Morning BS: Horizon: Zero Dawn First Impressions

This may surprise you but alongside my love of comic books your humble Sleuth is also a huge gaming geek. I’ve always wanted to write more on my love of gaming but with VuePoint on the site it’s never felt quite right. But today I’ve beat ol’ VuePoint to the punch. So before he peels his eyes away from his PlayStation 4 and puts his gaming skills to work on my innards…These are my first impressions of Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Warning: Light spoilers for the first three hours of gameplay

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I only managed to get about three hours in last night but I’ve already got a few points I need to raise about Horizon: Zero Dawn (a title that is seemingly insightful but pretty much meaningless).

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Morning BS: Why read Tom King’s Batman: I Am Gotham In 250 words or less

Graduating from Nightwing to Batman, Tom King may have written one of the greatest Batman stories of all time in I Am Gotham.

A while back I covered Tom King’s Vision, which I proclaimed as one of the greatest interpretations of a B-list superhero (get the full story here). However, what happens when you take the same writer that worked on a wacky, inversion n of the super hero genre and plonk him on the most mainstream book in the whole industry. Batman. Every writer on Batman has their own unique take on the character, so what does Tom King have to say about Batman? To answer that I’ll take you through the first issue of the arc.

Batman Issue One sees Batman dealing with a 9/11-esque aeroplane attack. The entire issue follows Bruce using every trick he has to deal with the attack while meditating on the nature of his duty. In this moment we see Batman realise that he cannot possibly stop the crisis as he’s just a man. But then he works out a solution that will result in his death but save Gotham. Needless to say, Bruce takes it without a moment of hesitation. As he resigns himself to death, Batman is saved by two new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl, protectors of Gotham City with pseudo-Superman powers. This leads to a series that examines what it is to be a hero and what separates Batman from other heroes. It’s dark, smart and a must read for every Batman fan plus David Finch’s clean-cut art style is beyond brilliant.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Silence of the Lambs meets The Karate Kid …what more could you want?

You can pick I Am Gotham in graphic novel form for £10.49 from Amazon

Have you read I Am Gotham or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Why read Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairland: Madly Ever After In 250 words or less

A comic book artist finds his voice and moves into the daunting territory of artist/writer in this warped twist on classic fairy-tales.

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Last week I mentioned how the rise of Image Comics resulted in some creators gaining a platform to discuss their messages with the world. However, other creators took the platform offered by Image and decided to explore the medium of comics and visual storytelling through other genres. Skottie Young was a gifted artist who did just that. Young had grown acclaim in the industry as an artist creating unique covers for Marvel Comics but with I Hate Fairyland he started to move in a new direction, while he had done bits of comic book writing in the past this would be his first truly bespoke piece of work.

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With those goals in mind Young created the world and plot of I Hate Fairyland, where a young girl, Gertrude, is transported to a magical fairyland for an adventure of whimsy and wonder to find a magical key, almost thirty years later and she is still looking for the key. To add insult to injury, Gertrude is still trapped in the physical body of her six year old self but with the drives of a thirty year old woman. Gertrude’s morals have broken over her years in Fairyland so she is bloodthirsty, horny and willing to do anything to get home and start her life. It’s a recipe for hilarity as Gertrude’s quest forces her to into conflict with every inhabitant of Fairyland.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Alice In Wonderland meets Machete…what more could you want?

You can pick Madly Ever After in graphic novel form for £8.99 from Amazon

Have you read Madly Ever After or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Why read Max Landis’ Superman: American Alien In 250 words or less

The genius visionary behind Chronicle, American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein hits the world of comics with one of the greatest Superman books of all time and you need to read it!

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While Superman might be one of the most Iconic superheroes of all time he isn’t particularly liked by a large portion of the comic book fandom. I mean, why choose Superman’s vanilla when you can have Green Lantern’s mint choc chip, right? It’s tough to write a Superman book at the best of times and normally it ends up being a played out battle between Superman and Lex or another alien threat, but occasionally a writer comes along and turns the man of steel on his head. Last year, Max Landis did just that.

