is shouldn't ruin the movie for you.

I can understand why Halloween fans hated Rob Zombies remake, considering that it basically turned the Halloween franchise into another typical slasher flick, whereas originally it was so much more than that, but with Friday the 13th, I really don't get it. Maybe I'm missing something crucial here? And don't get me wrong, I am not professing that my opinion is obviously the right one, but as someone who enjoyed the original four movies (The 4th installment is my favorite horror movie of all time), I just don't see why the remake is so hated by the fans.

In the end, I'd like to say that despite me being a bit critical of the original franchise, I still liked them very much, which is probably why I enjoyed the remake as well. Sadly though, due to the outcry, the movie will not be getting a sequel; Instead we will have to watch another reboot in 2015. Lets just hope that this time it'll managed to please everyone.

42 Comments

The Evil Within - A Review By TheAcidSkull

Hey dudes and dudets, I've been gone for quite some time now, and I've missed all of my friends so much! And I figured, what better way to make an entrance than to to make a huge blog/review. Enjoy!

And please, share your thoughts!

The Evil Within

I don't know about you guys, but this year has been very interesting for me gaming wise. It seems that every game I got excited for was either mediocre or completely disappointing, whereas the games I barely even considered to be worth my time really surprised me. The Evil Within is, obviously, the latter. Upon initial announcement I was barely interested, but as time passed I started to warm up to it and as it turns out, it's one of the best purchases I've made this year. Yes, I'm not kidding, the Evil Within is, hands down, among the best 2014 has to offer. however, despite my enthusiasm, the game obviously has it's own characteristics, which may not be for everyone, and it as well as few problems.

Don't let the daylight fool you, you're still screwed.

Now in any horror game (Or movie as well), the presentation, at least, to me, is definitely one of the most integral aspects to captivate the player. Now at first glance, and this has been a common observation (or complaint depending on who you ask), The Evil within looks really rough. The models seem very...Stiff, the visuals are a bit smudged, and throughout the game you have to deal with letter boxing. For me, none of these things were in any way a detriment to the experience. Every single design choice I've encountered seems to have been placed there to further emphasize on the horrific elements. In fact, as I was progressing through the game, none of these things bothered me at all, because at some point everything clicked in just the right way and these concepts became a vital part of the game, which did indeed enhance the experience.

While the graphics aren't mind-blowing as some of the more recent next games games that have either been released or announced, The Evil Within is still a beautiful in it's own way. For starters, you never really stay in one area, instead, the game has you constantly alternating between different, well designed environments, all of which have their own unique feel and personality to it. What's funny though is that the tension never really fades, which is especially hard to accomplish, especially considering the fact that each environment may be drastically different from the other. Nevertheless, the game does suffers from some frame rate issues and occasional bugs; luckily, these moments are not common so they don't really interfere with the overall experience. The same can be said for the monsters, all of whom have unique and interesting designs to them. If you think the areas were fantastic you no know nothing yet. But before getting to the amazing freaks you get to shoot in The Evil Within, there are some things that needs to be said.

Jeez, Sebastian, control your emotions.

First off, the story may invoke some mixed reactions, or better yet it indeed has invoked some mixed reactions, which is understandable, because in certain ways it's not really particularly special. At the beginning of the game things are really confusing, since your basically thrown into a blender; however, as the story progresses things start to make a lot more sense; sure on the surface it may seem convoluted, but if you stay attentive you'll get the major plot-line quite quickly. Still, at the end of the day there are some integral unanswered questions, some of which I supposed are saved for the DLC or the sequel of the game. Also, the ending plays the "what do you think happened?"cliché, which is so typical for the horror genre these days. I was initially ready to tear the game up for that, but decided to give it time to sink in. A few hours later I realized that I was asking a few, but interesting questions about the game, and I was debating with myself on whether on what really happened. So while the story is sort of meh, it's definitely fascinating, and can certainly lead to a lot of possibilities, which is a plus. The point I'm trying to make is that, while it does fill a lot of cliche categories, it's still an interesting ride. And Speaking of cliches, Detective Sebastian Castellanos is you're typical badass cop who seems so cool it sometimes become humorous. I've said this before, and I'll probably say it a lot more times, as it is very typical for the Horror Genre(or Shinji Mikami), most main protagonists are very trite, and the Evil Within is obviously no exception. If you're looking for the Resident Evil cheesiness then you'll be a bit disappointed, because the Evil Within takes on a completely new shade of Cliche, which has it's own charm if you ask me. To be quite honest, excessive campyness becomes cringe-worthy for me so I honestly prefer the more "cool" and stern protagonist. ( Consider that this is completely subjective, so you, obviously, may not agree with me on this). What's more, the voice acting is competent, it won't move or affect you, but it isn't exactly bad. The best performance is delivered by Jackie Earle Haley, the voice of the main antagonist Ruvik. It's creepy, menacing, and all around cool if you ask me.

