Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft  was once  at the pinnacle of her genre. She is probably still the most recognisable female character in videogames today but in terms of explorers she has been rather left behind.

Crystal Dynamics’ life has been made rather difficult by Naughty Dog. Many years ago Lara and Crash Bandicoot stood side by side, almost like a pair of unofficial mascots for the PSOne. Nowadays though, Lara is available on every system under the sun and Naughty Dog have sent Crash on to find a new home. Instead, they are working with Nathan Drake and he is desperate for Lara’s crown.

The Uncharted series provide the kind of exciting thrill ride that is usually reserved for the cinema. Bombastic and excitable plots are propelled forward with action style gameplay, adrenaline inducing set pieces and the kind of graphics that are usually the reserve for high powered PC’s.

So, with the latest reboot to the Tomb Raider franchise, Crystal Dynamics  had their work set out for them and as a result they decided that they were going to send Lara into a grittier world. A dirty world where she would have to hunt animals in the wild with a bow and arrow, face a tribe of cannibalistic lunatics and deal with the most realistic weather effects ever conjured up by GPU’s.

Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics seemed to have cottoned onto the fact that while a attractive young woman running around with two guns raiding tombs was a lot of fun in the nineties, gamers want characters to have four dimensions these days, not just three. Gamers want to be able to relate to their character or at least empathise with them in some way. So, Crystal Dynamics seemed to have taken a note out of the ‘Kitchen Sink Drama’ book and decided to make everything as miserable as possible for poor old Lara. Everyone knows, the more gritty and miserable something is, the more believable it is.

Obviously we don’t believe that there is a tribe of immortal Japanese warriors waiting on an island for their god queen to return. But, as gamers we are more readily willing to suspend our disbelief if a story and character has been cemented upon a foundation of some believability. Within the first hour or so of the game, Crystal Dynamics creates this foundation by forcing Lara to survive a horrific series of events including crawling through a pile of savaged bodies, and trying to escape an attacker with horrifying sexual undertones.

Tomb Raider

These events set Lara up to look like she is more fallible, no longer is she the gun toting super woman, bouncing around with duel pistols. She is a cold, frightened young adult armed with just a bow and arrow. She is less Bayonetta and more Clementine. We can’t help but get the feeling that Crystal Dynamics got fed up with creating games where most gamers wanted to date their antagonist. So they made one where even the most sexist pre pubescent oink could feel sympathy for their leading lady and look after her. Looking up walkthrough guides for levels, so that they could guide her to the end of sections unscathed as opposed to scouring the internet for the nudity cheat.

It was sad that prior to the game’s release the angry mob got wind  of a possible rape scene. It’s depressing that videogames are not given the same freedom of exploration of themes that other mediums are. Granted, historical title’s like Custer’s Revenge are an abhorent reminder of some of the trash that crawled out of the early primordial soup of  game creation. But that doesn’t mean that more modern games shouldn’t be able to broach more adult areas. In Tomb Raider, playing as a character trapped in a menacing environment does a great deal to make the player feel like the victim, sex attacks are by no means glorified in Tomb Raider. Maybe one or two gamers should be made to play Tomb Raider and be made to feel like a victim for once. Then they would be able to understand that rape isn’t the kind of thing you threaten over your Xbox microphone or on a YouTube video. On a side note, it was quite surprising that when Ellie faced a similar threat towards the end of The Last Of Us, no one even battered an eye lid. Even though Ellie was just a teenager.

The story of Tomb Raider is a reasonable affair, Lara and some friends on a university expedition are seeking ancient artefacts, when they stray to close to an old island and find themselves  ship wrecked. Unfortunately, it turns out  the island is guarded by a supernatural deity that refuses to allow anyone to leave.

Tomb Raider

At first, Lara must  evade the locals, assuming they are a bunch of survivors who slowly lost their minds to the superstitious relics on the island. It’s not long though before Lara discovers that their is method to their madness and their are supernatural forces at work on the island.

