Author: Matthew Paino

An Endless-Fates Escape – Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Humble Opinions

Back when the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning came out, I simply fell in love with the massive open world, the fluid hack and slash mechanics, well-thought-out story, fantastical lore, and decent crafting and looting system. It was a game that felt way ahead of its time and while I never actually finished the game—because I got lost in the seemingly endless side quests—I was truly excited to get back into the game on PC with the new remaster: Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Now, I want to get something out of the way, there are a vocal few disappointed by the remaster, as there wasn’t any tangible texture improvements, but to that I say: there really didn’t need to be. With the newly included super-sampling, the game’s textures look cleaner and crisper—while still maintaining the same art style and feel. Another addition are the camera features which allow for adjustments to camera height, field of view, and camera distance. This small change is a big quality-of-life addition, as in the original I found the game’s …

Ground Control to Magnetic Moon Base – Relicta – Humble Opinions

Relicta is a first-person physics-based puzzle game very similar to games like Portal, Q.U.B.E., or Quantum Conundrum. The game has a lot great content…albeit with a glaring few caveats. You start as a female scientist, combining magnetism and gravity to unravel the secrets of Chandra Base—a collection of bio-domes on the moon used as a facility to test out the capability of the game-mechanic gloves, cubes, gravity, and magnetism. Throughout the game, you spend your time talking with different characters and working to solve different issues on the moon base—while having personal banter. I’d like to first point out that it’s refreshing to see a game including an Indian protagonist—a nationality not explored often enough within games. The cast’s voice acting is top notch, but with the unfortunate failings of the dialogue it doesn’t feel natural. An example of this is discussions with Alani seeming very schizophrenic. One second she will come off as rude, angry at your actions and overall acting hostile, then will enjoy some teasing banter—with you calling her “bae” in response. …

Objects in Mirror Are Deeper Than They Appear – F1 2020 – Humble Opinions

Despite my long-lasting love for a wide range of racing games, I have never played a F1 game; so, for the first time ever, I’ve taken a curious step into the wide world of Formula 1 racing with F1 2020. Throughout many hours of play, F1 2020 opened my eyes to how deep and complex the racing world can be: countless hours spent outside the track, testing, fine tuning, practising, managing, and even being interviewed so you maximise the potential on the track. A new career mode has been introduced, called My Team, where you are both the owner and driver of the 11th team on the grid; where you not only test your limits on the track but also manage all of the intricacies that come with owning a team. From the start, you manage all parts of the company: from picking the sponsor, power-unit supplier, and second driver; to pouring finances into your R&D teams—researching upgrades and scheduling team building activities in between Grand Prix Weekends. Whilst a tad limited, you can also …

Thy Flesh Consumed – Carrion – Humble Opinions

There are quite a few games out there where you are tasked to be the villain, but not many like Carrion—the reverse-horror game in which you assume the role of an amorphous creature made of flesh, blood, sharp teeth, and countless whipping tendrils with two goals: to go on a murderous rampage and kill/eat everything in sight, and to spread your biomass throughout the facility where you were held hostage in order to escape. What’s different about Carrion is presented throughout its variety of puzzles, interesting game mechanics, and the psychopathic feeling of killing without empathy or remorse. The atmosphere and feel of the game all starts with the monster; you are the monster. Your growls echo through the hallways, sending shivers down your meals’ spines as they run or prepare for you arrival. Your tendrils pitter-patter against any surface they can, flinging you across rooms at lightning speeds. You rip doors off their hinges, lunging yourself at helpless humans with the urge to kill and feast like the ravenous beast you are. The horrified …

Terror of Spiders and the Garbage Man – Resident Evil 3 – Humble Opinions

At the age of fifteen, I found myself with a bargain bin copy of Resident Evil 3 for PC; however, like Resident Evil 2, I couldn’t get past the first area. Not out of fear this time, for some reason the controls wouldn’t work on my keyboard—this I believe was due to some incompatibilities between the game and my PC. So, much like Resident Evil 2, my only experience with the game was flaming zombies making their way towards an immobile face-meal—preparing to eat me alive. It was another Resident Evil that I didn’t get to fully experience in my youth, and another horror I had to overcome. After playing through Resident Evil 2, I felt the next battle to face was Resident Evil 3. I decided to jump straight into the Resident Evil 3 remake without much of a break in between. Leon and Claire’s story has ended; however, Jill and Miguel’s…sorry…Carlos’ was still a big blind spot to me in the RE universe. In the Resident Evil 3 you play as Jill, of …

A Romantic First Date – Resident Evil 2 – Humble Opinions

When I was but a wee little child, I had accrued several PS1 Demo discs—which I believe I obtained from convincing my parents that magazines were good for me. They were like books: educational! Or maybe the true reality was I kept annoying the high holy hell out of them until they gave in. Either way, one demo disc in particular had the starting level of Capcom’s original 1998 survival horror game Resident Evil 2. I didn’t know what Resident Evil was, or the fact that it was a horror game, but I was to learn. I was to learn fast. A cop, Leon, navigating through the fire-y, zombie-torn streets. I wasn’t used to the tank like controls, shooting, or survival mechanics of the game, which meant Leon quickly got overwhelmed with the undead (and his face bitten off). A 10-year-old Matt got overwhelmed and scarred for life. Fast track to 2020, where a grown 26-year-old faced his childhood fear of getting his face bit off by playing the 2020 modernised remake of Resident Evil …

