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By Jessica Brister On 24 Oct, 2015 At 04:44 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBefore there was even a concept of the life simulation franchise The Sims, there was another game that was out that was one of my favorites as a child. Jones in the Fast Lane, developed and published by Sierra Entertainment in 1990, was one of the most fun simulation games of the time. Not only did it have amazing graphics for the time, but the game play was top-notch. It was literally a life simulation game for “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

The game’s goals are simple get enough wealth, happiness, career, and education points and win. The game can be played one of three ways: just with one player, one player against the computer (the game calls him “Jones”), or up to four players. Of course, this was at a time before online gaming, so those four players actually had to be in the same room, taking turns on the computer. Remember the days of the family PC? This game catered to that crowd.


The player goes through a board-game style layout with different types of businesses including a factory, a bank, a grocery store, an appliance store, a clothing store, and so on. Players must get a job, make money, feed themselves each week, and find time to relax a bit. Of course, if they want to move up the ladder a bit, getting an education is a must. The player plays a week at a time instead of days. Everything is timed in the game, so walking to a place takes time, working takes time, taking a class takes time. Even going shopping takes time. When the time is up for each week, the next player goes. Each player must make sure that they plan out what they want to accomplish each week.

With everything that the player does, it creates points. Advance in your career? Points. Finish a class at the university? Points. Buy a hot tub? Points. Sit and do nothing in your apartment? Points. The goal points can be adjusted at the beginning of the game if you want a shorter or longer game. Jones in the Fast Lane may sound easy with these elements, but there are a lot of issues that can arise including: inflation or deflation, rent being due every week, needing new clothes every six weeks, getting robbed at the bank, and even applying for a job. It’s a truly fun game, and it’s even more fun with a bunch of people hovered around one computer.


For the time, Jones in the Fast lane had amazing 256-color VGA graphics, and it was also apparently one of the first games to run in Windows 3.0. The fact that I still love to play it twenty-five years later says something about the quality of the game. Even though it’s not the latest thing, because it’s designed almost like a board game, it really doesn’t matter how old it is. It will always feel like a great board game, and those never go out of style. Though it’s an old game, the graphics aren’t what I would say are headache-inducing like some of the ones in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s just one of those special games that you always want to go back to.

Jones in the Fast Lane used to have an app on the Google Play Store that had a pretty decent port of it for Android, but that has not been taken down. I’m not sure why. If you do get a chance to run across this gem, I highly recommend it. The game is amazing, and still is relevant even today. As I always say, I learned how to live through Jones in the Fast Lane: pay your rent on time, work hard, get an education, get some stuff to make your life easier, and find time to relax. That really is the best advice to life in my humble opinion.

By Jessica Brister On 12 Oct, 2015 At 11:24 PM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews | With 1 Comment

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Science fiction horror movies have gotten a bad rap over the years. Amazing movies such as Event Horizon and Pandorum have gotten poor reviews, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because people just don’t like the genre? Or, maybe people just don’t understand that there are deep, overarching themes within the futuristic technology and settings? I’m not sure, but I do know that there is a little-know sci-fi horror movie called Infini that got a very similar reception. That’s a shame because it’s a really well-done movie which I would recommend to any sci-fi movie fanatic.


Infini is a 2015 Australian sci-fi horror film. It is directed by Shane Abbess and stars Daniel MacPherson as Whit Carmichael. The movie is set in the 23rd century, where there are deep space mining colonies that are responsible for a large chunk of the Earth’s economy. To get to these colonies, people use a form of teleportation called “slip streaming” that gives them almost instant access to far away places, though there is a lot of time dilation. Carmichael is on his first day of being on a search and rescue team (SAR) for these colonies when another team sent to mining station O.I. Infini comes back in a crazed rage, as some biohazard has come back with them. In order to avoid at lethal quarantine, Carmichael does a “dirty jump” to Infini while the rest of his team is killed. Another team is dispatched to retrieve him and figure out what exactly went on in the colony.

The movie is solid science fiction. The premise seems like it could actually happen. Add the suspense of rage-induced “zombie-like” foes, great acting, and an eery setting, and you have yourself a great sci-fi horror movie. Infini is not the scariest film that I’ve ever seen. That’s not the point of it. The movie is more blood and guts with a focus on how humanity reacts in a certain dire situation. It’s also not the most original film. Infini feels like a mash-up of Event Horizon, Pandorum, and the Dead Space franchise with a little bit of Aliens and Resident Evil thrown in. However, it has enough original elements to keep it interesting, and it was well-executed.


