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By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Nov, 2016 At 10:59 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments
Darksiders

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Darksiders originally came out in 2010 from Vigil Studios and THQ. When THQ went under, the rights were acquired by Nordic Games who have since reincorporated as THQ Nordic. Since then THQ Nordic has been re-releasing THQ games as remasters or re-releases to see the market demand. This has resulted in Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition and now Darksiders Warmastered Edition. But is the remaster a good effort, or should Darksiders have stayed in the past?

Darksiders as a series has been a cross between The Legend of Zelda and Hack n Slash games like Devil May Cry, which may sound odd, but it has a formula that works. Darksiders is just fun, there is no other way to describe it. You play as War, a horsemen of the apocalypse, trying to stop the forces of Hell who have attacked the human world. It sounds generic but actually plays out very well and with a good well written story.

Darksiders uses a comic book art style that looks better than ever thanks to the remaster. But more importantly, the game running at 60 fps really shows off just how gorgeous this game really is. The remaster has fixed a lot of the visual issues the game had originally and I think a few minor issues with the gameplay have also been fixed and the game plays a lot smoother. You can also toggle effects like Vignette and Chroma FX , but you might want to leave them off. They add a shaded border over the screen and a rainbow shimmer to objects’ edges in the distance and this can affect the way you look at the game.

It is not all good news though as there is a major issue. The audio is out of sync with the cutscenes and sometimes the gameplay even resumes while the audio from the cutscene still plays. It is not enough to make me say the game is bad, but it is something that needs to be patched as soon as possible in order for the game to be enjoyable.

All in all, aside from the audio issues, the game is still amazing. Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a great game to play and enjoy for a fun time. I recommend it but must warn you about the audio issues.

 

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Few games can truly be considered pop culture phenomenon that become well known among non gamers and non sci-fi/fantasy fans in general. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those rare games. It has achieved an influence over gaming and fantasy in general that may not be matched for a long time and innovated the open world gameplay genre in ways that had yet to be thought of. Now Bethesda has remastered the game for PS4. Xbox One and PC and it looks better than ever. All the DLC and other add-on content from the original release are included and the game is preserved with a  new coat of paint and some minor changes to make things look better and stand out more.

You might ask, what is the point of getting it on PC? The console versions make more sense with better visuals and mod support ( to an extent), but the PC version of the original release still looks amazing with the right mods. Well my friend, the answer to that is the mods themselves. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First let me say that the remastering fixes a lot of the visual issues in the original release, and makes things stand out a little bit more. Some objects are better defined and are easier to tell apart.  The visual effects of the spell and shouts stand out a lot more than in the original release and actually feel a lot more epic. Plus if you do not want to bother with mods at all, then the game itself looks stunning as is, and much better than the original release. The game also fixes some bugs that caused issues in the original version, such as certain issues with bridges among others issues, some of which could not be fixed with mods. That said, there are some new bugs as well that cause issues, such as getting on top of a table somehow while in a mine, and with vampire attacks, but these are not major issues for the most part. In fact most of the game is still the same but with one major change

Before I go any further, I should point out that using mods disables achievements in this game, so use them at your own discretion. What makes the Skyrim Special Edition so much better on PC is not that you can access mods directly from the game menu, although that is good, but rather what can be done with the mods. This remaster is made on a new engine that is 64 bit, while the original was 32 bit. This means that the limitations on the mods that were there for the original version on PC are not here for the Special Edition. In other words, there is no limit to what can be done with mods in this game and a lot more will be able to done. Think of all the amazing mods that existed for the original PC release of Skyrim and its DLC, and imagine all the potential mods that can be made for this release.

Skyrim Special Edition is in its infancy in terms of mods. It hasn’t yet come into its own but it will soon. When it does, it will far surpass the original version. All the complaints saying that the mods for the original release made it look as good as the special edition are pointless, since the special edition will look far better in a short time.

