The Protagonist EX-1 Review

The Protagonist: EX-1 was published by 3Mind Games in October 2020 and is still in beta. Available on PC, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox it is a turn-based action-adventure role-playing strategy game.

The game takes place in the year 2113E on the planet Terra. A utopia with a totalitarian society under military control. There is only one government called Council that controls the world in secrecy.  For the first time in known history, the government has an enemy that they tried to hide from society but, now they are at war with them. The government has issued an EX-1 order to eliminate all hostiles at all costs. You are a part of the team sanctioned to carry out the order. Not long after you get your papers to fly out, your team is captured and killed. You have to survive, find the rest of your teammates, and get off their ship. 

The gameplay is pretty linear. You have a guide leading you from one task to the next and you pretty much have free range to explore but, early on there isn’t much to find. The first task is to find your teammate Radical and you have no weapons so combat is melee … with a twist. You have abilities because you and your team are cyborgs or super-engineered humans. It’s not explained much early in the game. You get into your first fight pretty quick and it explains the different ways you can fight but not how to execute them so it’s pretty much trying different things and see what works. Fighting is turn-based, not my favorite kind of gameplay but it has its perks.  So right off the bat, your choices are movement, melee fighting (called MACS), putting up a shield/healing, sabotage, and hacking the enemy. So it seems the enemy is also a synthetic being. As you play through the game you gain access to more weapons like knives, grenades, handguns, and more. Sometimes you can even use the environment in your fight to your advantage.  The fighting was a little stale for me but it wasn’t hard to pick up once you figured it out. Enemies usually go down in one or two hits so fighting is pretty quick until there are multiples or the kinda miniboss you fight after meeting up with your comrade but that’s for later.

The graphics for the game were beautiful to me. The cutscenes were well placed and the commentary amongst the characters was great if not a little stereotypical. The way the characters moved was very realistic and well planned down to the hand gestures. The main characters that I got to meet while playing Angel, the captain and main protagonist the characters follow, Radical, a Scottish Knife-wielding member of the crew, and Buddy, a dog that seems to have enhancements due to experimentation. Together you fight to get yourself off this ship and back to Pilot, the voice of your savior and teammate in space. 

There is also a crafting element to the game to create weapons and enhance them to add a little more to the game and I greatly enjoyed playing with it. As you collect scrap and crafting recipes you gain more items to create in your arsenal. Of course, the item you create can only be used by the characters with that affinity. The higher your skill with the proposed weapon the better as well. Increasing your base stats gives you an edge in battle as well. The more you play the more enemies you encounter which makes you have to add strategy in more to ensure you and your team survive. So play wisely and use the strength of your team to the fullest. 

After spending time playing the game I enjoyed it but it can get better. I can’t wait to see how the game grows as it moves through its beta testing and on to the world.

DVS Game Rating 7.5/ 10 

PlayStation Announces New Partnership With Discord!

Discord and PlayStation (R) Logos DVS does not own the rights to these images.

Yesterday PlayStation made a brief announcement on their blog, here, about their new partnership with the Gamer-focused chatting service Discord. This news coming in hot after talks broke down from a recent development with Microsoft/ Xbox, who were looking to acquire Discord for 10 billion dollars. Not much is known as to why they decided to turn down the offer in favor of a partnership but, it looks like Sony/ PlayStation will be taking the lead on this one. 

In their blog, Playstation also announced we could see the fruits of this partnership as early as next year. Integrating, Discord into their existing chat feature on console and mobile. Seemingly from the blog post, PlayStation is more in line with Discord’s vision of community first, but little has been said about what this could mean for either company moving forward. 

Becoming a minority investment stakeholder in Discord’s series H round leaves both giants open to explore how to develop their partnership while leaving the companies to grow individually. There are many expectations for both companies to wow their audience with how this partnership formed. 

Discord has been around for quite a while, est. 2015, and has been steadily growing in the gaming industry and got a profound hike in usability during the Covid-19 Pandemic. While not the most user-friendly chatting software to use, it was integral in bringing family and friends together to enjoy everything from reunions to game nights. Used all over by podcasters and streamers in the gaming industry, it is no wonder we have seen Discord popping up a lot in the news lately. 

