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Watch_Dogs is the much-anticipated blockbuster game from Ubisoft that makes hacking look cool.  While the game feels very GTA-inspired, it actually stands on its own as a unique game play experience.  The game is a lot of fun.  It will definitely sell a lot of copies and make Ubisoft a lot of money.  However, it does not feel like a game that is going to stand out as one that people will remember for years and years down the road.  There’s a lot to like about this game, but unfortunately, there’s not much to love.

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Note: This review is being done for PS4 without any added DLCs.  PC users have complained of issues about the game.  My colleagues have reported buggy problems with the game as well, point to the Conspiracy DLC as a possible culprit.  I personally did not have any of these issues, but it is good to be cautious. Watch_Dogs is a third-person/driving action adventure game that was released on May 27 this year.  It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft.  It is an open-world game that allows that player to explore the streets of a digital version of Chicago.  The game incorporates an online multiplayer element as well as several “mini games” throughout the main game. The story follows hacker Aiden Pearce, an anti-hero who skirts the law in order to bring about justice.  After a hacking heist that went bad, Aiden is bound and determined to go after the people responsible.  Known as “The Vigilante,” he is ready to bring down the people who messed up his life.  Overall, the story was pretty strong.  It’s actually a lot deeper than any GTA plot, and it definitely gives the player some things to think about.  Is it memorable for years to come?  Probably not.  But it is entertaining and does hold some value.

Aiden Pearce is a very cool character.

Aiden Pearce is a very cool character.

Game play is probably one of the game’s stronger points.  For one thing, there is a variety for the player.  Some of the game is car-oriented.  Other parts are solely on foot.  Most missions highlight Aidan’s hacking abilities, which are a nice added bonus to the game and can be quite fun.  The game play is often compared to a GTA game, but they are really only similar.  In Watch_Dogs, unless the player wants to go the “evil” route, killing pedestrians and police officers is a “no-no.”  Much of the game involves strategy and sneak skills.  It is very similar to a game like The Last of Us, where the player can go the sneaky route and not shoot a single round or go the more direct route and get into a fire-fight.  Having the option to do either adds to the game play variety.  There is also a skill point tree and a HP system.  Aidan learns new things as he gets more experience, making a ten minute police chase seem a lot less annoying when the player gets points after it.

The game may look like a GTA game, but it actually plays very differently.

The game may look like a GTA game, but it actually plays very differently.

The graphics in Watch_Dogs really demonstrates what the new next-gen consoles can handle.  The level of detail is amazing.  From the potholes in the street to the reflection of the rain to the dampness of Aidan’s coat when the player makes him take a plunge in a river, the graphics are definitely a highlight for the game.  Happily, though, the graphics are not the only good thing about the game.  The graphics could be horrible, and the game would still be a lot of fun to play. This game is a lot of fun.  Whether it be the smooth game play, the cool hacking abilities, the cute mini games, and the online play, the game can truly hold its own.  It is easy to blow thirty plus hours on the game without really even trying.  There’s a lot of game play variety as well, which helps to keep things fresh and the player still interested in the game.  Even buying it at full price, the player will get his or her money out of the game. Overall, there is a lot to like about Watch_Dogs.  It’s fun.  It’s hip.  It’s cool.  However, the biggest problem with the game is that it’s not exactly “epic.”  Even though Ubisoft will probably be making more sequels, the game doesn’t exactly feel memorable.  It’s not exactly “top video game of all time” material.  In fact, it’s not even close.  It doesn’t have the same feel as some other games that make you think about them even years after playing them.  Watch_Dogs is definitely a good game, but it’s not a great game.  That’s not exactly a problem, since most gamers don’t expect every game to be great.  But we can hope, right?  

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PAX welcome

PAX East 2014 was my fourth PAX but my first time going as Media.  As always, PAX East was a great experience! Every year PAX East is held in Boston, so I enjoy being able to see another part of the East Coast while checking out all the video games.

This year I got to see many different video games, the most notable of which included This War of Mine from 11 Bit Studios, Sniper Elite 3 and Defense Grid 2 from 505 Games and Hidden Path Entertainment, and Framed from Loveshack Entertainment.  All of these games were very different from one another but brought a lot to the table to create an enjoyable experience. This War of Mine allows you to gain insight into the struggle of a war torn country from a very individual level of trying to survive day to day.  Sniper Elite 3 brought a new and fun entry into shooters with absolutely amazing and awe-worthy graphics.  Defense Grid 2 was an amazingly fun tower defense game that doesn’t fail to keep you on your toes.  Framed was a very unique entry with a puzzle style journey through a mystery.  I plan to get all of these games the minute they’re available and I highly recommend each and every one of them.

