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Review of DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation – the definitive adaptation of the unparalleled shooter game

Review of DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation – the definitive adaptation of the unparalleled shooter game

M2’s ShotTriggers series seems to have been building toward this point the whole time.

Over the course of its lengthy existence, the Japanese developer and publishing business has built an outstanding reputation for the quality of its many ports. All of it, however, may have been a lead-up to DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation’s publication.

That’s quite a statement, so before getting ahead of ourselves, let’s stand back and gain some perspective.

M2 introduced its ShotTriggers shooter brand in 2016, generating a series that has near-consistently thrilled even the genre’s most seasoned, demanding gamers. With a sharp focus on bringing beloved classic shooters—mostly those with arcade roots—to life, this compilation has given us the definitive versions of titles like Toaplan’s Tiger Heli and Zero Wing, Raizing’s extravagant Battle Garegga, a number of Aleste releases, and a few creations from genre masters Cave, such as ESP.ra.de, Dangun Feveron, and the formidable Ketsui.

Enormously accurate ports of shooting icons with the power of Battle Garegga or Ketsui would suffice. Nevertheless, it is evident that the ShotTriggers series’ creators are not ready to let up even with the port secured. Additionally, they add a ton of customization options and archival extras, include multiple game variants, brand-new game modes designed to appeal to both novice and expert players, and introduce M2’s “gadgets,” which are new UI elements that provide the player with a variety of real-time performance data while they shoot and dodge. However, one element has been absent from an image that often highlights shooters who go to hell: It’s a DoDonPachi title, that.

And yet here we are at last, with it. The newest ShotTriggers release, DoDonPachi Blissful Death Re:Incarnation, is solely centered on the fourth game in the DonPachi series, 2002’s horrific marvel, DoDonPachi DaiOuJou. Just to be clear, DaiOuJou has historically been referred to as “Blissful Death” on occasion; hence, you can pretty well consider the terms to be interchangeable.

Whatever you name it, what counts most in this case is that fans of the genre agree that DoDonPachi DaiOuJou is not just Cave’s best work but also maybe the best representation of bullet hell ever made. Many may even claim you it’s the greatest shooter out there. To cut right to the point, M2 has produced a port of outstanding quality here, realized as a part of a package that includes numerous different versions and even three completely new modes (or, to use shooting game jargon, “arranges”). After a while, turning on the original arcade board via M2’s port demonstrates how accurate this ShotTriggers edition is, especially when it comes to lag and visual performance. Other gamers have noted that the minuscule two-frame input latency in the PS4 version is almost exactly the same as it was in the arcade original. Three frames behind seems to be the norm for Switch owners, although that is still a negligible difference.

Prior to become sidetracked by the plethora of accessories that expand the game’s player base, it’s important to reflect on why the centerpiece 2002 arcade version of the bundle is held in such high respect. With a surprising balance of simplicity and complexity, DaiOuJou is as purebred as it gets, carrying on the lessons learned from DonPachi and DoDonPachi before it. It is renowned for its intensity and difficulty, which are caused by a variety of shot types ranging from sweeping curtains and fiercely directed bullets to drifting, idle swarms that hover about you. These factors contribute to the game’s allure as well as the sheer quantity of adversaries and their firepower.

Let’s be clear. As expected, the original DaiOuJou is generic. The objective of this vertically scrolling game is to take out a large number of adversaries while avoiding the barrage of bullets they unleash throughout the course of five stages, or ten in variants that give a two-loop version. It is a relentless shooter in spirit. It is unrelenting after the first three seconds of the game, maybe. After a few more seconds, you will encounter a ground installation that in many other instances of this genre would be saved for a stage-2 fight. From then on, bosses happily unleash volley after barrage, and opponents never stop crowding the screen. Equipped with a broadside, a potent laser secondary weapon, and a traditional bomb, your mission is to advance against an array of apparently impenetrable obstacles with hardly any breaks in sight. It’s thrilling, challenging, and stressful, yet even when you’re completely overwhelmed, the amazing game design makes it a great place to be.

Another game that has a strong sense of realism is DaiOuJou, which is partly because to its cyberpunk-inspired setting made of very intricate pixel graphics. Every explosion and penetrating laser beam has artistic flair, creating a visually captivating subtlety. The very gritty sound effects and Manabu Namiki’s musical composition, which has a thundering electronica style influenced by anything from metal to techno to vintage rave, highlight that. The most remarkable thing is that every DaiOuJou version’s audio and visual components work together as a single, cohesive whole, much as a sound and its source do in real life.

The game mechanics of DaiOuJou, which are intricately linked to all the basic shooting and dodging, are what truly elevate the version of the game that serves as the basis for the full ShotTriggers release. Like DonPachi and DoDonPachi before it, DaiOuJou is a chaining shooter. This implies that a score multiplier is raised for each opponent you take out quickly, giving you exponentially more points for each enemy you eliminate. When you aim your laser toward a bigger foe, the chain stays stable or gradually approaches. If you stop your killing streak for even a short while, the multiplier will reset, forcing you to find creative methods to cross chains across locations with intentionally fewer foes.

The Hyper is an additional option to the bomb that may be obtained by defeating adversaries, among other things. A Hyper medal will show when your Hyper bar is filled. When you scoop it up, the next time you press the bomb button, a Hyper will be fired, boosting opponent bullet speed and delivering a tremendous boost in firepower. Everything returns virtually to usual once the Hyper comes to a close, with the exception that the ‘rank,’ which is effectively a measure of ‘difficulty,’ will have gone up little.

DoDonPachi DaiOuJou feels insurmountably strong with only one credit. However, if you put in enough effort, you can develop a rhythm. And when you reach the point where you can produce a constant flow of Hypers while dancing through patterns and gripping chains in a world that oozes elegance and intricacy, it’s as thrilling as arcade games get.

As a result, M2 has produced an incredible 2D shooter port that is unmatched. And that’s only the start.

Because Black Label, an improved, polished version of the arcade original, is also included. It significantly adjusted the difficulty, decreased hitbox size and bullet aggressiveness, and fixed a few minor glitches. It also increased the pace at which Hypers fell. In essence, it presents a DaiOuJou version that is usually thought to be a little simpler. The bundle also contains the recondite DoDonPachi III, a modified Black Label version meant for the global market but never really seems to be released.

You also receive the always welcome addition of the Super Easy mode, which drastically reduces the number of bullets and intensity in the game while maintaining a realistic shooting game experience that skillfully reveals high level play ideas. Although there is some difficulty for complete novices, players with little to no shmup knowledge may easily navigate one of the hardest games ever created with the help of Super Easy mode.

And then there are those three all-new “arrangements,” which M2 created just for this release. After removing the majority of the core game mechanics, Arrange S provides you with an almost endless supply of Hypers. When played simply, Arrange S is so simple that it may sometimes seem meaningless. However, you run a higher danger of calling forth the actual bullet hell the more Hyper you use. Beyond what immediately seems, there is more to be discovered.

With the addition of bullet cancelling, Arrange L presents a slightly more difficult version of DaiOuJou. This means that taking out specific enemies will turn entire firepower screens into items that grant points. Regardless of your skill level, this mode is incredibly rewarding and a great challenge for players with limited experience with shooting games. Arrange EX, in the end, increases the bullet count significantly beyond what was seen in the arcade original and presents a difficult challenge with its own bullet cancelling. This creates a dizzying thrill ride for players of all skill levels and something truly special for arcade veterans.

