Monthly Archives: March 2017

2DARK

2Dark_KeyArt_LogoMore and more beautiful indiegames keep popping up. And if it’s one thing I love reviewing: it’s beautiful indiegames. Even more so when one of them was developed by the man behind Alone in the Dark, another beautiful game I wasted so many hours on.

In 2Dark you play as Smith, an ex-detective. Years ago, on a campingtrip, Smith’s wife was brutally murdered and his children kidnapped. To this day, Smith is still searching for his son and daughter. On his quest, he comes across nefarious child molesters and infamous serial killers.

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2Dark is being called an adventure, but it’s actually more of a stealth game. In each episode, you guide Smith on a dark location where you need to find abducted children and guide them safely to the exit. Which proves to be really effin’ difficult. Each level is populated by crazed gangsters and bloodthirsty killers. You can confront and kill them, but this proves to be very hard and extremely noisey. And noise is your greatest enemy. The more you make, the bigger the chance you’ll get noticed by a horde of thugs.

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Surprisingly, 2Dark does not have an art style that’s in keeping with its theme. You’d expect a hyper-realistic style, but instead they went for an old-timey 16bit look. With cute disproportionate figures. It seems strange at first, especially considering all the blood and gore, but it works.

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And while I’m at it, can I mention once more on record that 2Dark is bloody difficult? Solutions to puzzles are not obvious. Most of the time I wandered around aimlessly,and when I’d found how to go about a certain problem, I always managed to get spotted or make too much noise. Rare is the level that I succeeded in completing on the first try…

2Dark really is a gem of a game. Recommended not only for adventure fans, but also for fans of survival horror and stealth games. Download and play with the lights out!

Jan

Justice League: Dark

jldWhen the Justice League is confronted with a crime spree in which seemingly law abiding citizens suddenly turn into murderers, they are stumped. All cases have one thing in common: the people commiting them seem convinced they were battling demons… While the Justice League tries to maintain order, Batman enlists the help of Zatanna, Deadman, the Demon Etrigan and John Constantine. Together they form an impromptu Justice League with a penchant for the dark arts.

Reading the plot for Justice League: Dark, I was instantly hooked. Superheroes? The occult? Constantine and Batman?
Nerd-gasm!
But whenever I’m overly excited for something, disappointment always looms dangerously closeby. Not in this case however!

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Justice League: Dark scored big time in my book jst because of that dark. Allow me to elaborate. Dark doesn’t just mean the animators used a darker colour palette. It means occult stuff. It means space for more mature subject matter. More blood, more gore. R-rated dialogue. Yes, even some risqué jokes! (I’m pretty sure I heard a oneliner concerning someone’s nuts.)

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Fellow geeks will surely appreciate the new take on the Justice League, even when sometimes, the shadow of certain Hellboy looms close. ’cause let’s face it: Constantine is Dark Horse’s Hellboy, without the horns and tail, and pink instead of red. Or was it the other way round? I forget.

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Anyways, as we’ve come to expect from WB Animation, Justice League Dark features top notch animation and voiceacting. I’ve yet to see a WB production score poorly in these departments. I’ve enjoyed it massively, and I expect any comic book nutter or fellow enthousiast to do so too.

Jan

Legends of Tomorrow

lotcovWhen DC launches a new franchise, I listen. 
This time however, it seems I was wearing my noise-cancelling headphones, ‘cause I didn’t hear the call. Legends of Tomorrow went by unnoticed.

‘till now. The first season recently popped up on bluray. My headphones are in the bin, and disc one of the two disc set is snugly in the blurayplayer.

Legends of Tomorrow is about Time-Master Rip Hunter. Originally from the 22nd century, he is hunting for Vandal Savage, the immortal tyrant hellbent on taking over the world. Rip wants to stop Savage before he succeeds and in doing so travels from one era to another. Because immortal-hunting is difficult and time-travelling tends to get lonely, Rip recruits some “heroes” from the 21st century for help: White Canary, the Atom, Firestorm, Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Also part of the team are Hawkman and Hawkgirl, because of their special bond with Savage. As a team, they travel through time, always hunting for Vandal Savage, and taking care not to upset time itself.

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Confused? Yes, me too. At first. But about a third into the pilot, stuff started to make sense. And I began enjoying the show. There’s a wellwritten backstory, that’s anchored into almost all of DC’s other properties (mostly Arrow and Flash). There’s action, there’s suspense. Me likey.

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That’s not to say the show doesn’t have its flaws though. Acting is sometimes cringeworthy, sometimes the fights are “too choreographed” and dialogue seems forced. And can I address the big, giant uncomfortable elephant in the room? I can? Here goes: what’s the difference between an Time-Master and a Time Lord? People glancing over when I was watching this actually said: “Which doctor is this? The twelfth?” One cannot simply ignore some similarities between Legends and Dr. Who. There. I said it.

But again: I’m enjoying this stuff. I’m seeing characters I like, and they’re doing awesome things. What more does a geek need?

Jan

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch)

skttLast year, I was impressed beyond words by Shovel Knight. I called it a “platforming marvel, a refreshing fountain of nostalgic feelings for the 8bit era”. I called it “required gaming”. I longed for a sequel.

Silently, Shovel Knight kept getting updates. All of those updates are now bundled with the newest campaign in Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove.

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In this new campaign, Spectre of Torment, Spectre Knight takes centre stage. The campaign shares the same retro 8bit styling with the original. Enemy characters and even some levels were recycled. The entire system of treasurehunting was copied. But who effing cares? The pure joy and fun that were so in abundance in the original, are back with a vengeance.

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Sure, the game is hard. And checkpoints tend to be far apart, but that’s just part of the fun. Everytime we fail miserably, we start over cursing like a drunken sailor, but ready for more 8 bit fun.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: two thumbs up. Required gaming. Download that DLC ASAP, and if you happened to have missed the original Shovel Knight: go and download the bundle.  You’ll enjoy it. I promise.

Jan