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Landis tracks Clark Kent’s growth from a young boy all the way through to manhood. We see the evolution of Superman across seven issues which include tonnes of extra short stories and single panel pieces that Landis has incorporated to create a full picture of the Man Of Steel. It’s a story of moral and physical evolution that keeps interesting and light hearted for the average reader while also throwing in tonnes of stuff that long term Superman fans will love. If you only read one Superman story make it this one.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Boyhood meets the best Man of Steel has to offer…what more could you want?

You can pick American Alien up for £12.99 digitally through the DC Comics app or in graphic novel form for £12.51 from Amazon

Have you read American Alien or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Morning BS: Why read Tom King’s Vision: Little Worse Than A Man In 250 words or less

Vision is possibly one of the strongest Avengers with abilities matching Thor or Hulk so what happens when the synthetic superhero wants to start a family?

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There have been a few attempts over the years to give the Vision a solo book and each have been met with low to middling success. This has mostly been due to the fact that he’s a little too perfect. A robot with the ability to change his body density and access many other powers on top of that is pretty muchl unstoppable. When the duties of revisiting Vision fell to rising star Tom King, who went from this to writing Batman, there was one direction no one had ever conceived for the automatous Avenger…Vision the soap opera.

These first six issues see Vision create a family including a Wife, Son, Daughter and Dog. In the first issue we see the kids go off to school, Vision heads off to help the President on normal Avengers business and Vision’s wife murders a super villain. The story then becomes a twisted commentary on suburban lifestyle and the family unit all told through Tom King’s brilliant style which pulls in references to classic literature and comic books.

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I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: I, Robot meets Fuller House…what more could you want?

You can pick Little Worse Than A Man up for £13.49 digitally through the Marvel Comics app or in graphic novel form for £14.99 from Amazon

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Have you read Little Worse Than A Man or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

 

VuePoint: NIOH

Let me just get one thing out of the way. I love the Souls games, and I also love the Souls-like games. I have got the 100% Platinum trophy for all three Dark Souls games, as well as Bloodborne and Demon’s Souls. I am working on the platinum trophy for Lords of The Fallen, which I don’t enjoy as much, but still love. Salt and Sanctuary is up there with my favourite indie games of all time. I have a certain degree of experience with the unforgiving nature and cruel difficulty of Souls and Souls-like games. That being said…

…NIOH KICKED MY ASS.

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NIOH takes the tried and true formula of the Soulsborne (hereby referred to simply as SB) mechanics—managing stamina to block, dodge and attack, controlling enemy numbers, levelling up individual stat points, and losing everything if you die— and applies them to a Japanese Samurai setting. This is all super cool, and although it has its own sense of style, its own unique little design elements, and just generally its own distinctive flavour, at its core it’s still a Souls-like RPG.

It isn’t out yet, but I recently spent a whole week totally bashing the final beta test for the game, so I have a lot to talk about. Hopefully I can help you decide whether it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on, come release day next week (the 8th of February to be exact). The strange thing about this game is that if you hated the SB games, you’ll probably not enjoy this one either as it shares similar turnoffs to that series—mainly the difficulty. However, if you did enjoy the SB games, this one might also NOT be for you.

This makes it sound like an objectively all around bad game, which it isn’t, not by a long shot. On the contrary, NIOH is actually really fun to play. It’s a tough one to explain. Whilst it shares its punishing difficulty with the SB games and this may turn some people away, this isn’t an objectively bad feature. Personally, I enjoy the level of challenge the games present, and don’t see it as being “hard” per se.

To me a game is hard if I am unable to progress due to the enemies being too powerful or the puzzles being too obtuse with no clear way of figuring out the answer. SB, and now NIOH, present you with obstacles that are perfectly manageable, so long as you tackle it in the correct way. True difficulty—the unpleasant kind—comes in the form of an objective that is designed to destroy you regardless of your angle of attack, where success comes in the form of a lucky hit, or a fluke.

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SB and NIOH’s difficulty gives you a situation and expects you to learn how to deal with it. Death is part of the process, and as time goes on, you learn enemy positions movements and tactics. Most importantly, you learn their strengths and weaknesses. After some frustration, your fingers are dancing across the control pad as you storm through the area like an unstoppable maelstrom of death.

