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The Dishonored series has been one of the more interesting things to have come out of gaming in recent years.  The games offer more choices that do affect how the game progresses, which give the games a lot of replayability. That said, there are some who feel the games have been becoming formulaic. For those who feel that way though, Dishonored: Death of The Outsider offers some changes to what you might expect.

Death of the Outsider follows Billie Lurk as she aids Doud in his revenge against the Outsider. From there however, things get strange. Billie gains abilities like one would expect in a Dishonored game, but not in the usual way. In fact, Death of the Outsider does a lot different, such as removing the chaos system altogether. This does affect the replayability of the game, but the tradeoff is a more innovative experience. Billie’s powers are fun to use, and offer multiple ways to go about things. Without giving spoilers, there are certain parts of the game that you just want to replay over and over, because there are so many different ways to complete an objective, and each way is extremely satisfying.

The gameplay in general is handled well, but I do feel that with the removal of the chaos system, the game is lacking something. Even with the chaos system removed, something equal could have been there, but what is in place just does not feel up to par with the previous games. That being said, I do appreciate the game moving away and trying something new.

Another thing to address is the fact that this is essentially DLC being sold separately. I have seen many complain about that, but I don’t know why. This is not a new concept, such as seen with Infamous: First Light, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and even Bethesda themselves with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. I actually like the idea of DLC being sold as standalone games, especially in this case, since as mentioned,  Death of the Outsider does a lot of new things.

The game is rather short ( although considering it is an expansion, that is fine), but satisfying. You still feel awesome using the abilities, and there is the right mix of stealth and action along with a detailed story. The game works to resolve many of the overarching questions of the series, but manages to leave many things open for a possible sequel.

After playing Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, I felt Arkane Studios and Bethesda truly managed to take the series in a new direction. While some may not like this, I felt it may have been needed as it keeps things fresh. Playing this was an awesome experience, and I feel this is one that more people should play. Obviously this is not a good place to start with the series, especially as it spoils the events of Dishonored 2, and gives it a canonical series of events. But for fans of the series, this is a great game. I fully recommend it.

 

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Disclaimer: Bethesda provided a review key

 

Reviewed on PS4

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I don’t play too many 3DS games, but one that caught my eye was Chicken Wiggle. It had a sense of wonder and adventure to it that I found immensely attractive. The great visuals and excellent looking gameplay had me hooked from the first time I saw it and I needed to experience it. After playing it, I have to say that Atooi has another masterpiece on their hands.

Chicken Wiggle is a 2D platformer with excellent controls, and lovable protagonists. Normally 2D platformers these days feel a need to guide you through every last detail but Chicken Wiggle lets you jump right in and learn it for yourself. I found this refreshing, and despite needing a few minutes to get the hang of it, it was all for the best. The learning curve is not that bad and honestly, this is a game for platformer fans of all degrees of experience.

There is an issue with the difficulty varying wildly at times, which can be annoying but I don’t feel its a major problem. Overall, I find the gameplay amazing, as while the protagonists moves are basic, there is a lot that can be done with them. Chick can jump run, and attack enemies and obstacles, while the worm can reach far-away platforms and walls with stickiness. Using them both in creative ways makes a things a lot more interesting and opens new possibilities. The levels are well designed and give you a lot of room to experiment in, and this isn’t even considering the various power ups you get throughout the levels.

Chicken Wiggle has some incredible music as well, and the soundtrack just feels fun. The soundtrack perfect companion piece to this game and helps further the experience, so my hat goes off to Atooi for that as well. Visually the game is excellent as well, and has a great art style that just works for it.

If anything, it is sad that the game does have an end to it, but even then it doesn’t have to end. The game has an excellent level editor that seems to take after Super Mario Maker, and lets you share your levels with others. Its does have a drawback though, in that the interface is a bit unintuitive and can be more cumbersome that you would expect. Still sharing and playing levels is fun, and I had a blast with the levels I played from others.

I have to encourage everyone to play this game. It is amazing and deserves attention.

 

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A review key was provided by Atooi

By Cataclysmic Knight On 14 Sep, 2017 At 07:44 PM | Categorized As PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHave you ever wondered what would happen if you combined Monty Python art and humor with Marble Madness and tower defense games? Then why the heck didn’t you play the original Rock of Ages? If you’ve never heard of Rock of Ages, welcome to the club. When I first heard of Rock of Ages II I was so hyped to try it out – I LOVE Monty Python and I love wacky games!