Of course, there was far more to see during PAX East as the expanse of the show floor and panels is ginormous! 2014 was definitely the year of the indie games for PAX East.  The presence of AAA games seemed to be a bit light and I was quite worried when I saw the schedule, but PAX East did not disappoint.

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An organization I would definitely like to highlight is Operation Supply Drop. As an Army brat (my parents served in the Army for a long time) and having a lot of friends in the military, it definitely makes me happy to see an organization that makes it their mission to help out the troops.  Operation Supply Drop does just that and more. I met with Captain Stephen Machuga of the US Army and Charity Founder. Captain Machuga, as well as everyone at OSD’s booth exhuded passion and enthusiasm about their mission to bring “video games to soldiers in combat zones and military hospitals.”  Being in a combat zone, in military hospitals, and other areas where soldiers serve can be extremely stressful so OSD does their best to make “fun where there is none!” There was never a dull moment at the booth while there or passing and I’ve seen so much enthusiasm from the gaming community to help their cause.  It’ll be very interesting to see how OSD expands and grows further to be such a great presence for our troops.  For more information about their cause and how to help out, check out their website at www.OperationSupplyDrop.org, their Twitter @OpSupplyDrop, and their Facebook page at Facebook.com/OperationSupplyDrop.

I also got to check out numerous booths on the show floor which is always exciting. GUNNAR Optiks never disappoints with their selection of gaming eyewear. I even snagged myself a pair from their Intercept line in Ink (purple). I always get a pair of GUNNARs every time I go to PAX East and absolutely love them. Whether I’m gaming or staring at a computer screen, GUNNARs help reduce the strain in my eyes. I’ve also found that their line of sunglasses are absolutely wonderful and are far better than all of the other sunglasses that I own.

GUNNARs Intercept Ink

Me with Gunnars

As always, PAX East was a great experience and I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance.  It’s worth the fun and craziness and the video game culture galore!  Everyone is excited and happy to be there with so many things to do with such a short amount of time!

Although I may not attend next year, you may be able to catch me at PAX South and PAX Prime next year. I, also, plan to be at Otakon this summer and Baltimore Comic Con this fall.

Did you go? What did you think of PAX East? Is there anything from my experience at PAX East that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @LadyLoveMonster!

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Inspired by Adventure Time, Minecraft, and Legend of Zelda, May’s Loot Crate has to be my favorite so far! Loot Crate is a monthly subscription box filled with nerdy goodies – toys, stickers, t-shirts, etc. It’s like getting nerd Christmas every month! This month featured a Legend of Zelda t-shirt. If you look closely, it’s Link made out of words. My very favorite item in this Loot Crate was the Adventure Time tin. Not only do you get an awesome character tin, but you get a blind bag figure inside. My tin was Fionna and I got BMO inside! This was my favorite because those are two of my favorite Adventure Time characters.

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A very close second for favorite item is the Legend of Zelda key chain. It doubles as a bottle opener and it has a picture of the famous scene, “It’s dangerous to go alone…” I always love when Loot Crates come with practical items. Another item worth mentioning was a Minecraft blind bag “hanger,” which I guess works as a key chain because the ring on it is sturdy enough for one. I got a skeleton.

Other items in this month’s Crate are tons and tons of stickers from Polaris and Maker studios, as well as a soundtrack for the talk show The Friend Zone.

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One strange thing about this month’s Loot Crate, however, is that it didn’t come with the usual monthly magazine that explains what came in it and the occasional article. Maybe it was just a mistake and they forgot to put it in my Crate?

Either way, I would consider May’s Loot Crate to be my all-time favorite so far. If you like what you see, Loot Crate is $20 per month, including shipping. Go to LootCrate.com to sign up and be sure to follow Loot Crate on Facebook for discounts and contests.

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Survival horror isn’t exactly my favorite gaming genre, but I saw that Outlast was for free on PlayStation Plus a couple of months ago.  I can’t say no to free, so I downloaded it and spent some time playing it.  Just for the record, this is the scariest game that I have ever played.  It’s so scary that I had to stop playing for awhile.  It is just downright frightening.  This type of genre is not my favorite, but Outlast was unique enough for me to buckle down and play through it.  Here is what I thought:

Outlast is a survival horror game developed and published by Red Barrels.  The game play is in first-person perspective; however, it cannot be described as a first-person shooter because there is not actual shooting.  The game came out for PC in September 2013 and was released for PlayStation 4  this February.  It uses the Unreal 3.5 Engine.  Outlast is more of an indy-game, but it has so far gotten some good reviews from critics.

The story follows journalist, Miles Upshur, a mild-mannered reporter who unfortunately doesn’t like fighting back.  Upshur has gotten a tip from a person only known as “The Whistleblower” and is going to check out some crazy things going on at Mount Massive Asylum.  At first glance, the asylum looks like it’s not even in use: there are no guards, doors are locked, and everything appears are be abandoned.  After breaking in, Miles comes to the realization that there is some really dangerous and scary things happening in the asylum.  Instead of gathering evidence, escaping becomes his main goal.