Playstation has a much longer history in the gaming industry with its creator/investor Sony. Est. 1994, PlayStation has been a major player in the gaming industry ever since. While they have acquired many companies to increase their standing, taking the role of partner this time seems to have worked in their favor. 

Stay tuned to DVSGaming for more news, reviews, and updates to come!

Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales: PS5 Review

Miles Morales has been taking the world by storm as Marvel’s edgy newer hero, who only first made his debut in the comic line Ultimate Fallout in 2011. He follows in Peter Parker’s footsteps as a new, teenage Spiderman after gaining similar abilities, but seems to have far more to offer in terms of sheer power. Marvel’s Spiderman Miles Morales allows us to walk in the footsteps of this green hero in an all-new action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive. This story directly follows the events of Marvel’s Spiderman, the previous entry of the series. I loved everything this game had to offer despite it being a shorter tale than the first entry. This game is playable on PlayStation 4, and the 5 for only $49.99, making it way cheaper than most new games that are usually set at $69.99. I will warn new players, though in the game there is a recap of previous events I very much recommend playing the first game. Not only was the first Spiderman a fantastic game, but the story is crucial seeing as there will be more to follow. 

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The story follows Miles in New York after his father’s passing in the previous events that took place in Marvel’s Spiderman. Miles and his mother Rio had just moved to Harlem, where she is running for City Council to fight for her home against a new energy company Roxxan. Peter goes on vacation, allowing Miles to fly solo in New York to find his footing, deeming him ready to fight for his city. Miles soon uncovers a war between this secretly corrupt energy company and the Underground; a terrorist group that is following the Tinkerer in trying to take them out. Compared to the previous game, I found Miles to be a bit more relatable than Peter. Miles shows the struggle of being a child hero and his feelings on trying to fill the shoes of Peter. Throughout the story, he unlocks unknown abilities that he learns to master over time, while also finding himself behind the mask and in real life. Between the mistakes he makes along the way and trying to overcome his self-doubt, the game does well in making Miles feel more human in this game, as well as creating a connection between the player and character. While the previous Spiderman did well to help the players play as Peter Parker, he felt more of a self-sacrificing hero that knew what to do. Miles, on the other hand, went through major character growth from starting as a timid teenager unsure of whether or not he is ready to take on the mask and changing into a full-fledged Spiderman. Insomniac designed this game so well in terms of overall character growth and story progression to the point where I even teared up at the ending of the game in both play-throughs. 

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Marvels’ Spiderman Miles Morales was a plain right personable game that was jam-packed with emotions. Every character made a massive impact on the game in their unique way. I could not get enough of how well designed the side characters and villains were in this game. Ganke was such a fantastic supporting character to Miles and helped bring a more realistic and modern feel to the game. Designing the Friendly Neighborhood app, helping Miles find himself as his person, and assisting on missions by remoting into his suit felt insanely cool and showed how reliable he was as a friend and partner. One could even say his best friend was the Sam to his Frodo. I also absolutely loved that this game brought the Prowler, a.k.a. Uncle Aaron in and designed him as not only a supporting character that contributes to Mile’s growth as a family but also as a man that struggles between right and wrong. Even Rio fought so hard for her family and city against Roxxan and stood to show Miles that their family never backs down no matter how hard the fight is. Miles, like Peter, built such a good support system without even realizing it. Even the citizens of New York in the game felt more realistic compared to before as far as side quests go. Each character in the side quests felt more natural and had a lot more personality such as Teo and Hailey. Most of the characters you help out start off suspicious of the new Spiderman in town and over time warm up to him and deem him their district’s Spiderman.

Though the story of this game was short, it was incredible and filled with fantastic side content. I do wish there was a bit more as far as side quests go, but there were good options outside of the new game plus for playability. All missions that were side quests and main quests can be replayed. In addition, you could trigger crimes over and over again to get activity tokens for unlocking abilities and suits. As far as resources go, there were significantly fewer options compared to the first game, for you only needed activity tokens and research parts to get gadgets, mods, and suits as well as the required level. This made the game far less tedious, but also I felt because of this I would have liked to see more to do. This game did do a good job of keeping you busy for the most part, since with each story progression you essentially got new collectibles or fetch quests unlocked as well as side missions. The side content provided also god a good story with each of them, such as finishing Mile’s father and uncle’s soundtrack, the end game scavenger hunts his father left for him, and even his time capsules he made with Phin. While the content might be lacking in quantity, the game has made up tenfold in quality.