Now that that's out of the way, lest move on to more pressing matters, the gameplay. This game, as revealed by Shinki Mikami, is meant to revive the 3rd person survival horror genre, so the question is, does it achieve it's goal? The short answer is yes, it definitely does, but there are somethings you needs to consider first. When compared to games like silent hill, the contents of which may stay lingering in your mind for days without cessation, The Evil Within is not scary, not in the traditional sense at least. This is completely expected, especially in this day and age when kids, as well as adults are a bit more accustomed to graphic and gory imagery. That being said, the game is very intense. There are 15 chapters with the evil within and almost at the end of every single chapter I felt physically butchered. The game keeps you on edge 24/7 and it doesn't pull it's punches back. It's hard, and I'm not just saying that, I absolutely mean it. Almost every design choice made in the game seems to exist just to make things harder on you, which is fantastic if you ask me. Ammunition is very rare, which means that you have to scavenge the area multiple times in order to prepare yourself for what's to come. But lets say for the sake of argument that you do have a lot of ammo at your disposal; you'd think that the game may become easier, right? Yeah, no. While facing one regular enemy, called the Haunted, you still have to be very attentive on how you dish out the damage. If you decide to empty your gun into a few typical enemies, it means you screwed up big time, because a few steps ahead there's more waiting to chew you up and spit you out. The ideal amount you may spend on a single enemy is two bullets, and that's only if you're only using the hand gun. A new mechanic that has been introduced is burning your foes who are believed to be "dead". This is a very interesting and welcomed addition as it allows you to strategically take multiple enemies out together when overwhelmed and to stay attentive enough to discern when an enemy you though exterminated may come back and tear you a new one. Moreover, it's easy to mistake that the diverse weaponry would make things easier for you, however, they won't really help you out in the long run. Say you decided to ameliorate the situation and decided to use the shotgun excessively. Everything's all good, right? Wrong, what just became an easy kill will become your imminent death as you come across tougher enemies further into the chapter. Plus, you never know when these tougher monster will appear so wasting and collecting loot later may not exactly work in your favor. Like I said, moderation is key here, and the game won't forgive you if you violate it's rules.

She can't see me, right?

The melee combat is perfect, but not in the sense that it helps you dominate everyone, but in terms of survival horror, meaning that the ability to punch things only exists to find a gap to distance yourself from danger and catch your breath after knocking your enemy away. I wouldn't rely much on it though, mostly because it'll most likely get you killed.

The intensity of the game is further emphasized by the stealth sections, which surprisingly become an integral part of the game at some point. At first, when you're not exactly confronted with multiple and various enemies, the stealth sections seem unnecessary and even dull at times, but as you progress you'll meet foes with different weaknesses, more durability, power and versatility, which will no doubt often exhaust your resources quite quickly, thereby leaving you helpless at the hands of different monsters. During such sections stealth is something you'll need to utilize more efficiently, because it'll distract your enemies long enough for you to look for more resources once you come out of hiding. However, despite my yammering about the difficulty curve there are ways in which you can emerge victorious even when low on ammo. The areas are designed in a way that allows the player to take advantage of the situation. The traps, specifically, can be more useful than harmful at certain times. The game also allows you to mold you abilities to your style of gameplay. Throughout the chapters you'll collect brain juice, or green gel (the games currency), with which you can upgrade certain abilities.

Unfortunately, though, there is one aspect of the gameplay I didn't enjoy. The puzzles are not at all challenging, which I wouldn't have minded if the trailers didn't tell me that there were some very "deadly" and "awesome" mind games. Most of the puzzles here seem less wit oriented and more focused on the players intuition. Often times the game will try to blatantly give you the answer when in reality it's trying to trick and misdirect you. This is an interesting idea, actually, which would have made the game much more intense, but it's underdeveloped and barely holds significant consequences.

Sir, have you accepted our lord and savior Ruvik?