What could possibly go wrong in a creepy looking asylum, right?

What could possibly go wrong in a creepy looking asylum, right?

Overall, the story was pretty interesting, but there was something lacking in it, as if Red Barrels could have done a little more with it.  It’s a typical horror plot with some slasher elements.  The game is really, really scary.  Incredibly scary.  I found that there were times where I’d scream and throw down the controller.  Gamers looking for scary will not be disappointed.  However, I was hoping for a little bit more of a story than that I got.  Players get a lot of jump scares but not a lot of meat to the story.  The gore is pretty amped up, though.  In fact, it is a huge aspect of the game: severed heads, bodies everywhere, and pretty much anything that would remind you of a Saw movie.  Squeamish players would probably not like this game, but if this is your type of thing, you’ll probably like this game.  As a game in the horror genre, Outlast is one of the best that I’ve seen.

Outlast is in first person perspective, but this is not a game about fighting for your life like most first person games. Upshur is described as “not being a fighter,” so unless a scripted scene takes place, the player’s options are to run, hide, or die.  This was quite annoying for me at first because I can’t stand games where I can’t fight back.  I’ve always thought that if anyone is pushed far enough, he or she will find something to fight back with, even if it’s just a make-shift melee weapon.  Then again, I will say that not being able to fight back makes the game ten times scarier.  There’s nothing more frightening than running from something trying to kill you that makes your heart pound a bit harder.

Instead of fighting, the player will spend a lot of time hiding in lockers from the inmates in the asylum.

Instead of fighting, the player will spend a lot of time hiding in lockers from the inmates in the asylum.

As a journalist, Upshur gathers evidence by filming his surroundings.  The only light you get to use is from the night vision on the camera, which is very handy since many of the areas are pitch black.  Unfortunately, the night vision is hard to see out of.  This may actually make the game scarier in a way.  You also have to conserve the night vision because it will drain the battery quicker.  You can find more batteries but depending on the difficulty, they can be few and far between.  In true survival horror-style, you have to be a bit stingy with the batteries if you want to use the night vision during the really important times.

Overall, the controls are a bit stiff, and I found it kind of hard to move around the way I am accustomed to in most newer games.  When climbing ladders and scaling ledges, you can’t look down, which was quite annoying.  The game really didn’t feel as polished as other games in first-person perspective that I’ve played.  I was disappointed with this because I might have liked the game a lot better if the controls were a little more fluid.

The graphics were unfortunately the most disappointing part of the game.  Initially, I didn’t notice them as much because many of the areas are really dark.  However, after looking at bit closer, I noticed that a lot of the inmates at the asylum weren’t designed very well.  They didn’t look that great.  I’m not a video game graphics expert, but the characters looked like they were lacking a lot of detail.  If you look at them up close, there isn’t a lot of detail.  This was disappointing for a game that pretty much came out on PC and next-gen console only. Then again, I do understand that this game was a smaller project.  Besides, you probably won’t notice it that much anyhow because it’s always so dark when you play.

There's something off about the way the characters are built.

There’s something off about the way the characters are built.

Though I don’t really like the survival horror genre, the game was pretty interesting to play.  I doubt that I will be playing it again because I don’t like spending my free time feeling scared.  However, if you are looking for a game that will scare you, this is definitely the game.  Overall, most fans of the genre will enjoy it, and  I am now a little curious to see how Outlast will compare to the upcoming The Evil Within, which comes out in August.

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Zen Pinball 2 from Zen studios is known for their beautifully themed play tables. These pinball tables span from Plant vs Zombies up to expansive sets based off some of Marvel universe classic characters like the Avengers and Doctor Strange. Now Zen Studios have shot into a galaxy far far away…

To our enjoyment Star Wars: Heroes Within Includes a set of four tables that are available on PSN for PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Steam, iOS, Google Play and the tablet from Kindle, Fire TV also available on Mac App Store, I had the pleasure to review the PlayStation 4 version.

