Tag Archives: Aliens

ABZÛ – First Impressions & Wrap-Up!

This post will contain spoilers near the end. I will mark them so readers who want to experience this journey for themselves can stop reading.

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ABZÛ comes to us from the art director of the renown games, Flower and Journey. For those that aren’t familiar with those titles, Flower made use of the Six-axis on the PS3, as you played as a flower petal, moving along the wind to bring life to the world. A gorgeous and relaxing title with an amazing score. Journey saw us in a multiplayer setting, in which we are in a desert, and making a journey to a fallen star on a mountain top.

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A scene in Flower depicting the movement on the breeze.

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A scene in Journey depicting one of the many “sand-surfing” segments with your final destination in the background.

ABZÛ means “Ocean of Wisdom” and plays off its meaning very well. You begin as a lone diver, apparently stranded in the water. The opening scene of James Cameron’s Sanctum comes to mind. You awake and begin to explore the ocean. You can breach the surface, hold on to larger fish, find meditation statues, secret pools of fish, hidden seashells, and just generally enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean.

The controls took a bit of getting used to, but once you learn the little hidden things you can do, such as boosting, you can move around quicker and just have a lot of fun swimming around.

This game is short, but I would recommend picking it up for fans of Flower and/or Journey, or fans of scuba diving or the oceans. Normally it’s $19.99 USD, but right now it’s on sale for the Xbox One for $16.99 USD.

 

 

~~HEAVY SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT! IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, PLEASE STOP READING!~~

 

 

Alright, so while playing ABZÛ, I was so confused. I knew there were going to be ruins of an ancient city. What I didn’t expect was the utilization of underwater rivers in a technological standing to open doors. I started thinking, I must be in Atlantis. This was further pushed into my mind by giant mechanical doors.

That’s when I started to notice something in the murals. People looking just like the diver teaching people who looked slightly different. I started to think, alien race. Now, modern tech is modeled after them.

The further I pushed, the more my suspicions were confirmed. You find a destroyed upside-down mechanical pyramid. You watch as it creates machinations. That’s when you discover that you might be a robot. That gets confirmed shortly thereafter. Eventually you go to destroy the machinations and return life to the ocean.

Finishing ABZÛ, I have a lot of theories. The primary being that you were a mechanized race, come to show people technology and how to utilize the soul of the ocean. Something went wrong. Either they rebelled, or a catastrophe happened. I think it WAS Atlantis based on technologies and buildings you see, especially an entire city (looking like Jules Verne’s Atlantis from Journey to the Center of the Earth).

I also think that, seeing what happened to the ocean, you make amends by giving parts of your own technologically advanced soul, to bring life back to the area. To repair what your race damaged.

If you’ve played it, what are your thoughts? Theories?

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Horror’s Survival

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Some of you may remember a post I made about the question “Valkyira” asked me about the Survival Horror genre, and if I thought it was dying out. At the time I wasn’t sure, but I knew the name “Survival Horror” had really turned into “Action-Adventure-Horror”.

For me, Resident Evil 6 (Leon’s campaign) was a fairly good return-to-roots kind of campaign, but not truly. Dead Space 3 was the same way. They both had good, promising Survival Horror elements, but focused heavily on Action and exploration.

Now, when I ended that post I had a very “let’s wait and see” attitude towards Survival Horror. I heard rumors of true Survival Horror games coming for “Next Gen” (a phrase I despise), and I heard rumors that debunked the first set. Now that 2014 is here, some games have been announced I would like to share with you.

First, we have ‘The Evil Within’. This is a Survival Horror game with exploration elements as well as a touch of “action” sequences. You will acquire weapons to use throughout the game and enemies to fight, hide, or run away from. From what I’ve gathered, you will spend most of the time running and hiding trying to survive unspeakable horrors.
‘The Evil Within’ is being Published by legendary Elder Scrolls developers Bethesda Softworks, in collaboration with the Director and father of true Survival Horror and the creator of the infamous Resident Evil 4, Shinji Mikami and his new studio, Developers, Tango Gameworks.
This should prove to be a great re-introduction to true Survival Horror.

That brings us to, ‘Alien: Isolation’. This game, unlike all in recent memory, takes after the original Alien by Ridley Scott. There is only 1 Xenomorph and it hunts you down and you have no weapons, just a motion tracker. You can hide from it though, even in lockers, as long as you don’t stay in one place for too long. This Xenomorph not only uses it’s sight and sound to find you, it can smell you out, making it a truly dangerous hunter.
You play as Ripley’s daughter 15 years after the original film, looking for her mother. You are on the Sevastopol space station. You will see familiar locations and hear familiar sounds. They took audio and locale straight from the film. I saw some gameplay and it looks truly unsettling and horrifying. It forces you into a bad situation and makes a hundred times worse and more unnerving at each and every turn. You’ll see a shadow run by and suddenly the motion activated toys in the room next to you are on and moving, and your motion tracker shows nothing.
Next, you’ll walk across the room to get a welding torch to open the security hatch, and the lights go out in the room and the motion toys are activated, you hear a sound, turn around whip out your motion tracker and a blip vanishes.
You’ll be in the middle of an open room, and suddenly the Xenomorph is walking towards you. If you run, it hears you and kills you, nowhere to hide but the darkness of the room. You get paralyzed with fear and you don’t know what to do, so you do the only thing you can, crouch in the middle of the dark room and pray it passes you by.

‘Alien: Isolation’ will be the true return-to-roots we’ve been waiting for. ‘The Evil Within’ comes out in August and ‘Alien: Isolation’ comes out October 7th alongside titles ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’ and ‘Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor’.

So, let’s revisit the question, “Do I think Survival Horror has finally died?”
No. I think we are seeing the rebirth of the genre as a whole.

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