Review: Demon’s Crystals

Demon’s Crystals is a small independent twin stick shooter brought to you Byte4Games. Demon’s Crystals just so happens to the first game developed by Byte4Games, and its quite a way to start their studio off. You take control of one of the Uricans, (these crazy powerful demons who are at the top of the food chain on this world), who must stop these 3 mysterious powerful beings who have changed the entire population of the planet into minions to do their bidding; traveling to different areas of the world clearing out the evil minions restoring order to your world. Each area provides some power-ups, (that do have a time limit), and the occasional new minions for you to tear apart.

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One of the best things about Demon’s Crystals is how mechanically sound it is; given that it is a twin stick shooter, there isn’t much they could fuck up. Everything handles pretty smoothly and just the way you want. One of the things I wish the game would allow you to do is choose which power up you use when you pick up multiple. The game just allows you to pick them up and it holds it for you on the side, and like mentioned earlier there is a time limit on each of the power-ups, so it just sits there wasting away. Really, other than that, the power-ups are well thought out and there are plenty of them. One pick up that isn’t in abundance is health. You do have to keep an eye on your health because it can slowly drain on you without notice. The taking damage aspect of the game is a little poorly done, which can cause you to die and lose the level, (very upsetting when it does happen).  

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Sadly, I do have some more issues with the game; the size of each area you travel too is relatively small and you can get cornered pretty easily. Now, I wouldn’t mind this if it was to up the difficulty of the game, but it doesn’t seem like it here. A good way they could of gone about it was having every area interconnected and just allowing you to travel through the world. Another issue I have with the game is how it looks, and listen, I’m no graphics whore, but man it just doesn’t look good. The colors seem to blur and the character designs could be a little more appealing to the eyes, but the level designs are quite pretty even if they are tiny. I did have another smaller issue with the game lacking a deeper story, not just a quick opening crawl.

CLOSER:

Honestly for the price you’re paying for the game its loads of fun with a great a multiplayer, but it does have a lot of issues that are quite noticeable. Still, with a price point at $4.99 you really can’t beat the hours of fun you’ll have especially if you have a couple of friends to play with. You can pick up Demon’s Crystals on the PlayStation Store, The Microsoft Store, and Steam for $4.99.

Released on May 12, 2017

Developed by Byte4Games and StarCruister Studio

Published by Badland Games

Reviewed on PS4

(2.5/5)

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Review: Prey

Bethesda and Arkane Studios bring Prey back to the gaming community in such an interesting and innovative way that appeals to a broader spectrum of gamers. A fresh take on a series that began way back in 2006 with a cancelled sequel from Human Head Studios, how might have Bethesda come to acquire the Prey IP? Originally, Radar Group had contracted Human Head Studios to create something for them, the first Prey. Well, after that first Prey and its success, Radar Group contracted Human Head Studios for the sequel.  They were supposedly working on it for roughly three years and after some time of inactivity on the project, Radar Group bought the Prey IP. Less than a month later, they sold it to ZeniMax Media, (a parent company of Bethesda).

ZeniMax allowed Human Head Studios to continue working on the project, but, (now these are rumors), Human Head and Bethesda had a falling out after Bethesda tried to buy them out, (all denied by Pete Hines), and Human Head wasn’t happy about that. Eventually, they go on strike, Prey 2 slowly loses its drive and the IP reverted back to Bethesda, (ZeniMax), in 2012. In 2014, Pete Hines came out and said that the Prey sequel isn’t living up to their standards, which then fueled several rumors at the time  saying that Arkane studios was working on a sequel to the Prey franchise. Now that we have a little bit of interesting background knowledge on the game, let’s get into it. Get ready for spoilers.

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Prey starts you off on what you believe to be Earth, (which you quickly find out that this is a lie), and has your version of Morgan Yu just reliving his/her past memories. It can be a little confusing at first and you don’t get the nitty gritty details unless you go looking for them, which includes checking every computer system for emails, files, or videos. Honestly, I love a healthy world with overflowing backstory, but there are some major plot points that you won’t get unless you read all this information. Yeah, that’s cool and all, but there are better ways to get your story across without going through tedious workarounds. Other than that, the story for Prey is a great sci-fi horror story with some interesting elements.  

