It’s getting to be a new month and you know what that means! New games for PlayStation Plus members and for the frightful month of October you get the following for free:
- Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain – PS4
- Amnesia: Collection – PS4
- Monster Jam Battlegrounds – PS3
- Hustle Kings – PS3
- Hue – PS Vita (Cross buy with PS4)
- Sky Force Anniversary – PS Vita (Cross buy with PS4)
Back in June this year, WayForward Technologies announced The Mummy Remastered for major console platforms like the Switch and PS4. This game was meant to be a companion title to the new Mummy movie, and would feature a sprite based art style and Metroidvania gameplay, with your character having to save the world from the evil Princess Ahmanet.
The sole screenshot looked amazing, the concept sounded promising and hopes were high. After all, this is WayForward we’re talking about. The company behind such amazing titles as the Shantae series, DuckTales Remastered and Mighty Switch Force.
This was the type of game they excelled at making.
Then things went quiet. Months came and gone, and the game was nowhere to be seen. Was it cancelled? Was it just taking longer in development? No one knew, and worries were growing about the title.
Fortunately though, the time for worrying is now over! Because as the title suggests, WayForward have now released a new trailer for the game, showing off all kinds of gameplay and mechanics involved in it! Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it already:
It looks amazing. Indeed, with its amazing sprite work and great looking Metroidvania gameplay, The Mummy Demastered seems to be the Castlevania spiritual successor we may have been wanting for years. It’s like the awesome GBA or DS Castlevania game we didn’t get in the late 00s.
And what’s more, it also looks signficiantly better than the movie it’s based on too. Seriously, look that one up on Rotten Tomatoes if you get the chance. It’s only got a 16% approval rating among critics, with audiences not being any more generous.
So, it seems we may have another Ecks vs Sever on our hands here. A terrible movie backed up by amazing licensed game that overshadows it in every way.
Kudos WayForward. Thanks for putting so much care and attention into the game, and making it as good as it can be regardless of the source material.
When it comes to gaming journalism, ethics are generally lacking across the board. We’ve seen writers fired for giving negative reviews to heavily publicised games. Websites have exchanged great scores for early access (as seen in the Drivergate scandal). And well, if GamerGate proved anything, it’s that a lot of journalists seem to band together like an internet fraternity. That gaming journalists have almost become an internet priesthood dedicated to protecting its own.
In a world like that, a media controversy in the world of gaming journalism is almost irrelevant. I mean, how can you possibly top fired reviewers or dodgy scores?
Well, by taking down negative review scores on behalf of the game publisher, that’s how! Which is exactly what The Sixth Axis did with their NBA 2K18 score after 2K games got in touch.
That’s because (as you may know), NBA 2K18 is a bit of a trainwreck. It’s got save files that are far bigger than they have any need to be. It’s plagued with poor game design elements like artificial difficulty. And like so many triple A games nowadays, it’s filled to the brim with microtransactions and pay to win gameplay elements.
So, the The Sixth Axis’ reviewer slapped the game with a deserving 3/10 score. Exactly what you’d expect for a poorly designed game like this.
But obviously not a score that sat well with 2K Games. As a result, the company contacted The Sixth Axis to ‘discuss’ the review, leading to the score being removed from the article in exchange for a note saying the following:
Update: In discussion with 2K Games, we’ve temporarily removed the score pending a statement with regard to our criticisms, at which point it will be reinstated. Additionally, a draft conclusion was posted that incorrectly characterised our score as a protest vote, and has been reworded to reflect that our criticisms are rooted in the effect that VC and microtransactions have on the gameplay.
It’s extremely dodgy on every level. What’s more, it’s not a change the actual writer had any say in either. Oh no, 2K games just went straight to his editor, as he mentioned himself on NeoGAF:
Hello. Reviewer here. After review went live I’ve had no direct contact with 2K, instead their PR is chatting with my editor. All I know is that 2K are to issue a statement of some sort regarding issues raised in the review. Of course, the real issue is what updates the 2K18’s VC system gets. Just think of this as a review now in progress. If things remain unchanged so will my opinion.
So not only have we got a site removing scores because of negative from the publisher, but they’re not even working with the actual writers when they do so. Real respectful guys! How nice of you to annoy your reviewers by editing their work behind their back.
It’s really bad news all round really. And you know what else it is?
A better late than never post my fellow gaming lovers, but now that I have myself a new laptop that I can type on lets post some news. We are nearly half way into the month but if you haven’t heard, here is this month’s free PSN+ games:
- inFamous: Second Son – PS4
- Strike Vector Ex – PS4
- Truck Racer – PS3
- Handball 2016 – PS3
- We Are Doomed – PS Vita (Cross buy with PS4)
- Hatoful Boyfriend – PS Vita (Cross buy with PS4)
When it comes to difficulty settings in games, there are hundreds of ways mechanics can be handled to make things more interesting. You can merely up the enemy health or damage, like in Mario & Luigi Dream Team or most Zelda games.
You can change a couple of thousand variables to make things annoying, like in Super Smash Bros Brawl’s Subspace Emissary mode.
Heck, you can even redesign the entire game to suit the new difficulty. Like in Ocarina of Time 3D with its Master Quest mode, or the classic NES title with its second quest.
But one thing these games don’t do on difficulty settings is change how your character actually looks. They change everything else sure, and occasionally an extra mode adds a joke character for laughs (like Tofu in the Resident Evil games). But for the most part, character design remains unchanged throughout difficulty modes.
However, that’s not the case in South Park the Fractured But Whole! Oh no, in this game, the creators have decided to do something extremely controversial for the difficulty modes.
Namely, they’re changing the skin colour of your character the higher you ratchet up the difficulty slider. Put simply, the harder the difficulty, the darker their skin colour will be in the game. Here’s a video showing it in action:
As you can tell, it’s an… interesting system. After all, it’s clearly making a political point about racial inequality (since black characters have a harder time in game than white ones), and they’ve definitely tried to reflect that in the design. For instance, enemy health and damage doesn’t go up with difficulty increases, but the amount of money you get in game does decrease. This aims to mirror what it’d be like growing up in a struggling household without much in the way of immediate job prospects.
Add how the game changes the way you’re referred to based on your skin colour (to try and show racism from the characters in universe), and you’ve certainly got a creative set up for a difficulty slider.