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No GravatarWhen I first began playing BioShock Infinite, I had a tough time getting into it.  Not because the game isn’t interesting.  It pulls you in pretty quickly with its beautiful graphics and fascinating storyline.  I was just mad that the game was vastly different in setting and tone then the original BioShock, which is one of my favorite games of all time.  I wanted BioShock Infinite to be in Rapture or somewhere like Rapture.  I actually stopped playing the game and went back to play the original several times before I finally forced myself to play Infinite.  It was a good thing that I did too.  Infinite is an absolutely amazing game, and I shouldn’t have compared it to the original.  Trying to make a game too much like the original BioShock only ends in mediocre sequels (BioShock 2).  I think that Irrational HAD to pick a different setting in order to have an effective story.  So, after getting over that self-imposed hurdle, I found that Infinite is actually one of my favorite games ever.

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Overview

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K in 2013 for PS3, XBox360, and PC.  Is it is the second sequel of the much loved original BioShock.  It uses a modified version of Unreal Engine 3 and has also been praised for its graphics, setting, and story.  Despite being a BioShock game, it departs from the Rapture-setting and instead focuses on its own dystopia of Columbia. BioShock: The Collection comes out in September, which is a remastered version for the current generation of all three BioShock games.  For the purpose of this review, I will be concentrating on the PS3 version only.

Story

The original BioShock had an amazingly intricate story that made several play-throughs enjoyable because of all of the little details.  BioShock Infinite steps it up to a completely different level.  The story is absolutely amazing.  It follows Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton and Battle of Wounded Knee vet, who has acquired a massive amount of debt.  To repay this debt, he is hired to rescue, Elizabeth, a woman who has been imprisoned since childhood in a city called Columbia.

Columbia is not a normal city, though.  The place floats in the sky (don’t worry if it sounds ridiculous; it’s very well explained) and is run by the prophet Zachary Comstock, a religious fantastic.  Like the original BioShock, Columbia is a city that has gone wrong, but it also highlights issues such as: racism, religious extremism, socio-economic struggles, American exceptionalism, the corruption of power, and dealing with past mistakes.  As you can see, Infinite is not a one-trick pony when it comes to thematic elements.  I am not even sure what part is better: the story or the setting.  The story is amazing, don’t get me wrong.  Elizabeth is probably one of the best, well-thought out, well-developed female characters ever done in a video game.  However, I also find myself playing Infinite just to explore Columbia (it is really that cool).  I love the early 1900s/steampunk style to it as well.  It’s just overall very well done.  There aren’t many games like it, especially in the first-person shooter style.

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Game Play

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I’m pretty picky about my first-person shooters.  I’m not really that into most multi-player games, and I hate fps campaign modes that are too short and without substance.  BioShock Infinite, first of all, is worth the price  (I think it may be on PlayStation Plus now, though) because of its length, which is perfect for a fps game.

The game play, however, is also amazingly well-done.  With Infinite, you get a fun, smooth-flowing fps game with a few added elements that push this game up to a 10.  First, there is the use of plasmas…um, I mean vigors, which gives the “BioShock” power.  Then there is also the use of infusions and gear, which give some added elements of game play, such as more health, shields, and salts as well as some special “perks” from the gear.  Second, there is the use of the sky-line hooks and open-environment that make this game incredibly fun to play.  The first time I got on a sky-line, it felt like I was on a freaking roller-coaster.  You can zip around and melee enemies from above, jump on floating air ships, and fire your weapon while swinging around.  Third, you get Elizabeth as a sidekick, who helps out Booker during battles.  The AI for her is absolutely brilliant.  It really is a new way to play an fps.

These added elements make the game so much fun.  The game never felt repetitive.  I never got bored with the game either, especially with all of the fun vigors I got to use.  Overall, I have not seen many single-player fps games out on the market quite like this.

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Graphics

This game highlights the pinnacle of what the PS3 can handle graphics-wise and was pretty much one of the best-looking games for the PS3 (if not the best).  When I got my first glimpse of Columbia, all I could do was go, “WOW!”  After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I began really enjoy how amazing the setting really is.  Even if you don’t like first-person shooters, the game is worth seeing just for how truly beautiful it looks.