As if that weren’t enough, there is also a remastered version of that incredible soundtrack, an abundance of careful display and customization choices, and three more modes—Luna Tour and Arcade Osari, in particular—that divide DaiOuJou into manageable chunks for practice or as challenges.

A veritable playable compendium of Cave’s best shooter, then, abundant with fresh additions that usher it into the modern day and welcome a much wider range of players than were accommodated in 2002.

The primary mode’s tremendous difficulty, at worst, offers plenty of opportunities for dehumanization, which may not be to everyone’s taste. While there are occasional linguistic barriers, English is the most common tongue. You may select what is shown, albeit some of those UI gadgets can lean toward showing more information than is necessary.

It will always seem a little strange to commend an import game, but it is far simpler to get a digital version on Japanese retailers. And this is a really remarkable, accurate, and ambitious rendition of not only one of the greatest shooting games ever created, but also one of the most exquisitely thought-out examples of game design ever. I can only speculate as to what ShotTriggers achieves to surpass DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Blissful Death re:Incarnation.

The games we have been engaging in

The games we have been engaging in

January 12, 2023
Hi there! Greetings and welcome back to our regular segment, in which we discuss some of the games we’ve been playing lately in brief. This week: dice, Bond, and trains.

Here’s our archive if you’d want to catch up on any of the previous What We’ve Been Playing episodes.

Cut and Dice, Android

I hadn’t realized how much I like this game. It’s true that sometimes taking a break from a game might strengthen our sentiments toward it. I guess you truly do enjoy it if you still feel passionately about it weeks or months later. You weren’t only engrossed in the here and now.

Seeing my kid play it was another element that added to the intensity of this experience. Turn-based dice-rolling games aren’t usually his thing, since he’s just 13 years old and prefers to play Fortnite or online Minecraft, which are quite different games from offline Minecraft. However, the instant I presented it to him on the train, he became enthralled with it. That, in my opinion, was the last straw: Slice & Dice is really amazing.

Since I’ve been playing it for about a year, I’ve discussed it before. Whoops, I guess I’m around forty hours in—probably more. I’m a little annoyed now that I forgot to include it on my list of the best games of 2023.

Slice and Dice is a turn-based, dice-rolling game where you take command of a group of fantasy heroes. Every character you have has a die that symbolizes their abilities. Your talents are listed on either side of the d6, some of which are blank based on the character class you belong to. Every round, you get a few rolls. You must choose whether to roll again or retain and lock in what you get. And that’s all.

It’s straightforward, but the brilliance is in all the ways it may be combined. This is a big place. There are about 100 classes in the game, and you may choose a new one for a character as they level up. There are a lot of creative sculptures, jugglers, and vampires. Then there are tools and charms to alter all of that. It’s not simple to figure out how to utilize all of stuff, how the enemy operate, and how to effectively take them out.

The full version of the game requires a one-time purchase, however there is a free version available. & I’ve just realized you can find Slice & Dice on Itch.io too. Try it out!


Xbox, GoldenEye 007
I had to do something amazing to celebrate receiving an Xbox Series X for Christmas. So, when my beautiful new console booted up, what game did I chose to play? Yes, GoldenEye 007 is correct.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with this game but also utterly afraid of dying. My playtime consisted mostly of me playing with my buttocks tightly gripped and squealing like a sentient kettle about to boil. My brothers, who performed the age-old trick of persuading a young and naive me that what occurs in a game impacts you in real life, are to responsible for this anxiety. Those blighters.

But I’m getting off topic. I’ve been enjoying myself immensely while revisiting some of my childhood memories with GoldenEye 007 on my Xbox. Yes, it is somewhat dated in many aspects, but it doesn’t bother me at all. This remains, in my opinion, one of the greatest Bond games ever made. The music is also excellent; I often simply listen to the recognizable pause beats by Grant Kirhhope while checking my watch. As I said, I’m having a great time.

Yes, before going any further into that second level, I did, in fact, shoot the unfortunate guy in the restroom. It really must be completed.


The board game Ticket to Ride: Europe
a picture of someone playing the board game Ticket to Ride. The game’s map-like board, with primary-colored plastic trains winding around it, is seen in this top-down picture.

It’s unbelievable that I haven’t played this before. I think that everyone has Ticket to Ride in their collection; it’s one of those classic board games. A little like Monopoly before everyone discovered how horrible it is. It’s true that I stopped playing Monopoly after seeing my children cry while playing it. By the way, it has nothing to do with my performance! I’m not a monster.

In the version of Ticket to Ride: Europe that I played, the objective is to construct train snakes on a map on the game board and connect them based on the routes that you have to finish. To do this, place miniature train pieces—known as carriages—on board locations in numbers determined by the cards you are holding in your hand.

The simplicity of it is what makes it so amazing. As you know, I’d never played it before, but even after a few beers, I was able to pull off a very decent performance. While working alone, I even succeeded in unintentionally blocking someone else’s mega-route (the mega-routes award the most points).

Ticket to Ride is an excellent method to learn about the general geography of locations, which is why it’s available in stores in a million themed variations. However, beware of the outdated ones; you don’t want to ask them where Constantinople is these days.


PS4 back compat is being significantly enhanced by unofficial ‘FPS Boost’ mods for the PS5

PS4 back compat is being significantly enhanced by unofficial ‘FPS Boost’ mods for the PS5

Backwards compatibility on the current generation consoles brought an unexpected joy: the ability to free older console games from their 30 frames per second constraints, running them at 60 frames per second or even higher. This was achieved using FPS Boost and custom software modifications. For Xbox Series systems, FPS Boost performed well across a wide variety of games, but there was always a feeling that the PS5 was capable of more. A variety of frame-rate unlocks for PS5, spanning several must-have titles, support this suspicion. The main drawback is that only susceptible consoles running outdated firmwares are allowed to participate.

Bloodborne’s 60 frames per second has been discussed before, but that’s just the beginning. With the help of illusion, the modder who has done more than anyone to unlock performance on older PlayStation 4 titles, I’ve put together a video below that gives you an idea of how games like Red Dead Redemption 2, DriveClub, and Batman: Arkham Knight look and play when using this very unofficial form of FPS Boost.

It’s difficult to believe that Sony and independent publishers did not take more action to unlock performance on a larger selection of classic games when you see the games unfold. The PlayStation 5’s incredible capability allows for the transformation of even less popular titles like Just Cause 3 and the million-dollar success of Red Dead 2. For remasters such as Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and Crash Team Racing Nitro Fuelled, 60 frames per second is the icing on the cake.

Why didn’t the PlayStation 5 get more 60 frames per second updates for games from the previous generation? How come Sony and other independent publishers can’t do the same if illusion can? Although the whole story is unknown at this time, it seems that in order to provide a patch that would properly update PS4 games to operate in custom performance settings on the PS5, the code had to be moved to a later Sony SDK. Additionally, developers often modified their development gear to use newer SDKs that weren’t compatible with their previous titles.

It would need support from Sony, publishers, and developers for this to become a reality. A possible solution would be for the platform owner to include features in the PS5 operating system that would prevent requests for the system-level 30 frames per second limit on certain, white-listed games. This may be comparable to one of the approaches Microsoft used with FPS Boost. If it seems very difficult to do, consider this: illusion has already succeeded in doing so. Though not all titles will function with it, most should.