In order not to bring down the mood and my enthusiasm of this game, lets get back to the more positive aspects. The Evil Within has many likable things, but for me, nothing beats the boss battles, most of which were really memorable. The title of this review isn't lying, friend, s death is indeed your most prominent teacher on how to win. I specifically waited until now to elaborate on this, since the boss battles are the segments forcing you to learn on your mistakes. It's frustrating, but in the good kind of way, because the more you die, the more you'll have to mix up your strategy in order to avoid another brutal execution. During one of these battles I had died at least 30 times because I each time I was doing something wrong, but, due to my attentiveness I altered my style of approach almost every single time, and in the end, I got an easy kill! Sadly, there is one particular battle which seems excessively severe and difficult for no apparent. I'd even go so far as to say that it's design was completely messed up. I mean, it's doable , but unlike the other encounters, dying wasn't the result of my missteps, it was the fault of the game for making my opponent ridiculously overpowered.

Furthermore, the sound design is absolutely superb. I can actually admit that it's the one few things that scared me. Every single enemy has a distinct sound, which is perfectly integrated into the gameplay. For example, as you are trying to distance yourself from the tougher enemies, you'll hear many indications of the impending doom that is approaching you. The banging of a giant hammer, the scraping of metal, and the constant creeping raise in volume as the atrocious beings slowly get near. Despite the fear, however, these sounds do help the player, since it helps us strategize and plan out our movies according to the sounds intensity. This isn't a joke, and if you don't believe me, I dare you to play the game by lowering the volume greatly or completely muting your TV. You'll find that this way, the gameplay becomes much more difficult and at times quite impossible.

In conclusion, The Evil Within may not be a perfect game, and while some areas need more developing and focus, it accomplishes it's goal of reviving the classic survival horror experience. It may not look like it on the first glance, but the Evil Within is an intense,atmospheric, tough, rewarding, and beautiful game with a lot old and new design choices blended together.

Score: 9/10

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Doctor Who Season 8 - Episode 1 "Deep Breath" Review

The first episode is out and instead of analyzing all of the wonderful breadcrumbs that have been left for us people are yet again complaining on this and that. What will it take to satisfy some fans? Well silence will fall when that question is asked because that particular question has no answer whatsoever, because nothing can satisfy some fans. Anyways, it feels like I've been waiting for this episode forever, and now that it is finally here, we get to see whether Capaldi has what it takes to be the Doctor. (He totally does).

Before talking about the performances, there are a couple of things I'd like to mention. There is an immense change in tone, which at this point is pretty common knowledge for any Doctor Who fan who has been following the news, but I am serious, there are particular scenes which kind of express what we can expect from this season. Now I know the counter for this is that we have seen the Doctor in dark places before, but you need to realize the fact that the first episode always establishes the ground on which everything is build upon. Matt Smiths Eleventh Hour had an adventurous, fun atmosphere, which was maintained throughout 3 seasons. Don't worry though, this isn't one of thous 180 degree changes were fans of the previous style are completely alienated. The humor is still maintained,especially with funny side characters like Strax around.(Seriously, this guys is a riot), and it is well balanced throughout the episode. Though the dark tone really kicks in to establish the Doctor's new found personality. He still has the crazy vibe we are all fond of but there are moments which really express how the Doctor may have changed( I'll get to these scenes later on).

Speaking of the Doctor, Capaldi has a bright future ahead of him if he keeps this up. Like I said before, The Doctor is still as crazy as every, and Peter doesn't take a break until he really shows that too us. But what's really impressive is that Peter Capaldi manages to bounce back and forth between funny and very serious at times. He clearly establishes his own persona in the very first episode. There is a certain scene where you have a grin on your face, but as soon as you think that there's going to be a gag behind it you're shocked to find that something a bit..unexpected happens.Hell even the score/music that plays throughout the episode make you a bit uncomfortable, but in the good way. What I mean is that there is a clear implication in something very sinister, and I cannot express how well it is executed. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it for yourself. Moreover, I really enjoyed the way Clara is written this time around(coped with Jenna's brilliant performance) ; I believe that her reaction was indeed very human and natural. I was a bit worried that she would be won over to quickly, but the episode indeed takes it's time to show us the connection between the two main protagonists. That's not to say that Clara has been completely alienated from the Doctor, but there is a definitive friction. Which bring me to my next point, the chemistry has obviously been altered, but it still feels exciting and interesting. Capaldi and Jenna work really work together if you ask me, only difference is the angle on which the writers approached it from. This isn't the love/romance type relationship, in fact it feels more like a Father/Daughter one, which don't get me wrong, isn't bad at all.