The gameplay mechanics were very slow and really hindered my ability to play against certain enemies because they were just far too fast, (the game was reviewed on PS4 and it is unknown to us whether or not this problem is the same for PC.) The Mimics move pretty quickly and it really doesn’t work well on a controller having to pan from left to write when its running back and forth, (especially in the very beginning where all you have is a wrench). Another thing that wasn’t received very well was how the game portrays certain weapons to be easy to maneuver when a lot of the tools don’t work as cleanly as portrayed, (or maybe I’m just really shitty at  it). I did enjoy the space walking, and the way you manipulate your powers, (or your ability to manipulate powers).  

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The is one thing you can’t take away from Prey is the beauty of the game; one of the best looking Sci-fi games out right now, without a doubt. With it being such a gorgeous game, you would hope that the world would be filled with things for you to do although sadly, it really isn’t. From the scenery all the way down to the Mimics, Prey is a beautiful game but it fails in aspects that matter more than what we believe the developers were focusing on. It’s a shame really, considering the real lack of extraordinary science fiction/horror games that have released lately.

CLOSER:

Arkane studios brought the Prey franchise to this generation of consoles, and with a great marketing push they really brought it into the view of the modern gamer. There were some issues with the game that we believe would have been solved playing on a PC, and it really did hinder the experience. With that said, Prey gets a 3.0. You can pick Prey up at your local retailer, The PlayStation Store, The Microsoft Store or Steam for $59.99.

Released on May 5, 2017

Developed by Arkane Studios

Published by Bethesda Softworks

Reviewed on PS4

(3.0/5)

3 Ratnig

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I want to start this off saying that Guardians of the Galaxy, (the first one), is my favorite MCU, (Marvel Cinematic Universe), movie and one of my favorite comic book movies, (Kingsmen holds number one if you’re curious). I would also like to add that if you haven’t already seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I’m going to spoil a lot of things for you, so be warned.

With that out of the way, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 starts the film out the right way with one of the best opening credit scenes: a toddler Groot dancing to Mr. Blue Sky by Electro Dance Orchestra. The music really sets the tone for the film, but since it is a sequel we can’t help comparing it to its predecessor and in comparison to the first Guardians, the music is definitely used better in the first. Now that isn’t a knock on how Vol. 2 used its soundtrack, the music is wonderfully woven into the movie making those great moments even better. Tyler Bates, the composer, and James Gunn, the director, have created this wonderful blend of film and music that really makes the music a staple in this franchise.

With this being the sequel, one of the things they didn’t have to worry about was getting the team together, that gives them some room to flesh out the Guardians more. Gunn does a wonderful job at giving these lovable characters a couple more layers. One that was really quite surprising was Yondu (Michael Rooker), when we learn why he never took Peter (Chris Pratt) to Ego (Kurt Russell), who is, you know, just trying to use his children as batteries to make the universe nothing but him. We also learn that Yondu lost his Ravager title long ago and has been flying a false flag. Sylvester Stallone plays Stakar Ogord, (one of the original comic book Guardians and leader of the Ravagers in the MCU), and plays a big role in Yondu’s closure as a character (Spoiler: he’s dead and gets a proper Ravagers funeral). Rocket, (Bradley Cooper), is just one of those tough guy characters with a soft heart who actually cares for his friends but shows it by being an asshole; and yeah, it was nice to get a little more of the lovable asshole raccoon but his story was just easy to see where it was headed. Another storyline that felt a little flat, but I was glad I got a little more of ,was Gamora, (Zoe Saldana), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) Their story, like Rocket’s, was easy to pinpoint where it was headed. It isn’t a knock on how they performed, they did a wonderful job, it was just not wonderfully written.

