The Forest Leaves Early Access

The last time I wrote about The Forest was two years ago. I’ve owned the game since it first showed up in Early Access on Steam, just about four years ago. I haven’t touched it in so long because I typically don’t get too involved with Early Access titles until they’ve finished. In the case of this game, I believe it was one of the first Early Access titles I ever purchased, so I did play it quite a bit in the beginning. I would check in periodically and usually wrote about the patch notes and would highlight new features. I grew tired of this after a while and let the game rest until the day came that it was finished — and that day has arrived. Endnight Games has finally pulled the trigger calling the game done, so I knew I had to see what had changed since the last time I played it. Immediately noticeable is the change to the game’s main title screen, with a creepy looking cave and hanging body done up in the game’s engine. Other details were readily apparent as well.

The opening cutscene has evolved drastically since the first time I played The Forest. Initially it was a pretty dull looking plane and your boy was very minimalistic, little details like the TV screens and the trays with doodles and food were added later. Your little boy’s animations have improved as well, and the sounds and animation of the crash look far better. The cutscene is still the same, though instead of just watching a cannibal walk off with little Timmy you actually crawl in that direction before passing out again. Otherwise things are mostly how I remember, graphically the game looks the same since they made the switch to Unity 5, the sounds and animations look familiar still. One big change is the survival guide, which is vastly improved:

Not only has it been streamlined, but there is also a to-do list that encompasses actual goals in the game, something that wasn’t present in my time playing before. It’s said that there is a story that you can see through to its end now, and that makes me want to do a proper run through the game, so I decided to get started last night.

Outside of some general tweaks things look the same. You still get an axe early on and you still cut down trees, gather sticks and rocks and have to build shelter to be able to save your game.

I played through the first day  and had a pretty decent camp set up, with a little shelter, some storage for my building materials, a fire and torches to light up my perimeter, and a rabbit trap for daily meals. One of the tasks in my journal is to find the missing passengers from the plane. It’s something I didn’t really think about before, but outside of a stewardess you don’t see any bodies in or around the plane when you wake up after the crash. You find a passenger manifest and can set about finding them when you like. I chose to focus on my camp first, as I know that once you start running into the cannibals they start to pop up more frequently. I remember finding various little camps around the map in my prior play time, so I assume clues will lead you in the direction of the passengers, and your son. I’ve honestly never made it more than a week alive in the game and none of the story was added the last time I played so this should be a mostly new experience.

I’ll get back to you all once I’ve made some progress.

Becoming Prey

PSN had a flash sale this past weekend and a title I’ve had my eye on for quite some time was heavily discounted. Prey, which is a remake of an older title by the same name came out last year or maybe the year before, and it looked right up my alley. A Sci-Fi FPS with horror elements? Count me in!

The storyline follows your character who is a science experiment of sorts. Initially you think that you’re living some sort of normal life, but as the story unfolds it is revealed that you have been living inside of a lab and most of your memories of your prior life are gone. Some weird alien beings that can mimic every day items (and some that are more monstrous) start appearing and initially you’ll have a wrench to defend yourself… sounds very similar to Half-Life now that I’ve written it down.

The graphics are top notch and the game runs smoothly. The combat is a little wonky when it comes to using the wrench, but eventually you’ll get a proper gun and then things feel a little better. You’ll still want to use your wrench for the smaller enemies because they jump around so frantically that you’ll just waste ammo trying to shoot them. In survival horror fashion, you’ll need to conserve your resources because they don’t exactly grow on trees. Nor are there trees in space. Like most games these days, there is a crafting system, and you’ll need to scour each nook and cranny of the station you are on, mainly because you’ll find crafting stations and use these materials to make things like medkits and bullets.

Overall I’m enjoying the game thus far, and wanted to share that I had started it. I’ve shared some screenshots of my time with the game so far, and will report back once I’ve completed it.

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Killing Floor 2: Nearly a Year Later

So the other day I randomly noticed that Killing Floor 2 got a new update. It’s actually had several updates, but I hadn’t played the game since last summer so I hadn’t paid much attention. I mentioned this to my old roommate and we both decided to download the update and get our Zed killing on!

Things have changed. Bits and pieces of the UI have been improved. I feel that there are noticeable differences here, and though it’s subtle it’s a nice touch. Besides some visual upgrades, the newer build has included a number of updates to the game, most recently is “Endless Mode,” where you guessed it, you’ll fight endless waves of Zeds until your party dies. This is more reminiscent of Call of Duty’s Zombies mode, which I have had a lot of fun with over the years so I was game. When we played this mode we decided to use our level 25 perks, and I selected hard difficulty which I thought would be easy. It was not. We managed to make it to wave 13:

Still, wave 13 is three waves beyond what a normal match contains so that’s pretty good for a first run. We also has a couple of low level classes playing with us (this does seem like an optimal way to level up other perks) so that may have affected our efficiency. Also my friend is dead weight, sitting at the bottom of the leaderboard (LOL!). Featured in the above screenshots is one of the new maps that was added between now and the last time we played. It was called DieZone, and was narrated by the Patriarch himself. There’s some good comedic relief in there, and the music is still metal as fuck and awesome. There were three other maps also added to the game in that time, we haven’t yet played any of those but they look great.

