6. Batman: Arkham Knight
Asylum, City, and to a lesser extent Origins … In three episodes, the saga of Batman Arkham has imposed a superhero videogame style. Since recovery, quoted or outright copied by amount of games, the saga has inspired many filmmakers and authors of comics while pursuing its merry way. It is with great anticipation that we expected this final installment of the trilogy that Rocksteady comes close the story of a man totally dedicated to his city, his friends, his philosophy of life.
In the light of revealed very quickly in the game, note that some information will have the appearance of spoils. Nevertheless, difficult to ignore in this test. If you have not yet finished Arkham City, reading the following lines is not recommended. Similarly, if you want to keep the surprise intact before attacking the game, think twice before traveling this review that nevertheless avoids the real spoils associated with certain key scenes and, of course, the most important revelations scriptwriting.
So Origins recounted the story of Bruce Wayne before the events of Asylum, Batman Arkham Knight takes place directly after the events of Arkham City in order to finish with this long night of suffering that will see once again the Black Knight wander this time made Gotham a bloodless because of the exactions of the Scarecrow. If the synopsis City had proved disappointing, despite the participation of the general Paul Dini, that is the history of this Arkham Knight? Difficult to decide cleanly and determined as the felt will vary depending on your knowledge of the Batman universe.
Scenario writing by fans for fans?
The first thing that surprises and discovered when playing Batman Arkham Knight is that familiar sensation that grips the fan and progresses in history. A very good point that moved (too) quickly by default is that Rocksteady has sought to use one of the most exciting arcs in the life of Dark Knight in his playing. In fact, if fans of the comics and / or anime of the bat could already speculate on the identity of the Arkham Knight, the writers felt compelled to add a few scenes and other highlights passages to bring a final revelation that loses much of its flavor especially as it faces animated equivalent or even more intense and controlled paper. Cruel paradox that the game paints a fan in the direction of hair growth while providing him a story which he knows the end from the beginning.
We can then build on the Scarecrow to bring some surprises scriptwriting except that here, too, is rather missed because the presence of the villain remains anecdotal unlike its cataclysmic work returning in some ways to that of Hugo Strange in Arkham City. Same story for the Joker, died at the end of City, but has never been as present before. How? Simply through constant hallucinations (and in the early hours) which Batman suffers, the latter to (together with the player) suffers the taunts and the ubiquitous notes of the psychopath for more than 20 hours. On the terms of history, Arkham Knight is therefore very involved and yet so disappointing for the fans and for the uninitiated who may not seize the importance of the final revelation that will have a profound impact on the entire life of Bruce Wayne.
Gotham City one more beautiful than ever
In parallel with the progress of history, it is indeed the discovery of Gotham City that impresses the most. Gifted English artists we knew and they confirm us with Arkham Knight they have fully mastered them a perspective of design. Never open cities will have been full all the details, we have not seen Gotham City looking so creepy and sexy at the same time, sometimes windswept, lightning or freezing rain. Discover this playground, as well as from the air and by road, is therefore a constant enchantment, despite a lack of life in the streets, thanks to the different neighborhoods featuring this time very marked identities. Chinatown, the port, the business district, each section of the city makes gringue the player looking to experience everything. And the least we can say is that between the main adventure and countless quests, you will have way to visit many buildings while crossing the road moult villains.
On this point, note also that the writers chose a redacted main adventure of boss fights (with two exceptions), the latter mostly devolved to secondary objectives that will allow you to meet Double Face, Deathstroke, Man-Bat, Penguin and many others. A way as any to enjoy the particular design but still very different protagonists licked, the more vicious than ever, while trying to remove to restore calm in Gotham.
Beyond the visual aspect, developers are still striven to refine the gameplay while incorporating a big novelty, the Batmobile, it will be possible to upgrade sometimes directing its evolution when we propose the Lucius Fox . Improved weapons? Integration of IEM load? It will be up to you. In short, communication with the game mainly revolved around the vehicle, one could expect a significant presence of the craft during the game … unfortunately we were off the mark as the construction of Arkham Knight seems to have been thinking about the Batmobile.