Many big-budget films focus too much on special effects. While that can be an important element in sci-fi horror, it’s the pacing, characters, tone, and theme that make the movie. Infini did not have that kind of a budget, but what they had they used well. Honestly, when I first watched it (yes, it merited watching a couple of time for me), I didn’t even realize that this was some indie movie from Australia. The setting was excellent, and it created a prefect tone for the movie. For me, though, it was the characters and theme that really shined. Science fiction should make you view issues that you normally wouldn’t want to discuss in a different way. I thought Infini did an excellent job of that.

Daniel MacPherson really did an amazing job as the lead. His character both looked like and acted like Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), which I absolutely loved. The viewer ends up both caring for and liking him as his leadership qualities show through, even though he is working with a different team and has many issues with them. I wanted Carmichael to desperately get home because of his pregnant wife and how much the character seemed to care for her.


The supporting cast were quite good as well. From Grace Huang as Claire Grenich to Luke Hemsworth as Charlie Kent, they added a unique and interesting feel to the movie. Obviously many of the characters aren’t as well-developed as Whit Carmichael, but they don’t need to be as the focus is on Carmicheal’s character. I particularly liked Luke Ford’s character as Chester Huntington and Harry Pavlidis’ character as Harris Menzies because they were probably the more developed supporting characters and could relate more to Carmichael as they both had children they wanted to get home to.

If you love good, solid science fiction horror movie, I highly recommend Infini. It isn’t a perfect movie (what is, really?), but it’s entertaining and will make you think. I was delighted to come across this movie on Netflix. It is currently (as of 10/12/15 in the U.S.) free for you to watch from there if you have a subscription. I say take a chance. You will probably love it.

By Jessica Brister On 20 Sep, 2015 At 06:52 PM | Categorized As Featured, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarEvery once in awhile there are a few special games that come around and really push the boundaries of what games can be. For me, Tomb Raider II is one of those games. Being the sequel to the extremely popular original Tomb Raider, there were a lot of high expectations the second installment to be even better. Tomb Raider II passed with flying colors to be an entertaining adventure with one of gaming’s most iconic characters.

Tomb Raider II is an action-adventure, puzzle-based game that was the sequel to the original Tomb Raider, which came out in 1996. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released October of 1997 for PlayStation and PC (it eventually came out for Mac later) and had critical acclaim and sold very well.


The game follows adventurer and tomb raider, Lara Croft. The story revolved around the Dagger of Xian, a weapon that was used by an ancient emperor of China to transform into a dragon and command armies. Monks were able to get a hold of the dagger and keep it hidden within the Great Wall of China. Lara goes to investigate the dagger and realizes that she’s not the only one after it. Marco Bartoli, a man who is obsessed with the dagger, is also digging up artifacts in order to wield the dagger’s power. Lara’s adventure goes to places like China and Italy, where she is pushed to find out more about Bartoli’s plan.

It’s quite a fun story with an Indiana Jones-like adventure to it. Whether it’s driving a boat through Venice or exploring an underwater shipwreck, the game has a delightful entertainment value to it that you only experience with adventure games. However, it’s actually Lara who really shines. Unlike the new direction Crystal Dynamics is going in with the Tomb Raider reboot games, this Lara Croft is strong, confident, and fearless. She pushes herself to the limits as she works against the forces of evil.


The third-person perspective game play improved with Tomb Raider II from the original by adding new weapons and moves, as well as having vehicles, more human enemies, and larger levels. There’s even a level with a snowmobile that is an absolute blast to play. There was also a training level that allowed the player to roam around Lara’s mansion. The best change, however, was the fact that a player didn’t need a save crystal in order to save the game, making complicated jumping puzzles much easier to manage.

The original Tomb Raider franchise was all about exploration and puzzles with some enemies thrown in to keep things fresh. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore with the reboot, but Tomb Raider II really shines in both instances. Puzzles typically are usually jumping or timing-related, and there is a lot of exploration involved. The levels might not be the huge open-world maps that gamers are used to now, but it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out how to get to certain places or find key items. Shooting is emphasized in Tomb Raider II more than the original, and it features Lara’s signature dual pistols, as well a grenade launcher, and M16 rifle, dual Uzis, and a harpoon gun for underwater fighting. The fighting sequences utilize a jump and dodge system, instead of the sit under cover and shoot. This type of game play is not considered ideal anymore because it’s not very realistic. However, it is super fun.


