Beneath the Mask: What Makes a Great Video Game Soundtrack?

Koji Kondo. Nobuo Uematsu. Jeremy Syd. No, these names are not random. These are well-known music composers in the video game industry. Koji Kondo created the iconic tunes on certain Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Punch-Out!! Nobuo Uematsu composed a majority of Final Fantasy titles since Final Fantasy I in 1987. Jeremy Syd composed the heart-pounding soundtrack in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

A 2021 photograph of Persona 5 composer Shoji Meguro.
Persona 5 composer Shoji Meguro

Looking at the impact of those soundtracks to their respective gaming experiences begs this question: What makes a video game soundtrack great? To answer this, I want to take a closer look at Persona 5's soundtrack, composed by Shoji Meguro.

A Little Info on Persona 5

The Persona series of games are spin-off titles of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. In the sixth entry of the series, players take control of a protagonist (named by the player) who is a high school student on probation for a crime he did not commit. As part of his probationary sentence, he is taken in by Sojiro Sakura who lets him stay in his coffee shop attic for a year while studying at the fictional Shujin Academy in Tokyo, Japan.

The protagonist, code-named Joker, meets friends along the way as he finds out the world around them is toxic and oppressive, almost like a prison! Each new friend joins the Joker's team, the Phantom Thieves, who are kids fighting off enemies that are supernatural manifestations of a real-life person's evil desires. Each team member has their own supernatural persona, and they can jump into otherworldly dimensions to aid in the fight. They ultimately defeat each enemy and, in turn, free the world around them from the evil forces that trapped them.

The Music Stands Out on its Own

I actually discovered the Persona 5 soundtrack with no knowledge of the games at all. Believe it or not, I heard the track "Last Surprise" from a dance-off video between a Houston Astros security guard and the team mascot, aptly named Astro, in Minute Maid Park back in 2018. Watch the video below and see the madness:

After seeing that video, I was curious what the entire soundtrack sounded like. A Spotify search later to find the entire soundtrack, and I was hooked. The blend of jazz, hard rock, electronic, and disco used in the soundtrack really made this stand out as a solid collection of music. The catchy licks and composition stuck with me since listening to it. Oftentimes I would add the songs to a playlist that I would listen to while I was working on something else. If there’s a deadline that needs to be met at work, “Blooming Villain” and other tracks from the game will be part of a playlist to blast through the work day. Check out the video below and feel the adrenaline surge the track can provide:

As I got around to playing Persona 5 this year, the soundtrack revealed its true form. (If you get that reference, I tip my hat to you!)

The Music Enhances the Game

Persona 5 screenshot of the player's character walking through Shibuya Station in Tokyo, Japan.
Shibuya Station in Tokyo, Japan: one of the many locations to traverse in Persona 5. (Credit: Atlus)

Sure, the Persona 5 soundtrack itself can stand on its own. But complementing it with a video game is even better. "Last Surprise" is the battle theme for every small fight. "Blooming Villain" becomes the level boss’s theme. The songs that are just pastimes on a playlist have context in the bigger picture of the game. It brings the excitement out of a fight!

A screenshot of the Persona 5 user interface when the player is in battle.
The HUD system in Persona 5. (Credit: Atlus)

Besides enhancing the fights, the songs add to the world-building of the game. Unlike movies where the audience is just watching the story unfold, video games are an interactive experience. The player is a part of the game’s world as Joker. So a song like "Tokyo Daylight" fits the bill to match the busyness of Tokyo, Japan. 

Another example of this world-building is in the different Palaces where the main bosses are housed throughout the game. Each palace represents a loose interpretation of the 7 Deadly Sins found in Christian non-biblical theology. One such Palace, for example, is based on greed. And the Palace itself is based around a bank, a modern version of what greed looks like. So what is the score associated with this Palace? It's a tune that sounds like it's straight out of a heist movie! Check it out in this next video:

The Music Creates Memories

As the game progresses, something truly amazing happens within the game’s soundtrack. Something that I really didn’t expect as the game’s ending and resolution were looming. Poet Oscar Wilde said: "Music is the art which is most nigh (near) to tears and memory." This is the most important part of a great soundtrack, whether it’s a video game or a movie. The song goes past enhancing the game itself. The music bridges the player and the game on a more personal level. Was there a hilarious scene in Persona 5 you found laughing your eyes out? There’s a song for that. Was there a boss that was so hard to beat, and then you miraculously beat it after an hour of gameplay? There’s a song for that, too! The links here are just some of my personal favorite songs that I associate with a fond memory I had in the game.

As the credits rolled on my playthrough, the different scenes of meeting each and every Phantom Thief member hit hard in the feels as I reminisced about creating a relationship with them. Building that relationship benefits the player in battle, so that was something I had invested time into. The accompanying score on "With The Stars and Us" made it hard to say goodbye. But the lyrics on this song were in Japanese, a departure from the majority of songs that were written in English. After looking at the translated lyrics, it made leaving the game much easier. Here’s an excerpt of one part of the song that cemented that feeling:

Never forget when we're apart
We are as one under the stars
It's okay for us to say goodbye

Artistic group shot of the Phantom Thieves characters in Persona 5.
The Phantom Thieves are here! (Credit: Gamespot)

Little did I know there was a sequel, Persona 5 Strikers, that I played immediately after. But that’s for another article!

Going back to my earlier question, what makes a great video game soundtrack? In short:

I can safely say, after 100 hours of gameplay, Persona 5’s soundtrack is amazing! If you haven’t played it, give Persona 5 a try! It’s a worthwhile experience. Persona 5 and its sequel are out now on PlayStation 4.

What do you think makes a great video game soundtrack?

Angels of the Zariman: Warframe's next era is for new players too

I really love MMOs. They’re some of the only games that make me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. There’s something really special about inhabiting a living, breathing world, instanced together with thousands of other players at a time. The fight against a world-ending evil feels so much more “real” when you’re working side-by-side with several dozen other heroes. That never gets old.

Do you know what I don’t love about MMOs? The painstaking process I have to go through to get engaged with a long-running game as a new player. Nothing kills my excitement for diving into an MMO I’ve just discovered more than realizing I have to play catch up on nearly a decade’s worth of content to play the latest update.

