Steelrising Review - Like Clockwork

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Dead humans and livestock litter the muddy cobblestone streets of Paris, their corpses left discarded in rotting piles or with muskets in hand where they took a final stand. Scattered fires burn bright across the city, each one sending suffocating black smoke billowing into the night sky. The only living residents are hunkered down in barricaded houses and shops, cowering from the clockwork automatons now prowling the ruins of the French capital. It's 1789, and in Steelrising's alternative history, the tyrannical King Louis XVI has suppressed the French Revolution by unleashing a mechanical army that massacres the populace, reinforcing his rule with literal iron fists.

This unique dark fantasy setting helps Steelrising stand apart from its many contemporaries. 2022 has already seen a slew of Souls-likes, with games such as Tunic, Salt and Sacrifice, and Thymesia each offering a different perspective on the genre. The latest game from French developer Spiders--a studio known for creating action-RPGs such as Greedfall--is derivative in its design, featuring all of the familiar elements we've come to expect of the genre. But Steelrising impresses with the way it's able to combine so many disparate elements together and make them all work.

You play as Aegis, a mechanical masterpiece and bodyguard to Queen Marie Antoinette. Unlike the mindless automatons roaming the streets, Aegis has a conscience and a form of free will, so you're sent into the heart of Paris to find your creator and fight fire with fire to put an end to the king's despotic bloodshed. From the outset, you choose from one of three classes that dictate your starting weapon and attributes, opting to be a powerful bodyguard, a quick and lethal dancer, or an alchemist who shoots enemies from afar. Aegis is malleable enough that it's fairly easy to switch playstyles after this initial choice, although it's difficult to experiment with different weapons, particularly once you're a few hours in, because upgrade resources are so pricey and base-level weapons aren't feasible later in the game. This is a shame, since it's the variety of weapons at your disposal that have the most significant impact on combat.

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Splatoon 3 Review-In-Progress

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A kid-friendly competitive multiplayer shooter was a strange concept when Nintendo introduced the very first Splatoon. The unique zone-control mechanics made combat important but somewhat incidental to the chief goal of covering everything in sticky goop. Painting the battlefield gave an immediate and intuitive visual sense of who's winning and losing without the need for a clunky scoreboard. That elegant design was the kind of delightful surprise that Nintendo has become known for. After two games and a major expansion, Splatoon 3 serves as a refinement and compilation of everything that came before it. It's less novel this time around, but it's still a delight and all comes together as the most robust Splatoon game yet.

Splatoon 3 assumes that you don't know all of this, of course, starting you off with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics of splatting before dumping you into the main hub area, a new city called Splatsville, in the heart of the desert Splatlands. From there you're encouraged to explore to learn more about all of the gameplay options and sites to visit, which is a little overwhelming at first. The city isn't terribly large--it is mostly a hub area for other game modes--but it feels dense with activity and nooks to explore. You can jump into the single-player campaign, co-op Salmon Run, or competitive multiplayer as you please.

The single-player serves as the best starting point for new players, since it gives you more opportunity to hone your splatting skills than the brief pre-Splatsville introduction. It's much more than a glorified tutorial, though; the campaign is lengthy and makes excellent use of mechanics to iterate and present new types of challenges.

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Splatoon 3 Review

Web Admin 0 22 Article rating: No rating

A kid-friendly competitive multiplayer shooter was a strange concept when Nintendo introduced the very first Splatoon. The unique zone-control mechanics made combat important but somewhat incidental to the chief goal of covering everything in sticky goop. Painting the battlefield gave an immediate and intuitive visual sense of who's winning and losing without the need for a clunky scoreboard. That elegant design was the kind of delightful surprise that Nintendo has become known for. After two games and a major expansion, Splatoon 3 serves as a refinement and compilation of everything that came before it. It's less novel this time around, but it's still a delight and all comes together as the most robust Splatoon game yet.

Splatoon 3 assumes that you don't know all of this, of course, starting you off with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics of splatting before dumping you into the main hub area, a new city called Splatsville, in the heart of the desert Splatlands. From there you're encouraged to explore to learn more about all of the gameplay options and sites to visit, which is a little overwhelming at first. The city isn't terribly large--it is mostly a hub area for other game modes--but it feels dense with activity and nooks to explore. You can jump into the single-player campaign, co-op Salmon Run, or competitive multiplayer as you please.

The single-player serves as the best starting point for new players, since it gives you more opportunity to hone your splatting skills than the brief pre-Splatsville introduction. It's much more than a glorified tutorial, though; the campaign is lengthy and makes excellent use of mechanics to iterate and present new types of challenges.

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The Last Of Us Part I Review - Desolation Row

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Joel looks different in The Last of Us Part I. It took me a while to notice, but once I did, it was hard to unsee. There's a pain in his eyes. His clothes and features are the same, but there's a quiet, unmistakable torment imprinted on his face. I've played The Last of Us nearly a dozen times across PS3 and PS4, and I had never seen it worn so plainly. I know Joel has a troubled past because The Last of Us Part I goes out of its way to show you a traumatic death in the opening scene, but that pain was never etched into his facial features this clearly.

There's an argument to be made that The Last of Us Part I is too similar to the PS3 and PS4 versions to be considered a remake, and part of me agrees with that sentiment. The story is identical, the level design is exactly the same, and the gameplay--apart from some quality-of-life improvements--is unchanged. On paper, if you've played The Last of Us and remember it well, there's little reason to return to it on PS5.

But The Last of Us Part I is more than the sum of its parts. It's an unrelenting tour de force that strategically leverages the power of the PlayStation 5 to push its story and themes a little further. Slight though many of them may be, all its enhancements serve the story, and the story is just as good as it was nine years ago.

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Immortality Review - A Most Unusual Camera

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There's a moment in movies where a restless, investigative protagonist falls down a proverbial rabbit hole and unveils a startling truth, reframing everything they thought they knew. The allure of Immortality, much like other games from Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid, is that it casts the player in this exciting role and builds to its ultimate unveiling. It's borderline impenetrable at times, as both the basic A to B plot and its greater themes are much more opaque than the team's prior puzzles. And yet, it's not really worse off for it. Despite--and sometimes because of--the dizzying effect of falling down the rabbit hole, Immortality becomes another standout narrative. It's similar to its predecessors, Telling Lies and Her Story, in some key ways, but more thought-provoking, too, and certainly more unnerving than you'll be prepared for.

Writing this review has proven difficult because virtually all of the game feels like a spoiler. I can allude to things, such as the game being scarier than I would've guessed, but I can't really tell you why. I can vaguely mention the story's dramatic turns, but given the scattered timeline, you may not see certain moments yourself until long after I did. I can at least explain how this game works, because if it's the first time you’re experiencing a game from this small team, it's going to feel completely alien.

In the early hours, Immortality's plot will likely feel elusive.

In the early hours, Immortality's plot will likely feel elusive.

Playing Immortality is like operating an old-fashioned Moviola machine, once used by editors in filmmaking but now repurposed to let you scrub through hours and hours of vintage live-action movies in an attempt to solve a mystery: What happened to Marissa Marcel? As a fictional 17-year-old actor making her movie debut in late '60s Hollywood, Marissa was primed to be the Next Big Thing, but over the next 31 years, she would only be cast in three movies, and none of them ever saw release.

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