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What I do feel like the game lacked in a bit more was gameplay. While I love the replayability of it, I felt like the new game plus option should have offered more in terms of content. Aside from some new game plus suits and abilities, there was no real reason to add it. You can change the difficulty for NG plus, and there are no new quests for it whatsoever. I felt because of this, new game plus was just a filler to feel like there was more to game content-wise, but there was not. The only real reason outside of suits and abilities for NG plus is for trophy hunters. In addition, the combat was satisfying but also left you feeling a bit too powerful regardless of difficulty because of the bioelectricity abilities, invisibility, and gadgets. Finishers only required combos rather than taking away from your venom attack build-up bars. While you consumed a bar to heal from your bioelectricity bar, it racks up so fast and using them often leaves you in less need to heal. You can combo off of them so easily causing insane damage to enemies. Even on Spectacular while they might not die as fast it still takes a big chunk off of heavy hitters. Gadgets also replenish fast and rack up damage with gravity well, the holo-drones, and remote mines.

While you have fewer options compared to the first game, they do way more damage. I found myself using all of the gadgets, but you could also pick off enemies super easily with gravity well and venom blast. My only other complaint as far as the combat goes is how exploitable camouflage is. Enemies do not counter this until late game, but through the majority of the game you could go in wreak havoc or stealth kill and no matter how you get caught you can go invisible again leaving enemies confused dropping their guard fast. I tore through each base so fast because of this ability alone. I’m not saying the game should be hard, but more so there should be a better balance for each difficulty. Harder modes are for players that want a challenge or players that don’t want to steamroll through the game, but there were no considerably noticeable gaps with each jump. That being said the combat did at least feel satisfyingly cool.

All in all, I loved this game, though some areas are lacking it set a new bar for the series as far as story and quality go. I loved the amount of detail that went into creating the environment and story. I also can not wait to see what happens in the next entry per the end scenes we got in the credits. Miles is an amazingly human character and an incredible Spiderman. This game also played incredibly smooth on the PS5 at 60 frames per second. The Marvel’s Spiderman series offers some of the best superhero games out there, and I expect great things from Insomniac.

DVS Score: 8/10

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale Stealth and Mischief

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale developed by Honig Studios and Quantumfrog and published by HandyGames is an adorable adventure strategy game geared towards stealth players. The game was released December 2020 on Playstation, Xbox, Switch, Windows, and Google Stadia.

The story of the game follows a young boy who lives alone with his mother on a farm in the Wild West. One day a group of bandits burns their home to the ground and his mother takes what few possessions they have left, packs them on a horse and they leave. To protect her son she put him in a monastery and subsequently gets kidnapped by the bandits. It’s up to you as a young 6-year-old boy to escape the monastery and save your mother using stealth and the toys and items found on your journey.

If you’ve met me you know I love puzzles and this game is a puzzle in every step. There are many ways to achieve your objective and having a good strategy can be the deciding factor between freedom and getting sent back to your room. There are little things in the game to increase difficulty like engaging with the children of each level while trying to stay unseen. The further you get in the game the more challenging the game becomes and your strategy becomes very important to keep safe.

The graphics of the game were beautiful. Similar to a Saturday morning cartoon t and just as colorful. The transitions are very well done and keep you looking for more. The gameplay is simple and they give you a tutorial at the beginning to get you used to gameplay as well. Using the tools to distract watchers and to give you access to new areas and puzzles. Keeping to the shadows and using the light to your advantage to save mom.

I enjoyed playing this game and I can’t wait to complete it. I’m always trying to find a new strategy to get through each level without being seen and unlocking new scenes and areas. This game was really fun and I think it will be great to play for the entire family.

DVS Game Rating 8/10

PlayStation 5: Hardware Review

The Playstation 5 is the new, current-generation console released by Sony last November of 2020. The console is the most powerful yet of all the released consoles and really built upon what players wanted as opposed to their last released console the Playstation 4 Pro. I was very pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of this console and left with a feeling of satisfaction and comfort. There are a few changes I would have made personally, but this release is a huge success for Sony compared to previous releases. This console comes in two editions, being the digital-only and the disc. The digital edition costs $399.99, while the disc edition costs $499.99. If you can manage to get a console outside of scalpers, they are released in batches at stores such as Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and Target.

