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By Jessica Brister On 5 Dec, 2014 At 09:25 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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When SimCity was “rebooted” in 2013, it had major launch issues that gave Maxis and EA a bit of a black eye.  However, a year and a half later, after making some major corrections, the new SimCity might now finally be a smart and extremely fun purchase.

SimCity (2013) is a city creation simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts.  It is considered to be an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) because it has a large work-together online component of city building, which is a new game play aspect for the franchise.  It was originally released in March of 2013 for Windows and eventually for Mac as well.  Though there was a decade between the release of SimCity 4 and this newest version, there were a lot of very critical reviews when it first came out.  Despite having a lot of cool new elements, the online multiplayer component was panned because it forced players to be “always online” and had a lot of bugs and connectivity issues.  It got so bad that it pretty much rendered the game as unplayable because players could not connect to the online servers and therefore could not play the game.  Eventually, these issues were fixed, including a desperately needed offline single player mode.  On November 14, EA released SimCity: The Complete Edition, which includes the base game, all of the city sets, and the expansion pack, Cities of Tomorrow.  People who passed up game because of the original bad reviews might want to give the game a chance now that there have been some updates.

For the purposes of this review, only the single player mode will be focused on, since this was one of the game play elements that turned people off from the game initially.  However, for those who are interested in online game play, the multiplayer functionality has been much improved from when the game was originally launched.

The new SimCity is very different from previous SimCity games.  Players who are used to older versions may be very surprised to see how much the game has changed.  The game focuses more on regions and collaborations than having players try to build large utopian megacities.  In fact, if a player tries to build a megacity without any outside help from other cities in the region (either from other players online or another city that the player controls), it can get very difficult very quickly.  The individual cities are not that large, but working as a region, there’s actually a lot to it.  Unlike previous SimCity games, each cities absolutely must specialize in something, instead of trying to have it all.  A city can specialize in anything from mining to tourism to technology, which is very different from previous SimCity games.

Cities are smaller in the new SimCity, which forces the player to specialize in an industry.

Cities are smaller in the new SimCity, which forces the player to specialize in an industry.

The game engine has changed a lot from previous SimCity games.  It focuses on the happiness of individual Sim people that players can actually see on the screen, instead of hypothetical ones that are delineated by graphical arrows on screen.  If there is a fire, it can actually be seen in the city, and players can see fire trucks going to it and responding to it.  Everything affects everything else.  Traffic issues in a city can mess with education, fire, and crime because the services and citizens can’t get to where they need to be.  If there is not a good education program, it will affect crime in the city and whether or not the people will want to recycle or not.  A player must also worry about ground pollution and running out of water and resources, which is quite different from previous versions.  One must play slowly and strategically in order to be successful.  Even the design of the roads and the placement of utilities and services can affect how things go in the city.

Regions are very important, whether a person is playing single or multiplayer.

Regions are very important, whether a person is playing single or multiplayer.

The Cities of Tomorrow expansion that comes with the Complete Edition adds a futuristic element to the game play.  Citizens can live in massive towers, travel on monorail-type systems, and visit cool-looking parks.  It’s not a bad expansion, and it’s value really shines when it comes with the base game and other city sets in the Complete Edition.

Obviously, the graphics are a big step up from previous SimCity games.  The game looks pretty slick, and it’s cool to be able to see the individual people in the city.  For this review, the game was played on a laptop with an integrated graphics card only, so everything was unfortunately set on low.  Despite this, it’s been very enjoyable and very pretty to play.

Just like with any SimCity game, the new one is quite addicting.  It’s one of those games that a person can get lost in for days and weeks.  The learning curve was, unfortunately, very steep, especially for players who have played older versions of the game and expect the game to play a certain way.  It can take many practice cities before it really clicks with how the game should be played.  Maxis could have done a much better job with tutorials and their game manual as well.  Sometimes Google and YouTube ended up being the best bet to figure out how the game mechanics actually worked.  Overall, it was still quite enjoyable and was a blast to play.  Obviously, when the game first came out, many people were not having a lot of fun, considering they could barely play the game.  However, with the bugs fixed and single player mode in operation, this game has improved quite a bit.

Overall, this game is a much safer purchase now that the bugs are corrected and connectivity issues are fixed.  Plus, the game is quite a bit cheaper now than when it was previously released.  For those people who decided not to get this SimCity because of the horror stories, this might be the time to get it.  The game play is a bit different from previous SimCity games, but it is a change that–for the most part-is for the better.

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Fans of the Borderlands franchise rejoiced when Gearbox announced that a new game would come out for the series.  Set between the original game and Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre Sequel (a made-up word that’s a play on prequel and sequel) would be the fix fans of the game needed while patiently waiting for Gearbox to start working on Borderlands 3.  So did it live up to what fans were expecting?  For the most part, yes.  However, despite being the best new game that I’ve played this year, it still does not compare to its predecessors.  But that’s okay.  It’s still a blast to play.