Combat encounters become puzzles, as surviving becomes just as much about figuring out what an enemy is going to do as it is about skilful dodging and timing your strikes. There is a degree of skill involved—quite a large degree in fact—but as your character levels up and progresses, your skill level increases, making no obstacle insurmountable. Anyway, that’s a generalisation for SB and NIOH. Let’s focus more on what’s in store for the upcoming title.

In terms of the RPG elements, NIOH functions in much the same way as SB. You can equip different weapons, armour, and other such goodies (including spirit animals), and levelling up involves increasing the value of certain stat points. You can also unlock and upgrade new skills—a new feature not seen in SB—and get another level of customisation over your character. Furthermore, each weapon you use increases in level the more you use it. You gain a skill point with each weapon level, which you can use anywhere you want, not just with that weapon. This directly rewards your play style, but also encourages experimenting with other weapons. The lower a weapon’s level, the faster it levels up. Using a low-level weapon that you never use could not only open a new play style for you, but it could also be a quick way to earn some extra skill points if you’re in need.

The combat is fast and furious—at least, it is in two of the three stances available to you. You have two weapon slots, each weapon has three stances: high, medium, and low (basically fast, slow, and balanced), and each stance has a quick and a heavy attack. At first this all seems intimidating, but it honestly isn’t much more complex than the SB combat. A few hours of practice (which, let’s be honest, is a fraction of the time you spend playing these games) and you’ll be switching through stances and weapons in the middle of combat, and sometimes even mid-combo!

Even in medium stance, combat is faster than the SB games. I got the impression that the main focus in combat should be moving around and dodging, rather than tanking and blocking. Other people may have gotten a different first impression. This is still just the beta so there wasn’t a huge amount to go off, but to me speed seems far more important here.

This is where my comments about the combat from earlier come in. It feels very different from the SB games, but also the same. It took a little adjustment (and a lot of death). One welcome addition is the ability to see an enemy’s stamina bar. Each enemy has a stamina bar below their health, which allows you to see when they’re getting tired and plan accordingly. Dancing around an enemy as he wore himself out, only to perform a quick action to regain my stamina and unleash a tidal wave of pain on his defenceless, panting form was remarkably satisfying. 16558967_10209228658807606_1750874732_n

I haven’t even mentioned that manoeuvre, have I? There’s a whole bunch of neat little features that I haven’t touched on. Stamina regeneration, spirit animals, multiplayer, they’re all things that I got a mere taste of in the demo. I could go on for pages, but instead I’ll begin to wrap up. You’re reading this, wanting to know if you should spend your money on NIOH. Here’s my verdict: If you didn’t like the SB games, try and find a demo of this, it’s at least worth a try. If you DID enjoy the SB games, I would recommend a rental if one is available. Or borrow it from a friend. There won’t be enough in a demo to give you a full understanding of the features it brings to the table. Before you pay full price and dive in headlong, consider the risks. This game has some heavy influences from SB, but is also very different, so be sure you know what you’re getting into.

Personally, I will be buying this…if I can justify spending another £50 as I’ve just bought Resident Evil 7. My bank account hates me right now, but I have the willpower of someone stumbling into a KFC at 2am, regardless of their Weight Watchers meeting the following morning. And on that note, I say good luck in the world of demonic fantasy Samurai battles. Enjoy your time with the game, but make sure you know what you’re spending your money on. Until next time, peace out and keep gaming!

Written by: Jack Sutton

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Morning BS: Why read Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight: Lunatic in 250 words or less…

The schizophrenic Moon Knight has always been an interesting hero but in the hands of genius writer Jeff Lemire, it’s a must read series.

If you’re unfamiliar with Moon Knight it’s nothing to be ashamed of, he’s essentially Batman with a multiple personality disorder. This means that sometimes he is the debonair Moon Knight with powers granted to him by the Egyptian god of vengeance and other times he is one of several different personalities, including a New York taxi driver and a Hollywood actor. This has led to many writers experimenting with the form of comics and how it can be used to portray mental illness and uncertainty. A running question throughout the series is whether Moon Knight is actually in contact with the god he claims to draw power from or if that’s part of his illness.

Lemire takes all of this a step further. He places our lead character, Marc Spector, in an insane asylum with the implication that every Moon Knight story to date has all been a delusion and that the background cast of those stories are simply other patients. If that doesn’t sell you Lemire has teamed up with stunning artist Greg Smallwood and together they have experimented with every aspect of comic book writing to create something unique.

I’ve got a few words left so I’ll just say this: Egyptian Mythology meets One Flew Over a The Cuckoos Nest…what more could you want?

You can pick Lunatic up for £9.99 digitally through the Marvel Comics app or in graphic novel form for £13.50 from Amazon

Have you read Lunatic or are planning to? Let me know in the comment section down below, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Beartrails/ or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/BearTrails

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bearsleuthWritten by: Patrick Lunn

Adaptive Panels Presents… Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol.1: Vader

Hey, with a subtitle that creative you know it’s good…

In all seriousness, yes, Darth Vader Vol. 1 is good, living up to the bar of quality set thus far by this Marvel series. It’s better than Skywalker Strikes, but in many ways presents me with the same problem.  In the way I’ve mentioned before that nobody needs me to tell them that Star Wars is good, that goes double for a story entirely focused on Darth Vader. I mean, come on! It’s Darth Vader, perhaps the greatest cinematic villain ever created, and the benchmark to which all others have, and will, be compared. There exist no adjectives here, he’s replaced them! I genuinely cannot think of the words to describe to a complete Star Wars virgin why this character has become perhaps the most iconic in all of popular culture. Fortunately, I don’t need to, because unless you just came out of a coma you’ve been in since 1966, you already know!

And just in case you really have just come out of a 50 year coma, and for some reason my ramblings are the first thing you’ve tuned into, here are some things you should know: This thing you’re on right now is called The Internet, and it’s great… most of the time; we landed on the moon, that was fun; the Berlin wall came down; and, what else? Oh yeah, Star Wars was awesome and Darth Vader was the most awesome thing about it!

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So yes, if my babbling didn’t tip you off, I’m finding it kind of difficult to expand on simply telling you that Vader doesn’t disappoint the legacy of its namesake. I reckon about tw-no, three shots of whiskey should do it. I’ll just be a moment…

Overview


Vader’s story-line runs roughly in parallel to the events of Skywalker Strikes, and after the destruction of both the Death Star and Cymoon 1, the Sith Lord appears to be on something of a losing streak. The Dark Side does not forgive failure, and so Vader is called back to Coruscant to answer to the Emperor. After making it very clear that his apprentice is on thin ice, Palpatine puts Vader under the orders of Grand General Tagge, the new supreme commander of Imperial forces, and sends him off on a mission to re-secure the Empire’s supply lines. Vader, however, suspects that his new duty is meant to get him out of the way, so Palpatine can replace him, and he’s not so far under his Emperor’s thumb to take that lying down.

Before he can do anything about it though, Vader must escape from under Tagge’s control. Tagge proves to be a far less accommodating boss than Tarkin, considering both the Death Star and Vader himself to be vanity projects when next to increasing the strength of the fleet. He assigns a young officer to tail Vader and evaluate his every move, on a mission to take out a pirate space station, which Vader suspects is getting intelligence from an Imperial mole. Vader accomplishes his task; and all too conveniently uncovers Tagge’s officer as the mole, freeing him up to pursue his own agenda.

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Next, Vader starts building a small team from outside Imperial ranks, to avoid any information getting back to the Emperor. He recruits Triple-Zero and BT-1, a pair of droids who operate as a psychotic reflection of C3PO and R2D2, as well as doctor Aphra, a rogue archaeologist with an… appreciation for violent people and droids. They journey to Geonosis to recover a company of old battle droids from the Clone War, and then on to a station, built into the carcass of a live space-whale on the edge of the galaxy (and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d say), where Vader believes he will find and put an end to his replacement.

