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ME3_Promo

No GravatarI had been dreading playing Mass Effect 3 for years because I knew how bad the ending was.  In fact, I procrastinated for a couple of years by continuously playing Mass Effect 2 over and over again.  Well, after I finished ME2 four times through, I decided it was finally time to move onto Mass Effect 3.  I began the game with a bit of trepidation, but it didn’t take me too long to figure out that ninety-nine percent of ME3 is actually an amazing game.  It’s that pesky one percent that wrecks the whole thing.  But I’ll get to that later.  First, let’s concentrate on the good:

ME3_Promo

Mass Effect 3 is a third person, action RPG developed by BioWare and published by EA in March of 2012 for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and eventually Wii U.  The game uses the Unreal 3 Enginge and improved upon the graphics and game play of its predecessors.

For a moment, let’s pretend that the last five to ten minutes of the game does not exist and only concentrate on the good parts of the story.  And there are many.  Mass Effect 3 leaves off where ME2 left us: after years of warning, the Reapers finally come and invade Earth.  Commander Shepard is recruited to rally a force that will be able to stop them.  After finding a an ancient Prothean artifact on Mars that may be the key to the Reapers’ undoing, Shepard and his team must gather materials and help in order to build the device that will hopefully save Earth and the rest of the galaxy.

It’s a really fun story line, though it’s a bit desperate at times.  There is still a bit of humor thrown  in every once in awhile to keep it from being too dark (i.e. Joker’s The Hunt for Red October joke, which was quite a cute little Easter Egg).  Since the player accumulates resources throughout the game, every missions feels like it matters, even the side missions.

Again, just like the first two Mass Effect games, the space setting is done right.  ME3 has more of the amazingly rich settings that I have loved about the franchise, complete with a detailed set of back-story or “Codex.”  Although the game is Science fiction, the pseudo-science jargon feels like it could actually be real.  From the relays to the use of biotics to the Crucible, everything seems to be plausible and like it could actually happen.

For those players who had played through the first two games, there is an overlying tone of sadness as many of your previous team’s homes get wiped away by the Reapers.  There are also some set characters that will die on you, and depending on how you played the previous two games, others team members may go as well.  I actually cried several times during the game because I had gotten so attached to a few of the ones that died.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Mass Effect 3 moved me so much that I cried.  I cried more in ME3 than ME2, which I enjoyed much more.  The game would have been amazing without those last ten minutes, but I will leave aspect last.

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The game play was actually much improved from Mass Effect 2…once a player gets used to the controls.  I had some issues with the roll from cover to cover for a bit because I was so used to the mechanics of ME2.  After awhile, I got much better at it.  Though it still has standard duck and cover, third person shooting elements, I found that the game enemy AI was much sneakier than in the first two Mass Effect games.  Multiple bad guys would actually try to outflank me on many occasions, something that happened very rarely in the ME2.  The RPG elements felt pretty similar to Mass Effect 2.  In ME3, the missions take on a sense of desperation.  Even better, the planet mining that was the worst part of ME2 has been replaced with a scanning for resources in ME3.  I can be a pain because the more the player scans, the more the Reapers are attracted.  This could be an annoying feature.  However,  at this point, anyone can Google any sector and get the precise places of the resources.  Problem solved.

Just like Mass Effect 2, ME3 is not a typical open-world RPG because of the whole space thing.  However, just like with the previous games, the player does get free roam of the galaxy, as long as there are no Reapers actively looking for you.

Mass Effect 3 continues with the great choice-driven tradition of the series.  Unfortunately, that goes down the drain in the final few minutes, but the rest of the game gives you some amazing choices.  The ability to make decision that will affect how the game goes is one of the best parts of the game.  Also, players still have the option to player Shepard however they’d like.  Dialogue options are more paragon/renegade focused without as many neutral options.  One thing that I did not like about the dialogue options was that a player has to hit all of the right paragon options earlier on in the game to get the “good” Illusive Man response at the end.  I totally missed it, but I really didn’t want to mess with a walk-through on a game that really shouldn’t need one.

Mass Effect 3 is one of the few last-gen games that I can still play and not cringe a bit.  It still looks great.  The upgrades from ME2 were amazing.  The characters looks great and the environment looks even better.  The regular game play is great, but the cut-scenes are what really look amazing.  It is still a game that I would recommend to play graphics-wise even after a year and a half of the current gen of consoles.

