Category Archives: Game Reviews

Video Game Review: Until Dawn (2015, PS4 exclusive) HORRORATHON 3


I love when people ask me about Until Dawn, a game I spent the majority of the year hyped about. They ask me “What’s it about? Can you describe it?” And I respond: “It’s HORROR MOVIE:THE GAME.” They retort: “Like which?” I say “Yes.”

Simply put, UNTIL DAWN is a variation on the point ‘n click/QTE cinematic experience style games popularized by Quantic Dream, especially HEAVY RAIN. You play as an assorted cast of characters, stuck in a remote cabin in wintry Canada, who must work together if they want to survive… UNTIL DAWN.

One of the game’s strongest aspects is its superb mocap work. In particular, Hayden Panettiere’s Sam, Rami Malek’s Josh, and Peter Stormare’s enigmatic Doctor Hill.

When you stop playing, you get a good look at the expression of your player character. Here, Sam's a little bit freaked.
When you stop playing without pausing, you get a good look at the expression of your player character. Here, Sam’s a little bit freaked.

The game also has some great looking environments and references to many iconic works of horror. Evil Dead is an obvious one, cabin in the woods and all. To assist a player in having the most tense experience possible, there are several Silent Hill: Shattered Memories-esque psychoanalysis segments that probe you to figure out which characters you would be most vulnerable to seeing bad things happen to, as well as inserting some jump scares and such that will leave you unnerved. I’m looking at you, random spider on the security camera!

Mike explores a desolate sub-basement.
Mike explores a desolate sub-basement.

As much as I want to gush about this game, it does have some flaws. Some characters seem intentionally under-written so as to make it so you are less eager to ensure they make it to the end. Others are plot-proof until the very final level, where it all comes down to how steady your hands are at holding the controller absolutely still while it vibrates. Mine, for the record, are not.  I still have not gotten the perfect ending trophy because of that fact.

That being said, this game has plenty of replayability. It’s fairly short, having my first playthrough last about 10 hours-ish. I highly recommend just going into it and having fun the first time you go through, no guides or walkthroughs, especially if you love the horror genre. I consider myself a bit of an afficianado, and I still lost a few of my favorite characters by the end.

Since it’s been about a month or so since release, price has dropped, and honestly, I’d say if you can get it for 45 dollars or so, you’re getting your money’s worth.

8 out of 10 unfound corpses.

Game Review: Ju-ON The Grudge (Wii, 2009) HorrorAthon 3

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

A Haunted House Simulator? While your friend is playing, you can press a button and scare them? Sign me up for that! Oh…it’s not as cool as it sounds.

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Game Review: The Walking Dead Season 1 (2012, PC) HorrorAthon 3

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham

Tell Tale Games is doing wonderful things with narratives and game play, and one of the finest examples begins with the end of the world. Zombies. Everyone loves them or are sick of them, but there are a few occasions where you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t emotionally hit by this game.

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Game Review: Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 (2015, PC) HorrorAthon

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

If by now, you haven’t heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s, you’ve been living under a rock. It hit YouTube by storm, and the fandom took off running with wild theories about Freddy and his friends. In this 4th (and “Final”) game, the tables are turned, and you are no longer at Fazbear’s pizza…you’re a kid at home, and Fred bear and friends are the monsters you hear breathing outside your door.

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Game Review: Dead Realm (2015, PC) HorrorAthon 3

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

Do you like multi player games? Do you like getting scared? Do you like being silly and yelling at your friends over a microphone? Then I have the game for you.

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Game Review: Layers of Fear (2015, PC) HorrorAthon 3

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

Are you angry with Konami for cancelling Silent Hills? I sure am, especially when they pulled the amazing P.T (Playable Teaser) before I got a chance to physically play it for myself. What could possibly fill the void in our hearts from the removal of what could have been an amazing horror game? I think I have you covered…

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Game Review: Godzilla: The Game (PS4)

Godzilla is a difficult game to talk about objectively, and pretty difficult to review. I’ve been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid. I first saw the Hanna Barbara Godzilla Power Hour cartoon, but my interest really took off after seeing the 1998 movie (which admittedly is still a guilty pleasure movie for me). I’ve seen all the movies, watched the cartoons, and heck, I still even have a Godzilla ’98 lunchbox that I got in the first grade. Although my interest in giant monsters waned a bit as I got older, the 2014 film reignited my passion for the big G and his foes, and I now own every film on DVD/Blu-Ray.