One of the problems with the first film was Ronan the Accuser. In Vol. 2, it somewhat leads you to believe that Ayesha,(Elizabeth Debicki), and The Sovereign were the villains even though they honestly really aren’t. The Guardians are, specifically Rocket, the ones who stole the Anulax batteries from them. The Sovereign are actually just trying to get back their stolen goods, which is a pretty honorable thing if you ask me. Then there’s Ego, the celestial planet who uses his children from all over the universe for his own plans. Kurt Russell does such a wonderful job winning you over, playing catch with his son making you think he actually cares for a relationship with his half celestial son. In some weird way he did want a relationship with Peter, he just went at it in a terrible way. Learning from the first Guardians, Gunn gave us more time with the villain, giving us more time to learn his motives and appreciate his character.

CLOSER:

While I do have some issues with the film, all in all it’s really fun ride and with some great character stories; and some not so great ones. That’s why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets a 4.0. Go out to the movies, watch Guardians Vol. 2 or watch a shitty movie, just go out and watch a movie and enjoy the media. Make sure you give them your money so they can keep on doing what they’re doing.

(4.0/5)

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Preview: Hover: Revolt of Gamers

Before beginning this preview, Dwellers Included would like to break the editorial norm and speak in the first person for a moment: we haven’t had this much fun just screwing around in a game since Jet Set Radio came out on the Dreamcast. No, you aren’t a gang of rollerskaters trying to vandalize the entirety of Tokyo-to with your personal tag while evading the police. In Hover: Revolt of Gamers, you’re part of a group of kids who are trying to essentially do the same thing with the addition of a few customization aspects. You play as an unnamed character, (you design their color scheme and give them a name), who is part of a group of youths who have the ability to hover around DStown with these super nifty suits, grinding and performing tricks everywhere.

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You’re friends give you a series of different missions that will test your ability in performing tricks and being able to do things like wall grinding and deliveries. You are rated on how quickly you do these trials and I’ve gotta say, some of these are much harder than you could imagine. Sure, the game focuses on the whole hover aspect, but sometimes the fluidity of it all forces you to over-jump a landing or completely miss your mark. It could be a little frustrating, but then you find yourself pressing the R button to rewind, allowing you to literally retrace your steps up to a certain point to try that jump again. You can’t really be upset when you’re given the tools to retry almost immediately; it’s whether you remember that the button is at your disposal or not.

The aforementioned missions are given to you by other teammates on your squad, (ahem, Team N-Asty). These missions grant you different abilities that allow you to level up different parts of your suit for better handling. Pretty much anything you do will level you up in that aspect and make you a better… hover-er? Alongside some of these difficulty missions is a whole playlist of music that mixes funk with hip-hop to create some of the most fun music I’ve heard in a game in quite some time, (next to Persona 5).

It isn’t an exact replica, no, but there are plenty of aspects about Hover: Revolt of Gamers that feels nostalgic and gives players the freedom to just play a game and have fun. Midgar Studios have done an incredible job bringing back the leisure of playing a game without the frustration of trying to play through an engrossing story and enhanced game mechanics. In this game, you’re free to hover around and do tricks while leveling up your character and playing with your friends. The game is single-player; however, there are certain missions in which it seems as though others could join you, hopefully meaning that this will eventually be a multiplayer game.

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Considering that this is the alpha of the final game, there are a few flaws regarding misspelled words and the vibrancy of the world itself. Since you do have the ability to tag over the propaganda put out by the anti-leisure tyranny, sometimes the colors of the tag jump off of the walls and are displayed as colorful orbs that don’t go away. Sometimes, the colors do get a little distracting and blow up to take over the screen, but that hasn’t happened enough times to find annoying.

The game officially hits Steam on May 31; meaning, the game will no longer be an alpha after that date. It is currently available to purchase for $19.99 and let me tell you, if you’re a fan of mindless fun and dope beats, you will not be disappointed.

Check out the trailer for the game below:

A preview copy was provided for the purpose of this preview.