Feature: Resident Evil HD

Resident-Evil-Remastered-840x473

Re-enter the survival horror.

Despite being a proverbial clown-car full of horror clichés and god-awful dialogue, Resident Evil is for gaming what Night of the Living Dead is for film – a massively-entertaining pioneer of the horror genre.

Almost 20 years have passed since the release of Resident Evil on the PlayStation, a 5 S.T.A.R.S. game which spontaneously mutated into a franchise that ran tyrant with success, at the pinnacle of which sat Capcom’s exalted progeny, Resident Evil 4. Thousands wept as they witnessed critics put down the rabid Resident Evil 6 like Travis shooting his beloved Old Yeller (sniff); a veritable Frankenstein-esque mix of action-horror that lacked any sense of cohesion or unified vision.

However, Capcom made like Chris Redfield and got to the ‘root of the problem’ (see above for ‘god-awful dialogue’), and have returned, quite literally, to the series’ roots. Resident Evil HD Remastered is the second refurbishment of the famous mansion, an update to the 2002 GameCube remake which set the benchmark for re-imagined video games.

Born from modern technology and the inexorable perpetuation of nostalgia, the 2015 conception will purportedly make use of an immaculate 1080p on respective current-gen platforms, and will feature alternative aspect ratios (4:3 or 16:9) and classic/modern control styles to suit one’s personal preference.

With lighting and textures sharper than Barry Burton’s one-liners (‘Jill sandwich’ – anyone?), it seems wise to remember that Capcom are attempting to offer something (relatively) new, unlike the personified trollface that is Square Enix with their recent Final Fantasy VII announcement. Wiser still, do remember to take note of Wesker’s words at the beginning: ‘Don’t open that door!’.

Resident Evil HD Remastered is available digitally for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on January 20

Advertisements

Feature: Share Play on PlayStation 4

ps4-share-play

Sharing is caring

For most 20-something gamers, childhood is basking in the warm glow of a tube TV at a friend’s house at night, rejoicing in multiplayer nirvana with games like Goldeneye 007 and Mario Kart 64 in an era when split-screen reigned supreme.

Ties were tested and virtual lives were lost: ‘Watch and learn!’, friends would naively proclaim, seizing the sweat-laden controller during a particularly tricky level of Crash Bandicoot, before slinking into the silence of shame as Cortex laughed maniacally during the CONTINUE? screen.

Sibling rivalries were temporarily postponed as little brothers were desperately drafted into the fray by assuming the less-coveted role of Player 2. ‘Perhaps today is the day I defeat Doctor Eggman once and for all!’, older brothers bravely aspired. ‘Perhaps today is the day I am finally allowed to play as Sonic’, younger brothers contemplated in hope.

But years passed, and friends and families moved away in search of University, work and love, for pastures greener than the Emerald Hills of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Although the advent of online gaming bridged the inevitable separation of former classmates and gaming compatriots, the true essence of ‘couch multiplayer’ seemed reserved for the ranks of young families and FIFA-obsessed undergraduates. With Sony’s latest system software update on the PlayStation 4, however, the couch is back – and with a vengeance.

Introducing Share Play. The ability to play games online with a friend as if you were huddled together on that patterned 90s couch once more. Selecting Share Play allows you to effectively ‘pass’ your friend your controller, allowing them to take control of your game as you see it on your screen, or to alternatively ‘pass’ your friend a second controller which can be used to play local multiplayer online.

Wanting to convince a friend to purchase Destiny? Share Play. Stuck on that terrifying boss fight on The Evil Within (curse you, spider lady…)? Share Play. Or how about just dusting off those ‘local-only’ PlayStation Plus favourites like Octodad, TowerFall and Spelunky for some carefree, throwaway fun? You guessed it – Share Play.

Buzzwords such as ‘innovative’, ‘game-changing’ and ‘revolutionary’ are industry pre-requisites in marketing campaigns nowadays, but this really is the next level for gaming. Remote Play was just the beginning. This is innovation. Of course, there are always spanners to be found in the most well-oiled machinations. Alas, there are connection and latency issues abound and few developers restricting Share Play at a whim are unavoidable problems which Sony are most certainly aware of.

In the so-called ‘Console Wars’, Nintendo have occupied a niche market which is set to further explode in popularity upon the release of Super Smash Bros. 4, and with Microsoft’s proverbial hype-train that is Halo: The Master Chief Collection quickly gathering steam, Sony needed a literal game-changer to propel them into the new year. And boy, with all the games November will have to offer, Share Play is unmistakeably the console exclusive worth having. All hail the couch!

Feature: P.T.

P.T.

P.T. – please phone home…

Playable Teaser. An exciting new feature of gaming, P.T. is a hair-raising, interactive demo revealed this week to be the embryonic stages of a classic horror franchise. Turn up your headphones, and turn down the lights. This is Silent Hill(s).

Produced Together by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, the creators of Metal Gear and the dark fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth, this hellish nightmare is the spawn of a match made in heaven. And with The Walking Dead’s Norman ‘Daryl Dixon’ Reedus in tow as the supposed protagonist, it is a promising project indeed. Although the extent of Kojima’s direct involvement with Silent Hills is currently as foggy as the eponymous town, this short sampler uses ingredients worthy of his most signature dish. Particularly a fourth wall-shattering puzzle element which would not be amiss in the first Metal Gear Solid – a real codec moment of sorts.

Positively Traumatic, this teaser reasserts a notion thought by many: video games are the true medium of the horror genre. The game leaps seamlessly between subtle sounds and full-frontal terror; it is a wholly consuming force and the player is imprisoned in the driving seat. This is acute psychological warfare and a fine example of inescapable escapism, all contained within a simple ‘L’ shaped corridor. With a bathroom that is guaranteed to give you that sink-in feeling, to a ghostly wail which soon materialises, this certainly isn’t a case of ‘Who Ya Gonna Call?’.

Perpetually Terrifying: from a creepy inception to the heart-pounding denouement (or the lack of, for many people. Seriously, why won’t the damn phone ring?!), P.T. exerts a literal spectrum of lighting and noises which will rattle even the most stoic of gamers. Of course, when the constant perturbation becomes too much, it is incredibly satisfying to ‘nope’ your way back to that soothing Playstation 4 dashboard music at the push of a button. Ahh…

Potentially Terrific, what remains to be seen is to what extent this is a bona fide tech demo, or merely an ingenious marketing ploy. The sheer immersion created from a simple first-person perspective would be a welcome feature in the final product, and the success of cult favourites Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent suggest this is the perfect perspective for survival horror. Of course, the third-person staple of the series will be beckoning, but Silent Hills is certainly a lovingly crafted love-child thus far, regardless. Opening doors has never been more alarming.

P.T is available on the Playstation Store now