The Batmobile in all its outrageousness
This is reflected in practice by a larger city, with wider roads allowing players to cross the city while driving. You will then have the possibility, via a simple button to call your iron steed to trace the route to get to your next goal, racing thugs or enjoy action scenes thanks to the vehicle’s capacity to change in a real tank. If in one case as in the other, driving proves supple and very oriented arcade (sensations reminiscent of the best of the time Criterion or Shox: Extreme Rally EA BIG), especially as the smash Three quarters of environments during the prosecution proves enjoyable, it is unfortunately the exaggerated use of the Batmobile that ends up tiring.
Indeed, apart from a run-flanking we missed it one after a scene far too long tank, a fighter just sucks boss and a lawsuit already a little more original and fun, the desire to put all costs forward if the vehicle is present throughout the game that it becomes completely artificial. Thus, in parallel with little credibility mooring points throughout Arkham City can only be driven by the vehicle, it is mainly these missions are constantly asking to use the machine that annoys. Pursue an enemy vehicle passes again destroy defense facilities, why not, but having to climb on roofs to operate a winch mechanism through the Batmobile becomes slightly laughable. Ultimately, this innovation remains cramped between a really fun gameplay and a mandatory use unsettling in the sense that this aspect befitting little Dark Knight or at least in such a series we knew.
A legacy still awesome
If the Batmobile therefore remains the star of this album, Rocksteady has still lingered on the gameplay as a whole to provide many small additions, useful and anecdotal. Let’s start with the free flow combat system which here becomes more dynamic through the use of environmental disposal of launched counterattacks or combat duo. The first, through the pressure of two buttons, and as long as the enemy is surrounded by a bluish will allow you to interact with the scenery to eliminate an enemy or use weapons trailing on the ground. The latter, changes in normal counters that will give the opportunity, guiding the stick towards the enemy during the cons, to hit harder. The final system will suggest some places to hire a companion for attacking duo. Then, once called the hero, you can head up the call on Batman and so on until after the battle. If the idea is funny, it still remains more visual than anything else and does not bring much in the end.
Outside of brawls, we are again able to investigate through the changing phases of crime scenes from Batman Arkham Origins. So we will have time for rewind and accelerate a scene to find what happened there. In the same vein, Rocksteady also included a strong image analysis referring to what was in the movie Blade Runner. It will indeed repeatedly analyze images, gridded into several segments, from surveillance cameras. We will then choose a piece of the image that will move forward or backward in time until find the specific index. Friendly as the new gadgets whose voice synthesizer, useful to force the guards to open doors remotely. We will also use a device to hack remote drones or turn them against the guards.
Silence is golden!
Finally, attacks by intimidation will surprise the opponents to eliminate several of them in record time. Here it will suffice to eliminate an enemy first and then quickly choose another opponent for Batman attack via a mortal and classy ballet highlighted by means of a slow motion. This will prove especially useful when undercover phases that they also benefit from some adjustments. In addition to increased mobility, using for example ventilation ducts to it quickly under the floor, we will also be able, in addition to throw smoke bombs, to choose between two options (point anchor or start Batarang) if only one track is done. This will then result in a slow-motion action during which he will have to choose between the proposed options. A way as any to make it more accessible even though you will still need to demonstrate finesse to get away, especially in the highest difficulty setting.
An end in trilogy apotheosis?
As we can see, the developers have been busy but in parallel refining gameplay, some new and impressive visual work, yet Arkham Knight has a small sense of unfinished business. This surely is its condition finale that should sound like a high point in the Dark Knight trilogy and not a “simple good game” too leveraging its “actioner” aspect. Naturally results in a small frustration although it still takes great pleasure to follow Batou.
Certainly, the life is phenomenal again, yes, we are pleased by facing one last time challenges Nigma, the challenges are still there to give us a hard time, but as a whole, this episode does never reaches the level of Arkham City. Arkham Knight indeed seems too busy constantly highlight its Batmobile and utilize a rich screenplay material without properly put forward to the detriment of its characters and by extension the player. However, the title of Rocksteady still retains immense qualities allowing it to close a trilogy now among the most famous of our microcosm. Batman deserved such a monument to his glory and for that reason alone, the British developers deserve our respect and congratulations.
