Devil May Cry V Demo Impressions

I was gutted when I couldn’t play Devil May Cry V when the demo released on the Xbox One.  Essentially the one system I don’t have but when the demo was announced for a future date on the PS4, my hopes had been delivered. I try not to watch gameplay trailers nowadays as I like to keep the game mostly a surprise. When a game gets announced that I like the sound of, I’ll have a look at the launch trailer and until launch I’ll watch some GIF’s and an odd video on occasion to get a better feel for a game. Most recently I did this with RE2 Remake. I barely saw anything of that and then a week before release I started paying attention. It feels so good when a thing you’ve just got an interest in, is right around the corner. And it isn’t because I’m not excited for the games, it’s just that I like to trick my brain into not being excited until closer to the time. That hasn’t been the case for DMCV. I’m really craving a great character action game and DMCV is hopefully exactly that. Bayonnetta 2 was the last fantastic one for me with Nier Automata scratching that itch but not wowing me as much as I hoped. And so I’ve been eagerly awaiting DMCV and watching most footage that has come out for it.

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So happy when I saw this pop up after the demo.

So with my excitement high I jumped into the DMCV demo and here are some of my thoughts on it. I will clarify that even though I said I enjoyed these games, I would never say I’m good at them. I clear them and sometimes on higher difficulties but the style meters and rankings at the end of each mission, have never been my forte. I stopped counting how many stone Enzo trophies I got in Bayonetta. And it’s not that I don’t try to do well, but it’s the same thing for fighting games, I just don’t learn the systems. I don’t have the patience and creative flare for it. I love watching it and when it all comes together for me and I do something cool I get stupid hype for it but I’m not one of those technique masters. Hell, I barely get far in the Bloody Palace’s of previous Devil May Cry’s. The moves that suit me and combos that I can perform easily become my staples in each game. Do they kill the enemies? Yes but they also kill my rankings. The reason why I bring this up is that in my brief time in the DMCV demo (3 attempts with 2 being successful), I can see myself learning the systems. Specifically the Devil Breaker system.

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An S is very good for me! It does go higher than this. Thought I should tell you before you start worshipping me.

So, my thoughts:

  • Devil Breaker is cool! You have 3 options in the demo: Gerbera, Overture and Punch Line. Up to 4 Devil Breakers can be equipped and each one can be used up if you opt to use its devastating functions.
  • You can’t switch between Devil Breakers without destroying the one you have equipped. I really like this functionality as it makes choosing the order of Devil Breakers important.
  • If you get hit in the process of charging your Devil Breaker or in mid use of its strong attack, it breaks. Fragile but powerful parts of Nero’s arsenal.
  • Gerbera is my favourite and my go to. It’s the mobility arm. Using it to damage enemies creates a short shockwave in front of you but my main use is its air manoeuvrability. Using it in the air while pushing the left stick in a direction will blast Nero a few feet that way. Holding the Devil Breaker button and releasing it in the air will launch bouncing lasers at your target. Holding it on the ground and releasing it, will launch a powerful, controllable beam that can hit multiple targets. A Devil Breaker that seems best suited for crowds of enemies with the option of destroying a bunch in exchange for destroying the arm.
  • Overture is more damaging than Gerbera and seems like a good Devil Breaker to have for standard enemy fodder. Tapping the Devil Breaker button (O) will blast a fracture of electricity from the palm at enemies. This needs to be up close but it does a good chunk of damage to enemies in range. Holding O and releasing it near an enemy will grab and launch the opponent away from Nero. The monster will then have a timed bomb attached to them. You can let the bomb go off when its countdown ends or you can shoot the enemy to prematurely set it off.  A great tool if you can aggro the enemy into its friends.
  • Punch Line is a big dumb flying fist. I love it! By tapping O Nero will launch the rocket propelled fist into his foe. The fist will then repeatedly loop around the victim, smacking it every chance it gets. It’s great for keeping an enemy distracted. By doing that, you eliminate them from the fight for a few seconds or leave them wide open to attack. By holding and releasing O, Nero will do a flaming uppercut to all in range. As you can guess, this does a lot of damage. I feel this Devil Breaker is best suited for stronger enemies or even bosses. The uppercut alone is a big deal as it seems the biggest and quickest damage dealer out of the 3. I may be wrong on that though. Gerbera’s laser is good damage but so easy to interrupt whereas Punch Line’s big finisher is big damage done very quick.
  • Nero’s gun, Blue Rose, can now preemptively load up several high damage bullets. Tapping square will fire bullets like normal but holding down square will load up 3 super charged bullets. When you release the square button, Nero will automatically fire one of those bullets. So the choice is yours, do you run around with 2 super bullets or do you do the charging in combat to get the full 3. It doesn’t take long to charge but I feel happy running around with 2 super shots ready to go.
  • It’s great that Nero still has the ability to pull his opponents close to him, it really does feel like a natural progression from his last game of now being able to pull enemies into his new powered up metal fist.
  • I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of ways to use the Devil Breakers in creative ways around certain enemies and bosses. I didn’t test it out much in the demo but in the boss fight, having Gerbera equipped seemed to be a huge dealing during one bit. Goliath starts inhaling and a massive suction whirlwind starts moving towards you. Using Gerbera I was able to constantly blast Nero through the air away from it. I’m not how you’d escape that otherwise. The other time I tried it I had another arm equipped and as I was getting sucked in, I was prompted to click L1 to launch my arm at him. Losing the arm in the process but evading any damage. I’m really excited to see the weird and unique ways each Devil Breaker can be used in certain situations. I feel there’s a lot of room for hidden techniques and cool moments.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about the running yet. It may be just because I’m so used to the mobility in Bayonetta but Nero does feel me weighty. It’s not a bad thing, I think that suits his style. But when running around out of combat, it didn’t feel as precise to turn as I was expecting. Saying that though, on my 3rd playthrough of the demo I felt comfortable playing but that might be because I knew more of the layout of the level. Only time will tell how I feel about this. I’ll have to see how I feel when the full game comes out.
  • The taunting is brilliant. I never really utilised the taunts in past games. Stupid me didn’t understand why you should taunt but now I understand for style points and to keep the style up during downtime in fights. It really helps that the taunts are incredibly likeable too and the enemies react to certain ones which can be pretty funny and empowering. Great detail that I fully appreciated.

