This Month on Playstation Plus – June 2017

Killing Floor 2 (PS4)

I guess it doesn’t take a great strain of the grey matter to figure out that this is the sequel to something called Killing Floor but being unfamiliar with the game, this is my first experience with it.

And it’s, er, lovely. In a blood spattered, charred remains, acid covered kind of a way.

I have no idea what the backstory is here but it seems to be some kind of mix of the Walking Dead and The Running Man. Zombie hordes are running amok, determined to rip your guts out and you are a one man death machine, hacking, slashing, shooting and blowing the hell out of anything that steps your way. Zombies attack in waves, the interval giving you a chance to catch your breath and also to rearm.

This is where the Running Man vibe comes in as a voiceover lady guides you to the trader pod where you can spend your hard earned money to upgrade weapons, buy ammo and invest in body armour before getting back into the thick of the action.

And the thick of it is right. Melee weapons have light and heavy attack flavours, the light version allowing swift, repeated slashes at advancing ‘Zeds’ until there is a pile of gruesome body parts building up around your ankles. You start with a fairly basic piece of metal but can soon upgrade to deadlier weapons, such as a katana sword. Long range weapons can also be purchased, from simple pistols upwards, but be sure to watch your reload times and ammo unless you fancy becoming Zed lunch.

Whatever you opt for, weapons are satisfying to use, lighting up the screen with blood as arms are lopped off, heads go rolling and bodies are ripped in two. Enemies are a gruesome variety from standard zombies to green acid spitting fatties, zombie bugs and flaming mad men.

To be honest though you’ll barely have time to take much of it in, the action moving so quickly. Hack your way through the initial wave though and you may be able to find a good spot to launch a ranged attack lest you get lit up by an incoming flaming attack or spat on by the green-spewing butcher, either of which will soon spell death. You also have the ability to heal yourself mid-wave via a rechargeable syringe.

Both offline single player and online multiplayer modes are available. Being the professional grump I am I stuck with single player and Killing Floor 2 proved to be a fun but limited experience, attacks soon becoming monotonous. I suspect this would be more fun with a couple of buddies roped in as you explore the various classes available and work out a semblance of tactics.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need a shower.

Life Is Strange (PS4)

After all that blood spattered gore, things take a more sedate turn with our next game.

Whilst very different, this shares some common ground with Tales From the Borderlands that we looked at last time. Like that game, this is an interactive story rather than a true ‘game’ as such and once again sees you as the player having to make decisions and conversational choices that impact on the narrative.

Tonally however this is very different, taking on more the feel of a book. You play the role of a young girl in high school who suddenly finds herself with the ability to rewind time and make decisions over again. After waking from an apparent dream of a vicious tornado and then preventing a potential tragedy, you set about your school life to try and unravel the mystery of your dream / vision.

The story is broken into chapters and I only played through a portion of the first, enough time to understand the mechanics if not to get  a proper feel for the story. And what I found was an absolutely beautifully presented story. Characters seemed relatable to real life counterparts, some of the charm of the experience coming from its very ordinariness. Unlike with ‘Tales…’ there is less pressure here to answer, no ticking clock when presented with a choice. Combined with the time reversal mechanic, you have the ability to carefully consider your options.

The rewind time feature, reminiscent in some ways of Prince of Persia, allows you to rethink your decisions. Don’t like the answer your gave to the school Principal? No problem, simply hold L2 and rewind to the beginning of the conversation to have another try. Your character, Max, will offer some narrative in the designers suggested course of action but the decision is ultimately yours. Do you tease the bully after she was mean to you or take the conciliatory approach?

Graphics and sound are superb, the music in particular affecting on your own mood and interjected strategically. Voice acting is equally strong whilst the visual characterisation of Max makes her an appealing protagonist.

Just one problem though, I found it all rather dull. Perhaps it becomes more engrossing as the story progresses or perhaps I’m just a heartless neanderthal. Either way I found myself intrigued by the premise yet bored by the execution.

Also Available

PS3 owners get revved up to enjoy WRC5: World Rally Championship whilst PS Vita owners can grab dystopian twin stick shooter Neon Chrome and cartoon styled sneak ’em up Spy Chameleon, both of which are also available to PS4 owners via cross buy.

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