Other games may not be as feasible since they would need a lot more labor. In addition to removing the frame-rate cap, Lance McDonald’s now-famous Bloodborne 60fps patch also adds support for unlocked frame-rates using code from From Software’s PS4 Pro patch for Dark Souls 3. In terms of illusion’s modifications, adjustments to DriveClub patches were also necessary to enable frame rates greater than 30 frames per second. In Batman: Arkham Knight, taking off the 30 frames per second restriction revealed a broken 60 frames per second cap that had to be turned off.

Prior to release, any formal performance increases would also need thorough quality assurance. ‘Back compat plus’ updates were made for Shadow of the Tomb Raider for Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 systems, but only because a game-breaking problem was discovered by Microsoft during the FPS Boost release. As far as we know, this patch was really created as one engineer’s last assignment before he left Square Enix.

Compatibility issues are already present for other PS4 games that are played on a PS5. During our preliminary backward compatibility testing, we discovered that Assassin’s Creed Unity’s unlocked disc version was unable to maintain 60 frames per second on the PS5, whereas it was able to do so on both Xbox Series consoles (which eventually gained support for FPS Boost). One of the three compatibility profiles that Sony has set up to make sure that games function as they should seems to be the cause of this.

One profile provides a CPU increase along with default PS4 performance. While the third profile, which is effectively a last-resort option, sets up the PS5 like a PS4 with constrained CPU clocks, the second profile is virtually a PS4 Pro setup with more CPU and GPU clocks. You can see in the video that although Just Cause 3 plays very well at 60 frames per second, its sequel is obviously being prevented from using all of the PS5’s back compat horsepower.

There are issues obviously, but you can’t help but think that there’s a ripe commercial potential here given how many PS4 titles have been improved by PS5 performance enhancements. Granted, some of these PC games currently run at 60 frames per second or higher, but console users won’t benefit from that, and platform exclusives will definitely not be included. Performance unlocks have a great deal to offer games like Shadow of the Colossus, Gravity Rush 2, and The Last Guardian, as you can see in the video above. Even native 4K support is available for The Last Guardian (via the shipping 1890p checkerboard solution). Although the game is designed to run horribly on the PS4 Pro, the additional power of the PlayStation 5 is really useful in this case.

The cherry on top? Updated titles may run on both current hardware and future consoles, if backwards compatibility continues until the tenth generation of gaming systems. So why end at 60 frames per second? Illusion has already started working on fixes that enable PS4 and even older PS5 games at 120 frames per second. Back compatibility is fantastic, but as FPS Boost expertly shown, making them even better is even more unique.

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown exhibits sheer beauty on every platform it is played on

Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown exhibits sheer beauty on every platform it is played on

UbiSoft has entirely abandoned its standard open world approach with Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, opting instead to concentrate on creating a side-scrolling, exploration-driven platform game. This may be my favorite product the firm has made in the last ten years. Rather than promoting state-of-the-art graphics, The Lost Crown is concentrating on creating an incredibly well-polished and fluid game that flawlessly utilizes every platform it has been released on. That’s correct, you may anticipate something unique regardless of the platform you decide to play this game on.

The Lost Crown ushers in a new era for both UbiSoft Montpellier, the game’s development studio, and the legendary history of Prince of Persia. I’ve been waiting for Montpellier to make a platforming game again since they were the ones behind Rayman Origins and Legends more than ten years ago. There’s no letdown with The Lost Crown. In contrast to Rayman, the studio has moved to a search/action style where you are tasked with discovering a massive, linked area and acquiring skills that are essential to advance the game. Yes, there are fleeting resemblances to Metroid and perhaps ‘Vania – a genre that has arguably worn out its welcome in recent years – and I was apprehensive coming in but in time, I grew captivated.

Players are tasked with navigating more complex chambers and puzzles utilizing a combination of leaps, dashes, wall runs, and more as the platforming builds up wonderfully. It’s fun to just run around the earth. Being a warrior named Sargon who has vowed to defend the Prince of Persia, combat is also fast-paced and difficult; opponents might take you out more quickly than you would anticipate. Because of the increased stakes, you’ll need to be able to dodge and parry in order to survive.

Beyond this, the storyline is quite intriguing, unlike other games in this category. It plays with time clichés, as you would expect, but it’s entertaining nevertheless. There’s a mystery that keeps you interested until the very end—at least, that’s what I did—when you run with someone who came just a few hours ago only to find out they’ve been there for weeks, months, or years. The crucial elements in this case are the superb action, the innovative and top-notch level design, the engaging universe to explore, the spot-on ambiance, and the very captivating plot.

The engine of The Lost Crown, however, is one of the most unexpected features from the standpoint of Digital Foundry. Although UbiSoft has access to a comprehensive array of internal technologies, such as the UbiArt Framework used in Rayman, this new game uses the Unity Engine. In and of itself, this is neither excellent nor terrible, but considering Ubi’s resources, it is intriguing. Multiplatform Unity games have historically yielded inconsistent results in our testing, with the Switch versions usually suffering, but UbiSoft has done a fantastic job here.

The actual visual makeup is simple yet powerful. It adheres closely to tried-and-true rendering conventions. This doesn’t have any cutting-edge visual effects or ray tracing, but it’s not really necessary. Rather, it’s about crafting a powerful aesthetic within the limitations of their intended audience, which is, I suppose you might imagine, the Nintendo Switch.

The crew has achieved a good degree of detail given the camera perspective. The models have good detail but are not too high-poly. The purpose of texture work is not realism, but rather a painterly approach. Lighting is totally baked yet nevertheless approximates things like light bounce to a rough degree. There are plenty of dynamic lighting and glossy surfaces within, and all versions include dynamic shadows—including self-shadows. The backdrops provide the feeling of exploring a vast area and have a pleasing sense of depth.

The stylized and extravagant animation include aspects such as a running animation that evokes Rayman’s movement, as well as some sleek segments that highlight Sargon’s dexterity and agility. This is an illustration of how the development team perfected a very particular style after dialing it in. The objective was always to make something that functions properly and consistently within its visual context, not to push technological limits. Sometimes it makes the most sense to have a coherent design, great performance, and responsiveness.

Although The Lost Crown is playable on almost every system out there, including previous and current models, we concentrated on the Switch and PC, which are current generation consoles. You’re in for a treat if you play The Lost Crown on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X—it supports native 4K at 120 frames per second. To see this, of course, you’ll need a TV that supports HDMI 2.1, but believe me, it really does make a difference. For the PS5 and Xbox Series X, 60 frames per second is a piece of cake, and even at 4K 120, they perform well. While VRR is a terrific leveler and both of the premium current-gen systems seem quite similar, Xbox is closer to hitting the full 120 frames per second objective. In cases when your display does not support VRR and you are judder-sensitive, 60 frames per second is basically locked and could be better.

Naturally, The Lost Crown’s PC edition provides a plethora of further adjustments in addition to this level of performance if your machine is competent. picture quality enthusiasts will note that The Lost Crown avoids using TAA in favor of more anti-aliasing methods like FXAA and SMAA, which result in a sharper picture. Post-process AA is also used on consoles, but it’s more than sufficient at these resolutions and with this kind of visual design. The game is super sharp.

