Video game retailers may be taking it easy this summer ahead of the gathering October release storm, but downloadable games currently rain from the heavens like a wet week in Cornwall. We’ve been busy writing up our thoughts on some of these releases in other quarters of the internet and thought it might be neat to share those thoughts in the parish of Hookshot Inc.
Here’s what we thought of Deadlight, Dyad and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, with links.
XBLA – The Guardian
“Far from a dull power fantasy, Deadlight’s designers rarely give Wayne access to the tools of zombie extermination, the axe, pistol or shotgun, and when they do they’re not afraid to take them away again. As such much of the game is spent scrabbling away from the Shadows, whistling to lure them onto electrocuted traps, bounding up walls and doing anything to gain height and protect your precious three units of health. One zombie can be pushed away with relative ease. Three will fast overwhelm, forcing a checkpoint restart.
As in Limbo, these restarts become a familiar routine – particularly as the game moves from its first Act to its second and third, where the emphasis is placed more firmly upon platforming and trail and error design traps. These grow infuriating at times, not least because the style of the game’s visuals aren’t matched by a finesse in its controls, which make precision jumps more frustrating than in, say, Shadow Complex. That’s not to overstate the game’s difficulty. This is a largely straightforward game, and developer Tequila Works provides a fair amount of behind-the-curtain assistance to players, nudging them a few pixels to the left and right where necessary to smooth over collision detection. Likewise, none of the puzzles truly confound, and the majority of the game’s collectibles are barely hidden at all. But there is a roughness to some interactions that can break the spell.”
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
XBLA/ PSN – Eurogamer
“What’s immediately striking is the precision required by the game in executing tricks and stringing together combos. The Tony Hawk’s games have a reputation for being unusually forgiving, rewarding effort over exactness in allowing their player to string together grinds, kick-flips, and manuals. It’s a reputation that Skate’s more weighty, unforgiving approach heightened, and yet Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is immediately more cumbersome in the palms than in the memory. Some of that is down to the passage of time – first generation 3D games feel sharper and less rounded than today’s experiences. But some of it is the remake itself, which feels somehow off.
There’s a scrappiness to the physics that occasionally sends your character pin-wheeling off into the sky, and which makes wall grinds harder than they ever were in the past. It’s a problem exacerbated by the Xbox 360 controller, which prevents tight accuracy when inputting specific moves. This is a problem because, at its heart, Tony Hawk’s is an arcade score attack game. Repeat a trick and you earn fewer points the second time, a smart mechanic that encourages players gunning for the top scores to deliberately mix up their play style and not rely upon a handful of muscular phrasings. But with a d-pad that can all too often render a left input as a down, a little too much concentration must be allocated to your fingers, preventing that sense of flow that the original games elicited so readily.”
PSN – Eurogamer
“As with all games built to engender flow, Dyad can feel unrewarding when you’re not in that rare state – when you’re awkwardly grasping at anchor points and nothing’s quite latching properly, and you lumber forward under the Sauron-like eye of the clock. In these moments, you will hate the game.
But that disgust is more honestly directed at yourself: Dyad merely holds a mirror up to your own failings. If you take the time to master the machine, to level up your own eyes and hands and co-ordination, then this is a game to amplify those tiny victories; to put your name in lights.”