Title: Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder
Developed By: ACE Team
Available For: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Steam (Windows)

Rock of Ages II: Bigger & Boulder, from all the reviews I’ve read, lives up to its name – it’s both bigger than the original and it still involves giant boulders and hilarity. The main game plays out like this – you and your opponent have your own identical paths to throw your boulder of doom down, crushing your enemy’s obstacles and trying to retain as much boulder integrity as possible so that when you inevitably slam into your foe’s castle door you’ll do as much damage as you can.

After your boulder smashes into the enemy’s door (or if your boulder gets entirely destroyed) you’ll have to wait until another boulder is chiseled out of stone. While you wait for your next boulder you can use your currency to lay down various traps and obstacles for your enemy. Spring boards, tower walls, ballista, balloons that dangle lions that cling to enemy boulders and make them wonky, sticky cows… There are loads of options! Each one has a different value, and most of them increase in value with each one you lay down. My personal favorite is the spring board – these pop out of the ground and fling the enemy boulder in the direction the spring board is aimed, typically sending them backwards or throwing them to their doom! This not only damages the boulder, it also greatly slows them down, and in a game where 3 boulders almost always means victory that bit of extra time can really be beneficial.

The game balances the importance of laying down objectives wisely and being able to control your boulders. However, if you’re terrible at controlling the boulder (like me) you’re doomed to fail on the harder levels that involve crazy jumps (yes, of course your boulder can jump!) and tight turns. By the 6th or 7th map I was hitting the enemy’s door less than half of the time while they had no problem demolishing me.

 

The game has two main modes of play – the standard “war” and an “obstacle course” that’s essentially a race. The obstacle course is basically war without laying obstacles, and both you and your opponent(s) race the same course together. The first to three points wins, and each time the course is played in a match the obstacles get more and more crazy.

These game modes are available both online and offline. Offline you’re presented with a hilarious campaign mode, obstacle course and a time trial mode that allows you to run any course without obstacles in the hopes of getting on the online leaderboards. You can also set up your profile – you can set up your banner, change your leader and paint your ball. While the obstacle course is the same as I already explained, the campaign is where I spent most of my time.

In campaign mode, you go up against various figures – like Adam and Eve or William Wallace – and artwork – like the Scream. Each battle begins with a ridiculously funny clip that looks like something right out of Monty Python, sometimes blatantly showing off their inspiration with things like pokeballs that look like Holy Hand Grenades of Antioch (if you don’t get that reference go buy Monty Python and the Holy Grail right now and watch it immediately!). Each battle takes place on the enemy’s turf and beating them on any difficulty gives you a star, their boulder, their leader as someone you can use and a banner customization option. Stars are then used to take down gates for the game’s crazy boss battles, and whether you win the battle or not you’ll knock the tower down so you can progress (thank goodness!). As you roll around the map, you’ll also find new traps, obstacles and weapons to use against your opponent, but you’ll only have 4 slots to equip with the dozens of options until you take down the bosses and collect more slots. All of campaign mode is also playable in split-screen couch co-op, something fantastic for people like my gal and I to play together. Each side’s castle door still seems to have the same amount of health though so slowing enemies down is even more important!

Like any multiplayer game, the real fun comes when you play with other people you actually know. This includes co-op and against one another on a couch of course, but the trash talk flows even more beautifully with up to four-player online play, battling it out 2v2 in war or free-for-all with the obstacle course. For the best odds of winning you’ll want to play through the campaign first though so you can practice and unlock all the different obstacles and balls. The courses, however, are all unlocked from the second you get the game! Like most everything else in the game, you can choose which ball you use as well, and you get the vast majority of them from beating campaign levels. Some roll faster, some are more agile and some have special abilities like the paint ball that doesn’t allow your opponent to lay down new obstacles where you roll for a limited time.

While I found the game incredibly frustrating after a handful of levels, it was still a pretty hilarious time and it’s something my gal and I will have plenty of laughs with. If you enjoyed the original Rock of Ages or Monty Python, those reasons are enough to dive into Rock of Ages II.

Note: I received a code for the game from the developer in exchange for an honest review.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Sep, 2017 At 05:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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There are many kinds of RPGs out there, both established genres like JRPGs and others such as action RPGs, and when the genres begin to blend together, things become interesting. Fallen Legion is an RPG that blends various styles to create unique gameplay that fits its nature well. But is it a good game beyond that?