Luckily, I’ve been playing one of the most unique MMOs on and off for just about half of the game’s lifespan. When Digital Extremes made Warframe, they somehow threw robot ninjas, parkour, stealth, third-person shooting, and robust looter shooter elements into a blender and ended up with a coherent (and fun!) final product. Set all those gameplay elements to a uniquely personal and ever-evolving sci-fi story backdrop, and Warframe becomes a game that everyone should try out at least once.

Warframe is fundamentally a game about using robots with swords and guns to collect more robots, swords, and guns. And sometimes gunblades. What’s not to love?

Warframe is quite the long-running game, owing much to its special recipe of disparate elements that work together against all odds. In fact, just this March, the title celebrated its ninth anniversary with a fun in-game celebration. That means the game’s got a hell of a lot of content, which is great for an older player like me! I always feel like I have something I can log in and work toward. But this content backlog isn’t great for onboarding new players, especially as progression trees that are unlocked later into the game become more essential to a Warframe player’s toolkit.

Warframe’s latest update was a hefty one. With Angels of the Zariman, Digital Extremes added a new story quest, a brand new set of levels, a new Warframe, and several new weapons for veterans to start playing around with. But it also feels like the development team is recognizing and grappling with the classic MMO problem for the first time: as the endgame expands, how do new players get the chance to catch up?

The Angels of the Zariman update added a whole new set of nodes (including a new hub area and player home) to the Star Chart.

Angels of the Zariman answers this question with a two-pronged attack. There’s been a complete reworking of archaic progression trees and additions of new (and easier) ways to farm endgame essentials.

The Focus skill trees are unlocked about halfway through Warframe’s main story quests, introducing a slew of new abilities for players to invest in. Since their introduction, there have always been five different “ways” (skill trees, named after ancient Tenno warrior philosophies) to explore. Still, the balancing of the Focus trees was largely… well, shot to hell. 

The new Focus abilities are simple to understand and require active ability synergy to pull off.

Certain Focus ways were part of the metagame, and completing those skill trees was imperative to being successful in activities like Eidolon hunting and Steel Path missions. Like many looter shooters, Warframe players picked and chose abilities based on raw DPS, capitalizing on stacking multipliers to trivialize most content. Focus trees with nuance that didn’t just serve to pump up damage numbers fell to the wayside in the endgame.

Angels of the Zariman completely reworks this progression system, shaking up the abilities in every Focus tree. Whereas many abilities in the Focus paths served as passive buffs to the player beforehand, now they have to be activated during combat. This opens up new ways to fight enemies and forces the player to actually engage with and understand the Focus tree they’ve chosen for themselves.

A Thrax Legate, one of the new enemies that provides focus when killed, takes aim at my Warframe.

The newest update also makes it much easier to get the experience needed to spec into these Focus trees. Earlier builds of the game necessitated the crafting of Focus lenses, which would be grafted to Warframes and weapons to convert some of the experience they earned into Focus tree experience. While this is still a viable way to grind out Focus points, Angels of the Zariman added new enemy types that grant you Focus experience upon killing them, regardless of the weapon or Warframe being used.

New players will also have an easier time getting their hands on some important endgame currencies now, too. Riven mods are a massive part of Warframe’s meta; modifications that can be rerolled for massive stat modifiers, in turn, make for some of the most powerful weapons in the game. Earning Riven mods and Kuva (the currency needed to reroll the stats on Riven mods) can be extremely time-consuming, however, and often serves to bar newer players from endgame content.

Even weaker weapons like the Gammacor, pictured here, can shred through endgame enemies when paired with the right Riven mod.

Angels of the Zariman tries to answer that problem by revamping the use case of an old currency: Riven Slivers. Up until this update, there was only one way to obtain Riven Slivers, and players could only spend up to 10 of them per week (the cost to buy a single Riven mod). Now, Riven Slivers sometimes drop from difficult Eximus enemies, which means players will be coming across a lot more of them.

Riven mods are so ingrained into the metagame of Warframe’s most difficult game modes that it’s only fair to give newer players more access to them. The Riven Sliver vendor also has additional goods to buy, so older players that are able to keep a stockpile of the resource can keep spending it on new goodies.

I don’t think Digital Extremes is done polishing the new player experience. Not by a long shot. While they’re hard at work right now trying to create a cross-save system that will allow players to link their Warframe accounts across every platform, I think they’ll also continue to make the game “friendlier” to everyone who wants to give it a go.

I’m glad the devs are refining the early game because I want to be able to onboard all my friends! The gameplay is fun, the story is great (with a massive twist I went through great pains not to reference in this article), and the community is supportive. It almost feels criminal that the game is free. If the beginning hours become easier and more understandable for new players, I think that Warframe will just keep reaching for the stars.

If you’re a Warframe player, what’d you think of the newest update? If you haven’t tried Warframe out, what are you waiting for? Sound off in the comments below! Let’s have a conversation about the best sci-fi parkourin’ and stealthin’ looter (third-person) shooter that gaming has to offer!

Squad Based Action Aliens Game Revealed

“What The Hell Are We Supposed to Use, Man?”

Aliens Dark Descent was revealed today at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest. Developed by Tindalos Interactive and published by Focus Entertainment, Aliens Dark Descent will be coming to PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2023. This new game in the iconic franchise is said to be a “nerve-wracking, real-time action (game).”

"The entire team at Tindalos is dedicated to delivering a gaming experience faithful to the spirit of the Alien franchise, and adding its own, never-seen-before elements to this iconic universe. The gameplay we have developed is unique, inspired from our favorite tactical and CRPG games and packaged in nerve-wracking, real-time action. Translating from film to our game the sheer terror caused by the deadliest species known to man was quite a challenge, but I'm confident most of you will end up in strung-out shape - as Hicks himself would say. "

-Romain Clavier, CEO & Creative Director at Tindalos Interactive.
Colonial marines shooting xenomorphs
A small taste of the gameplay

This new iteration will attempt to deliver the over-the-top action of the second movie from a new perspective, setting, and deep original single-player story. Here’s hoping this one lands somewhere near Alien Isolation territory and avoids being a massive pile of dog shit like Colonial Marines.

Check out the spine-tingling trailer here:


Are you interested in a new Aliens game? Or should they give up already?

Let us know in the comments.