The only real problem with going back and playing Tomb Raider II is dealing with the outdated graphics. They were really awesome at the time, but the sharp angles and grainy textures are hard to get used to. People who enjoy retro-gaming won’t mind, but it’s glaring for those who prefer modern games. The cut-scenes aren’t bad, but Lara is definitely very square and so are all of the other people. It’s amazing to see how far graphics have come since then.

So, if you want a fun, action-adventure game with an amazing heroine, you might want to play or replay Tomb Raider II. You do have to like puzzles, but that’s half the fun. It was a different game for a completely different time. Sadly, I just don’t think we’re going to get anything quite like it again.


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When Fallout 4 was announced, there were a lot of very excited fans. I was definitely one of them. In the excitement of the announcement, many decided to go back and replay older Fallout games. I was also one of those people. I’ve played Fallout 3 before, but never got a chance to finish it. Going back through and actually beating Fallout 3 sounded like a really good idea. For those who haven’t played it or for those who wanted to hear my take on the game, I’ve decided to do a full review, though it’s a bit belated.


Fallout 3 is a single player, action role playing game that utilizes a huge open world post-apocalyptic setting. It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda had bought the rights to the Fallout series from Black Isle Studios/Interplay Entertainment, so this was Bethesda’s first attempt with the franchise. The game came out in late October of 2008 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game got rave reviews across the board and was given Game of the Year in several instances.




The game is set in the same universe as the rest of the earlier Fallout games. It takes place in the year 2277, which is approximately 200 years before the nuclear apocalypse that ravaged the United States. Many citizens ended up in “Vaults” underground that keep them alive during the bombings. The story’s protagonist is a character of the player’s choosing (male/female, looks, etc.) that resides in Vault 101. Things in the vault seem great at first, but after many years go by, events happen that force the protagonist to leave the vault. The wasteland that lies outside of the vault is deadly and full of secrets. As the main character explores the open-world area of what used to be Washington D.C., these secrets start to come to light.


The main story line is quite good. It has everyone that a person could want: family issues, secrets, exploration, evil groups vying for power, monsters, and an altruistic mission. There are many side quests as well that can push a player into playing for long, long time. The map is expansive and the tone really just make you feel like you are in the Capital Wasteland. The urban exploration alone in the game is well worth the price of the game. It was one of the first games that I actually felt overwhelmed over when I looked at the sheer size and scale of it. Once you go out of the vault, it really feels like you can go anywhere and do anything.


The game play is like a first person shooter to a degree. You can play that way if you want. However, the feel is more RPG with XP for kills, completing tasks, and quests. There is also a special combat system called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) that allows a player to pause time and pick special areas to attack on an enemy based on a probability percentage. It’s an interesting system that has a love or hate relationship with many Fallout 3 players. Luckily, you can choose whether you want to use it or not based off of how you want to play the game. This includes how a person levels up their character by choosing points in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Players can also choose their way of playing by adding points to “Perks” that at given after leveling up. Want to sneak around and get stuff done that way? There are Perks for that. Want to go in guns-blazing? There are Perks for that. It creates the type of game play that is re-playable many, many times.




The graphics looked pretty slick at the time that the game came out. The opening sequence for the game is probably one of the best in gaming history, as it sets the tone of the game quite nicely and has a really creepy feel to it. The 1950s retro feel with the nuclear apocalypse grays and browns gives the game a unique feeling. It’s one of those games that a player could fall in love with, one of those rare gems that only come around every once in awhile.


