Furi: Review

Jakes

Furi is a game that took me completely by surprise. Currently free for PlayStation Plus members or available on Steam for around £20, it is a game that is uncompromisingly difficult — and yet feels incredibly rewarding in a way that differs from more traditional games known for their difficulty, such as the Dark Souls series.

The amazing electronic sound track, the bright neon sci-fi colors, and fast-paced gameplay all blend harmoniously together to form something truly remarkable. Fast-paced and addictive, Furi is a gem. A raw unrefined gem that could use some serious polishing, but a gem none the less.

The Good Stuff

Furi is a mash of genres, a twin stick shooter with bullet hell elements coupled with hack and slash mechanics — which leads to fast-paced gameplay from start to finish. The game is made up of a series of boss fights where you have to shoot, parry, and dodge your way to victory, with short walking segments between fights. The gameplay for the most part is incredibly fluid and responsive, leaving you feeling like you’re truly in control of the character. There is no hand holding here.

Within the walking segments you are given tiny doses of story and background by your jail breaker, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the rabbit in the film Donnie Darko. These walking segments are a welcome respite between each boss and the auto walk feature (mapped to X or L1) helps you to relax and unwind, allowing you to soak in the atmosphere and music before diving into another manic conflict. This is a huge contrast to the hectic boss fights that make up the majority of the game and is a subsequent breath of fresh air.

The majority of the boss fights are excellent, all differing from one another significantly enough in terms of gameplay and aesthetics to ensure you don’t feel like you’re repeating the same process over and over again.

The Mediocre

Furi is not without its problems. I managed to beat the entirety of the base game on hard difficulty in one sitting, with little over 4 hours of playtime. Whilst this does unlock the harder difficulty it is still remarkably short — and if you are someone who will just put the game down after finishing it once, then the £20 price point may be a bit steep.

There are also issues with the gameplay. On one boss that spawns walls I ended up getting stuck in one as it spawned, meaning I was trapped and bombarded with projectiles I was unable to dodge till I died. It left a rather bitter taste in my mouth as it took almost 10 minutes to get to that point. The lack of a checkpoint system on bosses also led to some serious frustration, as it takes you a while to reach the final stage of some bosses, and you have to repeat all this over again should you die.

There are also one or two bosses that I found rather lackluster and boring, which in a game that revolves around these boss fights is not something you want to encounter.

The parry system is flawed as well. The bosses’ parry-able melee attacks are accompanied by a sound and normally a white flash. However often if you press the parry button when these indicators show up, you simply won’t parry the attack. This is incredibly frustrating, forcing you to learn boss animations through brute force of trial and error to proceed. On the longer fights at the end of the game, this can be soul crushing, especially as two of the later bosses require you to do nothing but parry to defeat them.

The dash mechanic can also be an issue. It really isn’t as precise as I’d like and the short delay between being able to use my dash subsequently led to an infuriating amount of deaths on my part in the last phase of a later boss.

Not all of the controls are explained coherently either. The majority of the base ones are explained in the first boss, which is more of a tutorial than anything else. However there was a mechanic where if you moved the right stick whilst in close combat, you glow orange and do more damage. This is not something that was ever explained in-game, and I discovered it accidentally through just mashing all the buttons — as I do at the beginning of every game. I had to go hunting through the menu’s in order to discover what this ability actually did.

The ending of Furi bears mentioning, as it took me completely by surprise and is what pushed me over the edge from liking the game to loving it. I was genuinely surprised by the level of emotion I felt upon defeating the last boss before the credits — it was something I didn’t expect, especially from a game with a silent protagonist and one that feels very light on story.

Final Thoughts

Furi is by no means perfect. But the core experience is a lot of fun, and took me by great surprise. The excellence of the soundtrack cannot be understated and fits perfectly with the play style and theme of the game. The combat for the most part is visceral and rewarding whilst being challenging.

If you own a PlayStation 4 and have PlayStation Plus I highly recommend you download Furi now while it’s free — and if you don’t, consider purchasing it on steam. I doubt you’ll regret it. As I stated at the beginning of this review, Furi is a raw uncut gem of an experience. With a little refinement and polish it truly could have been something brilliant.

 

Mirrors Edge Catalyst: Review

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Mirrors Edge: Catalyst is a beautiful game, there is no doubt about that. I have yet to play a game that captured my attention so strongly purely through its art assets apart from its spiritual predecessor, the original Mirrors Edge. The Frostbite engine is used to startling effect and all the pictures you can see where taken on the Playstation 4 as I played through the game. This game, much like the original straddles the line between Art and interactive media fantastically and as a result produces something that is very visually unique.