Overview

Borderlands: The Pre Sequel is a first-person shooter that supports both single player or online cooperative (up to four players).  It was developed primarily by 2K Australia instead of Gearbox, who is the original developer of the series, and was published by 2K Games.  However, Gearbox did work with 2K Australia during development.  Much to the dismay of many fans, it was released only for PC, PS3, and XBox 360 on October 14.  Gearbox stated that this was because there is much more of a demand of the game for the last generation of consoles versus the current generation (Source: Gamasutra.com).

The Pre Sequel is a nice addition to the Borderlands franchise.

The Pre Sequel is a nice addition to the Borderlands franchise.

Story

Taking place between Borderlands 1 and 2, the player gets to see Handsome Jack (or just “Jack” at this point) go from hero to the  much-hated (or much-beloved, depending on who you talk to) villain of Borderlands 2.  At this point, he’s just an employee of Hyperion, a corporate conglomerate with its eye making tons of money from Pandora (a wild, wild west type planet with a lot of resources; hence, “Borderlands”).  However, after the company’s Helios space station is attacked by a group called the Lost Legion, Jack must become the hero and save Helios and Pandora’s moon, Elpis.  In order to do this, he commissions the help of a group of colorful characters to go to the moon and gain back control.  It certainly was interesting to see Jack as the hero instead of the villain.

I will have to say that the set of playable characters you get to choose from this time are absolutely awesome.  I actually had a hard time choosing which one I wanted to play first.  They are all pretty cool characters, and it doesn’t seem like you can go wrong with any of them.  There’s Athena, the Gladiator.  Her special skill involves a Captain America-like shield that players can either use to block attacks or swing to kill an enemy.  Wilhelm is the Enforcer.  He’s the character that I’ve played the lease but has a cool little drone that flies around and helps you kill bad guys.  Nisha is the Lawbringer, and she is the character that I have played the most.  Her skill involves an auto-lock firing sequence that is actually quite powerful.  Then there’s Claptrap.  He is by far the most fun character to play, especially when playing in a group.  His special skill basically is a malware program that could be one of many different skills, some good and some not so good.  If you are playing with others, the program can actually affect your friends as well.  It sounds annoying, but it’s actually hilariously delightful.  Sure, your teammates might moan and groan if they get affected, but at the end of the day, everyone’s laughing.  The Jack Doppelganger is a DLC-added character as well.  I have yet to play as this character, but will update what I think of him in another article.

The Pre Sequel has a group of really fun characters to play.  It was hard to choose which to play first.

The Pre Sequel has a group of really fun characters to play. It was hard to choose which to play first.

One of the things that makes the Borderlands franchise so special is the fact that the setting and characters are so memorable, especially some of the non-playable characters.  Although some favorites from the first two games make appearances (my personal favorite happens to be Torgue), the new characters on and around Elpis don’t seem to be as memorable in the Pre Sequel.  Sure, there is still wacky humor and some interesting satire, but it’s not quite up to the same level as Borderlands 1 or 2.  The feel of the game is even a bit different, since it’s on a moon instead of on Pandora.  The whole Firefly-like space western vibe that the other two games had going on is lost a bit with the change in setting.  However, I did enjoy the futuristic electronic soundtrack.  It felt a bit Tron Legacy like in sound, but to me, that made it enjoyable (also, speaking of Tron Legacy: there are two characters on Elpis that look like Daft Punk, and I thought it was quite amusing).

 Game Play

The game play has not changed too much from Borderlands 2.  Zainy missions, skills trees, Badass Rankings, and tons and tons of weapon choices and loot are still there.  There have been a few new game play elements that were added as well.  Laser guns were added because, you know, it’s the moon and why not?  Besides the usual elemental effects for guns, a freeze one has been added, though it’s probably my least favorite of all of them.  Due to Elpis’ low gravity, players can jump higher and do “Butt Slams” (no, I didn’t make that up), where the players smash down on enemies from above.  Also, since it’s a moon without an atmosphere, non-robotic characters must wear Oz kits in order to breathe.  Oz kits also generate effects for Butt Slams.  I played with one in particular that made farting sounds every time I did a butt slam.  It was quite hilarious.  All of these new elements were pretty good additions.  However, the one thing that I really did not like was the wacky level designs for many of the areas.  Because of the low gravity game play, a lot–and I mean A LOT–of vertical level designs were used.  That might sound fun, but it can be quite frustrating when where to go isn’t exactly clear.  I had to go to YouTube several times to figure out where I needed to be to complete a mission.  Also, there were too many cracks and crevices throughout some of the larger maps.  Those made it very hard to just goof around with friends when there is constant worry about jumping over places.

