Gaming reviews: Deus Ex: The Fall; Kokuga; The Walking Dead: 400 Days
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Friday 19 July 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall
The Fall is the first instalment of Eidos-Montreal's new mobile series, based on the long-standing Deus Ex series. Taking inspiration from James Swallow's prequel novel, The Icarus Effect, The Fall stars mercenary Ben Saxon and sharply-fringed federal-agent-turned-fugitive Anna Kelso, both harbouring desire for revenge against their former employer, the Tyrants.
Initially, The Fall feels excellent, with rain-drenched neon lights illuminating the Moscow skyline as your character is unceremoniously dumped from a helicopter to commence the introductory mission. Later, the black and gold palette of Panama City invokes previous Deus Ex incarnations, but only fleetingly – the effect eventually tarnished by shaky controls and sporadically dumb AI.
The voice acting also proves irksome – Saxon sounding more confused PE teacher than credible threat to global terrorism. Fans of the franchise might still find elements of worth here, despite the defects, but in many ways The Fall illustrates the difficulties in presenting formerly complex games as apps.
The name Hiroshi Iuchi is enough to reduce some grown men to tears, so punishing are his brand of "bullet hell" shoot-em-ups. His latest offering, Kokuga, continues in the same reflex-sapping vein – though at something of a slower pace, with the introduction of a ponderous tank as attack vehicle. So begins a war of attrition as your shield is worn down by degrees over 15 stages. Genre fans will appreciate the card-based power-up system and steep difficulty curve, even as newcomers balk at the challenge.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days
£3.99 (Requires base game)
PS3, Xbox 360, PC
400 Days returns you to a walker-infested America, focusing on five survivors struggling to deal with the fallout of the zombie outbreak during the titular period. People we meet include convict Vince, ex-junkie Bonnie and youngster Russell; we learn how they each arrive in the vicinity of Gil's Diner – in all likelihood setting up future scenarios. Each of the five's stories are condensed into half-hour segments, and it's an enjoyable ride; though less of a game than an appetiser for the second season.
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