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I cannot say enough of the amazing voice actors that have contributed to Mass Effect 3.  BioWare pulled an amazing team together, as always.  Honestly, nothing really disappoints in this game.  Well, except…

Everything goes downhill in the last ten minutes of the game.
I honestly felt like I wanted to hit my head through a wall when I finished the game, and I am not exaggerating.  How can you go from such a great story to such a disappointment?  The last ten minutes of the game are just absolutely awful.  I don’t even really care that Shepard dies no matter what.  He did go up against the Reapers, but the explanation about why the Reapers were destroying everything made no sense.  There was also no real ending choices.  The player basically gets to choose what filter color he or she wants over the end sequence.  I am not exactly sure what BioWare was trying to do there, but I’m assuming that it was a rush to get the game out for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, that rush led to one of the worst game endings in the history of video games.  It’s unfortunate too because the rest of the game is so good.

I still love Mass Effect 3, despite the ending.  To get around the ending, I recommend stopping after saying goodbye to all of your teammates and friends.  Then you can just make up a better ending in your head because what BioWare gave us is just awful.

the_elder_scrolls_v_skyrim

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 Jonathan Balofsky On 4 Aug, 2016 At 05:20 PM | Categorized As News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, ROG News | With 0 Comments
KOF

No GravatarAtlus and SNK sent out the following

We’ll not beat around the bush. Team Ikari Warriors is an elite mercenary agency,
led by Commander Heidern, that’s tasked with gathering intel about Antonov and some
of the other… undesirables in
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV tournament.
These soldiers of fortune are big, strong, and not afraid of getting up close and personal in combat. Leading these warriors into the tournament is Colonel Ralf Jones, nicknamed the One Man Army, who is no stranger to fighting. Although Ralf is a bit hotheaded, he is an exceptional leader who utilizes a dangerous mercenary combat style that focuses on deadly strikes. Oh, did we mention that he’s ripped a tank wide open with his bare hands? Yeah, he’s pretty dangerous. His brother in arms, Lieutenant Clark Still, is a pretty dangerous dude too. Clark also trains in mercenary combat style, but he’s geared more towards wrapping his opponents up like a pretzel and slamming them. That being said, he’s calmer and more level-headed than Ralf and just as formidable. Lastly, we have the cold and professional operator Leona Heidern. Leona is the adopted daughter of Commander Heidern who uses a hybrid fighting style that combines martial arts with Heidern style assassination techniques. Although she is simply a soldier, she has the powerful blood of Orochi running through her veins and must keep her emotions in check to prevent bad things from happening. She’s not a total ice queen though, because Leona is very loyal to the Ikari Warriors and will fight to protect her friends.

Also, don’t forget to get ahead of the competition and download the free demo. Practice local versus with seven characters (Kyo Kusanagi, Mai Shiranui, Iori Yagami, Sylvie Paula Paula, King of Dinosaurs, Shun’ei, and Nelson) before the game comes out on Aug. 23!

Check out the trailer below

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Jul, 2016 At 03:22 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments
rive

No GravatarIn an interview with Nintendo Life, Rive developer Two Tribes has revealed that the game will be delayed on Wii U and might in fact switch to NX

Having been confirmed during the Spring for a September release on Wii U, PC, PS4 and Xbox One, there’s now some disappointing news for Nintendo fans. Two Tribes has confirmed to us that the Wii U version of RIVE won’t be hitting that window, and at this moment of time doesn’t have a fixed date. Two Tribes is keen to bring the game to Nintendo hardware and it may transition to NX – depending on what the next-gen system actually is – as the studio wants to ensure that the experience reaches its standards of 60fps performance, a benchmark vital to shooters and bullet-hell titles of this nature.

…….

First of all, can you talk us through the reasons and thoughts behind RIVE being delayed for Wii U, or perhaps being moved to NX instead?

It’s very important to us that Nintendo users will get a great version of RIVE, but unfortunately we don’t know at this point when or how we’ll be able to deliver this. There are two main reasons for this, one technical and one business related.

….

The market has also changed. The game was supposed to ship over a year and a half ago, and things are a lot different now. Nintendo is exiting the Wii U market early in favor of the NX which means a long tail in sales is not looking likely. So that is the business part; do you release a game on a platform in its last days or on a new one that’s better suited and can reach gamers for years to come?