Friendship Enders: Wii Sports

Cast your minds back with me, my friends. Back before this dark and dismal time that is 2022. Back before the only way we could get a PS5 or Xbone Series X was by sitting up on our roof with butterfly nets and the naive hope that we could solve the quantum mechanics required to catch one of these shooting stars.

I’m talking about even before the PS4 and Xbone One (I’m going to keep saying Xbone until it gets a laugh) pulled us into the eighth generation kicking and screaming.

Yes, we’re going back to 2006 when this little company called Nintendo released one small console that led to an epidemic of broken TVs, massive property destruction, and tendonitis around the world. For those of you that missed the title of this article, it’s the Wii, and more specifically, the tie-in launch game, Wii Sports.    

They tried to warn us… but we didn’t listen.

Yes, our family managed to secure a Wii for my dad's birthday. In the short time it took us to set the console up and find enough batteries, we were in the future, playing tennis and golf and bowling; oh my. In the beginning, we were all overcome with just how realistic it was swinging the controller in our living room and having the mii character swing the racket on the screen at the same time.

After a while, our parents stopped playing as much as they used to, whereas my brother and I continued our careers in Wii Sports. We each picked one of the sports and began the arduous ascent to the top of the ranking system and that sweet, elusive pro-level ranking.

Pictured above: The final fight.

Now I won’t say that we pursued the goal of going Pro because we measured our self-worth by that damned erratic skill graph. I won’t say that because it makes it seem that much sadder out loud (but no less true).

Anyway, my brother picked bowling, and I, being the patriotic Aussie that I am, chose the classic Australian pastime, baseball. 

Pictured: Australian Baseball

After a while, we played Wii Sports so much that we began to notice some shortcomings. Mainly with the motion tracking in the controllers not being quite 1:1. This, of course, turned the gameplay from elegant swings of the Wiimote to flailing the Wiimote around like there was a spider on the end of it (one of those big wolf spider fuckers). Eventually, playing the game amounted to us using as little effort as possible to get the game to work. 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we didn’t love playing the game. I loved playing “the sportsball” without having to leave the house and face my nemesis- the sun. It’s just that moving my arm to control the remote gets tiring after a while, and my life is a tug of war between laziness and stubbornness.

We even had a ritual in my house called the Wiimote hokey pokey that goes like this.

  1. You shake the Wiimote left.
  2. You shake the Wiimote right.
  3. You shake the Wiimote left.
  4. You shake the Wiimote right.
  5. You shake it all about becausethisgoddamncontrollerisn’tworking yetagaineventhoughIswearIcalibrateditthistimeandwhyisyoursworkingfinewhenmineobviouslydoesn’t.

After a while, the inevitable march of time ravaged the Wiimote as the motion tracking got less and less responsive… well it was either that or the infamous Wii bowling incident of 2013. 

It was a summer weekend afternoon, as with all great moments in history. I was playing some solo Wii sports bowling by myself in my living room (what a mysterious and suave character), and it was fair to say it was going well. I was on track for a new personal best and decided to give this next throw a bit more “oomph.”

Now, the mysterious and suave character that I am, I wasn’t wearing my wrist strap. As is the case with the karmic justice system of the universe, the Wiimote slipped from my hand. I swear I could hear my ancestors reveling in my misery as the Wiimote sailed through the air and smashed into the wall.  

From top to bottom: Top of controller, B button & bottom of the controller.

Now coming back to 2022, we’ve got the spiritual successor to Wii Sports in Switch Sports. Now the Wii, this great console, and its innovative game Wii Sports have been relegated to the display cabinet of history. Just remember to use the wrist strap, and hopefully, we get some sort of staff attachment further down the track.

What’s your favorite Wii Sports moment? Did you ever achieve that converted Pro Ranking? Let me know down below.

Monthly Gaming Update: June 2022

The month of June is going to be a hot one, in more ways than one! Not only will there be a slew of summer gaming news coming from all directions, like the Xbox Bethesda Showcase and Sony’s State of Play, but we have some big games dropping too!

June’s Highlights

Mario Strikers: Battle League - June 10th (Switch)

Mario Strikers is Back! Tackle, pass, and score in this action-packed sport where anything goes! Introducing Strike, a 5-on-5, soccer-like sport with no rules—do whatever it takes to win! Get gritty and try to score the most goals by tackling enemies, using items, and pulling off score-boosting Hyper Strikes. It has been 15 years since Mario Strikers Charged came out for the Wii, and it's about damn time we are getting a new entry! The Mario sports games can be hit or miss, but more often than not are still fun to play. I personally loved the original Mario Tennis on GameBoy Color, which was a deep sports RPG. I am not expecting that here, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to smash my friends’ faces with a soccer ball when I get my hands on this.

The Quarry - June 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

The Quarry is the latest horror choose your own adventure game from Supermassive Games, whose most popular game, Until Dawn, is revered by many as one of the best horror games. The Quarry looks to continue the legacy of interactive storytelling with a stellar cast including, Justice Smith and Ted Raimi. This time around, a group of teenagers have finished summer camp, and hunting season has begun, but they can’t leave yet and have to wait for help, and you guessed it, things start to go wrong. I have never been a fan of the cinematic horror games like these that feel more like watching a movie than playing a game. I may have to give The Quarry a go, though, as it looks proper scary.

Sonic Origins - June 22nd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

The Blue Blur is everywhere now with the latest movie out and a new game on the way. So why not celebrate with a fresh collection of the original Sonic games (*cough* cause Sega’s not done that a dozen times). Sonic Origins is a collection of the original Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD, digitally remastered for current-generation platforms. Including the original versions and the updated Anniversary versions of the games and some slick new animation cutscenes to boot. There is some confusion over the various add-ons that will be available, but if you are a true blue Sonic fan, just get the deluxe edition for the extra $5, which includes everything!

Capcom Fighting Collection - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Fighting Fans rejoice for another Capcom collection. At least this one is packed with Darkstalkers, a personal favorite opposite Street Fighter. Capcom Fighting Collection features 10 arcade classics, including one of my personal favorite oddball puzzle games Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, which is like Tetris but with fighting. All of the games feature online play, quality of life updates, extra features, and a museum packed with concept art and music. Included in the collection will be Red Earth; originally released in arcades in 1996, this fighter will be making its home console debut. Bust out those fight sticks and relive the glory days or, like me, play a butt load of puzzle fighter!