Core Design missed the opportunity to spring the supernatural elements on us in the same way that Naughty Dog did with the first Uncharted. Turning the first game into a terrifying survival horror in the final quarter was a masterstroke and gave the game more of an Indiana Jones feel.

Tomb Raider does offer a lot more in the way of exploration than Uncharted does, but then again I’m not sure how great that is. Uncharted is a streamlined experience allowing players to progress forwards through levels with little in the way of back tracking. This helps  emphasize the game’s cinematic qualities. How often do you watch films where the lead character wanders around for twenty minutes trying to locate a key or figure out a particular jump. Tomb Raider loses this due to the level of exploration and the puzzles. This isn’t so much a negative, some people like to have lots of collectibles that will cause them to revisit the game time after time. Personally, I just prefer the seamless experience of Uncharted.

Tomb Raider

The combat and weapons in Tomb Raider have all been greatly improved. When you do endeavour to go off the beaten track and search for items, you can find salvage which can be used to upgrade  weapons with fun extra’s such as Rambo style fire arrows. The campsites are a particularly handy gameplay addition, as not only do they offer a chance to level up and save your game but once a Camp Site has been located, Lara can fast travel from one campsite to the other. This helps to alleviate some of the boredom from backtracking in the search for elusive items and extra salvage.

Tomb Raider is an excellent platforming adventure title, and even though it doesn’t quite manage to usurp Uncharted, Core Design have built an incredibly strong foundation from which they can continue the Tomb Raider series. The sheer fact that Lara has been going for so long, and is still regarded as gaming’s number one heroine is testament to her appeal. What Lara achieved is something a lot more impressive than what Nathan Drake has achieved so far. Who knows if over time Nathan will still be bounding around with Sully and Co. in the same way that Lara has found herself.

8/10

System: PC (AMD 8320 CPU, AMD ATI 7970 GPU, 8GB RAM)

Bought From: Free with GPU

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DIGESTIVE GAMING BISCUIT: 3rd MARCH – 9th MARCH

playstationThe gaming news this week saw two industry giants step down from their position’s.  As of the 31st of March Jack Tretton will be relinquishing his position as Sony Computer Entertainment’s CEO to Shawn Layden. Tretton and Sony both have stated that this is a mutual decision.

Tretton was one of the founding execs of Sony’s Playstation division having worked for SCEA for the past 19 years. He led the American division of Sony Computer Entertainments through the hardware launches of PSone, PS2, PSP, PS3, Vita and most recently the PS4.

Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House made the following statement. “I’ve worked with Jack for nearly two decades and I want to personally thank him for his leadership and the considerable contributions he’s made to the SCEA business and PlayStation brand over the years. I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Jack Tretton

Shawn Leyden, Tretton’s replacement has been with Playstation for 15 years spending a short stint as president of Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan, so he is clearly more than experienced enough to take on the new role.

The second high profile industry member to leave her position was Amy Hennig. Hennig was game director for Naughty Dog, and it was reported initially that she had been forced to by the company’s co-presidents. Naughty Dog have been quick to respond to these accusations and posted a statement on their website that reads; “Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann were NOT involved in what transpired.”

Uncharted Amy Hennig

In the first reports claiming Hennig was forced out, there were no precise sources or evidence quoted. It would seem that these early articles were therefore a bit speculative. After all, Hennig had done some incredible work at Naughty Dog for the Uncharted series and prior to that the Jak and Daxter title’s. So, it would seem strange for the studio to push her out . However, not wanting to fall foul on this subject like the earlier reports I will end all speculation here.

Nintendo’s Iwata seemed to be the only major player making a statement regarding his intent to keep ploughing on. After making a statement to reduce his wages until Nintendo’s financial reports stop causing the printers from running the red ink cartridge dry, Iwata made a post on Nintendo’s website stating his commitments to continue to develop new Nintendo hardware, and research into providing a “quality of life,” platform.