I completely understand why it was hailed as Game of the Year from many places. It’s a great game, hands down. However, because of its age, the game play feels a bit stiff, and the Gamebryo game engine just wasn’t quite up to par with what it needed to do. The gray and brown color scheme makes hours and hours of play a little bland after awhile (it looks like this fixed for Fallout 4; there are a lot of more colorful game footage out). Regardless, though, it’s an amazing game. It’s definitely worth a play or replay before Fallout 4 comes out.
By Jessica Brister On 22 Aug, 2015 At 05:43 PM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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If you were like me, you were delighted to hear at E3 that Bethesda Softworks had a free gaming app called Fallout Shelter. It sounded like a cool diversion before Fallout 4 came out. Then the Android users got a slap in the face: Fallout Shelter would only be immediately available for iOS. Yeah, as an Android user, I was a bit bitter. Yes, I know it’s a free app that Bethesda totally didn’t have to do, but I wanted to play it right then and there. It was a bit of a disappointment. However, the app is finally out for Android, and I have been playing it a lot. Apparently, so have a lot of other people. I wanted to love the game, but there is one major thing that I don’t like about it that have pretty much stopped me from playing it altogether.

Fallout Shelter is addicting, but it has one major downfall.

Fallout Shelter is addicting, but it has one major downfall.

Fallout Shelter is fun. Don’t get me wrong. It’s addicting. It’s clever. There is a lot right about it.

When I first started to play it, the game really reminded me of Sim Tower (anyone else remember that game?). The player is responsible as a vault’s Overseer to keep the place and people in order. You start off with a few dwellers and try to increase that number as well as manage resources and keep people happy. The three most important resources are power, food, and water which are harvested by placing certain rooms in the vault and having the dwellers work them. Of course, building rooms cost caps. To get more caps, a player must either level up the dwellers, successful rush a room (speed up the resource gathering process), send dwellers out to the wasteland, or complete objectives.

When objectives are achieved, they sometimes give out lunchboxes. These lunchboxes give out a few cards that award extra resources, outfits that raise dweller stats, special characters, weapons, or extra caps. At first, the objectives are easy, and players can easily get several lunchboxes. After awhile, though it gets harder and harder to get the goodies. Extra lunchboxes can be bought through in-app purchases.

Dwellers also have SPECIAL stats (just like in the actual Fallout games). Putting certain dwellers with certain stats will make material collection and successful room rushes easier. A player can increase a dweller’s stats by adding rooms that can train them. Players also need to keep an eye on the happiness level of the vault dwellers, since that can affect their performance. Happiness can be raised by rushing rooms or things like…making babies. Of course, besides worrying about the basic resources and happiness levels, there are also issues with radiation, rad-roaches, and raiders. Add a slick-looking color scheme and the retro 1950s Fallout-style, and you get a really awesome app.

Rushing a room unsuccessfully can be disastrous.

Rushing a room unsuccessfully can be disastrous.

It’s actually one of the best game apps I’ve played on Android. So you may be wondering to yourself, “If you think it’s a great app, why were you disappointed? Why did you stop playing it?” Well, there is one major thing that has forced me to stop playing altogether, and that is…

It’s so demanding that it’s ten times worse than a Tamigotchi. If you don’t know what that is, I’m sorry, but your childhood was not awesome.

Okay, I may be kidding on that one, but seriously, the game is demanding on a level that I haven’t experienced since I had this thing in Middle School:

Yes, I have saved this thing for the last (almost) twenty years.

Yes, I have saved this thing for the last (almost) twenty years.

The game cannot be minimized for too long because things will still keep going, even if you aren’t actively playing. I can understand that if it’s just running in the background, though that is still annoying. However, I have completely shut down the game and turned my tablet off, and when I get back on, the happiness level of my vault has dropped from the 90% range to the teens and most of my resources are gone. The game is unfortunately focused too much on real-time. It’s not an app that you can casually play. It demands a lot of attention, which is why I have dubbed the game “Tamagotchi on Steriods.” This means that if you want to be successful as an Overseer, don’t go to sleep and don’t stop playing.

I wish that the game would actually pause, but it’s too focused on real-time play. If Bethesda would fix this, it would be the best gaming app I’ve ever seen. However, unless they do, I just can’t play it anymore. It was taking over all of my time. That’s not something that I wanted in an app, something I I may play on occasion when I’m sitting at the doctor’s office or when I’m nursing my daughter. Let’s hope that we can actually pause Fallout 4. *Tee-Hee*


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If you’ve read reviews of the Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, you might have already decided to give the game a pass. In fact, if you look on Metacritic, it scores just a 73 (out of 100) for critics and an 8.0 for the user score. It sounds like a fairly mediocre game and one that just could be skipped. However, that is far from the truth. The game is excellent. Apparently, there are just a very vocal bunch of people on the Internet who hate fun. Here is what the game is really like:


The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMO (massively multiplayer online) action role-playing game. Though it has been out for Windows and Mac since April 2014, it has just come out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June of this year. Initially, the game had a subscription fee, but that was dropped March of this year, and the game was re-branded to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited for the PS4 and Xbox One release. The game was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.

