Game Hype: Agony

Probably NSFW…

Demonic possession mayhem in Hell.

So, I have this little obsession with strange, quirky and usually horrific indie games that pop up on the internet. Horrific in genre and (often) in build quality. They usually embrace the first-person perspective, some form of janky crafting system (which is particularly broken or unclear) and questionable fighting mechanics.

Luckily, Agony doesn’t look like it suffers from any of these problems.

If I had to imagine a brand-spanking new first-person horror game that took influence from 2016’s DOOM, then Agony is it. This game looks equally gorgeous in a really disturbing way, very similar to that of DOOM. As far as graphics go, for a non-AAA game, Agony is shaping up to be a really impressive and unique visualisation of Hell.

Withered trees, fleshy sculptures made from tortured people (presumably sinners if they’re in Hell) and trippy skies that are so vivid in colour you’ll think you’re hallucinating. You’re not, this is art, baby. Gross, fleshy, naked art.

Yeah, so there seems to be a lot of nudity in this game. Some of it justified by the idea of being vulnerable and naked in Hell etcetera, etcetera… But, I will say there’s a fair bit plonked in here for the sake of being titillating. I’m all for developer creative freedom, but sometimes it just makes you feel uncomfortable. WAIT, maybe that’s the point?! Excessive nudity in order to manipulate your fears and confuse you. Now that would be clever.

OR maybe it’s an easy way to get people interested, who knows, I just know the premise of this game excites me. Ehem. Not like that.

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We haven’t been treated to too much detail on what the final game will encompass as a whole, but from the demo and recent trailers it’s clear that it has something to do with a ‘Red Goddess’. This Red Goddess is a holy-like figure, embodied in statues throughout the caverns and plains of Hell itself, and worshipped by the mindless, droning souls who populate it.

I’m guessing the story will entail something to do with finding this Red Goddess and either one, please her in whatever form that takes, or two, kill her. Because nothing says victory like ridding Hell of lust.

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If you’re into weird horror games then I think this is a game you should keep checking for updates. It’s said to be coming to Xbox One and PS4 as well as PC (they even posted about physical copy covers!).

So get hype, and rock on through the bloodied trenches of sinners’ paradise!

My Game of the Month – January: Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death

This is a funny one. So you know those Steam sales that come about occasionally? Well yeah, I saw this little gem in one of those glistening tiles of discount and I just had to pick it up. I checked the reviews and such before committing to the purchase, although for less than £2 I couldn’t really complain no matter how potentially awful it could be.

I’m not very knowledgeable about the world of Judge Dredd, I have only watched the 2012 film adaptation of the comics and thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t explored the world of Judge Dredd comics so I wasn’t prepared to see the weird and strange entities that are portrayed within the game. Bizarre things such as huge, blob-like people who very closely resemble the unhealthy inhabitants in Wall-E, vampires, zombies, ghosts and so much more. I didn’t realise there were so many fantasy elements to the Dredd’s world. This never comes across in the 2012 film – which focuses on the massive-scaled apartment blocks and the harshness of the living in the proposed gritty world. I assume that these unexpected events derive from its comic book roots instead. I must say, it does spark an interest in maybe reading some of these comics, after the film I wanted to explore more of the same world, especially outside of the very same 200 storey apartment block. The game opens up another opportunity to follow Dredd’s adventures in Mega City One, and it’s dark, gritty, bloody and most importantly full of justice ready to be served.

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The several missions I carried out saw me dispatching naked vampires in the futuristic street, fighting and arresting gangs of punks in rainy dockyards, clearing a super-market mall of zombies and finally frantically running through some crazy laboratory. It’s pretty diverse in terms of what happens, gameplay-wise it’s pretty samey. There’s a few different guns but you only really need to use the pistol – which offers different firing types. The enemies provide a change of pace, some shoot you, some slash you and others walk slowly towards with utmost determination for your brains. It’s a fun arcade experience.