However, when they arrive, Vader discovers Palpatine has been on to him this whole time, and allowed him to make his way to the station in order to begin a set of trials against other cybernetically enhanced warriors, to prove he’s worthy of retaining his place as the Emperor’s right hand.

Analysis


If there’s a big problem with Vader then it’s a common one found in most arc-beginning books, in that it feels like mostly set-up while providing very little pay-off. What action is here is just fine, but the final brawl the book spends all its time building up to isn’t actually final at all, and none of Vader’s opponents spend enough time on the page to really get a handle on whether they’re going to be interesting or not. In any case, if you’re at all familiar with Star Wars, then you know the outcome of this contest must be a forgone conclusion, so it’s hard for me to get invested about any of it. Hopefully the following books will make it worth my time, but for now it’s fortunate that Vader has a lot else going for it.

There’s really no getting around it, Doctor Aphra is the stuff fan-fics are made of. A young, attractive, rogue scientist and adventurer who probably also writes love letters to death row inmates in her spare time meeting Darth Vader? The hormones practically leak out of the page…

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Actually, no. Don’t think about that too much.

To the book’s credit, it doesn’t go so overboard with this that it becomes icky, and jokes aside it’s actually a fascinating dynamic. This is a scenario where the limitations of writing expanded universe fiction are a help rather than a hindrance. Obviously, the relationship between these two characters can’t actually amount to anything, because we already know how Vader’s story ends. The comic does an excellent job of letting Vader’s moments of silence, and the fixed expression of his mask, do the work, allowing the reader to, well, read into them. However, regardless of whether or not Aphra really is stirring the ghost of something human in him, he’s not going to change, and if he did she probably wouldn’t like him as much. These characters are on an inherently destructive collision course, and they both know it… and they’re both just crazy enough to roll with it.

Another interesting relationship is that of Vader and Palpatine. In the original Star Wars trilogy, it was always left as a fairly open question just how loyal Vader was to his master, versus his own interests. In The Empire Strikes Back, he seeks to turn Luke to the dark side in the name of overthrowing the Emperor. Is violent usurpation just the nature of the dark side, that places so much stock in hate, cunning and ambition, or are Vader’s objectives personal?

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It was a question the prequels raised, and never answered, that irritated me (when I bothered to think about the prequels at all). Why would Anakin Skywalker, after his rebirth as Darth Vader, bother to keep doing Palpatine’s bidding when his original reason for betraying the Jedi is lost to him? It can’t be gratitude for saving his life, not after what his life has been reduced to, and it’s not as if Vader is overly invested in the success of the Empire. Victories of the fleet and gains of territory are mundane compared to the power of the dark side, which is the only thing he openly shows any reverence towards. Most of the time, it just seems like his position gives him an excuse to take out his rage on the rest of the galaxy, and that’s the closest thing he has left to a will to live. However, when Vader finds out that Palpatine has been considering replacing him since long before the Death Star, he seems to feel genuinely betrayed. This is shortly followed by the discovery of Luke’s real identity, and the book seems to interpret this as the moment where Vader truly understands what his relationship to his master is, and the first moment where he desires to be rid of him. Could it be that Vader has for all this time still been clinging to the image of Palpatine as a father figure, and only with the knowledge of his own fatherhood does he realise how ridiculous that idea was?

Conclusion


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If you think Darth Vader is cool, read this book. If you don’t, then I find your lack of faith disturbing.

(P.S. Apologies for the delay. Normal scheduling should resume next time.)

The BearSleuth Week Geek Out – LaMarr And Snyder And Bears…Oh My!

This week I am determined to get this feature up at a reasonable time! Last week was just a trial run but this is absolute prime time professionalism in article form. Unfortunately, to my knowledge their is very little to talk about in the world of television so I’m going to jump across and examine what’s going on over at YouTube. Apart from that all I have to say is that it’s been a damn good week and I hope all you back-to-schoolers are settling in well.

The Week In Comics


 

This week is looking pretty strong in the world of comics, the shelves are pretty densely packed and their is certainly a lot of talent to be found. An underground hit of the week has to be Scarlet Witch #10 which is pretty much a perfect self contained story for the character looking at her role in the magical community. Over with the Team Aqua that is DC we have some awesome titles including All-Star Batman #2 and Suicide Squad #2 showcasing talent from two of the greatest creators in the comic book industry, Snyder and Lee.