Voice Acting

As you might have known, Troy Baker is my favorite voice actor.  What you might not have known, is that I had no freaking clue who the man was before I played this game (*gasps can be heard from across the Internet*).  Yep, that’s right.  No clue.  But I enjoyed listening to Booker DeWitt so much that decided to look Troy up and the rest is pretty much history.  In seriousness, though, the voice acting is top notch.  From Troy who plays the quiet, soft-spoken but flawed Booker to the very-talented Courtnee Draper, who does Elizabeth’s voice, the actors make the game that much more enjoyable.  Even the Lutece twins are pretty awesome and give some added humor to the game.  By the way, this game is still my favorite Troy Baker game.

Music

I usually do not include a game’s musical score in my reviews, but I decided to add it to this one because the music in Infinite is so great.  Besides having a great score for battles and exploring, you have the added bonus of all sorts of popular songs being done in an early 20th-century style.  There are a lot of Easter-egg tunes to hear, but I don’t want to go into it because I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t played the game yet (you should).

Overall

There really isn’t anything that I can knock this game on, and trust me, if I see something wrong, I will say something.  BioShock Infinite is just an amazing game.  I know this review is very glowing, and I can’t find anything to complain about.  For the most part, the complaints that I have seen about this game are a little unfounded.  Here are some and my response to them:

Complaint: The story is too complicated, especially the ending.

Response: Sorry, it’s not the game’s fault that you can’t figure it out.

Complaint: The game should have been third-person not first-person, since it has a lot of narration from Booker.  You are the character when you inhabit a first-person perspective, hence there should be no narration.

Response: That’s like saying if you read a book that is in first-person narration that YOU are the character.  Not so.  You are just getting it from the first-person perspective.  Even though you control Booker from the first person, you are not Booker. Sorry.

Complaint: It’s not enough like the original BioShock. (This was my original complaint.)

Response: If you want to play the original BioShock, play the original.  If the game was too much like the original, we’d get a mediocre re-hash like BioShock 2.  The game plays tribute enough to the original but is still it’s own game.

Complaint: I didn’t like the hordes of people coming at you in battle.  It felt like filler.

Response: Um, if you don’t like fighting in a first-person shooter game, then you probably shouldn’t be playing these types of games.  Just saying.

Complaint: It’s too gory.

Response: Uh, last time I checked, it was a BioShock game AND a first-person shooter.  Considering that the original had tinge of the horror-genre to it, Infinite holds up to the franchise.  If it’s too gory, may I suggest a game like Little Big Planet, instead?

Complaint: Elizabeth is too much like a damsel in distress.

Response: I think that she takes care of herself just fine, but apparently you must have missed those parts of the game.  Sure she’s trapped at the beginning, but there is a reason she can’t get out herself, and she also takes charge for a lot of the game.  May I suggest that you replay it and pay attention?

I think the biggest issue is that some of these critics want this game to not be a first-person shooter, BioShock game.  I think they are looking for something that they were never going to find and never should find in this game.  I don’t even know what to tell them there.  I enjoyed the heck out of it.  Infinite will be one of those games I will replay many, many times.  In my humble opinion, it is just that good.

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Puzzle Games are one of the oldest gaming genres around and have always been there in some form or another. And now the genre has become dominated by match 3 games which are becoming increasingly stale. So how do you do something new with something that has worn out its stay? By playing Tumblestone, that’s how.

Tumblestone does the unthinkable and actually makes the format fun again. . You must match 3 Tumblestones of the same colour without being blocked by a Tumblestone of a different colour. This may seem simple, by as this is a puzzle game from the developers that brought us, The Bridge, this won’t be as easy as you might think. To help you get started, the game starts out with easy levels then gradually ramps up the difficulty. Don’t worry about high scores or running out of moves here. The goal isn’t to play this like you would Candy Crush, but rather think the solutions through. This is a thinking person’s match 3 game and wants you not to rush through it. There is a solution to each puzzle and finding it is extremely satisfying. The game slowly introduces new elements that force you to change your strategy and learn and adapt. That may seem annoying and difficult, but is actually one of the more appealing aspects of the games. The changes Tumblestone throws at you, do not cause annoyance but rather are more thought provoking. The game has taken what is thought of as a throwaway genre and made it a fun game that requires effort and gives satisfaction.

Tumblestone has an excellent story mode as well. You play as Queens and Kings based on historical figures and literary figures, and other assorted unique characters, and the story mode is excellent. The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild did a great job and made me laugh several times. It’s cute and charming and not at all what you would expect from a match 3 game.