Bloodborne is a promise, a promise of From Software and particularly its leader Hidetaka Miyazaki. A contract of a bloody footprint between the studio and players waiting for a spiritual sequel to the saga of Souls. Ruthless fighting, tech, mastery of level design and chiselled atmosphere form the beating heart of the experience offered by the Japanese studio in recent years. And if the removal of Hidetaka Miyazaki on Dark Souls 2 project was felt, here comes the man at the head of an exclusive title for the PlayStation 4. And casually, his influence is palpable from the first hours of play. Bloodborne draws most of its mechanisms in Souls licenses, dusted everything and gives us a bloody and memorable adventure.
Born in blood, blood death …
If you are used to the gameplay of Souls, expect to slightly rethink the way you play. Bloodborne adopts the bias to leave the closet relative passivity induced by the defensive gameplay of its predecessors. Farewell sitting behind the shield, to be effective, it will play the nervous and offensive. The game also rewards the risk taking and can recover a portion of life lost by performing an attack shortly after being damaged. More than ever, it’s all about timing in dodging and attack windows. Billed as more accessible to neophytes, Bloodborne still remains quite technical to handle. Oh, ye shall eat the claws, attacks giant mincer, you can mandalas of one shoot and health potions will flow freely during the first tests on many bosses. Farewell Estus flasks, From Software adopts this time a system of potions to recover on a lot of enemies or purchase against blood echoes the currency of the game operation similar to that of the souls of Souls. In case of death, you will not recover your initial stock of this precious beverage … This will require farming, sometimes for hours, to build up a safety stock.
A point on the character creation
Yes, my character looks like Harry Potter … The creation phase of the Bloodborne avatar increases again the number of customization settings available. Voice to the middle through the details of the face, creating a male or female avatar can give free rein to ones imagination. We will select a basic archetype from a list of builds for favoring certain strength, agility for others or go on a class with balanced stats. Note that magic disappears from the game, and if the enemies will not hesitate to throw you a gaggle of spells, you will draw on an arsenal of gadgets to compensate for this lack: molotov cocktails, poisoned daggers, flamethrowers, etc.
The farm mechanism is similar for silver bullets in your gun / musket / rifle. For if the shields disappear (well not entirely), they give way to firearms with multiple uses: to attract an opponent, or scrape some damage, and that’s the whole point of the thing, perform well against placed just before pulling an opponent touches you. The result is the ability to trigger a devastating attack able to calm the ardor of the most impressive creatures. Especially useful on certain bosses, the technique is to master as quickly as possible to avoid some nasty surprises and show your mastery of the art of combat. Bloodborne manages to transcribe brilliantly the beastly side of fighting. Towering, agile, grotesque, disturbing, driven with care, the panel of opponents has more of a creepy sound design at will. One only has to hear the bestial cry of some boss to realize. Too bad the automatic lock still too often causes big worries camera stuck in the decor or in the body of creatures.
“ The game gives us a bloody and memorable adventure ”
The first boss of the game, where the advantage of using a firearm
The side weapons, the catalog is less extensive than the arsenal of its elders. Bloodborne decided once again to take a different path. We begin the adventure with a choice: a cleaver-saw, ax or sword cane. All three have a different moveset, the first two are rather intended to build strength, the other hunters promoting their competence (the name of the game dexterity). Within hours will be added other weapons like the spear-saw, the sword-hammer or some unique trinkets.
The originality lies in the fact that each of these weapons has a second mode of attack changing the style of fighting. If for example the ax-blade saw deploys its scope to increase at the expense of speed, the sword hammer radically changes shape by becoming a huge stone mass capable of inflicting heavy blunt damage. This switch therefore opens many doors for combos during attacks. In addition to this all new weapons customization appearance via runes to find worldwide. Your weapon will have term of three locations crimp gems, able to change some statistics of damage or regeneration. In fact, Bloodborne is rather stingy with loot equipment, emphasis was placed on improving and customizing each of the basic weapons or purchase of new models with the “merchant” central hub.
What about the difficulty?
Consider two categories of players here. On one side of the regulars Souls saga and the other neophytes players intrigued by the Bloodborne experience. The first will take a few hours to get used to the speed of animations and to shed their habits inherited liabilities. Bloodborne looks somewhat like a Dark Souls put on fast forward. Everything is more vivid, more nervous, and ultimately more different. The lock is still in the game and allows dodges / dash with some class. Besides endurance, no statistics will not influence this new way of fighting. Miyazaki promised a more accessible game, is this really the case? In a way yes, because the loss of “heaviness” darksoulienne should convince many new players to be tempted by the experience. However, the fighting always turns out as full-bodied and ruthless face the slightest error of timing. Never frustrating Bloodborne pushes us constantly to retry our luck to face the toughest opponents.