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Let’s begin with the first of the sets of course,  Star Wars:A New Hope The scene is set in the epic storyline with sound bites littering your speakers from this iconic classic flick. You will notice animatronic characters placed in the front of the table from the movie too in the upper left corner on the play tables you will see the LED screen showcasing off their dot matrix monochrome video of scenes from the film & high scores rankings, Score multipliers & Obi Wan’s wisdom filled quotes will harken you back to the the days of yesteryear when this movie originally released amongst other things. The game table centerpiece is decked out with the infamous Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker & Obi Wan beautifully painted onto the virtual table. Lining the outside of the tables you will find hints of this movies characters and settings like the animatronic foes the Tusken Raiders & their sand dunes on one side then the Temple of the Jungle moon of Yavin 4. The action really occurs where the platform  changes six ways all because of the game tables missions, objectives that are only accessed by certain trigger activation like hitting a panel several times to spell out a word, name or phrase. I was able to access several but, two of them I will reveal to you readers the rest I’m afraid you must find out yourself. I will start with scene 6 one in which you enable a multiball challenge and if you can get one of those steel balls into the platform that opens up to resemble the galley run into the Death Star. You can enter and destroy the Death Star via paddling the ball into its treacherous crevices. The second scene I will share with you all is scene 4 where you have to uncover Princess Leia’s location in the prison just like in the movie. In the game several spots will have to be uncovered on the play field to find her afterwards you will reveal the trash compactor minefield to shut it down your steel ball is your only hope.

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Star Wars: Droids This play table’s theme is following the story of Star Wars two most famous robots journey,  this mainly wide open play table is set inside the busy sand crawler, R2-D2 & C-3P0 are present providing dry-witty quips along with the bells & whistles we are familiar with. While this play table is one of the more open displays this amazes me with all the dizzying rails and ramps crisscrossing the table. The ramps of this table are pushed deep back into the back of the set yet, they all are steep & highly curved making the ascent onto these conveyor belt ramps very tasking, slight mastery will be needed for this portion of the table. The missions for this table are located in center behind 3 yellow panels that will be unlocked after you successfully hit them with your pinball several times later these panels will drop below the surface of the table then allowing you to gain access to tables missions. First of the missions will have you salvage C-3P0’s body parts after an accident caused by the curiosity of the golden droid. The mission is straightforward just like Princess Leia’s prison mission except you just have to recover the exploded body parts scattered around the entire table. If you fail to obtain all the body parts the Head, Torso, Arms & Legs of C-3P0 by losing the ball R2-D2 will finish the job for you while your score gets tallied up as you move on. There are a set of five missions and the following is mission 5 where you are put to the task to immobilize the sand crawler you attempt this feat by unlocking these scrap metal looking balls that you aim towards the middle of the ramp where you initially unlocked your missions for this specific pay table. Playing this one is a delight from the openness of the center to the crazy rails, so far this is my favorite, I love also how the physical pinball machine is the sand crawler dredging through the sand dunes on the outside of play table.

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Star Wars: Han Solo This nicely designed table is set inside the Millenium Falcon this busy table is by far out of the Heroes Within pack the most difficult of them all, definitely a table to be reckoned with. Filled to the brim with activity from the faithful sidekick Chewbacca & Han Solo in his captains chair done up in their pleasant animatronic form, while a roulette of bad guys surrounding the bar table at Mos Esly’s cantina in the back of the machine are seething at the opportunity to score that bounty on your head. The centerpiece is comprised of two objects; The Millennium Falcon & the dark sides Mother ship of destruction The Death Star. There is an abundance of buttons to trigger and ramps to ascend and rails along with flippers tucked into hard to see corners this suicide run of pinball machines will make you a master of the virtual pinball culture scene for sure. Lined within the nook and crannies of the game table you can flick your ball into a unsuspecting spot only to reveal an electric bumper raise from the surface of the table to garner you added points. From the flurry of fast moving, multi ball challenges to hard to reach jackpot panels & quick shot ramp opportunities located in the back of the table this game table provides feats of skill damn near impossible for a pinball novice such as myself,lol. This by far is the most challenging & the most rewarding of all tables with hard to reach objectives/missions available around the borderline of the table are so hard to find & get to, I applaud the ones who takes this challenge head on and reaches for the hidden treasures this table makes you work every second for. I love the mini games play table provides one in which I encountered was one where the game zoomed into another screen scene only to show up into an asteroid field in outer space, you take the helm of the Millennium Falcon being chased by TIE fighters from the evil empire. The objective is to lure your foes into the massive floating space boulders for of course big points at the end if you get through this mission alive. Each time I play this eye-dizzying table filled with gadgets and action I bump into another activity involving the Millennium Falcon lifting up out of its place, rotating and revealing another parlor game tapping into the gambling spirit of Han Solo. This Han Solo table will challenge you until your eyeballs are drier than the Mojave desert and your fingers are cramped up like Redd Foxx in Sanford and son (I think I might be too old, lol) regardless of your physical strain that might occur, if you can master and uncover all of its secrets you will be known as the pinball Jedi of the universe or just receive a self high five.

