by Matthew Thompson
It has been a little while since I’ve done a gaming post, so I thought I’d do a quick gaming update about what I have been playing this past month. Here it goes!
Resident Evil 7
My history with the Resident Evil series has been a bit sporadic. I have only played 1, 4 and 5 before this latest entry, but given the fresh start RE7 looked to be, I decided to jump back in. As much as this represents a new style of Resident Evil with its first-person perspective and more grounded, less cheesy storytelling, it feels like a return to its roots as well. Resident Evil 7 is much less action-oriented than the last few games in the mainline series. It has a great blend of item-management and combat, exploration and puzzle-solving. It’s a combination that will remind fans of the earlier entries. Impeccable level design and some fun boss fights bring the whole affair up another level. I was loving it until about two-thirds of the way through when you leave the Baker compound and head to a new set of locations. It wasn’t soon after this switch that I was pretty ready for the game to be over. It could have used some more enemy variety too. Still my overall impressions of Resident Evil 7 are positive and I’d like to see them build on this formula in RE8.
The 3D platformer remains my favorite type of game. It is a dying breed, so I find myself getting excited for just about any entry that the genre gets. Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie made by some of the original developers. For the right audience, there was plenty of reason to look forward to Yooka-Laylee. But the truth is, I was never a big Banjo fan and playing Yooka-Laylee just reminded me why. Admittedly, I was quite taken during the early goings. I liked the art-style and the silly sense of humor. The first world is by far the best of the four I played and it features some solid platforming and a neat boss fight. But the more I played, the more the things I didn’t care for began to show themselves. The lack of tightness to the world designs and some of the non-platforming objectives required for getting Pagies (the game’s main progression collectible) began to grate on me. Eventually, I threw in the towel and sent it back to GameFly. The devs certainly put a lot of love into the game though which I can appreciate.
My first impression of Abzu was that it felt like an underwater Journey. The similarities are undeniable from the general combination of light puzzle-solving and exploration to the minimalist storytelling and wall paintings to the little ping you use to interact with things. The fast swimming segments even felt reminiscent of the sand sliding level in Journey. It was then unsurprising to see that the Director of Abzu was formerly the Art Director on Journey (and I think in the back of my mind I knew there was some connection between the development teams). While I don’t think as highly of Journey as most, I am glad I played it. Like that game, Abzu is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I think Journey was overall a better experience and had the clever multiplayer implementation to hang its hat on as well, but as a free PlayStation Plus download, Abzu is certainly worth a shot especially if you were a bigger fan of Journey than I was.
A few more things:
- I’ve been replaying Uncharted 4 and I am just so impressed with the level layouts during encounters. There are so many layers and paths and routes. With the climbing and swinging abilities, the design of these encounter areas are just incredible.
- I played a bit of the beta for Everybody’s Golf on PS4. They’ve added some new customization options and the like, but the gameplay is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the series (formerly called Hot Shots in the US). It reminded me how much I used to love golf games. I don’t make much time for sports titles in general these days, but I had a lot of fun during my limited time with this game.
- I played like a half-hour of Prey before putting the title on hold for a bit. The story setup seemed really cool, but it became clear that I was in for more inventory management and crafting. After playing Zelda, Horizon and RE7 back to back to back before that, I needed a break from staring at inventory screens.
- I just started Rime and it is lovely. Hopefully I will have a full post or review dedicated to that in the future.
That will do it for this gaming update. I plan to do a Pre-E3 post or two with wishes and predictions before the big event rolls around, so be on the lookout for that soon. Thanks for reading!