Now that we have that out of the way, lets talk about the episode. It was good, I mean, it wasn't really that grand, but i don't think that's actually a bad thing, it was more like a typical doctor who adventure, which introduced a lot of new concepts. The villain, while not exactly unique or memorable, did serve a very good purpose, and I have to give Moffat credit for that. There is, this one particular moment, in which the Doctors morality is put to question. Lets just say that it was brilliantly executed, and I hope we see more of that in this season. But that isn't the only said clue which has been left for us, Moffat has included something in this episode which got me thinking actually. The Doctor has a tendency to always analyze his face after a regeneration, which is all well and good, but this time around he says he has actually seen this face before; he mentions that it's as if "His mind is trying to tell him something."Now I've had a theory way before the 8th season started that Capaldi was going to become the Valeyard, and considering that the Doctor has met this evil version of himself before(And seen his face), it's possible that he was trying to warn himself about the dark path he was about to take. It's either that or Moffat was just paying respect to the Pompeii episode.

In conclusion, I thought it was a very strong episode with all the integral Doctor Who elements. It does it's job of establishing the change in atmosphere and sets the groundwork for the 8th season.

cheers.

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Korra is Awesome, Deal with it.

Look I realize I'm a little late to the party, but I really wanted to do a mini blog about the latest avatar Korra, and kind of do an analysis of how she has grown as a character, but on a lot of boards she gets uncanny hate and it's kind of ridiculous and hypocritical at the same time. (Not specifically talking about comicvine)So now on most discussion boards, I hear the argument that Korra is a whiny, ungrateful b*tch,and while yes she can be angry at times, many people don't take into consideration the context of the whole ordeal, they just blow things out of proportion and simply settle on the idea Aang was better and they end their argument there. Now that there pisses me off, because like I said, it's not really fair.

Korra, like Aang, is a human being, and she has her own demons to face in order to become a good avatar. Now before going into the major details lets discuss why is that every time this debate comes up Aang gets a free pass while Korra gets bashed. Aang, much like Korra, had a very distinct character arc, but they both had their flaws which needed to be dealt with. Now don't get me wrong, I love Aang and it was always fun watching him grow from a scared little boy to a wise avatar. Yes, you heard me folks, Aang was a scared little boy, which is yet again, Human. Aang's personality can be characterized as very calm and emotionally attached, which explains why he never wanted to be the avatar. He knew, as it was taught to him, that the avatar had to maintain balance, yet when he had to make a choice he chose to run. Now this IS something a human being might do, but it doesn't change the fact that he was trying very hard to weasel out of his responsibilities. Hell, when he was discovered, he lied about his true identity and yet again slacked off and goofed off when he was supposed to be training and looking for teachers(There were a few instances in season one as I recall). It was because of his actions that the world fell into chaos, not only that, but when he realized that he had to kill the fire lord he again chose to run, but luckly things worded out in the end. Now I know Aang always was a brave, kind man/kid but his character arc was about growing up and stepping up, and it was fun seeing him accomplish all of that.

Now the writers needed a different approach with Korra, since otherwise she would have been a girl version of Aang. So they gave her a tough, angry, bossy personality. She loves to fight, and loves being the avatar for the most part, but she lacks the self control to manage things well, and that's her character arc for the first two seasons. Korra is stubborn, she has a hard time letting go of her anger, and reacts in a brash and reckless manner. But at the same time, she is brave, kind, and cares about the people around her, even though she doesn't always show it. Plus, above everything else, her competitive and fun nature makes for some really entertaining scenes. Unfortunately, most people don't give her a pass because her personality is by design constructed to be in your face. Seriously, when she gets angry, you see it first hand, while with Aang they always played the sympathy card.

For the most part, Korra's personality is balanced well out by her care-free and protective nature. Remember when the jackass competitors were trying to lowball her in the Pro-Bending tournament? She stood up for herself, and even owned her opponent. Wasn't that cool? Yes it was. Sadly, her development took a bad turn during season two, which by the way, is understandable, as many people have failed to realize. You know why it's okay for her to be frustrated? Because she is at a brink of a war, and her duties clash with her emotions. She is from the southern water tribe, therefore she technically has to protect them, but as the avatar, she needs to maintain peace and prevent the a War between the souther and the Northern Water Tribes, which is a bit impossible considering all the betrayal and plotting that had been taking place under her nose. But guess what? Like all most hero character arcs, things improved when she took some time to clear her head(literally). She was even the first to realize that separating the human and spirit world was a mistake, and she's the first avatar to undo this, which in turn restored earth Benders.

The point I'm trying to make here is that, like most Avatars, Korra is human, and she has her own flaws which makes her stand out from the previous protagonist. Disliking her is fine, but if you're going to hate a genuinely cool character then at least analyze the circumstances surrounding her supposed downfall and uprise. Cheers man.