Bottom line is, if you like Skyrim, open world RPGs, Western RPGs or fantasy games, then there is no reason not to buy this game. It is still amazing and will soon be far superior to the original release. With the big fixes from the original that the mods couldn’t fix, and mods that can fix the new bugs, this game is amazing I highly recpmmend it

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Dishonored was one of the most unique games of last gen. A spiritual successor to the Thief series, yet with an identity completely of its own. It is a game that cannot just be described but needs to be experienced. When its sequel was announced, many were excited and I myself was curious where Arkane would take the series. Could they top the original? Or would it fall short?

Well, I am pleased to say that Dishonored 2 manages to surpass the original in every way. The developers looked at each and everyone of the complaints and tried to do something about them. They didn’t always succeed but they did try. For starters, we now have voiced protagonists. This was a great move in my opinion, as it lets the player get more involved with the story. The story itself can be a little disappointing, coming off the first game. No spoilers will be given, but some changes may upset some players.

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Visually the game is just a marvel, with some of the best visual effects in gaming in 2016. I feel that this game is a true standout both in art design and use of shading. I wonder what it would look like on a 4K TV on the PS4 Pro (I played on a standard PS4), because the visuals are just that eye popping. The setting just feels authentic and the dynamic changes just  make everything more immersive. In terms of audio, the game could have had a better soundtracks, I won’t lie, but it does its job well.  The sound effects are great and the voice acting as mentioned above, helps bring the player more into the story. Plus, remember how I called the first game a spiritual successor to the Thief series? Well Corvo is now voiced by Stephen Russell, aka Garret himself.

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In terms of gameplay, Arkane built on the foundation set by the original and made it better where they could. Stealth is handled better, combat is more intuitive and choosing what path to take, in terms of behavior, has a more interesting feel about it. The characters also play differently and this helps set it apart from the first game even more. You can play in a variety of ways that can make the game easier or as hard as you want it to be, and not through difficulty settings but rather through in game choices. I love the way this was handled and I applaud Arkane for it. The upgrading system from the first game has been changed to a skill tree with multiple possible directions to take and thus different possible upgrades. each character has unique abilities to set them apart but with some shared.

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I must recommend that players check out the tutorial, not just in case you have to brush up on controls and how to play, but also because it helps serve as a but of a prelude to the game and shows some interesting bonding between Corvo and Emily. It was a good touch and I like that it was done this way. It helps new players get up to speed, gives some story details and teaches you how to play the game. All done in a simple and refined manner.

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Dishonored II just feels better than the first game. The different protagonists gives them game more replayability than the first game as well as more options for ways to play. The game can be played as a stealth game or as an action game with stealth elements and it is entirely up to you.  The mechanics are more refined, the graphics are better and combat is more natural. I just had a really good time with this game. If I was asked to say where or not I would recommend it, I would say without hesitation to buy this. It is just a great game!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy by Bethesda Softworks

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Dragon Ball has had a long history in video games. From Japan exclusive entries, the GBA RPGs, the great Budokai series and more, Dragon Ball has had great representation in gaming. Dragon Ball Xenoverse was a great entry in the series and was a breath of fresh air after some increasingly stale games. Xenoverse gave players the chance to explore multiple points of the series timeline from another perspective. The online was great and it had an excellent amount of characters. So how does its sequel hold up?

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I am pleased to say that for the most part Xenoverse 2 is a worthy follow-up to the original game. It has its issues but it is still fun and enjoyable. We have a great amount of characters, better character creation ( my Frieza race character can now go golden Frieza which is excellent!) and best of all, refined gameplay.

The story is in parts too much like the original but does manage to have its highpoints and when it does, it hits it out of the park. A major difference is that new villains are being put into the scenarios which manages to give things a fresh look for longtime fans who have gotten to used to how things play out. The game has numerous “What if?” scenarios that help shake things up as well. Things play out differently than you are used to and so this is a great treat for longtime fans.  The lineup of characters, as mentioned above, is great. The game incorporates characters from Dragon Ball Super as well as the usual sources. This is a great way to introduce fans to Super, if they haven’t been following the subbed versions. I do feel that some characters should not have been saved for DLC and should have been in the main game right away but that is a small issue really.

