Saturday, April 17, 2021

Oddworld: Soulstorm Review – A NEGATIVE Batch Of Brew

Playing Oddworld: Soulstorm is as arduous as Abe’s quest to liberate his Mudoken brethren from slavery. Each step is a supreme test of patience as you methodically guide your followers through challenging hazards, sweating over the fact that one slip-up could unravel all your effort. If you enjoy putting up with that old-school challenge, you might love this journey. However, if you’re a newcomer or a fan that believes this style of platformer hasn’t aged very well, turn back now. Soulstorm doesn’t do enough to modernize the series’ tedious gameplay, and a litany of severe technical hiccups spoil Abe’s attempted comeback. A reimagining of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Soulstorm’s gameplay remains largely the same: you recruit and guide followers through 2D platforming stages littered with dangers. As charming as the classic Oddworld games are, they can be frustratingly difficult and that hasn’t changed much in Soulstorm. Most Slig enemies and other hazards mow Abe down instantly, and I was infuriated by how little wiggle room I had to correct course when things went sideways. Abe drops so fast that it makes the health meter seem like a cruel tease. While playing Soulstorm, I often felt like I was walking on eggshells because of that high price of failure, retracing every step, re-recruiting every Mudokon, and carefully guiding them through a gauntlet of foes is soul-crushing when it all falls apart in seconds. Dying to unexpected perils, like being suddenly gunned down by off-screen enemies, feels cheap and happens way too often. A crafting system serves as Soulstorm’s biggest addition, but it doesn’t feel necessary. You must repeatedly gather the same ingredients every time you die (by searching lockers, trash cans, and fallen foes), which wore me down in a hurry after repeatedly replaying certain sections. The crafted tools themselves, like proximity mines, smoke screens, even a flamethrower, do add a welcomed element of flexibility and improvisation to gameplay. Dropping smoke screens to create hiding spots anywhere is nice, but I wished I didn’t have to make these items myself and grew tired of digging around the same spots over and over.   Even when Soulstorm’s difficulty eases up, the gameplay is bland. The action feels largely the same from previous games in the series, and that formula doesn’t evolve significantly beyond the first few hours. Even the more interesting sequences, like facing down a giant mech aboard a speeding train, are far too punishing to be fun. I’m glad that Abe controls better now (he even has a double jump), but the controls still have a mushy unresponsiveness that makes entertaining actions, like possessing Sligs, feel like a hassle. The controls also lead to additional deaths because Abe doesn’t act as swiftly as you need him to, especially during the ill-fitting, overly demanding combat arenas that pit you against waves of baddies while you try to protect fleeing Mudokens. Soulstorm would be a tough recommendation for anyone outside of diehard fans if it performed flawlessly, but I encountered several progress-sabotaging bugs (even after installing the big day-one patch) that should scare off even those players. When I died, Mudokens sometimes failed to respawn alongside me even though my tally indicated they were still alive and under my command. That meant I lost out on turning in followers that I’d spent ages trying to safely liberate, which negatively affected my overall quarma – a vital metric in determining which of the four endings you get.  Abe occasionally gets stuck in environmental geometry, forcing a restart. At one point, I fell into an infinite loop. One escape portal permanently vanished once I reached it, forcing me to abandon followers. A gun in a late-game turret sequence failed to shoot despite working fine in previous segments. After multiple restarts, I randomly discovered that clicking the right stick “fixed” the weapon for some reason, allowing it to fire. I spent over an hour trying to lead a large group of followers through a particularly challenging area, but once I opened the exit door an invisible wall prevented me from moving forward. I was forced to restart this entire, lengthy sequence twice before the exit worked properly. Soulstorm’s gameplay pushed my patience to its limits, but these bugs sent me over the edge and made me nervous every time I started a new level. “What on Earth is going to screw me over this time?” I regularly asked myself. Soulstorm’s faults are a shame because its narrative and presentation brought a smile to my face. Abe and his pals are goofy, delightful underdogs I couldn’t help but root for. The enjoyable story is packed with heart, and the cutscenes look great. I wanted to welcome Abe into a new generation of gaming with open arms, but Soulstorm fails to make a case for why its brand of cinematic platforming works today. In fact, Soulstorm only reaffirmed that Abe’s past adventures are best viewed with rose-colored glasses.
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    With Vaccine Passport, you can travel to Hawaii now

    It will become easier to travel to Hawaii when you are vaccinated against Covid-19 as the government is now working on allowing tourists who have vaccinated and have a vaccine passport without undergoing quarantine. As per the latest reports, the island state is working on a system for vaccinated people in which they would be provided with an electronic code to facilitate their travel across the Islands and also skip the mandatory 10-day quarantine. This program will kick off early March 1 and initially, it will be rolled off with-in-state essential workers who have received the full dosage of the COVID vaccine. Reports also state that this would also allow Aloha state tourism to revive tourism in the region and facilitate certain travelers to enter the region. Lt. Gov Josh Green stated that this program will likely be implemented on essential workers first, and later will be expanded to the general public and later to tourists. He later said, “This is the way we restore our economy very quickly; we would likely see a huge uptick in visitors by saying the fall this way.” As of now, tourists are allowed to skip the mandatory quarantine if they can show proof of negative covid-19 test from a certified laboratory taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight. Hawaii is one of the latest countries to have taken this measure which includes countries like Denmark and Iceland. Apart from this, Georgia & Seychelles have already Add to Bookmarks