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - June 24th (Switch)

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the follow-up to Fire Emblem Warriors that puts an action RPG spin on the classic strategy RPG series. Fans of Fire Emblem looking to take a more direct control to combat, look no further as Warriors has you on the battlefield laying waste to thousands of troops. Set in the world of Fire Emblem Three Houses, Three Hopes will have you experience compelling new storylines of the Azure Gleam, Scarlet Blaze, or Golden Wildfire. Join the characters from each house in epic real-time battles across Fódlan, develop your base camp, train, and prepare for battle.

June 2022’s Release Schedule

Samurai Riot - June 1st (Switch)

Loopers - June 2nd (Switch)

Wonder Boy Collection -  June 3rd (Switch)

SpellForce 3 Reforced - June 7th (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Hinokami Chronicles - June 10th (Switch)

Mario Strikers: Battle League - June 10th (Switch)

Metal Max Xeno Reborn - June 10th (PS4, Switch)

The Quarry - June 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

The House of the Dead: Remake - Limidead Edition - June 14th (Switch)

The Hand of Merlin - June 14th (Switch. PC)

Zorro the Chronicles - June 14th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

Horgihugh and Friends - June 16th (Switch)

Final Vendetta - June 17th (Xbox, Switch)

Omori - June 17th (PS4, Switch)

Fall Guys - June 21st (Xbox, Switch)

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle - June 21st (PS4, Xbox)

Shadowrun Trilogy - June 21st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Wreckfest - June 21st (Switch)

Sonic Origins - June 22nd (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Capcom Fighting Collection - June 24th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - June 24th (Switch)

Birushana: Rising Flower of Genpei - June 28th (Switch)

Disgaea 6: Complete -  June 28th (PS4, PS5)

DNF Duel - June 28th (PS4, PS5)

F1 22 - June 28th (PS5, Xbox)

MX vs ATV Legends - June 28th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Oxide Room 104 - June 28th (PS4)

Squish - June 28th (Switch)

Tour de France 2022 - June 28th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

My Universe: Green Adventure Farmer Friends - June 30th (Switch)

Outriders: Worldslayer - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Rabbids Part of Legends - June 30th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, Stadia)

WWI Isonzo: Italian Front - June 30th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Miss last month's update? Check out May 2022’s releases right here!

What will you be playing this month?

Kirby and the Forgotten Land Constructs a World of Liminal Space

“Liminal space” is a sort of niche, pseudo-architectural terminology frequently associated with creepy shit on the Internet. If you enjoy looking at weird Photoshop creations online (think Trevor Henderson), pictures of strange or “dying” places, or have a passing familiarity with, say, “The Backrooms” lore, you might already have some sort of idea about what a liminal space is.

The very concept of liminal spaces might be confusing to the uninitiated–but that’s kind of the whole point. According to good ol’ Merriam-Webster.com, the state of liminality is a descriptor for “an intermediate state, phase, or condition.” Liminality defines a state between states. It’s a snapshot of a longer, as-of-yet-incomplete metamorphosis.

Liminal spaces occur where physical locations have outlived their utility. Derelict and decrepit, these places still echo stories from when they were bustling with human activity. Even still, there’s an eerie otherworldliness to liminal spaces. Though these environments may be empty now, a truly liminal space feels ready to teem with new life, to embody a new existence entirely. In this way, the exploration of these spaces is equal parts awe-inspiring and disconcerting.

Green, murky water fills this dark and unused pool. It embodies the “state between states.”

It might be strange to associate liminal space with a character as cute as Kirby. He’s a powerful little pink puffball full of carefree whimsy! But avid Kirby fans know that the series has a dark side. Allies frequently betray the titular hero, final bosses often warp into eldritch horrors, and everything is never as it seems on Planet Popstar and the space it inhabits.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land continues the tradition of placing its namesake in mind-bending, horrific scenarios. In fact, this might be the darkest entry of the Kirby franchise to date. I don’t want to spoil the game for anyone who hasn’t given it a go yet, but Forgotten Land’s plot vaguely echoes a couple of story beats from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (yes, really).

This game builds a sense of dread throughout the world that the player has to traverse on the way to the end–where the true horrors lay in wait. The Forgotten Land is a world in flux, and the player has no choice but to confront the past through the struggles of the present. Every section of the world is trapped in its own unique in-between state, a singular snapshot in a history the player isn’t privy to.

The second set of levels in the game crosses industrialization with a beachside bay, leading out to the ocean.

The game guides the player through several familiar themes, warping them in ways that make them feel like distant pipe dreams. Towering cities are trellised with plant life, looking like a cartoonish rendition of something that might be seen in The Last of Us Part II. The oceans have swallowed up heavy-duty industrial equipment, leaving only the very tops of cranes and half-constructed platforms for Kirby to travel across. An entire gothic city is frozen over, pockmarked with flooded subways and frigid, wind-blasted skyscrapers straight out of The Day After Tomorrow.

All of these disparate vignettes are tied together under one common throughline: this land has been abandoned by the humans that left these structures behind, and Mother Nature is taking it back. Every liminal space in the Forgotten Land is a twisted amalgamation of the manmade and the natural.

The fourth set of levels includes a frigid, flooded train station. The contrast of the more cartoonish elements with the environment adds to the game’s bizarre feel.

The liminality of these spaces is indicative of Kirby’s journey through the Forgotten Land, too. The lil pink poyo was just ripped from his home planet, and all of his friends, the Waddle Dees, were taken captive right before his eyes. He suffers from a broken past and an uncertain future, much like the Forgotten Land itself.

The beautiful thing about Kirby and the Forgotten Land, of course, is that the player can always rest assured that Kirby will eke out a win by the end of the game. The haunting liminality of both the physical world and Kirby’s predicament is predetermined to be resolved when all is said and done, making it much easier to enjoy the bizarre atmosphere as the game builds up. After all, the player is supposed to feel good by the time they put the smackdown on the final boss. It’s a “kids’ game!” That’s sort of their whole M.O.

I love that HAL Laboratory, Inc. is always willing to take risks when designing Kirby games. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a joy to explore, fun to ponder over, and an absolute blast in general. I can only hope that we get a sequel jam-packed with just as much chillingly beautiful environmental design as this entry into the series!

These haunting transitory spaces can make all the difference in how memorable a game is to a player. Do any games you love implement liminal space into their environmental design? Let me know in the comments down below! I’d love to hear all about them!  