The cooperative is pretty much the same as Borderlands 2.  It’s four player co-op at its best.  I wish that there were other games like it, but at this point, it’s pretty unique since I can play by myself as much as I want, and then invite a group of people into my game without missing a beat.  One of the things that I love about Borderlands is that it really does encourage goofiness and fun among a team.  You really can’t take the game that seriously with how it presents itself, and that’s a good thing, since I can’t stand when people take online FPS games too seriously.  The game was a bit glitchy at launch and didn’t seem as polished as Borderlands 2.  Still, it wasn’t too bad, and I was able to play both by myself and with friends without any major issues.

The Pre Sequel isn't as polished as Borderlands 2, but it is still a blast to play.

The Pre Sequel isn’t as polished as Borderlands 2, but it is still a blast to play.

 Graphics

The graphics are pretty similar to Borderlands 2.  Obviously, if you are looking for a pretty game to play, choosing the cell-shaded Borderlands franchise and a last-gen game probably isn’t for you.  With the new group of games that have come out, the graphics do show their age a bit, but that’s okay.  You don’t play Borderlands for the graphics.  You play it for the game play and the goofiness.  You play it for the amazingly fun online cooperative.  In a way, the very original style that Borderlands creates with its cell shading is making waves in its own way.  It’s immediately distinguishable from other games, and it also lets the play know that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I maintain that if it had been “pretty,” it wouldn’t have done as well.  Most fans would also argue that they wouldn’t want it any other way.

 Fun

At the end of the day, games are here for our enjoyment.  Borderlands: The Pre Sequel hits high marks under this category.  The zany story and characters are good enough to keep a player’s attention, the game play is a blast (even with a few issues), and the online cooperative is still probably the best in the industry.  It’s one of those games that you can get on with a good group of friends and have a blast and goof around.  The game will keep you laughing, regardless of whether it is something in the story, a silly character, or one of the crazy weapons.  For me though, the best part is the fact that I don’t have to be online to play if I don’t want to.  I don’t have to worry about if a server is working or not.  My game doesn’t become a paperweight if the Internet is out, which is one (of many) things I really don’t like about  Destiny.  Sometimes it’s just okay to play on your own.  However, if you want the awesome team experience, it’s right there for you.

The Pre Sequel is the most fun I've had in gaming all year.

The Pre Sequel is the most fun I’ve had in gaming all year.

 Overall

Unfortunately, the time frame that the Pre Sequel came out was a little too late.  Many people have moved on to a newer console and some have even sold their last-gen console.  I’m not seeing as many people playing, and there is a lot of steep competition from this fall’s slew of next-gen games.  The Pre Sequel probably could have done a lot better if it had game had come out in the summer when there was a dry spell in the industry for new games.  However, the game is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the franchise.  It’s actually been the most enjoyable game I’ve played this year.

 

By Akodo On 14 Nov, 2014 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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PS4The PlayStation 4, will officially be one year old tomorrow. And I will give it a round of applause as Sony and the PlayStation brand have made a resounding start off of the now current generation. Even though the PS3 started off slow and finally gained traction, it still lost a large swath of its fanbase during last generation. Now, learning from its mistakes, and that a name isn’t the only thing that is needed for a console launch. They went back to basics, and making sure that the console put the gamer first, and nothing else. It went to developers and talked with them, and asked what they needed to make a solid, A+ game in their eyes. They essentially went back to basics. And its paying dividends!

The PS4 has led all ten months since its release one year ago, and hasn’t stopped. They have mounted one of the biggest, “We Hear You” campaigns since the console was launched. Listening to what we, the gamers, the consumers, the casuals, the hardcore, the every once in a while, to come to the fold, either switch, stay, or come back. Admittedly, it is tough when you friends continue on with the Xbox, or vice versa, since this generation will probably be determined by where your friends are, kind of gaming. But the ecosystem of the PS4 has gone from the multimedia hub that it was as a PS3, to the more streamline, games and broadcasting arena, that allows gamers to play, solo or quickly connect with friends before launching into a game. And with the features that were promised during that fateful shift at E3 a year ago, being released in a massive update (2.0, and 2.01), Sony is hitting strides at the right time, and giving games something to want during the Holidays this season.

