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  1. #1

    Below (Xbox One/PC)

    So back in 2013 Capy showed off an Xbox exclusive game, Below.



    Several years later.
    December 14th 2018, Below launches on Xbox One & PC



    So whatís the game like? Well as Iíve seen all over the internets itís pretty divisive it seems.

    It sounds like a lot of people have gone in with expectations, personally itís been a long ass time since Iíve gone into a game with any type of expectations, only one I did have for this was that the music was going to be awesome, Jim Guthrie is an incredibly talented musician. Cappy have always done fun games Iíve enjoyed, Critter Crunch (which sorely needs a sequel) Sword & Sworcery and Super Time Force ticked all the boxes for me, enjoyable games.

    So the following will be my first in game life experience.

    Below starts you off with a 4 minute intro, now loads of people seem to be bored by this but I had the lights out, my headphones were on 100% volume and I was just taking it in, it was building an atmosphere, sky full of storm and the sea crashing, as the camera moves forward slowly you start to see a tiny tiny spec in a large ocean storm, moving towards a destination, camera slowly zooms in until you see itís a boat with a sail, music is pulsating with every crash of the sea, I found it worked (some people skipped which is fine) finally your character moors on a beach you get out and the journey begins.

    First thing you find is a camp fire with a pot, you set yourself down after lighting it, here your shown you have a craft menu, which you can access and you run around as well. So as you run around the start area and pick up items as you explore, thereís absolutely no tutorial whatsoever about buttons or menus and what they do, so you start pressing buttons or using things just to see what happens.
    I see there a heart for health, a stomach for food, something in the middle and a water drip.

    As I explore around you get drawn to a specific area which is lit up, this is when you find a lantern (press LB flashes up) this activates your lantern, which is now your new best friend. So I scout around find some locked areas and head to the top of the mountain and see a cave entrance, eek looks like itís time to go Below.

    As you enter thereís a wall and this will be your second (maybe not last) tutorial message, it says hold LB, this now makes you shine your lantern with a focused beam, you aim this using the right stick. As you shine it on a wall the wall starts to lights up, it comes to life and drops revealing an entrance which again you enter and descend.

    -1- flashes up, oh boy Iím on level 1 time to explore.

    So I started exploring and quickly encounter some enemies, they are small and not much trouble at all so I chop em down, items they drop turn out to be lantern cells which power the lantern, looks like it needs fuel. It seems the lantern also highlights traps in red, you can of course use a consumable torch if you want, which will run out (you can craft more but need to find the materials) as Iím exploring I find some turnips, pull them up, I didnít think much of this at the time. I explore some more and then I hear a really horrible audio queue, I was like SHIELD UP Iím gonna get pawned......nothing. I move on and I hear it again, itís loud and horrible, nothing. I move on and again I hear it but this time I start losing health, oh lord Iíve forgotten to feed myself and now Iím starving to death!
    So I eat some turnips, stomach looks full and I get some health back, looks like I better keep on top of that.

    You have a very basic map which literally just shows you the connecting rooms and any exits you may have unexplored. It seems each level has a locked cave entrance which requires a key, the key is in a random area which to be honest you canít miss because itís like a glowing tablet. I finish the level and head below.

    -2-

    I see a camp fire and go over, thereís an option to put 25 lantern cells into the fire, ok Iíll give it a go so I do, BAMN fire turns green WTF? doesnít seem to do anything though, ok maybe it heals or summin? We shall see when itís needed.

    I start to see some different sized enemies, ok so as we get further down they are going to become more troublesome, they start to drop meat from larger enemies as well so I start to explore the crafting a bit more, looks like you have one bottle which you can fill with water and combined with veg/meat to make potions but you can only have one potion, harsh.
    I start crafting some bandages and arrows from the other menu of items I hold, fire arrows on one as well, cool, you just have to remember what these look like, when you try combos they give you a visual description you can confirm or cancel depending on what you have crafted.

    I seem to be doing ok, I find a cool new area and a locked door with a lift on it, I find an key which is described as a north entrance key so I decided you know what it may be locked door at the start...so I head up to the start again, it takes me a while and Iíve had to eat stuff to get there, I notice when I get to the top your hud locks, so you donít need to eat or drink it only seems to affect you when you are Below, anyway I find a smal lift and a locked door, result, I open it up and now I have a shortcut from start area direct to floor 2. I head back down, move onto floor -3- now Iíve made a big mistake here, in my travels back to the top Iíve consumed all my food/potions and I start to hear that noise again, itís almost like a growl, my stomach is getting empty, oh ****, better find me some food. I see some shielded enemies are around now and go for them, you shielded dodging swines! I get swarmed and retreat, Iím bleeding now and patch myself with a bandage I crafted, I have about 5% health left and stomach is almost full. I walk about, Iím about to fail, my character drops, YOU DIED (it doesnít actually say that but you get the gist)

    SO another boat moors and another hero jumps off, I head over to my campfire and notice there an odd button that wasnít there before so I use it.....BAMN I vanish. WTF?! I teleport to my campfire which is green and it explodes as I arrive, can no longer use the fire but Iím on level 2, I explore, this is when I realise I have no lantern, you only get one and itís stuck on my dead body, great, so now I have to use torches and then get to my dead body so I can grab my lantern again, luckily I wasnít that far away and I retrieve my items and lantern again.

    SO am I enjoying this? Well Iíve spent 2 hours on it now, Iíve found several well hidden areas, hidden items and unlocked a cool new area which puts a new spin on your crafting and collecting. Yes Iím enjoying every moment of being Below and finding new things, itís the type of game Iíll give it a run, explore and see how far I can go. Iíve recently got to area 4 which adds a new mechanic and so far thatís a bit more tougher to crack and get over but thatís the challenge and where the fun comes from, Iíve also found a hidden room which requires 200 lantern cells to open so Iím saving them up to find out what this area does.

    Worth the wait? Certainly for me yeah.

    Thank you all for attending my ted talk.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    When you start on the beach if you keep heading up you scale a large wall, once you get to the top if you look around that area you will see 4 stone pillers/markers, the lantern is lit up in the middle of those on a rock.

    Should look like this...

    Last edited by Family Fry; 16-12-2018 at 07:05 PM.

  4. #4
    So excited to finally have the chance to play this, but also don't want to start it just yet knowing that I'm away over Christmas, and don't want to whet my apetite only to then go cold turkey for 3 weeks. Will be trying to stay away from spoiling too much of it, but also very intrigued to finally hear some detail.

  5. #5
    Cheers, FF. I did find that but missed the LB prompt! Might be able to progress now,

  6. #6
    Boy am I glad this was Game Pass and I didn't actually spend money on it, because it's no fun at all, in that it seems to have been designed to be no fun at all. Every place the developer could make it inaccessible and needlessly infuriating, they've done it. My own time with the game did nothing for me at all, and reading impressions on RE suggest that everyone's fighting through the game trying to get to the end, rather than actually enjoying it.

    Like, people are having to grind items to get through hard areas, dying, then having to grind items again (without the lantern now) to get back through the hard area to where their body was to get their lantern back, then dying, and then just getting stuck in this loop where instead of enjoying it, they're just spending hours preparing for an attempt to brute force it and hoping for a lucky break. You surely can't call that good game design? Or fun. It is what it is, I guess, and maybe that's what the devs were going for, but maybe making the game they were going for wasn't the best idea.

    I know Capy are indie darlings and they did make one of my favourite games of all time, but jees, this feels like one of those games everyone's going to praise to death because they're scared that they'll be ones who "don't get it" rather than anyone actually having any fun playing it.

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