The events in Tamriel Unlimited happen a thousand years before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Though ESO happens in the Elder Scrolls universe, don’t expect it to be like Skyrim or Oblivion. ESO is its own deal that just happens to be in the Elder Scrolls universe. Yes, you get the fun and in-depth lore of the Elder Scrolls and the cool races and settings, but it’s completely different in feel. The plot still is similar to Skyrim with an all-powerful being trying to take over the world with a bunch of groups fighting for power in the meantime. If you were looking for a super-deep story, then this game probably isn’t for you. If you were looking for a “social Skyrim,” then this a game isn’t for you. If you were looking for a World of Warcraft clone, then this game is definitely not for you.

However, if you like fun, this game is for you. If you want a great social game, this game is for you. If you want a lot of content, then this game is for you. In reality, if you don’t try to make this game something its not, then you will have an absolutely blast. ESO shines on its game play, expansive setting, and extensive content.

Though there is a main quest line, the quests—like other Elder Scrolls games—go in whatever order you want at whatever time you want. This allows the player massive amounts of freedom to do whatever he or she wants to, and this is crucial for an MMO. For those who want to play solo, there are tons and tons of quests. In fact, there are so many solo quests that I haven’t even scratched the surface yet, and I have been playing for weeks. For those who really want to get the most of out an MMO, there are group dungeons, public events, flourishing guilds, and a lot of PVP action. Not only that, but the place is thriving. An MMO is as only as good as the people in it, and at least for now, ESO has a mass following with die-hard followers.


Besides a thriving community, a lot of quests, a cool PVP area, and a lot of cooperative play, the Elder Scrolls Online also contains:

  • An amazing crafting system for weapons, armor, enchantments, potions, and food.
  • Three factions that players can choose to be in which compete against each other in different aspects.
  • Easily trade items between your other characters or with other people or guilds.
  • Customize gear with racial motifs or dye stations.
  • Utilize different mounts, vanity pets, lore books, and racial motifs to customize your experience.
  • Demonstrate tons of emotes to make your character dance, wave, or do the most absolute silly things (take THAT Destiny).
  • Run dungeons with either a group of friends or random people.
  • Contribute to public battles.
  • Participate in guilds for social aspects and trading.
  • A huge map area with tons of places to explore.
  • Switch between first and third person perspective.
  • Four play-style classes to choose from.

It really is a complete blast to play. Though the graphics are not the most beautiful of this generation, they look good enough, especially for an MMO that is so expansive. I think most players would take better game play over the latest, greatest slick graphics.

So, overall, if you are looking for a social game that is just plain fun, the Elder Scrolls Online is for you. Yes, there are some in-game purchases that you can make, but you get more than a full game with just the base game. Although, you will probably get addicted to it like me and upgrade a few things.

Seriously. I am thoroughly hooked on ESO, and I don’t say that about a lot of games.

This War of Mine

No GravatarThis War of Mine

I first had the opportunity to check out This War of Mine at PAX East. I was immediately intrigued. The art is absolutely beautiful in its realistic simplicity. The game sucks you in and keeps you wondering what will happen day to day. You truly go through the day to day of what it’s like to live in a country ravaged by warfare.

I found myself wondering if I would survive and make it. You see the characters struggling and dealing with the psychological effects.

11 Bit Studios describes This War of Mine as:

This War Of Mine provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. For the very first time you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout. At night you get a chance to scavenge nearby locations for items that will help you stay alive.

Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them to endure the hardships. During war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.


11 Bit Studios created a great game that will keep you enthralled for hours. I highly recommend checking This War of Mine out and giving it a try. I give the game a 9 out of 10.

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This War of Mine is available now. Check it out and buy it here.


No GravatarFor those who want a great medium-sized tablet, there really is nothing else better than the Galaxy Tab S 8.4.  In fact, there might not be anything else comparative on the market for the size and price.

