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Pax East 2018 PC Previews

Pax East 2018: Deathgarden Preview

Deathgarden is the newest game from Behaviour Interactive and is the spiritual successor to Death by Daylight. Following the same idea, Deathgarden has you assuming the role of one of five “runners” who’s goal is to try to activate 2 out of 3 totem poles to open the exits, while being actively hunted by a heavy armored “Hunter.” Once you activate a totem, your location is revealed to the Hunter who will come quickly and hard. Don’t worry though, the hunters are without ways to defend themselves.

The Hunted

Each Runner is armed with wrist arrows to stun and knock back the Hunter. Should you be downed by the Hunter, your team can rescue you and revive you, but you will most likely be sent to the blood post to think about what you have done. Once again, your team can rescue you from the “blood post,” but the Hunter can execute you removing you from the game. Once the “Hunter” has removed 3 people from the game, the round ends. Best 2 out of 3 rounds wins. The runners are playing in third person, while the Hunter is playing in first person. This whole experience creates a really fun “cat and mouse” type gameplay that I can see being fun for a long time.

Overall, although in early alpha, the game ran super smooth and without many hiccups. The Hunter did seem to be a little overpowered. Several times, I was downed and was instantly sent to the Blood Post only to have the hunter run straight over to me to execute me without my team having a chance to rescue me. When I explained this to the dev, they stated to me that the Blood Posts don’t become active until at least three people have been downed and even after a blood post is activated, there is a 15 second wait til a runner could be executed. Playing the game, it did not seem to be the case, but I also wasn’t counting the seconds or watching to see how many runners were downed before me. Which speaks well for the game and not me playing. I may have been a bad teammate, but the game was so intense that I was running for my life most of the time, enjoying myself while playing a game that normally would not have appealed to me. Deathgarden has opened my eyes to these types of games, giving me a reason to go back and try Death by Daylight.

Another Proven Gamer, Matt Murray, previewed the game from the Hunters Perspective. Here are his thoughts:

The Hunter

Hey everyone, Matt here. I previewed the Hunter role in Deathgarden opposite to Tricky’s experience with the runner. I’ve played quite a few asymmetrical multiplayer games but none have ever really nailed the formula. Jason was scary in Friday the 13th and the monsters in Evolve all were pretty cool but playing as the bad guy in these types of games often feels slightly limiting, underwhelming, and kind of clunky. I’ve always felt more like I was flailing and failing than some monster of total bad-assery. That is decidedly not the case in Deathgarden. I ended up playing two rounds, I won one and lost the other. The whole time I felt like I was walking imminent Death. I felt like the soldier from Doom that had been accidentally dropped into a bad teen slasher flick. They were a cabin full of kids expecting a machete wielding maniac. Unfortunately, for them, I was a shotgun duct taped to a cheetah.

Though I only pulled out the win in one of my two rounds I spent most of my time smiling like an idiot. Deathgarden, if nothing else, is incredibly fun to play. Bouncing between the three capture points I’d watch the runners scurry off like mice as I’d approach. Most times I would down at least one of them. I liked that I was able to see an outline when one or more of the runners was at a particular capture point. It made it easier to track who was where. I wasn’t entirely clear on how the Blood Posts worked. I know my win condition was to kill three of the runners, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to trigger the stands when I needed too. This was probably more due to how much info I had to take in prior to playing than poor instruction.

In my time with the game, even though I did feel extremely powerful, I never felt overpowered. The round I won was by the skin of my teeth and the round I lost wasn’t particularly close.  I really had a blast playing Deathgarden and can’t wait for it to make it to full release. I think they’ve hit the nerve of the genre that so many have missed.

 

The game is in early alpha with no release date. Platforms unknown at this time though we played on PC for this demo. Price point is also an unknown at this time.  One thing I was assured of, however, was Behaviour Interactive will  be staying far away from loot-boxes stating “We don’t want to go down the same path as EA”.

 

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Nintendo Switch Reviews

Death Squared Review

Straddling the line between terrible and O.K. is never somewhere anyone wants to be, but that’s exactly the space Death Squared occupies. It has some decent voice-over work and introduces some interesting concepts throughout, but never manages to capture that Co-op magic that’s been all-but absent from this generation of gaming. SMG Studios has created a few games that really have that “one more run” feel to them. Death Squared, unfortunately, does not. Nothing it presents pulls the game out of being frustrating for all the wrong reasons, or stops it from just being outright boring at times.

Death Squared’s campaign consists of 80 levels ranging from relatively simple to throw-your-controller-at-the-screen hard. The entire campaign can be played co-op with 2 players if you think you can stomach screaming at the person sitting next to you for that long. There’s also a party mode that allows 2 or 4 Players to run through 40 unique levels and a “vault” of 30 or so other extremely difficult puzzles with more to come as free DLC post-launch.

Playing with 4 people very quickly devolves from simple discussions about what to do and who does it, to yelling at whoever messes up. It doesn’t really hit that co-op itch that a game like Portal 2 nails. It’s not slick or modern. It’s not unique or forward thinking. It all just feels incredibly generic.

Most levels have you moving on a very tight set of tiles that require a kind of precision that isn’t at all present in the controls. Falling off the stage and walking into things you don’t want to walk into are all part of the package in Death Squared. Sure, there is some trial and error in any game like this, but here we move past trial and error.

There were many times where my fellow robots and I had figured out a solution to a puzzle and would time and time again fail because of how loose the controls were when accuracy was necessary. Playing alone is even more of a trial of patience. There is no indicator as to which control stick controls which robot. Often the corresponding robot will spawn on the opposite side of its given control stick. The number of times I died on a level just because of this was embarrassingly frustrating.

It’s just bad design. There is a difference between forcing the player into a trial and error scenario and killing them nonsensically, and Death Squared seemingly treads that line.

I can’t say I had much satisfaction out of beating any given level. My only reward was being brought to the next stage hoping maybe between this stage and the next was a bit of dialogue between a programmer and an AI explaining why I was even trying to figure these puzzles out at all. What little charm the game does have comes sparsely through these little bits. I found myself chuckling every once and awhile. It leans pretty heavily on some Human/AI tropes that we’ve all grown to know over the past decade or so, but it does an admirable job of at least trying to make up for the lack of identity permeating throughout the rest of the game.

At the end of the day, Death Squared really doesn’t present anything unique. Its touchy controls work against the precise nature of the game. Though the sparse amounts of dialog in the game gave me a few chuckles, it never breaks out of its box. It’s just a worse version of the same jokes we’ve heard before. It’s a shame because SMG studios has put out some really great mobile games but what they have here is altogether unremarkable. Death Squared is Lame Cubed.

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Playstation 4 Playstation 4 News Playstation 4 Previews Sony

Team Kojima Releases New Death Stranding Trailer at The Game Awards 2016

The industry icon Hideo Kojima took the stage at this year’s Video Game Awards to accept the award for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which some say was wrongfully stripped from him after his untimely departure from Konami.  After an emotional display of affection from both Kojima himself, as well as the show’s host Geoff Keighley, we were shown yet another teaser trailer for Kojima’s upcoming Science-Fiction game Death Stranding.  Although little is still known about the game (by little we mean NOTHING), fans of Kojima’s work met him with thunderous applause and “Kojima” chants in anticipation for his upcoming game and future with Sony.  Some call him icon.  Some call him Rock star.  But it goes without saying that Kojima’s work speaks for itself, and with it ushers in a loyal fan-base eagerly awaiting his next game.  Unfortunately, we may be waiting for quite some time.  In the meantime, click the video below to see the new trailer for Death Stranding.