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Skyshine’s BEDLAM is a tactical roguelike that throws together Mad Max, Oregon Trail and X-COM to great effect. Originally backed by Kickstarter and set in the titular post-apocalyptic landscape of Bedlam, the game sees you play a nameless mechanic leading a caravan from one end of the wasteland to the other – crossing paths with mutants, cyborgs and the forces of the tyrannical King Viscera along the way.

Each run of BEDLAM starts you off in the city of Bysantine, before setting you free to traverse the wasteland as you wish. From there, the game gives you a large degree of freedom in exactly how you travel in search of the mystical and utopian Aztec City.

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

Bedlam itself is divided into different regions and it’s up to you whether you want to keep your convoy to the main paths or whether you want to investigate each and every last point of interest on the map. This metagame element is very much tied to resource management and risk-versus-reward with the danger level of combat encounters increasing over time.

Said combat encounters keep things simple – playing out on an isometric grid – but nail-bitingly difficult – with players limited to two actions per turn. Though the characters themselves are often pretty generic, BEDLAM does a good job of letting you tackle combat the way you want. The game lets you scale your team size how you want it, with smaller teams netting additional loot bonuses.

There are four different character classes but – for better or worse – there’s little in terms of customization. Frontliners have high health but are restricted to melee combat, Trenchers are capable of pushing foes back with shotgun attacks, Gunslingers are capable of retaliating against enemy attacks and Deadshots are glass cannons with a high attack range and low health. Personally, I found the Deadshots and Trenchers to be the most useful but all of the classes have a role to play and the more experience a character earns the more lethal and durable they become.

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

Additionally, each trip through the wastelands of Bedlam will see you come up against various elite characters. These act as boss fights in each playthrough and defeating them usually results in you enlisting them to your cause. As well as being a lot of fun and interesting to use, these elite characters are a lot less fragile than the rest of your forces and in the latter parts of the game become all but crucial to making it out of combat encounters alive.

Given it shares an engine with last year’s The Banner Saga, you’d expect a similar feel between the two games – but these similarities are only surface level. The combat of BEDLAM often feels so chaotic it’s almost unfair and its narrative aspirations are much more humble compared to The Banner Saga’s sprawling epic. BEDLAM is a somewhat lighter affair that invites you to dive into its world but not scrutinize it too deeply. The basic details of the setting are sketched out in an introductory video accessible from the main menu and the story is as simple as the trip from A to B – with a handful of colorful interactions between. On the whole I’d say this is one of the few disappointing aspects of the game with the story really unable to do justice to the wicked art style it has behind it.

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

Skyshine’s BEDLAM Review

It lacks the staying power and narrative ambition of The Banner Saga, but BEDLAM remains a solid title for fans of roguelikes and tactical strategy games. While the game’s difficulty can be quite brutal at times and its story elements often feel underdeveloped, it’s a surprisingly approachable burst of post-apocalyptic tactical action.

7 out of 10

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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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