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‘Layers of Fear’ looks terrifying

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A room full of floating doll heads. What could possibly be scary about that?
A room full of floating doll heads. What could possibly be scary about that?

I’ve always been a huge fan of horror games. It’s an obsession that began with “Resident Evil” and continued through the likes of “Condemned” and “Outlast” and, most recently, the grossly underrated “Until Dawn.”

But if the screenshots I’ve seen (like the one above) are any indication, “Layers of Fear,” the upcoming release from Bloober Team, may well be the game that forces me to sleep with the lights on.

In “Layers of Fear,” you assume the role of an insane painter trying to desperately to finish his masterpiece from inside the confines of a spooky Victorian-era mansion. This descent into madness results in a constantly shifting and changing game world, one in which doors can vanish after you pass through them and paintings change with each look. It sounds like psychological horror at its best, which is something I’ve been craving ever since I walked down that hallway in “PT.”

After enjoying a successful run on Steam Early Access, “Layers of Fear” is set to be released to the masses on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 February 16.

Make no mistake about it — I love Ubisoft’s “Far Cry” franchise. And when the latest installment, “Far Cry Primal,” was announced last October, I was genuinely excited. “Far Cry” with perhaps a dash of “Apocalypto” and woolly mammoths? Sign me up.

What intrigues me most about “Primal” is its unique setting, and how the shift back in time should fundamentally change how you approach situations within the game. The “Far Cry” series helped define the open-world first-person shooter genre, but with “Primal” taking place during the Stone Age, this clearly isn’t going to be a typical FPS. And that opens up a world of possibilities.

I’m hoping to see a greater emphasis on crafting weapons from the materials you scavenge. I want to see more stealth options available since going into a fight with guns blazing isn’t exactly going to work in a world without guns. Fire has always played a key role in “Far Cry,” and I’m hoping to see it become an even more integral tool in “Primal.”

The ability to control animals is another feature that could be unbelievably cool — if implemented well. Taming predators and using them as weapons against your enemies? Again, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Hopefully there’s a honey badger roaming around somewhere to sic on unsuspecting foes, because those little guys were relentless in “Far Cry 4.”

If everything comes together, “Far Cry Primal” could become one of the year’s most exciting titles. After all, the struggle to remain at the top of the food chain isn’t something you find in most games. Luckily we won’t have to wait much longer to find out as the game launches Feb. 23 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

‘Doom’ launching May 13

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Publisher Bethesda Softworks has revealed that the next installment in the pioneering first-person shooter franchise “Doom” will launch May 13 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Developed by id Software, “Doom” will again pit players against the forces of Hell in a “brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience.” Multiplayer is, unsurprisingly, a major focus with several different game modes and a new SnapMap game editor that allows player to create and share content.

The studio also announced plans for a collector’s edition of the game, which includes a 12-inch statue of a Revenant demon and a copy of the game packaged in a “battle-worthy metal case.” The collector’s edition will retail for $119.99.

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Review: ‘Gravity Rush Remastered’

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Just because a gaming system fails to find an audience doesn’t necessarily mean the platform lacks quality software. The PlayStation Vita is a perfect example.

Sony’s powerful handheld may have struggled to gain a foothold in the crowded mobile market, but it was home to several very good games. Unfortunately many of those titles went unnoticed by the majority of gamers who didn’t own a Vita.

Now Sony is giving one of these games a second chance.

“Gravity Rush,” which first launched on the Vita in 2012, makes the move to PlayStation 4 today with the release of “Gravity Rush Remastered.” Developed by Bluepoint Games (SCE Studios Japan created the original), the port features enhanced high-definition graphics, an improved frame-rate and the same great gravity-defying gameplay that made the original such a unique experience.

gravityrushPlayers control Kat, a young girl with a missing memory and the ability to manipulate gravity. The gameplay possibilities that come with her special talents elevate “Gravity Rush Remastered” above most traditional action-platformers. Whether it’s turning a floor into a wall or bending gravity in order to gain a fresh perspective during combat, Kat’s abilities make her a powerful protagonist. The story is equally engaging, as Kat proves to be as personable as she is powerful.

“Gravity Rush Remastered” is a terrific addition to the PS4 library and well worth a look even if you’ve already experienced the original on Vita. It’s also a fine opportunity to get familiar with the characters and gameplay before the full-blown sequel arrives on PS4 later this year.

“Gravity Rush Remastered”

Developer: Bluepoint Games

Publisher: SCEA

Available for: PlayStation 4

Rating: T for teen

Score: 8.0/10

 

 

 

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Can’t get enough of Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Kylo Ren? You’re in luck.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a new title from TT Games that lets players experience one of the biggest movies of all-time in classic LEGO game fashion.

Players can look forward to controlling the likes of Rey, Finn, Han Solo, BB-8 and Poe Dameron, and exploring memorable locales from the film such as Jakku and Starkiller Base. The game also introduces a new “Multi-Build” system, where players can choose from multiple build options, and new Blaster Battles that allow players to take cover during combat.

There will also be a number of vehicles to control, including the iconic Millennium Falcon. The game also plans to introduce new content to help bridge the gap between the events of “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.”

“LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will launch on nearly every available platform on June 28.

Time to hit the reset button

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Who says you can’t go home again?

After nearly five years, the Plugged In blog has returned. And I have to say, it feels great to be back. Technically, though, it never really went away as I’ve continued to review video games on the Gazette-Mail website.

But after several years of posting my content there, I felt the time was right to resurrect the blog.
I missed the freedom and flexibility the blog offered, especially with regard to video. So expect to see more game clips, trailers and other surprises moving forward.

The blog format also allows me to post more than reviews, which was something I couldn’t really do through the main website. Now I have somewhere to post all the news items, thought-provoking commentary and random cool stuff that pops up all the time.

I’m also expanding my coverage beyond simply video games. Consider the Plugged In blog as your one-stop shop for all things geek — if I think it’s cool, I’m going to talk about it here. And I hope you’ll talk about it, too.

There will be more to come later this week, but for now I have to finish knocking down the cobwebs and sweeping away the dust. After all, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here.

But it’s good to be home.