Gaming Q&A – August 2017 – What video game deserved a sequel but didn’t get one?

You know me, I’m always up for a good discussion, no matter if it’s games, films, TV series or even books and writing. So, when the crew of Later Levels approached me for a monthly gaming Q&A, hopefully to create some great debates around video games, it didn’t take much for me to see that it could be fun.

Every month, I’ll present you with the question and my answer. If you’d like to join, get in touch with Later Levels. The rules are simple, in fact there is only one to note: your answer must be in 100 words or fewer.

This month’s question is: What video game deserved a sequel but didn’t get one? Continue reading Gaming Q&A – August 2017 – What video game deserved a sequel but didn’t get one?

Gaming Q&A – July 2017 – Which video game has the best idle animation?

You know me, I’m always up for a good discussion, no matter if it’s games, films, TV series or even books and writing. So, when the crew of Later Levels approached me for a monthly gaming Q&A, hopefully to create some great debates around video games, it didn’t take much for me to see that it could be fun.

Every month, I’ll present you with the question and my answer. If you’d like to join, get in touch with Later Levels. The rules are simple, in fact there is only one to note: your answer must be in 100 words or fewer.

This month’s question is: Which video game has the best idle animation? Continue reading Gaming Q&A – July 2017 – Which video game has the best idle animation?

Review: Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 puts you in control of four characters, searching for answers in a hostile island and a way out, before fear consumes and changes them—literally so.

Genre(s): Survival Horror

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: February-March 2015

Played: Full Season + 4 hours Raid Mode

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox360, Xbox One

Purchase At: Steam


  • Terrific characterization.

  • Strong survival-focused gameplay.

  • Strong Japanese voice cast.


  • Bad environmental design.

  • Repetitive documents.

  • Uneven plot pacing.



I still remember the announcement for RER2. It came during a week when female members of our community were under fire and the women’s role and portrayal in games were under debate. When they announced Clare was coming back, I honestly thought, “This is what we need, one of the original female badasses, Clare Redfield!” Capcom definitely nailed the timing for their announcement.

And that is one thing Resident Evil: Revelations 2 does right: character portrayals. Clare isn’t the same girl we met in Resident Evil 2 but one of the senior Terra Save agents. She’s strong, decisive and courageous, but without losing her humanity, which is harder to do than you’d expect—most of the times writers just cross the line into Impossible Hardass.

It's all about Kafka!
It’s all about Kafka!

With Clare is Moira Burton, Barry’s daughter and the most foul-mouthed character in all of Resident Evil. What I like most about Moira is she shows significant growth during the story. At the start she refuses to even hold a gun because of a childhood trauma, but by the end she manages to push herself beyond it. I liked that development and it feels real and believable…you know, even with the crazy genetic monstrosities.

The rest of the main cast consists of Barry himself, coming to the island where the plot takes place (I’ll get on that in a bit) a few months later than Clare and his daughter, hoping to find answers to her fate. Barry is a rock of a character, acting as the strong and collected one to his companion, Natalia, an 11-year-old-ish girl. Where she falters he’s there to offer support and as such he doesn’t evolve as much as the rest, but is instrumental in the other character’s development.

The nonsensical skill tree
The nonsensical skill tree

RER2 doesn’t waste time in setting up its premise. During the opening cinematic, an assault team attacks and captures all Terra Save workers at their yearly corporate party. When Clare wakes she’s in a mysterious prison with Moira and fitted with a strange metal bracelet. The bracelets change colour depending on the person’s state of mind, going from green to a deep red the more frightened they become. The island is home to savage mutants like those found in Resident Evil 4 and 5 and there’s a woman, The Overseer, constantly taunting them and driving them closer to fear and despair.

Clare and Moira’s half is all about survival and finding out and stopping The Overseer’s plans. Barry’s half is about finding his daughter, arriving on the island 6 months after Clare’s initial chapter, following an SOS. He meets Natalia, a young girl surviving on her own, and with the mysterious ability to sense monsters and even their weak spots. She met Moira & Clare in the past and guides Barry to where they last saw each other.

Tourniquets are the way to go...unless you're out of herbs!
Tourniquets are the way to go…unless you’re out of herbs!

The story itself is the usual Resident Evil fare of crazy viruses and deranged genetic experimentation that ultimately becomes so out there you lose all interest in it. But in its episodic storytelling, RER2 splits the reveals very well between its two story arcs, keeping you interested and asking questions until it finally shows its hand. The works of Franz Kafka, The Metamophosis in particular, are at the core of the plot, just taken literal and to the extreme. This game’s writers don’t believe in subtlety.