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The online play  have been greatly improved and I had a lot more fun with them this time around, then I did with the first game. That said There was some connectivity issues and lag that did get in the way of my enjoyment. And speaking of missions, the central hub from the previous game is back but greatly expanded on. You can go to more areas, visit more shops and interact with more people. You do need to do the parallel missions to progress, same as last time, so there is some basis to fall back on in the game.

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Xenoverse 2 has a great selection of music but the voice synchronization is terrible. It really feels like an awkward dubbing from the past, and not up to par with some great English voice acting in modern games from Japan. It isn’t a deal breaker but it is noticeable. I would say that Xenoverse 2 is a good sequel to the original Xenoverse. It is not perfect but it is a good game. I would recommend it greatly,

jotun

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For much of my life I have been fascinated with Norse Mythology. The Germanic pantheons had so many amazing stories and figures, from Jormungundr, the world serpent who is destined to kill Thor at Ragnarok, to the myths of Loki Scar-Lip. There is a sense of danger all throughout the surviving stories of Norse Mythology ( most were lost to time and its suspected that some prominent elements like Surtr may in fact have just been local additions in areas like Iceland) because it is all leading to Ragnarok, the battle at which the world will end and the gods will die. The myths are full of tragedy but also wonder and amazement, after all these myths gave us many prominent fantasy stock tropes such as elves and dwarves. I mention my love of Norse Mythology because it allowed me to truly appreciate Jotun: Valhalla Edition, as the game is steeped in the mythos. Jotun is about Thora, a warrior who died a dishonorable death and is thus barred from Valhalla, but is given a second chance to win her entry to the hall of the honored dead warriors. This begins her journey through the realms to prove her worthiness.

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I need to say this, Jotun is a beautiful game and this cannot be emphasized enough. The hand drawn animation is so breathtaking that when I first saw the opening scene of gameplay, I was utterly shocked at the site. A game should not be able to look like this but it does. The worlds are full of challenges but nothing too hard and you will be able to explore and get new abilities. In fact, exploring is something you will want to do, just to see more of the amazing animation style of the game. But more than that, exploring the worlds within Jotun shows just how much research was put into this game. The reason I called Loki, Loki Scar-Lip? That’s a lesser known myth of his mouth being sewn shut by dwarves, and the game references this and many other such myths. In fact some references can be even more obscure and this is part of the joy for me. To see a game that references the legends and lore of the Norsemen just makes me feel happy, especially when it was done with care and in a loving way. The developers at Thunder Lotus Games did a great job with that.

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The game does get tough at times though, more specifically when you encounter the  titular Jotun, the giants ( for lack of a better translation, since the Jotun were actually divine figures themselves and many of the gods married Jotun or had Jotun parentage. Thor was born to Odin by Jord, a Jotun who was the embodiment of the earth). These battles are tough as Hel (pun intended) and are definitely the high point of the game. The battles are so diverse and varied that to play them is to have a new experience each time. From the battle with Kaunan to the final battle of the game and the last obstacle ( which I wont spoil here), each battle gives you something different. While you play, the music sets the mood from both serene almost 9 during exploration at times) , to epic battle music ( when fighting the Jotun) and it brings you into the experience, I have seen the art be praised ( and rightfully so) but the music is excellent as well and also should be mentioned.

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So do I think you should buy this game? Haven’t you been paying attention to my review? Of course you should! This game is amazing and needs to be in every Wii U owner’s library. it is an epic game with an epic story. Just amazing.

 

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No GravatarEvery once in a while, there is an awesome game that comes out, and it revolutionizes the way that a person views gaming.  For me, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those games.  It has everything that I demand in a game: a cool story, fun game play, an expansive world, and the ability to customize my game experience as I see fit.  I love the game so much that it’s one of the top games that I’ve put the most hours into, and that’s saying something because I’ve spent a lot of time on many different games.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.  Here’s why:

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open world action role-playing game that was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, following 2006’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Skyrim was released November 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.  A remastered version is coming out for the game for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in October of this year.  The game uses the Creation Engine, which was specifically rebuilt for the game after some of the issues with Fallout 3.  Skyrim got critical acclaim and is consistently rates as one of the best video games of all time.