Dawn of Hope – Metro Exodus – Humble Opinions

The old Exodus book of the Bible is about several Israelites brought into slavery in Egypt, where they were freed through the guidance of Moses through God. Metro Exodus brings a similar story, though instead of Israelites, it’s the Russians of Moscow; the restriction of freedom not being slavery, but the irradiated world around them. The escape not being….all right, you got me. I know little about the story of Exodus, but I know about the story of Metro Exodus. Artyom has been through a lot over the last two years, and is at a point in his life where he wants something more. Something better than living in an irradiated wasteland, tunnelled into the metro like a rat. This chapter of his life takes place with a small group of post-apocalypse Spetznaz called “The Order”, namely on a train “‘The Aurora”, looking throughout Russia for any sign of an active Russian command centre—and any location where The Order can live in a free irradiated zone. There are a lot of things that separate Metro …

Rip and Tear Until It Is Fun – Doom Eternal – Humble Opinions

Id Software surprised the world a few years back with its reboot of Doom (2016). A game featuring a protagonist (the Doom Slayer) who didn’t care about anything aside from ripping and tearing through demons, pushing away dialogue, and using hands as key cards before ripping them off of the dead. Unlike 1995’s Doom II, which was very much an extension of 1993’s Doom, Doom Eternal feels like a complete remix of old and new gameplay mechanics, lore, and feel. While the game is a marvel, I have a few minor bugbears that made the experience feel a little tarnished. You start the game with a pist—nope. This is the first time where you start off with the bread and butter of Doom gameplay: the combat shotgun. Id Software have decided that the pistol was largely redundant, which I agree, and started off with one of the primary weapons of the series that you’ll be using. Very quickly, throughout the first couple of missions, you also receive your double jump, chainsaw, shoulder-mounted grenade launcher/flamethrower, and …

What Is Love? – Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – Humble Opinions

“So first I’m silent, then I’m an asshole, then I become world famous, then I topple a worldwide crime syndicate, then I defuse a nuke and kill a terrorist, then I’m elected president, and then I’m in an alien spaceship in outer space fighting aliens in a simulation…I have the best life ever.” ~The Boss This one quote that can sum up the story of Saints Row IV, and shows a clear sign of escalation throughout the series. In Saints Row IV, as “The President”, you get trapped in a Zin Spaceship fighting against the warlord Zinyak in a simulated, alien-invaded Steelport. The only way to defeat the Zin Empire is to bring the simulation to its knees by doing what The Saints do best: cause complete destruction and mayhem. You play as your own custom President; I personally created a Clark Kent, representing the Saints in a purple suit. I felt that this ties well because, within the simulation, you are quickly granted superpowers of mass destruction and mobility. Powers range from super-jumps, launching …

Beginner’s Journey in Pinball – Deadpool, Sorcerer’s Lair, and Fish Tales – With Interest

Hardcore Hobby Hopping I’m terrible when it comes to getting into new hobbies; that’s because when I jump into a new hobby I usually go real deep, real fast (hehe). One such example is when, on a night like any other, I was laying on the couch watching Netflix with my girlfriend; she turned to me randomly and said, unrelated to what we were watching, “Hey Matt, would you be interested in playing Magic: The Gathering?” Immediately and without thinking, I returned, “Nah, not my thing.” Then I pondered my immediate close-mindedness and said, “Actually sure, why not. Let’s go to our local games store.” Not long after, we went to Games Laboratory in Melbourne (shout out to the guys over there!), sat down by a table, and were given free red and black Magic: The Gathering decks to try out. Fast forward one week and I was deep into the lore, had at least seven decks, and was playing Magic: The Gathering Arena every night. See Exhibit A of craziness below. I did eventually …

We Named Her Ku – Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Humble Opinions

Moon Studios’ 2D action puzzle-platformer Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favourite games of all time; to hear that a sequel was being made, I couldn’t help but feel hyped about it. That’s an enormous thing for me nowadays, what with buggy releases, aggressive micro-transactions, uncooked early access titles, and an overabundance of cookie cutter releases over-saturating the market of gaming. What’s worse is that, for some, it’s very easy to have high expectations that a game simply cannot meet; regardless of what the game offers, it doesn’t hit the same dopamine high that the hype for it originally did. For that reason, I keep clear of those hype trappings before a game gets released. I want to keep as neutral as I can so, that when I play, I can enjoy the game for what it truly is. This is not the case with Ori and the Will of the Wisps (or Ori 2 as I’ll be calling it). Before release, I was counting the days for it to come out. …

The Earliest Memory of a Fond Soul – Mickey’s Wild Adventure – In Retrospect

Painting a Picture What is the first memory that you can recall? My earliest memory is from a hot summer night in the Australian suburb of Liverpool. The date was December 24th 1998. Our family had quite an alternative Christmas tradition where, rather than children getting their presents in the morning of Christmas Day, the big old red boy Santa would lock pick the back door (we didn’t have a chimney), sneak in, and drop them off in the early night of Christmas Eve; where, a small Matt would either be distracted elsewhere, or would be in bed tuckered out from the heavy responsibilities that a generic five-year-old has… That night, I was sound asleep until I was woken up by my parents, excited at their discovery of presents underneath the Christmas tree. Despite being overly tired, I made my way over to a small collection of presents. My father passed me a big box which I slowly unwrapped and discovered to be my first ever gaming console: a solid grey PlayStation. And with it, a …