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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 05:17 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Television | With 0 Comments

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Ah Star Trek, the wagon train to the stars that has endured since the 60’s. It is a series that brought many firsts for television and movies and broke barriers. However, a realization occurred to me while re-watching episodes recently. That realization is that above everything else, Star Trek is a rejection of everything Lovecraft wrote and believed in.

It is difficult for many to understand now, just how H.P. Lovecraft was. While the racism in his work is still apparent, many don’t realize just how it fuelled his work along with his fears and paranoia’s.  Lovecraft’s work was deeply personal and from a dark place. The monstrous half human hybrids for example, were inspired by his fears of miscegenation, and his great old ones and cosmology in general were inspired by his fear of the unknown. Lovecraft came from an old New England family and was horrified by the changing culture, especially his brief time in New York  when he interacted more with other ethnic groups. His own family problems left him with many psychological issues, such as a fear of intimacy and openness.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek? Very simply, Star Trek rejects each and every aspect of Lovecraft’s work. Racism is attacked, black women are shown in positions of power, and interracial relationships are shown. Different cultures working together is shown as a good thing and even Spock can be seen as another rejection of the monsters of Lovecraft’s work, given that he is half human and half alien. But it is the opening of Star Trek that truly shows the power of idealism vs giving into fear.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Star Trek is about rising above fear and hate and daring to explore. There is no fear of the unknown but instead a desire to learn more and see what has not been seen. Yes there are dark moments, such as in Deep Space Nine, but with one or two exceptions, the victories achieved are done by rising up above hatred, fear and paranoia. The entities that are above human comprehension are seen differently as well. In the episode ” The Squire of Gothos”, such an entity is shown to be a child ultimately, and then there is Q. Q is an omnipotent entity, yet the Enterprise crew is able to best him more than once, and even learn from him.

There are times that the unknown truly is terrifying, but these are not the norm ( and ultimately that makes these instances stand out better). The message of the show is ultimately a simple one, but one that needs to be heard time and again. If we work together we can grow as people and fear is something that can be overcome. Humanity has potential, and we must work to use it to its fullest and best.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 04:29 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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A few months ago, I reviewed Knight Terrors, an auto runner from FreakZone Games and Nicalis. While my general view of the game has not changed, I feel I did not do it justice and want to add more to it. I feel I was overly praising it and could have mentioned some of the more negative parts and other positives.

I noted that the game has intuitive controls, which is true as they are simple two button controls. That being said, there are issues with the controls not responding right away and thus leading to getting hit or missing enemies repeatedly. This isn’t a a major issues, but I should have mentioned it before. I also feel the background has a lack of variety that takes something away from the experience and gives a sense of sameness. I do appreciate the visuals in the foreground and the multiple varieties of enemies, which harken back to the golden age of console retrogaming, but I think some more could have been done.

There is also a lot of content in the game, but it must be unlocked. This doesn’t seem that bad, but unlocking each mode becomes somewhat frustrating (albeit equally rewarding). I am not saying everything should have been available from the start, but rather maybe a little more variety included in the unlocks wouldn’t have been bad.  The powerups are a great thing to unlock but sometimes it feels like they are a goal for a goal’s sake. I am wondering, if a mission structure of sorts would have worked better.

I do not want to seem like I am ragging on the game, because I genuinely do like it. It is a budget game that offers a lot of content for its price. It has a fun music beat that fits the game perfectly, and indeed all the music is handled well. I would still recommend this fully even if I think there could have been more. The fact is, playing Knight Terrors is great in short sessions as well as if you need something to occupy yourself for a little bit while travelling or waiting somewhere. This is a game that works great on a portable device, and thus is a perfect fit for the Switch. It follows a pattern but tries ( and mostly succeeds) to put its own spin on things. I suggest checking it out.

By Stark Wyvern On 15 Jan, 2018 At 06:44 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSuper Meat Boy is a classic platformer of the modern era, and even now on the Nintendo Switch, it still shows that it’s worth the praise. Super Meat Boy is an amazing game starring a sentient blob of meat on a journey to find his lady love. It’s an amazing game that tests the mettle of anyone willing to play it, making it an intensely rigorous game, where every move counts especially as you continue playing.

Super Meat Boy tells the story of a Meat Boy who is out to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Dr.Fetus. Meat Boy runs through a vicious world filled with saws and other tough barriers to his justice. He has to dodge all that comes at him or else be instantly destroyed. Touch anything dangerous and you’ll have to run and jump through the perils all over again.

This game doesn’t just end with a run through what it calls the Light World. You will also have to run through the chaotic Dark World, an evil version of the original levels. These levels are far harder than the first run through, and your instincts will have to be even sharper if you are going to survive their assault.

As you play through this game you will also have to face bosses who will make your life even harder. Dodging and taking on bosses certainly, don’t make running through levels easier. Dr.Fetus is out for blood and he will only get more bloodthirsty as the adventure continues.

The game also includes warp zones which send the player into different worlds. These worlds are inspired by different games including ones like Castle Crashers. There are also versions based on classic systems like the original Game Boy. These levels will put your skills to the test, without the stigma of facing the time. They really help mix up the fun when you find the warps.