The last two things to discuss are the multiplayer mode and the music. The music is catchy and stands out and I know I keep saying that, but it’s so true in this case. The music is nothing like the disposable tunes you often here in simple puzzle games but rather full on music that you can truly enjoy listening to. It really helps bring the fun of the game back to forefront and just make you smile while playing.

The multiplayer is one of the best I’ve seen in a puzzle game in years. This is a truly competitive multiplayer and I had some great games playing with others. There are different modes like Tug-of-war, Battle Mode and Race Mode, all of which give a lot of diversity to the gameplay. Playing with others really opened my eyes to what can be done with this genre of games.

All in all, this is a great puzzle game and I highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: I was provided a code for this game

 

 

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No GravatarThere are not many games like The Last of Us.  It’s one of the few gems that really shine in a sea of mediocrity.  In a way, it is pretty much perfect when it comes to games.  When I first played it, I actively looked for things to ding this game on, knowing all of the glowing reviews it got.  However, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.  Nothing.  The game is about as close to perfect as you are going to get.  Here are my reasons:

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Overview

The Last of Us is a third-person action/horror/survival game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony in 2013 for PS3 only.  The game engine is an in-house blend and uses the Havoc engine for the physics side.  It was one of the last games for the PS3 that demonstrated just about all the console could handle (BioShock Infinite was the other), and it was hailed for its graphics, game play, and story.  It came out again in 2014 as a remastered version for PlayStation 4, but for the purposes of this review, I am only looking at the original.

Story

The setting takes place twenty years after a fungal infection spreads across the United States, turning the infected into zombies.  The protagonist, Joel, is tasked with transporting a young girl across America to a resistance group who believes that she may be the cure to the infection.  To avoid any spoilers, there is not much else that will be discussed here.  However, one point should be mentioned:

The story is a bit depressing, being a survival horror story and all.  There are some lighter elements to it, but the overall tone is pretty dark and gritty.  This made–for me at least–it a bit hard to push through at some points.  This is probably why it took me so long to finish it.  However, this is not something that I can knock the game on.  That is just the genre, and for the genre, it is excellent.  The story feels gritty and realistic.  The characters feel real and believable.  Overall, there is nothing that could actually be better, and there are not many video games–if any–that I can say have a better quality story.

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Game play

If you’ve played any of the Uncharted games, then you will know pretty much how The Last of Us will play.   If you have not played the Uncharted games, it is a third-person action game that focuses on the elements of sneak, duck and cover shooting, and climbing and exploring.  Unlike many traditional sneak games, you can go about most areas without having to sneak perfectly.  You can go in guns-blazing if you would like, though this is not recommended on the more difficult settings (you will never find enough supplies for that).

Overall, the game play is sharp and responsive.  There is a good mix of sneaking, shooting, and climbing.  This is a characteristic that Naughty Dog has been perfecting since Uncharted 2.  Nothing felt too repetitive.  They even threw in some surprises that I wasn’t expecting, though I probably should have since it borrowed from Uncharted 3.  The game play length was perfect for the type of game as well and was overall pretty darned fun to play.

Graphics

The graphics for The Last of Us were pretty much the best that one could get for the PS3’s limitations (only BioShock Infinite revivals it).  The characters are amazingly realistic and the setting is richly detailed.  This is one of the reasons why I am still scratching my head at the fact that Naughty Dog remastered it for PS4.  What is there exactly to remaster?  I can understand older games like Final Fantasy X/X-2 being done in HD, but I am still trying to figure out why I need to re-buy this game on PS4 when it looks so beautiful for PS3.

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Acting

Probably one of the coolest elements of this game doesn’t even have to do with the game play.  It’s the fact that Naughty Dog went with voice and motion capture to do the cut scenes and picked some exceptional acting talent.  Now, if you have never read any of my articles before or do not follow me on Twitter, you may not know that Troy Baker IS my favorite voice actor.  So, you can imagine that it was an absolute treat getting to listen to him for the entire game.  It was even MORE amazing to get to see the cut-scenes where they did the motion capture.  This was what probably made all of the cut-scenes so memorable, and it also helped with the realism of the story.  Besides Troy, we also have the talents of Ashley Johnson (amazing as Ellie), Annie Wersching (from 24), and freaking Nolan North (Mr. Nathan Drake himself).  Overall, it was an amazing cast.  They could not have picked better people.