In terms of the story, Fallen Legion is a bit on the more simplistic side as with many indie RPGs. It isn’t bad, but fairly conventional, although it does try to change things up by offering choices to make This does help give a bit of variety but to be honest, the allure of the game is not in its story, and that is okay. In the end, the story while fairly generic, is more of a backdrop against what is the more unique points of the game.  As stated, you  must make split-second decisions that are meant to have an impact on the game’s story, but it doesn’t really go that far. What is good, is that Fallen Legion shows  two perspectives in different games, to create a more immersive experience. Its nice, but what is the real draw is the gameplay.

I mentioned above, the JRPG and Action RPG genres, and Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire serves as a blending of those two, with elements of Strategy RPGs as well. It is actually far more of an action game with RPG and SRPG elements, but it comes out well in terms of combat. The battle system is fairly unique, and fighting requires your attention for all actions.  You control multiple characters simultaneously, and need to master combos, and counters to progress, which is a nice twist on the traditional formula.. There isn’t as much leveling up for characters, again making this more action based, and it wouldn’t exactly be wrong to call this an RPG inspired action game. That to me actually does sound more interesting a concept than an action RPG but that is neither here nor there.

The game’s playstyle is its draw and it does it well. It goes nicely with gorgeous hand drawn art and excellent music to create unique atmospheres for the battles. In fact, I would say the combat in the game is some of the most unique I have ever seen, and I would like to see the developers push that part forward in other games, perhaps making a full on action game with more story focus and less of a Valkyrie Profile inspired game. As it is, I would recommend this for the unique combat playstyle, it is one of a kind.

 

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A review key was provided by the developers.

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With Dishonored: Death of the Outsider fast approaching, I wanted to take a look back at the series thus far. When Bethesda and Arkane Studios first released Dishonored, it didn’t introduce new ideas, so much as use what was already done by others. What was new was the way they used those ideas, and the product that came out of it.

Dishonored combined different elements and playstyles, like the stealth gameplay of Thief, with more horror and fantasy elements as well as action. The thing is though, Dishonored innovated, not by giving you different ways to play the game, but consequences for your style, and incentive to play again. You could go through the game with as little murder as possible, or kill everyone in your path. The choices you made affected not only the endings, but how the game progressed in general.

Dishonored also took steampunk genre and played with it in an interesting way, by deconstructing such a world and then giving the player a chance to have such a world exist in an ideal state. The game didn’t encourage you to go down either route, it let you make your own choice every step of the way. Then we have the sequel. Dishonored 2 gave two characters to play as, but also gave even more ways to play than ever before. Dishonored 2 took the formula of the first game and built on it, expanding what was done, and allowing far more innovation. But now it brought it a sense of immersion like never before.

The series playing with established ideas and using them in new ways was excellent, but the developers also took the time to build a unique world with a character of its own. It is not an exaggeration to say that the genres and games Dishonored took from, now take from Dishonored, such as seen with the reboot of Thief. It has become a series that transformed gaming and pushed things forward.

There are few games that can truly force change on gaming. The Dishonored series is one of the few that can legitimately claim to have done so.

 

If you hadn’t seen our review of Dishonored 2 before, you can see it here.

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Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was an amazing game full of fun and awesome action. Now WayForward has brought a new addition to the game, with the addition of DLC focusing on Risky Boots, the pirate queen herself. This DLC brings a new style of gameplay, but is it worth getting?

Right from the start, Pirate Queen’s Quest shakes things up, since Risky has completely different gameplay from Shantae, that t is actually reminiscent of Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse a bit. however, there is more than just playing the game as Risky with her tools, as the levels have been changed  to introduce new challenges, as well as bringing in new enemies. This campaign is a lot harder than the main game, but is still a rewarding experience. There are now new platform puzzles, new tricks to learn to progress, and above all else, a funny storylien that offers growth for Risky as a character.

There is still the amazing music that WayForward brings to their games, and even a few fun twists on what you might expect. The game retains the awesome visuals of the base game, and the new enemies looks terrific. These new enemies will give you a much tougher fight than what you encountered before, but that is part of the fun. The upgrades, the animations, everything about this game feels like it built on what was established before, and helped expand on it to reach new heights.

Playing as Risky actually feels different than playing as Shantae and that alleviates a fear I had for the DLC. The DLC is priced very well, and for the content contained within, it actually feels like a bargain. With more content coming, I am really eager to see what WayForward has planned next for the Shantae universe. If you have played Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, then you need to get this DLC as well!