It was a good job Iwata posted the report early in the week as Nintendo fan’s were exploding with excitement later when Mario Kart 8’s  limited edition was unveiled. The limited edition of the game comes with a plastic statue of the infamous Blue Shell, which has stolen more victories than Russia has stolen in land mass.

If you pre-order the title from Nintendo’s online store, you will also get a t-shirt and key chain included as part of your package.

Mario Kart 8

For the indie hipsters with wispy moustaches that deem Mario Kart 8 too mainstream, have no fear. There’s actually some Nintendo related news you might enjoy. Cebit Games officially became a Nintendo approved developer. If you aren’t aware of the studio they are currently developing a game called Insanity’s Blade: The Chronicles of Thurstan which they will be porting over to the Wii U. This title is the first in a proposed series that charts the journey of a sword possessed by a father’s powerful grief and hatred.

The gameplay combines Action-RPG elements with platforming and tries to wrap it up in a classic arcade style. As regulars to the site might realise I am a sucker for an overarching storyline so I definitely have my eyes on this beautifully rendered 8-bit game. If it sounds like your cup of tea but don’t have a Wii U, you can also support the studio here on Steam Greenlight.

And the most exciting news we have saved until last. Which is probably a bit stupid because 99% of you will have stopped reading by now anyway but who cares. Because that %1 will be part of a special elite who will get to join us for the opening of our new video channel. Click here to see our Metroid Fusion video and don’t forget to subscribe and check back for regular updates while we try and provide you with the finest in videogaming entertainment.

Metroid Fusion

It’s Not Just Graphics launches new video channel!

Metroid Fusion

We have finally launched our video channel with our favourite parts of Metroid Fusion. Here you can find us trying to entertain you with our thoughts and musings on our favourite games. If you enjoy our first video please subscribe to find out as soon as we put up the next one. If you don’t like the video, disagree or just like to make grown men cry, then feel free to send us a message in the comments section below or on twitter @itsnotjustgraphics

Do People Really Like Professor Layton?

Layton

Now, I am fully aware in expressing the following viewpoint I may be tarring myself as a lazy unimaginative pillock. But…

Professor Layton is pants. There I said it. It’s probably one of the worst games I have ever played. I actually couldn’t bring myself to finish it and therefore am unable to class this piece as a review. My save game states I have played a little over five and a half hours, but it felt so much longer.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village is the first title in the franchise that consists of two trilogies, and an upcoming tie in with Phoenix Wright. It was the overarching plot that attracted me to Layton initially, after seeing the incredible cinematics for upcoming Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright I found myself in the wilds of ebay. While there, I was able to hunt down some fool willing to let their mint condition copy of Curious Village go for just £3.50. Bargain.

It would seem the people I bought the game from had no clear attachment to it, as upon booting up there were three different save files, all attributed to different names with no more than 40 minutes racked up between them.

When I saw this alarm bells in my head rang out a tiny bit. I just shrugged these minor worries away though. Those save files probably belonged to some noob-like kids who didn’t fully appreciate the intricacies of Professor Layton. Surely I, a seasoned gamer of 21 years, would be able to understand the small nuances that makes Professor Layton great.

Unfortunately, when it comes to Professor Layton I really am a noob. The introduction gripped me, I loved the cinematics and while the very first puzzles Layton posed to Luke felt clunky and staged, it’s obvious the intro is just easing players in with a forgivable tutorial section.

Layton

When I arrived at St. Mystere for the first time I enjoyed the puzzle to figure out how to lower the drawbridge, this was a puzzle based within the context of the in game action so it made sense. I was also excited to enter St. Mystere and explore. Especially after the short animated cut scene that displayed a tantalizingly quirky Japanese interpretation of a rural French town.