The narrative split might be good but the pacing is uneven between the Clare and Barry segments—some are plot-heavy while others are combat-centric—and it doesn’t take long for you to learn or figure out everything about the story, making some of the last episode’s climaxes fall terribly short.

Resident Evils have always supported their narrative with documents strewn around the environment and RER2 continues this tradition but there are too repetitive and useless documents. I don’t mind backstory if it adds to the experience, but it feels as though they enough documents to make sure that you’d pick up at least one. It’s even worse considering much of what the documents tell you the characters later mention in cutscenes.

In terms of visuals, they’re around the same quality as Resident Evil 6’s, which isn’t surprising considering they both use the same engine. For this game, it’s not graphical quality that I look for, because I know it’ll be good. What I care about is the little details and the overall environment and creature design, which are some of the elements the horror will hang on. One thing in particular that stood out for me was how bad the lip-synching was. I played the game originally with Japanese audio (more on that later) and even switching to English didn’t make the lips sync-up with the words. In fact, the lips barely move.

Monster design differs greatly between Clare and Barry’s segments. Clare’s enemies are more akin to the wild enemies from The Evil Within, self-mutilated and with heavy body modifications, while Barry’s are more traditional RE monstrosities and desiccated zombies. Clare’s work very well the first time they show up, but lose their effectiveness as a visual fear stimulus very quickly. Barry’s on the other hand remain effective for much longer, especially since they are very difficult to kill if you don’t target their Ouroboros core.

Bleeding is extremely dangerous in RER2
Bleeding is extremely dangerous in RER2

Sadly, the environments themselves are dull, drab and lack any form of atmosphere and rehash locations from previous titles—prison facilities, derelict villages and ruined buildings. There’s even a moment in Episdoe 2 where you must survive an assault from enemies while inside a building, killing enemies before they jump inside. Sound familiar? Setting the game in a wider open area presents challenges, that I understand, but I do wish they had done a better job, made them much more interesting. The environments also clashed with the accounts from the documents—you should have seen more remnants of the previous occupants, more signs of violence. Instead of helping the immersion, this clash countered it.

Clare's enemies are fast and strong!
Clare’s enemies are fast and strong!

Music is largely absent from the game, coming in during high-stress sequences with the appropriate tense music and almost at random during investigative and exploration segments. These pieces are moodier and eerie but the volume is low, almost like background noise and often drowned out by other sounds. It left me to wonder what the point was. The moody bits are very good but with the bland environments, there’s not much they can do to help the immersion opportunities the visual side already squandered.

I played the game in Japanese first, as I often do with Japanese games. I still used English text for subtitles. I have a less than rudimentary grasp on the Japanese tongue but I can tell right away when the English script is departing radically from the Japanese one. For example, Moira doesn’t curse in the Japanese version, not as much, but instead says “Saiyaku,” which literall means Disaster but you can take it—transliterated—as “This is the worst!” which is also Barry’s common catchphrase, a shared mannerism between parent and child. The voice acting is generally good but I find the Japanese to be superior, as there’s a lot more strength put into the performances. The American cast falters during emotional sequences. Pedro’s actor in Japanese sounds genuinely terrified and panicky during the Episode 2 village sequence, while the American doesn’t and the emotion he portrays doesn’t match up with the character’s body language.

Natalia can sense monsters, even through walls. Pretty handy for stealth-kills!
Natalia can sense monsters, even through walls. Pretty handy for stealth-kills!

The gameplay remains very much like Resident Evils after the 4th instalment, with the over the shoulder camera and aiming. It’s a style I like very much and allows me to headshot enemies as much as I want to, which I enjoy doing, just to test my accuracy. You can instantly switch from the main characters (Clare & Barry) to their partners and you’ll need to as most of the ‘puzzles’ revolve around doing two things almost at once with the characters, such as pulling levers in separate rooms. Only your main characters carry weapons, the secondary ones have melee attacks and are just there for support really. Though the AI partner did finish off a few enemies for me when I was out of ammo.

Battle Points (BP) are back, used to upgrade your characters with the obligatory skill system, increasing some of your base abilities and the effectiveness of items. Some of the upgrades are pretty useful but most are worthless. For example, one of them increases how effective Green Herbs are, but even without it they already heal you completely. The only point in getting that ability is unlocking the one further down the tree. The tree itself makes no sense, with abilities having thematically unrelated ones as prerequisites. The previous Green Herb skill is a prerequisite for the Charged Melee attack skill, for example.