The Tab S sports the following features:

  • 1.9 GHz Exynos 5 Octa processor
  • Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS
  • 16 GB hard drive
  • 3 GB RAM
  • Super AMOLED Display (2560×1600 WQXGA Resolution)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with an LED flash
  • 2.1 megapixel front camera
  • Micro SD card slot
The Tab S 8.2 also looks pretty slick.

The Tab S 8.4 also looks pretty slick.


This tablet is incredibly responsive.  It will multi-task nicely without issue, including those who would use it heavily for streaming and social media at the same time.  The tablet typically blasts through what most casual users would need, and does a decent job with the hard processing power for a tablet.


The Super AMOLED Display is absolutely amazing.  It by far goes above and beyond much tablets out there.  The display is incredibly sharp to the point that one may have hard time finding a wallpaper that is high enough resolution to show up properly without being incredibly pixilated.  For those who love media, especially videos, will adore the high resolution of this tablet.

The 8.4 inch display is quite nice a well.  Some might find that a 10 inch tablet is a bit too big for holding in one hand, while 7 inch tablets are just a bit too small.  This one reaches an easy medium.  It is easily held in one hand, but has a great screen size.

Size and Shape

The Tab S 8.4 is incredibly thin.  Compared to the tablets of a few years ago, this thing is so small and light-weight, even though it has a decently-sized screen.  It is easy to hold in one hand and looks amazingly slick with its thin profile.

Battery Life

The Tab S can go many days with just casual use.  However, someone who heavily uses the tablet or who decides to run Netflix or another movie streaming site for awhile will need to charge it every night.  After a few months of running the device, the battery life has stayed fairly consistent.  Extensive multitasking doesn’t drain the battery as much as it could, but it is a good idea to close all applications when done with the device.


Both the front and the back get the job done, however, photography connoisseurs might want to look at the specs first when deciding.  The ability to do video chat is great for those who enjoy Skype or Google Hangouts as well.

Operating System

The biggest–and possibly only–con to this tablet is the fact that it’s a Samsung and the odds of many Android updates are very, very slim.  In the past, older Samsung tablets have not been updated pretty much at all.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is impressive as a high-performing tablet.  The display alone is enough to turn heads.  However, with the performance and style, this tablet really does shine.

By Jessica Brister On 18 Apr, 2015 At 10:49 AM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe trend of porting or re-mastering games for newer consoles has been something that’s been going on for awhile now.  Some ported games can definitely be labeled as, “Skip this one.”  However, for fans of the Borderlands franchise, The Handsome Collection is an absolute must have.

The Borderlands franchise began with the original Borderlands in late 2009 with developer Gearbox.  The game had the signature cartoon-like look with the cell-shaded graphics, and the story and characters were just as goofy.  However, Gearbox had a bit of work to do with the game.  When Borderlands 2 came out in 2012, it was a runaway hit, spawning many popular DLCs and a “Pre-Sequel.”  The game play was greatly improved and the cell-shaded graphics started to look great.  The franchise earned a lot of die-hard fans with the four player cooperative play and dark satire.


After the last-generation of game playing started to die off, many Borderlands fans tried to look for a new game to play on their new console.  Games like Destiny seemed like a good option, but for many, it just wasn’t the same.  Luckily for Borderlands fans, Gearbox decided on a port for the this generation, but not just a normal port: it’s the ultimate port for any Borderlands fan.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection contains everything that comes from Borderlands 2.  It contains all of the DLCS, skins, characters, and even the Pre-Sequel and all of its that just came out in October of 2014. That many sound tempting to Borderlands fans or even someone interested in finding a new online cooperative game, but is it worth it?

The answer: yes!  Here’s why:

It’s amazing to play Borderlands on a current gen console.  After playing on the latest console, whether it be PlayStation 4 or XBox One, it is a little painful to go back to a last-gen console.  The latest generation has a much better set up, including better party chats and social media connectivity.  With a much faster processor and more memory, the game doesn’t feel as “clunky” as it did on a last gen console.  I also found that my digital download copy had faster loading screens for the game, which is important for Borderlands when a player is popping in and out of areas.



Also, since the game is running on a more powerful console, the graphics look really slick.  The signature cell-shading graphics actually look really decent at times.  Unfortunately, there are some major screen tearing and graphics issues with the Pre Sequel that have yet to be fixed, including monsters that glitch on the screen when they die.  However, Borderlands 2 is amazingly well-done and is probably is the game that most Borderlands fans will play.  I think of the Pre Sequel as a “nice add-on” at this point because compared to Borderlands 2, it just doesn’t match up.