Overall

Again, I tried to knock this game on something, but I really couldn’t  One thing that I wanted to complain about was the fact that I will probably never play this game again.  For me, the story is a little bit too depressing for me to do a couple of repeat play-throughs.  Also, now that I know the ending, there’s not the same drive to try and play it again.  However, I don’t think the multiple-playability of a game should be considered in a rating.  The game was long enough that I definitely got my money’s worth out of it.

The Last of Us covers all of the areas that I demand out of a great game:  amazing story, fun game play, beautiful graphics, and the voice talent of Troy Baker.  During this game, I cried both tears of joy and despair.  I was yelling at the screen many times.  I covered my eyes at certain parts.  Some places even left my jaw on the floor.  In the end, this game did what I do require out of any good story, which is this: When it was all over, all I could do is sit there for an hour and ponder the whole thing over.  If that isn’t perfection, then I don’t know what is.

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No GravatarKerbal Space Program , which was first published and developed for PC by Squad in 2011, has had a massive following in the PC gaming community ever since. This week, Squad released the game for consoles; Playstation 4 on July 12, Xbox One on July 15, witha version on Wii U set to release this winter. The game lets you build spaceships ranging from scientifically accurate ones to the down right ridiculous and lets you launch them into space. Your astronauts are called Kerbals – who resemble tiny green space men. The far reaching goal for the game is to land on the moon, or “mun,” in Kerbal speak, but most players are doing well to get off of the ground.

When you launch the game for the first time, it can be very intimidating. The tutorials are a rather long read and show you what an extreme amount of customizing goes in to a successful launch of your vessel into space. It can be a lot to take in and it may seem like the game wouldn’t be fun unless you have a degree in aerodynamics, but that’s where you would be wrong. There are gamers out there who play this game for hours on end and make correct rockets that accomplish the missions they set out to do. Then there are gamers who spend the same amount of time building basic spaceships that crash and burn on every mission. Both types of gamers enjoy this game just as much. Never has there been a game where most of the fun comes from failing miserably.

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The console version of this game is pretty much an exact port from the PC version which is only played with mouse and keyboard. On the console version, the left stick controls the mouse pointer. This makes lining up the parts of your spaceships difficult and setting numerical parameters difficult as well. With a mouse and keyboard, you get much more control over lining up the parts exactly where they need to go. Another downside to the console version is the amount of reading for the tutorial section. The font size is very small and I had to sit right up against the TV in order to see it. I would have recommended to split up the instructions into more steps to click through so the font size could be larger on the screen and the game can be played from further away. Kerbal Space Program is not really the type of game where you want to skip the tutorial, so I think the tutorial section could have been configured better for consoles.

Even though the console version of the game does have some control scheme issues, Kerbal Space Program is not a game to miss out on. I put off playing it for a long time because I thought it looked too difficult for someone like myself who has no background in space travel outside of Star Wars. However, when I saw how happy my Kerbal astronaut looked as I was launching him to his death, I knew this game would break me of my perfectionist thinking that I had to understand all the ins and outs of space travel in order to enjoy this game.

Kerbal Space Program is $40 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Fantasy games and point and click games are a match made in heaven. I do not mean stuff like Telltale’s Game of Thrones, but rather high fantasy. That said, a humorous take on the genre is also good.  The book of Unwritten tales was a great game that took the fantasy genre on its head and made it a fun experience.  It had well developed characters and plots and great interactivity that allowed for a unique gaming experience.

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Now years later, Nordic Games has brought The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 to Wii U and the result is amazing. The game improves on the original in almost every way. The graphics are better, the controls are more intuitive and the story is just bonkers. Imagine the most epic story, worthy of Lord of the Rings, then imagine it turned on its head and mocked to hell and back. That comes somewhat close. The protagonists have new goals to achieve and while this is a parody of fantasy games, their journeys are worth following. The game is extremely well written and plotted and the characters are believable despite the setting. The game is hilarious and I have to admit that I laughed out loud so many times that I lost count.

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The game controls well and is much more intuitive than the first game was. The visuals shine far better as well and the result is amazing. We have a game that is a big improvement on an already great original. The music is also great and really helps get you into the game. I would say that this game has some of the best video game music that I have heard all year.