 

The original Mirrors Edge was created and published by EA on a shoe string budget and was more of a labor of love than anything else. It was a first person free running game centralized around the character Faith a runner (the same character we play as in Catalyst albeit a reboot), an individual who transported goods between points by using the rooftops and her free running abilities. Effectively you run from one checkpoint to the next avoiding guards and navigating the map as best you can in order to reach the objective in the fastest time possible. This led to the growth of a budding speed running community surrounding the game. It was this fluidity of movement, mixed with the art style vibrant visuals, which were in complete contrast of the grey/brown/gun-metal palette at that time, aided it in gaining a cult status. Catalyst due to the unexpected success of the original game enjoyed the full scale budget that we have come to expect from EA and this shows. From the mind boggling set piece that is the final mission as well as the fully voiced and animated cut scenes that where lacking in the original, to the huge sprawling open world, this is a game that certainly benefits from the huge budget increase , but also ends up being hampered by it in some ways.

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The Open World has a mind boggling amount of things to do upon reaching end game.

 

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Don’t look down.

 

Before we get right into the review it should first be mentioned that Mirrors Edge Catalyst is not a direct sequel to the original, but is instead a spiritual successor and does not continue on from the original story.

I really enjoyed my time with Mirrors Edge: Catalyst. All the original elements that made me enjoy the original are still there such as the fluidity of motion and the art assets and this time around there is an actual tangible story which at its climax actually made me feel something towards Faith and the characters involved. The music is steller yet again, although I did have to turn it up in the options in order to hear it properly over dialogue and when I was traversing from mission to mission. The Free Roaming aspect is highly enjoyable and well implemented and it means you have more time to do what the game does best, and that is traverse from one place to the next, however if you follow the auto tracker religiously you’ll end up following the same routes every time, half the fun is discovering new and more efficient methods of getting to these places.

 

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The original Artistic impressions are evident

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There are however, a few issues with Mirrors Edge: Catalyst that turned the game from a 9-10/10 to more of a 7/8. The two most important of these are the unlock progression system and the combat. The progression unlock system is completely redundant and does nothing but locks players out of abilities such as quick turn 180 degrees or roll upon impacting the ground in order to maintain speed. These are abilities that you had base line in the original game, so locking them away behind progression left a bad taste in my mouth. Luckily it took no longer than 30 minutes of game play in order to unlock them and I was soon traversing obstacles like in the original. Another issue I had was the introduction of the grappling hook into the franchise. Often incredibly cumbersome too use as it halts the entire flow of the game I was left scratching my head as too why it was even implemented in the first place, that is until the final mission. It seems as if it was included primarily for use in the final mission and not much else, as if they started there and worked there way backwards.

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Why? Why not just give us all the base abilities normally….

The other major issue I have with the game is the combat. I understand that they included combat in the game for those that want to partake in it, but I do not as in my mind the game is purely about infiltrating areas, stealing the material and escaping, without actually engaging in any fighting. I fully understand there are those out there that do not play the same way as I do but for the love of god don’t introduce areas where you are forced to fight the guards in order to progress. Two instances come to mind where you basically have to face a horde of guards and then what may as well be a boss battle, all with a combat system which frankly is terrible. I ended up doing nothing but dodging and spamming heavy attacks. A process that did not feel rewarding at all and instead felt purely time consuming.

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In the End I recommend purchasing Mirrors Edge: Catalyst. The amount of content you get for your money is staggering, especially as the price has dropped recently. The story is entertaining with touching moments. The movement is as fluid and satisfying as ever once you’ve unlocked all the upgrades and the art is as astounding as ever. Whilst the combat is severely lacking  and downright irritating at times, the overall package of the game and art alone propels it into a fantastic visual experience for anyone.

 

Below you will find more screenshots that I made during my time with the game, enjoy. Yet again all these screenshots where made in game with the Playstation 4 share feature and have not been edited in anyway. Enjoy.

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Mighty Number 9 Review

 

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There is nothing “Mighty” about Keiji Inafune’s new installment into the Megaman series.
Warning Spoilers ahead:

 

Anyone that’s even remotely interested in Games and Gaming media will have heard of Mighty Number 9 and its meteoric fall from grace. Funded almost overnight on Kickstarter it promised to be a return to the old days of mega man, but fell tragically short of this promise. However what followed was a series of delays to the game’s actual release as well as requests for more donations towards their Kickstarter and a disastrous and downright ill sighted trailer for the game that was obviously produced by someone that didn’t understand the group they were  marketing towards. Just watch it! How can someone be so unaware of the community and the fans that funded the project.  

 

Now I feel I should disclaim before I start the review proper that I didn’t back the game on kickstarter and nor am i particularly enamored by mega man so I am free of some of the bias that surrounds many of the reviews out there, having said this , this game is not good. Like at all. Towards the end I found myself actually forcing myself to try to finish the game out of spite for its creators and the game itself, not for any real sense of enjoyment. Upon finishing a level I was met with a wave of relief that it was over, not satisfaction or any sense of joy. There was not a single level I particularly enjoyed but I have to give Countershade’s level a mention for being THE most boring and rage inducing experience I’ve had in a long time.

