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.
More
    Home Tags Russia

    russia

    Russia is using online disinformation to trash rival COVID-19 vaccines

    Russia's internet disinformation efforts extend well beyond election interference. State Department officials talking to the Wall Street Journal say Russia is running a disinformation campaign using at least four online publications and a host of social media accounts to shake confidence in COVID-19 vaccines competing with Sputnik-V. The outlets New Eastern Outlook, News Front, Oriental Review and Rebel Inside all cast unfounded doubts on vaccines like Pfizer's, falsely calling mRNA delivery a "radical experimental technology" that was dangerous and less effective. All four sites are "directly" tied to Russian agencies like the FSB security service and SVR foreign intelligence, according to one US official. Social accounts linked to those publications have mostly been pulled, although some of their non-English accounts were active as recently as early 2021.  The State Department acknowledged the conclusions in a statement to the WSJ, but didn't supply direct evidence linking the sites to the Russian government. This was a "joint interagency" finding that Russia bore "direct responsibility" for spreading falsehoods, the representative said. Russia denied the allegations in its own response, but it also has a long history of denying misinformation and hacking campaigns despite strong evidence. Russian leaders have a strong incentive to attack rival vaccines. The country is clearly hoping to boost sales of Sputnik-V, but it's also believed to be using the vaccine to exert influence worldwide. A country willing to buy these shots might be receptive to other Russian deals, for example. There's not much the US can do to shut down the sites themselves when they're foreign-owned and operated. Nonetheless, the findings could easily increase pressure on the US government and social networks to crack down on vaccine misinformation. Much like conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19, the bogus vaccine claims could be genuinely dangerous, leading people to skip life-saving shots or even attack agencies distributing and promoting vaccinations.

    Russia to resume flights with India, Vietnam, january 27 and 2 other countries starting

    As per the latest reports, Russia is now permitting visas to countries such as India, Vietnam, Finland, and Qatar and this is good news for all of them who are planning to visit the beautiful country. Reportedly, the services will begin from January 27 onwards. Referring to this, Vice Prime Minister Ms. Tatiana Golikova who heads the Russian Emergency Response Centre decided to resume international flights on a reciprocal basis and India is one of the countries which Russia has agreed to open up for tourists. As per this latest news, Moscow-Delhi flights will be operated twice a week. A statement from the committee stated that these 4 nations have been getting few coronavirus cases where it is as low as 40 per 100,000 people and thus the officials have allowed beginning services to these countries capital cities which include Hanoi, Helsinki, Delhi, Doha. This will begin with certain criteria that need to be followed and met. The resumption of these services is a result of observation with respect to a drop in infection rates in these specific countries. Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency further announced that airlines will be allowed to resume twice-weekly services from Moscow to the cities of Hanoi, Delhi, and Helsinki. The airlines however stated that there will be 3 weekly services from Russia to Doha. Russia has suspended flights to and from the UK in the wake of the new coronavirus strain and it is effective till February 01, 2021. This move is to curb the import of new cases and the government had suspended flight services to Britain since December 22, 2020. Add to Bookmarks

    SolarWinds hackers also targeted security firm CrowdStrike

    Andrei Stanescu via Getty Images The group behind the SolarWinds hack also tried to compromise a top security firm. CrowdStrike now says that it too was targeted by the group. According to CrowdStrike, the attempt happened “during a 17-hour period several months ago,” when hackers tried to access the company’s email. Though CrowdStrike says the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, it offers further insight into the scale of the hacking operation, which US government officials have attributed to Russia. As Reuters points out, SolarWinds is so far the only company known to have been successfully targeted by the group. The company’s Orion software, widely used among major companies and US government agencies, was compromised giving hackers potential access to email and other sensitive data.  The fact that CrowdStrike was also targeted suggests the hackers could have cast a wider net than investigators previously realized. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is still unraveling just how big an impact the SolarWinds hack has had. The agency said earlier this week that state and local governments were also affected, “as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.” In this article: SolarWinds, cybersecurity, CrowdStrike, Russia, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Facebook takes down more fake accounts linked to Russian intelligence

    Sponsored Links Elijah Nouvelage / reuters Facebook has uncovered yet another network of fake accounts with ties to Russia’s intelligence services. As with another recent investigation, Facebook says the fake accounts posed as editors and other media entities in order to trick actual journalists into writing articles for them.  The social network disclosed the takedowns, saying that the fake accounts had gained around 59,000 followers on Facebook and 2,000 on Instagram. Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said the accounts in question could have also been used in the same kinds of “hack-and-leak operations” Russia used in 2016. “While we have not seen the networks we removed today engage in these efforts, or directly target the US 2020 election, they are linked to actors associated with election interference in the US in the past, including those involved in ‘DC leaks’ in 2016,” Gleicher wrote. “These fake personas posed as editors and researchers to solicit articles for these websites. This network posted primarily in Russian and English about news and current events, including protests and elections in Belarus, Russian and Ukrainian politics, geopolitical conspiracies, Russia-NATO relations, Russia’s relations with neighboring countries, and criticism of US foreign policy, socio-economic issues in the US, and US political candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.” This isn't the first time Facebook says it found fake accounts linked to Russian state actors. Earlier this month the company took down a handful of accounts tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency that successfully tricked US journalists into writing articles for a website called PeaceData. Facebook’s latest takedowns also caught networks of Russia-linked accounts that had targeted Turkey, Syria, Ukraine and other European countries. In this article: Facebook, Social media, cybersecurity, 2020 Elections, Russia, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 133 Shares Share Tweet Share

    Must Read

    Get notified on updates    OK No thanks