Sony PlayStation 5

The PS5 is excellent as far as performance goes, especially now that they have included a high-speed NVMe SSD creating a hell of a lot faster boot up, and cutting load times for games from 1GB in 20 seconds per the PS4 to 2GB in .27 seconds on this new console. The console supports 8K streaming for apps such as Netflix and Hulu, and we can now play games in full 4k thanks to the new AMD custom GPU with RDNA 2 architecture hardware. I will say what I am most impressed with the cooling system. We all of course remember the previous consoles, and how hot they could become leading to the fans running overtime. This resulted in load fans constantly trying to cool down the CPU and system leaving users feel nothing but anxiety or annoyance. I mean let’s be real, the PS4 Slim and Pro could get insanely loud. However, this system uses liquid metal cooling between the CPU and heatsink, as well as using new AMD technology where unused power will be diverted back and forth between the CPU and GPU. The only downside to this is that players experience varying frequencies depending on the demand from either part. Not to mention the PS5 will only be as quiet depending on the game being played and the performance it is being played in. We now also get to experience 3D audio with our games, creating a highly immersive experience, as well as finally getting a 4K blue ray player for the disc edition which we were left out of with the PS4 Pro. The only downside to the cool new technology is that with every console comes a give and take for your budget. The system runs slower than its competitor at 10.28 teraflops at 2.23 GHz but does have a good 16 GB of GDDR6 Ram. Space is another issue since new games tend to eat up storage, for instead of that terabyte we got with the PS4’s HDD, we only get 825 GB of storage for the new SSD. The system also only has a 350 power supply, which it already uses quite a bit of power when loading.

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Personally, I also loved some of the little things about the setup for the console. Before with the previous PlayStations’ uploading and downloading save data could be a pain. Half the time for plus players they did not always upload automatically, and you would have to manually do it. Other issues would lie with the actual upload and download because sometimes it would not upload the first time and you would have to go back and do it again for it to appear in your cloud saved library following up with the download which did not always work the first time either. I was initially worried about this when setting up my new console, however, the transfer of data was seamless and I had no issues whatsoever. All of my saved data was there in a matter of a minute. I also loved that the system set up was integrated with a new mobile set up from your app making it quick and easy, rather than having to worry about a long and tedious login. Lastly, I am excited as any other player when it came to the new backward compatibility feature. It might be a bit more limited than Microsoft’s Xbox line, but it definitely has a great selection. I was surprised to see the even Final Fantasy Type 0 made the cut, which I have been currently working on a replay of. The list is pretty extensive with a wide selection of Playstation 4 games.

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The interface for the console has its pros and cons for me. While I love the overall clean look, I feel like it is less interactive than before. The home screen is definitely more organized compared to the previous console entries, giving you now a media and games tab on the top. I also love that hovering over each game allows you to track your progress, and you even get a cool new news tab that follows the store tab. However, it feels a bit less social than the previous Interface. Rather than seeing your community feature, or seeing comparisons of other people playing the same game as you, you now have to individually search players or go to your mobile app to see a social media like a page of what your friends are up to. I do like the new profile layout, it feels a lot cleaner and innovative compared to a social media page. And the new menu you get for sharing content, trophies, a cool feature that replaced the social page which is game base, music, and notifications. So while some things could change, overall the new changes are mostly positive. Even the store feels a lot more innovation than the previous layout and feels very clean and modern. The overall Interface just has a more sleek and modern feel to it. Another great bonus is in addition the still getting PS4 free games of the month we now get PS5 exclusive games as well as plus members. Who doesn’t love free games? One downside players will face now is the increase in cost for games and accessories. Rather than spending the normal $59.99 the average game now goes for $69.99, which in all honesty is to be expected for the price the console was sold at and the number of resources that now goes into making these high-performance games.

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The PlayStation 5 overall is an excellent console despite a few shortcomings. The controller feels fantastic, the console runs smoothly and has fantastic performance, and we now get access to a larger library thanks to the new backward compatibility making it so we no longer have to worry about using PS Now. Though the console right now is extremely hard to get a hold of due to scalpers and high demand, I do believe this is a great success for Sony since the launch of the PS3. We have fair pricing, great releases, and top-quality performance that we always expect from a reliable company like Sony.