Set 200 years after its predecessor, Skyrim focuses on Tamriel’s Nordic area (Skyrim, hence the game’s name).  There are two warring factions at odds against each other.  The Stormcloaks consist of Skyrim’s native Nordic folk who wish to rule their own land (and are extremely racist).  The Imperial Legion represents the Empire and wishes to keep the region safe and at peace (but then the native people don’t have control of their own area).  After being almost killed by the Imperials and surviving a dragon attack, the player realizes that Skyrim is in deep trouble if dragons have come back.  Eventually, the player finds out that he or she is Dragonborn, a person born with the soul and power of a dragon.  In the main quest line, the player must find out what is going on with the reemerging dragons; however, there are tons of other side quests that jump into the rich history and politics of the region.  It’s absolutely amazing.

The main story is pretty involved, but it’s the expansive world that really shines with Skyrim.  It’s definitely got one of the best maps that I have seen (I still prefer it over The Witcher 3’s map, which is also quite expansive).  The scenery is gorgeous, especially since I play on PC with the graphics on the highest levels with a few texture mods as well.  Most of the items in the world are extremely interactive.  The people in Skyrim are interesting.  The places are fun to explore.  I’ve gone walking around the map just for fun.  I’ve even read about people who create characters and don’t even play the game; they just make up their own story and go hunting animals, collect things, and just have fun.  It’s so in-depth with lore and back-story that it’s hard not to fall in love with Skyrim.

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However, even though the open world is amazing, my favorite part of the game is actually the game play itself.  I have never quite come across anything quite like it.  For me, even another Bethesda heavy-hitter like Fallout 3 or even Fallout 4 doesn’t compare.  Sure, Skyrim is a first-person, action RPG.  A lot of games are.  The thing that really makes Skyrim stand out is the leveling and experience system.  It’s very simple: you level up what you use.  Whatever angle you want to play with Skyrim, you just have to use it to level it.  In this way, players are not pigeon-holed into a certain class.  Do you want to be a mage who has thief tendencies?  Go for it.  Do you want you want to be a warrior who also can use magic when needed?  Yep!  You can do that.  Do you like being a thief who enjoys two-handed combat?  Why not?

I love the ability to be able to do what I want, when I want.  I love that I can mix and match with the different combat styles and character niches because…why not?  I hate having to decide what class to play because two hours later, I want to change it.  Skyrim lets me do whatever I want.  When I initially played it on Xbox 360, I was a bit limited with the amount of perks that I could get, so some specialization was required.  However, on PC I can do a bit of cheaty, cheat, cheating and add perks when I run out of levels.  It’s perfect for the OCD gamer.  In Skyrim, it’s totally okay to be a warrior/mage/thief all at the same time.

The graphics hold up very well, especially if you are playing on PC and can put on some texture mods.  On the consoles, it is starting to look dated.  Hopefully, it will look great again with the remaster.  However, when the game originally came out, the graphics were hand’s down awesome.  I love the textures of the scenery.  Even though some of the color palate can be very heavy on grays and browns, the game is still beautiful.

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There is something special about Skyrim, and it may have to do with the fact that gamers can easily make fun of it without damaging the integrity of the game.  How many “arrow to the knee” memes have you seen?  How many times have people made fun of the fact that one can eat 99 raw potatoes in the middle of the battle to gain health?  What about trying to kill a chicken?  Or, my personal favorite happens to be: why are all of the lights on in a dungeon that hasn’t been visited by anyone in hundreds if not thousands of years?  It’s fun to make fun of Skyrim because it’s a game that no one has to defend as being good.  Some people might not like it, and that’s fine.  But it’s hard to argue that it’s a bad game.  Therefore, when there are some “silly” elements of the game, it’s enjoyable to point out the shortcomings because even though there definitely are some, no other game even comes close.