As we go down the stack, Series S—which has a maximum resolution of 1440p60—is the one that raises the most eyebrows in my opinion. I could argue that it is more than sufficient, performs well, and looks fantastic, yet there is a sense that the little box should do better. The idea concerning VRR remains true, even if 120 frames per second is out of the question. It would be best to let the game run at a frame rate higher than 60 on a VRR display. I say this because the findings from consoles from the previous generation are more precise. Just to test this game, I took the PS4 Pro off the shelf. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it plays at a resolution just below 4K and is significantly crisper than the Xbox Series S. Xbox Series X is presumably crisper as well.

While the PS4 Pro must pause and load at certain places, current generation devices do not; the S, on the other hand, uses textures with greater quality than the previous generation and loads much quicker. Moreover, cutscenes on the PS4 Pro run at 30 frames per second, whereas Series S maintains a higher frame rate.

However, the Switch version performs better than anticipated in terms of presentation; you get 720p60 in portable mode and 1080p60 in docked mode, and the effects are really amazing. Sure, it’s evident from comparisons that certain visual elements have been eliminated. For example, all textures have been made at a lower quality, several scenes lack reflections entirely, and cutscenes often play at 30 frames per second as opposed to 60. But other than that, everything is quite similar and fluid. When combined with the Switch OLED, I think this is one of the most visually appealing games I’ve ever played on the Switch.

Although not flawless, switch performance is still remarkable. I do believe it holds 60 quite well overall. Frame rates may sometimes dip during hectic moments, but after playing Switch for a few hours, this is rare, and the game seems smooth and well-made overall. Cutscenes may end abruptly in a few scenes when alpha effects cover the screen, however this is also rather rare. This game almost seems like a miracle for the Switch, especially in light of recent developments on the platform (especially with regard to third-party games). If you wanted to play on the go, this version is nice enough that I could suggest it! That solidity exists. Naturally, this also applies to portable mode, which functions flawlessly and could even be a little smoother than docked mode.

On the other hand, the experience is excellent when you consider the variety of platforms. Even though I’ve pointed out particular instances where performance decreases may happen, this game works well on every platform we tested, and given how many platforms are supported, I think it’s one of the better multiplatform titles we’ve reviewed recently. Even more to its advantage is the fact that it is very polished. It’s a shining example of well-executed design. Although I’m not aware of their patch plans, the pre-release version I’ve played hasn’t caused me any problems, so I’d say it’s complete and ready for the future. These days, you can’t take anything for granted.

There are only two things wrong with the game. First off, it’s very unfortunate that HDR does not seem to have native support. On the PC, nevertheless, I managed to use a little application made to compel AutoHDR in games, and Prince of Persia is compatible with it. Unfortunately, this is a PC-only feature, therefore it won’t work on other platforms. It looks OK in SDR, mind you, but real HDR would have been appreciated.

The issue with the Ubisoft Account comes in second. I’ve found that in order to play the game when the PS5 and Xbox first boot up, you have to log into Ubisoft Connect. That is, I believed. You may access the site without a Ubi account if you deactivate your internet connection, but if it detects a connection, you must log in, which is, to put it mildly, really bad form. While there is a solution, it’s not very nice. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Nintendo Switch; in fact, if you have a connection, you may skip the login page entirely. This is important to know for people who would want to have a physical copy. Cross-platform cloud saves are, I think, the only advantage of Ubi Connect. Well, it is helpful after all.

The account access feature is a pain, but don’t let it stop you from playing this amazing game. If anything, maybe it will achieve the success it so well deserves and demonstrate to Ubisoft that producing several game genres is acceptable once again. And the greatest thing is, it appears to be fantastic on every platform. I didn’t have chance to check out the Xbox One, One X, or PS4, but because the game is scalable and will work well on the Switch, I’m not too concerned about those systems. All things considered, this is a well made game that I heartily recommend.

Rocksteady’s signature world-building is hindered by their pursuit of trends in Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League

Rocksteady’s signature world-building is hindered by their pursuit of trends in Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League

Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has had a difficult beginning. The game was formally revealed by the company in August 2020 after an early leak, but this came after allegations of sexual harassment. The co-founders of the company quit, the game was postponed, and rumors of a battle pass sparked a heated discussion. Finally, during Sony’s PlayStation State of Play last year, we were able to see the game in action, however the reception was not entirely positive and it was once again postponed. More recently, in December, an alpha tech test was conducted, but the video quickly went viral with spoilers.

“Having leaks is always upsetting. At a game preview event, Suicide Squad game director Axel Rydby told me, “I think it’s unavoidable in this day and age.” “To put it briefly, that’s unfortunate, but we also know that the game is excellent. And we are aware of how special this game is. We only hope that gamers’ choices to test it out won’t be impacted by leaks, even if they do occur.”

Regarding the wait time, Rydby said that it was necessary to improve and refine the game, address bugs, and make sure that playing as any of the four characters feels different from the others: moving between them “should feel like a new, fresh experience, but it shouldn’t feel like a completely different game”.

Additionally, Rocksteady knew how the State of Play would be received. “We knew that it was going to be a controversial game because it’s not Batman,” Rydby said. However, we also recognize that we are playing a really strong game. Furthermore, although being a radically different game, it yet seems to uphold the Rocksteady ideals of having tight gameplay and incorporating the larger DC universe.

Additionally, we realized that it wasn’t as strong of a display as we had hoped. Did it have an impact on studio morale? We considered it regrettable. We had hoped for a better reception. However, concurrently, we’re kind of thinking, “Yeah, let’s show them!” It will be fantastic!”

Suicide Squad undoubtedly have the Rocksteady gene. It’s an Arkham-verse continuation using the same cast of characters, style of artwork, and general melancholy vibe. Here, however, players assume control of the Suicide Squad, which adds a unique sense of humor, and face off against the Batman from the Arkham games as well as other Justice League members.

The exploring and melee fighting gameplay from earlier isn’t here. Although Rydby called Suicide Squad a “genre defying” game, in reality it’s an open-world four-player cooperative shooter. Selecting from Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Boomerang, or King Shark, players may explore Metropolis in two ways: online with three other players or alone with support from bots. You may have more than one version of a character in your squad, however in narrative sequences, their versions will be swapped out.

Is the game a live service? The game does include a battle pass, as was displayed during the State of Play and leaked earlier this year, but the bought goods are limited to cosmetics. This was reaffirmed to me by Rocksteady after the preview: new narrative material, playable characters, missions, gear, weapons, cosmetic items, and in-game events will all be included in regular season updates, which are earned by playing and come at no extra cost. During hands-on learning, I did see a shop listed on the menu, but the specifics were missing; I assume this is where the purchased cosmetics are kept.

According to Rydby, “it’s a live service game insofar as you need to be online to play it,” but he also said that an offline narrative mode would be added eventually, negating the necessity for an internet connection.

“Creating a community around this game was our main goal while creating it. Furthermore, we want players to have a sense of belonging not only to the Suicide Squad but also to the greater DC Universe. We have several social elements there that we’re not quite ready to discuss.”

The CEO of Warner Bros., the studio’s publisher, David Zaslav, said investors during a recent earnings call that the business intended to turn its greatest properties into “always-on” live service games. That seems to be the case with Suicide Squad’s sustained backing, but Rydby would not precisely address Warner’s intentions.

“I can say that this game is very much focused on making sure that players have this sense of freedom to play the way they want to,” he said. Therefore, playing it alone or in a group is not required; neither is it mandated by us. You may play the whole thing by yourself if you’d like.”

