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Moss VR Review

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Resident Entertainment was provided with a copy of the game for our Moss VR Review by PlayStation Australia

After purchasing the PlayStation VR at launch I’ve had phases where I’ve been completely enamoured by the potential of the hardware, but mostly I’ve had my VR headset put away waiting for that potential to finally become a reality. This is where Polyarc’s adventure game Moss comes into play, not only does it provide a window into the potential for VR in the future, but it also delivers on that potential right here and now.

Moss follows the story of Quill, an adorable young mouse who finds an ancient piece of glass that allows them to see the Reader; which is you the player. Together Quill and yourself will work together to rescue Quill’s uncle and save the land of from the evil Sarffog. The narrative itself follows the typical archetypes of the unknown individual being chosen for greatness, but in this instance the plot never feels generic due to the overall charm of the world and its characters. One of the major reasons the plot succeeds so well is due to Quill’s lovable heroic nature, Quill is kind of heart but will do anything to save her Uncle and the land of Moss, despite the odds being stacked against her.

Moss doesn’t have actual cut scenes; instead we are treated to some beautiful artwork within a story book. As exposition is delivered by the narrator (who provides the voice of every character in the game) in a story book retelling format, players must turn the pages of the book to further the story. It’s such a charming delivery method for exposition and plot that I found myself completely enthralled during each of these scenes. One of Moss’s greatest shortcomings is the length of the plot itself, which can be beaten in about 4 -5 hours; possibly less if you avoid attempting to find collectables. While it doesn’t stay around long enough to outstay its welcome, I found myself disappointed that such a fantastical adventure didn’t go on for a lot longer. I guess this is a testament to the quality of the story, but it is also quite a shame we didn’t have some extra time with Quill.

Moss VR Review

Moss VR Review

Each level of Moss is set within small 3D diorama-like levels. Utilising VR you are able to lean in, look around and interact with the world. As previously stated, Quill and the player must work together to progress, but Quill is also fully aware of your presence and will also try to interact with you. I cannot emphasise how delightful it was to finally defeat a section of enemies, only to then see Quill look at me directly with her hand open for a high-five. These minor details help turn Moss from a typical platformer, into a charming story book adventure.

Puzzles within Moss start out fairly simple, as you control Quill with the analog sticks on the DualShock 4, while also using the controller tracking from the PlayStation camera to interact with the world. Utilising the triggers on the DualShock 4 you are able to manipulate objects to help guide Quill through each location. While none of these puzzles will have you scratching your head for hours on end, the puzzles do require some thought later on. Especially when the game requires you to multitask quite heavily utilising both the controller tracking and analog sticks at once, sometimes with many enemies thrown in. Moss also features some light platforming, and while Quill’s jumps are responsive and weighty there were a handful of instances where Quill became stuck in the environment. These instances could mostly be rectified, but it did occur enough that it requires mentioning.

Like the aforementioned puzzles, combat within Moss is fairly straight forward to begin with. Moss uniquely allows you to reach inside the world and interact with enemies, either incapacitating them or even using their own weapons against their fellow comrades. It’s an interesting mechanic that is made more challenging during the final third of the game, as your Reader abilities are also the only way Quill can heal in battle. This causes interesting, on the fly decision making, as you must determine when to incapacitate an enemy, when it is safe to stop Quill in battle to heal, and when Quill’s only option is to keep attacking. I loved the multitasking facets of battles and it truly emphasised the bond between Quill and the Reader, as you must truly rely on one another to survive.

Moss VR Review

Moss VR Review

Quill’s physical abilities in battle are limited, with only a jump and attack button mapped to X and square respectively, while a dodge can also be used when pressing both buttons simultaneously. I found the fact Moss focused on so few buttons to be a problem in combat, as there were many times where I’d jump or attack rather than dodge, simply because I hit one button slightly before the other. This problem could have simply been avoided if dodge was mapped to another button, but even when it did cost me my life, checkpoints in battle are fairly generous and load times are quite fast.

Moss’s charming and whimsical nature is greatly heightened due to the story book-esque world Quill explores. For a PlayStation VR game these are some of the best and varied visuals I have experienced within a full release, ranging from an underground cavern, lush forest, and even a little mouse town.  The fact the VR allows you to lean in and explore every nook and cranny of each diorama also adds to the visual depth of the world, offering something non-VR titles can simply not provide. While the diorama locations look fantastic, the vast and expansive backgrounds of each location add a grand scale to each scene. At one stage there are life-sized deer in the background that get startled by Quill’s presence, it is a minor moment and it could have easily been removed from the game without effecting the experience, but it further adds to Moss’s charming details.

The same whimsical nature can be found within the music itself, which has a charming fairy tale vibe that worked with the art style perfectly. Moss even has an incredible finale song that is truly moving, which helped cap off this great adventure. But if I was to point out my favourite piece of audio within Moss, it would be the added page turning sound effect that accompanies each scene transition. Once again this is an added detail that simply emphasises the fantastical adventure Moss offers, and these charming details continued to add up throughout my adventure.

Moss is one of the most charming, delightful and fantastical games I have played in a long while, and it provides a VR adventure that I have never experienced before. It transported me to a world I never knew existed and allowed me to interact with it in ways that only VR gaming can truly offer, leaving me smiling throughout my entire journey like a child hearing their favourite fairy tale for the first time.

While Moss may not justify the price of entry into the PlayStation VR headset itself, it is a must play for any PSVR owner and a fantastic game to truly showcase the potential of virtual reality for the future, and now.

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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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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The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019: Updated Chart

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Biggest Album Debuts of 2019

The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019 – Billboard has been publishing a list of the most popular albums in America every week since March 1956. They include the “equivalent album units” for the albums in the top ten. What’s not included is a way to view the biggest debuts for each year.

For anyone else who is curious, here is a chart that ranks the biggest album debuts of 2019.

NOTE:

  • This only covers first-week album sales in America that debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart
  • EPs are included in this list
  • “Equivalent album units” factor in traditional album sales, concert ticket/merch bundles and streaming numbers

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AND UPDATED LIST

ArtistAlbumFirst Week “Units”
Jonas BrothersHappiness Begins414,000
Ariana GrandeThank U, Next360,000
Billie EilishWhen We All Fall Asleep313,000
Backstreet BoysDNA234,000
BTSMap of the Soul: Persona230,000
KhalidFree Spirit202,000
Juice WRLD

Tyler, the Creator

Death Race for Love

Igor

165,000 (1) (2)
Vampire WeekendFather of the Bride138,000
DJ KhaledFather of Asahd137,000

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AND UPDATED LIST

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