A definitive review of DOOM 2016

With websites like Polydong clearly getting their timid balls in a knot trying to talk about DOOM with paragraphs like…

Doom is very violent, in case you weren’t aware. It’s all kinetic shooting with very graphic kills that have blessedly been toned down somewhat from their original gruesome debut at last year’s E3. The so-called “Glory Kills” — a fancy name for melee executions available when an enemy takes enough damage — are no longer quite so drawn-out and torturous. Instead, a glory kill takes about two seconds to finish, long enough to be savage but not the extended gore porn that made me a little queasy when I first saw the game in 2015

… we thought that, for the good of our children and our children’s children, we would offer up the definitve review of the new DOOM for everyone to just copy and paste at will, saving all of games media from getting all confused about what to say. Please see below. You’re quite welcome.


There you go. See you later.



A Real Review of Far Cry Primal

Written by Gav Weir, Twitter etc.

I’m sorry, I’ve tricked you. So that last ‘review’ was obviously a bit of a joke. A ‘lol’ if you will. We still friends? That’s good, I’m glad we’re cool. We should hang more…how’s next Friday? Yeah, I’ll drop you a text.

Anyway. Since writing that, I’ve been thinking about Far Cry Primal and there’s things I actually need to say about it, things I need to say out loud to properly grasp.and to understood why it fails to match up to the games before it. But to do that, let’s step back a year to when Far Cry 4 graced our consoles.

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Far Cry Primal – A ‘Sort Of’ Review

‘Written’ by Gav Weir – Twitter here.

So I’m a busy guy, I don’t have time to delve into a big review. But I did think of this excellent closing line:

A game having a bad story is no surprise, but I expect a Far Cry game to at least try.

The sickest of burns, I’m sure you’ll agree.

(But really: FCP is totally fine. Whilst visually incredible, the whole thing can’t escape feeling like a filler game made by the B-Team at Ubisoft whilst the A-Team work on the next numbered entrant. Beating animals to death with a club you’ve set on fire is pretty fun though).

Everyone – play Gunman Clive! 

Written by Gav Russell

Do you remember the scene in that famous Sergio Leone movie starring Clint Eastwood where Clint is running along the roof of a moving train and he shoots some bandits and then shoots a flock of ducks and a slice of cake falls out? No? Oh, wait, that doesn’t happen in a stupid old Clint Eastwood movie but it does happen in Gunman Clive!

Gunman Clive is a side-scrolling cowboy platformer with some lovely shooting mechanics that was made by Swedish studio Hörberg Productions and released in 2012. Yes, you can count on You Died for the most up to date gaming news. You can currently buy it for something like 30p from the 3DS Estore. 

You play as Gunman Clive (though you can also play as Ms Johnson if you wish, whose skirt can slow down her descent following a jump) who is on a mission to rescue the mayors daughter from some Bad Men. The story is totally incidental though; Gunman Clive is such a success because it relies on two basic elements – platforming and shooting a cowboy gun – and excels at both. Platforming is chunky and solid; none of that floaty imperfection here. Jumps and their subsequent landings feel precise and heavy. Lovely. Shooting the bad guys to death is a delight, too. With the bandits sometimes hiding in hatches or popping out from behind cover, the game expects you to be ready to duck and dodge at the last minute, popping off a shot as you turn in mid-air in order to end a man’s life before he manages to hide again. You can also buff your gun with various temporary upgrades; one causes it to fire buckshot that spreads across the screen while another shoots out a strange, lazy purple tracking bullet that sort of mopes across the screen before finding its target. You can also get a laser. 

The little bits of futuristic tech dotted through Höberg’s vision of the old west, coupled with the sketched art style and the fact that sometimes you have to shoot pelicans out of sky imbue Gunman Clive with a very subtle surrealism. Its ideas never outstay their welcome either, constantly pushing you onto the next thing via the short, fast paced stages. Sometimes there are boss fights (one of them is a giant robot) and even they’re actually quite good.

Gunman Clive is excellent. And it’s cheap. And there is a sequel available too which I’ve downloaded but not played but, you know what? I bet that’s good too

Ten pelicans out of ten! 

The 250 Word Review – Pix The Cat

At some point in our lives, we’ve all been guilty of wishing we could be transformed into a cat, sucked into a TV and forced to endlessly run mazes in order to rescue ducklings while an analogue acid soundtrack blips and squelches along in the background. No? Just me then.

