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Bravo Team Review

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When it comes to first person shooters for the PlayStation VR, quality choices are slim. While Farpoint and Superhot VR offer some fantastic first person shooter options, nothing has been released that tackles the military first person shooter genre.

Developed by Supermassive Games (Until Dawn, Hidden Agenda), Bravo Team aims to provide a VR experience heavily focused on military action. While Bravo Team provides brief glimpses of greatness throughout the 3 – 4 hour campaign, unfortunately the end product feels like a rushed and unpolished release.

The plot of Bravo Team has the player controlling two members of the aforementioned team, who have just witnessed the assassination of a foreign president. While vague allusions are provided throughout the campaign attempting to provide some sort of reasoning for the assassination, nothing is truly explained until the final ten minutes of the game. I wish I could speak further on the narrative plot, but Bravo Team’s thin narrative threads that weave this campaign’s short length together are a definite backseat to the military action. Your playable characters aren’t given any time to build themselves into actual human beings with emotions, and aside from the rarely mentioned codenames of Tinman and Scarecrow, I know next to nothing about these characters. While Bravo Team does offer slight variations on the narratives climax depending on your final choice, all three similar endings don’t provide a satisfying conclusion to the generic plot.

Within the first 60 seconds of Bravo Team’s campaign you will find yourself with a weapon in hand, battling wave after wave of masked enemies. While this is all well and good, Bravo Team struggles to add variety throughout the campaign’s short length. The enemies you encounter during your first mission are the same enemies you will encounter during every chapter of the campaign, with only slight variations appearing during certain chapters. This repetition also carries over to the four weapons available throughout Bravo Team, as two of those weapons are only available during select chapters. With almost no story to keep me hooked, the same linear mission structure against the same enemy type, with the same weaponry becomes a tedious affair after a few chapters. Bravo Team also provides a Score Attack mode and the option to bring in an online multiplayer partner, but both modes tackle the same mission and enemy locations, which doesn’t offer much in the way of incentivising multiple playthroughs.

Bravo Team can be played in a variety of ways, either with the DualShock 4, PlayStation Move, or with the bundled PlayStation VR Aim; I used the VR Aim controller for my playthrough. Utilising the VR Aim controller shooting in Bravo Team feels responsive and I particularly loved the kickback the assault rifle has on screen, which meant I had to account for the weapon recoil when taking precise shots. Utilising the VR tracking, players are able to stand up in cover or simply lean around corners to get the drop on enemies, all VR related controls work very well and aside from a few issues with the PlayStation Camera’s field of view I didn’t have any problems in this area. As previously stated there are only four weapons in Bravo Team, an assault rifle, sidearm, sniper rifle and shotgun. The assault rifle is sufficient to complete the entire campaign and is easily the most fun to use. The sidearm and shotgun are almost useless and there are barely any scenes where close range combat is required. While the sniper rifle is barely used, I did appreciate the fact it required the player to lean close to the scope of the rifle in order to clearly see through the sights of the weapon.

When Bravo Team runs well and doesn’t have any technical problems, it offers glimpses into the adrenaline filled action gameplay it has the potential to deliver. There were a number of hectic shootouts with enemy soldiers that became extremely frantic when enemies closed in from all angles. This is where utilising Bravo Team’s 180 degree switch of view mechanic becomes essential. With one flick of the analog stick your character will face the opposite way, which meant there were moments I was laying down supressing fire in front of me, before turning around to tackle enemy combatants on my six. These moments were fantastic, but I only wish these frenetically paced moments occurred more often.

One of Bravo Team’s most jarring features is the switching of view when changing cover positions. Instead of simply teleporting or allowing players to move along with the character, players view will remain at the current cover position as you see your character run to the next cover point in a third person view, before teleporting back to the new cover location; it is such a strange and jarring implementation of changing viewpoints. Another one of Bravo Team’s issues is the inconsistencies with cover and hit detection. Over a dozen times I had shots lined up on enemy combatants only for my gun not to fire because the game detected I was firing into cover, which I was not. Enemies would also randomly be visible behind cover, only for the object to then become visible when they stood up. These may seem like minor details, but when every fire fight is plagued with poor cover detection and a number of enemies crouching down behind invisible cover, it simply puts a damper on the intense atmosphere.

Unfortunately some of Bravo Team’s biggest issues are with its technical and visual performance. During my time with Bravo Team I ran into a number of issues, ranging from multiple game crashes (in particular one section of the game which crashed 5 times), partner AI problems that saw my partner stuck on the environment forcing a restart, environmental clipping, and enemies spawning out of thin air in the middle of the battlefield. These technical issues lead me to speculate if the finished product was rushed to be released, as a lot of these technical issues are so apparent that I cannot understand how they were missed before release.

Bravo Team also has a weird style visually, as the game world itself has an unappealing muddy filter causing most of the environments to have a grimy texture. From abandoned cars, office walls, or stone ledges, the entire world suffers from this brown visual style. The VR visuals of Bravo Team don’t rival many of the titles in the PlayStation VR library, and perhaps this is why the gloomy style was chosen.