And I think that about does it. There are loads of details I could talk about but I just wanted to get my quick impressions out there. Overall it looks beautiful, it plays for the most part like I hoped and I really excited to keep playing the demo to see what hidden gameplay mechanics I missed. If you fancy trying the game, I highly recommend this demo. Thank you for reading and feel free to sound off your thoughts on the game in the comments.

Devil May Cry 5 Demo_20190208122621

Overwatch: Ashe First Impressions

Newcomer Ashe, leader of the Deadlock gang has made her sassy debut on Overwatch. Equipped with her semi-automatic rifle The Viper, a versatile coach gun and a whole lot of dynamite, Ashe is here to give Mcree a run for his money. Oh and B.O.B is here too.

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So, as I said with my previous post about Hammond (Overwatch: Wrecking Ball Impressions), I play mostly Mystery Heroes and besides a quick go of Ashe in the training mode, I’ve had very sporadic opportunity to learn Ashe. But my early impressions are promising, unlike how I felt about Hammond, who I still can’t play effectively. From my understanding and few hours of Ashe, she is best suited to medium range. Sure you can get up close and hip fire with The Viper but its aim is inconsistent. Down the sights is the best way to play Ashe and hip fire for tanks and desperation. The Viper fires one bullet at a time but also reloads one bullet at a time. This means you can cut reload time way down as long as you’re willing to sacrifice bullets in the rifle. The best way to describe Ashe is that she’s the space between Mcree and Widowmaker in terms of range.

Fortunately she has the right tools for her suited style. Primarily the coach gun which offers not only a chunk of damage to an enemy who gets too close, but also a much needed buffer. This is Ashe’s mobility move. Against enemies the coach gun is able to propel them a good few feet away as well as propel yourself in the opposite direction. It’s a handy tool when a mob of Overwatch heroes are closing in on you. The coach gun can be used to boost Ashe off the floor for extra height and air time for a few sneaky shots. As I said previously, she is the middle ground between Mcree and Widowmaker. Whereas Mcree is best up close to short distance, and Widowmaker from far away or up high, Ashe works best close to the action but hidden away in the back or on a ledge for safety. This is also backed up by her handfuls of dynamite.

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Ashe’s dynamite can fly some distance too! It’s got a floaty kind of feel when you throw it, which is intentional as you can shoot it to explode it early. If you don’t shoot it, it’ll explode after 2 seconds. When you throw the dynamite you can instantly pull the trigger to shoot it in the air, as long as you haven’t moved the cross-hairs too much. Once the dynamite explodes, anything caught in its range gets dealt a chunk of damage depending on how close to the dynamite they were, and then continuous burn damage for several seconds. Obviously this works best with clusters of opponents. Shields and barriers stop the blast and burn damage so Orisa and Reinhardt are a big problem for Ashe. If you are able to launch the dynamite at the right angle, you can catch them behind their shields but from my experience, this is easier said than done. The dynamite is also great for corners, if timed right, the enemy will round the corner as the dynamite goes boom or if you shoot it. This means the dynamite is an effective tool when being chased. If you want to be extra fancy, you can always coach gun them into the dynamites blast radius.