Unpacking and the Art of Environmental Storytelling

We’ve all seen environmental storytelling in games before, whether you realised it or not. From simple things like skeletons in questionable positions in Fallout games and Ratman’s scribbles in Portal; too much larger, but sometimes more subtle, things like the changing landscape in Ghost of Tsushima as the invasion goes on and pretty much the entirety of Bioshock. Environmental storytelling is something that you usually find in the background of games. It’s something that you can either ignore or closely analyze, depending on what kind of player you are. 

I am very much an analyzer, and Witch Beam’s latest game, Unpacking, blew me away with their storytelling. Amelia recently reviewed Unpacking, breaking down some details about the game experience. I have been so obsessed with the game that I’ve shared it with everyone close to me. Now I want to share my take on the game's environmental storytelling.

If you haven’t seen or played it already, Unpacking is a short and sweet little game where you unpack boxes. I know, everyone has the same reaction at this point—it sounds boring. I get it. But trust me. The game follows the life of an unknown character and the various house moves that they make throughout their life. The game starts in their childhood bedroom, and you need to unpack their boxes and fit all of their stuff into the limited space that the bedroom offers. It’s part puzzle game, part wholesome, therapeutic unpacking sim.

A screenshot from the Unpacking game showing a bunk bed and several child's toys and fun stuff along with a couple of moving boxes.
The childhood bedroom where Unpacking's story begins.

For each new level, you will move location and have to unpack a new set of boxes. Every level will add extra boxes and extra rooms to consider. Naturally, there are some items that will belong in specific rooms, and it’s your job to figure out where they belong. A lot of them are common sense—you can totally keep the toaster in your bedroom if you really want to, but the game will make you move it to complete the level. 

The gameplay in Unpacking is simple and so incredibly satisfying

While I’m gushing about this game, it’s only right that I mention the ridiculous sound design. Items that you unpack, depending on their size and material, make different sounds when you place them down. Not only that! They also make different sounds depending on the type of surface that you place them onto. They obviously put a lot of love into their sound design and it really shows.  

Aside from how good the mechanics, sound, and visual style of this game are, the craziest thing about it is how strongly I felt for a character that I know nothing about. You unpack the belongings of an unknown person whose name you never learn, whose face you never see but, somehow, I grew attached to them and their story. As you unpack their belongings from childhood, you start to see recurring items, things that they have taken with them every time they have moved house. You can figure out from the room they’ve moved into where they are in their life: whether it’s their university accommodation, or they’ve moved in with a flatmate, you can figure it all out from just looking at the rooms that you’re filling.

I won't spoil anything for you, I will just tell you to prepare for the confusion of getting emotional over boxes and empty rooms—because it will happen.

A screenshot from the Unpacking game showing a typical small college dormitory setting with a computer on the desk, books on shelves, and a couple of moving boxes on the floor.
Your first home after flying the nest.

You start to piece together little things about their life and what they've been through. You can see their relationships, their hobbies, the things they care about most, and you can even learn some things about the people that the character is living with. There are items to suggest what they do for a living, the kind of books they like to read, and even some simplified DVD and video game covers that you might recognize. You can see where they’ve traveled to, the kind of clothes they like to wear, and which soft toy is their favorite. I even found myself getting angry at someone that they move in with because it was clear from the rooms and items that they treated them poorly. Isn’t that crazy?! Storytelling is hard enough at the best of times, but to be able to create characters and a story without any text, dialogue, or physical characters is absolutely mind-blowing.

A cropped screenshot from the Unpacking game showing a DVD case sitting on a coffee table.
Can you guess the movie?

I made sure I didn’t spoil anything for you because I recommend you play this game with no knowledge of what’s to come. Take it all in. Really analyze the rooms and the items and fully enjoy the story that they’ve created inside of this cute little unpacking sim. One thing I will say, though: is don’t skip the credits! I did the first time, and I didn’t find out until my friend played the game that I missed a small little post-credits touch that will bring all of the emotions rushing back to you. 

Unpacking has become one of those games that I wish I could erase from my memory just so that I can enjoy it for the first time all over again. I hope that, if you choose to try it, you love it as much as I do. 

What games have you played that use environmental storytelling to add dimensions to the game experience?

The Games That Define a Generation - PlayStation Two

Another PlayStation article, another signature bootup sound. Let’s take a second and listen to another iconic sound in video game history:

From 2000 to 2018, the PlayStation 2 dominated the gaming landscape while an emerging console called the Xbox was still finding its feet as a competitor. Many innovations arose from the PS2’s life such as more robust online multiplayer experiences that originated from the Sega Dreamcast. The evolution of rhythm games with the release of the smash hit Guitar Hero and the use of the Playstation camera with the release of Eyetoy created new avenues for players to experience groundbreaking titles. Much like the original PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 was no slouch when it comes to competition-killing games. Here are some of my memorable titles along with other titles chosen by other Couch Soup contributors:

Monster Hunter (2004)

Box art from Monster Hunter (2004) with the flagship monster Rathalos

I recently wrote a piece on how Monster Hunter World is a great title to get into the franchise for new players. However, I first was converted to the series fold back when it was released in 2004. The different entries of the action RPG games center around a hunter who is part of a research team as they discover the world around them. That includes hunting monsters who have the nerve to be on the same planet as the player,  in order to harvest materials from said monsters to create better gear and further the plot of the game.

This was my first dabble into online multiplayer as well. From my friends in school who happen to have the game to players as far as Japan, it was cool to see a party hunting monsters to create sweet-looking armor and weapons. When a monster is vanquished and the famous quest victory theme blasts the TV speakers, a collective sigh of relief emerges for all the hard work from everyone in the party.

We don’t talk about Fatalis

The monsters are always the highlight during the hunt. From the flagship monster of the franchise Rathalos which breathes fire and can poison using its tail to the Plesioth which shoots water jets from its mouth and a hip check that can track players from a distance. Then there’s the almost unbeatable Fatalis which takes certain specific steps to defeat it. 

Each monster poses a unique challenge and obstacles. But it will still bring a level of satisfaction when those challenges are met whether on a solo hunt or with a party. Sometimes I often wonder if the monsters are the stars of the game rather than the player!

Guitar Hero (2005) and Rock Band (2007)

Trust me: You’re still a rock star with these buttons!