    India is launching AC-3 tier economy coach soon

    With its top-notch features and with economy fares, Indian Railways is introducing AC-3 tier, economy coaches for its luxury trains. The train is set to have aircraft-style comforts and a prototype has already been rolled out at  Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab. This train comes with personalized AC vents, reading lights, and USB charging points on every berth. This prototype has 83 berths which are more compared to the traditional 72 berths. This gives chance for more people to book the train at any given point in time. The new coaches will be an upgraded and superb alternative to the sleeper coaches. The price of these coaches is expected to be slightly higher than the sleeper coaches. The good news about these new coaches was announced on Twitter by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. The train will also have some other salient features that will improve the experience of travel for all. These include disabled-friendly toilet entry doors, ergonomic ladders, luminescent aisle markers, snack table for side berths, and illuminated seat numbers. The train can reach 160 km/hr, whereas the sleeper class coaches can only reach up to 110 km/hr. These new coaches are designed considering there has been a rise in demand for AC travel experience in the country. Add to Bookmarks

    Air Taxi services begin in Haryana

    Under the UDAN scheme from the central government, India’s first small aircraft taxi service has been inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. This flight service will operate from Chandigarh to Hisar and during the inauguration, the Chief Minister handed over the boarding pass to the first passenger of the aircraft. This service is being operated by Air Taxi Aviation Company. The air taxis have four seats, one for the pilot, and three for the passengers. The passenger has to pay the minimum cost of 1755INR per seat and can travel between these two cities within a span of 45 minutes. There will be scheduled flights daily and it does not matter even if only 1 has booked the flight the service will be provided. Apart from this, the government has planned furthermore development in providing air taxi services between Hisar and Dehradun, Hisar to Dharamshala, and also plans to start services to Shimla and Kullu. The UDAN scheme which comes under the Central Government aims to bring connectivity services between metro to tier-2, tier-3 cities across India. This furthermore helps travelers who can visit their favorite destination swiftly and also avoid crowded buses and get exposed to the deadly virus. Add to Bookmarks

    Airbnb CEO says travel will get back to the way it had been before pandemic never.

    Airbnb Chief CEO predicted that travel will never back the way it was before pandemic with people visiting less touristic location and are also spending more time with families and friends. Traditional tourism and touristic locations around the world would significantly be reduced by travellers. Instead, travellers would be visiting smaller communities, domestic touristic sites and many such destinations and also, people will not fly like before for business meetings. Travelers are ‘Yearning to see what has been taken away from them’ said the CEO. Speaking at a conference, Brian Chesky CEO of Airbnb said They’re not yearning to see Times Square. What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.” The startup was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 and its business dropped by 80% in a little over eight weeks. However, as lockdown eased, more travellers opted to book home instead of hotels thus helping Airbnb post a surprise profit and it also gained interest in renting homes away from major cities. The home rental service went public with a huge IPO in December with its shares doubling it’s stock market debut. Add to Bookmarks

    Year un World Tourism Organization tags 2020 because the worst.

    According to the latest data from the UN world tourism organization, global tourism has suffered its worst in the year 2020 with International tourism dropping to a whopping 74% and many destinations welcomed just 1 billion or fewer international arrivals due to Covid-19. “Global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping by 74 percent according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Destinations worldwide welcomed 1 billion fewer international arrivals in 2020 than in the previous year (2019), due to an unprecedented fall in demand and widespread travel restrictions,” said a report from United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The report also mentioned, “According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the collapse in international travel represents an estimated loss of USD 1.3 trillion in export revenues – more than 11 times the loss recorded during the 2009 global economic crisis. The crisis has put between 100 and 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises.” The UN also mentioned that due to evolving nature of the coronavirus, many countries are re-introducing stricter travel restrictions. These include mandatory testing, quarantines, and in some cases a complete closure of borders, all weighing on the resumption of international travel. At the same time, the gradual rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine is expected to help restore consumer confidence, contribute to the easing travel restrictions and slowly normalize travel during the year ahead,” said the report. “While much has been made in making safe international travel a possibility, we are aware that the crisis is far from over. The harmonization, coordination, and digitalization of Covid-19 travel-related risk reduction measures, including testing, tracing, and vaccination certificates, are essential foundations to promote safe travel and prepare for the recovery of tourism once conditions allow.” Said Zurab Pololikashvili who is Security General for UNWTO. According to the research done by the UNWTO Panel of experts, almost 45% believed in better prospects for the year 2021, 25% of respondents believed in similar and the rest see the still worse results for the year 2021. Add to Bookmarks