To begin with, however, gamers must choose which of the four characters they want to control. However, how did Rocksteady choose these four given the Suicide Squad’s lengthy comic book history?

“That was, of course, a long, intense debate in the studio, because there are so many interesting [characters],” Rydby said. “And it came down to: we picked characters that had the most interesting, antagonistic relationship with the Justice League.”

Because of this, every one of the four antagonists possesses a talent that was stolen from a hero. Harley Quinn employs Batman’s grappling hook, whereas Boomerang may use Flash’s Speed Force. Thus, traversal mechanics also contributed to the decision-making process. “And then finally, King Shark: who doesn’t want a shark in the group?” said Rydby. True enough.

Traversal, in reality, is a crucial distinction among all the characters and influences the player’s decision. We evaluated all four characters in an introduction portion during our hands-on preview before choosing one. I went with Boomerang, who, upon releasing his namesake, teleports to its designated place after flinging his own with a grip of the right bumper. You may easily mount buildings by adding double leaps and dashes. Then, you can use the boomerang for melee attacks and the shotgun for blasting. I thought his moveset was the most logical.

There’s a chance that other gamers may disagree. Although a touch primitive, Deadshot’s usage of a jetpack to hover above battlefields and snipe from a distance was easy enough to understand. King Shark has powerful weaponry and can jump enormous distances like the Hulk. I found Harley Quinn to be the most fidgety. She is able to hook up to Batman’s Batwing and swing, but in order to leap off at the highest point, she has to click another button. It is possible to combine all three techniques to continually swing and generate speed, but I found this particularly difficult to execute. She can also use the grapple to pull up to building edges and jump over.

Naturally, personality plays a big role in character selection, and with her quirky, caustic remarks, Harley Quinn is sure to win over fans. King Shark is a merciless joker, Deadshot is a more somber character, and Boomerang is a quirky wild card.

Furthermore, Rydby informed me that the four characters were intentionally balanced via rigorous playtesting, despite not falling neatly into standard cooperative playstyles like healer or tank. “At the start of it, what we really wanted to do is make sure that each character has their own unique traversal,” he said. “Therefore, playing them need to feel special. And I believe we take it as far as we can without having the game feel significantly different when you swap characters.”

The characters certainly seem unique to themselves, but they also don’t seem to function well together. Although it’s true that these characters are antagonists compelled by circumstance to cooperate, playing as a group doesn’t always seem like playing together. There are merely four players competing with one another to control the battlefield.

Furthermore, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is still fresh in our memories and established a high bar for superhero games—possibly even its pinnacle—with its smooth, intuitive action and accessible superhero fantasy. This is not meant to start a corny Marvel vs. DC discussion. Suicide Squad, on the other hand, falls short of that level due to its complicated controls and likeable but uninspiring characters.

Additionally, the wide world pales in comparison to Spider-Man 2. Naturally, Metropolis is Rocksteady’s interpretation of a fictitious metropolis that isn’t immediately recognizable—for once, an Arkham-verse game that lets us see the light—but it’s a vast, vertical, dirty labyrinth of structures devoid of obvious paths or landmarks. It’s a challenging environment to fight in without the help of a basic radar minimap to locate both allies and adversaries. It all seems a touch too complicated to understand with all of the intense explosions, special effects, damage figures, quest marks, and more shown simultaneously on screen. It’s likely that your colleagues arrived before you as you search for targets to shoot.

Suicide Squad does, at its heart, provide some entertainingly spartan fighting. Every character has a variety of weapon types at their disposal, including shotguns, machine guns, pistols, and more. Combining a melee attack with a gunshot will always result in a critical strike. The flow of battle rapidly clicks in when you add hits to recharge shields, countershots, grenades that are hilariously powerful, a reload reminiscent of Gears of War, and a highly rewarding Suicide Strike special. Unfortunately, traversal doesn’t exactly match—at least not right away.

Rocksteady also shines in the narrative domain. The studio is more than happy to add their own unique touch to these well-known faces despite the obvious affection for the original work. A large cast of characters, both good and bad, a story worthy of a blockbuster, excellent acting and production, welcome diversity (I was especially pleased to see a Pride sign that read “we welcome all heroes” prominently included in the Justice League base), and even a tribute to the late Kevin Conroy, who played Batman’s voice, are all present. There will undoubtedly be many Easter Eggs for DC fans, but even those who aren’t familiar with the series will find it hard not to be enamored with the center four and their brittle relationships and playful jabs at one other.

Wonder Woman is also there, however Rydby won’t say whether or not this specific version has anything to do with the upcoming game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor from the Monolith team. “What I can say is that the Wonder Woman in our game is Rocksteady’s take on Wonder Woman,” he said. “And you get to see a lot of her during the game and get to know her a bit better.”

While maintaining ties to the studio’s history, it’s evident that Rocksteady is eager to attempt something different with Suicide Squad. However, as an online shooter with live service components, it may be more of a trend chaser than a return to the studio’s strengths. This may not be the superhero fantasy you’re hoping for, despite its superb character-driven plot and strong ties to the Arkham universe.

Praydog’s UEVR modification is an absolute game-changer for PC virtual reality

Praydog’s UEVR modification is an absolute game-changer for PC virtual reality

I’m not kidding when I say that a new flatscreen to VR hack that was published earlier this week is truly changing the game for PC VR. Thanks to the UEVR hack by godlike VR modder Praydog, you can now magically add VR compatibility to hundreds of flat Unreal Engine games with only a few mouse clicks.

Since its first announcement, there has been a noticeable buzz about Praydog’s Unreal Engine VR Injector Mod (UEVR), at least within the Flatscreen to VR Modding Community. The mod has been in development for at least a year. Does it, however, really live up to the hype?

That’s where Ian’s VR Corner this week’s show comes in! Watch the video below for an overview of the mod, which includes six examples of the mod in action across a range of game genres and a few brief examples showing how simple it is to convert flat UE4/5 games to full 6DoF VR. Among them is the astonishing first-person VR shooter Returnal from Housemarque, which comes with extra motion controls!

As I demonstrated in this week’s VR Corner video, even my non-techie self can easily install and use Praydog’s hack. All I had to do to transform the game from a pancake playground into a fully functional VR title was to switch on my Quest 3, load an Unreal Engine game, launch the UEVR mod tool, choose the game I was playing from its menus, and then click the “inject” button. That was all there was to it.

Finding an appropriate game, the Flatscreen to VR Modding, also didn’t take me long. A list of hundreds of games that Community Discord users have thoroughly reviewed is available. Every tested one has information on how well it works with the mod as well as any further troubleshooting methods you may need to use to make your preferred game operating as smoothly as possible.

Some members of the Flatscreen to VR Modding Community have developed custom motion control configurations for a range of games in addition to testing hundreds of UE4 games. Since these games were designed to be played on flat screens exclusively, you may play them all using controllers or a keyboard and mouse as intended. However, if you have a special configuration for a game you want to play, you can transfer it into UEVR and it will function there as well with just a few clicks.

Returnal, a first-person game with motion controls, is among the best instances of this, as was already noted. However, I also checked out Robocop: Rogue City, which you can see in action in my video. The battle clip turned out extremely stuttery, but rest assured that it worked well in my headset! I apologize for not being able to show off much gameplay, as playing that plus running Oculus Mirror was a little too much for my setup to handle! However, I’ve included a few slower scenes in the video so you can see how the motion controls work in this stunning UE5 game.

