Let’s talk about … – OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood

Gone are the days of Tony Hawk Pro Skater and its “somewhat” exaggerated level of modern day skating. Meet OlliOlli2, Roll7s take on skating in the most extreme environments, all while staying true to the tricks and style of what we’ve come to expect from skating video games.

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OlliOlli2 is the sequel to the appropriately named OlliOlli in which you skate through various environments ranging from California, the Wild West, an Aztec Temple, and finally a robotic futuristic utopia. There are 25 standard levels, and if you complete all of the requirements on that stage it unlocks a harder version of it. Add to those 25 levels and Daily Challenges, and you have a game that will take quite a while to master.

As the game progresses it eventually gets harder, but not without teaching you the ropes slowly and effectively in order to help you progress through each world’s set of stages.

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OlliOlli2 is short, sweet, and deceptively simple. You start off learning a handful of tricks, all which are performed with a PC compatible controller. For this review I used an Xbox One controller, though anything with an analogue stick will suffice. Simple tricks can be performed by hitting any standard direction on the stick, and more complicated moves can be done by rolling the stick down and then forward or backward. Think street fighter style move sets. The harder the trick, the more its worth.

At the beginning of the level, you perform a trick, and then have to time the pressing of the “A” button when you are close to landing. This is how you get maximum points for your tricks. Once manuals are introduced you can string together trick after trick and never ruin your combo.  I was able to complete multiple stages with a lot of focus and a little effort all in one large combo.  Be warned though … the tricks are unconventional in the way they are performed.  As easy as it sounds, I spent a lot of time failing a stage just because my brain forgot how to grind, or manual, or do a simple trick which would lead to me crashing hard into a wall, or spikes, or a vat of toxic goo.

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There isn’t much to this game which is sort of the beauty of it. It’s simple to understand but devilishly hard to master. The tutorials teach you everything you need to know, and make you perform well enough to move on and use it in the real game. Even though the control scheme is much different, it can be learned quickly and is really accessible for any skill level.

Top it off with well-drawn but simplistic graphics and a killer soundtrack, and you have a near perfect experience that will challenge you to constantly better your performance, all the while bobbing your head to the fantastic ethereal score. Unlike previous skating games, there is no punk here, which honestly helped me relax and really chill out while repeatedly failing over and over again.

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One side note. The level variety reminded me of the stages from Streets of Rage 2. While these games have nothing in common, I almost wonder if the music and art direction were influenced by that game. The carnival level immediately brought me back to those glorious 16-bit days!

Tl:dr – OlliOlli2 is a wonderful game for even someone who may not be a skateboarding fanatic or enthusiast. If you are, that’s great! If not, you will still find hours of enjoyment in this title doing olli’s, nollie’s, grinding, manuals and other speciality tricks. Music and visuals are great, and it’s easy enough for anyone to pick up, but is difficult to master. 50+ levels, daily challenges make up this near-perfect sequel to a game you may have never heard of or overlooked.  A 2-D platformer that absolutely nails the skateboarding genre. I strongly suggest checking this out regardless of your perception on skateboarding.

Rating – 9.5/10

Buy – Steam £10.99/$14.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Breach and Clear: DEADline

Breach and clear: Deadline is a zombie A-RPG/tactical strategy simulation from Mighty Duck Studios and Gun Media. A follow up to 2014’s Breach and Clear, Deadline offers a new setting for the franchise, with the enemy this time around being a swarm of nasty-ass zombies. The original B&C got great reviews, I haven’t played it myself, and so does the second instalment deliver? Let’s take a look.

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Breach and Clear: Deadline starts with a really nice tutorial mission. It introduces all the combat aspects of the game, but isn’t overpowering as a lot of tutorials are. There is plenty of action, and lots covered. Gameplay is broken in to 2 distinct phases, free movement mode, and command mode. In free movement move it plays like a standard ARPG. You have a squad of 4 characters, and at any one point you are in direct control of 1 of them. Your other teammates will either follow, or stay put, depending on the commands you given them.

Command mode is where things get real, and the strategy aspect of the game comes into play. In strategy mode you gain control over the flow of time, and your view retracts to give a view over the entire situation. You now have unlimited time in order to plan the individual movements and actions of each squad member. Members have a stack of up to three commands, so you can move them into position, set them to use an ability, then open fire as an example. Once all your soldiers have commands you’re happy with, hold space to advance time and watch how the action unfolds. If at any point your movements aren’t working out, you can stop time and set new orders, clearing the previous queue of unexecuted commands.

