Tag Archives: Xbox One

Haven Review: Everspace

Everspace to put it simply, it’s amazing but if I ended a game review with a simple sentence I’d probably never get to review another title again. The game takes a page from other great space combat games most notably Star Fox in its combat, not counting do a barrel roll though. The controls for combat are very fluid with a option to increase the sensitivity to make things easier on both veterans of the genre and new comers.

One of the best features of the game is the ability to change the difficulty before you begin a play-through. So if you are having issues you can set it too easy which just decreases the amount of credits you get as you play through, but this can be rectified by putting all the credits you do own into the perk which enables you to find more credits which leads to increasing your threshold of money but keeping it on a easier mode.

Speaking of perks found in most RPG’s or ARPG’s are skill tree’s and although this is definitely NOT a Role-Playing game it does carry over that element, with the ability to perk out one of three ships so you can progress through the game easier and accomplish the mission you sent out to do.  Now you expect that after you die you would re-spawn back at your base of operations and in this instance you are not far from the truth.

However, the game does play off the fact that you did indeed die and one of the main focus points of this game is that you are the clone of the man who created you. So every time you die a new clone of yourself takes over and you got to start your adventure all over again venturing into space straight from sector one, much like the Star Fox games of old on the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64, the game is not very forgiving in this respect.

Not to mention its not very forgiving either when it comes to equipping your ship with better equipment. Although you can pick up blue prints and new colors as well as you are venturing through the game, not to mention finding better weapons. You never get to keep the weapons you equip and find only the blue prints and color schemes. Which is all well and good but all the items you can make or store are only found in stages and you only build better weapons or equipment during a stage and not launch into battle with them.

This is quite tedious as you got to mine materials during stages, hopefully while you are not being attacked and then proceed to the crafting screen to make your new equipment, not to mention that while you are crafting you got to ensure you also have enough materials left just in case a crucial function of your craft goes out.

Finding materials to keep your ship going is crucial to the game-play, and on one particular run my life support went out and with it failing and not being able to get the materials in time I spun out and blew up ending my current run. So knowing and having a balance between materials, and items you want to craft is crucial if you want to go for long runs.

However though the biggest issue I tend to encounter is getting fuel for my ship to make jumping easier between sectors and stages. You can attack the neutral NPC’s to get fuel but then for the entire sector they will all come after you making getting to the end game much harder for yourself, so you really got to choose your battles. Because they will occasionally aid you in fighting the various enemies you will encounter as you play through.

All this together helps make Everspace though one of the best action / space combat games I have ever played. With the opportunities to make my ship how I want, a selection of various enemies I can fight and countless ways I can customize my ship for combat. All while adding a reason to explore all the sectors you visit and adding anomalies to make the space combat even more thrilling, such as lightning storms, in space!

The great soundtrack, compiled with the well driven story and beautifully drawn cut-scenes makes Everspace a game I can’t put down. I hope whatever the studio is doing right now involves a sequel and fixing the occasional crashing bug on the Xbox One. All in all, even with that bug this is a game I would recommend to everyone. Regardless if you are a new to the genre or a veteran of the genre this is a game everyone can enjoy.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Drifting Lands

Now in my time I have played a lot of side scrolling games, starting from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) all the way to the glorious Sega Genesis and despite my enjoyment of those titles they never felt complete to me, they never felt like they were what the genre could be and what Drifting Lands accomplishes.

Humble in their beginnings they created one of the first genre of game where you have a ship of some kind that you got to blast through hordes of enemies that generally spew in from the right side of the screen. All the while you are madly dodging lasers, bullets, bombs, and explosions and everything else that is trying to kill you from giant space worms to other alien ships.

Drifting lands takes from its predecessors in the basics where you got the ship, its bullet hell in dodging and fighting. But that is where the comparisons end, they have added level select, they have added in stage difficulties, they even added a currency system and what I most absolutely love. They added the ability to buy and build a variety of ships from parts you scavenge from destroyed enemy ships.

However, this also presents a problem because with multiple ships to own, build and customize with a variety of weapons there is a downside to it all. That being you can lose your ship and all the rare parts you get while you play through stages. Which at this junction breaks my heart, because I got a really amazing rare item that boosted my ships stats through the roof, but upon fighting a enemy boss my ship was destroyed and I lost that part never to see it again.