    Flight operations resume at Srinagar Airport

    Flight operations resume from Srinagar Airport after a day it was suspended in the wake of snowfall at Kashmir valley. Due to bad weather and snowfall, the authorities had canceled flight operations, however, on Sunday morning the visibility had been improved and the authorities canceled the order, and flight operations were resumed. “Air traffic has resumed at the airport even though there are some delays,”  said an official from the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The official said that the flight operations resumed after the runway was cleared from the snow and the visibility had improved compared to the previous day. The runway was not available on Saturday due to heavy accumulation of snow and the valley had received its third snowfall this month. Add to Bookmarks

    Airbnb CEO says travel will get back to the way it had been before pandemic never.

    Airbnb Chief CEO predicted that travel will never back the way it was before pandemic with people visiting less touristic location and are also spending more time with families and friends. Traditional tourism and touristic locations around the world would significantly be reduced by travellers. Instead, travellers would be visiting smaller communities, domestic touristic sites and many such destinations and also, people will not fly like before for business meetings. Travelers are ‘Yearning to see what has been taken away from them’ said the CEO. Speaking at a conference, Brian Chesky CEO of Airbnb said They’re not yearning to see Times Square. What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.” The startup was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 and its business dropped by 80% in a little over eight weeks. However, as lockdown eased, more travellers opted to book home instead of hotels thus helping Airbnb post a surprise profit and it also gained interest in renting homes away from major cities. The home rental service went public with a huge IPO in December with its shares doubling it’s stock market debut. Add to Bookmarks

    THE UNITED KINGDOM to ban flights from South and Portugal America over a fresh strain of coronavirus

    A new strain of coronavirus has emerged in Brazil and in order to contain the spread, UK is banning flights from South America, Panama, Portugal, and Cape Verde. Planes will be barred from landing as of 4 am UK Time on Friday and the flights will be banned from Portugal due to its strong travel link with Brazil said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps The UK is already suffering from its own faster-spreading variant of coronavirus that had forced many countries to ban flights from the kingdom and the country going under third lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced calls to act on the new South American strain during a meeting with lawmakers in Parliament on Wednesday. This new ban further adds woes for the already crippling aviation industry which had already suffered due to lockdown from various countries and the UK itself. Passenger traffic in the busy London Heathrow Airport fell by over 83% in December compared to 73% in the whole of 2020. This new ban also puts a cloud over Portugal which is one of the popular holiday destinations for British Holidaymakers and retirees. The transport minister said that Portugal will be exempt from the travel ban from the European nation in order to allow the transport of essential goods. This ban also exempts British and Irish nationals and those who have UK residential rights. However, they need to self-isolate for 10 days minimum after arrival to the country. A plan for arriving passengers to require negative Covid-19 was due to come force on Friday but has been delayed till January 18th, anyone who lands into the country without a Negative Covid-19 certificate will be fined over 500 GBP (683$). The government is constantly reviewing its lockdown measures but the latest rules are yet to start as this is being reviewed by the PM and his scientific advisor. New strains are common and expected for viruses, and so far scientists have remained confident the current crop of vaccines will work against them. The preliminary analysis has shown that potential new variant in travelers who have arrived in Japan from the Brazilian region of Amazonas and the new strain has mutated similar to the faster-spreading variant found in the UK and South Africa. “If the mutations give it an advantage in transmission, we should expect the variant to become more frequent in Brazil and around the world over the next few months,”  said the researchers, and this new variant is probably recently found in December 2020 and January 2021. Add to Bookmarks

    India might soon introduce Covid-19 insurance for foreign tourists

    To boost tourism to India, foreign tourists visiting India might soon be offered attractive Covid-19 insurance policies. This move is currently planned by the Tourism Ministry of India. Speaking about this, the Additional Director General of Tourism Ministry Rupinder Brar said that the department is currently studying insurance policies that have been introduced by Singapore and other countries. As per reports, over 10.9 million tourists visited India in the year 2019, and in 2020 due to the pandemic situation, there has been a huge downfall. Moreover, to prevent the virus from spreading, the government introduced lockdown and suspended tourist visas as part of lockdown measures. This bought domestic tourism to a standstill. Although tourist visas will be suspended for a while, the tourism ministry is making efforts to assure foreign tourists of their safety and is working out ways to increase tourism. Also, the ministry is also planning to run promotional campaigns that will highlight various tourist attractions within the country. Recently, the Indian government also relaxed restrictions on Business Visas. Meanwhile, the travel bodies urged the government to relax tourist visas too. Speaking about this, Subhash Goyal, Secretary-General of Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality suggested that the government should start to increase tourism by offering e-visas to citizens of the countries with which India shares travel bubble agreements. However, the government is taking steps in phases regarding inbound travel and is currently focusing on boosting domestic tourism. It is also taking additional safety measures by releasing travel videos taken in airports and by airlines. Add to Bookmarks

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