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The ability to switch between the two at will is great as it means the pace of gameplay is not broken. If you’re working your way up a street, and there are 3 enemies in front, you don’t have to enter combat mode to kill them. You can just continue on your way in real-time combat. When you approach an area and the game automatically kicks into command mode, that’s usually a sign that shit is about to go down, and command mode is probably where you want to be.

At the start of the game you get to create your squad, and this includes picking each member’s speciality. For example, on my squad I have a Fireteam Leader, Scout, Explosives Expert and a Medic. The makeup of your squad is important, and will determine what skills you have available. Each soldier has skills that match their class. So my Explosives Expert can lay mines, and throw satchel charges, while my scout can tag enemies. Getting the right squad makeup to match your play style can really help. Each squad member also has a skill tree with skills from each tree available. You can put skill points onto any tree you want. So if I wanted to fill out the scout skill tree on my explosives expert I could.

These skills unlock better abilities, and like standard RPG skill trees, the more you commit to a single class, the better skills you unlock. Skill points are earned by levelling up, which is a natural progression as you complete quests and kill enemies.

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As a squad of 4 elite soldiers, it’s your job to stop the spread of a deadly new breed of human monsters. You travel across multiple environments, completing main and side quests, collecting gear and levelling up. It’s a very traditional RPG experience. I especially like how much control you have other your kit. For each weapon and piece of gear you can rename it, upgrade it, and add attachments to make it more powerful. This is all done back at headquarters, where you have a workbench to perform your upgrades, and a locker to store any gear you might want later.

Weapons are upgraded using scrap, which is a resource dropped by zombies. It’s essentially the currency of the game, and can also be earned by scrapping weapons and gear that you don’t want. Gear also come in a range of levels, ranging from common to, what I presume is, legendary or something akin to that. I have collected white, green and orange named weapons, with the orange weapon being worth a lot more scrap than the others.

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The environment feels free and open, and you feel totally in control of what you do. There are main quests, with a linear progression, but aside from that you are free to move wherever you want, searching for loot, side quests, or just kicking zombie ass to farm scrap and upgrade your weapons. The map is big, and movement speed is slow, so there are bus terminals scattered around key locations that allow you to fast-travel. This menu is one of the ones that need immediate attention. You go from a nice looking game, to a menu that looks place-holder. One of the uglier parts of the game.

The graphics are nothing to write home about, but it’s an ARPG. You spend most of the time zoomed out, so the graphics are fit for purpose. Nothing special, but nothing particularly bad. Some of the UI could use some work, as it feels a little un-polished in places, but overall it’s nice. The music is great also. High temp tracks when you’re getting down to business get you into the mood for a fight, and compliment the combat experience well.

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From what I’ve seen so far, I think B&C:D looks and plays great. The UI for the most part is nice and easy to use, some areas are shocking and need immediate work, the graphics are up to par for what you’d expect from an A-RPG, and the gameplay is lots of fun. Yet, if you head over to the steam page, it’s sitting on an underwhelming mixed review average with 66% positive reviews, and lots of that points towards bugs and issues with multiplayer. I have 6 hours in the title, and I can honestly say I haven’t run into a single significant bug. Sure, I’ve seen a few textures flicker every now and again, but that’s hardly game breaking, and happens so seldom that you could easily forget about it. Multiplayer on the other hand is a different story.

At first I simply couldn’t find a multiplayer game open to join. Not a great start. I decided to host one, and jump into the game. Your single player save works on multiplayer, you just open the lobby up to others, which is nice. I played for around half an hour, and forgot I was hosting a lobby until the game paused on me for some reason. When you play online, and the other person pauses the game, it pauses yours also! It’s horrible. The person that joined my lobby just sat paused meaning I couldn’t do anything. Sure I could have kicked him, but I want to play online with someone!

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I eventually had someone join and stay, but he left pretty quickly, and that was the end of my multiplayer experience, no-one else joined. Other have reported big problems with it, and the developer has since released an update saying a reset of the servers fixed a lot of issues. I wish I could say more, but I just haven’t seen enough of it. My experience as it took a while for people to join, and when they did I just ended up sitting on a pause screen. If you’re looking to play online with friends, I’d wait until people are confirming that the multiplayer issues are sorted.