With the massive influx of streaming content, ala YouTube, Twitch, or UStream, it makes the living almost akin to a theater and people watching you play. Some features like, recording to a separate device wasn’t available at launch, but Sony listened, and they removed the black box that was HDCP, and allowed YouTubers to rejoice and use their PS4s to stream. Additionally, they have polished up those interfaces giving the user, the gamer, more things to do from better comment sections during streams, to better usability for uploading clips and such to social media, and now YouTube directly. They even gave the gamer, a small tool, that does wonders for editing, albeit not like you could on a computer, but “Share Factory.”

playstation plusAs I have seen and heard from forums to in-person, people are switching, and happy about it, and the potential it has, or is currently showing them. But this is the reason why, I Akodo of Real Otaku Gamer, think that day one reviews of consoles are rather asinine in the fact that, you have a console, barely hours old, and not much to it, since it was just released. You can judge the wares it has and come with, but it can only go so far. At the year mark, you can judge the console, in its entirety. For instance, let’s talk about the PSN. Since the PS4 launch and the premise to play online service, for only the games, and not putting something you already paid for, behind another paywall, for the instances of netflix or Hulu or the ilk, you still have a solidly functioning console. As with the PSN you get automatically with the year subscription of PlayStation Plus, which allows you to  get a free game each month on the PS4, sometimes its something great, like Splunky, other times its something else like Velocity 2X. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it misses. But the PS+ always is adding. And with it being pay, means that Sony can upgrade infrastructure and improve the service as a whole, but that too takes time.

The games, the games are the main selling point of a console, for what is to come and what will be there the day you buy. And the lineup for the future is looking strong with games like Uncharted 4, and Order 1886, to name console exclusives, two unknown “AAA” titles being announced sometime in early december, and with the undoubted shift in developers going towards the console with the bigger base, means 3rd party exclusives that haven’t been announced and will, and current exclusive like InFamous, Knack, Killzone, and The Last of Us: Remastered. Side note: Didn’t think the masterpiece that is “The Last of Us” needed a remake, but its a damn gorgeous game, and for those who have turned to the blueside, i.e. Sony, from being on the 360 and not experiencing the master piece. To indie games, that as of right now, console exclusive like No Man’s Sky, and out now on the PS4 and exclusive, Octodad, Resogun. The PS4 has given a plethora of games to be played on it, and from now, and to the future.

The interface of the console, gone are the cool and sleek Cross Media Bar (XMB), and more individual folders, this has left much to be desired. And I believe with how receptive SOny and its Playstation team have been, the nuances will slowly take shape, and change to a more manageable feel. Another thing that was annoying at launch, seeing the notification for every single person doing something on their PS4. For instance, Person X joined a party chat. THis has been curdled a little but still, its less frequent. But a little thing from the PS3 that has been brought to the PS4 is the dynamic themes, so that’s a plus.

DS4 Wear!But as the good, of a console, there is bad. Although the revamped DS controller, now, DS4 has the worlds greatest feel, and is much of an improvement over the last in every degree, the DS4 knobs of the analog sticks wear out quicker. I have a DS3, from launch that still is functioning, and has its knobs intact. Gone are some of the functionality of the PS3 that was a sign on minimalist in the sense of moving to the PS4. The overall media hub that the PS3 was, like the music limitations, or the immediate USB support, and bluetooth as well. The cheap attempt to get gamers to talk with its cheaply made headset. But now the USB functionality are fixed in an update, and the headset market is entirely better!

So after a single year, the PS4 has grown with its audience, implementing things that the consumer wants, and continuing Sony’s drive of the “Gamer is first!” or more simply put, “Games!” Or like Steve Ballmer so elloquently said: “DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!” I wonder where Sony will go with its massive momentum that it has gained in its entire first year, forcing the competition to rethink their entire way forward. And return to the Sony brand that dominated during the era of the PS2. But as we all, as gamers is, Watch and See!

Steve Ballmer

By otakuman5000 On 13 Nov, 2014 At 10:37 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Podcasts, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
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Well, Hello there! This is Andre Tipton aka Otakuman5000. For those who don’t know, The Fatal Frame series redefined the Survival Horror genre of video games.

By Garrett Green On 11 Nov, 2014 At 05:23 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, International News, News, ROG News | With 1 Comment
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In 1999, a blond haired brightly dressed ninja made his debut in Shonen Jump Magazine. 15 years, and 200 million copies in print world wide, and 700 chapters later, Naruto has published is final chapter.

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Widely popular in Japan and United States, as well as other countries, the series has enjoyed a steady following of dedicated and casual fans alike. It was one of Jump’s “Big Three” along with Bleach and One Piece when all three were the driving force behind the magazine. And while Bleach has taken a hit in popularity and One Piece is still insanely popular, Naruto has been, for the most part, a constant hit for Jump. Of course, it’s popularity has gone through ups and downs but mainly it’s almost always been in the upper tiers for Jump.

Naruto began with a mischievous orphan boy who longed to become Hokage (leader of his ninja village) and prove his worth to the villagers and fellow ninjas. Dwelling inside, unbeknownst to him, lies the Nine Tailed Fox. A being of incredible power and anger, the Nine Tailed Fox nearly destroyed his village when he was an infant. Those who remember the incident treat Naruto as a monster and a nuisance, while their children follow suit and treat him as an annoyance. Through hardships, friendships, and betrayal he forges his own creed, his ninja way, by which he lives his life and makes strong bonds with friends who once wouldn’t give him the time of day and grows to become a powerful ninja in his own right.