RER2 gives you a dedicated “Pick-up” button that works well for consumables but the game then alternates between it and the “Use” button so many times I found myself shouting “Make up your mind!” at the screen. At some points it prompted me to pick up items with one button then with the other, leaving me irritated and confused.

Speaking of weapons, RER2 features a crafting system for secondary items. You can use bottles to make up to four kinds of bombs—Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs for example– and cloth for tourniquets, as a minor healing kit and to stop the bleeding effect, and disinfectants, for clearing your HUD of monster goop. The latter isn’t really useful due to the very small number of blinding monsters. Weapon upgrades return from the previous game and they work exactly the same, providing mostly passive bonuses such as increased damage, capacity or reduced recoil. Golden Upgrades give your weapons new powers. They aren’t necessary but they do help, especially the rare ones, and I found myself exploring the dreadfully bland environments looking for secret chests.

In terms of enemies and combat, Clare’s are much closer to the original RE series’ bullet sponges, taking in tons of damage before falling—though headshots help and it’s why I go for them. Barry’s on the other hand are much closer to the Resident Evil 4+ style of enemies with weak points. Bosses, for either character, fall into this latter category, with a single weak point you first need to reveal before actually damaging the boss.

Language Moira!
Language Moira!


Resident Evil: Revelations 2’s gameplay and characterization make up for some of its design and narrative flaws, and while it’s not the deepest of stories it will keep you hooked until the end and beyond if you like to indulge in the RPG-esque raid mode. It’s a flawed game, definitely, but worth a shot, even if it fails at the horror half of Survival Horror.


4/5 – Exceptional

Review: Remember Me

Remember Me is a third person action adventure game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Capcom. It stars Nilin, an amnesiac Memory Hunter in Neo Paris, a society addicted to memory modification.

The Good

  • Interesting gameplay concepts
  • Nilin

The Bad

  • Shallow platforming
  • Repetitive combat
  • Remix PC controls
  • QTE Bosses

When Remember Me (RM for short, and for the rest of this review) opens up, you’ll be as confused as the recently memory-wiped protagonist Nilin. From what the orderlies say to their evil looking boss on the intercom, you’re resisting the memory purge. On the way to the place where they’ll finish the process, you get a call by someone called Edge, who helps you escape, telling you on the way that you’re an Errorist, the Neo Paris rebellion against the Megacorporation Memorize that rules the city. Your escape takes you to Slum 404 (I giggled a bit when I put Errorist and 404 in the same sentence while playing) where the game actually begins, the earlier segment just being the typical forced-walking cinematic intro scene for which I have little patience.

Here is where RM introduces you to its main strength and weakness: combat. Unlike other games where the combos are pre-set or depend on the button combination, in RM it’s handled through the Combo Lab, where you combine individual attacks, called Pressens, into combos. At first you only have the 3-hit combo template, but at certain points in the game, your get longer combo templates. An individual Pressens can only be part of one combo at a time and there are different types. Power Pressens are just that, damage dealers; Regen heal you for a bit of your health; Cooldown Pressens reduce the cooldown time of your S-Pressens (super-powered moves, such as Fury, which enables free-flow combat); and finally Chain Pressens, which replicates the effect of a previously used Pressen and improves its effectiveness. The further into the combo you place a Pressen, the more effect it’ll have.

The combo lab is a very intriguing concept, just clumsily implemented!
The combo lab is a very intriguing concept, just clumsily implemented!

It sounds like a very good idea, right, to be able to combine and create your own combos? Well, that’s where things go sideways. First of all, all major combat unlockables, such as S-Pressens and the different Pressen types, are plot-tied, meaning you’ll unlock them as you progress through the game instead of having them available from the start, which limits how many options you have in combat. Furthermore, the fact that you can’t use one Pressen in multiple combos means that while you’re still unlocking them, building a longer combo comes at the price of maiming one of your shorter ones, taking some of the flexibility out of combat. Finally, while you unlock individual Pressens in a category with the PMP (Procedural Mastering Points) you gain from combat, the unlocks themselves are linear, so to unlock the last row of Power attacks you must unlock those before it, further limiting your combat choices.

The combat itself feels good at first. Nilin nimbly dodges out of the way and you start building your combos on enemies. But it quickly becomes repetitive, in part because of the points I previously mentioned, but also because more and more the fights become longer, with more enemies and you start to feel as if you’re not doing much to them. Games like Assassin’s Creed or the Arkham Batman help combat not feel stale by increasing your options in combat, with multiple ways to deal with every encounter, but in RM if you’re not as far into the game as you need to unlock all the moves, then you’re stuck in increasingly annoying battles with swarming enemies and limited options.