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Last but definitely not least is Masters of the force, designed to be harmonically balanced between the two sides of the force. On the left red representing death and destruction and on the right you have blue harkening the spirit of justice and peace. Beautifully set up with a set of masters of all signifying the constant struggle, rebirth for universal balance Masters of the force is one of the best to look at tables in my opinion. When first glancing at this play table it doesn’t seem as if it is filled with all the bell and the whistles like our previous affair like Han Solo’s table. Though as you delve deeper into this bad boy you will reveal the mysteries of the two sides. On the dark side you will find floating pyramids that can magnetize and spin your pinball into a frenzy in midair propelling it across the table. Now on the light side, target the Holocron and you will activate one of a few different activities one in which will have you gain access to a crazy puzzles that will have you target your ball into multiple target switches tucked into pocket holes some hidden by sharp corners or strategically positioned curved pathways. All of this of course is all for those beautiful, beautiful points, I honestly couldn’t tell you because out of countless attempts (actually 7) I couldn’t activate all switches inside of this puzzles. Now back to the dark side  you will find yourself uncovering many secret passageways to gain entry to so that you can push your ball into unknown spaces, As you set your eyes on the path ahead many revelations will be brought before you. The main attraction of this play table is located front and center, controlled by the Force-meter the legendary fights of classic saga will play right in front of your eyes in two ways. First, you will notice cut-outs of members of Jedis of both dark and light sides sliding left to right attacking one another while you attempt to hit them with your ball while trying to pop off some points while they’re in the thick of it. Second, you will see a full motion video display at first you will notice a still shot of a scene or character from the films watch while this come alive right smack dab in the front of the table directly above the paddles this display is visualizing what the cut out characters or playing out. Zen Studios set out to create a perfectly balanced play table in design they succeeded by giving us a beauty to look at with footage of the epic story on a nice sized screen while having live cut out action dance about the play table centerpiece. We are given plenty to discover and much to stand in awe over Masters of the force is a shout out to great pinball artistry of long, long ago.

All in all while not being a virtual pinball enthusiast I must say that Zen Studios like before with games like Castle Storm (Here’s my past review on it) has opened my eyes to new, fun ways to play classic genres. I now am a fan of the Zen pinball 2 franchise and look forward to all future play tables yet to be released.

sine mora gameplay

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Sine Mora is a game developed by Hungarian and Japanese game developers Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture. They have been well received and have been made available on PC, many consoles including the OUYA, as well as receiving mobile game releases. I can’t speak on the merit of the mobile adaptations of the game because I played the game on PC, so consider this a review of how the game plays on PC and consoles.

The game itself is a horizontal shooter where the gameplay involves controlling airplanes through a barrage of projectiles while attacking your opponents. In terms of bullet hell it isn’t as hellish as some other games I’ve played but challenging nonetheless. The challenge largely comes from the bosses, whom can be frustrating if your weapons aren’t leveled up enough. The game doesn’t involve skills as much as it involves strategy due to two factors: capsules and special attacks. Different capsules have different effect, which can save your life when dodging especially difficult bullet patterns or a barrage. Special attacks depend on the character you’re playing. Special attacks tremendously help when you’re trying to finish off bosses when used wisely. The game can be played either in story or arcade mode, with only arcade mode having the most difficult settings, hard and insane.

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I would highly recommend this game if it wasn’t for the life system and the game’s pace. You’re “alive” (your plane doesn’t randomly blow up) as long as your timer doesn’t run out. This would be perfect if the game was more rapid, or the landscape progressed along with the player, but no. The screen drags along to an almost unbearable snail pace. Your time gauge only get replenished if you get the appropriate powerups and kill enemies. This is extremely inconvenient when you’re in the hard or expert mode with less time in a part of the game with barely any enemies. In story mode they were obviously designed as exercises in control with cramped spaces and few enemies in the way, but they’re needless and frustrating when you’re praying the next giant slug comes out so you can replenish your time gauge seconds away from instant death when you haven’t even been hit by one thing! Even the great capsules you can’t use in story mode don’t make up for this major flaw.

Even in story mode this was frustrating.

Even in story mode this was frustrating.

Not only does it make it inconvenient to play in arcade mode, but the game itself feels dragged out when playing in story mode. The cut scenes even have a fast forward option if you don’t want to spend 5 minutes looking at footage of planes flying. Hell even when you play the game there are “cut scenes” with the plane flying by itself, but there are no different camera angles, transitions, or anything else that would prohibit the player from flying normally or continuing to play.

When you’re buying this game consider you’re only getting it for the story mode. The story itself is pretty good, although a bit confusing with anthro animals and planets and races and whatnot. This however did not keep me from enjoying the characters whom had good dialogue and made me more interested in the story. When story mode is finished you unlock an encyclopedia with all the info on the world of Sine Mora, which I’m halfway through and found pretty well done. A lot of thought went into this game; if it weren’t for its fatal flaws it would’ve been another memorable shooter, and what a shame. This is definitely a game made with love, considering how much planing went into a story where you only see the characters on the side of a dialogue box.