 

 

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Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Sep, 2017 At 06:29 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Punishment platformers are a popular genre, and have been for some time. We have seen greats such as Super Meat Boy, and others that are not so great. League of Evil is another entry into the genre and it offers up more of the same. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does the game hold up on its own?

League of Evil involves short levels that get longer as you progress, simple action and minor objectives. Its great for short bursts of gameplay but does get very repetitive at times. This isn’t to say that the levels are all the same, since there is variety that is introduced, but it still feels less than what it could be. I don’t feel it is a bad game, but I do not feel it meets its true potential.

There is something much more important I must mention. The controls for the game are not good. They are far too loose, or far too sensitive and for a punishment platformer, this is a very bad thing. The controls often get in the way of the game and cause issues. As you progress in the game, it gets even worse with the controls either being too sensitive or not responding right, and that leading to numerous deaths.

I wanted to like League of Evil as I do find punishing games to be fun. Heck, I play Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze in order to relax when I am stressed. But the controls just got in the way far too much. I ultimately could not enjoy League of Evil and found it to be a chore to get through. It has great music, I will admit and a nice art style, but good music and good art is not enough to save the game.

I must suggest passing on this for now. I just cannot see it as being fun.

 

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Disclaimer: A review key was provided by the publisher.

By Stark Wyvern On 5 Sep, 2017 At 10:41 AM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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*Note – Game is still in Early Access.

Quake Champions is an Action Team Based Shooter and is now in Early Access on Steam. As someone who hasn’t really played online action shooters such as this usually, I found it to be quite exhilarating an experience. This game is really well crafted, with the characters all being their own and the world being something you want to run and shoot in for hours.

Quake Champions at its core is a serious team shooter, and one where clearly knowing who you are playing with will allow for some advantage. But, it is also raucous and chaotic fun playing with other random people. The game play is clearly quick and rather simple, but of course as you learn the arenas, you will be able to truly strategize. There are power ups to collect such as health, defense, ammo, and attack upgrades such as quad damage. These power ups do in fact respawn, so memorizing where they are would certainly be a good thing to do. While, not so hard to memorize where they are of course, you will be doing this while you play so you might lose your positioning. It really can get rather hectic.

There are 11 champions to play as, and as it is early access I am able to play as them all, with more coming in the future. My favorite has to be Nyx, as she is quite the lithe and speedy blue haired combatant. Though I also found Sorlag to be quite cool, and the other characters also beg to be played as. These other characters include, Anarki, Slash, Ranger, Scalebearer, Clutch, Galena, B.J. Blazkowicz of Wolfenstein, and of course the Doom Slayer from Doom. With all of these characters, they clearly have their own reasons and wants. They are all quite different from each other, and with new costumes to unlock they do honestly change quite drastically.

These characters also have their own attributes of course which change how they might play. What is good though, is that there is a series of videos to watch in game, to get you into it. While they may seem annoying at first,  they talk about all sorts of things from the arenas, to powerups, and even talk about the characters themselves. It really is a good idea to watch all of the videos to really have your head on straight when going into the arena for the first time.

Just like other games of this nature there are lootboxes to buy and obtain through just playing. Getting these can obviously give you new weapons, costumes, and other goodies. While not essential, who doesn’t like opening a surprise? Though it is possible of course to get them through simply playing the game which is also good and gives you something else to have in mine when you are playing.

I also thought it was cool that they included lore scrolls for you to collect, giving you insight into this world you now find yourself in. In a world where detail matters, and characters are simply sent into an arena learning about the world they inhabit always does make the game that much more enjoyable.

The game is still in Early Access but what we have is excellent. Still, there are a lot of changes and additions that will be coming to the game as it approaches its full release, and we will look at it again down the line.

Quake Champions is a shooter that stands out among others and shouldn’t be missed. If you are a fan of classic Quake or Arena Shooters, you should give this one a look!

 

 

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Disclaimer: We were given a game key by Bethesda.

By Cataclysmic Knight On 1 Sep, 2017 At 10:46 AM | Categorized As PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBioshock: Infinite. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One. Life is Strange. Final Fantasy VII. These are some of the games with moments so powerful I’ll never forget them. It’s a list with some incredible games, and What Remains of Edith Finch definitely belongs on it as well.

Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Developed By: Giant Sparrow
Available For: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Windows (Steam)

When I first started playing the game, my fiancee actually mentioned that the game reminded her of Bioshock: Infinite. It’s gorgeous, and even though I went into the game entirely blind there was always this nagging feeling that there was something dark going on. That balance of emotions – gorgeous, peaceful, curious exploration combined with dread and a twinge of sadness.