The rhythm game was popularized by Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades and Parappa the Rapper on the original PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 had its own renaissance of rhythm games with the rise of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Playing hit songs from the likes of Foghat’s “Smoke on the Water” to the blistering tapping of “Eruption” from Van Halen can now be done from the comfort of home or with friends. While Guitar Hero introduced the guitar controller to the world, Rock Band took it a step further as a drum set and a microphone were included to have the live show experience fully realized in a video game. 

From a personal standpoint, I had a great time playing with friends during the week and playing Dani California by The Red Hot Chili Peppers countless times on Rock Band to get the song right. From those same friends, we got better musically and started to learn and play real instruments after countless hours of playing Rock Band.

Yes, we’re totally a rock band from this photo. Can you guess where I am?

Titles that define the Playstation 2, according to the Couch Soup Community:

Here are some other titles from fellow contributors about their PS2 titles that define them:

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) - Tyler J. Graham

Grove Street 4 Life!

“I don’t have too many strong memories associated with the PlayStation 2 – it was a console released before I was even born. The one thing that vividly sticks out to me even to this day, though, was my early brush with the Grand Theft Auto series on the console. My dad loved playing GTA: San Andreas back when it was released in 2004, and I loved watching him drive the cars.

Sometimes, he would send me out of the room and carjack someone and then call me back in to drive the car around until I wrecked it. I’d go on to call San Andreas the “boomer game” because all I knew about it was that I got to drive cars around until they exploded. The PS2 was foundational for that memory, and I look back upon that quality time with my dad fondly.”

Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (2002) - Candance Rose

Jango Fett making the most out of an awkward situation

“I was fifteen years old when this game was released. At this age, I was delving deep into Star Wars lore so this game offered a great medium to explore the galaxy further. It captivated me for hours on end. It offered diverse environments along with new controls & menus to master for the different gadgets of Jango Fett. The game started off easy, but the further I got into the story the difficulty ramped as I got closer to the end. 

This game definitely played a part in my evolution as a gamer realizing that different difficulties offered different gaming experiences. I started to enjoy a near-impossible challenge. (This game also made me develop a love for the flamethrower, but that’s another story for another time.) Overall, this game left me craving more of its kind for the Star Wars universe so I could continue my quest to become the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.”

Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (2001) - Michelle Holstine

One of the many flying levels in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

“My game that defines my PlayStation 2 era would be Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex. This game guaranteed hours of collaboration and enjoyment with my family in the living room, even as only one person was actually playing. It helped us work together and uncovered a love for puzzle solving, linear-based games that continued into my adulthood. It also quickly made us fall in love with Naughty Dog, who continued to develop games that we were able to enjoy as an entire family. Crash has a special place in my heart and gave us amazing memories to look back on as a family.”

Thanks Tyler, Candace, and Michelle for contributing to this article!

What titles define the PlayStation 2 for you? Sound off in the comments and let’s talk about it!

Top 5 Best (and Worst) Video Game Movie Adaptations

Video game movies are a mixed bag. In fact, they are a mixed bag spread into multiple other mixed bags. You never quite know what you are going to get. There have been some great films and some that make us question why they were ever made or if the filmmakers even bothered to play the games that their films are based on.

A video game movie seems like an easy success story, combining an already established world and characters with an arguably much bigger platform. While some games don't translate well to the big screen with the way they are presented or simply that it’s too niche for gamers, some of these films just flop. Hammed-up acting, terrible visuals, a lack of care for the source material, the list could go on for ages.

That isn't to say that it always happens. In fact, sometimes a video game movie sticks the landing, gets an S-rank, a flawless victory – ok, I'll stop with the gaming puns. It doesn't happen as often as we would like, but these movies can sometimes make for great cinema and even challenge the Hollywood blockbuster scene. So let's have a look at some of the best and worst video game movie adaptations.

5th Worst: Assassin's Creed (2016)

Actor on a leash is a good metaphor for this movie actually

Ezio would be so disappointed.

The Assassin's Creed video game series is full of intrigue and excitement. With its human characters and grounded storylines, you would feel that it would make for a great live-action adaptation. This film, however, is a bumbling mess. Michael Fassbender does everything within his considerable talent, but an overcomplicated story drives this film into the ground. Another film with a star-studded cast that absolutely bombed.

When Cal was in the Animus, all I could think was that it looked like they were playing with him like a mechanical Yo-Yo.

5th Best: Silent Hill (2005)

This looks quaint

This film gets a bad rap but is an underappreciated gem from mid-2000s cinema.

With some great performances, top-notch creep factor, gorgeous visuals, and some pretty solid storytelling and world-building, this film succeeds at being a faithful adaptation of a beloved video game franchise as well as being a genuinely entertaining and thrilling ride.

Primarily adapted from the 1999 PlayStation 1 classic, this movie is just as pee-your-pants scary as the game was to many a young brave soul. What stands out most is the incredible visual style. Every scene looks and feels amazing. The creatures are brilliantly terrifying. The production hired professional dancers to portray the weird movements of each monster, and each was created with such attention to detail. I mean, Pyramid head in real life, guys, come on!

Let's just not talk about that sequel, mmmkay?

4th Worst: Bloodrayne (2005)

Even the best actors have at least one movie they would like to forget

The first entry on this list by director Uwe Boll.

Where to begin on this film. Reportedly, only about 20% of screenwriter Guinevere Turner's first draft was used for the film. The director literally hired prostitutes instead of actresses for a few of the steamier scenes with Meat Loaf. It had a really decent cast that was completely wasted; I mean, Sir Ben Kingsley is in this film, for cripes sake!

Blood and boobs seem to be the formula for this campy Vampire fever dream. But if that's what you need to sell a movie, you might not have much else to go on. How they ever made two sequels to this movie is beyond me.

4th Best: Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Pika Pika!! Cute doesn’t begin to cover it

I choose you!

Back to the good side and with a real winner. When is Ryan Reynolds not charming as hell? He certainly is when he voices the cute little yellow mascot of one of the biggest media franchises in history. For millions of kids and full-grown millennials alike, we finally got to see Pokemon in glorious live-action CGI.

The film executes being a family-friendly adventure, visually dazzling, and a fan servicing treat all at once. This is a real film, not some shameless company cash grab. It's made with a love for the fans, the games, the animated efforts before it, and for filmmaking itself. This film has got so much heart.