To sum it up with one snappy, reductive sentence one could say “it’s that old Nokia snake game but shinier“. And that would be partly correct, but Pasta Games’ Pix The Cat pulls off the neat trick of appearing to offer an experience that will be quite simplistic but gradually reveals layers of subtle nuance to keep you coming back for just one more go. Essentially: collect the eggs that are littered around a maze and drop the subsequent ducklings off at various points dotted around the level. Complete your task, and the warp point to the next stage opens. Easy, right? But the better you get, the faster it gets making it harder to avoid the trail of ducks tagging along behind you. And what about how you can grind around corners for a speed boost by pressing a directional key at the exact right time. Or how the next stage is always visible inside the current one, giving you the feeling that you’re constantly being sucked deeper and deeper and you’re getting smaller and smaller and oh god my eyes.

Endlessly addictive, constantly evolving and utterly charming, Pix The Cat is a genuine treat. And, for the next few days at the time of writing and providing you have a PS+ account, is currently free to download from PSN. Come on, the ducks are waiting.

The 250 Word Review – THE EVIL WITHIN

Yes, The Evil Within is the sequel to Resident Evil 4 in all but name and yes, it feels like it would have needed to come out in 2007 for any of its features to feel fresh and YES, it’s essentially just ‘Shinji Mikami’s Greatest Hits’ but…. by fucking Christ is it excellent.

You can gauge whether or not you should purchase The Evil Within by asking yourself one question: “did I enjoy Resi 4”, and if the answer is “yes” then stop what you’re doing and get on board. Is it scary? Not particularly; PT put paid to that, but it is tense, and I mean, heart-attack tense. In the early stages, I would go entire chapters without exhaling. Standard enemies are tough to drop and you could easily spend an entire clip of the scarce ammo trying to get one to just die but this gives way to some serious combat improvisation as you learn to use the tools in your pocket (thank God for matches) and the tools in your environment (disarming bombs is for chumps) to create some breathtaking (and outrageously violent) bursts of action among lengthy sections of unwavering bleakness.

You want a mansion with puzzles? You want a beast of a shotgun? You want hammy dialogue? You want a story that makes no sense but becomes more fun when you realise that it doesn’t matter and that the game is basically just a relentless descent into a series of creative nightmares? Then you can’t go wrong.

REVIEW : Bioshock Infinite – Burial At Sea Episode 2

Written by Gav Russell.

Spoilers ahead for the whole Bioshock series.

When Burial At Sea was first announced, it seemed odd that Irrational would have constructed a world for Bioshock Infinite as dense and lovingly detailed as the lofty heights of Columbia, only to later supplement that adventure with DLC set back in its underwater paradise-gone-wrong city of Rapture. The setting for the first two entries in the Bioshock series is a wonderful and evocative one, and any further excuse to explore it some more is quite welcome, but when the creator abandons it’s new world so readily, it only helps to supplement the outcries from fans that, for all it’s visual splendor, Columbia, and by extension – Infinite as a whole, was a hollow experience. The general feeling was, if we were heading back down there, the reasons better be damned good.

In the first DLC installment, Burial at Sea Part 1, it felt quite odd being back in Rapture with a pair of protagonists as talkative as Infinite’s Elizabeth and Booker DeWitt, re-imagined here with a new thrust to their actions. No longer exploring its leaky corridors as a silent anti-hero constantly being barked at by voices over your radio, here you were exploring it’s not-leaking-yet corridors constantly philosophizing with each other. Due to the behind-the-curtain reveal of Infinite’s ending, Irrational’s writers had a captive audience; players lapping up every word that these two characters said to each other as they traversed a pre-collapse Rapture , desperately listening out for the next piece to the narrative puzzle; silently praying that we’d actually understand it this time.

Ultimately, Episode 1 failed. The curse of DLC was ever-present here; proceedings felt weightless and convoluted, and mechanics from Infinite felt jarringly out of place. Only in its final moments, as the writers showed their hand and Elizabeth dropped the damsel-in-distress facade to deliver justice to this universe’s Booker, who is revealed to be the final alternate-Comstock; hiding out in Rapture in an attempt to escape the past and his guilt, did things click into place. You see, for this Comstock, that harrowing child abduction scene which we witness in Infinite doesn’t go quite the same, with his daughter Anna losing a little more than just the tip of her finger as the dimensional tear closes around her. Confused? Yeah, you will be.

Episode 2 picks up a few moments after Episode 1 finished; Comstock lies dead on the floor in a pool of blood, Elizabeth is being restrained by Atlas from Bioshock 1 (just one of many, many wonderful moments of fan service here) and his goons have captured Sally, a Little Sister who Elizabeth is bent on protecting. And so a rescue-the-little-girl plot kicks off; a seemingly simple conceit that will drag you through self discovery, existential despair, put a new spin on some events from Infinite and will ultimately see you forcibly kickstarting the arrival of Jack in the original Bioshock. Yeah, Burial At Sea is every bit an Infinite final act as it is a Bioshock origins tale; creating a slick, looping narrative that fits with Irrationals multiverse ramblings and ties everything up in a neat, if a little convoluted, fashion.