Furthermore, Praydog’s mod is compatible with more titles than only first-person shooters. In this video, I go through many games, including third-person Souls-like Mortal Shell, arcade driving game Horizon Chase 2, racing bike simulator Ride 5 (to test out some cockpit cam action), and even a little bit of Ghostbusters: Spirits. Unleashed with a controller, and let me tell you right now—if you love Ghostbusters, virtual reality exploration of that iconic firehouse is really unique!

You can tweak a tonne of options on the UEVR tool itself to enhance your experience, including as comfort settings like pitch-locking for third-person games and click-turning for first-person games. There are choices to tweak the resolution to reach the sweet spot for performance, and there are a ton more menus with a ton of terms I didn’t understand but that will surely help you optimize even more. But to be honest, I didn’t need any of them. Basically, everything was just plug and play for me. Launch the game after downloading it, add the mod, and play.

I was able to play games in virtual reality that were never intended to be played in just a few seconds. It’s true that sometimes the performance may be erratic and that certain menus and cutscenes seem a little strange in virtual reality, but it’s still incredible to be able to play any UE4/5 game in my Steam or Epic library in VR from beginning to end with very little effort.

Praydog’s breakthrough work here has allowed my VR library to almost triple (at the very least) over night, making UEVR the single most stunning modding tool I have ever seen. I strongly advise you to try this mod out for yourself if you have a VR headset and a PC that can support virtual reality (VR). It seems like a breath of new air for the genre and a huge advancement for VR in general.

You are a legend, Praydog!

A delightful new profession has been unveiled in Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail

A delightful new profession has been unveiled in Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail

The Pictomancer is a new job that will be added to Final Fantasy 14 in the upcoming Dawntrail expansion.

Along with fresh information on Dawntrail, the news was made this past weekend during the Final Fantasy 14 Fan Festival in Tokyo.

Regretfully, the expansion’s release date beyond “summer 2024” is still unknown. Producer and director Naoki Yoshida said that an internal goal date exists, but it isn’t available to the public just yet since the release of the last expansion, Endwalker, was delayed. “We don’t want that to happen again, even if it’s just a few weeks,” he said.

During his keynote address, Yoshida provided further details on the new Job and unveiled the Dawntrail’s expanded trailer, which you can see below.
A pictomancer: what is it?

As a hint to the next two Jobs, Yoshida may have worn a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt at the Las Vegas Fan Fest. At the London event, Viper was the first to be shown. Since the Turtles are named after well-known painters, Pictomancer is the second.

The magical, ranged DPS Job known as Pictomancer uses a paintbrush and palette in combat. The job came from Relm’s ability to sketch enemy techniques in Final Fantasy 6. Painting sceneries, weaponry, and animals expands the talent set in Final Fantasy 14.

A video of the Pictomancer in action demonstrates more complex effects along with a variety of colored instant-cast powers; at one point, the figure calls forth a Moogle. The job is not just a support job; it will also have magic to enhance the celebration.

In the narrative, the Lalafell Krile (top picture) will serve as the Pictomancer’s representative and will now participate in Duty Support.

This job, which starts at level 80 in Gridania, the initial city, will not need any classes. And no, playing won’t need any creative talent on your part.

The Job’s vivid neon paint effects are ready for the next Dawntrail graphics upgrade (upgrade 7.0).

Better Images

As previously mentioned during Fan Fest events, upgrade 7.0 will include a graphics upgrade for the first time. Yoshida demonstrated advancements for every playable race in turn in Tokyo.

The textures have been finely developed, and the lighting, shadows, and definition of the muscles have been improved somewhat. Overall, there is a noticeable difference; darker skin tones seem more toned and natural. Gamers will get a fantasia in case they need to improve their character.

In the future, armor will also have two dye channels, allowing players to further customize their appearance.

The PC system requirements for Windows 7.0 are as follows:

Hrothgar, the female
Finally, players will be able to assume the role of Hrothgar’s female. In the past, this race of characters was exclusively male; female Hrothgar are uncommon in the narrative. Players will be able to access these powerful and elegant lioness ladies via Dawntrail.

According to Yoshida, they represent the last racing additions to the game—at least for the time being.

A brand-new NPC will play the role of Female Hrothgar in the narrative. She is the daughter of the Tural land’s current monarch. She will be introduced to players in Patch 6.55 part two, which is scheduled for release on January 16.

The vast Tural

Dawntrail is predicted to occur in Tural’s western section. More of the area was unveiled by Yoshida during the Tokyo Fan Fest.

First, the plot is divided into two arcs that span both the previously seen south and the northern portion of Tural. Overall, Tural seems to be influenced by both North and South America, with Tuliyollal, the capital city, located in the middle (much like Mexico).

Scenes from all across Tural were shown, including vibrant tribal communities, hazy tropical rainforests, glowing woods, and a mining town reminiscent of the Wild West.

Solution Nine is a hyper-futuristic cyberpunk metropolis that resembles something from Blade Runner and is far more fascinating. This is a brand-new player center built by a civilization distinct from Tuliyollal; maybe, the narrative will reveal more.

A different metropolis, named Heritage Found, was shown, bursting with lightning energy, purple levin streaks, and sun-blocking thunderclouds. In concept drawings, a steam locomotive and a big futuristic building with a purple and black backdrop were shown. It looks to be heavily influenced by Final Fantasy 7.

Additional updates

Yoshida also revealed a couple more significant changes.

Updates to the Blue Mage Job, more Hildibrand adventures, new ideas for Deep Dungeons, an upgrade to Gold Saucer, a PvP update, and new Variant Dungeons are all part of the 7.X series of patches.

In the later half of 7.X, in addition to Viper and Pictomancer, a new restricted job to complement the Blue Mage is also planned. This will be the Beastmaster, along with a function for collecting beasts.

Cosmic Exploration, a new lifestyle game that will let users explore other worlds, is coming soon. While it’s meant to be played together, it may also be played alone. Although Yoshida remained silent on what to anticipate from each planet, it seems that this is an expansion of Endwalker’s Island Sanctuary.

Yoshida has revealed concept art for The Shadow Lord, the Alliance Raid from Final Fantasy 11 that will join Final Fantasy 14 in Patch 7.1. In other news, The Arcadion, an eight-player raid with artwork resembling the inside of a GPU, will launch one month after Dawntrail, while Ultimate Raid Futures Unwritten will debut in patch 7.1.

Last but not least, the Final Fantasy 16 crossover questline The Path Infernal is scheduled for early April, while an open beta for Final Fantasy 14 on Xbox is scheduled to start around February 21. Could this be related to The Rising Tide, the second DLC? even a release for the PC?

Yoshida unveiled brand-new Dawntrail artwork that included every character as the speech came to a close (see below).

The Tokyo Fan Festival’s whole day is available to watch on YouTube. Do you anticipate this next expansion?

Eiji Aonuma, the producer of Zelda, believes that linear games belong to a bygone era.

Eiji Aonuma, the producer of Zelda, believes that linear games belong to a bygone era.

In response to fans’ expectations for a classic linear Zelda game, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom developer Eiji Aonuma said he thought games with a rigid route were “games of the past”.

Since Breath of the Wild’s debut, there has been controversy about this issue. Aonuma recently shared his opinions on the matter in an interview with IGN.