Upon entering the town it became very quickly apparent that most of St Mystere’s citizens are only concerned with solving puzzles. To the extent that every single conversation usually result’s in Professor Layton being challenged with riddle. At one point not even the recent sight of a corpse belonging to a relative was enough to stop a resident quizzing the good Professor about penning in some pigs. This obsession with puzzles, whilst crucial to the gameplay mechanic of the game, makes all of the supporting characters incredibly two dimensional.

See something of interest moving in the background? Tap on it, and you’ll probably be asked to complete a puzzle. Think you can just ignore the puzzles and storm ahead in a bid solve the interesting mysteries that include disappearing townsfolk and murder? Well tough, members of the public will block your way to crucial areas if they feel like you haven’t solved enough puzzle’s, because despite the grisly murders no one seems to want Granny Riddleton’s Shack to become inundated with unsolved puzzles. Maybe they think she’s too old to be working and don’t want to over burden her for fear of causing a heart attack. Although that would seem strange seeing as they don’t seem to care about anyone else disappearing or dying.

This is incredibly infuriating and does nothing to build up the story of the game. It also does nothing to create a credible foundation for Professor Layton’s character as a super sleuth. Imagine how ridiculous Columbo would have looked if every time he wanted to interrogate a suspect he had to answer a ridiculous question involving a piece of string and some coins. Each little mini puzzle is a distraction which makes the overall game experience feel like one of those cheap puzzle books you buy for your gran when she has an extended stay in hospital. You know, the ones that no one under the age of forty buys because everyone else knows how to play videogames.

Layton

I wouldn’t mind so much if the puzzles themselves actually reflected or enhanced what was happening on screen but most of the time they are so far removed from the context I feel like I’m 8 years old again, trying to play a really unfunny version of Monkey Island but my Mum keeps interrupting me with my Maths homework.

Videogames can offer really rich, engrossing narrative experiences. The best example of recent years would be the cinematic thrill rides provided by the Uncharted series, OK so the puzzles aren’t the most difficult thing in the world, but the way in which the levels are designed to make players feel like they are constantly progressing is incredibly engrossing.

Not into action titles and want something a bit more cerebral? Fine, what about Telltale Games incredible Walking Dead series. These point ‘n click adventure titles mix a dark brooding atmosphere with a story that adapts to player’s choices.

Zombies a bit too adult? Fancy something a bit more anime styled? Well Level 5, the developers of Professor Layton managed to get the mix right at least once before with the seminal RPG Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch.

In my opinion Professor Layton is a terrible game because the story is broken up needlessly by trivial puzzles that are boring to solve and add nothing to the overall narrative, atmosphere or general experience of the game. As a result I have no idea how Curious Village went on to cultivate such a huge following let alone act as the foundation for such a massive franchise.

If you think Tom is wrong and have a viewpoint that can help him appreciate Curious Village a bit more then please tell us in the comments section below or send us a tweet @itsnotjustgraphics

DIGESTIVE GAMING NEWS: 24TH FEBRUARY– 2ND MARCH

Kinect

This week has been a bit of a frightening one. Documents were leaked showing that GCHQ conducted an investigation into using our consoles against us, and Xbox Kinect was evaluated for use in spying on us in our own lounges. I had always suspected that Nintendo had managed to secrete a camera somewhere upon the Nintendo Wii, just to laugh at ridiculous westerners who were stupid enough to purchase a console named after a toilet technique, and play games that made players look like they were having an epileptic fit. GCHQ are a bit more menacing than Nintendo though and have motives for watching us other than pointing and laughing.

Between 2008 and 2010, a project with the codename Optic Nerve collected images of users through Yahoo’s webcam service. While it’s not certain whether the Kinect camera, or other camera’s for other consoles have been used. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden specifically mention that the camera within the Kinect device had been identified by GCHQ as a potential source of information.