Allowing you to take control of Elizabeth for the first time is the games masterstroke. Elizabeth is arguably the Bioshock universe’s most interesting, sensitive and intelligent character, and walking in her shoes is a delight. She’s smarter than everyone she talks to (every radio conversation ends with her musing on how she can see the next move) and she picks her way through the world deciphering scientific scribbles on scraps of paper, uncovering the links between Rapture and Columbia and slowly coming to terms with just where she fits in all of this. It’s a touching tale, given all the more impact thanks to Courtnee Draper’s marvelous voice  performance.

But it’s not just the story that benefits from having Elizabeth as the primary character, as Bioshock Infinite’s much criticized combat mechanics get a complete overhaul to suit. Although the initial proclamation that Elizabeth is far more under-powered and couldn’t possibly match most of her foes in a fight danced a little too close to sexism, it does encourage you to take part in the series biggest innovation yet: stealth. Indeed, by using this new mechanic and upgrading the tools given to you, you eventually become a badass silent assassin, running rings around your bumbling pursuers as you drop from above without a sound and crack their skulls in with a melee weapon, before using a Plasmid to vanish from sight and dashing back into the shadows, looking for your next victim. To further ram home the point that going loud isn’t your best option, the Plasmids this time around are all defensive and only really serve to bolster your talents as an invisible angel of death. Chief among them is Peeping Tom, an ability that lets you see enemy locations through walls and floors with the tap of a button, and lets you disappear completely when the button is held down. After eventfully upgrading this power so that it reduces the drain on your Eve as long as you’re not moving, I barely used anything else. Standing still, turning invisible and then luring a Splicer towards you, only to emerge from cover to knock them unconscious with your Sky-Hook is enormous fun, especially with those dramatic, orchestral stabs that accompany a successful enemy takedown.

Irrational have created some fantastic playgrounds to use your new skills in with a number of large, wipe-open spaces that encourage varied stealth tactics. One early set piece sees you faced with a dimly lit plaza teeming with Splicers and one solitary Big Daddy. By carefully sneaking around the area and using Possession on the Big Daddy as his path intersects that of the Splicers, you can get him to wipe everyone out without you touching the trigger of your weapons. Alternatively, you can traverse the area by using the air vents (classic trope ahoy), allowing you to complete the objectives without a single skull being cracked open. Rarely did the temptation to crack the shotgun out ever emerge, such is the joy of becoming a silent predator. This new method of combat syncs up with Elizabeth’s personality perfectly (you only ever knock an enemy unconscious providing you use your stealth skills), allowing the narrative to shine, no longer at odds with the outrageous bursts of blood-soaked violence. 

The story eventually leads you back to Columbia after all, dropping you back there at a time and in a location that intersects with Booker and Elizabeth’s original adventure, seeing events from a different perspective, overhearing characters secret discussions  and witnessing the aftermath of all of those violent retributions. Stumbling into the area where Daisy Fitzroy’s and Jeremiah Fink’s bodies lay, blood still warm on the surfaces that it had splashed onto, and without the chaos of a battle behind you this time around allows a profound sadness to sweep over you. So much death and misery, so much plotting and scheming, and for what?

There’s a moment, back in Rapture, as the endgame is rushing towards you, where you discover a Big Daddy slumped against a wall in a room with two Little Sisters. Struggling to stand, he’s injured and clearly in pain; his rumbling moans and the sheer sight of him terrifying the cowering little girls. You’ve so far learnt that the doctors behind the Big Daddies are struggling to link them with the Little Sisters, and without establishing a bond between them the system just won’t work. In true Elizabeth fashion, you crack the code and work it out, drawing on your own experiences from when you were manipulated into the arms of Songbird and, for better or worse, you successfully forge the bond between Daddy and Sister. It’s a fantastic farewell to one of the most iconic characters of this gaming generation, as he clambers to his feet and beckons for the Little Sister to join him. Bioshock has always been about awful men trying to control the world through whatever means necessary (Booker included) and the inclusion of such a powerful scene between a woman, two children and the monster that man has created is an incredible and touching one. We see the lives that have been ruined across multiple dimensions, brought together into one room at a pivotal moment for all of them. The Little Sisters are given a protector, enhancing what little life has been left for them and the Big Daddy is given a purpose and someone to live for; a reason to be imprisoned inside that hellish metal suit. Something that might just make the misery worth it.

A little further down the path, after fulfilling the terms of her deal with Atlas having come to terms with the inevitable double cross, Elizabeth sees ahead. She sees Jack, she sees the plane, she sees the justice he brings, she sees the lighthouse and she sees the girl. She earns a moment of clarity that allows her to see that it all, at least, meant something.

Played on Xbox 360 for 5 and a half hours up to completion