Tag Archives: 505 Games

Coming Soon: ABZÛ – First Impressions!

abzu-752x430That’s right! ABZÛ is a game brought to us by the former Art Director of Thatgamecompany, the guys who brought us Flow, Flower and Journey. He formed his own company after finishing his work on Journey, Giant Squid Studios, in order to create a game that was more “full of life” in comparison to Journey’s very desolate and alone feel. Published by the ever-famous 505 Games, ABZÛ promises to be an adventure just like Journey or Flower.

Matt Nava decided to use his love of Scuba diving as his inspiration for what we will come to know as the Ocean of Wisdom.

Stay tuned for my First Impressions, followed by a Wrap-Up in the very near future!

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game by 505 Games. The guys behind Sniper Elite V2 and III. Brothers has been out for quite awhile, starting with the previous Gen and recently it was released on current Gen consoles.

While Brothers may be a short game, it’s unique and very well done. It’s very much an adventure, no true combat to speak of, no real brain teasers for puzzles. Just a nice walk with some danger. There is no dialogue and no written words. The entire story is done through gameplay.

It starts out with the younger brother remembering how his mother died, showing that he can’t swim and couldn’t save her. The older brother comes along, and turns out, their dad is sick. The Brothers are sent on a quest to find something. Initially, you run into an ogre that helps you. Eventually, you see just how small they are, as the world around them expands to show Giants, Griffons, Giant castles, etc. The Brothers, naturally, run into hardships, and their lives get put in danger regularly. If you want to survive, you need to hone your double analog stick controls and help the Brothers work together.

The art style is really good, allowing you to sit on benches during the quest and view the road ahead/get great screenshots. The controls take getting used to, but work really well. There is no co-op, unless you want to share the controller with the person sitting next to you, but that’s alright as it adds a unique challenge for solo play or co-op play. The story of Brothers is very good and very unique with happy bits and sad bits thrown in at good measure.

The achievements in Brothers all require some hunting, as not a single one is actually story related, or for completing the game. You get a true sense of accomplishment from getting 100% of the achievements in Brothers, which is something that’s been lacking in most modern games.
At $20 USD, Brothers is a bit on the short end, but it’s still worth the $20 in my opinion.

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First Impressions: Sniper Elite 3

Disclaimer: Please note that I’m playing this on the Xbox One and I have not played the multiplayer or co-op at this point. I also have not had a chance to try out the challenge modes yet. This is a first impressions review of about 2-3 hours worth of gameplay.

Sniper Elite 3 is a game that will go unnoticed by most, as both of it’s predecessors did. Sniper Elite was a cult classic, Sniper Elite V2 gained a little more attention, but still undersold it’s potential, so we can expect the same for Sniper Elite 3. One of the biggest selling points about 505 Games (The Publisher) and Rebellion (Developer) is their games are usually $10 cheaper upon launch. Sniper Elite 3 launched with a price tag of $49.99 on Next Gen and $39.99 on Current Gen.

Sniper Elite 3 follows an American sniper during World War 2 in Africa, trying to take down the German Afrika Korps.
You have an array of weapons available to you, such as: your Sniper Rifle, your sub-machine gun, your pistol (which is your only silent weapon other than close quarters), grenades, dynamite, trip mines and land mines. (These are the weapons I’ve come across so far).
There are variants of Sniper Rifles, SMG’s and Pistols that you get throughout the game and as you level you can also customize your rifle a little.
You can also throw rocks as a distraction, or use Flint & Steel to time out an explosion for a distraction (this works well with dynamite when you need to clear out a section to move through undetected).
With dynamite you can either shoot it or use Flint & Steel, you can’t light it and throw it, but this is a good thing considering it’s a very short distance that you can throw it.

As in Sniper Elite V2, there are sounds to mask your shots, but not always. When you fire anything other than your (silenced) pistol without a masking sound, you’ll either need to fight off the wave of enemies, or relocate. A good strategy here is to set a trap with a landmine, trip mine or dynamite, then sneak away. Always cover your escape.
You can also pick up any traps you set down (other than a trapped {Flint & Steel} dynamite from my experience), so if you cover your flank with a landmine, fire a few shots then need to move on, you can pick up your landmine to use later.
These techniques have come in very handy, and they are ones learned in Sniper Elite (original) and carried into Sniper Elite V2, Sniper: Ghost Warrior and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2.

The X-ray cam is back, and better than ever. There is more detail on each person when you get an X-ray kill, you can also get Vehicle take-downs, which means when you destroy the engine of a vehicle, you can get an X-ray cam of your bullet bouncing around inside the engine and destroying the pistons.

All this being said, the movement can feel a bit clunky at times, but not often. Small drops hurt you when they shouldn’t, but they don’t do a whole lot of damage (at least not on casual), but now you can sabotage generators to create a masking sound. You can also (unprompted) do close quarters take-downs that are all silent.

A few of the physics are off, mainly the ones where your climbing up a ladder while the enemy is climbing down the ladder and you pass right through each other with no option to pull them off the ladder or kick them or anything, that’s a little silly.
The dead bodies sometimes fall in strange ways as well, especially if they’re up against a barricade.

The open level design is far more open than any Sniper Elite game before it, but only just. Instead of linear streets with alleyways and rubble, you have linear canyons with multiple elevations and about 2-3 paths you can take to move forward. The levels are very large, though with multiple ways to complete your objective.

The graphics, even on the Xbox One actually leave a little to be desired. It looks as if they did a slight improvement over Sniper Elite V2, but mostly focused on gameplay and freedom (which is much better than any graphical improvement). To me graphics do NOT make a game, they just help to enhance the experience. Sniper Elite 3 is a great game at it’s core. The skin it’s in may be a little underwhelming visually, but the gameplay and mechanics make up for it in more ways than one.

Sniper Elite 3 is really fun, and I’m looking forward to trying out the multiplayer, co-op and challenges. It still looks good, but more like a top-of-the-line Current Gen title rather than a brand new Next Gen title. However, that’s still pretty impressive. I can only assume the graphics will be about the same on Current Gen.
The gameplay is really good and the mechanics (for the most part) are very well done. It seems a bit strange that there is no prompt for silent close quarters kills, but a prompt for everything else.

Sniper Elite 3 has the opportunity to be a great game for a little cheaper than normal, if people give it a chance. It isn’t for everybody, and has always been a Cult Classic title, but that’s where this game really shines. As a AAA game, it’s middle to lower rung. As a Cult Classic, this game is top of the list, along with it’s predecessors and the Sniper: Ghost Warrior series.

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