The game revolves around a central area where you will return at regular intervals to mount our statistics, to upgrade our weapons, and unlock Calices dungeons. And this haven of peace, the dream of his hunter’s pet name, as it is unclear, a floating island in the middle of a huge cloud of broken pillars sea where lives a talking doll and hyper mysterious old wheelchair . In short, do not expect to understand all the ins and outs of the scenario when you arrive in the world. All that is known is that the hunt is on, a mysterious church has developed blood-based therapy and everyone seems to have more or less blown a bolt in the city of Yarhnam. The game exudes an oppressive atmosphere full of religious symbols and muffled cries in the night.
From Software painted a picture while darkness and gives the ambience and surroundings of Yarnham an undeniable cachet. One thing is clear after a few hours of play: Bloodborne has a fascinating world halfway between an even darker version of a Van Helsing and a Victorian aesthetic at once disturbing, captivating and consistent wish. The artistic direction of the game is very high fly, From Software’s teams have demonstrated an attention to detail at all times as for persistent blood stains on the character, changing the climate affecting the behavior of some creatures or the overall architecture of the buildings. The effect “wow” repeatedly operates as certain areas are eyeful. Best of all, the game is dark, very dark even. An oversold darkness in Dark Souls 2 and ultimately ruined by ambient light to pass a cave for a therapy center. Relegated to a few disparate puzzles in DS2, the torch made its big return here to our great joy.
Moreover, we retain that consistency level design of own productions From Software. Each area is full of nooks to explore, pitfalls to avoid and shortcuts to unlock. More than ever, the philosophy of the way to unlock Annex acts thread in the progression. Campfires (Bonfire) are here replaced with lanterns serving as checkpoint and teleporter to the rest of the hunter. Finally, note that the enemies respawn every death or teleportation, this unlimited respawn, unlike Dark Souls 2, it is useful for certain areas rich in farmer xp and potions for example. As usual, the team of Hidetaka Miyazaki distilled scenario scraps in the decor, architecture, descriptions of objects and handwritten notes left here and there. We must therefore make an effort to decipher the pieces of a puzzle scattered nebulous between dream and reality.
In fact, I was rather surprised by the many voices in the game. If loneliness still weighs on our shoulders, the adventure is much more talkative than its predecessors. Many NPC’s talk through the gates of the city, the enemies screaming desperation in combat and is also found throughout the range of friendly NPCs to recruit or coldly shoot according to mood. Accustomed to the measured tinged interpretation of a strong – but classy – British accent of Souls, the thing will be enough to destabilize the first listen. Not that the work done demerit, but the atmosphere generated by the English dubbing retains more charm for me. Do not worry, the game has the good sense to propose to amend its language through its menu, to the joys of Spanish Bloodborne therefore, olé!
Toc toc, there’s someone!
Technically now, the PlayStation 4 is able to withstand plenty of effects and items displayed in the scene with a relatively stable framerate to 30 fps. Falls are still feeling at regular intervals. No, they will not ruin your game’s experience but will annoy enough performance enthusiasts. However, there are more serious at a time when I write these lines: the duration loading times! Deuce they are long. Allow between 40 seconds and 1 minute 15 to recharge the game. The problem would be minimal if they were infrequent, yet they are very numerous. For if the card is actually an open world tortuous die (and you often perish let me tell you), turn the hub, reset an area for farmer rhyme with a beautiful black screen decorated with the logo of the game to enjoy for a time becomes quickly annoying. The studio says be aware of this major problem and announced work on a future patch fix the output is not provided in day one. To all the players of tomorrow, you are warned, plan something to read books between each fail …
What about life?
This is a justified question from the players how long until the game ends? Developers indicate 40 hours of life. It’s actually almost exactly the time needed to complete the adventure without too much procrastinating on the farm or exploration. But to be clear, this period will ultimately depend on many parameters to consider: your skill, your ability to find your way, you want / need to farmer, time spent in Calices optional dungeons, etc. All these factors directly impact the service life of Bloodborne. I have personally spent many hours searching my way once the defeat of the fourth bosses and Farme werewolves a good time to gain experience. Especially as Bloodborne end does not mean the store or resell the blu-ray, the first run opens up the most new game considered by many players as the real beginning of the journey. In short, the title has all what it takes to keep you busy for very long hours.