 

While this is disappointing , we can hope that Rive will be a success when it does arrive on a Nintendo platform. Whether that be on the Wii U or the NX. It is understandable that many are worried about the long term viability of putting a game on the Wii U with the NX looming, considering that Nintendo is winding down support. That said however, there is still a market of Wii U owners who would like games to play and this would be perfect. Either way, we wish them the best.
You can read the full interview here

sonic 2017

No GravatarThis Past Friday, Sega unveiled the first trailer for the new holiday 2017 Sonic game. This game features classic and modern Sonic but is said to not be a sequel to Sonic Generations. Also notable is that the game will be coming to the Nintendo NX along with other platforms

Check out the trailer below

 

 

SonicMania

No GravatarThis past Friday, Sega revealed a number of Sonic Projects. First among these is Sonic Mania, a return to 2D gaming that takes things back to the classic Genesis days but with touched up visuals and new features and levels/zones. You can play as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Check out the trailer below.

 

Darksiders

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After being leaked by Gamefly, the remaster of Darksiders 1 for Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has been confirmed by Nordic Games.

Darksiders will be released physically and digitally during Q4 2016 and Nordic is also readying new merchandise for the franchise. What this new merchandise is, remains to be seen but things look good for the future of the series.

source

injustice

No GravatarAt their panel during San Diego Comic Con, Netherrealm Studios announced that Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle were coming to Injustice 2. This will be the Jaime Reyes incarnation of Blue Beetle. You can check out the Comic Con Trailer below,

 

KOF

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Last Night, I shared my thoughts on the Demo for King of Fighters XIV. Today I will share the rest of my thoughts.

First, let me finish my thoughts on King of Dinosaurs. After spending a lot more time with him, I really came to enjoy the character. An excellent grappling character with fun moves. I suggest taking the time to learn him because you will enjoy the character.

Now that that business is finished with, let’s move on to the remaining characters. Kyo is a good basic character that is capable of much in the hands of the right player. I’m personally not a fan of the character and I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did others, but from what I saw, I do like what they did.  He is fast and easy to learn, though I still think Mai is a better beginner character, and would be good for players looking for a bit more challenge than Mai. I do like that some of his combos are easy to learn in Max Mode more than characters like Iori and Sylvie. Kyo does have one thing that I like, in that I’m able to attack from more angles with him than in previous games that I’ve played. This may not seem like much but to someone who plays the way I do, this can change the entire fight. Kyo may not be a character I am extremely into but from what I have seen of him, I plan to use him more.

Iori is one of the harder characters to write about. I was able to do incredible moves with him and the character is a good one, but he just doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t know why, but this incarnation of Iori just feels off. Maybe I need more time with the character, but for now, I don’t like him. He does have some great moves but his speed seems different and for me at least, awkward to use. he was nowhere near as hard as Sylvie to learn, but I just don’t think I like him as a character. This is strange to me as I used to really like Iori in the older games. I plan to spend more time with him because he is one of the stronger characters from what I’ve seen and I hope I can come to like the character in the future. I discussed this with a friend and he found my reaction strange. Because Kyo grew on me and I didn’t expect that, I am hoping that the more I play Iori, I will start to like the character again.

Now that the characters are done, I want to talk about the presentation of the game. As discussed before, the visuals are not the greatest but in motion, they are far better than what people are saying. The game isn’t beautiful on the level of Tekken 7 or Street Fighter V but is indeed visually impressive in its own way. Where the game does stand out is its music. The game has an amazing selection of music available, both from the trailers and the stages in the demo, and it feels like a great fit for a fighting game. King of Fighters has always had a Rock N Roll edge to it, and this soundtrack fits it great. The main theme from the trailers is an epic rock tune ( at least from my perspective) and that is extremely important to me. Fighting games need good music and while I haven’t heard the full selection from the game,, I can tell SNK is putting a lot of work into the soundtrack. Even the sound effects are great, Iori and Mai’s specials in particular both have great sound effects which give them an extra feeling of awesome. The sound effects for King of Dinosaurs are also great but at time have a sense of weirdness to them and not in a good way. Maybe its a big still left to fix but it does stand out to me.  The different stages all have great themes and while I don’t have any particular favourites, the music makes me excited for the full game so I can hear more of the stage music. SNK just did a great job hear for the most part ( except the aforementioned KOD issues)

While the game may not look as great as some of the others, don’t let that fool you. This can definitely hold its own with the likes of the big kids.

 

 

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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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