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The manga is known for its stylized action and comedy. While it started out in a more comedic tone it didn’t shy away from battles and deaths, becoming progressively darker as the sees went on without losing it’s initial charm. And while, in my own opinion, the end became a bit over the top and the final battle a but underwhelming, the story wrapped up nicely with a good payoff for the long term fans who stuck it out. The last few chapters felt a bit rushed but the final chapter was a giant love letter to the fans who wanted to see what became of the many characters we came to know and love (or hate in some characters cases).

Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, has announced with the end of the main series that there will still be more Naruto to come. “The Last: Naruto the Movie” will be released in Japan on December 6. The movie takes place two years after the last major arc in the manga but before the final chapter.  There will also be a new mini series beginning in spring of 2015 following all new characters in the Naruto Universe. Kishimoto has announced that there will be more to come.

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Whether you loved, hated, and didn’t even know what a Naruto was, the cultural impact of the series can be felt all over the world. It was a good 15 years. We laughed, we cried, we asked “what the heck is going on?” Whatever emotions you had, Naruto has been a larger part to the anime community and won’t be forgotten anytime soon. The anime is in the final arc of the manga, not accounting for added filler arcs it should end soon as well. Some 15 years, 600+ episodes, 7 movies, 50+ games and unfathomable amount of merchandise later, Masashi Kishimoto and Naruto have both deserved a good long rest. Thank you for the many years of entertainment. Dattebayo!!

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By Isabel On 11 Nov, 2014 At 02:31 AM | Categorized As Featured, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments
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This was my first year attending TigerDirect’s Tech Bash which itself isn’t exactly an old established event itself but apparently buddies and staff there last year noticed two major changes from its last run.

  • An increase in attendance.
  • An increase in observers.

What do I mean by observers? Well mostly people who don’t use technology so much, besides your run of the mill smart phone and computer for social networking and whatnot, and only attended to get a show and maybe some free stuff. There were many attendees and yet a lot of the large extravagant gaming setups seemed to go largely ignored by them.

Funny enough there was a huge line for a demo of the Oculus Rift which as you know Zuckerberg picked for its potential outside of gaming despite the project initially getting funded by a largely gamer demographic.

Now you can’t talk about the event without talking about how all the different exhibitors were laid out. The event was hosted at Marlins Park, the baseball stadium for Miami’s team. In the homefield where the actual games are played they set up a temporary show floor to not ruin the grass where the main sponsors were gathered. The areas outside the ring of stadium seat had rows of exhibitors with smaller booths from NVidia to Microsoft. I wish I could show the wide range of booths and setups but unfortunately my PC is not working normally and can’t detect my SD card. I believe I could benefit from buying either from Asus or iBUYPOWER whom had gaming setups in the main exhibit area. In terms of gaming a lot was going on, there were promotions for giveaways, gaming lounges, and Alienware even had a preview of Dying Light.

I have a few suggestions for both the actual event and its exhibitors to make next year even better.

  • Get a convention center. Marlins Stadium is large, but results in a lot of wasted space and more crowding.
  • Make the event slightly longer than 7 PM to 11 PM. It’s a short span of time to network, look around, have fun, find your buddies, etc. Especially when everything moves so slowly. Also observers can take up less of the event’s time.
  • If you’re having giveaways every half hour or so, PLEASE don’t make it a be there or lose deal. Seriously. Ask for a phone number and text the winner to collect their prize at the booth. A raffle of that sort should only be conducted once and have a prize worth the attendance. I’m looking at you Sandisk.
  • I can see Tech Bash is also an opportunity for people in the industry to connect. So please, make the networking event more accessible instead of a secluded area for the employees of event sponsors.

TigerDirect Tech Bash is a promising event with room to grow, but the event will have to grow along with its number of attendees lest they suffer in quality and lose the interest of sponsors and attendees. Miami does have a small but growing technology sector, and we need events like the Tech Bash to present it in a positive light and help foster it.

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The week of October 27th has been slam packed with all kinds of Marvel Cinematic Universe announcements. Perhaps as a way to combat the recent popularity of DC tv and movie popularity, Marvel Studios has just revealed upcoming plans for Phase Three of the MCU with movies planned up until 2019.

At Disney’s El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, announced plans for Captain Marvel and Black Panther to get their own movies, along with other sequels and new franchises.

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The Schedule

Captain America: Civil War (May 6th, 2016);
Dr. Strange (Nov. 4th, 2016);
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5th, 2017);
Thor: Ragnarok (July 18th, 2017);
Black Panther (November 3, 2017);
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (May 4th, 2018);
Captain Marvel (July 6th, 2018);
Inhumans (November 2nd, 2018);
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 (May 3rd, 2019)

Black Panther will star Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Jackie Robinson in the movie 42 as well as James Brown in Get On Up. In case you’re not familiar with who Black Panther is, he’s the ruler of a fictional African nation called Wakanda. Vibranium, the metal used in Captain America’s shield, is mined there which has caused the country to be rich and highly technologically advanced. Chadwick Boseman is slated to appear as Black Panther in a total of five upcoming Marvel films, beginning with Captain America: Civil War.

