Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review: The vanishing of Ethan Carter. (Updated)

*OK, Very embarrassing but a major error in my review has been pointed out to me by some kind soul on Twitter. In the review I state that the game uses cryengine but in fact it actually doesnt. It is instead an Unreal engine 3 game. How the dev team at Astronauts achieved the staggering visuals in this game using such an old well worn engine is anybody guess and just speaks further to their skills as coders and artists. Hats off to them. Apologies to them and you the reader for my glaring error in the review. I can't quite remember why I thought it was Cryengine but  I guess the huge unreal engine 3 logo at the start of the game was just to subtle a hint for me to twig my mistake. Somewhere there's a Picard facepalm meme with my name on it.

The vanishing of Ethan Carter is a gorgeous game. I'll get that out of the way right off the bat. Cryengine is responsible for probably the most technically beautiful game on PC, in crysis 3, and this game only really reinforces the reputation of Cryteks engine here.
The thing that is most striking about the visuals is just how natural everything seems. I loved the way the trees and foliage would sway and how leaves would float by on the breeze. Rocks too are a particular high point. Each highly detailed and the ones near the water sport the appropriate amount of moss coverage. A connoisseur of such things like myself can't help but be impressed.
All that isn't to say that the games visuals are ultra realistic though. Developers Astronauts have clearly not gone that route with this title. It would have easy for them to push for a realism in the game, like crysis 3, but an obvious effort has been made to be more stylised in their approach and what they achieve is a look that is technically very beautiful whilst still retaining a hand drawn look - and that suits the game perfectly.

On to the gameplay itself and, all in all, I had a pleasant experience with this game. If you've played the recent Square enix game Beyond soul suspect then you're going to get a familiar feeling from the vanishing of Ethan carter right from the start. Both games are very similar in their approach to solving mysteries, the way you scan for clues is almost identical.
The one area where both games differ though is in the way they introduce the player to the mechanics of the gameplay. Put it this way - The vanishing won't hold your hand in the same way soul suspect did. Or at all in fact. You see no tutorial messages for example. The game is literally just you and the world. Find your own way through it is the order of the day.
On a few occasions, I wondered how other players were coping with the game because I was having a strange experience. I should have been struggling I felt, but I wasn't and I couldn't put my finger on why at first. I was getting zero help from the game as promised, but I found myself whizzing through the games clues at a surprising speed.
Then I twigged what was going on. Astronauts will tell you the game has no tutorial and that you need to discover how to play on your own. But that's not completely true. You see the game does in fact have a tutorial. Its just not part of the main game and its not called the vanishing of Ethan Carter. Its called Beyond soul suspect.
Yep, that was it, I found this game so easy because I felt I'd played it already in soul suspect. The mechanics really are almost identical and , as such, I literally felt right at home with this new game.
That didn't really spoil my enjoyment of the game, but it did shorten the game for me. The trouble comes then from the fact that the vanishing of Ethan Carter is already kind of a short experience. Having said that though, I won't bash Astronauts for that when the length of the game has been addressed in the price. £14.99 is about the right price for this game IMO.

Like titles such as Gone home and dear Esthar, Some will label the vanishing of Ethan Carter as just a pretty walking simulator. But I think that's as unfair to this title as it was to those other games. It offers an experience that stands on its own two feet and doesn't need to pack action in unnecessarily. In fact the only part of the game where I was just ever so slightly disappointed was a section midway through that seemed shoehorned in as a mere grudgingly given nod to the current crop of fashionable horror games on the market. The section had me trying to navigate an underground maze while avoiding monsters in a kind of riff on the hide and seek gameplay of Outlast. It just felt a little weird and out of place in my opinion and was a concession that Astronauts didn't really need to make.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with The vanishing of Ethan Carter. I wouldn't go as far as recommending this game over soul suspect, which I really enjoyed, but there is certainly room for both games in this genre and I'd really recommend both as they really do unintendedly compliment each other rather well.


The vanishing of Ethan Carter is available on Steam for £14.99 and is coming to PlayStation 4 at a later date.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The horrid gaming drought and my DA3 problem.

Thank what ever god you worship for the world cup because gaming is DRAB at the moment. You know when you're in the middle of a summer gaming drought when you;

A) Find yourself clearing your games 'backlog' I.e the shite you've been avoiding all year while you hoovered up every single AAA release of the winter/spring

B) Decide to catch up with some of those dramas on the ole Sky +

C) Become obsessed with wishing injury on Federer/Nasal/Djokovic
(Come on Andy!)

D) you start looking at indie games and think they look great.

E) you're waiting by the letter box for your postie to bring you Sniper elite 3. Sniper bloody elite 3 for Christ sake. The last one wasn't that bad was it?