DVS Score- 8/10

Getting a PlayStation Vita? Don’t Miss These Five Games

It may be 2021, and its support may be nowhere to be found save for a few indie developers. But, to be honest, the PlayStation Vita is a great little system.

Sure, Sony dropped it like a bad habit and it didn’t get nearly as many games as it deserved. But when it comes to handheld gaming, it has exquisite quality between its OLED screen, its fine control scheme, and its array of both AAA and indie titles. Sony should’ve given this a second chance, especially against the Nintendo Switch.

Nevertheless, we’re starting to see more collectors go after the hardware and some of its games, just for the sake of collective argument. That said, some newcomers may be a little overwhelmed as to where to start with picking games up for it.

Well, not to worry, because we’re here with five great suggestions that’ll start you on the right foot, no matter which Vita you’re picking up. Hunt down these titles and indulge!

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

The Vita has its fair share of outstanding fighting games, including a number of BlazBlue titles and Street Fighter X Tekken. But the true winner of the bunch is clearly Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This port is a highly effective one, with great gameplay features that take advantage of the system, along with awesome visuals and sound. Plus it’s so easy to get into, with supers to unleash and a number of outstanding characters. It’s not every day you see someone like Phoenix Wright taking on Magneto, after all.

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath

Initially released for the first Xbox console, Oddworld Inhabitants’ sprawling Western shooter eventually made its debut on the Vita – and has become one of the most admired games for the system. It handles controls reasonably well, allowing you to work between first and third person perspectives almost effortlessly. It also packs a punch with its graphics, as well as its storyline, which takes a major turn close to the end that really brings the adventure to a monumental close. Don’t let this Wrath pass you by.

Rayman Legends

Oh, the PlayStation Vita has some great platformers, including Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and Shovel Knight, among many others. It also has lots of Rayman to go around, thanks to the launch title Rayman Origins. But Legends eclipses it in so many ways, with an abundance of great in-game content, as well as entertaining gameplay, challenges galore, and some of the best graphics we’ve seen on this side of the Vita. It’s still a legendary title that’s worth hunting down to this very day.

Muramasa Rebirth

Hack and slashers don’t get much better than Muramasa, which initially made its debut on Wii to thunderous applause. But on the Vita, it expanded to another audience, thanks to the sheer beauty of Rebirth. With spellbinding visuals, exciting gameplay (taking advantage of more traditional controls), and two different quests to take on, it’s easily one of Vanillaware’s finest. And you can’t play it on Switch – at least, not yet – so Vita’s the best way to enjoy it on the go at the moment.

Persona 4 Golden

If you think that we’re not going to recommend Persona 4’s arrival on the PlayStation Vita, you’re crazy. This easily stands as one of the best experiences on Sony’s handheld, if not the best, bringing all its goodness to the platform with other great goodies. Its gameplay will compel you for hours on end; its characters bring an abundant amount of content to the table; and it takes storytelling to a whole new level. Plus it just plain looks fantastic. Hunt this baby down and add it to your collection forever.

What Vita games would you pick up alongside the system?

Layers Of Fear 2

DVS Gaming Video Game Review

Layers Of Fear, horror, and suspense wrapped into a dingy dark video game. If you had played the first Layers Of Fear game, that was released in 2016, then you have no clue what’s about to crawl out of the corners of the second installment in the series. Unlike most horror game series that tend to follow the same story through-out the multi-game series, Layers of Fear brings you story upon story without looking back. There are very few things similar to LoF2 to its predecessor. Both games brought to you by Bloober Gaming, which sets an example for how far they’ve come from the original planning and testing of Layers Of Fear. Thanks to GunMedia, the second installment of Layers Of Fear is polished and curated to make the experience even more indulging. As Layers Of Fear started as an ”Indie Game” in 2016, their studio has grown and made possible this amazing horror.