Kinect

Rather than capturing terrorists, it seems GCHQ are more concerned with cultivating a huge databank of teenage boys wanking over characters such as Bayonetta. We can only imagine how excited they got when Lara Croft Tomb Raider Definitive Edition had been announced for Xbox One. That would grow their databases exponentially. GCHQ were probably also excited that they could open up a whole new specialist collection consisting of fat angry nerds crying whilst they beat off due to the realisation that Lara was only in 900p and not 1080p.

It’s just a bit of a shame that no one pointed GCHQ in the direction of Chat Roulette sooner because I can’t help but feel like it would have saved a lot of interns a lot of work and mental scarring.

Abe

In other dystopian news Fresh Meat released more screen shots for their upcoming remake of Abe’s Odysey. The game is called New ‘n Tasty and is a completely new ‘from the ground up’ rebuilding of the original with 3D visuals, silky smooth animation and improved music. In more Oddworld news, we also reviewed Stranger’s Wrath this week, which you can find here.

Nintendo Force also conducted an in depth interview with Fresh Meat in their January/February issue. You can see a brief overview of that issue here.

Sony Santa Monica

Abe’s not the only employee with an axe to grind this week either, Sony Santa Monica laid off an unspecified number of it’s employees after cancelling an unknown new triple A IP. Sony Santa Monica were the team behind the grisly, gore-tastic God of War, and whilst I am a huge fan of the series, the games haven’t changed a massive amount since their inception. Therefore it would have been great to see something completely new from the incredibly talented studio. Lord knows that the PS4 is crying out for exclusive killer IP at the moment. The Order: 1866 will only satiate so many for so long.

South Park

South Park fans in Europe also faced disappointment this week after Ubisoft announced that they would be censoring their own upcoming comedy RPG, South Park: The Stick of Truth. At least two minutes of footage are to be greyed out with a description from Matt Stone and Trey Parker depicting the incredibly graphic imagery behind.

I can’t help but wonder whether this is a marketing ploy on the part of Ubisoft to drum up hype about the upcoming game. Rockstar can testify to just how well controversy sells videogames. A more recent example would be Senran Kagura, whilst a group of outspoken people were up in arms about the concept of two scantily clad school girls fighting one another, a less outspoken group of people were ordering the game in huge numbers sending Senran Kagura flying up the pre-order charts.

If Ubisoft truly are worried that the content is too graphic for gamers than I think that is an even bigger outrage than if it were just a cheap marketing trick. It’s a sad state of affairs if the videogame industry isn’t confident to explore subjects with the same amount of profanity as other media. If that’s the case, then Ubisoft have weakened videogame’s stance as a legitimate art form in the eyes of its critics.

Nintendo Wi-Fi

And finally, while GCHQ are looking to tap into people’s lives through their consoles, Nintendo are looking to disconnect them. Nintendo announced they will be turning off the Nintendo Wi-Fi service that allows players to play online with Nintendo DS’s and Nintendo Wii’s on the 20th of May.

This is a shame, but Nintendo will be relocating resources to strengthen services for the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. With the release of Mario Kart 8 and the new Super Smash Bros. later this year, they are going to need quite a strong enough infra structure. Especially if Nintendo expect to provide a flawless service to the most complacent species on the planet. Gamers.

Nintendo Force

Nintendo Force

It was with great excitement that I received my copy of Nintendo Force. This independent publication was set up to plug a gap in America left behind by the demise of Nintendo Power.

I have to be ashamedly honest here and admit to not realising that Nintendo Force existed until I stumbled across their Kick Starter campaign.

In the UK we still have the monthly publication of Official Nintendo Magazine. You can subscribe to this publication from anywhere in the world and apart from the odd piece of regional information regarding game’s release dates there really isn’t a lot to stop ONM from catering to the American Nintendo audience.

NF & ONM

In fact, when you place NF next door to ONM there are immediate different levels of quality to the publications. The paper in ONM is more resilient and less likely to tear, and the front cover is a much nicer, glossier, and harder wearing paper than the cover of NF.

