ECHO is a game with a singular gameplay mechanic that it delivers on with precision. Its setting is a spectacle, and its plot is well-developed despite some slight details that feel glossed over and an ending that barely wraps everything up. Those looking to invest a little time into one of the more unique and stylish titles of the year will find a great experience. If you're hoping to spend a bit more than eight hours into ECHO, there aren't additional gameplay modes, but the option for increased difficulties unlocks after the first playthrough, and there are plenty of collectibles available to keep the avid achievement hunter busy for a while longer.
Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth Book 1 is successful at bringing the epic 12th Century story to a new audience, albeit with a few missteps. The title finds pacing issues in its story and gameplay early and the cadence of its dialogue regularly drags down the overall rhythm, but it brings more than expected in both interactivity and style. Bringing a story the scale of a thousand-page novel to the video game format could not have been an easy endeavor, but Deadalic Entertainment has brought the first act to us with plenty of appetite for more.
Despite a bug that forced my first playthrough to end prematurely, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is an incredible game that will continue to linger with me as a singular and emotionally affecting experience. For its audio and visual design alone, it is stunning, but for its ability to use the video game medium to bridge our understanding of mental illness while also telling a personal and powerful story, it is a masterpiece. If you feel capable of withstanding the emotional strain it requires, a dark and fulfilling tale awaits.
I'm not so foolish as to ignore that some of the game's missteps are just that. However, LKA should be commended for being one of only a few developers in recent memory who has endeavored to express this much humanity and depth for the community of the mentally ill and in a way that is so subversive. The Town of Light is an experience with the power to enlighten many to the anguish of those few still lost in the dark.
SUPERHOT may be a little older than others in your list of recently released games on the PlayStation Store, but for those who have yet to experience it, this title remains a polished gem. The game has a few slight mechanical hiccups, but they pale in comparison to an otherwise solid and unique first-person shooter. DualShockers review of SUPERHOT VR — the PlayStation VR version — will also go live today, July 26, at 12:30 PM Eastern. You can read that review here.
Toby: The Secret Mine's performance is pretty good as a whole with only a couple of instances that caused me some frustration. The most prevalent of these took place near the end of the game while platforming on a series of turning buckets. After I had fallen a number of times, I soon found that after regenerating at the checkpoint, I couldn't even land properly on the first bucket, a previously simple endeavor. I first assumed that I was at fault, making some sort of micro adjustment to force Toby to slide off the bucket. However, after testing this at length, I found that Toby just wouldn't stick to it. I eventually had to reload the level to an earlier checkpoint, which resolved the issue but not after significantly testing my patience. For all of the inspiration that similar titles have leant to Toby: The Secret Mine, the game fails to do the most important thing: to establish itself and become its own. The end result is a mechanically sound puzzle-platformer heavily reminiscent of other games from the genre, but in a far more watered-down form. Additionally, at only about three hours in length with few reasons to replay save for a second ending (you can just play the last level again to get it) and only a few missing collectibles, Toby: The Secret Mine is not something worth playing before getting to one of the games it was born from.
Still, there’s no denying that A Rose in the Twilight’s story and style earn it much more praise. Rose’s past drives a tale of imprisonment that is as dark as what she must do to escape. Every memory she relives becomes a ghost that haunts her and the player alike — ultimately a much deeper, cerebral experience than other PlayStation Vita titles.
To a very limited extent Bridge Constructor reveals the reality of building and maintaining bridges in today’s world. Sometimes, to some people, creating something with fewer resources is considered more valuable than something that’s safe. And in this game, that can be a fun, devious, and humbling experience. Headup Games gets that right. However, little can save the game from simply underperforming in every other regard. Frequent crashes, game-altering performance slowdown, and tutorials that leave only the most resolved standing truly hurts the final product.
If this game sounds like a challenge, I can assure you that it is. If you’re looking for a difficult game and nothing else, Hunter’s Legacy delivers in the end. Parts of it are fun, but so much of the game feels like a missed opportunity, especially in terms of its plot, characterization, and world-building. The relentless gameplay near the end does nothing to redeem Hunter’s Legacy from what it’s ultimately missing.