Darkness Wrapped in a Mystery

As is with most horror, music and atmosphere truly make the game. If one is lacking, then surprise and deceit can be seen from chapters away. Yet if it’s drenched in mystery and soaked with fear, the smallest of shadows can send one spiraling into fear. Layers Of Fear 2 truly built upon their strongest points. Between the lighting in the game, the music and the sense of never-ending mystery, this game offered more within its first chapter than most horror movies do in their entirety. Shadows played against the light in perfect tandem to the madness building in your mind, making you second guess what you thought was real. What you thought was your story, has changed again and again into a dark hallway with the stories of those who have been trapped on board…

The Candyman Comes To Play…

Welcome onboard the ship…this is where actors come to play, to cry, to die. The 1930s style suite you landed in offers no help to your confusion. You were told to come for a play, yet you’ve found no stage nor any scripts. Just the lone phonograph taunting you with a steel cylinder used to record sound. You’ll find yourself enthralled with the amount of history in the suite; the art, the photos, the music… The Voice. As you move through the game, exploring more of the ship, finding out that the play is to be conducted as realistically as possible. With no interruptions from the crew or any other passengers, you have full right of the ship. As the evening goes on, and you have finally come to find that you are alone in this play, a voice can be heard. First quietly, almost taunting you into the next chapter of the game. A familiar, immediately frightening voice peers through the crashing waves against the ship. CandyMan… Otherwise known as Tony Todd, is the voice narrator of this game which only adds to the intense darkness of ‘Layers of Fear 2’.

Welcome to The Show

This Ship Is Not For The Weak

Tony Todd’s voice lulls you into a false sense of darkness, as Tony does, slowly making you comfortable with the horror you are about to experience. Tony does well introducing the story to you, leaving you alone in silence just as the ship starts to turn. Chapter after chapter, the stories being written scratch at the back of your mind. Shadows play in the halls, dancing in and out of rooms causing you to follow them as curiosity is one of mankind’s weaknesses. Layers of Fear uses your own inability to quell the curiosity, to lure you further into the story. The ship continues to toss and buoy in the oceans drift, this being shown by small glimpses to the deck, or through portholes along the hallways. As you move through the chapters, the darkness starts to illuminate more than just some monsters waiting to pop out of the dark.

The ship, previously thought to be empty had signs of children and crew on the levels where you were told to explore. Stories unfold, sadness and evil coming together binding upon the ship, trapping all those who enter its chambers. The food you had walked by, has now become rotten with time. Spiderwebs stretch across the halls and rooms as far as the eye can see. Parts of the ceiling had collapsed, giving the actor a clear sense of madness as the rooms continued to change. To escape your own madness, you’ll have to piece together clues that surround you with every step, every word of the stories told to you.

The Calming Seas

Can you tell the difference between reality and make-believe?

Choices to be made…yet with no discernible proof for either choice, with nothing more than a perfectly poised question during your darkest moment…the choice will be yours to make. Good or bad…a choice is a choice that has to be made. Will your fear make you choose? Or will you be in control of your fear? Strength has no meaning in a destitute place like the Ship. Only the darkness can show you the way to the light. Has it been a day? A week? More? The Ship is control of what you will experience and there is but one ‘man’ whose been freed of the Ship, but at a cost. You hear more and more of this man, but every photo you come across with him has his face scratched out for none to see. The Actor and The Painter, again and again, these men haunt your vision. You learn more about them through the slides and photos you find scattered about the ship in its many rooms.

The humanity…what’s left of it…can be more frightening than the monsters in the dark.

As you scavenge for clues and anything that can help your protagonist make his way through the story, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery. Layers of Fear is drenched in horror. Keep your eyes wide when you explore, as you’ll find hidden references to Horror Movies and Monsters of the past. Some will be more apparent than others, but there are over 30 references in the stretch of Layers Of Fear 2. If you’re lucky, you might just figure out what the link between Layers of Fear and Layers of Fear 2 is….

Careful in the darkness, it can make you go mad…

Layers of Fear is exactly what the title says, layers of your fears. One upon the other, forced into tandem as you experience the darkness that surrounds and expels from your soul. Layers has a unique feature, that you can choose the pivotal points in the story. You, the ‘Actor’ will have to choose between your morals or your gain. Will you save yourself, reach the deck and feel sunlight against your skin again? Will you succumb to the cries of children? Your choices are important and can impact your gameplay, heavily. Will you refuse the beautiful darkness that Tony Todd speaks softly to you? Layers of Fear 2 is an amazing psychological thriller game that takes you in-depth of horror history and it’s building blocks. From the visuals to the story, to the sound, Layers of Fear 2 has encompassed that of which makes a horror game, a horror game.

