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Week in Review: Layers of Fear: Inheritance and ABZU (July 31-August 6, 2016)

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  • Week in Review: Layers of Fear: Inheritance and ABZU (July 31-August 6, 2016)

    It's been one hell of a week both in terms of games played and just due to life in general. It really hit its stride when my computer decided to download the Windows 10 'Anniversary Update' (AU), the latest and greatest update to what has largely been a very nice operating system. Sadly, the update completely broke my computer in that it would freeze up roughly 30 seconds after logging in. Clicks didn't work, the Task Manager didn't work, CTRL+ALT+DEL didn't work. Nothing worked. It seems like I wasn't alone in this issue either (this is one of many threads about it).

    I found out how to roll back to the previous version of Windows 10, the one prior to the Anniversary Update, and things were fine. I should have left well enough alone but I didn't. Some suggested that updating from the latest version of Windows 10 via the install/ISO from the Media Creation Tool worked just fine for them. I decided I'd give it a go and if it still gave me problems, I could just roll back again. Well, I did just that, I installed the update from the MCT and it still froze on me after 30 seconds of logging in. No problem, I thought, I'll just roll back again. The rollback didn't work this time. I was stuck staring at the loading circle on a blue background, unable to even get to the login screen this time.

    I tried and tried again. I even got into the troubleshooting menu for Windows by forcing a boot off of the USB I created with the MCT. I told it to try to fix errors with start up. It did its thing for a while, attempting repairs. It completed and I tried once again for a normal boot. It still got stuck on the forever blank blue loading screen. I was without a functioning computer. I made the decision to reformat my main drive and start again. I used the MCT for the latest version of Windows 10, the one with the Anniversary Update, and went ahead with the process.

    I had to jump through hoops even with this process, telling the clean install to delete the existing Windows 10 partition on my SSD, create a new one, and proceed from there. Not doing this step resulted in an error when I simply tried to reformat it and install fresh. Hours after the initial download and update to the AU, I was finally with a functioning computer, albeit one that was a fresh install.

    The silver lining to all of this was the fact that most of my documents, programs, and games were backed up to secondary drives. However, I had to "reinstall" Steam by deleting everything in the Steam directory besides the Steam.exe and the SteamApps folder and running Steam from there to fix its install. Origin only had Battlefield 4 and Mirror's Edge Catalyst installed. Once I installed Origin again, I simply re-directed its game install directory to where I had those games, having only to move Battlefield 4 over from one secondary drive to another to make the process a bit easier. had discovered World of Warcraft on my secondary drive without issue. The only game I actually had to download again was Overwatch, which I had installed to my main drive, the solid state.

    I had to reinstall Office, Chrome, Firefox, Discord, OBS, KeePass, Irfanview, Teamspeak (which I thankfully still had my server information for with an old backup of my AppData folder), Notepad++, Tweetium, Avast, Putty, VLC, 7Zip, WinRAR, Google Play Music desktop player, and MSI Afterburner for RivaTuner (I use this to limit framerate while streaming games). The biggest ones that I still needed to get reinstalled were the Adobe products, which I did a few days later with a bit of effort.

    I sadly lost a number of somewhat important and sentimental files that were sitting on my desktop or in my Documents folder. Some of these lost files include templates such as for YouTube title cards, the most recent TGN scoring system stars (which I recovered the images for already), game saves and screenshots that default to the Documents folder for saving, some important photos and text documents, and more. Should I have had these things backed up? Probably, but I never really expected that a damned update for an operating system would cause such a horrific chain of events.

    With all that, I still managed to play a fair amount of games this week. Sure, most of them were World of Warcraft and Overwatch, but I also squeezed in two new games as well. These are their stories.

    Layers of Fear: Inheritance

    I quite enjoyed my time with the base Layers of Fear game when it came out. The scares never felt forced, the game did a great job at indirectly getting your attention to what it wanted you to see, the atmosphere and ever changing environments were phenomenal, and the story was quite enjoyable. I wanted more and that wish finally came true this week with the release of the Inheritance DLC for the game.

    I went in with high hopes but came away largely disappointed. The scares are firmly in the "jump scare" category this time around, relying less on the atmosphere and tension that were prominent in the base game. The character you play as, the daughter of the man in the base game, is far too talkative for my liking. She often gasps at the scares in front of her, taking away the player's reaction to the potential scares. The game also includes at least one significant sequence that takes control away from the player. In the base game, scares were clever because the game design made the scares feel natural as you turned to look at what they wanted you to look at. In taking control away from the player, this level of immersion is stripped away. The resulting scares feel cheap and unwarranted and severely took away from my experience with Inheritance.

    The base game instilled in me a sense of awe and tension that is completely absent from Inheritance. Even as a fan of the base game, I cannot really recommend Inheritance. Though it is only priced at $4.99 (USD), the DLC will only take you about an hour to complete. Now, if you do not yet own Layers of Fear in any form, I will say that the Layers of Fear: Masterpiece Edition is honestly a great purchase at $14.94 (goes up to $22.99 after two days from this posting).

    For those curious, I put up my entire hour long playthrough for Inheritance up on YouTube. You're welcome to watch it but just remember that the entire DLC is contained in this video. If you plan on playing it for yourself, I would advise not watching it.

    Layers of Fear: Inheritance (Developed by Bloober Team SA)
    Starts at $4.99 (USD) for PC (Also on XB1 and PS4)


    ABZU is the first game from Giant Squid, a development studio formed from some of the development team that brought the world the beautiful and moving Journey and Flower. ABZU takes the player on a wonderful adventure through various underwater ecosystems. You will swim with a wide variety of fish, whales of all sizes, sharks, and even some mysterious otherworldly machines. You will solve a handful of puzzles while making your way through the game finding out not only what is happening to the world around you but also to the character that you control.

    I don't want to dive too deeply into the overall story of ABZU, mainly because the game is better experienced for yourself. ABZU is just that, an experience. I know that phrase gets tossed around quite often but it rings incredibly true for games like Journey, Flower, and now ABZU. Not only that, but the core story feels like it's intentionally left open to personal interpretation, at least to a certain degree. The game's non-sale price of $19.99 (USD) may be a bit too much for some fans out there, especially for a game that is going to run most players under two hours. However, I sincerely enjoyed every moment of the game. I probably would have spent more time just exploring the environments, interacting and riding various sea creatures, and listening to the tremendous soundtrack if I wasn't playing the game for my stream.

    ABZU (Developed by Giant Squid)
    Starts at $15.99 (USD sale price; Normally $19.99) for PC (Also on PS4)
    Attached Files