Captain Marvel was also announced to get her own movie, as it was confirmed that this would be the Carol Danvers version of the superhero. She will be Marvel’s first female character to get her own film. This might be disappointing to fans of Black Widow, who were expecting her to have the first female Marvel Universe film, but Feige reassured us that Natasha Romanov would be heavily featured in the rest of the Avengers movies. So far there is no actress confirmed to play Captain Marvel.

Also announced this week is the actor portraying Doctor Strange. Rumors began with actors such as Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, and Joaquin Phoenix. However it’s been confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Hobbit) will be portraying the surgeon-turned-Sorcerer Supreme.

Making an event out of announcing Phase Three, Marvel Studios has decided to “go big or go home,” combating DC’s announcement of a Wonder Woman movie and success of Gotham and Constantine. Your move, DC.

 

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Are you a little bummed that summer is over?  Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a quick vacation.  Instead of a traditional one, how about a video game vacation?  Not only can you travel to some really cool places–both real and imagined–but you can do it from the comfort of your own couch!

Join Real Otaku Gamer for more video game vacation destinations!  After reading, make sure you take the survey at the end to vote for your favorite video game place.

Game: Fallout 3

Place: Washington D.C

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About: Ever wonder what D.C. would look like after a nuclear apocalypse?  Well, thanks to the wonders of video games, players don’t have to imagine anymore.  Fallout 3 focuses on the wreckage that occurs after a nuclear holocaust.  People buried themselves away in “vaults” and re-emerged to live among the wreckage.  During the game, players will wander around in the ruins of D.C., fighting mutants and helping others along the way.

Why Visit: There’s something both disturbing and interesting about looking at our nation’s landmarks in a state of disarray.  It may just be humanity’s fascination with “the end” that makes this gaming franchise so popular.  The large sandbox of a map that players get to wander around in also make this place well-worth it.

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Must See Areas:

  • Go disable a large atomic weapon in Megaton.
  • Visit the Capital Wasteland and our nation’s monuments turned to rubble.
  • Take a walk down the Potomac River. Just don’t take a dip because it’s radioactive.
  • Walk around the metro tunnels and fight mutants.

What do you think? Which video game vacation would you prefer? Click here to take the survey and let ROG know where you’d like to go. Be sure to come back next week for another location.

Week 8: Columbia
Week 7: Citadel
Week 6: USG Ishimura
Week 5: Skyrim
Week 4: Pittsburgh
Week 3: Pandora
Week 2: Chicago
Week 1: Rapture

 

bioshock

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Just because summer is over doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your vacation dreams. Instead of trying to set up expensive travel arrangements, why not try a video game vacation? Not only can you travel to some really cool places–both real and imagined–but you can do it on the comfort of your own couch!

Join Real Otaku Gamer for more video game vacation destinations! After reading, make sure you take the survey at the end to vote for your favorite video game place.

Game: BioShock Infinite

Place: Columbia

bioshock_infinite

About: An impossible city in the sky, Columbia was the brainchild of by religious fanatic, Zachary Comstock and designed by physicist Rosalind Luteca. Though the city appears to float on balloons, it uses quantum levitation that allows it to suspend itself in the sky. Built in the late 1800s, Columbia succeeded from the United States and in its own isolation gained more and more contempt for the “Sodom Below.” Declaring himself a prophet, Comstock turned a possible utopia into a dystopia, fostering racism and classism.

Why Visit: Columbia may be a dystopia, but visiting it will get you thinking about modern-day social issues. The architecture and graphics are absolutely gorgeous as well.

bioshock-infinite-columbia

Must See Areas:
• Go zoom around on a sky-hook. It’s like a roller-coaster ride.
• Help the Vox Populi over-throw the government in Finkton.
• Head over the Welcome Center and visit the Columbia raffle and fair.
• Have a good time at Soldier’s Field by visiting the beach in the sky and the ever-fun Battleship Bay.

What do you think? Which video game vacation would you prefer? Click here to take the survey and let ROG know where you’d like to go. Be sure to come back next week for another location.

Week 8: Citadel
Week 7: USG Ishimura
Week 5: Skyrim
Week 4: Pittsburgh
Week 3: Pandora
Week 2: Chicago
Week 1: Rapture

 

By Jessica Brister On 24 Sep, 2014 At 11:48 PM | Categorized As Company Spotlight, Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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It’s been over five years since Sims 3 came out, and many fans of the Sims franchise have been very excited about Sims 4.  Although it wasn’t quite the gem that I was expecting, Sims 4 still has its merits.