Boss fights take forever...
Boss fights take forever…

Boss fights are especially dull, because for the most part you can’t really damage bosses. Instead you have to use your cooldown moves to break their defense, get some hits in and then hit them with combos, using your Cooldown Pressens as much as you can so you can use the move again and deal a bit more damage, but the combos you build while doing that don’t deal damage to the boss, which makes the entire experience just a waiting game and a very dull one at that. Worse still is the fact that you can’t defeat the bosses outright with just damage and combos, but you instead have to go through the obligatory Quick-Time-Event to finish them off and if you fail the boss miraculously heals up.

In RM every level is divided into one of these 3: combat, forced-walking segment while the game introduces the new set-piece and platforming.

The platforming is barebones, just a linear path of ledges and poles to climb and jump at to get to the next combat area. There isn’t any freedom of exploration in this, no shortcuts or alternate or more rewarding pathways. It’s shallow platforming, no skill needed or challenge presented, so they could have just made them long interconnecting corridors and gotten the same result.

Looks fun, it's not. There's no nuance to the platforming, just linear pathways.
Looks fun, it’s not. There’s no nuance to the platforming, just linear pathways.

Furthering the exploration problem is that every location is closed-off, so instead of exploring and discovering Neo-Paris, you only go through what are essentially beautiful looking rooms. You can see the detailed background and sky-box, sure, but they’re nothing more than corridors. It’s a wasted opportunity to let players discover and become invested in the setting, something important in with the story they’re trying to tell.

Finally, there’s Memory Remixing. At certain points in the game you can tap into a character’s memories and alter them to suit your needs. For example, the first time you do it, you change a bounty hunter’s memories so she becomes your ally. The moral implications alone would have been a fantastic storytelling opportunity, but the gameplay is extremely fun as each memory is an intriguing and very rewarding puzzle. It’s the best part of the game but you don’t do it often enough and it’s a damn shame. The game would’ve been much better if you it had been part of the core gameplay. The mouse controls for it however are terrible. Instead of using the mouse-wheel to forward or rewind, you have to move the mouse in clockwise/counter-clockwise circles for it. It’s counter-intuitive and frankly uncomfortable.

The best thing about the game and you don't use it often enough
The best thing about the game and you don’t use it often enough

The plot itself is extremely simple and somewhat predictable, though it did remind me a lot of Deus Ex, which might be a big spoiler if you’ve played that series. It’s a straightforward “take down the evil corporation” plot, with very few twists, but sufficiently well told. The game also desperately tries to convey the social message of how both rich and poor are addicted to the memory-altering Sensen technology, and because of it under Memorize’s control, but it’s not veiled in any way and you get the gist of it early on. Even so, the game annoyingly hammers the point at every junction. It gets tiresome very quickly.

Nilin’s characterization is one of the game’s strongest points. She’s not just a super-powered main character, but a human being. At the start of each chapter, she questions her own actions, she wonders why she’s doing what she’s doing, she’s concerned about the future, and you (brilliantly) get to know her as she gets to know herself all over again. The rest of the cast, however, is a mixed bag of stereotypical characters and two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs.

Assassins in Neo Paris are like NASCAR drivers, with their sponsors on their gear!
Assassins in Neo Paris are like NASCAR drivers, with their sponsors on their gear!

The game itself looks wonderfully, and Neo-Paris is especially beautiful and highly detailed, from the 404 Slums where more than a quarter of the game takes place to the upper districts of the city, where the rich and powerful live. The beauty of the environments and the characters, just makes you resent the limited exploration even more. The city tempts you with its sights, but they’re just inaccessible.

Voice acting is another strong point, and I was pleasantly surprised not to hear any fake French accents in any member of the cast. The soundtrack, however, is largely forgettable, just a simple drone of generic action music that gets drowned out as you play.

I would have loved to know more about Neo Paris
I would have loved to know more about Neo Paris

Remember Me is one of those games you see gameplay footage of, are really impressed by them and when you get your hands on them you realize it’s the game equivalent of a movie that put all its good scenes in the trailer. The rest is just uninteresting, and it’s sad considering how many good ideas there are in this game.

The Mental Attic Score: Not worth the money. You could get it really cheap just to try out the Memory Remix, but then you would grieve over the wasted potential, and unlike people in Neo Paris, you can’t forget this.