There are a lot of games that I have enjoyed over the years, but there are few that I truly love.  The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim is one that I absolutely will love forever, even when newer and better games come out.  I have about an estimated 415 hours on the game right now between console and PC, and I have thoroughly loved every minute of it.  I actually cannot think of another game that I have spent so much time on.  That’s the power of Skyrim.

By Jessica Brister On 14 Aug, 2016 At 03:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarWhen I was handed a copy of Dead Island: Definitive Edition for the PlayStation 4, I had no idea what to expect.  To be quite frank, I had no clue what the game was about, it’s history, and what I would get on this remastered version.  I guess that it was just one of those games that slipped by me at the time it came out.  However, I am glad that I got a chance to play it because I had a great deal of fun.  It wasn’t what I expected.  I was thinking it would be the typical zombie-slasher game.  Instead, I got a surprisingly fun, open-world Far Cry-like game.  There were some gameplay issues, but overall, I would recommend Dead Island: Definitive Edition as a great edition to anyone’s the FPS/open-world/zombie collection.

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Dead Island is an open-world survival horror RPG that was originally released in 2011.  It was developed by Techland (Polish developer who also did Dying Light), published by Deep Silver, and distributed by Square Enix for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.  It got fairly positive reviews when it came out, though there were some negative marks against it, including game glitches.  The game was remastered for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One May of this year.  There is a sequel “Dead Island 2” that is coming out soon, but there is no release date as of yet.  I did not ever get a chance to play the original release of the game, so keep that in mind as I discuss the Definitive Edition.

The premise of the game is that you are one of four protagonist characters (each with their own special abilities and personalities) on the resort island of Banoi (modeled after an island near Papua New Guinea).  I happened to play as Xian Mei.  After a night of partying, your character wakes up to find that much of the resort has been turned into zombie-like creatures.  Your character, though, is immune.  You are guided by a mysterious voice over intercoms and whatnot (think BioShock).  After meeting up with groups of survivors, you realize that you can’t stay on the island forever and a plan is hatched to leave.

It’s a pretty straight-forward story plot.  It’s nothing super special, but I did like the fact that you didn’t have to worry about zombie bites turning you like you would in say, The Last of Us (more on this later).  The crown jewel of the game is the setting and the contrast between the gorgeous island scenery and the undead and gore all over the place.  I wasn’t expecting such a large map to play around in when I initially started the game.  I also enjoyed the pacing and progression of the story as well as some of the side missions, which some of them are actually pretty darned funny.

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The gameplay itself is a little disappointing for a standard first-person shooter.  You are definitely playing it for the open-world and not a seamless gameplay experience.  Jumping, exploring, and combat are all a little stiff with the controllers.  I got used to it after a while, but it definitely is not one of my favorite gameplay experiences.  Overall, it felt like a Far Cry game with lots of missions, weapons, and vehicles.  It’s an action RPG with three skill trees to add points to: Fury, Combat, and Survival.  XP is earned through completing missions and killing zombies, and you get points toward the skill try for each level earned.  It’s very standard fair for an action RPG.

Dead Island really shines with its reliance on heavy melee combat and its weapon systems.  The melee-focused fighting is actually pretty fun.  I liked that fact that I didn’t have to worry about being bitten (unlike other zombie games) because my character is immune.  I was able to just focus on kicking-butt and killing zombies.  The particular style of zombies that Dead Island have are more of the running kind than the slow creepers, so one of my favorite things to do in the game was throw knives at zombies running toward me and watch them splatter.

Weapons degrade after use, so it is vitally important to keep an eye on them and repair or replace as needed, although the higher level of the weapon, the slower it is to degrade.  If a weapon degrades too much, it becomes ineffective and will eventually completely fall apart if you try to keep using it.  The crafting system was pretty cool, as you can collect items and schematics and use them to build weapons.  Weapons can also be modded as well.  Though melee weapons are highlighted, there are guns as well.