Nordic Games has done a great job with bringing this game to Wii U and they deserve a lot of praise for that. This is a great port and plays to the Wii U’s strengths. All in all, I have to recommend this game for anyone with a Wii U, who enjoys point and click games. You will not regret getting it.

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I have always liked fighting games even if I have never been very big into the FGC. I loved games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken but I was always aware of Guilty Gear. It was that game that my friends would tell me about and let me play when I could. Guilty Gear has always been so different from most fighting games, it has been more intense for lack of a better word. If other fighting games are hard rock, then Guilty Gear is death metal. It has been a pioneer in the air-dasher subgenre of fighting games  and has brought many other innovations as well. The series has only gotten better with each installment and now in the Xrd subseries Guilty Gear is going all out.

Revelator and its predecessor Sign are two amazing works of art. The blend of 3D graphics and cell-shading to mimic the look of sprite art animation is amazing and creates the perfect look for the games. All of the effects and character animations are spot on and look great and true to the series.

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Music wise, Revelator continues the series’ tradition of awesome music. The character themes are great, the background music, menus and more all have great sounds, and the story mode has some amazing audio. The developers at Arc System Works spared no expense at creating an awesome sounding game here. The diverse metal soundtrack the game has is just epic and I could listen to these tunes for hours on end. The only audio part that was a downside for me was the changes in voice acting, with Xrd Revelator not having an English dub. Some didn’t like the English dub of Xrd Sign, but I did and I miss it since I think the voices fit the characters well.

Now that all those details are out of the way, let’s talk about the gameplay. The fighting in Xrd Sign was smooth yet sometimes a little too stiff with random elements popping in that could disrupt the flow of the game. These issues are mostly resolved with Revelator, giving a far smoother experience and much more straightforward. The combat mechanics are greatly refined and allow for more variety of attacks that what was commonly used in Xrd Sign. The matches I had were a big step up from Xrd Sign.

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Now to talk about the online play. The netcode is far superior in Revelator than in Xrd Sign and I have had no problems connecting for matches. I experienced no lag, no connection errors, just intense matches. The lobby system is also greatly overhauled, and Arc System Works did a great job with this new lobby system. It is far more inviting and easy to use, but with one downside. The larger the lobby, the weaker the connectivity becomes, and it can lead to the only online issues I have seen in the game. Hopefully this gets worked out soon, because aside from that, the online functions great.

The thing that needs to be mentioned the most, and that many are ecstatic over, is the tutorial mode. The tutorial in Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is the single greatest tutorial in any fighting game there ever was. I am not exaggerating. It helps walk you through the basics though unique interactions, and gradually helps you get the hang of the more difficult mechanics. The best pat of that is how it is incredibly welcoming to new players and helps them get into the game and not feel overwhelmed.  However, the tutorial doesn’t end there and does something I have never seen before. It gives Matchup tutorials. The game will actually teach you how you should fight against other characters (or at least make suggestions for how to do it, since everyone can form their own strategy), which is the most welcome thing in the tutorial.

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Many people want to play fighting games, and Revelator wants to be that fighting game you will play. Xrd Sign was good but rough around the edges and didn’t have the best online, but Revelator has addressed this all. Revelator is Xrd Sign taken to the next level and done completely right. If you like fighting games, or even just want to try one, then this is a game for you. I must highly recommend it. This is a great game and I am excited to see what future support they have in mind for this series.

 

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Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice is the second of two Dragon Fantasy games on the Wii U. The first was a great game modelled after Dragon Quest but with several glitches that dragged it down in terms of enjoyment. So how does this one stack up?

The game from start to finish is more expanded than the first game, with combat and exploration revamped and redesigned. The game now takes more after other classic JRPGs as well as Dragon Quest. Its a nice direction to move in, rather than remain trying to do the same thing over and over. It also helps the game pay tribute to more of the great JRPGs that came before this.

Visually the game looks much better than the first game, almost on another level really. The music is also vastly improved over the original game. In fact almost everything across the board is bigger, better and more improved. A better storyline, better combat and gameplay, and better interactions and exploration. It is like the developers looked at the first game and challenged themselves to do it again but on a grander scale and make it better. They largely succeeded except for one issue.