Sims 4 was released on September 2 for Windows-based computers only.  It is basically a life simulation game that was developed by Maxis and The Sims Studio and was published by EA.  The Sims, like games like Minecraft, is a game that some people love and obsess over and some people “just plain don’t get.”  Despite this, the Sims franchise itself has been hugely popular; however, has had some criticism in recent years of nickel and diming players with bunches of add-ons and expansions.  Compared to its predecessor, Sims 3, there are very specific gaming elements that were improved upon and there are also very specific things that were not so good.

The first major improvement of the game was the slick new Create a Sim system, which is the way a player creates his or her Sim and Sim family.  This is actually one of the best improvements from Sims 3 to Sims 4.  It is quite obvious that Maxis really spent a lot of time into this part of the game: it runs extremely well and is very easy to use.  Plus, you end up with a Sim very close to what you wanted.  The sliders of Sims 3 have been replaced with clicking on and manipulating body parts.  To make adjustments to the body part that you want, click on it and move it around to the desired size and location.  It ends up being very easy for you to create a very customized Sim.  For those who aren’t great manipulating body parts, there are pre-set Sims that you can choose from as well.  There was also a nice selection of clothing and outfits to choose from, and they were easily sorted by types (something very different from Sims 3).  The only downside to the new Create a Sim is that the player is limited on hair, eye, and clothing colors because of a Create a Style system (more on this later).  I’m hoping that more options are added later in a patch or expansion.

 Create a Sim is by far the best updated feature for Sims 4.  In this aspect, it blows Sims 3 out of the water.

Create a Sim is by far the best updated feature for Sims 4. In this aspect, it blows Sims 3 out of the water.

The second improvement was the addition of The Gallery, an online sharing community.  Sims 3 touted The Exchange, a similar online sharing concept.  The problem with it, though, was that to get any shared content from other players, one would have to log into The Exchange from a web browser, selection what you want, download it, install it, and then boot up the game.  This was very tedious.  Sims 4 fixes this because it is all in-game sharing.  All a player has to do is click on The Gallery icon in game, and this automatically shows up while you are still playing.  You can place Gallery items on lots on the fly very easily which is a nice bonus.  Sharing your own Sims and lots is also just as easy.

You are only one click away from browsing through what others have shared.

You are only one click away from browsing through what others have shared.

Another improvement is the overall performance of Sims 4.  For those who have played Sims 3 with all of the expansions, the game engine got really bogged down.  Although this might also happen to Sims 4 in the future, the base game is very stable (then again, so was Sims 3).  The real improvement is the fact that Sims 4 runs pretty well on computers that are not high-end.  I’m not sure if I would run the game on the minimum requirements, but the game handled by laptop, which is not a gaming PC, without any issues.  Sure, the graphics were automatically toned down quite a bit, but the overall game ran great without any hiccups.  Just for reference, if you’d like to do a comparison to how Sims 4 might run on your PC: I am using an HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook with an AMD A6-34200M with an integrated graphics card and six GB of memory.  Though I have not had the time to try the game on my actually gaming PC, I was impressed with how the game handled on my laptop.  However, with my experience with Sims 3, I am concerned about how Sims 4 will run with multiple expansions added to it.

The graphics are toned down quite a bit on a lower end up, but the game play actually is very smooth as long as the minimum PC requirements are met.

The graphics are toned down quite a bit on a lower end up, but the game play actually is very smooth as long as the minimum PC requirements are met.

The fourth enhancement to the game was the addition of new and better Sim interactions.  This is what Maxis really concentrated on, and overall, they did a pretty good job.  “Emotions” were a new addition to Sims 4, which can add some interesting outcomes, though I think they were a bit overrated for as much as they were touted.  The Sim interactions were much more interesting, especially since it was a common complaint in Sims 3 that the open world led to less interactions between your Sims and NPC Sims.  Because Sims 4 is not really open world, this issue has been fixed.  It is very easy to find other Sims and hang out with them.  Though open world is lost, it is very fun to talk to multiple Sims at once, which is another new addition to the game.

 

Although you lose the open world feel, it is easy to find and meet new Sims.  I was able to find this Sim within seconds of starting a new game.

Although you lose the open world feel, it is easy to find and meet new Sims. I was able to find this Sim within seconds of starting a new game.

The last major improvement in game play is the ability to have Sims multi-task, which is a new thing for the franchise.  In previous Sims games, a Sim could only do one thing at a time.  In Sims 4, a player can make his or her Sim to multiple things at once.  This element adds some interesting game play to the mix.  For example, I had my Sim reading a book.  When I saw the bladder meter go down, I had my Sim use the toilet.  I was delighted to see that my Sim took the book to the toilet and continue reading on it, much to my amusement.  This ability to multitask has made the game play a bit more fresh, though the novelty may wear off after a bit.