Overall, I wanted to love Bravo Team as the adrenaline filled battles (when done perfectly) are fantastic, and offer an intensity that standard first person shooters cannot provide. However, the generic campaign, myriad of technical issues, muddy visual style, and linear mission structure cannot be ignored. Bravo Team feels like a game that had some fantastic ideas, but didn’t have enough time to focus on them, and instead was shipped out the door before it was ready. Perhaps Bravo Team will become a stronger product in the coming months after a few downloadable updates, but in its current form I cannot recommend Bravo Team unless you are extremely craving to experience a military-based shooter in virtual reality.

Jamie has been writing about the gaming industry for a number of years, with his content appearing on a number of websites. Jamie is a preferred PlayStation gamer, but also loves gaming on his Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. His favourite franchises cover classic gaming titles such as Banjo Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot and Devil May Cry, to more recent franchises like Uncharted, The Witcher and Mass Effect. You can follow him on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter @Jamiex66 and on his personal website Jamiex66.com.

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Crawl Review

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Crawl Review

Crawl is a film which comes directed by Alexendre Aja who some may know as the director of The Hills Have Eyes (2006). The film stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper.

Crawl is a film about a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who attempts to save her father (Barry Pepper) who is trapped in his house during a category 5 hurricane. Tremendous damage has occurred to the home and the surrounding area during the storm, with the streets slowly flooding But that’s not the only danger to be wary of, the flood waters have paved the way for dozens of alligators to come into town and they’re ready to feast on anyone still around. Will poor Haley and her father survive though?

Going into this film. I was actually quite excited. I do enjoy these action films where there’s some creature out there and it’s preying on whatever character the film is about. This film is a little similar to The Meg, but it most reminded me of Anacondas (2004). All of these films and Crawl included wouldn’t be ones I’d say were legendary films, but gosh, I definitely have fun watching them!

Crawl as a story is about survival. There are themes all throughout it related to man vs nature and also the idea of the apex predator is scattered all throughout it. Both characters in the film are constantly challenged and struggle to survive in the a town getting torn apart by the storm.

The main reason most people would go to see Crawl at the cinema would be for the action and that’s the same reason I wanted to go along and see this one. I wanted to see what the alligators could do and I wanted to see some people get eaten up. Did I get that? I certainly did! Did I need much more out of this? Probably not.

As for Crawl being scary. I’m not too sure, I find it all quite fun. But there are people who this would probably frighten a little. Much of the film is cgi and for what it is and for the type of movie this is I think it was just the right quality. They didn’t try to go too big like in The Meg where the cgi seemed to struggle in certain areas. Although the limitations of the cgi are visible in Crawl, it’s not too bad in the end.

The acting in Crawl isn’t too bad. Kaya Scodelario is who you’ll be watching for basically the entire film and she delivers a pleasant performance. Some may recognise this actress from her appearance in The Maze Runner (2014) where she played Teresa. Hopefully there is more to come from her in future films.

The tone of the film, while at times can be a little intense with all the danger out there did actually feel a little light. Alexandre Aja seemed to keep the tone not too serious and embraced the silliness of it all in certain areas to keep it light and fun. But it was also tense and scary when it needed to be.

Overall I had a good time with Crawl at the cinema last week. This isn’t a film that is going to blow anyone away with how good it is, but it’s something to see for a bit of fun over the weekend. You get to watch two characters try to survive a massive hurricane and not get eaten by alligators. Crawl was 1 hour and 27 minutes of fun!

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Sea Of Solitude Review

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Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.

This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.

The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.

Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.

In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.

The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.

Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.

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Stuber Review

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Stuber Review

Stuber is a film which comes directed by Michael Dowse and stars Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani and Betty Gilpin. The film is an action comedy adventure about an Uber driver and a policeman who go on a wild ride together.

Going in to see Stuber I didn’t really know where to set my expectations. Knowing only that the film was a comedy, meant I went in for the lols and didn’t expect all that much from the story. But coming out of the film, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not really that great.

The film starts off okay and the opening scene features both Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sara (Karen Gillan) engaged in a dangerous shootout with some bad guys. Both are seriously injured and Vic loses his eyesight, which means he gets some urgent surgery. His eyes need time go recover, but as soon he’s able to walk he calls for an Uber and continues on with his police business, which is catching the bad guys who got away in the opening scene. This is where Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) comes in and the journey between this awkward duo begins.

I wish I could say that it was all good once the Uber ride began but it wasn’t. The film is only really mildly funny. Dave Bautista who I do really like in action films really isn’t great at comedy. Kumail Nanjiani basically was just screaming and yelling the whole time and talking about his Uber rating and reviews. I admit I did find some of the bad reviews he got from his previous customers in the film funny when they were shown, but that’s about it. Some of the jokes were also drawn out way too long. Dave Bautista’s character being blind was kind of funny in the first minute when you saw him trying to walk around without being able to see. But it’s only funny once and they did this joke over and over again almost all the way until the end!

In addition to this, for quite a bit of the film, I wondered if this was some sort of product placement or advertisement for Uber. There were so many mentions of Uber, Uber reviews and the difference between Uber products and services. What are we paying to watch here? Who cares about Uber!?

In the end I would suggest avoiding Stuber at the cinema this week and choosing literally any other film currently showing. After leaving this I instantly thought that Stuber needs to be on my list of worst movies of 2019 which I created just after seeing this and that says a lot because I was not compelled to make one after seeing X:Men Dark Phoenix.

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