Finally, we come to Ashe’s ultimate B.O.B, an omnic companion. Or tool, with the way she speaks to him. When Ashe’s uses her ult, B.O.B leaps into action and uppercuts those who are in front of Ashe. He then proceeds to lay down suppressing fire with his arm cannons to any enemy nearby.  B.O.B comes with a whopping 1200 health pool and similar to Torb’s now gone level 3 turrets, he deals accurate hard hitting damage. Thankfully B.O.B can be destroyed although I really wouldn’t recommend it unless most of your team is concentrating fire on him. B.O.B is essentially another player for 12 seconds. He can be healed, nano boosted, stunned, sleep darted just like other heroes. Not only that, but he also acts as another player in terms of contesting the objectives. Yes, you can launch B.O.B onto the capture point and aim down your sights from a distance and provide cover fire for B.O.B while he captures the objective. This is a really clever mechanic and one that I can’t wait to see get used more often. If you’re capturing an objective, you can double the capture rate by bringing B.O.B out to play. Imagine sneaking round the enemies undetected and back-capping it while B.O.B also protects you. I’m really glad Blizzard made B.O.B act as another player in terms of contesting. It opens up a lot of opportunities.

Ashe Bob

So how do I feel about Ashe? Honestly, pretty good. I’m having some issues with lining up shots down her sights and shooting the dynamite in the air but I never said I was a pro shot. That’s why I suck as Widowmaker. But Ashe is a great replacement for me in that regard. With the shorter range, you need to be more in the fight but there is also less chance of missing as opposed to my Widowmaker aim. Ashe has 200 health which is the appropriate amount I think. She has a mobility option and even though it can get her around quickly, it isn’t unfair. There is quite a bit of hang time when you go vertical which means you are a sitting duck in the air. That sentence makes no sense but hopefully you understand what I meant. The dynamite is a useful tool for damage but if you miss it or if the enemy clearly sees it then they have a full 2 seconds to get out of the way. It then has a 10 second cooldown period, as does the coach gun so both skills need to be used effectively. I also find Ashe is effective for covering the likes of Ana or Zenyatta. Usually these heroes want to play a bit further away from their attacking teammates and this tends to leave them open to flankers such as Tracer and Sombra. As Ashe because you are more effective with a bit of distance, I find myself with the supports either near me or in my sight. This is really handy for supports as most damage heroes need to be up close to enemies and therefore in scuffles the supports are left vulnerable. Ashe is a handy hero to have on your team if your supports don’t have mobility options such as Mercy and Lucio.

Overall I like Ashe. I always love a slow rate of fire gun, especially a cowboy rifle, so I may be biased but her cowboy aesthetic I really enjoy. I’m still getting used to her aim but it’s very satisfying having to press for the trigger for each bullet and to be able to stop reloading on a whim. As for her ult, B.O.B is a unique and fun ultimate. I’m more interested in taking advantage of his contesting ability than I am of his gun skills but that’s a bonus included in the package. Whereas with Hammond I was unsure if I liked him, I feel confident in my enjoyment with Ashe. I just hope I get to play her more in Mystery Heroes because so far it’s being very unfair in my time as her.

Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on Ashe in the comments.

Just A Quick Go: Dead Cells

After my 20-25th death in Dead Cells, I thought I’d take a break and explain why I keep chucking myself at deaths cruel embrace. I’ve had my eye on Dead Cells for a while now but always been hesitant to fully jump on the hype train. The graphics looked amazing, the combat looked fluid and fast. It looked like a fantastic game but I kept hearing that word being thrown around, which kind of put me off it. That amalgamation of two brands, Metroidvania.

Before you brandish the pitchforks, I don’t hate those games. I prefer Metroid Prime to the 2D games though. I tend to fall off the 2D Metroid games at a quick rate. Except for Metroid Fusion, that was a brilliant game. Castlevania I haven’t really played except Castlevania on the N64 which, even in my 10 year old mind, I knew that was a dud rental. After that I never touched it again until the DS games, which I liked. But with both series there is always a point, where after hours into their respective labyrinths I think ‘Where do I go now?’. These games are designed so that you’ll find a pathway but will need a certain tool/key/skill to go that way. The problem is I always end up forgetting where that was and I just lose interest fast when I’m finding dead end after dead end. Dead Cells alleviates this issue for me by not only having a map that has pictures for my dumb brain but also by being a rogue-lite game. A fantastic one at that.