ONM is a lot more frequent as well, NF is bi-monthly whilst ONM is a monthly publication allowing it to provide you with information that is a little bit more up to date. However, in this day and age with the advent of the internet, I doubt most gamers rely upon Magazines as their source of gaming news. (We are pretty sure that most gamers use innovative, informative and entertaining news feeds such as Digestive Gaming Biscuit).

Nintendo Force

The team at Nintendo Force seem to realise that print has been usurped in up to date news by the internet. As a result, there are loads of really interesting articles that cover indie, retro and the latest games.

Because Nintendo Force are an independent magazine with a strong following, they obviously don’t have the restrictions that ONM have, especially when it comes to their covers. Looking at the back catalogue of cover’s that NF have run is a lot of fun. The issue that I received for January/February is Shovel Knight which isn’t just a massively creative and beautiful cover that continues around to the back of the magazine. It’s also pretty daring, there aren’t many Nintendo mag’s out there that would use an indie title that was funded by a kick starter campaign for their cover art.

Nintendo Force

There is a really nice interview with the guys over at Fresh Meat regarding the upcoming release of Fresh ‘n Tasty and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. We have a review of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath here if you don’t know anything about the game and want to get excited.

Nintendo Force

You may have seen the Nintendo Force site, and especially if you live in the UK wondered if it was actually worth subscribing too. I would say yes it is, even if you already subscribe to ONM, both magazines offer enough unique material to make them worthy of Nintendo fan’s coffee tables. NF have just offered up another 500 reduced rate subscriptions as well in celebration of Lucas’s brand new baby boy being born. As soon as I finish this post I will be going onto their website and signing up for a subscription.

If you are residing in the US though and you  are already enjoying everything Nintendo Force has to offer. I can also heartily recommend a subscription to Official Nintendo Magazine. Not many editor’s of Magazines are willing to be filmed in an ill fitted Pikmin onesie after all.

Review: Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is a title I have wanted to play since its initial release as an Xbox exclusive in 2005. Unfortunately, it came out in the same year as FEAR, Call of Duty 2 and Quake 4, so my first person shooter thirsts were more than adequately quenched by a sea of future classics.

I then meant to download it on Steam for PC, but it always seemed to be 
in the sales at the wrong time, lost amidst a digital dump of downloadable 
treasures. Then I noticed it on the Playstation Store. “Wow”, I thought. “I could play it on my PS3 and enjoy it as it was originally intended on a console”. But, getting off of the sofa, locating my credit card and engaging in a long
drawn out purchasing process without a keyboard and mouse seemed to be precisely the kind of hassle I intend to avoid when vegging out on the sofa 
like a rotting corpse.

Then I saw that it was available for PSVita, so when I was given 
some Playstation Store vouchers as a gift It seemed like the fates had aligned and I went ahead and purchased Stranger’s Wrath. Frustratingly, I wish I had bought it 9 years ago.

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath on the PSVita feels like a vintage wine that has aged past it’s best, and instead of enjoying it at it’s flavourful peak, it must be used as a vinegary dressing for a salad. Time and the porting process have not been kind. Graphically it is OK, although the Vita’s incredible OLED screen does highlight a few jagged areas and muddy textures.

For those not familiar with the game, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is the 
fourth title released in the Oddworld Universe. It follows the exploits 
of a bounty hunter called Stranger as he journeys through Oddworld trying to 
earn enough money to fund an apparently life saving operation. Now I 
must warn you that this review will contain spoilers, because it is impossible to give a reasonable critique without revealing a few plot elements. (Even then it’s impossible for me to offer a reasonable critique if we are painfully honest). So if you already have your mind made up and you are going to play this game or are already half way through maybe look away now, as I don’t want to ruin 
some of the game’s remaining impact.

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

There are gameplay techniques from wide ranging genres such as stealth 
titles, platformers and first person shooters. The action elements start off as great fun and the game’s weapons are ingenious. Stranger is armed with a crossbow that he can arm with a variety of critters, all with their own
unique effects. These range from fast firing hornets, exploding bats, 
electrified bugs and gaseous skunks.