Steam reviews almost unanimously give tales of bugs and an unfinished product. I understand this regarding the multiplayer, but I’ve not encountered a single significant issue in the single player in my X hour play time. My only complaint is that the characters move too slowly. Hardly a big deal. Maybe I came in after they had been fixed, but the Steam reviews don’t reflect the experience I have had so far. I’ve really enjoyed the 6 hours I have in the game, and will be back for more. I’ll also be buying the first tile in the franchise.

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Maybe I missed the launch issues and they’re now fixed, or I’m a lucky one. But Bread and Clear: Deadline to me is a fun A-RPG, which great depth of control and good gameplay. Multiplayer is currently lacking and a feels empty, so take that into consideration if you like to play online a lot. I had fun with my team and look forward to finishing it.

Tl:dr – Breach and Clear: Deadline is a fun zombie ARPG, with a great tactical combat system. Graphics and sounds help deliver a good experience, and despite current Steam reviews I found no bugs or crashes. Multiplayer is both empty and flawed at the moment, so if you’re buying it solely to play online I’d hold off until it’s definitely sorted. I’ve really enjoyed playing the game, I currently have 6 hours in the title, and will be finishing it off.

Rating – 7/10

Purchase – Steam £14.99 (£10.04 until August 3rd)

Trailer – 

Let’s talk about … – Devolver Digital bring hit titles to Nvidia Shield and Android

No doubt one of your favourite games is published by Devolver. They have an impressive line-up of titles under their belt, and they’ve just brought a collection of their indie hits to Nvidia Shield and other Android devices.

The following games are now available on Android: (The link will take you to the Google Play store)

All titles are available now on the Google Play store, with Hotline Miami, OlliOlli, Always Sometimes Monsters, and LUFTRAUSERS costing £7.99 with a 50% discount during the launch window.

The Talos Principle however is available as 6 individual episodes, each priced at £3.89. There is also the option to purchase the first episode at £3.89 and the remaining 5 episodes for £11.69 as a season pass.

If you’re heading to E3 this year, all 5 titles will be available to play at Devolver’s Trailer Park of BBQ and Awesomeness on the new SHIELD ™ Android TV console. For more information on the releases you can check out Devolvers site devolverdigital.com, and follow them on Twitter @DevolverDigital.

Before you go, check out the lineup trailer.

Let’s talk about … – Hotline Miami 2 release date and pre-order

Back already with more awesome news regarding Hotline Miami 2. After setting a release data of March 10th, Devolver Digital have opened it up to pre-orders on Steam, GOG and Humble. This includes the Digital special edition.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number will see you return to conclude the brutal events of the first game. With several different distinct factions to follow, traverse multiple paths until they inevitably interweave into a mass of bloodshed, violence and general awesomeness.

In return for pre-ordering, Devolver are offering a 10% discount on both HM2: Wrong Number, and the Digital Special Edition which includes the exclusive HM2: Remix EP. Asif that wasn’t enough, Dennaton Game and Develover Digital have also partnered with the team behind PAYDAY 2 to bring Hotline Miami content to PAYDAY 2 for those who own HM2: Wrong Number and the Digital Special edition.

Head on over to Steam, GOG or Humble to pre-order your copy now.

Will you be pre-ordering? If so, let us know in the comments what it is you love about the series!

Let’s talk about … – Hotline Miami 2 gets a comic!

Can’t wait for Hotline Miami 2? Well this might hold you over; it’s available now as a 5 part comic series on Steam.

Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital teamed up with Italian art collective Dayjob Studio to create the 5-part series based on the HM series. The comics will offer insight into some of the new playable characters and factions in HM2, and also some of the backstory from HM.

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The first 2 issues are now available, with the other 3 parts coming in the run-up to HM2’s release. Users can flip through the digital comic through an application on Steam while having some of their favorite HM game tracks playing in the background.

Pretty awesome for fans of the series, and should help fill the void a little until HM2 drops in March. We can’t wait to get our hands on it!

For more information be sure to check out www.devolverdigital.com or follow @HotlineMiami on Twitter. Also be sure to show some love to Dayjob Studio by dropping by their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dayjobstudio.