In Dead Cells you play as……….I’ve no idea actually. You are a blob that rolls into a corpse, controls that corpse and then heads off on his adventure. There isn’t much in the way of story here. It’s mostly filler text, scribblings on walls and observations your character can make. These help to fill the world but so far I don’t really know what this world is. Does that matter in a rogue-lite? Not really. There may be a story I’m missing or a reveal at the end but I’ve not even beat the game yet so I can’t explain the world. But that works in Dead Cells favour. As you control this blob controlling a body (I’m a bit of a blob myself so I know how that feels), you venture through different areas on an island, fighting your way through people and abominations. On your travels you will gather a bounty of resources including better weapons, stat boosts, blueprints for new gear, traps, money and the all important cells. Cells are the name of the game both figuratively and literally. Sure on your quest you may find a fantastic sword and astonishing bow but as soon as you die though, you lose all your gear. Cells however, are used to make your next journey easier.

Dead Cells Jars 3
The more you play, the more these blueprints will fill the jars. It’s a visual treat at the start of each run, to see how much you’ve progressed.

As you progress and slay enemies, they will sometimes drop cells. Once you reach the end of the area you are currently in, you go to a hub between areas. Here you can retool your gear, refill on health, enhance your character through mutations (more on that later) and most importantly; spend cells on eternal upgrades. For example, on your previous area you found a blueprint for a slick looking bow. On arrival at the hub space, you speak to a character who trades cells for game wide permanent buffs. Say I had 40 cells and the new bow blueprint I found costs 30 to create and to put into the game’s rotation. I put my cells into that and unlock the bow. Now that bow can appear on all my future runs. Consider it an investment. Now I have 10 cells left. I’m sure you didn’t need me to do that math for you but there it is anyway. What to do with that spare 10? I could put it toward a sword that poisons enemies, an extra health flask on top of my other 2, a perk that allows me to carry over 3000 of my gold to my next run upon my death. There are tons of ways to increase your arsenal and better your odds on your next go. There are lots of ways to increase your chances as you play. You will come across shops, find chests with goodies inside, find cursed chests that offer tantalising surprises for those who are willing to risk it for a biscuit, secret areas and be able to utilise up to 3 mutations.

Mutations are basically buffs for that individual run. When you first start playing Dead Cells, you have a dozen of so to choose from. As you find blueprints though, you will expand that list of possibilities. Do you go attack heavy and increase your damage for 15 seconds after an enemy kill? Go defensive and increase your HP? Increase your damage when you deploy bear traps, turrets or any of the other throw-able tools? The choice is yours but the best of players will choose a mutation that combos with the gear that they have.  All the above is why Dead Cells works for me. I don’t need to retain map data to know where to go. Dead Cells has branching pathways but you will always find an exit you can use. As you progress through the game you will encounter foes that once defeated, will leave a new power up for you which, will help you enter previously unreachable areas and will carry over after you die. It’s this continually satisfaction that keeps me coming back to Dead Cells. When I first played it, I couldn’t do the first area. Now I’m lasting close to an hour before getting my butt kicked. But even when I die, I know that all those cells I collected in the other areas, have all gone towards my goal of beating the game. It doesn’t matter that when I died I lost 26 cells because through the other areas I must have put over 100 cells into permanent upgrades and weapons. The more you play, the better you become. Not only that but your understanding of how the enemies fight improves. And on top of that! For all you speed runners out there. In a lot of the levels you will find doors that are only accessible if you get there within a certain time limit. Through the door you will find a stat increase, money and a stash of cells. So you always have a choice of going through the game at your own pace, or bombing it through the level like a mad man.

DeadCells Ramparts
Ramparts is my favourite location so far, There a very Prince of Persia feel to it when fighting enemies on the rooftops. It looks amazing too.

I realise I’ve written over 1000 words and barely said how I feel about the game. I’ll give a quick summary here but hopefully you found what I’ve described as interesting. This is a great game and thoroughly recommend you check it out. Besides its lavish environments and addictive gameplay, the one thing I love about the game is how it plays. It flows so well. It’s hard to describe except just to say that it plays really good. To compare it to another game, I would say it plays as good as Super Meat Boy. By that I mean, the sense of control and precision. The movement and combat in this game is on that level. Even when things are out of control on screen, I never feel out of control. Besides one or two times when I meant to jump down a narrow gap between two ledges. My character kept grabbing onto the ledges and pulling itself up. I died there which was annoying but on a mostly randomly generated game like this, that stuff is bound to happen. But that was a minor incident in my hours of game time. It didn’t stop me from immediately starting another run. If you’re looking for an addictive, expansive and combat heavy side scroller, look no further than Dead Cells.