Silent Hill 2 Review

Revisiting a Classic.

It has been over 20 years since Silent Hill 2 original release date back 2001. I just so happen to come across this game at Game Crazy, which are now all gone. I saw it and looked at the back of the game box and was intrigued by what I read. Our protagonist James Sunderland‘s life is shattered when his beloved wife Mary passes away. Three years later James receives a mysterious letter from his late wife Mary, beckoning him to return to their special place, Silent Hill. This alone was enough for me to pick it up, and ever since, has been one of my favorite games. Twenty years later and this story is still great to experience again. You are given a map and free to explore where you can go, the game does not help you too much. It’s up to you to find your way and to figure out the complex puzzles your will encounter on your journey. Graphically, yes, it has aged but incredibly it holds up remarkably well. Gameplay holds up mostly well enough, some of the camera angels may get annoying but the atmosphere of the game eases this issue. The sound design for Silent Hill 2, is still creepy all these years later. With the incredible soundtrack by the legendary Akira Yamaoka, compliments every cutscene and environment you’ll encounter. Developer Team Silent really outdid themselves and should be remembered for doing so. I honestly thought replaying a twenty year old game would have been tough, but Silent Hill 2 is an example of a game that transcends generation after generation in gaming. To this day, now, I do recommend playing Silent Hill 2, especially if it’s your first time.

Unsung Gamers Score – 10

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Review

A True Symphony

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a reminder of an old school Castlevania, times have changed but a formula that still holds up. Koji Igarashi may not be a name people will recognize but for gamers it does. Since 1997 he’s worked on most if not all 2D side scrolling Castlevania games, starting with the legendary Symphony of the Night. So here we are, nearly 2 decades later and with the help of fans, backed by a Kickstarter campaign, we now have a continuation of that formula, in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Bloodstained takes place in the 19th century of England, during the Industrial Revolution. Taking the role in protagonist named Miriam, a shardbinder, a being capable of using demonically charged shards as a weapon. Without giving away too much, just know, you’ll have your reasons for your journey. Bloodstained plays like a classic Castlevania game, in which, as you explore your area, more and more of your map is revealed. Explore and you’ll be rewarded approach is always welcomed, on top of an addiction combat experience. As you destroy demons, you’ll have a chance to absorb their shard and use it as a weapon or buff to Miriam. Also you can upgrade each different shard, adding different upgrades per shard. On top of collection and upgrading, each enemy you kill add experience points to Miriam, in which each level she’ll get stronger. Sound design and musical score are great in Bloodstained, lead by Michiru Yamame, a musical gaming veteran, having also worked on Castlevania games as well. Its safe to say I had a lot of fun revisiting and old formula that works even better by today’s standard. If you’re curious about playing Bloodstained, I would definitely recommend checking it out, it’s worth your time.

Unsung Gamers Score – 9

Review by: ShadowAlchemistX

Assassin’s Creed Unity Review

A Return to Form

Now before I start I’m not knocking the new editions of the Assassin’s Creed series. There was a shift when Odyssey was released, Ubisoft essentially ditched the Assassins story all together, mostly. That’s what intrigues me to Unity, the only entry I have yet to play, until now. Assassin’s Creed Unity follows the story or Arno Dorian, trying to find out more about his family, while also solving the mystery behind his adoptive father’s death. If you happened to have played Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Unity follows directly from that entry. Right away Arno Dorian is a very likable protagonist, a young man whose more about living in the moment. That is until his journey in with the Assassins change everything. Unity, to this day, still holds up incredibly well, even by 2022 standards. Ubisoft Montreal really outdid themselves with the attention to detailed, in a very great looking Paris, France. I know at launch Unity was full of bugs and broken gameplay, which I can confirm, is, for the most part, fixed. The parkour is the best in the franchise, Aaron’s movement from running, climbing and jumping across Paris, is so fluid, in a single motion of movement. Combat I would say definitely shows it’s age. While not completely dull, it is slow. Having said that, the game is based around stealth and not straight on combat. It’s not going to be the best game you’ve never played but it’s a testament of what the series was, before it became what it is today. I do recommend checking it out if you have a chance, these days it’s on sale a lot of the time.

Unsung Gamers Score – 7

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Stray Review

A Cat’s Tail

Never would I ever imagine, that there would be a game where a cat is the main character. Not only that but have it completely played through a cat’s point of view, meows and all. Yet, here we are, in our review of Stray, an ambitious idea and a surprisingly interesting world. Without giving away too much of the story, Right from the get go, you’re given full control of an orange tabby cat, a stray cat if you would. Given no story behind what your doing in the beginning is quickly changed, when you’re separated from your family, and thus begins our Stray cat’s journey. The sound design of the world, works incredibly well, in this unfamiliar circumstance. From the ambient music playing in the background, to a random sound of a sewer pipe. The animations for our protagonist is on point, being a cat owner myself, I truly appreciate the level of detail that went into this game. From a simple jump, to a leap across gaps and finally to very addictive meow. Literally a button is dedicated to simply meow, which I took full advantage of. The game only fall short in it being over quite quickly but given the independent developers recourses, it’s given a pass. What is here is an incredible stay cat’s journey into the world that fully embraced with its many mysteries, with even some very fun easter eggs hidden within. I had plenty of fun with my playtime of Stray, and given it’s current available to play on PlayStation Plus Extra/Premium (as of 8/25/2022) I absolutely recommend checking it out. While not to say it’s a bad game but considering it can take anywhere from 4-6 hours of gameplay, it’s hard to justify the $40 price tag for it. If you can, I’d wait for a sale for the game, it is absolutely worth you’re time, especially for cat lovers.