The game has a major shortcoming and it is the same as the first game. There are quite a few glitches in the game and some can force you to restart your play session altogether. You can start talking and suddenly be unable to click off, or unable to interact with the shop or worse off all, find a house you were looking for has now disappeared. None of the buttons will work during some glitches but the music continues. Granted, these are much more rare than in the original game, but they still show up from time to time and it takes away from the fun fact a lot.

I would suggest waiting for a patch but once these are fixed, this game will be very much worth getting.

 

 

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First Person Shooters have evolved a lot as a genre. From their beginnings with games like Wolfenstein 3D to modern games like Call of Duty and Halo, the genre has seen a lot of change. When Doom was big in the 90’s, there were many games that tried to ride its popularity but with characters who had more personality. From this we gained Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior, the latter being heavily based on the former, but with melee weapons as well. Both had characters spouting one liners and jokes that would not be acceptable today and had humor no longer seen as okay.

When Duke Nukem Forever finally launched after so many years of development, it was given a mixed reception in part because it was felt the game could not decide if it wanted to be a modern or retro style shooter. It tried to be both and didn’t succeed, so when a Shadow Warrior reboot was announced, many felt worried that the same would happen. However something else occurred in this instance and instead of making the same mistakes, they went in another direction.

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Shadow Warrior knows full well what it wants to be. It wants to be a modern take on the retro shooter while playing up what made the game awesome in the past.  The humor is offensive and crosses the line, but then it just crosses it again and again to the point of actually being funny. The game has classic ideas of how to use weapons and ammo but successfully integrates it with modern game mechanics.

You have regenerating health but there is a storyline explanation and it isn’t automatic, you have to manually activate it. That can be difficult in the heat of battle but you can also pick up health packs to heal like in classic games.  You can find money to upgrade your weapons as well and this will assist you in progressing in ways not done in most modern FPS games.

It isn’t perfect and there are issues in the game. The aiming is not perfect and can be off at times, the textures are abysmal in several areas and there is a lot of screen tearing and frame drops.  Some of the combat is just off as well as the game tries to encourage Melee Combat at times by not having enough ammo available. As well, the movement and jumping just seems to be programmed with mistimed jumps in mind. Still these faults ate not enough to make the game unplayable. There is enough fun to be had, especially with finding secrets the way you did in the original and other 90’s FPS games.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention that the story, while utterly ridiculous, is ridiculous in an amazing way. Its clichéd and stupid but extremely fun and is an enjoyable time. Lo Wang and his adventures are full of blood and gore but also humor and it’s a story that has consistency

Like I said, the game is not perfect but it knows full well what it wants to be and how to achieve that goal. I had fun playing this game and even with the issues it had, I felt like it was an awesome throwback to an older era. More importantly it was a throwback to an older era done right, and now with the upcoming sequel, I am even happier. The sequel looks to have fixed most of the issues I had with the game, including a rebalanced focus on weapons mechanics and new abilities.

Overall, while this is not perfect, it is a remake done the right way and I look forward to seeing what Devolver Digital has in store with the sequel beyond what they have already shown off.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 May, 2016 At 12:50 AM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarValkyria Chronicles is a game that received much acclaim when it first came out but was still overlooked by many.  Sega has remastered the PS3 classic for the PS4, and now it is available for a new generation of players to enjoy.

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Valkyria Chronicles is many things in one.  It tells a war story in the form of a Strategy RPG, but it isn’t a traditional Strategy RPG.  Unlike others in the genre, when you select a character to move in this game, you actually control them, and how they attack.  This makes Valkyria Chronicles a hybrid between Strategy RPGs and Third Person Shooters (albeit leaning heavily to the Strategy RPG Genre).  It is an interesting set up, and while others have tried it since, none have done it as well as Valkyria Chronicles.

The story is one that tells of wartime conflict, but with humor spliced in at times so you are not overwhelmed.  The steampunk-esque setting really does allow a lot to be done and the characters within are developed well.  In fact, much like a certain other Strategy RPG, this is a game where you will grow attached to all the characters and will want to save them from dying in battle.  Even the minor characters have distinct personalities that make them stand out as individuals.

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The art is done in a sketchbook art style, giving the game a unique look that helps convey its story better than it would have been able to with a  traditional art style. This style comes off as a serious cartoon about major issues.  It gives the game a sense of identity, a sense of difference.  This is a game that is not like others and that is a good thing.