DVS HARLECHAN REVIEW: 8.5/10

E3 Is Cancelled. Good, Here’s What the ESA Can Do to Bring It Back to Prosperity

For the first time since 1996, there will not be an Electronic Entertainment Expo to call home. The Entertainment Software Association (or the ESA, for short), confirmed the news on Wednesday morning, citing “growing concerns over (the) COVID-19 virus,” or Coronavirus as it’s more commonly known. As a result, it’s now “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.”

Now, here’s the thing. The coronavirus is definitely a reason why the show eventually went the way of the dodo this year. But leading up to that, many were questioning what it should’ve been anyway. With Sony pulling out for a second consecutive year and many companies wondering if it was worth it, the ESA previously noted that it would come back with an all-new take on what people expected from the show. This followed a previous data leak of over 2,000 journalists and other attendees, which the company still has yet to apologize for.

This newly focused show would’ve originally included “surprise guests, stage experiences, access to insiders, and experimental zones,” going against the mantra of what the show was known for in the first place. That means focus on games, game developers, and game hype. Instead, it sounded like E3 was headed in a disastrously worse direction, leading many to wonder if the show was still needed. Alas, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Despite E3’s cancellation, this gives a chance to the ESA to refocus and bring the show back to basics. We’ve recommended a few things that it can do to win over the community again, because, boy, does it need to.

First off, the apology. It noted that it was aware of the data leak that took place last year, but not once did it say it was sorry for the error. Honestly, this goes a long way. By acknowledging a mistake and saying, “We’re ready to win back your trust” instead of hiring some outside security agency to protect its assets, it repairs the bridge that it burned down once the data leak took place.

The second thing? Get back Geoff Keighley. Say what you will, but Keighley is a prominent figure in the E3 scene. When he announced he wouldn’t return to the show last month because it wasn’t the same event he remembered, that was a colossal blow. Now that the show will take an online stance this year, it’s a good opportunity to mend that relationship and have him host an E3 online special, done his way. As he’s proven with the Video Game Awards and the Gamescom presentation in the past, doing things his way totally works.

Microsoft will still have something in store for gamers. But will it be like this?

And then? Forget the hoopla. We understand that E3 is trying to do things in the way of the Penny Arcade Expo. But let’s be fair – it’s not PAX. It’s an industry show. That’s what many people recognize it for, that’s what it needs to be. Part of these Coronavirus fears come from the fact that the show is more packed than it needs to be. We know that the ESA wants to make money from the public, but this is the wrong way to do it.

A separate event. Some activities surrounding the event, like what Microsoft has done with its pavilion. Doing stuff that will have people feeling the E3 mantra without actually being at E3 itself. There are smarter ways to do this. And now that the show is on the shelf for the next year, the ESA can knuckle down and take it back to basics. It needs to if it’s going to win over the trust of attendees again.

And do away with the business plan of “experimental zones.” Really? Is this a children’s museum? No, it’s E3. That means having games that fill up space and not necessarily energy drink dance parties like what took over the floor last year. This is a matter of focusing on games and giving everyone a chance to show off what they’ve got coming in the next year.

That means lowering rates. We know the Convention Center in L.A. isn’t a cheap space to host an event, but it worked so well in the past. So, make use of every corner of its building. By that, we mean this: bring back Kentia Hall and the weird, wonderful developers that can’t afford the typical floor space or the private meeting rooms. Bring back the back halls where smaller companies can provide a good hosting spot. Hell, bring back Naughty America and get people talking again. (Once more, make this an industry event and not something where the kids can go in and accidentally brush into, say, Dr. Disrespect.)

Sigh. We’ll definitely miss this mantra. For now.

This is your chance, ESA. Make June’s showcase something special with Geoff Keighley, Melonie Mac and all the talent you can muster to get people excited for games. Then reshuffle your deck and make the show what it should have been for the last few years, complete with all the games you can carry and the open opportunities for everyone – smaller developers included – to thoroughly enjoy. Make E3 E3 again, if that makes sense.

Meanwhile, we’ll see you in the chat rooms for the virtual presentation in June. Hopefully, it won’t be overloaded with “experimental zones.”