4. Metal Gear Solid V : The Phantom Pain
Confirmed 7 years ago, Metal Gear Solid V is finally delivered to us. After a prologue called Ground Zeroes tested in our columns in March 2014, now The Phantom Pain arrives and makes us live the heart of this fifth installment: an outstanding solo epic and confusing for fans of the saga. As for multiplayer, last building block MGS5, it will arrive in October and will be a complement in this test.
Our “Once Upon A Time Metal Gear”, remember the story of previous episodes
Before anything else, and you have an overall vision of what Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, we invite you to read the one hand, the test Ground Zeroes, his prologue, and other share our insight on the title, achieved after 15 hours of play, in which we deliver our impressions and a description of the various parts that make up the adventure. This test therefore does not address the basics of the gameplay of this 5th episode as this makes repetition our previous articles. As you can see, The Phantom Pain is addressed in appearance to a niche players brave enough to remember a storyline operated for over 25 years. Nevertheless, this fifth episode manages to open up to different audiences whether or not to initiate the series, perfect infiltration fond of amateur or GST narrative action infiltration.
Episode one hinge, references of mine and departure ideal for profane
So forgive the facts in context: we stand here “Boss”, code-named “Venom Snake” for this new iteration highlighting the mythical father of “Enfants Terribles“. Our hero is not at his first attempt in the series and was already at the heart of the story of Metal Gear Solid 3 and Peace Walker, it takes two titles if possible to understand the challenges in Metal Gear Solid V. As for other games in the series, know they are chronologically subsequent to the facts narrated in The Phantom Pain and thus give the latter a “prequel” look strong tasty if you have been fortunate to do before. The new kids can still play and enjoy MGS5, the title is sufficiently measured by its narration to never lose its audience, unlike other opus which often tended to drown the player under a torrent of details and sub -intrigues. Kojima therefore wished to transform his recipe to make it more flexible, more affordable, more varied, and also applies his new creed at all stages of its production: level design, game design, narrative & direction, soundtrack, replay value … Anything goes, which necessarily splits in more than one.
Major themes of this episode and advice directions to the letter
The story of our hero despite his rocking Ground Zeroes at the end of the prologue, when Snake (blind since Metal Gear Solid 3) finds an amputated arm and plunged into a long coma for nine years. Upon awakening, which also serves sublime introduction to The Phantom Pain, Cypriot hospital where Boss is slowly recovering from his injuries is attacked by an elite commando who obviously is there for him. Backed by the mysterious Ishmael (key element of teasing Kojima around the title) and the charismatic Ocelot, Snake succeeded in extremis to flee, chased by two mysterious nemesis that we have seen in the trailers: “the Man on Fire “and” Boy in gas mask “, two entities that fans had fun seeing during the many years of waiting.
The adventure of the 5th episode up here in 1984 and intends to compete for good Skull Face, the enigmatic ranking initially boot Cipher (the organization that runs behind the scenes the US). The man with the lined face, your enemy and will be the main puppeteer of this epic, which will carry you in Afghanistan and Africa. In both semi-open areas you are spoiled for choice in your actions, you can perform the main tasks unscripted, Side Ops (the quests of the game), but also ensure the proper functioning of your database in the ‘supplying resources by sending troops on missions, managing human resources or research & development for your equipment. If we detail here “activities” feasible, it is not for nothing, since it is highly advisable to alternate your business without thinking too much about the main adventure rusher. Because if you do that, you’ll miss a lot of narrative elements and gameplay possibilities.
Indeed, our first 10 hours of play furiously looked like a giant tutorial to slightly uneven pace. If the intro bordered on perfection in its intensity, the following 4 or 5 hours for their part were relatively flat in terms of staging, as we mainly learn to use gameplay features in the field and were exploring the mysteries of Mother Base at times not particularly inspired missions. With a somewhat wider vision of the frame (and some extra hours in the legs), we see the exploitation of themes seemingly little related such as water, oil, child soldiers, mineral resources, uprooting, language and of course the classic themes of cloning and nuclear.