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Guardians of the Galaxy- TheAcidSkull's Review

Guardians of The Galaxy

You know when Guardians of the galaxy was announced I wasn’t really excited, because I didn’t really know much about them. And I’m sure a lot of none comic book readers were pretty surprised as well and asked the question “Guardians of the what?” Which is to be expected, this was kind of a big risk because the other movies did have some relatively known faces. Anyways, I didn’t really know what to expected, so when the movie started receiving positive reviews I was kind more intrigued, because usually, movies, especially superhero movies, tend to have mixed reactions, but with Guardians of the Galaxy the good outweighed the bad. So now that I’m done making a formal introduction, I’m ready to begin the review (Yes I just said that.)

Before actually talking about the cast and characters, I’d like to congratulate the movie on something very important, it knows what it wants to be. Yeah, I know, pretty weird to give points to a movie on what should be a normal thing for any flick, but sadly, Guardians of the Galaxy is the second movie after Winter Soldier to select a tone it WANTS and utilize it to the fullest. The other Marvel Phase 2 movies couldn’t really settle on a tone so a lot of the moments were cringe worthy, but this doesn’t happen here. Guardians of the Galaxy makes it VERY clear that it’s a comedy/ action movie. No moment made me sigh or cringe, in fact I was either laughing or grabbing my seat to enjoy the cool action scenes. It’s serious where it needs to be, and doesn’t over do it with the drama, nor does it try to make you cry or anything like that. The movie is a fun ride, with a lot of charm.

Speaking of charm, the characters were a lot of fun to watch, because they were so diverse and yet so similar in so many ways that it was just a blast to watch them interact with one another. Now obviously Quill was supposed the main focus (and he is), but that doesn’t mean that the side characters get the short end of the stick. Starr lord was really cool; he was basically a twisted version of robin hood, but that’s not a bad thing. A charming hero who seems horrible at first but has a heart of gold fits in with the atmosphere of the movie. Perfectly His interaction with Gamora was also very intriguing and fun, because in many ways they are kind of opposites. Gamora is a warrior who takes a lot of things very seriously, so watching her chill along side Quill works really well for a movie about misfits. Moreover, I know a lot of people didn’t like/or had mixed feelings about Drax, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like him. Yes, Drax was basically a tough nutjob, but you have to consider that this is actually a positive thing for the movie. Drax’s origin includes his family getting murdered, so them focusing on that too much might have clashed with the movies tone( plus we already had enough drama from Quills side), which is exactly what Marvel needs to avoid in the future. Drax was a crazy murderer who finds a new family among the other outcasts, which is exactly what the movies showcases, and that’s actually a pretty decent character arc. I don’t know if they plan on exploring Drax’s origin when we meet Thanos, but I know that I had a lot of fun with Batista’s portrayal. Rocket Racoon pretty much goes through a very similar arc as well, but it’s done from a different angle. I won’t say more than that, because I might spoil what Rocket’s troubles are, but I will tell you that he steals the show a lot, which is to be expected. Bradley Cooper did a great job. However, not matter how awesome the characters were, my favorite stills has to be Groot. Say what you will, but for guy who can say three f*cking words, Groot has a lot of personality. His facial expressions, actions, and movements tell you that he is a loyal friend and a brave hero. The scenes with him were not only hilarious, but beautiful as well. This brings me to my next point, if the writers can make Groot a lovable character with a lot of personality, how hard was it to make a cool villain? Ronin maybe better than Malekith, but he is still pretty forgettable. At a certain point I thought “HEY! This might be the point where Ronin actually starts showing more attitude!”but no, it was the point he became a complete brick with zero wit. Loki wasn’t powerful, but he had some great moments, not matter how hard you knocked him down he would still look at you with that evil, menacing smile. You couldn’t break him. Ronin is just a tough brick who only looks grim and scary, and that’s about it. Real shame.

On the other hand, despite the fact that Ronin was a forgettable villain, the action was still pretty amazing. Everything in this movie is a visual treat. I love how they basically show you the lore and the rich worlds that currently exist in the galaxy. There is a certain scene where they really combine the visual capabilities with Marvel's lore, and if you've seen the movie you'll know exactly what moment I am referring too. The fights scenes weren't overdone either(Man of Steel I love you but you MAY have order-done it at a certain point), the movie balanced everything out, so you were never bored throughout the whole flick. My personal favorite was Ronin Vs Drax, because it kinda did show just how powerful the main villains was.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy may be flawed, but it's definitely a good movie, and a fun one too. It has a lot of charm and it knows exactly what it wants to show you, so just sit back and enjoy. This a movie a lot of people can enjoy, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

8/10

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