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The graphics are improved from the original release, and they look fairly decent on this current generation of consoles.  The tropical scenery is beautiful and a delight to romp around in for a while.  Obviously, it is a remastered game from 2011, so there is only so much that can be done.  However, I found that it was quite enjoyable on the PlayStation 4.

Overall, I really enjoyed playing Dead Island: Definitive Edition.  There are, of course, some things that I have dinged it on, but the pros really outweigh the cons with this one.  I would have never picked up this game (mostly due to the title; it sounds a bit silly), but I’m glad that I did.  It’s a solid game that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fun, open world FPS.

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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

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Jul, 2016 At 05:39 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments
DOOM

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Doom is an iconic game. There is no disputing that. Doom, its expansions and Doom II ( and its expansions) influenced all of gaming for decades now.  So much of modern gaming draws on Doom, even games which seemingly are the anti Doom. Then we have games like Doom 3, which while not bad, are quite controversial. Its remake, Doom 3 BFG Edition was better but still didn’t have that classic Doom feel. So when the new DOOM was announced, I was hesitant. It had gone through a lengthy period of Development Hell and some of the things I had been hearing made me nervous. Then the game was shown off at E3 2015 and I was blown away. Aside from it seeming a little too slow, it looked like classic Doom in HD, albeit with elements of the mod Brutal Doom and other improvements. Snapmap stood out to me from the reveal as it was a form of bridging PC game modding with the console version. And while multiplayer seemed like it would be underwhelming, I was still excited about what I saw. A lot of people were skeptical about DOOM for a number of reasons, such as an underwhelming Beta and no review versions before launch. Many were bracing for the worst, but it was not to be.

DOOM is absolutely amazing. It’s campaign is exactly what many have wanted in a first person shooter. A modern FPS that truly hearkens back to the original days. The campaign is gory and violent and over the top and done in a way that feels right. The glory kill mechanic is great and gives an extra oomph to the experience.  While many FPS games get bogged down with story, DOOM keeps it simple and allows you to learn more at your own pace. And the story that is there is excellent. The protagonist is a great character with a great backstory ( no spoilers here) that makes me want a DLC prequel campaign to help set up the events of the game. The way the environments interacted all felt well done and the secrets were a nice touch.

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I am not really that great at console FPS games, but playing on the PS4 had me feeling right at home. Nothing felt awkward or out of place and I appreciate that in a game. I did not have any trouble getting used to the controls and was able to enjoy the game as it should be enjoyed. I understand that some have played the game and complained about controls while playing, but it was fine for me. The weapons are all excellent, with the different control scheme for the chainsaw being a great choice. I think Bethesda and ID Software did a great job with that.

Now for the downside: The multiplayer component. This was pitched as being Quake style arena deathmatch gameplay, but it falls short of the promise. Maybe  it is because it is still early on in the game’s life, but it feels sterile and tame. It is far too reminiscent of modern FPS multiplayer games for my liking and I cannot bring myself to enjoy it. It is not bad, but there are other games that are far better choices for multiplayer. The game is still worth getting for the campaign though, and in fact the campaign alone would be enough, but there is one more reason the game is great.

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Snapmap: This is a great feature. I have seen some amazing maps and levels from players that have wowed me. From levels that are based off Metroid to multiplayer levels based off Evolve. I’ve played levels as a Baron of Hell, levels that replicate the original Doom, and levels that are just brief experiences where you mow everything down with the BFG.  Almost all are great. The issue here is that snapmap seems to have been designed with multiplayer in mind, not single player, with weapons being handled the way they are in multiplayer. That said, Bethesda and ID Software have announced at this past E3 that Snapmap will be updated for more single player level options which is great.

All in all, aside from the multiplayer, this is an amazing game. The single player campaign alone is enough to warrant a purchase, but snapmap makes it even more worth it. This is an experience all need to play!