Unsung Gamers Score – 8

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

Halo Infinite Downfall?

Back in November, we were finally given 3 long-running franchise games, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite. Of the 3 games, only 1 reigned supreme; for a time. Here we are 6 months later, and there is something seriously wrong with Halo Infinite. As a game, it works, but as a live service game, it is definitely lacking, coming from a developer like 343 Industries, who knows Halo, it makes you wonder what is going on over there. It is disappointing since Halo Infinite started out so well for a couple of months and it was a quick turnaround to mediocre. A general lack of a road map is crucial for any live service game, for season 1 it was basically non-existent and for Season 2 it is even more infuriating. These days in 2022, a season should never last 6 months, Warzone and Apex have the sweet spot, with 2 to 2.5 months per season. Having a season that is 6 months with only basic cosmetics is incredibly underwhelming and downright sad, with no new maps and no new weapons. Things and features that were promised for Season 1 have been pushed back into Season 2, with Cooperative Campaign being a highlight of this. Cooperative Campaign was promised to release in May 2022 and now it is late August 2022, a whole 10 months after Halo Infinite’s release date. Not even Forge mode is in Halo Infinite yet, a staple of Halo for years. It’s no wonder why Halo Infinite player count has been on a steep decline, for console and PC. It is becoming very clear that Halo Infinite may have needed another year, to plan out the way the Live Service should be and the Campaign itself. Rushing a Live Service game is never a good idea, even with the name Halo attached to it. The reality is that even with another year of development, mostly for the campaign shows that Halo Infinite was not well planned out and was hoping that the name itself would be enough but with this lack of content, lack of community engagement, why would anyone stay and play Halo Infinite. Maybe the best course of action should have been to give the multiplayer and the Live Service game to a different developer, a developer with a good history in multiplayer or Live Service Games. If 343 Industries continues to release Seasons that are 6 months long, it won’t be long until the game is inevitably forgotten. There are several free Live Service games that are performing exponentially well to fall back. Halo Infinite, Microsoft, and 343 Infinite need a restructure if it hopes to compete in this market.

Article by: ShadowAlchemistX

Shadow Warrior 2 Review

For a long time, I have wanted to play Shadow Warrior 2, and it did not disappoint, just know the kind of game you’ll be playing. What intrigued me the most from the game was the melee and gunfights in first person, haven’t seen a game that can do both and do it so well. The story of Shadow Warrior 2, sees you in the eyes of the protagonist Lo Wang, an expert assassin for hire. What makes Lo Wang a fun protagonist is that he says what’s on his mind at all times, with dozens of one-liners and even more insults to your enemies. This is reinforced with Shadow Warrior 2 gameplay, a first-person action shooter. It may feel a bit weird, how a game at 30fps can play so smoothly but it works just fine. Sound design is lacking here, from explosions to even your weapon sounds, they should sound powerful but they did. There are a few music tracks that hit at the right moments, otherwise, it is completely forgettable. Luckily the game is fun to play, it even has a 4 player coop option for those who are interested in playing as a team together. As long as you’re not expecting a Doom-like game and story I would this is worth checking out. Especially if you have Xbox Game Pass, for now, it is available through this service, otherwise, I would wait for a deep sale on this one. It isn’t worth putting in the full amount for it. 

Unsung Gamers Score – 6

Reviewed by: ShadowAlchemistX

The Deconstruction of Triple A Games.

The Deconstruction of Triple A Games.

It may be age or maybe it’s how Triple A games are developed, but we as consumers should no longer consider this normal or acceptable. What I mean, is the developer/publisher mentality of “Release now and Patch Layer.” It’s becoming more and more clear that a lot of big name games such as, Battlefield 2042, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and Anthem, just to name a few.

I’m not discrediting smaller developers or indie games, their budget and much smaller teams are a major reason for a buggy game. Having said that, they at least have the option to delay their game until it is ready for release. When a Triple A game has that same option and doesn’t delay the game, they can’t blame the consumers for being upset with the product. Bombarding said games with negative reviews, voicing their opinions in news articles, and just downright not playing it, is all a consumer can do to let the developer and, more importantly, the publisher know how they feel about the product.

Back during the days of old, when a game was released there was no way to patch a game; it had to be completely done with development. But it seems those days are almost gone, with only a few 3rd party developers and 1st party games still practicing delaying a game. I for one am totally ok with a delayed game, even by months or maybe even a year. That tells me that the team has a passion for the game being developed and they want that game to be everything we want it to be. Halo Infinite, God of War Ragnarök, Dying Light 2 are great examples of that, with Halo Infinite being praised for taking its time and releasing an incredible game.

From what I can tell, most if not all the blame should be going to the publisher for having an unreasonable deadline. Their business practices are finally making it to the light for us to see. Crunch time, no overtime pay, overworked employees, harassment, sexual harassment just to name a few. These are major reasons for a games’ release being what it is. It starts from the top and needs to be addressed.

As we step forward into 2022, we all need to let gaming publishers know when their product is not what was promised and should be held accountable for it. No longer should we say “oh it’s fine, it’ll be patched up in the next few months and then it’ll be a fun game”. We need to let game developers know we’re ok with the game being delayed if it means they are given proper time to actually make it and not make a deadline for the publisher they already don’t like working for. Again I’m not at all blaming said game developers, they’re under an immense amount of stress, especially here in the present. They are trying to make a game for the consumer/gamer, a game they’ll love.

Article by: ShadowAlchemistX

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