The game may have elements of third person shooters mixed in with its strategy elements, but do not be misled as this is truly a strategy first game. You will have to coordinate your combatants and choose carefully who to bring to battle and who to save for later. The wrong pick of soldiers can lead to a crushing defeat, while a good pick can lead to a faster victory. There is a steep learning curve, much steeper than most Strategy RPGS due to the aforementioned unique combat, but it isn’t audience alienating as some other games can be.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second, which makes the art style truly stand out and look alive. The remastering includes an expert difficulty and the previous DLC and that is all.  To be honest, given the price this is being sold at, that is a good deal despite some complaints people may have about content. The game also includes Japanese voices and English subtitles and given that at some points, the English voice acting can get extremely annoying, this is a welcome addition. It isn’t that the voice work in English is bad as a whole, but some individual voiceovers are not exactly the best done. And given that there are a lot of cut scenes ( to be expected in an RPG), you might want an alternative.

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Aside from the steep learning curve and the occasionally spotty voice acting, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is a good package at a good price. The gameplay is solid and the visuals are well done. With solid combat and story, the game has something for everyone. I say that if you are a fan of strategy games and especially Strategy RPGs and have not yet played this game, then you really should check it out. It is an experience that you will not regret.

By Garrett Green On 8 May, 2016 At 12:54 AM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarThe game based on the movie based on the game, Ratchet and Clank for the PS4 is a charming, beautiful, and fun shooting platformer filled with gorgeous environments, fun weapons, and clever writing. Based on the 2002 game of the same name for the PS2, Ratchet and Clank is a reboot built from the ground up. While the story beats are similar, there’s enough different for long time fans to enjoy and a perfect place for newcomers to jump into the fray.

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One of the first things you’ll notice is how gorgeous this game looks. Everything from the characters to the environments to the lighting is simply beautiful and wonderfully detailed. It really is one of the best looking games I’ve seen to date. And that’s when everything is still and calm, when the action ramps up it’s literally an explosion of gorgeousness on screen. The explosions, the particle effects, tons and tons of bolts filling the screen while your enemies explode into bits… Truth be told it can sometimes be overwhelming. It didn’t happen too often but there were a few times that I could not make out what was going on for a second or two. But even with all this filling the screen, I never experienced any type of frame rate drops or stutter.

The story is a familiar one if you played the original Ratchet and Clank, with a few differences and twist. Told by Captain Qwark after the events of the story, he recants how our heroes met, banded together to stop the evil Alonzo Drek and Dr. Nefarious, and went from zeroes to heroes! (Excuse my Disney-ism) The writing and humor here are top notch and the characters are charming with a lot of heart. There are a few pacing issues with some of the cutscenes but it’s a very minor nitpick.

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But what truly matters in a game… is the gameplay, and it’s great. There are very few platformers out there anymore, but Insomnia reminds us that there is a place for a well done platformer in today’s gaming world. Jumping and shooting feel great, tether swings, jet backs, and grind boots all feel tight and fun. Insomnia really put love and care into their long time mascot. Another mechanic they’ve always been great at is coming up with wacky and fun guns. The variety is good, however old time fans will only see a few “new” guns with the rest being returns from the first game. Each gun gains levels simply by using them more and upgrades can be unlocked, rewarding the player for their play style.

All that being said, there are a few small disappointments this game has. There are a few levels where you pilot your space shape and they are all sort of “meh.” Not great, not bad, just sort of middle of the road. The controls for flying your ship aren’t as tight as the rest of the game. Also, once you finish a level and clear it out, it tends to stay that way. Only very few enemies respond once you clear out a level, making revisiting them to level up your guns hard and simply boring. However the counter to that is the game’s challenge mode, which is pretty much a new game plus mode. Not only do you keep all your guns, though not your equipment since they are all mostly tied into the story, but your guns gain the ability to level up further and become more powerful.

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All in all, it’s a great game. The action, the story, the characters are all fun and worth a play through. Whether you are a long time fan of the series or a newbie looking to jump into this universe, Ratchet and Clank is a game worth buying. And it’s only $40, it’s a full fledged game that has more gameplay than some $60 games out there for only $40. If you have a PS4, do yourself a favor and get this game.

REAL OTAKU GAMER is using WP-Gravatar