The Lost Bear follows the story of Walnut as she searches for her lost teddy bear and attempts to be reunited with her brother. Odd Bug Studio and Fabrik Games have taken a different approach to VR. They combined a 2-dimensional side-scroller with a 3D VR environment. Essentially, the game is a beefed-up version of theater mode that adds in some motion controls for added interactivity. This description may sound like I am being negative, but it is the reason the game will stick with me.
The Lost Bear is meant to be played sitting. The game starts with the player seated in a chair in front of a large stage. You can look freely around the environment but all the gameplay will happen on the stage in front of you. Think VR Puppeteer. The environment changes to match the action that is happening on the stage. It really helps immerse the player in the world. Dark and creepy images on stage are heightened by the scenery around you. The jovial scenes are enhanced in the same manor.
The game plays like a standard side scroller. Most of the game is spent running, jumping, and solving puzzles. The platforming caused me to die numerous times. I am unsure whether it was because of difficulty or my complete lack of platforming skill. There are some genuinely intense moments throughout the game.
The Lost Bear is a rather short game that can be beaten in a single setting. However, with a price tag of $12.99, it is hard to pass up. The developers created a game that has no reason being in VR and somehow made me realize it’s exactly what I wanted. There is no other experience quiet like it in virtual reality as of yet.
7 out of 10
The original Outlast is one of the greatest horror games ever created and arguably one of the best titles on PS4. So naturally, I picked up Outlast 2 as soon as it was released. I am only a few hours in and my initial impressions are IT’S FUCKING TERRIFYING.
Outlast 2 builds on the its predecessor while remaining true to itself. Small tweaks and added features are appreciated but the majority of gameplay remains the same. There is an obvious graphical improvement. The game is beautiful and atmospheric. The contrast of high and low lighting adds to the suspense of every scene. Running through corn fields while men with flashlights chase you has to be one of the most enjoyable scenes in modern gaming.
The sound design, much like the original, is top notch. If you do not own a pair of nice gaming headphones it would be a perfect time to invest. There are few games that take full advantage of sound design the way that Outlast does. The lead character breathes and makes sounds of panic when being chased. I found myself pacing with his breathing on numerous occasions.
As much as I am enjoying Outlast 2 I cannot help but feel that something is missing. Although terrifying, it is much less so than the first. It is possible that Outlast 2 is just as scary but I am just desensitized to it on a second go-around. I have found yet to find myself looking over my shoulder in my dark room; something I did often in Outlast 1. However, I am still fairly early into the game and expect the horror to ramp up as the story continues.
The story seems to be on pace to outdo the original. The characters are more fleshed out and truly give an added reason to stay alive. Outlast 2 is no less than amazing and is accessible to fans of the series and newcomers alike. I anticipate myself loving the game once I reach its conclusion unless, it takes a complete nosedive. Outlast 2 is worth a shot for anyone, but a must-buy title for fans of the survival horror genre.
Run away and Don’t look back,
Deadlight (2012) By Tequila Works gets its PS4 release with Deadlight: Director’s Cut. I had heard the title before but had never even seen a gameplay video or screenshot. But, being a lifelong zombie fan, I figured it was worth a shot.
Deadlight follows the story of…. Well, some guy. The story in Deadlight is generic zombie fare. Fans of George A. Romero have seen this all done before and done much better. Deadlight’s story is anything but original. It draws heavily from the genre and reinterprets scenes directly from other mediums. However, The Walking Dead is also full of zombie tropes and remains one of my favorite series. So, it’s hard to fault Deadlight for doing much of the same.
Where the game shines most is in gameplay. Although I am not normally a fan of side-scrollers, Deadlight resonated with me. It is a platformer, a puzzle game, a horror game, and even throws in some mild shooting elements. The game jumps back and forth between gameplay styles with ease, resulting in an overall enjoyable experience. Throw Limbo and The Last of Us in a blender and you get Deadlight.
The graphics in the game are above average for this style of game. Lighting effects, such as fire, are used to enhance the feeling of dismay. Zombies sluggishly roam in the background to give a sense of scale to an otherwise small game.
The game is short and concise. Most of the story is told through motion comic cut scenes, similar to Infamous. Much like a satisfying meal, Deadlight leaves you full without craving more. The short length of the game only strengthens it. Much longer and I would have grown tired. Deadlight is worth the asking price of $15 as a short palate cleanser in between the current barrage of long open-world experiences.
As nerds, we obsess about being “part of the conversation”; Our identity often defined by the things we like. Our credibility questioned in the world’s most pointless dick-measuring contest if we have not beaten the latest game. I would like to pretend it’s the fault of the gaming industry and the marketing machine but I know the ailment is self-induced. YouTube comments consistently one-up each other in a battle for the self-proclaimed title of “Ultimate Nerd”. A title most of society would gladly run from, but not us. We wear our gamerscores with pride. Who cares if we let the game sink in? Who cares if we gave the story enough attention to let it resonate? We played the game. We conquered it. Now we can talk about it on social media. We are able say “oh you are barely playing that?” with patronization on our breath.
Videogames fall victim to a problem that rarely affects great books and wonderful films. They are forgotten. We move forward in a zombie-like herd consuming what lies in front of us continuously looking for our next meal. In our wake, lies nothing: Nothing that was truly appreciated nor reflected upon.
I myself have added to the problem. I have raced to finish a game, watch an anime series, and read a book with the ultimate goal of moving on to the next. However, one cannot fully appreciate a work of art with one eye focused on another. I decided to take a small stand with Horizon Zero Dawn. I told myself I will not rush to complete the game for the sake of completion. I will play the side quests I want and ignore the ones that bore me. I will beat the game at my own pace or ultimately decide to abandon it all together, but I will take my time.
I replayed Psychonauts recently. The Double Fine game is as brilliant today as it was when it was released nearly 12 years ago. There is no conversation to be had. No hashtag is trending; allowing me to read the superfluous opinions of strangers. However, Psychonauts is still a great game. Most games become more enjoyable after the hype train has sluggishly rolled to its final resting place. The hyperbolic platitudes have faded into memory leaving nothing but a game. A game the player is allowed to experience for themselves and form an opinion uniquely their own. There is no angry commenter typing with caps-locked ferocity to call you a “fag” or any other vitriolic slur for that matter. There is no one to tell you that your opinion is wrong nor is there anyone to cosign your thoughts. You are left with an opinion that is pure and 100 percent correct. You are left with YOUR opinion.
As time goes forward I ask you to try and enjoy the piece of art you are consuming. Enjoy the pulse-pounding combat of an action game and hang on every word of your favorite author. Worry not if you are correct in your tastes. A good game will still be a good game a year from now. Come to terms with the fact you cannot experience everything and you are guaranteed to miss out on something that is perfect for you. Get around to games when it is convenient for you.