There is also so much fun to be had trying to spot all the Pokemon used in the film. I was so stoked to see my favorite, Growlithe!

3rd Worst: Mortal Kombat Annihilation (1997)

Just the best dialogue

Where this film succeeds is that it is so bad that it is unintendedly hilarious.

The characters are shallower than a kiddie pool. The special effects are so low budget I could have afforded them with my lunch money in middle school, the costumes look like bad cosplay, and the plot is such an incoherent mess it feels like this could have been written by Tommy Wiseau. In fact, this feels like The Room of video game movies.

You know you have a bad adaptation when the creators of Mortal Kombat, Ed Boon and John Tobias, stated that this was their worst moment in the history of the franchise.

And let's not forget the greatest line in the history of cinema

3rd Best: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Everything lost is meant to be found

Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s, nuff said? Ok, I'll say more.

Jolie is super as Lara Croft, nailing every scene she is in with an elegant sex appeal. Not to mention how badass and cool her costumes are. There is plenty of fun action, quick, witty dialogue, and an unexpectedly emotional story. The film also has one of the coolest soundtracks ever; seriously, add this album to your playlists and thank me later!

This film broke records at release, becoming the highest-grossing video game movie ever until being surpassed by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time nine years later.

2nd Worst: Tomb Raider (2018)

Did they find this location on a hike?

A survivor re-scorned.

From one Lara to another. As a lifelong Tomb Raider fan, I am always excited for new adventures for Ms. Croft, but this film was truly a heartbreaker for me. The 2013 Tomb Raider video game, from which this film is based, is a landmark title for this franchise and for narrative in video games. It deserved so much more respect than it was given in this film. The source material was absolutely butchered and largely ignored. The cast from the game is entirely missing, save for Lara. The entire storyline and Lara's primary motivation are changed for no reason. Even every supernatural element from the game is removed.

The film itself falls flat with some odd plot decisions, very basic set design, and some phoned-in acting. Visually it’s shot pretty well, but what's that saying? You can shine a turd all you want.

Honestly, if you take Lara Croft's name out of this film and state that it isn't based on anything, you probably have a better film. Alicia Vikander does her best but can't save this shipwreck.

2nd Best: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Red vs Blue

This film is way past cool!

This film series has come a hell of a long way, from the terrible initial Sonic design to becoming one of the highest-grossing video game movies ever to making a follow-up, which is even bigger. This film did everything a sequel needed to. It raised the stakes, added awesome new characters, and didn't lose sight of what it was trying to achieve.

Knuckles and Tails are brilliant additions, Ben Schwartz's Sonic still rocks, and Jim Carrey is a man that can do no wrong. His Dr. Robotnik is still an absolute delight to see on the big screen.

There is some terrific humor, tons of well-placed fan service and easter eggs, an Avengers-level team-up sequence, and in general, a ton of fun for the whole family, from newcomers to the Sonic world to even the most die-hard of Blue Blur fans.

The Worst: Alone in the Dark (2005)

Is that the 1970s SFX behind him?

Uwe Boll's shot in the dark missed any kind of mark.

Back to Mr. Boll as we reach the worst video game movie ever made and a close contender for worst movie ever made. Seriously, this film is really bad.

Christian Slater is a terrific actor, but he probably wants this stripped from his resume. The film has terrible special effects, a ridiculous storyline, dialogue that barely registers as human speech, and a performance from Tara Reid that, well, isn't unlike her usual stuff.

This is another film where Boll used an unfinished screenplay and made amendments to it himself. Maybe the guy is just not good at this?

The first Alone in the Dark from 1992 was the first-ever 3D survival horror video game. The series had so much promise, but after more than a few lackluster game releases and this travesty of a film, this series is dead for good.

The Best: Werewolves Within (2021)

Funny-scary-relatable

A movie based on a video game based on a real game.

We reach the end of our list, and here is the best of the best. Werewolves Within is an impressive film from a cast and crew of relative unknowns. While not the same as the films before in terms of scope and production value, this film is a stellar example of less is more.

A fantastic horror comedy that is playfully silly and nails some great social observations, which give us an engaging ragtag group of suspects. Visually, the film just looks cool. It engages with you in every scene and immerses you as you try to figure out whodunnit?

Werewolves Within is a great example of the potential of video game movies.

Well, that just about does it. Do you agree with our list? Are there any other great or terrible video game movies you would add here? Make sure you let us know on our socials. We would love to hear from you guys!

Until next time gamers!

Chernobylite Review - An Enjoyable Horror Shooter RPG Mystery Game

What the hell is a Chernobylite? It sounds like a light radioactive beer. It refers to a new radioactive compound born from the infamous nuclear plant meltdown.
Chernobylite is a survival horror RPG set in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl 30 years after the event of the devastating historical meltdown. Developed by The Farm 51, a Polish-based development team that traveled to Ukraine to scan the real-world site.

*THERE MAY BE SPOILERS*

Chernobylite was released on PC in July 2021, later coming to consoles in September. Now there is a free Next-Gen upgrade for consoles and PC, and I was asked to check the game out and share what dark secrets I found buried deep in the ruins of Chernobyl. I was interested in this game then, as it looked similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro. I am also always on board for a good horror experience. As some may know, I am a horror game enthusiast and try to play most of them (Fight me, Maria, for top horror game connoisseur, check out her article on The Nightmare Inside).


When I first read the description for Chernobylite, I scoffed at the “horror” part and thought, “Yeah, let’s see.” To Chernobylite's credit, it actually has some very tense moments and amazing sound design that will leave many stopping dead and spinning around to find what nightmare just made such a horrible noise, but not me, at least not after the first few times. I have also been pleasantly spooked by a few good jump scares and have gotten severe goosebumps from some of the truly eerie visions you see. There is a point where you come across a room with a single TV on with a gaggle of dolls all watching the TV. When you turn the TV off, everything goes black, and you hear giggling, and the dolls have vanished *shudder*.