Marvel’s Team Magma are looking sound all round with some brilliant tie-in titles but my pick of the week has to go to Amazing Spider-Man Civil War II #4, which has to be one of the most complex titles I have ever written. The finale of the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in is probably going to place the series as the strongest of the Civil War II tie-ins to date as it fully succeeds in an examination of the main themes of the event. If you are only going to pick up one tie-in make it this one…then maybe squeeze your budget for the X-Men tie-in as well!

The Week In Film


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Well this week I actually went to see a film which I can talk about, Don’t Breathe. This film was pretty much schlock of the highest order with a particular scene added in just for shock value and so the film can be ‘the film that went there’. I actually think this is a horror targeted at a more female audience as the shock scene is harder to relate to from a male perspective, which probably goes a long way to spoiling it. The male characters are embarrassingly weak but the female lead, played by Jane Levy, seems to have a good amount of depth to her. The villain is essentially, old and evil Daredevil and I find that the film makes a lot more sense in that light.

Like I said up top, there’s not really much in the way of TV news from me at the moment, just finished Stranger Things which gave me a new appreciation for child actors and small-town sci-fi. Heading over to YouTube, Fatman On Batman just interviewed Phil LaMarr and you have to see it if you are in anyway a geek. My YouTube tastes are fairly vanilla but I recommend Yahtzee19,  KaptainKristian and Vuepoint’s Jack’s World if you are looking for something new.

The Week In Gaming


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Pre are in the ten week countdown for Pokemon!!! Like any good fan I’m attempting a run through of HeartGold, Pearl, Black, White 2, X and finally Omega Ruby before grabbing a copy of Sun. I’m going to be grabbing a bunch of grass starters in the way, the unloved Ringos of Pokemon starters, and basically getting myself back in that ten-year-old mind-set. Apart from that I’m continuing a play through of Dark Souls with Ollie from LoneWolfGaming and playing Until Dawn with Will, the BearSleuth camera man.

In Other News…


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The world is teetering on the brink of disaster from a take over of regional pronunciation starting with a plague of government sponsored academies and there will be more news coming on the new BearSleuth writer later this week. That’s about it for this week folks but be sure to come back next week for more sleuthing!

…That was this week’s BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!! Check back on Friday for a brand new article!!!

VuePoint: Resident Evil 4

As arguably the best game in the series, it’s hardly surprising that Resident Evil 4 has made an appearance across a whole range of consoles. From the Playstation 2, to the Wii and back again – now available to purchase for Playstation 4 in the store – there is now absolutely no excuse for anyone to have not played this action horror classic.

Now that it’s made the jump to this generation, Resi 4 looks better than ever, with enhanced textures, lighting and character models. Don’t go in to this expecting Uncharted 4, this is still a PS2 game at the end of the day, so there’s only so much that can be done without remaking the whole game from the ground up.

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This is just a remaster with a graphical upgrade, so don’t think you’re buying a new game here. If you played Resi 4 before and weren’t impressed, this won’t change your mind. This is still the same – albeit brilliant – game as it always was. What it did do however, was give me a chance to go back and play it again, and now that I’m older I get to review it. For the sake of this review, I’ll be talking about it like it’s a new game, and whilst I may compare it to its counterparts on other consoles, I’ll be reviewing it as a standalone game, rather than just talking about what has changed…mainly because nothing has. Like I just said, graphical enhancements aside, this is the same game.

Special agent Leon S. Kennedy has been sent to a creepy village to rescue the President’s daughter Ashley from an army of zombie-like cultists. It’s made clear within the first five minutes as you stand over the body of the first enemy you kill, Leon explicitly says “THESE AREN’T ZOMBIES!”. This should be your first clue that this game is unlike any Resi game before it. The over-the-shoulder camera replaces the static angles, and there’s a much heavier focus on action than before.