Durak

I love Durak, she’s a badass!

Sine Mora is a good game, but you should only expect to kill a few hours with it since it has low replay value. Try it if you want to but, just don’t pay full price for it.

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South Park on TV can be a vulgar and shocking show. It can be crude yet hysterical, poking fun at celebrities, social trends and issues, anything and everything under the sun. When the released their movie in theaters back in 1999, having more freedom from censorship, the movie reached new levels of raunch and shocking their audience. Even now the show finds new ways to shock people. However, this game blows all of that out of the water! If you are someone who doesn’t like how far South Park pushes the limits, let me give you your review, stay away from this game. For all those who like South Park and RPGs and want to know if this game is any good, the answer is…

Yes, not only is this game fun, its hysterical and outright shocking at times. And I mean seriously shocking, I hesitate to mention to mention some of these moments as it would take away knowing what you will see. But there were a few instances where I had to pick my jaw up off the ground due to what I was looking at. But a game can’t survive on shock factor alone, how was the actual game?

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The game starts with you creating a silent protagonist who moves to South Park with a mysterious past. From there you meet the other kids who happen to be having a LARPing session. You can choose from one of four classes; Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Jew. Yes, Jew. They all play pretty similar aside from their special abilities and attacks. You play with Cartman’s faction of Humans and Kyle’s faction of Elves and eventually decide who’s side you want to join. From there you get involved in an adventure way bigger than you and meet just about all the colorful characters of South Park. From the goth kids, to Al Gore, just about every South Park Character is in this game. This game is also filled with tons of easter eggs long time and even short term fans of the show will be able to appreciate.

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The mechanics of the game is like Paper Mario. You and a single partner fight in turn based RPG style battles, Cartman remarks that it’s lame but that’s the way they are playing. In battle, you choose an attack, magic, buffs/debuffs, or super and either hit the on screen buttons or press the attack button when you character glimmers for adding attack power. There are some magic effects such as gross out and on fire that add strategy to your battles, overall it’s a pretty simple battle system just about anyone can pick up. Outside of battle you can explore a fully realized South Park. You can walk around, enter people’s houses and businesses and such for a plethora of collectables and surprises.

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This game looks just like an episode of the show. If someone walked in on you they might think you’re watching the show, if the FCC just decided not to care about them anymore. As mentioned before, if you dislike the show, you’ll hate the game. The vulgarity will turn someone people off, and that might be the only downside I could find about the game. It was reported some players experienced a lot of bugs and framerate drops. I can say that for me the game never crashed, though sometimes in exiting one part of the map and entering another there was a little drop in framerate.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is a fun RPG that took me roughly 15 hours to complete. With tons of collectibles and side missions, easter eggs, social commentary and even jokes on the video game industry itself, this game will having you either laughing on the floor or backing away in disgust. If you know this type of humor isn’t for you, stay away. However if you can get past that type of humor or enjoy it, you’ll be presented with a fun hysterical game.

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a crooked mile

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a crooked mile

Have you ever wanted to see your favorite childhood fairytale characters as scumbags, liars, criminals, and prostitutes? The Wolf Among Us is a five part point and click game by Telltale Games letting you do just that. Based on the Fables comic book series, you play as Bigby – the human version of the Big Bad Wolf. You’re the sheriff in Fabletown – an underground community of fairytale characters who have lost their home world. For the past two episodes, Bigby has been investigating the murders of two prostitutes, with the help of Snow White.

In this episode, everything you thought to be true about the villains is wrong. By the end of episode three, you find out that there are bigger powers at play – not just Ichabod Crane acting out his sick and twisted fantasies. We find out about a new villain – The Crooked Man. He might be the real mastermind behind the crimes, but with the way the plot twists, you never know.

I think episode three has been the best so far because the plot is paced better than the other two episodes. I never felt like I was in a cut scene too long, or clicking on clues too long. There were just enough quick time events and dialogue woven throughout the game to keep it interesting. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t feel like the episode was too short, like I did with episode two. I never felt like the creators put all their eggs in one basket in one scene. Because of this, I say The Wolf Among Us – A Crooked Mile is a must buy.

The Wolf Among Us is available on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

By Gehennakat On 25 Mar, 2014 At 06:12 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
Delsin

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Delsin

I hate inFAMOUS: Second Son. Not in a bad way, but in the way that I can’t seem to get anything done (that includes job, house, family, etc.). I’m not talking about bugs or glitches either. The problem is that publisher Sony Computer Entertainment and developer Sucker Punch Productions have created such a realistic sandbox that I spend most of my time running, leaping, and flying that I forget what mission I was on or what I was doing to begin with, but I digress.