In Giant Sparrow’s second game (their first being the unique The Unfinished Swan) you play as Edith Finch, a 17-year-old girl returning to her old home after being left a mysterious key in her mother’s will. Edith is the last living Finch and she’s decided to return and explore. The house is perhaps the most accidentally creepy home ever with the rooms of dead family members sealed off and peepholes added to let people see inside like a museum. These rooms each have memorials to those who lived, and perusing their memorials brings Edith into the final moments of each family member.

These final moments are the true meat of the game, with wildly varying scenarios and themes. A child star famous for her scream ends up having her death told through a horror zine with classic horror music playing and a Tales from the Crypt-like host. A baby plays with a bouncing frog in the bathtub, collecting other toys that bounced around with it. The most unique of all was Edith’s brother, a gamer and stoner who worked a boring job at a cannery. Here you’re tasked with the monotonous task of cutting the heads off of fish with the right stick and controlling a dude in a maze with the left stick with a psychiatrist narrating his story. As he devolves further and further into his imagination the screen is taken over more and more by the old-school game that gradually evolves from something reminiscent of Atari titles into a present-day 3D adventure.

What makes these minigames so particularly wild is that it’s such a juxtaposition of emotions. These scenes are full of joy, of adventure and of wonder and yet, deep down, you can’t help but remember you’re essentially causing this baby to drown to death. Despite always feeling a nagging “what am I going to do to get this person killed?” I always happily continued on. It’s also worth noting that this is a game that will not only hit you in the feels, it’ll continue to do so repeatedly throughout your 2-5 hours with it.

This is a narrative game with even less “gameplay” than typical narrative games where you make meaningful choices that change the outcome of events. It’s incredibly linear, and you never once make any important decision. However, the narrative is extremely powerful, and the controls of the game really made me feel connected to what was going on. You grip things with the right trigger and then use the stick to move your hand to do things like pull a door open or turn a music box handle. I also enjoyed having a plain white orb as a symbol that items can be interacted with as the home is SO full of stuff! I read somewhere that it truly felt like the home was lived in and I couldn’t agree more. Despite how linear the game is and how short it is, it’s a masterpiece. I absolutely can’t recommend it enough, it’s just amazing.

Note: I received a code for the game from the developer in exchange for an honest review.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 31 Aug, 2017 At 12:37 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Back when Mighty No. 9 was announced and kickstarted, a second Mega Man successor also came to be. Azure Striker Gunvolt from Inti Creates is a spiritual sequel to the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX games that were made by the company, and was released on 3DS, before receiving a sequel.  Now both games have come to the Nintendo Switch eShop as the Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack.

The first thing to note is that yes, the game does look better on Switch than on 3DS. That should go without saying of course, and there are far more substantial differences. First and foremost is the inclusion of HD rumble. Given Gunvolt’s abilities and fighting style, the inclusion of HD rumble really does help enhance the game. It brings you into the action and makes the fight more intense. Inti Creates has been excellent in their use of HD rumble so far, so this does not surprise me in any way.

But now let’s get to the gameplay. As I said, the games are a spiritual sequel to the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX games, which were previously made by Inti Creates. Gunvolt can run, jump and shoot at his enemies, while also using a large variety of abilities. The action is fast paced and intense, and using Gunvolt’s abilities to their fullest is key to survival. Plus it is also incredibly satisfying once you learn how to use those abilities. Thus replaying levels is a needed to really get the full experience of the game. In terms of levels, you choose them in the traditional fashion, and can replay them whenever you want.  What is a good addition to the games are the extra elements, such as interacting with other characters, selling off parts for cash to get other upgrades and selectin the best upgrades for your loadout. Learning to pick the best loadout you can, can take some time but is worth it immensely.  The leveling up mechanics also provide a nice change of pace to most games of this genre, and the narrative of the game is well done. Some may not like the anime aesthetics, but its honestly fine.

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is even better than the original, with more refined gameplay, better narrative storytelling and just a bigger feel. Both games have received some minor upgrades for the Switch version, with minor refinements here and there, HD rumble and upgraded visuals as mentioned, and some control changes. There is only one screen here, so things are handled a bit differently, but it works out just fine. Everything you loved from the games is still here, including the amiibo support, and with the new additions, its just a better package.

I highly recommend this game, and if you want a return to the feel of the Mega Man series, this is a great place to look!

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Disclaimer: A review key was provided by the publisher.