James Troughton, Newcastle upon Tyne
My introduction to the series was complete when I powered through both Leon and Claire's initial campaigns in Resident Evil 2: Remake, and with the remake of 3 underway, I decided to delve into the beginnings of this zombie, film-spawning franchise.
Was I disappointed? Absolutely not. I didn't have fond memories of games with tank controls (fixed cameras in each room) but Resident Evil has made me appreciate this archaic approach, as it gives you an uneasy sense that everywhere you go, you're being watched, as if you're peering at your playable character not through their own perspective, but rather through an onlooker jumping through CCTV channels.
Toppled with the eerie, guttural score and the knife-scraping sound-effects of the monstrous lurkers within the mansion and its outskirts and what you get in the final result is an unsettling horror unmatched in its field. Add on the ever-unravelling, mysterious and subtle narrative and Resident Evil becomes a masterpiece - it's no wonder it has cult acclaim.
George Boatfield, Harrogate
Following the intensity of exploring The Last of Us in yesterday’s diary, it today fell to Journey, another Sony-produced gem, to provide a more tranquil alternative.
The gameplay premise is simple, with the player controlling a nameless wanderer travelling through the desert. Silently surfing down sand dunes and leaping off to ethereally float through the air towards the next destination, the overall task is to reach the peak of the mountain shown on the horizon.
While the light exploration and puzzle gameplay keeps things pleasant and steady, it is the seamless integration of online play that does many favours for the mythical, highly spiritual side of the game. At random, you encounter a similar character to your own who accompanies you through until someone’s play session ends.
Communication fell to disparate pulses that could be made by either player, perhaps to signal their location or incoming dangers, but really it was completely open to interpretation. This method of interaction removes many of the more stressful unpleasantries of online play, while the nature of Journey’s gameplay allows players to find the joy in more simplistic, charming forms of expression rarely found in video games.
Alex Darbyshire, York
The release of The Surge 2 had slipped completely under my nose, but upon seeing that it had indeed come out, I felt the itch to return to the original. I had only ever gotten to the second area in The Surge, but it soon became apparent why this was the case.
The Surge does have some excellent atmosphere. All the weapons feel like tools that would exist in the world and the mechanic of targeting different body parts definitely has a lot of tactical depth. It’s not an entirely vacuous experience, but there’s definitely something missing in terms of setting itself apart from the obvious Dark Souls influences.
One of the main problems is the feedback from weapon impacts. Getting hit by enemies doesn’t carry enough weight for the damage they do, something that plenty of other souls-like manage easily. Even the heaviest attacks seem to just pass through the player character and decimate their health- and half the time it’s not even noticeable, and it leads to plenty of cheap-feeling deaths.
That said, I will definitely continue, as I feel this is a combat system that can be mastered. I only hope the sequel improves on this honestly pretty fresh take on the souls genre.