Stranger, in typical bounty hunter fashion, must capture different criminals in a bid to gain more ‘Moolah,’ (the games equivalent to cash if you hadn’t 
figured out the subtle naming.) Players receive more money for capturing outlaws alive so some of the Critters will only incapacitate targets as opposed to rendering them inert with a violent explosive death. This is a nice way of rewarding players for skillful play and will cajole a few into playing through levels in a stealth like
fashion. Unfortunately, the rewards aren’t really big enough, and 
the gameplay isn’t as addictive as titles like Hitman where it’s possible to get 
sucked into replaying the same level in five different ways in an effort to achieve the best rating. It is possible to set traps for AI enemies by luring them under cranes before dropping huge shipping containers onto their heads, however these traps soon lose their appeal. Partly because it feels so staged and partly because the Critter that is used to entice enemies over to certain areas is so annoying, it’s a lot easier and just as much fun to run in, Boombat’s blazing.

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

About two thirds of the way through the game we learn that Stranger isn’t actually the species that he claimed to be and is actually a Steef. Steef have been hunted pretty much to extinction because the evil villain Sekto offers a small fortune for their heads. This means that Stranger is forced to team up with an indigenous tribe called the Grubbs who have been displaced by Sekto to bottle their water supply and sell it as expensive mineral water. At this stage in the game Stranger no longer needs to capture criminals for cash, instead any enemy that he captures is used as ‘Critter food’, essentially allowing the Critters to breed and give players more ammunition. Upgrades are also handed out at the end of each section by the Grubbs as a way of thanking the Stranger for his effort. As a result, exploration becomes completely unrewarded with little point as there is nothing to spend cash on and the Critters continuously copulate providing an endless ammunition supply.

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

If Stranger’s Wrath was a film it would be a mixture of Chicken Run, 
Serenity, Avatar and The Last of the Mohicans. While this description of the plot might seem faintly damning, the plot itself is actually the best part of the game, despite the negative impact it has on the gameplay. The overall themes of Industrilisation, Anti-Capitalism and Socialism that are present in all other Oddworld titles are all present here and despite there being a lack of Abe it’s obvious what universe Stranger’s Wrath takes place within. The humour at times does wear itself a little thin, especially when the sound-bites of The Chicken’s and the Grubb’s are concerned. After hearing the same phrase bleated out in the same annoying voice for the fifteenth time, you may find yourself searching for the nearest cushioned implement to stuff your ears.

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

The confused identity of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is amplified in the PSVita version through the controls. At times, the touch screen controls are well implemented. To switch from 3rd person to 1st person perspective all you need do is double tap the touch screen. This makes engaging in combat after a platforming section feel seamless. However, there are other times when it seems like the developer just forgot about the touch screen altogether. The menu screens in the stores for instance are impossible to properly navigate and it doesn’t seem like you are actually able to scroll down through all of the items on the list.

Age has not been kind to Strangers Wrath;  gameplay features that were new and daring at the time of it’s initial release seem diluted and rather than being a game with plenty of well implemented and established ideas, there is just a sense of confusion. There still isn’t really a game like it that I can think of and had I played Stranger’s Wrath back in 2005, it may have felt like a more complete package,

Oddworld Strangers Wrath

Wrath is by no means a bad game and I wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from playing it, but if you are going to, please do so after getting in a time machine and taking a trip back to 2005. If this isn’t possible (and I have a feeling it isn’t, I’ve probably just been watching too much Dr. Who again and not taken my medication). Then pick up a copy for the Xbox, it’s cheaper on eBay than on the Playstation Store and you will end up with a nice box to clutter your shelf with. If you are really lucky, it will have come from a smoke free environment and won’t make your lounge smell like an old video rental store.

Score: 5/10

PSVita

Bought From:  Playstation Store