“It’s interesting when I hear people say [I miss traditional linear Zelda],” Aonuma said. “because I’m wondering ‘why do you want to go back to a type of game where you’re more limited or more restricted in the types of things or ways you can play?'”

According to Aonuma, games with a rigid timeline are “kind of games of the past,” but contemporary games “can accept a player’s own decisions and give them the freedom to flexibly proceed”. The Zelda team at Nintendo adheres to this design philosophy, he said, adding, “I do have to admit that making games that way always carries with it additional development costs.”

According to Aonuma, he can appreciate the requests for a revival of the classic Zelda games. “I do understand that desire that we have for nostalgia,” he said, “and so I can also understand it from that aspect.” It seems doubtful that the next Zelda game will be a straight successor to Tears of the Kingdom, so you may want to temper your expectations. Aonuma also said that he thinks “we as a people have a tendency to want the thing that we don’t currently have.”

“I also think with the freedom players have in the more recent games in the [Zelda] series […] there is still a set path,” he said, “it just happens to be the path that they chose.” As Donlan advanced through the instructional section and into Tears of the Kingdom’s open environment, he became aware of this.

We have instructions on the locations of the Shrines, Skyview Towers, Great Fairies, and Dragon Tears to aid you in your Tears of the Kingdom journey. For more help with fighting, see our armor list and how to improve your inventory. We offer walkthroughs for the Wind Temple, Water Temple, and Lightning Temple in relation to the plot. Remember to find out how to beat Gloom Hands, get the Master Sword, and activate the Travel Medallion. See our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom tutorial for anything else.

The games we have been engaging in

The games we have been engaging in

Hi there! We’ve returned. I hope your break was enjoyable. Our regular section, What We’ve Been Playing, allows us to briefly discuss some of the games we’ve been playing during the last few days, or in this instance, the holiday season. Bears, Jedis, and tears this week.

Check out our archive if you’d like to listen to some of the previous episodes of What We’ve Been Playing.

Playdate, Root Bear
Not to go all conspiracy theory, but root beer has altered. The last notes of this drink-of-all-drinks now lean more toward caramel than wintergreen; I’m not sure how this changed or why. The dentist is no longer having trouble with it! It’s not entirely successful.

Nevertheless, I had to try Root Bear because I love bears and root beer. Everyone who has a playdate appears to like this particular Playdate game. I also adore it! It’s very, really easy. Serving root beer to a succession of bears is your task. The form of the glass varies, as does the position you must fill it to, and from what I can tell, the bear also changes. You set the pouring volume and cross your fingers. And that’s all.

Except that you don’t really hold out hope. It all boils down to knowing how the tap works and how you will experience the peculiar fusion of liquid and foam. I guess the reason Root Bear is so morish is because I constantly feel like I could learn a little bit more about how it works and become a little bit better.

I said that it chases high scores. It is, in fact. Try this out if you have a playdate, in my opinion. Cheers to a prosperous new year.

Chris Donlan

PS5 title Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

I’m beginning to get severe motion nausea while playing video games. I was acutely aware of this unsettling feeling for the last two years while playing Jedi: Survivor. I’m not sure why it specifically occurs. It wasn’t like that before. I had only been playing Survivor for about thirty minutes when I started to feel queasy in my stomach and tightness in my brain.

However, I continued to play, which is in part why I’m writing this. Rather, I navigated through the choices to see what I might do, and you know what I discovered? A single dot. It seems that I could adjust a dot that would resemble a crosshair and hover in the center of my screen to lessen the motion nausea that the game causes. (I also reduced the camera shaking.) It was successful.

I find this to be a wonder. It makes sense why I can play an FPS without experiencing the same nausea, even though I had never heard of a crosshair having this effect previously. I’m amazed, however, at how transformational something so tiny can be.

What excites me the most about this revelation, however, is that it’s a sign of how games are trying to make themselves more accessible, and it’s a demonstration of how that’s turning things around for everyone. It seems paradoxical, but years ago I would have most likely had to give up on Survivor; I am really thankful that the accessibility movement has prevented me from having to do so.


Tears of the Kingdom: The Legend of Zelda, Switch

During the Christmas holiday, I played a lot of Tears of the Kingdom; in fact, it’s currently by far my most played game of 2023. At first, I wasn’t the greatest fan. I like how each new Zelda game is unique, but TOTK’s reuse of BOTW’s map didn’t match that description, and its focus on technology went too far from my own perception of the series as a fantastical, fairytale fantasy.

But TOTK has finally made sense to me, like combining a bunch of bricks to create something new. What first seemed to be overpowering and uncontrollable has now multiplied in opportunities. Now that the majority of the plot is over, I’m ready, equipped, and self-assured enough to take on every inch of Hyrule. As I approach the endgame, TOTK has surpassed the feeling of exploration and adventure that the universe of BOTW offered me. I’ve been aimlessly wandering about for hours, doing quests, eventually taking down Gleeoks, and marking off shrines. My gaming is more satisfying and I’m enjoying myself more now that I’m taking on the globe at a slower pace without feeling rushed by the plot.

I’ve also grown to like how the game expands upon its predecessor. Although using Ultrahand to build was a pain at first, I now like the feeling of exploration it offers. I love the moody, fall-like atmosphere of the sky islands, even if the environment is familiar. And while the shrine quests provide a repetitive framework and the temples are typically unsatisfactory, the hymn-like sung melodies at the conclusion of each shrine—possibly a nod to the Temple of Time—are a lovely auditory reward. Even though I have played for more than 130 hours and have not yet defeated the final fight, completed every shrine, or completed every quest, I just cannot put the game down. After everything has calmed down, I’m certain that TOTK will be my game of the year. But I still detest the depths.


Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone 15 Pro aims to replicate the PS4 gaming experience, yet falls short of achieving its objective

Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone 15 Pro aims to replicate the PS4 gaming experience, yet falls short of achieving its objective

One of the most brilliant remakes of 2023 was Resident Evil 4, a daring and contemporary retelling of Capcom’s 2005 action-horror masterpiece. Together with the PS4, it seemed fantastic on all current-generation systems, including superb lighting detail and amazing visual design. At the end of the year, Capcom released the first mobile version for RE4. Resident Evil 4 is now playable on the fastest Apple mobile hardware—the iPhone 15 Pro—as well as iPads with M1 and M2 processors as part of the company’s latest triple-A gaming push. So, similar to Resident Evil Village, is the game bogged down by performance and setup issues? Or can the console code be converted using RE4?

Although Capcom also released the game for PS4 gaming systems, Resident Evil 4 was primarily a current-generation console and PC game. On Sony’s eighth-generation systems, the graphics were mostly retained, but there were some noticeable compromises. Most notably, texture streaming might be rather sluggish and texture resolution suffered greatly. Other lighting reductions included the elimination of screen-space reflections and a decrease in the quantity of light sources that throw shadows.

It is important to consider these compromises, since the PS4 code exhibits the closest match among the console versions for the iPhone findings. We essentially get one basic visual experience on the platform with some options to tweak lens distortion, depth of focus, and motion blur, as we experienced on all console versions of the game. Resident Evil Village has a PC-style settings menu, but RE4 lacks one.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the iPhone version, for some reason, has a very noticeable blue tinge. I would advise anybody else playing the game in SDR to do the same, since it’s also much darker than the PS4 version at the normal brightness. Most of the textures in the two versions seem to be comparable. However, if you examine carefully, you’ll see that several of the game’s landscapes use notably lower-resolution texture graphics from the iPhone code. These aren’t really significant variations, but overall the world seems a little hazier and less distinct. Strangely, despite the iPhone’s far quicker storage, many of the same texture loading problems were seen on the PS4.

There are several differences in the degree of detail settings between the iOS and PS4 versions while navigating the world. There are some very notable changes in the density of foliage, and this is especially visible on tiny incidental items. Although areas of grass and shrubs are thinner on the iPhone than the PS4, treelines still seem quite comparable. The lighting in the two games is mostly comparable. This mostly relates to the overall operation of the lighting in RE4, which has a lot of baked lighting that is translated equally across the two platforms. There are no screen-space reflections either, which is probably a positive thing for the game’s overall graphics, as those who are acquainted with the RE Engine SSR will confirm. Positively, volumetrics are back, however resolution has somewhat decreased in comparison to the PS4.

When it comes to shadows, most scenes don’t have very good real resolution, but a quick peek at the PS4 code shows that the shadow resolution on that device is pretty close. The dither pattern that’s used to create the appearance of soft shadows is, in my opinion, the main problem here. It seems very fine-grained on the PS4, but incredibly coarse and unconvincing on the iPhone. Since the MetalFX AI upscaler has issues with several features, I believe this could be due to the iPhone version’s very low internal resolution.

Post-processing suffers as well. While watching some of the more action-packed cutscene scenes, I notice that sometimes the motion blur is rather jerky and undersampled. However, I continue to believe that this might be because the iPhone has a lower internal resolution. Not as evident is depth of focus, which may show some very unpleasant artifacts at character boundaries. While these effects seem OK on the smaller iPhone screen, they don’t exactly have the same dramatic flare as those on the PS4. When it comes to overall graphic settings, the iPhone code is on par with the PS4. Although the visual experience isn’t quite the same as what we’d see on a console, the basic settings are comparable enough that Resident Evil 4 still looks a lot like it. For example, this is significantly better than what you would anticipate from a Switch version of the game.

The worst problem, however, is certainly with the image quality. The PS4 code seems to be rather strong overall, combining TAA with a 900p picture to get a final resolution that is both smooth and detailed. Image quality on the platform is fairly decent by last-generation standards. In contrast, the iPhone just isn’t as good. There are often a lot of “salt-and-pepper” disocclusion artifacts in the game. These problems are apparent any whenever there is significant movement in the frame, particularly in the areas around Leon’s hair and in the vegetation components.

It’s all about the resolution, in my opinion. I noticed around 300p resolution across many pictures, which I believe is being upscaled to about 720p utilizing MetalFX’s temporal upscaler based on machine learning. Comparable degrees of break-up may be seen in Resident Evil Village on the iPhone, however they are often less noticeable due to the first-person perspective and the absence of vegetation in the area.

To be fair, for a game that runs at these types of internal resolutions, the picture coherence of the game is remarkably good in still photos. Interior spaces perform the best, with fewer artifacts and minor alpha effects. I don’t believe this is a poor approach, especially considering the speed savings and the smaller iPhone screen utilized for game navigation. However, it would have been preferable to combine MetalFX with higher-resolution rendering to obtain a genuinely steady and consistently good-looking final product. When upsampling systems have to operate with so little pixels, they just don’t function effectively.

With Capcom aiming for 30 frames per second, it is obvious that the low internal resolution is for conserving and sustaining performance. The game hits the mark in terms of standard fighting and exploration, but there are some very significant problems. First off, like with many 30 frames per second iOS games, the frame-pacing is off. This isn’t too bad; Resident Evil 4 alternates between 33 millisecond and 16 millisecond frames at regular intervals. It’s inconvenient, but it’s not fatal. Nevertheless, in addition to that, there are also sometimes extremely severe frame-rate dips that appear out of nowhere, briefly turning the game into a slideshow. These happen maybe once every five or ten minutes, so they’re not extremely often, but they do remove you from the moment.

In addition to more typical performance issues, I also saw a few extended stutters while playing the game. At some points, the game has trouble keeping up its 30 frames per second goal. It’s not that the frame-rates are drastically off; rather, the game is barely able to sustain 30 frames per second. While Resident Evil 4 isn’t a very good game, it does do far better on the iPhone than Resident Evil Village. Even on the lowest settings, it had extended frame-rate drops during normal gameplay, a problem that was never fixed by later updates.

As a point of perspective, Resident Evil 4 operated at an unlocked framerate of between 30 and 60 frames per second on the PS4 version. Although it wasn’t perfect, the code seems more fluid than that of the iPhone, and its frame-times are generally more consistent. When confronted with big numbers of enemies, the PS4 does utilize reduced-rate animation on enemy characters—an accommodation that the iPhone does not make. Another plus for Apple’s smartphone is its loading speeds. A load that takes the PS4 around forty seconds to finish takes the iPhone about seven seconds or less, a benefit that is likely due to the iPhone’s faster flash storage and sophisticated CPU. Every second matters when it comes to mobile platforms, and the iPhone usually performs well while loading RE4 files.

The controls come in a variety of forms. Positively, the game works well with both the Xbox Series and PS5 controllers. You can also switch between the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo button layouts with the toggle. All of the buttons operate as they should, and rumble is operational. However, there is a problem with input lag—I detected 200 ms while using a Bluetooth controller here—and the overall weight of the game. Although playable, it never seems very responsive.

It’s not advisable to attempt to play this game without a controller due of how basic the touch controls are. The game is really difficult to operate since every button is always visible on the screen. Context-sensitive controls are a feature of the finest iPhone games, such as the GTA Definitive Editions, where buttons appear only when necessary or fulfill two functions based on the circumstance. It’s not really a very good option to just put a current gamepad layout over most of the screen.

In summary, this is a step forward. The iPhone version of Resident Evil 4 is unquestionably better than Village. Users don’t have to mess around with intricate and crash-prone graphic options, and the game actually runs rather well with a somewhat erratic but respectably fast 30 frames per second update. Although this game has a better configuration than Village, and it doesn’t appear to have Village’s peculiar performance gremlins, I believe that there are somewhat greater expectations for Apple’s triple-A gaming effort.

There aren’t many iOS games that are similar to this one apart from the three iPhone games I’ve reviewed recently: RE Village, the GTA Definitive Editions, and of course RE4. The closest game I’ve played in terms of graphics is probably Genshin Impact or Wreckfest, a last-generation racing game that runs at 60 frames per second on the iPhone 15 Pro. With the exception of such titles, however, the most advanced iPhone software is about as basic visually quality as that of the Xbox 360 and PS3, if not less, so it’s difficult to say with certainty what to anticipate from a game like RE4, which is effectively a PS4 port.

In these sorts of games, I’m inclined to believe that a tighter 30 frames per second lock should be at least feasible while keeping respectable settings and visual quality. This will be put to the test with upcoming Apple Silicon games, including Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Hopefully, a well-executed last-generation iOS version will be released in 2024. However, the outcomes have been more inconsistent so far, with performance lacking in comparison to the visuals. If you keep your expectations in check, Resident Evil 4 is at least excellent enough to make for a decent mobile experience. Although there are significant performance problems and sometimes a cluttered visual, Resident Evil 4 is still playable on the move, looks good, and doesn’t crash. Many gamers demand more from it in terms of performance and visual consistency, but it falls short.