Smoke1inFAMOUS: Second Son begins 7 years after the events of inFAMOUS 2 in New Marais after Cole MacGrath’s heroic sacrifice. The new protagonist is Delsin Rowe and he’s portrayed as an Akomish Native American. Now the tribe is actually fictional, but as a Native American I’m glad they’ve actually included someone with a heritage to base his personality and interactions off of. Delsin lives in Washington amongst his tribe and is also the resident trouble maker. Being a graffiti artist, Delsin has been in conflict with the local authorities on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for Delsin, the local constable is none other than his brother Reggie. I’m going to avoid story spoilers for the sake of those who haven’t been playing and just say after a confrontation Delsin learns he is what they call a conduit. All conduits have now been dubbed bio-terrorists by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) and are being rounded up and stored away or tested on. After a few cut scenes and a short tutorial Delsin finds himself in Seattle on the hunt for those who have wronged his tribe.

Like inFAMOUS 2, there is a karmic scale that impacts what abilities and powers can be upgraded by the choices you make during the game. I focused on a “Good Boy” play through and maintained that, for the most part, through until the conclusion. Now karmic choices play out in certain levels, but even running through the street there are opportunities abound to be the daring do gooder or an all-around evil bastard. As an evil doer you can harass street musicians, break up activists who are against conduits, execute DUP soldiers, etc. As you come across other conduits you’re also given the opportunity to corrupt or redeem them to continue on whatever path you choose. As the good guy you can heal people caught in the cross fire, destroy drug stashes, and even take down DUP grunts with non-lethal means. Once you choose your focus, your powers will follow suit. Once I absorbed my neon powers and reached guardian level karma I was able to slow time and zoom in for accurate sniper shots. Target’s heads are highlighted red for an evil execution or blue on their feet and legs for an immobilization.

neon dashI think one of the more annoying problems with the original two inFAMOUS titles was the means of locomotion. Cole had some cool ways to get around, but it felt like it still took forever to get anywhere. This is why I hate the abilities in this new game (sarcasm). Delsin’s first two powers are a smoke ability and a neon charged ability, and both can get you around town in a matter of seconds. The smoke dash ability covers ground while leaving you unexposed to attacks until you form back together. This also plays into the myriad of vents now located on buildings that let you dash into the ducting only to materialize on the roof instead of manually scaling the side of 5 story building. The neon abilities answer to this a sprint that moves at light speed (think the Flash) and lets him run up the side of buildings to get to the top. So why do I hate this? Mainly because I’d start a level and begin making my way to the objective only to get sidetracked by the scenery, or a tall building I wanted to vault, DUP on the street, blast shards (yes, those are back), etc. The means of getting around Seattle vary and are a blast. I won’t spoil the last two abilities or how Delsin comes about acquiring them, but they also make for some fun ways to get around town. Not only that, but the ability to trade out your powers on the fly is fun too. Air dropping into a group of DUP from the rooftop, to disable them with smoke headshots, to then stealing some neon from a nearby sign to finish of the rest with a stasis grenade never gets old. You’re limited by your creativity… and your ability to finish an actual level without being distracted.

smoke chainThe devs at Sucker Punch deserve as much kudos as they can get because they’ve created a truly beautiful next gen console experience. I’ve heard people complaining that the characters are bland and uninteresting, but I disagree. I’d wager these are the people who played the game for 3 days straight without sleep or human interaction. Games like this are like a great meal and need to be savored. The cut scenes, facial expressions, and voice acting are all top notch and fit well within the story given to us. My only grievance (and it’s little) is the inclusion of a bad karmic side. Yes, I know it gives more options and a bit more depth, but it doesn’t flow with what we see of Delsin, those he cares about, or sense of community his tribe instills in him. The city of Seattle needs to be addressed as well because it seems like a living breathing organism. From the buildings, to the lighting, to the pedestrians on the streets Sucker Punch has crafted a very realistic city for us to play in. This is evident in the audio for the game as well. You can stop on the corner and just listen to everything that’s going around. The last big tip of the hat to Sucker Punch is the lighting, particles, and physics of the environments. Delsin’s smoke and neon abilities are absolutely gorgeous (so is one of his last ones) to behold, with lights dancing off the walls as you zip around, to the small particles of smoke and fire coming from Delsin as he teleports. Physics come into play even more since now you can actually destroy objects in the environments instead of trying to scale them all.

neon ground poundWith all the next gen titles coming out I’d be remiss not to encourage any PS4 owner to check out inFAMOUS: Second Son and experience everything it has to offer. In addition, there was a day one patch that added about 4-5 hours of extra gameplay and an online hunt dubbed “Paper Trails” (we will be doing a follow up on this DLC). This combined with fantastic acting, animation, gameplay, and story will make sure inFAMOUS: Second Son doesn’t disappear into a puff of smoke.