The director here drastically shorten desired “time spent as a spectator”
What bothers most about all this when making the first part of MGSV: TPP, is the fact of change very quickly after a climax theme, whether it be a long-term mission following the stake or a kinematic sequence by advancing the main story. These rapid transitions happen repeatedly and often leave us on our hunger if you want to know more without picking up the thread of Ariane. This frustration is explained very simply: Kojima wanted to change his way of telling the story, very long sequences of archive videos or communication Codec balanced once every minor branch of the adventure, the director here drastically shorten desired “time spent as a spectator” of his title for barter against a narration in the background in the form of cassettes that can be heard during our various activities to learn more about tons and tons of topics related to history.
Before each mission, you can set your equipment and your companion
The ingenious system that forces the player to deal in the open world to listen for ten or fifteen minutes of additional tapes they has obtained, making themselves useful as it can by performing Ops Side, looking for resources or kill guards in order to swell the ranks of his Mother Base. In the latter, he takes the opportunity to order new works and would create such a zoological wing to come at will observe captured animals. He also enjoys listening to this audio tape to make some changes in the teams of Outer Heaven to boost the statistics of the team R & D, which can finally work on a new model of rocket launcher which will be vital for the final Mission to do before moving on to another cluster of main quests. Now you probably understand why MGSV was not done like the other Metal Gear.
Infiltration in Afghanistan
The narration, previously too heavy, is now partly composed of a dimension that relishes audio while one optimizes his adventure. Without this sound, the scenario presents many gaps and it is strongly encouraged to trudge between missions to pause the frame for a moment. Forget also the WTF beside some batches of kinematic old since here, is rarely entitled to a scene that leaves us in the sitting posture, as the series has the secret. Too bad for lovers of stunning sequences that will nevertheless fall back on half a dozen really impactful videos during the adventure. The concern in the story is that this a bit shy narration is found diluted in the game to life has more than tripled since the standard episodes, which makes for the lowest blow narrative intensity over what is expected of an AMS. Certainly this is a drastic turn for a series that has often been conspicuous by its stunning cinematics and are relatively timid here (although …) but the new narrative structure perfectly suited to the new concept of the game. Still remember that Kojima passes from a narrative-infiltration game to a GST-infiltration action open area with a whole section dedicated to its core management, resources, projects to be undertaken and to recruit staff on the ground.
More than open zones open world
But be careful, do not get me wrong when speaking of the open world, do not expect to land in urban areas with arms dealers stalls and equipment between two Afghan taverns. None of this is available in Phantom Pain, still a way of infiltration in a militarized zone. Thus, apart from a few ruined villages occupied by garrisons and a batch of singular and therefore crawlable places (caves, abandoned villa, bases, ruins, desert plants …), you will not find much to remind you of civilization . This is great because the open nature of the card allows free browsing-based drop-off in a helicopter or fast travel via the carton delivery system. And if you regret some problems in collisions with the scenery, depending on whether it is workable or not for Snake, it is clear that the land is often honor the talents of the man. Between its extremely rich set of tools and accessories lethal and the presence of the Companions, we have to choose how to act from a multitude of ways to approach each situation.
One of the particularities of our Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is obviously the presence of “buddies”, the companions who accompanies you to the front and can sometimes be used as a mount (D-Horse-Walker and D) sometimes serve as asset on the tactical field (Quiet and D-Dog). The Boss’ allies are obviously customizable like almost everything with which you will interact during the game. New orders appear as one of our team buddies has new equipment, as with D-Dog, the charming dog of our hero, who, changing outfit can afford a knife and murder order.
Once unlocked, the touch of the order, D-Dog mug between his teeth a tidy knife in his wolf-dog handling and jump to the jugular of your enemies. This is class, efficient, funny, short, Kojima-style. It is also important to note that your adventure will be less “social” than earlier despite the presence of one of these companions on the ground. Not very talkative since his nine years of coma, Boss offers us a convincing acting performance with Keifer Sutherland does not happen at David Hayter but comes close. As for the other actors, however, they are somewhat squeezed by the staging. Ocelot and Kaz are relatively absent and deprived of their ‘moment’, meanwhile Quiet, says nothing but embodies your mark in the storm, and sings a very specific melody while adjusting her sights on the heads of your enemies … Well, enemies, talk a little …