Review: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors – Zero Escape


NOTE: 999 is a narrative driven game and the less you know about it the better. There will be very mild spoilers, but I pretty much only explain the premise of the game.

The DS proved to be a natural fit for the visual novel genre to the touchscreen, and many developers sought to create visual novels with added gameplay on the system. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors – or, 999 – is a psychological horror game with a strong emphasis on story and puzzle based gameplay. Apparently not as popular in Japan due to its dark and intense tone, the game became a surprise cult hit in the West and garnered a small fanbase along with its fair share of very positive reviews. Whilst other series such as Ace Attorney or Professor Layton have proven more popular, 999 managed to sneak its way into the hearts of many players and garnered enough support for a sequel, probably largely based on the Western audience. The sequel, and the recently released Zero Time Dilemma, the third and final game in the ‘Zero Escape’ series, is what spurred me on to finally play this game. 999 had been on my radar for many years due to my love for other similar games, but I never actually sat down and played it until just now.

Continue reading


Classic Review: Dino Crisis – Attacked by a big-ass lizard


The original Dino Crisis was released in 1999. Developed by Capcom and headed by Shinji Mikami, the creator of Resident Evil, Dino Crisis was essentially Resident Evil but with dinosaurs. Fundamentally the games are the same, providing the player with tense combat and atmospheric exploration. However Dino Crisis also subverts those expectations, creating an experience both familiar and completely alien to Resident Evil veterans and newcomers alike.

Continue reading

Review: Until Dawn – A Symphony of Horror

until dawn logo

Ever since the early days of the video game industry developers have strived to provide high quality narratives to players around the world. Of course, the biggest advantage of the medium is the interactivity, allowing the player to take part in the narrative themselves, similar to ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ books and games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The French developer Quantic Dream has attempted to bring high quality narrative based games to varying degrees of success. On the one hand, mechanically their games are sound, often allowing exploration of environments coupled with frantic QTEs and dialogue choices that force the player to deal with the consequences should they fail or make a poor decision. However their games are also known for being, well, a bit shit in the actual story department, which sucks the impact out of their games to say the least. Enter Until Dawn, a mechanically similar game but with one distinct advantage: an enjoyable and well structured narrative.

The setup is fairly simple: eight friends gather at a cabin in the woods on the one year anniversary of a tragic event they witnessed. The party consists of four males and four females: Josh, Chris, Mike, Matt, Sam, Emily, Jessica, and Ashley. Josh belongs to the family who owns the lodge and invites the rest of his friends to that lodge. The various characters have different relationships with different characters, for example Emily and Matt are dating, Sam is entirely single and Chris/Ashley are interested in one another but don’t actually date yet. These horny teenage characters embody a number of stereotypes and cliches, but perhaps to the games advantage. Until Dawn isn’t interested in some deep character exploration (except maybe with one character), but rather what makes these characters tick, and most importantly, how these characters would react to the horrific events that are happening, and how they react to each other. There is some bad blood between some characters, and your choices along the way can fracture, or improve, the relationships between the characters, in turn affecting their odds of survival.

Continue reading

Classic Review: Silent Hill 4 – Don’t Go Out!!


Out of the four original Team Silent games, Silent Hill 4 is undoubtedly the black sheep of the franchise. Developed by the b-team, and left out from the HD collection (a blessing in disguise, really), Silent Hill 4 is often disregarded as being a part of the original and classic Silent Hill games. There is some debate about the legitimacy of the game within Silent Hill, with some sources stating the game was never meant to be Silent Hill, whilst other sources claim the game was always intended to be a side story of the series. Regardless of the issue, Silent Hill 4 was the last game to be developed by Team Silent, the series thrown over to Western developers who ‘understand’ Silent Hill, which is to say they didn’t have a fucking clue.

Continue reading

Classic Review: Silent Hill 2


This is it. The big one. Silent Hill 2 is often regarded as one of the best survival horror games of all time, one of the best video games full-stop, and THE best Silent Hill game. Certainly, Silent Hill 2 is the most popular and respected entry in the franchise with many people preferring the character study aspect of the game, as opposed to the occult storyline found in Silent Hill 1, 3 and 4. I even have to admit Silent Hill 2 is my favourite in the series, probably because I’m a sucker for character. The popularity of this game goes as far as to be pretty much the sole influence for later Silent Hill games that were helmed by Western studios who completely ignored the true essence of Silent Hill and instead having a go at their own version of Silent Hill 2. To completely disastrous results. Every. Single. Time. It’s not Silent Hill 2’s fault though, and we’re here to talk about Silent Hill 2. So lets.

Continue reading

Review: Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection


With their history of amazing games both old and new, Naughty Dogs have earned themselves the reputation as one of the best developers working in the industry today. The Uncharted series, set to possibly end with the fourth instalment next year, comes bundled together in one collection presenting the first three games fully remastered. I’ve played the first two before, but for whatever reason never got around to the third game, making it entirely new to me. Everyone already knows how people feel about these games, but have they aged well at all?

Continue reading

Cult Classic Review: The Elder Scrolls Adventures Redguard – Have you seen my sister?


The Elder Scrolls series has risen from a fairly popular PC series to a juggernaut RPG franchise, hugely popular on PC and console alike. However there are two mysterious Elder Scrolls games that were released for PC in the late 90s: An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire, and Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard. The former was originally an expansion for The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and later made into a standalone dungeon-crawler title to fill the gap between Daggerfall and Morrowind. Redguard on the other hand was completely unique for the series, featuring a third person perspective and focusing on puzzle solving, exploration, sword combat, and platforming. These two games have been fairly lost and aren’t particularly known for being quality games, but are intriguing nonetheless. And fortunately both games were released on Good Old Games in a new Elder Scrolls bundle!

Continue reading