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I haven’t had the chance to complete this game but I’ve had enough hands-on gameplay to experience the fun and dark world that the almost celebrity Judge Dredd lives in. I say that he’s like a celebrity, because everyone seems to know who you are. I assume that Judge Dredd is similar to how Duke Nukem is celebrated in his world – except this only applies from other Judges, because everyone else seems to be a criminal. Many admire you and even more despise you. To my amusement you can arrest every single NPC (except Judges, vampires and zombies obviously). This is fairly hilarious and makes you feel unbelievably omnipotent, comically so.  I couldn’t help myself wrapping handcuffs on every silly looking person I could find, it was just too funny. Just taking a stroll on the street? 5 years imprisonment! Talking to your friends? More like conspiring against the Judges! 15 years!

Sometimes being the coolest Judge in Mega City One gets to you…

Alexander Jones

My Game of the Month – October: SOMA

Technically this game came out in September. Technically this is my blog, so my rules. Technically I was still playing this game in October so there you have it!

I’m going to apologise in advance by saying that a few chunks of this blog post will be ripped from my review of the game that will feature in November’s issue of Quench (Cardiff University magazine). Still, all my original writing so don’t worry about that, I’m not a plagiarist!

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I love a good horror game, and you know what, SOMA has got to be at the top of the charts for horror this Halloween. Albeit a relatively slow start the game really escalates and intensifies the more you play, spiraling into some crazy fast-pased game of cat and mouse with horrific undead scientists and giant fish (not kidding). The atmosphere is perfectly created, it really makes you feel lonely in the eerie quietness of the ocean or the long, cold metallic corridors only accompanied by the odd flicker of a broken door switch or the lovely howl of an abomination. A pretty to-the-point summary that I wrote for the review feels right to put here:

“From the creators of the infamous Amnesia series and Penumbra games, Frictional Games have created yet again another quality first-person horror game. The same people who made you terrified of water monsters have placed you in the middle of the ocean, kind of funny that isn’t it? Instead of crawling through castle dungeons and stinky morgues, in SOMA you have an entirely different world to survive. This one consists of flickering light, Alien-esque corridors and the pitch black abyss of the ocean.  It feels surprisingly fresh; although many people are likely to compare SOMA to the Bioshock series, these are very different games. We can all agree that Bioshock was more action than horror, SOMA is all horror with a hint of puzzle solving.”

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 Yeah I quoted myself. I went there. Again, I won’t spoil the story on this post simply because that’s what makes this bitter adventure so sweet. Reaching the finale is a breathtakingly fresh dystopian vision of a future humanity. The whole game makes you step back for a moment to think about the value of life. In this underwater world where robots think they’re humans and man-eating piranha-like fish devour anything not protected by lights, is it worth it still fighting to survive?

For an epic adventure containing chilling atmospheric set-pieces, intense cat and mouse chases (where you cower for your life) and a brilliant thought-provoking story line give SOMA a go. You won’t be disappointed trust me.

If you want to read my full review for the game pick up a copy of Quench if you’re in and around Cardiff, otherwise head over to: http://cardiffstudentmedia.co.uk/quench/ where it’ll be posted for next months issue.

Alexander Jones

Star Wars Battlefront – The Rebirth of Gaming?

As we crawl closer to the annual Star Wars celebration in April, Battlefront fans such as myself are exploding with anticipation for the first gameplay trailer.

2004. Wait 2004? It’s been that long? 11 years since the first and best Star Wars Battlefront game. Now I’m only 19 and that fact makes me feel old. After the original Battlefront game we’ve seen a few different iterations on Sony’s handheld PSP ending in 2009 with Elite Squadron. I bought and played all of the these games for hours, I just couldn’t get enough of fighting as a common soldier rather than the center figure. This concept of being one of the many has always appealed to me. In any game when you are a part of the larger whole it feels epic. That could just be me, but I don’t care.

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When EA announced the resurrection of the Battlefront series in 2013, I was extremely excited (to say the least, pretty sure I jumped out of my chair). Out of all the games I love to play this series is at the top of them. Assassin’s Creed has become pretty stale in my opinion, I felt the same with Halo when the 4th installment was released but Guardians is coming across as more refined and fresh so pumped for that.

Games are becoming increasingly samey and boring to me so I’m moving through different games relatively quickly. The new Star Wars Battlefront I hope will change this.

Alexander Jones

http://www.pcgamer.com/star-wars-battlefront-to-be-revealed-in-april/