Sims are no longer forced to do one thing at a time.

Sims are no longer forced to do one thing at a time.

With all of these improvements, it at first glance seems as if Sims 4 can do no wrong.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad with the good, especially if you are a die-hard Sim 3 player.  One of the biggest disappointments for Sims 4 is the fact that the open world concept of Sims 4 was nixed for a world of segmented “neighbordhoods.”  The open world of Sims 3 was a revolutionary part of the franchise that really took the Sims to a new level.  I tried to keep an open mind and thought that if it was done right, neighborhoods might not be so bad.  Unfortunately, the neighborhoods concept in Sims 4 are not that great.  The six sections of each neighborhood do not feel connected, and you have to use your Sim’s phone to get anywhere.  The loading screens didn’t bother me that much, but I was hoping that you could walk or jog from one neighborhood to another (unless there is something that I haven’t figure out yet).  The Sims 4 “world” is not that large, either.  There are technically two worlds that come with the base game, but there are only actually six neighborhoods for each world, and there’s not that much to each neighborhood.

This is the neighborhood selection screen for Sims 4.  As you can see, your options are limited for places to go.

This is the neighborhood selection screen for Sims 4. As you can see, your options are limited for places to go.

Another Sims 4 disappointment was the lot building system, which was supposed to be a major improvement from Sims 3 to Sims 4.  Overall, the building system was actually a disappointment.  It is indeed pretty easy to make corrections and add rooms on the fly, but it actually takes longer to build anything overall when compared to Sims 3.  This is mostly due to the crazy camera angles that the game forces you to look through.  I even spent extra time trying to play around to see if I could get the angles any better, but I still haven’t found any style that I like.  I am hoping that this eventually gets fixed in a patch or update.  I was also very disappointed to see that the current lot size limit is 50×50 residential lots for Sims 4, which makes it hard to create massive mansions (large for Sims 3 is 60×60 or 64×64).

This is not my idea of a McMansion, but this is apparently as large as residential lots get so far in Sims 4.

This is not my idea of a McMansion, but this is apparently as large as residential lots get so far in Sims 4.

The third disappointment is the lack of entertainment options for Sims in the Sims 4.  I do understand that you are purchasing a base game when you get Sims 4, but I really was expecting a bit more, especially after getting it for a “next-gen” price tag.  There are no swimming pools, cars, or a large open world to explore, so that game can get a bit boring at times.  There are some interesting skills that have been added for the game, but overall, I found that this aspect of the game was lacking.  The game might pick up a bit when expansions start getting added, but it really shouldn’t take a bunch of expansions to make the game fun.

Oh, I do miss cars and wandering around the open world of Sims 3.  Sims 4 entertainment options for Sims seems a bit lacking in comparison.

Oh, I do miss cars and wandering around the open world of Sims 3. Sims 4 entertainment options for Sims seems a bit lacking in comparison. (Photo of Sims 3 game play)

Another Sims 3 gaming element that Sims 4 left out was the Create a Style system.  This system was a unique way for players to customize pretty much anything in the game.  Maxis ditched this element for a set of pre-selected colors that you can choose from for clothing or home building/decorating.  Unfortunately, the pre-selected colors weren’t that great.  I had a hard time creating the house I wanted from what they gave me.  It felt like a lot of “basic” colors were not included in the pre-selected ones, such as white.  This made creating a custom home very tedious, and I never quite ended up with what I wanted.

Sure you have a lot of colors to choose from in the pre-selected colors of Sims 4, but sometimes getting a basic color like white is almost impossible.

Sure you have a lot of colors to choose from in the pre-selected colors of Sims 4, but sometimes getting a basic color like white is almost impossible.

Lastly, I was disappointed to see how Maxis went with the Sim careers this time.  There are some interesting careers in Sims 4, but it really doesn’t matter because you don’t really to get see them at work or interact with work that much.  Sims 4 works a lot of Sims 2 with jobs: when it’s time for work, you leave the lot and disappear for awhile.  There’s not even an animated carpool or anything; you just run off of the lot.  It’s a really annoying and disappointing aspect to the game that I hope eventually gets patched.  When Sims 3 came out, some people complained about the “rabbit holes” (where a Sim would disappear into a building and come out when they were done).  What they actually wanted was to be able to see and control their Sims at all times.  What we got in Sims 4 is the elimination of rabbit holes for Sims disappearing off of  the map altogether.  This does not solve the rabbit hole issue, but it does actually make things worse.

What's the point of these fun careers if your Sim disappears during the workday?

What’s the point of these fun careers if your Sim disappears during the workday?

Overall, the Sims 4 is a stable, solid game that has a lot of great elements.  If you are a fan of the franchise, you will probably like it.  However, it does have a lot of issues in which I hope get resolved in the future.

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