There is something for Borderlands players to really be happy about: for former Borderlands 2 and Pre Sequel players who don’t want to start over on character that they spent hours and hours on,  Gearbox made it incredibly easy to port characters back and forth.  It does require the player to have their last generation console, but it works very well.  There is no need for USB sticks (the old way of transferring, particularly on PlayStation 3).  All a player has to do is complete the update for Borderlands 2 and the Pre Sequel on their older console, go into the game of choice, and select “Cross Save.”  From there, a player can upload one character at a time into the cloud and download it onto the newer console from the game.  Players can also take a character from the newer console and download it back to the older one.  It’s an incredibly easy process that will make it the decision to upgrade Borderlands 2 much easier.


One of the most appealing aspects of this port is the price.  For sixty dollars or under (depending on the deal that the consumer gets), a player can have Borderlands 2 and the Pre Sequel, plus every DLC for both games.  That’s two full games with their DLCs.  That includes characters and skins that were sold separately when they were available a few years ago. Though the Pre Sequel isn’t that great of a game, for many fans, Borderlands 2 and its DLCs are worth the price just by themselves.  Throw in the Pre Sequel, and it’s an amazing deal.

Sadly, for someone looking for a great online cooperative, there are not many good options for the current generation of consoles.  There probably should not be a need for a Borderlands 2 port, but unfortunately, there is.  Happily, fans of the franchise should love it.  Players unfamiliar with the game, but want a decent cooperative game will probably want to jump on this as well.


By Jessica Brister On 12 Mar, 2015 At 11:55 PM | Categorized As Mobile Gaming, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments
good sleuth logo

No GravatarSmartphone and tablet users are constantly hounded by a barrage of gaming apps, most of which are mediocre at best.  These apps pass the time when a person is waiting around at the doctor’s office, but they are usually not that great outside of that.  Sleuth is a bit different; it’s a game that actually makes a person think.  Part trivia, part Wheel of Fortune, and part Pictionary: Sleuth is a creative and addictive game that is a blast to play.

good sleuth logo

Sleuth gives out four pictures and has the player try and determine a particular “mystery.”  A player is initially shown a category, which include people, movies, places, words, history, television, books, and songs.  There are then four tiles that appear on the screen.  Each tile slowly reveals a picture that gives hints to what the mystery item might be.  Above the tiles the answer is given in a Hangman or Wheel of Fortune-type style.  A player must start typing from the beginning of the sequence in order to get the answer correct.  The letter will show up green for correct and red for incorrect.  After awhile, letters will begin to appear in the answer boxes to give the player a bit of a hint.

There is a timer that  counts down, and the quicker a player solves the puzzle, the more points he or she ends up receiving.  When the time goes down, the points fall as well.  Guessing an incorrect letter will also drop points as well as not getting a puzzle at all.  A player’s points carry over, so it’s important to try to solve the mystery as quickly and accurately as possible.  Players may use in-app purchasing to buy hunches that reveal letters.  However, a player can refer a friend and get free hunches.


Players end up competing against each other from around the world because there is a leader-board for the highest scorers.  The top month’s scorer gets a Sleuth t-shirt and the top annual winner will get an iPad.

The game is not one of those apps that someone can “space out” and play.  One must really think to do well.  Puzzles can range in difficulty depending on the player’s trivia skills.  The variety of puzzles also can keep a player on his or her toes, since the categories can range from popular culture to geography.  The pacing and scoring of the game make it addicting, since guessing wrong or not getting a puzzle correct will decrease the score.  It’s easy to go, “Just one more puzzle,” and end up playing for a lot longer.

The best part about Sleuth is its uniqueness and possibilities for play.  It’s different from the typical game app because it relies on a player’s knowledge instead of gaming skill.  It is geared more for adults, but it would actually make an interesting app for older children as it reinforces spelling, visual cognition, and common knowledge.  The game would also be great for parties and gatherings if used on a larger tablet.

Sleuth is developed by SimWave and is available for Android this week and IOS next week.  It is free with ads and $.99 without ads.

Overall, Sleuth is a lot of fun.  It’s different, challenging, and has a lot of potential.  This one is a must-add to your list of game apps.

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