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This isn’t a bad thing though. Unlike the later instalments, Resi 4 isn’t a straight up action game, and it isn’t afraid to throw some scares your way. These tense moments generally build from the atmosphere across the various locations you find yourself in. Nowhere feels particularly safe, and you’ll probably find yourself frequently spinning the camera to make sure nothing is creeping up behind you. And trust me, things will creep up behind you. God knows where these guys hide, but there have been many occasions where I’ll be fending off a horde of enemies lumbering towards me, only to spot movement out of the corner of my eye and see that they’re coming from all sides.

One particular segment puts you into the shoes of Ashley herself. Separated from Leon, with no weapons and no way to defend herself, you must use the environment to your advantage, outwitting and outmanoeuvring your enemies, rather than just shooting them in the head. The fact that you can’t fight back and your enemies can come from around any corner makes this segment feel more like a survival horror than a straight up action game, and it’s segments like this that future games in the series could have benefitted from.

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Unfortunately, this experience is marred by how painfully unlikeable Ashley is. She’s an annoying, whiny brat, who likes to get herself kidnapped and stand in front of your gun, taking a bullet for her enemies. What a generous move Ashley! Oh wait! No, no it isn’t.

I will admit that her AI is somewhat competent. If you compare it to the likes of the Star Trek game a few years ago, Ashley looks like Einstein. For the most part, she will do her best to stay behind you, and crouch when you aim your gun in her general direction, but her annoying character makes her – admittedly rare – moments of stupidity that much more frustrating. Given the fact that about 70% of the game is an escort mission, this makes some part particularly aggravating. When you get to the end of the game and unlock a huge suit of armour for her to wear in NG+, these problems disappear. Aside from looking hilarious, Ashley becomes too heavy for the enemies to pick her up and carry her away, and completely invincible. Some might say that this makes the game too easy, but personally I really enjoy mowing down hordes of not-zombies, without worrying about her.

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It makes me physically upset to hate on this game for too long, so let’s get back into the good stuff, because despite the problematic companion, this is still a brilliant game. The story of Leon and Ashley escaping from the monstrous Lord Saddler and his minions is a fun one. In true Resi fashion it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and despite being a horror game full of terrifying creatures that can impale, decapitate and just generally mutilate you in a  number of different ways, it still feels light-hearted and entertaining. The cheesy dialogue is very much tongue in cheek, and is delivered well by a talented cast, who bring a diverse range of characters to life.

The cherry on top of the cake is the excellent gameplay. The over-the-shoulder camera allows for satisfying shooting, and the way enemies fly back when you hit them with a shotgun is really rewarding. Your weapons feel powerful, and the upgrades you buy feel useful. The aiming isn’t as precise as I would have liked it to be, and in the shooting department, I feel the need to utter a sentence I never thought I’d say.

The Wii version of this game is superior to the PS4.

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Don’t get me wrong, everything works fine on the PS4. Anyone who’s played Resi 5 will know what to expect, it works in much the same way. The absence of a crosshair is noticeable though. Using just a laser sight to line up shots can be tricky, especially when you have a legion of enemies rushing you and you can’t move when aiming. Even more frustrating is when an enemy pulls out a cheap one hit kill attack whilst you’re reloading. Playing it does feel a little clunky and dated, although I do have a friend who said he likes this feature, so maybe it’s just personal opinion.

The Wii version on the other hand worked great. The responsive motion controls made aiming much easier, and I was pulling off headshots within a few seconds. It may take people a while to get used to this aiming method, especially if you’ve never played a Resi game before.

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All in all, I would consider Resi 4 on the PS4 a worthwhile purchase. There’s plenty of replayability to had in upgrading all your weapons, unlocking different outfits for Leon and Ashley, and even when you’ve finished all that, it’s still a fun game to play. Give yourself a while to get accustomed to the controls if you’ve never played a Resi game before, as it will be very different than your standard 3rd person shooter. But at the end of the day, Resi 4 isn’t your standard 3rd person shooter! It cleverly blends action and horror, with interesting characters, tongue in cheek humour and some amazing creatures and bosses to create – in my opinion – the best Resident Evil game yet.

…That was this week’s VuePoint!!! Check back tomorrow for another BearSleuth Week Geek Out!!!