Now, to this extent they have given the option to go classic mode where you will lose your equipment like I have. Never to be able to get it back again and you got to grind all over again for hours and hours on end if you hope to find it again OR you can do a safe mode which items will only break and you can repair them in the market place.

My only wish is that I would like an option to change between the two game modes while in game but, that is not do-able. So if you want to play it safe you got to make that choice very early on at the start of the game or else you may run the risk of losing your really good stuff.

Drifting Lands is one of the best side scrolling action games I have ever played with its very in-depth customization features, toppled with its beautiful scenery and exciting soundtrack. It stands out to me as one of the best if not to date the greatest side scrolling title to date.

The only thing I wish they did better was changing the game mode option freely, because I deeply regret being blown up, I lost a really awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Easter egg which was a old cassette.

If you are a fan of the classic side scrolling genre and have always wanted more from it, but also sticking strongly to its roots than look no further, Drifting Lands is the game for you. I’ve enjoyed it for countless hours.

Also the man in charge of the market looks suspiciously like Anthony Bourdain

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: The Surge

The Surge, now in terms of action rpg’s this game has it made with a chance to upgrade the various battle frame  parts you can get in it, as well as the exo-skeleton itself. However, I got to say this the story for me has been a tedious bore and combat itself feels very unbalanced to the point where it doesn’t even seem fair.

Like the Technomancer its combat Is best suited for one on one, but ends up for the most part being four to five vs one, the one being yourself and it doesn’t necessarily work out very well for you.
However I will point out that as you progress slowly through the game it does get easier getting pieces of equipment and upgrading your equipment to make combat easier but how long and how drawn out It can get makes the game more enjoyable as a means to kill time than a overly enjoyable fun to play title.

I will give the developers points though the very start of the game was very enjoyable and the level design was also very nice. I even found the starting story where you are a handicapped person trying to get his life back on track and also help the world really great, even up to the point where (spoiler alert) you got the exo-skeleton drilled directly into your body while you were conscious and had neither a sedative or anesthesia to put you to sleep.

Now, breaking it down the combat involves a lot of timing and dodging as most action RPG’s would have, keeping a close eye on your stamina meter to make sure you don’t run out of stamina and know also when to strike back at the enemies, like your battle frame parts you can acquire different pieces of equipment as you play through from a simple wrench, or some really amazing hidden weapon in the first stage. Each weapon has its own attack patterns, and attack speed so mastery of this compiled with knowledge of the combat system with dodging ect is crucial.

What could easily start out as a simple one on one fight could easily also turn into a multi-enemy combat situation. Which helps make this a lot more complicated, and the biggest issue is that the enemies don’t scale up properly as you fight. Even if you spend all of one stage grinding out to max out your equipment as high as it can go for that stage. When you start in the next level you will already be under leveled.

I ultimately ended up finding a exploit in the game to help scale me up to get extra life to make progression easier and even that didn’t make gameplay any easier for me. It should be worth mentioning that like a RPG you can get equipment with special properties and with that equipment you can have set bonuses such as increased speed, increased health, durability or removal of stamina restrictions. This can be helpful at times, but it still doesn’t fully aid in the situation you are faced with in combat.

I do however like the upgrading system, as you fight through the game you can lop off a enemies arm or leg, or even behead them for a higher chance of getting a equipment drop from them or a material drop that goes to that part of the body. So getting materials to upgrade your equipment is fairly easy, as is using the base scrap you get.

Now the base scrape you get is used not only in upgrading your weapons, and battle frame parts but also your power core in general. The higher your power core goes up the more passive bonuses you can get from “chips” you get along the way for a deeper level of customizing. Some chips give a passive bonus to increase your help equal to the level of your power core. So powering up your power core can be quite beneficial at times.

Now besides my negative input on the combat for the game, the sound track and the controls for the game are actually quite fluid and I really find those to be quite enjoyable, it is not very often you find a game with controls as fluid as The Surge has, not even the Technomancer had controls that were that well programmed.

Don’t get me wrong, the only real issue I encountered in The Surge was its combat, outside of that I’ve kinda blown quite a few hours just goofing off and exploring. It even gives you the opportunity to learn more of the story through audio tapes and not some wall of text which helps add another level of immersion to the title.

In conclusion, The Surge is a good title, not one of the best but good and definitely not something I would recommend to a child. The game even has a New Game+ feature so you can keep playing making it even harder to advance if you are into that.

-Daniel Clatworthy