(9.0 out of 10)

_-Alpha-Protocol-PC-_

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Have you ever watched a Bond film and thought “that’s what I want to do”? Well, you might change your mind after you play Alpha Protocol. Not because the game is specifically bad, but because you’ll get a feel of what being a spy in the field is actually like.

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Alpha Protocol is an action role-playing stealth game. What a mouthful, but accurate. It was released in 2010, and for a four year old game it feels…older. That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  Most gamers would say their favorites are from a generation of consoles that are no longer distributed, but those games are chosen quite often out of nostalgia. On the one hand those games were the best of their time, but on the other hand they fall short compared to some modern innovations. The point here is that Alpha Protocol feels like one of those games. Something you loved for what it was back when you played it the first time, but over the years it has lost its edge.

To start, Alpha Protocol is truly a spy story. You are Michael Thorton, a new recruit in the Alpha Protocol program, and your job is to serve your country and stop the bad guys. Sounds simple enough given this is the idea behind more than few games. However, you are a spy. Your job is to get things done with minimal exposure. Whether you kill everyone in your way or just leave them with a tortuous headache, no one should know you’re there. Stealth is a great game mechanic, and Alpha Protocol does a great job of using it. Except for the bugs.

Let me talk about those for a moment because most of the issues I had with this game stem from bugged stealth mechanics. There were times when I would be crouched behind a wall, completely out of sight and fully buffed in sound dampening, and taking a few steps alerted a guard more than ten feet away. This would then alert every guard on the map. And if I should come out of cover and actually be seen, one guard would be enough to expose my location to every guard who would then proceed to start shooting. It’s easy enough to rid yourself of guards and turn off an alarm, but in a minute I’ll tell you why this was such a problem.

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This game is good. It’s hard to call it great, and at times it isn’t all that fun, but it’s good. Agent Thorton is betrayed on his first assignment for Alpha Protocol and is set on a path to make things right. Here is where my favorite aspect of the game comes in. Choice. As Thorton you get to choose what happens. How you interact with others can determine how they respond to you and your actions. Gaining friendship has advantages, but so does rivalry. Who you get on your side can change the outcome; deciding who to ally with and who to piss off, that’s the trick. This game requires you to pay attention. Between gathered intelligence, dossier information, and other tidbits you collect along the way there is an abundance of knowledge. Knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there, and who you’re facing will make things far easier. The game doesn’t do all the thinking for you. The missions you choose to do, and the order you choose to do them in, also has impact.

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That’s all great, but how do you actually play? It’s simple enough. There is combat, stealth, hacking, and collecting. In combat you can put points into different weapons: shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols, and hands. There are also gadgets; from grenades, to flash bangs, to health kits, you can carry a minimal set into missions and use them for different situations. Stealth, while not a requirement in mission, is a good way to get all that you want. Hacking is dealt with in three ways: computers, keypads, and safes. Hacking a computer requires finding a series of non-moving letters and numbers amongst a stream of flashing figures. A keypad is simply hacked by matching numbers is ascending order to their circuit. A safe is a lock picking screen where you move pins into position and click them in place. Collecting is just what it sounds like. Make sure you explore every room because information, money, and security systems may be hiding anywhere (which is useful when you are lacking cash to buy that armor you want). You will spend the majority of the game working on these skills, getting used to being in cover and sneaking into position, only to reach “boss” fights and the final mission.

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Remember when I said how bugged the stealth system was? Here is where that becomes important. Boss fights, including most of the final mission, are tough. Add in the fact that stealth becomes useless and they get tougher. Here, fight a helicopter that can shoot you through cover, never loses target lock, and you have to fire one RPG at a time at it and those RPGs are scattered across the map. On top of that, here are five men who are going to shoot you, chase you, and know where you are because the helicopter never loses target lock. And if one enemy knows where you are, they all do. It’s infuriating.

I will say that I had fun with this game. The story pulls you in, and you feel like a true spy when things go right. The stealth is fantastic, when it works. The characters are ranging, and often have unexpected stories. I plan to try it again, make some different choices and see what happens, but I do like where my initial instincts lead. And that’s good. This isn’t a game that says “here, make a choice” and then gives you a cookie cutter ending. Who you decide to be will change the path, and that’s nice to see.

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There are other things I could cover. How bad targeting is, how wonky movement can be, how bad pathing is for NPCs, how many boss fights I won because of glitches…

If I were to recommend this game it would be lightly. If you like stealth games and spy stories try it out. If you don’t, skip it. Alpha Protocol requires dedication. It asks you to sit down, pay attention, and accept that things will not always go the way you want. You may do a bit of reloading, but know that the only save option is auto saves.

With all that said, you can always use brute force, and then stealth doesn’t matter so much. It will take more time, you’ll face more enemies, and you may lose out on some of the finer points, but at least you’ll know why all the guards are after you.

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