So why am I telling you about this? Because how passionate about Godzilla you are really determines how much enjoyment you will get out of this game. This is not Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters, a game even non-Godzilla fans can just pick up and enjoy. I will tell you right now, if you aren’t huge into Godzilla, if you’re not the type who appreciates the awful b-movie dialogue, or the way the character models actually move and look like rubber suits stomping around in miniature cities, this is not the game for you.

Gameplay:

Godzilla’s main mode, “God of Destruction Mode” is an arcade style game, where your goal is to destroy as many buildings as possible, as well as G-Energy generators, in order to absorb their G-energy and grow Godzilla (or any of the other kaiju you’ve unlocked) to the largest size you can. The more buildings you destroy within a certain time raises your multiplier, earning you more G-Energy and growth for every building destroyed. The campaign has a mission structure similar to Star Fox, with multiple branching paths varying in difficulty. The more difficult paths have generators that must be destroyed within a certain time limit, and often throw more, and larger, monsters at you. This mode takes about one hour to beat on one playthrough, but will take longer if you want to replay to play every level and find all four “research points” in each stage. Doing so will unlock the last few stages, but only if your Kaiju has reached over 100 meters in size. If you choose a “Defender” monster such as Mothra or Kiryu, your objective will actually revolve around defending generators and buildings from kaiju. You must defeat the monster before it destroys the generators. The less it destroys, the higher your score and power will rise.

godzilla2Another mode is the “King of the Monsters” mode, which is simply stage after stage of fighting CPU-controlled monsters. You select a monster to play as, and the monsters you face in battle will progressively be larger and stronger.

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Unlockables:

Godzilla features a good amount of unlockables, most of which are new kaiju to play as, as well as abilities and moves for them. Defeating certain monsters in battle will yield parts or cells that can be used to upgrade certain abilities for certain monsters in Evolution Mode, such as charge time for your energy attacks, or even new attack combos. Different upgrades require different monster parts, which are obtained by playing “God of Destruction” or “King of the Monsters”.

Other unlockables include figures and settings for Diorama Mode. The stages are unlocked by destroying 100% of a stage in “God of Destruction” mode, and figures of monsters in various poses are unlocked by spending parts in Evolution Mode. You can place your figures in these dioramas and take photos of them.

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Online Play:

The only form of multiplayer is online play, where three kaiju face off in a free-for-all monster battle. Unfortunately, because the game wasn’t exactly designed to be a fighting game, the combat feels shallow and your success pretty much depends on how much you’ve upgraded your character in Evolution Mode.

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Fanservice:

This is where this game really shines. You can clearly tell the developers are very passionate about the franchise and keeping everything as accurate as possible. The characters move and control like men in rubber suits. You can even see the seams on King Ghidorah’s neck! MechaGodzilla has his spinning head shield! Godzilla 1964 has the silly looking googly eyes! The short intro cutscenes where the monsters appear are taken directly from their first appearances in their respective films! THE GODZILLA DANCE FROM INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTER IS AN UNLOCKABLE ATTACK! Every monster has movie-accurate attacks, beam effects, and roars. Many of the game’s music tracks are taken from movies as well. The environments even look like miniature buildings, and spark as they are destroyed in the same fashion as they do in the films. The dialogue even has the same cheesy style of delivery as many of the dub actors from the films do. Everything in this game was designed to appeal to the hardcore Godzilla fan and as a pretty huge fan myself, I ate it right up.

godzilla6Rating:

As a Godzilla fan, I really enjoyed what this game had to offer, but objectively, there’s no denying that Godzilla: The Game is a small-budget title for a niche audience. While the game is immensely faithful to the source material, the visuals aren’t outstanding, the gameplay is repetitive, and the online mode gets old very quickly. However, the sheer amount of fanservice and the ability to stomp around cities and beating other kaiju as your favorite Godzilla monster make this a fun Godzilla simulator. The game is pretty short, but with a decent amount of unlockables and upgrades to keep you busy playing, at least for a little while longer. I definitely do not recommend this title for anyone looking for a deep experience, nor do I recommend buying it at a full sixty dollars. But if you love Godzilla, I say give it a rent, or even buy it if you can find it for a cheap price.

Godzilla: The Game for PS4 gets an okay out of ten.