 

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What a “Fine Play”

The art style being in 2.5d is absolutely god awful and looks just terrible, as a result the game feels completely soul less in look and play style. It feels like It is just wearing the skin of a mega man game but has none of the personality. The npc’s if you remove the dialogue or just mute the game stare at you and each other soullessly in what is practically a t-pose. I hate, HATE Becks design, he looks absolutely ridiculous and like some sort of weird monkey creature. The fact that you have to pick up a speed power up in order to move at any semblance of a normal movement speed is ridiculous. The first level I cleared was Brandish’s level and I think I got incredibly lucky doing so as his was the power i used exclusively throughout the whole game and gave me some semblance of enjoyment in brief bursts, before I was killed by some ridiculous arbitrary instant death mechanic because i dashed a bit too far or Beck wouldn’t grab a ledge/ladder because he was one pixel away actually did have me crying like an anime fan on prom night. 

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Just look at Becks stupid Face and design.

Whilst i enjoyed the dash mechanic in terms of providing a movement option, the fact you use it to dash through enemies to collect powers disrupts the flow of the game and takes away from mega man’s original jump and shoot play style. The fact that if you down dash you can’t cancel it and it will keep going till you hit the ground or fall off the map is incredibly infuriating and led to many deaths on my part due to accidentally knocking the joystick downwards.

The inclusion of the level where you get to play as Call i understand is another homage to the earlier Megaman games where you played as Rock and Roll but in this case Call does more harm than anything. I was quietly hopeful when I was able to play as her because I thought it may break up the monotony that the game had become. Sadly I was wrong. Her gun is even slower than Beck’s base one and her slow floaty jump makes it feel more like you’re controlling a large bus than any video game character. You’re forced through what is basically a glorified stealth scene and due to the way she plays do not even have the enjoyment of being able to boost spam in order to get faster times due to her boost packing as much impact as a light breeze.

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Why. Why even Include her as playable. At least make her fun.

I could go on and on about my issues surrounding this game and the way it plays but I’ll stop here and just say that I really did not find it fun at all and I can understand the anger and frustration of those fans that invested serious money in this project hoping and believing it would be a return to form for mega man. Mighty Number 9 will forever serve as a stark warning about the potential failures and disappointments of even the most successful kickstarter campaigns.

 

Enter the Gungeon Review

 

Gungeon

I live, I die, I live again is the best phrase that I can use to describe my time with Enter the Gungeon. Published by Devolver, Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell twin stick top down shooter with a difficulty curve like a brick wall, but does this make it any less fun? No absolutely not. Enter the Gungeon is great. Highly enjoyable and highly addictive, It is an incredible pick up and play game that has little to no hand holding and just says go for it.

The soundtrack is marvelous, as is the endearing art style and ideas behind the enemy designs. The Main title screen and the intro track is just gorgeous and has secured itself a place as my desktop background, it truly is amazing. Just Look at this intro and log in music.

Boss characters add to the overarching tone of the game, with names such as Gatling Gull and the Ammoconda , whilst hard are great fun and present a real challenge. This game however is unashamedly hard, there are no two ways about it. The difficulty curve goes from almost casual run around and shoot dodging projectiles too full almost ikaruga style bullet hell in a matter of minutes, and I can only imagine how much harder it gets at higher floors. Whilst this can be infuriating at times, the ease at which you can restart after dying takes the edge off and provides an almost dark souls mentality of smashing your head against the floor or a certain boss till you’ve cleared it. As you clear each floor, especially the Second you can find numerous new npc’s whom keep you coming back for more to understand what it is they are after. The difficulty between the first and Second floor is like night and day, but this shouldn’t put you off. The game is designed around you dying and taking multiple attempts. You aren’t even remotely expected to clear the entire thing in your first try.

 

The Ridiculous amount of weapons and items that can be found, coupled with different enemies and different maps being generated each time you play as well as the little secrets and hidden npc’s spread out between maps, gives this game an incredible replay value that will bring you back to it time and time again.

I highly recommend picking Enter the Gungeon up if you like games with heavy replay value that you can pick up and play at anytime. The only gripes I have with the game so far is the randomness of the enemies you face can lead to some absolute bullshit rooms, such as one room in an area I shall not name for spoiler reasons which consisted of just fire traps and required me to leap from a moving platform across 3 traps that went off at the same time to another moving platform, which resulted in my death from 3 hearts and me screaming bullshit at the TV.

First blog post

I’ve decided to start this blog to coincide with my rediscovery of my love for single player and story driven Video Games and in order to hopefully help develop my own writing style. I’ve been playing Video Games for years, ever since I was a child. Starting with a Super Nintendo and then going on too a PS1, PS2, Xbox 360 and a PC and PS4.

For the last 12 years I have played MMO’s and Multiplayer focused Games such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 1 and 2, CSS and CS:GO and League of Legends and as such I have missed out on many games that have been released or that will be released due to my focus upon the multiplayer and competitive aspect I have missed out on so many great games that have come out over the years and I hope to discover.

With this Blog I’ll be documenting and Reviewing any games I play, and as such whilst I will primarily be reviewing PS4 and PC titles, I will also be going back and looking at older games that I may have missed as well as newer ones that will be released.

 

Hope you Enjoy reading these entrys as much as I enjoyed writing them.