After Sniper 3 there is literally nothing until Diablo 3 on August 19th. And no, I won't be buying The last of us for Ps4. I've already paid £40 for the PS3 version and if Sony won't recognise that with a substantial discount they can go and take a jump on that one.

Still, the end of 2014 is shaping up great for gamers. September is going to be all about Destiny for me, then October is Alien isolation and Dragon age inquisition.

But Dragon age gives me a first world problem. With Ps4 likely to boast the better performance but Microsoft getting DLC first, I just don't have a clue what version to get.

If you want to join in the bemoaning of games drought 2014, tell me I'm an entitled prick for owning both consoles or just want to chat about gaming then leave a comment or contact me directly via @lazyboyblue on Twitter.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Titanfall coming to Wii U and ps4?

Ok this one is pretty out there so I'll not take the credit ;-)

Here my source

Saturday, 22 March 2014

New screenshots: The order 1886

Here are some new screens from The order which is due for release on ps4 this fall. Enjoy.

Friday, 21 March 2014

PS Vr headset Eve Valkyrie demo

Here is a video of Eve Valkyrie using project Morpheus. Enjoy.

New Elder Scrolls online concept art.

Herexz some new concept art for the upcoming mmo The Elder scrolls online. Enjoy.

Xbox one outsells ps4 4 weeks running.

Microsoft's Xbox one console appears to finally be getting some traction in the uk. According to UK trade paper MCV, the console has now outsold Sony's PlayStation 4 device four weeks in a row.

Could the Xbox One be making a comeback? Is Titanfall the reason for this latest upturn in sales? Or do you think the ps4's supply problems are to blame? Let me know in the comments section.

Video: Assassins creed unity for xb1/ps4/pc

Here is the very first video for Ubisoft next gen only Assassins creed Unity, one of two Assassins creed title being prepared for a holidays 2014 release, the other is either called or codenamed comet.
The developers claims it was not ready to show the game quite this early and as such stressed that this footage is pre alpha.

Video: forza 5 with dx12

Yesterday I posted shots of Forza 5 running on direct x 12. Here one better, a video. Enjoy.

Official: No secret sauce power in Xbox One.

The internet can be a crazy place, especially in video games and especially if you happen to be a 'fanboy' of a particular platform.
When both the PlayStation 4 and the XboxOne launched last November, talk on the internet quickly turn to which console had the most power. As it transpired it was the ps4 that edged the contest slightly but, in truth, both machines were pretty close and many would argue that what the xb1 lacked in power it more than made up for with its lineup of great software.
But that was never going to be enough for some. Enter the fanboy.

Unable to except, relax and simply enjoy their Xbox one consoles, some instead took to making up things that just couldn't exist. Pretty quickly, the Xbox one became this kind of Trojan horse thing, with huge stores of secret power hidden away to be revealed by Microsoft in the years to come. For example, many believed the console had an entirely separate GPU hidden under the existing one. Its crazy stuff really, when you think about it, why would Microsoft want to hide that they have the most powerful console. Madness.

Well I can safely inform you all that all this secret power nonsense is just that, nonsense, after Microsoft broke their silence on the matter last night. The following is a quote from Albert Penello, head of product development for Xbox.

"I thought I already said something about that. There is no 2nd GPU, there is no stacked GPU."

There you have it. Straight from the horses mouth so to speak. There is no hidden performance boosting hardware in the Xbox one.

Now software is a different story. Direct x 12 was announced yesterday and Microsoft claim this new api will boost performance by 20-50%.
This, however, is some way off, with dx12 enabled console games not expected before fall 2015.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

UPDATED. Rumour: Dying light delayed, last gen versions cancelled.

UPDATE: Techland are denying the release date has slipped to 2015 but are as yet to comment on ps3/xbox 360 cancellation.

Original story:

THIS IS IN NO WAY CONFIRMED but I'm hearing, from polish sources, that Techlands Dying light game has been delayed into 2015. Even more curious, apparently ps3 and xbox 360 versions have been cancelled. I can only assume if this is true then Techland have elected to concentrate their effort solely on ps4 /xb1.

Dying light is the extremely promising unofficial follow up to Techlands dead island zombie open world game

I'm going to keep digging on this one and will update the article if I hear anything else.

Naughty dog brainstorming VR games.

On twitter Naughty dog creative director Neil Druckmann has admitted he is brainstorming ideas for Sony's VR headset, project Morpheus. His conclusion? A horror game would be the best.

Can you begin to imagine how good a Naughty dog developed VR horror game would be? Think on that as while.

New Watch dogs trailer

Check out this trailer for watch dogs exclusive PlayStation content. Enjoy.

Mario kart 8 peripherals revealed

Nintendo of Japan has just released these images of peripherals due to launch in may with Mario kart 8 for Wii U.

Wheels were a big seller with mario kart on the original Wii so Ninty might be on to a winner again here. Time will tell.