Another new feature added to the game is this “Dosh Vault” which actually rewards you for accumulating Dosh (the in game currency). This is presumably for people who already have max level characters or perhaps those like me who still have a few to level, but still having another progress bar to watch is a nice bonus. The RMT stuff in this game is pretty awful, so getting some more boons periodically is nice. It’s always cosmetic stuff you’re unlocking anyway, so not really necessary.

I’m not sure why I got it, but there was a new character available when I booted up, along with some new skins for him. Like the other characters, it really just amounts to a skin for when you are playing and other people get more of the benefit of it than you do — but it was free so why not be a robot for a while?

That seems to be all that has been added but it’s instant value for the game. Having something else to do and keeping things fresh is the only way games like this survive, and I’m glad this developer is committed to adding new content (and mostly for free no less). I know with the original title they were adding stuff in for a long time, so I hope they keep this pace going!

Thoughts on Until Dawn

My girlfriend is an interesting character. She has shown no interest in playing video games, nor does she particularly enjoy horror movies, but for some reason she enjoys watching me play horror games. This started when I was playing through Resident Evil 7, and since then when I end up with a new Horror title to play with, she wants to watch. It works for me, and it gives us something else to bond over, even if the game isn’t particularly good.

Last month, Until Dawn was part of the Playstation Plus monthly free lineup, and I downloaded it without knowing when I’d get around to playing it. I had heard decent things about it back when it released in 2015, but it was never a game I felt I had to have. Having actually played quite a bit of it now I can say that it’s an interesting title, but I’m glad that I didn’t pay money for it.

That isn’t to say it’s terrible. It’s chock full of cliched horror tropes, the voice acting and character models are fine, and it has some jump scares and gore to boot (plus lots of talk of sex, though that typically means someone is about to die). Despite being full of these cliches, it manages to mix themes from several horror movies that we’ve seen over the years, and there are some interesting sub-layers that I would assume make for a more complete experience.

You remember that movie “The Butterfly Effect?” That is one of the main sub-themes of this title. The Butterfly Effect is a principal that goes like this: A flap of a butterfly’s wings can lead to a string of events that cause a hurricane elsewhere. This game splashes this concept throughout, and you choices in individual scenarios change the narrative of the game. Like TellTale games and other titles where “choices matter,” it’s apparent that there are likely multiple endings and ways that things can go with this game.

I powered through the first 6-ish chapters and have found the story line to be intriguing, if not a bit vague and confusing. Scenes between “episodes” have a mysterious figure being seen by a therapist. I won’t spoil anything here but the mystery man plays a major role in the story. I’ve made choices and people have died. I’ve made choices and people lived. Various innocuous actions have various consequences. It’s definitely more of an interactive narrative than a Resident Evil or Silent Hill game, combat is next to non-existent and there is more time spent chatting and watching cut scenes than actually playing. Of course there are plenty of QTE’s as well, which fans of horror/adventure games will be used to. Honestly, if you play TellTale or similarly styled games you’ll probably enjoy this one. As long as you can get past the terrible teenaged drama these kids bring upon themselves.

As I haven’t finished the game yet I can’t say if the ending will make me want to play through again for a different one, but I will see it through to its end. If you got it for free like I did, you should at least give it a whirl. Otherwise I’d recommend waiting for a sale, as it’s not really worth a full $60. Still a mildly entertaining diversion.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 17: The Horror Show

CP4

It’s October, which traditionally is the month of Halloween and more importantly: Horror. As such we put together a Horror-themed show where we talk about some our favorite horror games over the years. We had a special guest, Mr. Luvva Luvva from the blog of the same name, who added quite a few games to the discussion we hadn’t played or even heard of. Big thanks to him for the contribution! Later we talk about the graphic advertisement that ASUS put out, and make fun of the way it shoved itself into the hardcore vs. casual debate. Lastly we take a look at Scorpique’s blog, and talk about finding the fun in games. Enjoy the show!

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 17: The Horror Show (runtime: 1:24:19)

TGEN Announcement/Bragtoberfest recap (starts at 2:15)
Discussion: Horror Games (starts at 15:18)
Idiots on the Internet: ASUS Hardcore/Casual Graphic (starts at 1:00:43)
Community Talk: Levelcapped (starts at 1:14:13)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Guest information:

Mr. Luvva Luvva
Blog: Mr. Luvva Luvva
Twitter: @Mr_Luvva_Luvva

Idiots on the Internet graphic:

BzQjZ-9CEAAWRPS

Community Spotlight:
Levelcapped
the article

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Halloween” by AFI (from the album “All Hallows EP”)
“Built for Sin” by The Black Dahlia Murder (from the album “Miasma”)
“Fall Children” by AFI (from the album “All Hallows EP”)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming