Hit or Miss May 2017

By Melvyn Tan on May 29, 2017

While our monthly "Biggest Games of" series looks at the biggest game releases of an upcoming month, in Hit or Miss we look back to see whether the more recent ones succeeded in earning the praise of critics or received scorn instead.

This time, we take a look to see if games like Prey, Injustice 2 and The Surge managed to hit the mark or ended up missing it.

 

Prey

Image source: Steam
Image source: Steam

Release date: May 5

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: An action-adventure/immersive sim title that has nothing to do with the first Prey or its cancelled sequel. Set on the space station of Talos 1 in an alternate future, you play as Morgan Yu, who soon finds that all is not as it seems on the station as he (or her, depending on your choice) encounters unfriendly aliens called Typhons in its non-linear expanses. Luckily, Yu has got a variety of weapons, abilities and the power of creativity to get through.

How is it: Somewhat surprisingly, Prey didn't turn out to be a massive or universal hit among the critics, although the overall reception is pretty good. Its setting was largely praised by most for its effective sense of atmospshere and Metroidcania-esque design, but the gameplay drew more of a mixed reception. For GameSpot, combat started off restrictive but eventually opens up in terms of player choice and creativity, althought not to the extent of Dishonored 2 (both are made by Arkane Studios), while GamesRadar called it " natural and incredibly freeing". 

On the other hand, Destructoid, IGN and Kotaku used the tern "chore" when talking about the combat, and the first two also felt that it was the game's weakest aspect. Even so, some reviews still thought favourably of the game in general despite disliking the combat, and some of them include Destructoid and IGN. The latter cited "intriguing sidequests, hidden threats, and detailed environmental storytelling" as the reason, while the former loved the feeling of discovering Talos 1 and the stories of the people that inhabited it. 

Metacritic score: 79 (PS4), 81 (PC), 86 (Xbox One)

Hit or Miss: Hit

 

Injustice 2

Image source: Injustice 2 website
Image source: Injustice 2 website

Release date: May 10

Platform: PS4, Xbox One

What is it: After a tyrannical alt-universe Superman is defeated in the first game, the Batman of that universe along with his allies have to deal with those wanting to restore the regime, Gorilla Grodd's new evil faction and the arrival of Braniac. There're characters both old and new, and the Gear system adds stat and visual customization.

How is it: A strong offering and a very good fighting game. Packing a hefty singleplayer portion in addition to the multiplayer component, the action is satisfying, the campaign enjoyable and the visuals and animations are good quality stuff, especially in terms of the facial expressions. The Multiverse - a mode which offers changing timed challenges and loot - was well-liked too.

The Gear system has some downsides, like being complicated from Kotaku's perspective to Destructoid noting that some of the moves and abilities are locked to gear. Nevertheless, the system and the overall package was still warmly received on the whole.

Metacritic score: 88 (PS4), 89 (Xbox One)

Hit or Miss: Hit!

 

The Surge

Image source: Steam
Image source: Steam

Release date: May 16

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it: A science-fiction action RPG with comparisons to Dark Souls where you don an exo-skeleton and battle all sorts of robots at your character's workplace. Doesn't sound like a great experience for the guy, but at least the place still looks nice, even after things go wrong.

How is it: As befitting of a Souls-like game, the combat on offer is challenging and many of the major media outlets find it satisfying as well. The limb-targeting mechanic presents something new, and the general consensus is that The Surge marks an improvement over the developers previous Souls-like game, Lords of the Fallen. The visuals were also largely praised. If you're looking for a fantastic story to go along with these however, you're likely to be disappointed.

Despite the good opinions above however, the praise isn't anything spectacular for the most part, and sites which aren't the usual suspects like IGN, GameSpot and Polygon had more criticisms. Some found more faults with the game, ranging from "cramped and maze-like" levels (GameWatcher) to things escalating a tad too much to become "insanely hard, grindy, and uninspiring" (PlayStation Universe). There were some notable names that felt the game was average too, with Destructoid finding the combat and story flawed while PC Gamer felt that the game lacked a strong identity of its own.

Metacritic score: 73 (PS4), 78 (Xbox One), 73 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Based on major reviews, it's ultimately a hit; based on other reviews, it's a miss. Combine both and it veers a bit closer to hit status.

 

Rime

Release date: May 26 (PS4, Xbox One, PC), TBA for Nintendo Switch

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

What is it: A pretty-looking cel-shaded puzzle-aventure. It's centered around a young lad who gets shipwrecked on a mysterious island with ruins and odd things on it. Puzzles use projections of things like sound, light, shadows, platforming and time-bending, and aside from solving them there are also secrets and collectibles to find.

How is it: Rime is a bit like the opposite of The Surge, with many major outlets liking it less than their other counterparts. The visuals were still mostly liked, at least, but the puzzle-platforming experience was seen as lacking, either by being boring, frustrating or nothing new. PC Gamer also made note of the narrative, which it wasn't entirely impressed by.

Naturally, those that did like it had a (much) better opinion of the gameplay and the story, as well as the overall journey Rime provided. Among them was GamesRadar, which called the puzzles "smart" and also liked the story-telling. PlayStation LifeStyle was also greatly impressed by the story, and while it didn't find the puzzles very challenging, this was considered a strength as it didn't get in the way of experiencing and enjoying the story of a result.

Metacritic score: 81 (PS4), 84 (Xbox One), 77 (PC)

Hit or Miss: Ultimately, a hit. 

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Melvyn Tan
About the Author
Freelancer for Gamehubs since 2015, who enjoys various forms of entertainment including gaming (naturally). Since watching Dunkirk, he now plays Day of Infamy more than usual.
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