A Brief Lesson in History

Igor's missing Tatyana

Here is some background, you play as Igor Khymynyuk, a physicist that had previously worked at the Chernobyl plant and is now in search of his fiancée Tatyana, who went missing in the disaster. Straight away, something feels… wrong! You start on a train and Igor is looking for Tatyana, who has disappeared. You follow her image, which turns to ash as you approach, and monsters appear. After learning how to move and shoot, you wake up to learn that it was all a dream. Igor is on a mission to infiltrate the old Chernobyl plant with some companions, and of course, things go very wrong. The plant is now guarded by a military sect called the NAR. You barely manage to escape to a refuge in an old warehouse with Olivier, a STALKER ("STALKER" is a backronym for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, and Robbers) you hardly know or trust. It is here that Chernobylite starts to define itself.

An anomaly strikes while looking for resources

To survive in the exclusion zone and find out what happened to Tatyana, you need to face each day tactically, preparing yourself, your allies, and your base for what is to come. Similar to Fallout 4’s building, you are tasked with clearing out your base and building a hospitable living environment. If you like crafting, you are in for a treat as just about everything in the game can be crafted, provided you have the materials and lots and lots of mushrooms! (I don’t know why, but many of the recipes require mushrooms, bleh). In order to get the materials you need for all the furnishings of your beautiful hillside apocalypse camp, you need to forage, salvage, and pick clean bodies you come across or make. I can’t remember another game that made me feel like collecting resources was so critically vital to success except maybe The Last of Us, but even that doesn’t feel as crucial in comparison. Thankfully, each mission gives you a preview of the kind of resources you are likely to find.

Let's Mix It Up

Missions and character progression are refreshingly different. While not as open-ended as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Chernobylite is a more confined experience. You are tasked with various missions, but you can only do one mission per day per character. Not something you typically see in games like this. You can assign missions to your companions to complete while taking on a mission of your choice. After completing your objective, you return to base to see how your companions fared and give out rations. Rations and base upkeep are crucial to keeping yourself and your companions healthy and “happy.” In true RPG fashion, you earn XP for just about everything you do, and when you level up, you earn a skill point. Unlike most RPGs, the way you use the skill point is very clever. Instead of opening a menu screen and looking at a list of skills to unlock, you have to talk to your allies and ask them to train you in areas that they are experts in. Olivier, for example, trains in the use of pistols and stealth. When you ask to receive training, you ACTUALLY do the training! Not just bing! Now you know how to do this. I found this to be a very cool mechanic, which added a lot of realism to an otherwise fantastical supernatural setting. 

The workshop.

That training is necessary as Igor being a scientist, is not the greatest shot. In the early hours, it is better to rely on stealth and sneaky takedowns on the NAR soldiers that patrol the exclusion zone. It also affects your psyche when you kill people adding even more weight to your choices and how you deal with your foes. There are a number of factors that affect Igor’s psyche and health, including radiation poisoning. You can craft various items to address these ailments but it costs a lot of resources. I found myself hesitating to take out guards in my way as I knew it would devastate my psyche, which I had little to no treatment for. Then I found vodka!

Parks And Recreation Vodka GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I decided to see what happens if you drink the bottles of “alcohol” you find and to my joy, it completely refilled my psyche. Meaning I could continue on my now drunken murder spree. After getting a few lessons in shooting, I was satisfied with how much better I was performing in firefights. I went from narrowly surviving a shootout with my measly pistol to dropping multiple soldiers before reloading. Hard work does pay off!

Fellow Couch Soup writer and player of video games Andrew Lucy, had played Chernobylite when it first launched, so I asked him to share some of his thoughts on the game.

Andrew’s Take
While playing Chernobylite on the Enhanced PC Edition, I found myself comparing the incredible atmosphere and graphics to that of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with its constant supernatural elements, music style, First Person Shooter, and storytelling. This game is BEAUTIFUL, and with its intuitive game mechanics, you will not have a hard time picking it up and playing for long periods.

After spending a little time playing this game, I found out that the dev team at The Farm 51 had ventured out to the Exclusion Zone in Ukraine to map out locations in and around Pripyat to give you that haunted feeling of an abandoned place. That kind of research for a game should at least give you a little insight into how much love was put into this game! 

Another thing I found out when playing was that there is no Freeplay on the console edition, which was odd to me since it is on the PC version. Freeplay is a mode where you can go to any location in Chernobylite and experiment with the weather, guns, have events happen, and perks! It's more of a sandbox feel, and the mode separates from the storyline, giving you a place to experiment with the game how you see fit.

"KILL IT!"

If you love horror games with shooting mechanics, a dash of intricate game mechanics, and a story to keep you hooked, you will love Chernobylite”.

That’s a Whole Lotta Green

I am glad that Andrew touched on the work that the developer put into creating Chernobylite and that they had 3D scanned the actual environments. Fortunately, they were able to do this before the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It is difficult to not be aware of current world events while playing a game set in an already scarred part of human history. The environment looks incredible for a budget-priced game. The look and aesthetics are the first things I noticed about Chernobylite. Its vibrant use of greens contrasts an otherwise desolate world. The Xbox Series X version I played seemed to have a fair amount of motion blur, which can be distracting but not enough to ruin the experience. You can tell where The Farm 51 cut back on some things like facial animations, as most characters have a mask on, but this allowed them to pack so much into the game. There is such an incredible amount of detail in every piece of equipment, computer monitor, and random tools. It is hard to believe this is not a typical $60 or $70 game. Enough to make you wonder why the big publishers and studios are not putting out better quality sometimes.

Creatures like these are rare but challenging.

Geiger Counter Results

Chernobylite is an enjoyable horror shooter RPG mystery packed with science and sci-fi-y to make any nerd, nerd more. The solid gameplay could be akin to a Metal Gear Solid spinoff as you desperately sneak around and evade your foes. Your choices feel impactful and allow for variations in individual playthroughs with some genuinely memorable story beats and hilarious dialogue with some of the not-so-sane characters. A few bugs tend to cause it to crash, and frame rate drops can lead to some jarring moments. If The Farm 51 had a bigger budget and more time, this game would really shine. An otherwise beautiful presentation, fascinating story, and genuine good time make Chernobylite a great game, 8 out of 10 Soups.

When asked for a score Andrew agreed that although not perfect, Chernobylite is a fun game worth your attention. Andrew’s Score: 8 out of 10 Soups

Are you a fan of the begotten wastelands riddled with nuclear waste and radioactive monsters and mutants? Have you played or want to play Chernobylite? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the gameplay trailer
https://youtu.be/IP0BrPe5gok

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