Don’t forget to collect the bandages you find around the world. These bandages are hard to find and collect but the rewards are amazing. Finding enough will allow you to play with different characters. All of the extra characters are different, making the game play interesting. Commander Video plays slow and has the ability to freeze in the air for a moment. Playing the game with a style like Commander Video can make it easier or harder depending on the stage, allowing for new ways to play the game.

While I may not be a master platformer, I did find this game to be one I wanted to continue playing. Dying multiple times is never terrible when your main character explodes after every death. With the games awesome soundtrack you simply want to continue playing. Plus, when you finally complete the level and see all of your past attempts at action it’s rather funny seeing the Meat Boys run and die showing off your evolution.

Super Meat Boy is a stellar game that really has a lot to offer. With 300 stages to blast through, you will certainly find a lot of enjoyment in playing this game. Plus, collecting bandages, playing with different characters, and conquering all the warp zones will certainly add to the fun. Super Meat Boy is out now on Nintendo Switch and has been out on many systems for quite awhile. If you’ve yet to pick up this meaty game, jump into the wicked world of Super Meat Boy today!

By Stark Wyvern On 13 Jan, 2018 At 08:35 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe Fifth installment of Etrian Odyssey is upon us, and it is certainly a brilliant RPG. This RPG is different from most in that you get to create your party and make them whatever you wish them to look like. While there are four core groups and each have their own job types, you get to design the rest.

This RPG is not the first of its kind that I have played, as I greatly enjoyed Persona Q which was of the same vein. Exploring the dungeon in a first person view makes for quite an exciting experience. Never knowing when monsters will appear is also quite magnificent.

Jumping into the game, I created my party, and decked them out as I saw fit. It was a little hard, figuring out what types of characters to bring to battle, but eventually I decided to pick one from each group. I found that each group had different powers that would aid me, though I had no idea if I had chosen right.

Etrian Odyssey V then tasks you with a quest and after some shopping and maybe a save, you are sent to the dungeons. With beautiful, yet, somewhat funky music blasting, you find yourself in a forest. This is where the fun begins, and you begin your dungeon trek. Exploring this forest you learn that you need to make a map of your surroundings. Quite a novel experience really. You need to place down markers, so that on subsequent journeys into the areas you will be able to get through them easier. It might be time consuming but it also makes you very aware of your surroundings.

The battle system is fairly simple in that you have three characters in the front and two in the back. Choosing the right characters and classes can break or make it for you. You’ll need to know where characters need to be to effectively fight these foes. There are also unison skills which can help your team as well as skill points to buy individual skills.

All in all Etrian Odyssey V Beyond Myth, is a good game. While, it might not be up everyone’s alley, it is certainly worth trying the demo. The sheer ability of customization is great, and the fact that you can give any character any voice is hilarious and actually quite nice. So, boot up your 3DS or 2DS, form a party, and get dungeoneering! This demo is available right now on the 3DS Family of Systems.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Jan, 2018 At 11:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Like many, I miss the days of classic 3D platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie and others from Rare. I was therefore delighted when several former Rare employees for Playtonic Games and announced Yooka-Laylee as a spiritual sequel. My eagerness for the game was lessened after hearing about the issues many had after launch, but I was determined to make my own opinion.

Well, Yooka-Laylee is certainly an interesting experience from start to finish, but I do not know if that is a good thing. The game starts out strong, with many callbacks to its spiritual ancestor, but issues arise almost immediately. To begin, I must address the camera issues that have plagued many. The camera feels like its taken from the N64 era and not in a good way. It interferes with the game and causes you to miss jumps and attacks. There is an option to change the camera movements, but this only helps a bit. But the camera isn’t the only issue, as aiming projectiles is much harder than it needs to be. I can never aim in the right direction and the projectiles constantly go where I was not aiming. Add to that, the fact that in several areas there are platforming scenarios that combine these two problems, and you have a recipe for frustration.

It is not all bad though, as the spirit of 90’s Rare is here. I do feel there is a good game that could have been, but the full vision was simply not realized. There were several moments such as certain boss battles, where I really did get a nostalgic feeling for Banjo-Kazooie, but then the uneven parts hit and I was ripped from the past. I feel Yooka-Laylee could have been a great game but perhaps it simply had too much pressure on the developers. Taken as a standalone game, it isn’t perfect but is more forgivable besides the camera and projectile issues, and could have been better received if not for expectations.

That being said, I find I have a hard time putting the game down. I do not know what it is, as I am often frustrated by it, but will keep returning to it in the end. I genuinely was not expecting to react to Yooka-Laylee that way, and that tells me that even if the game is flawed it definitely has that special something that keeps you from staying away. Maybe it is the amazing music from Grant Kirkhope that expertly recreates the mood of BK while adding in its own sense of identity, but the game does have a charm that works for it. In the end, I know I will keep coming back to this and that is an accomplishment for any game.

 

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Stark Wyvern On 11 Jan, 2018 At 11:52 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWhat if you were trapped in prison, and finally had enough? In The Escapists 2, it is up to you to break out of prison, which is certainly a novel idea. The game throws you right into to what I can only think of as the Shawshank Redemption ending gone wrong tutorial. You are given all the skills needed to get out of prison and everything really feels just a little too quick, but it works. This is by far my most positive experience with this game, as it really shows you the game at its finest.

 

After you beat the tutorial and learn what you need to play the game, you are thrust into a revamped version of the same prison. Though in this, there really is no sense of danger and thus it is just plain tedious. My prisoner, Clive, roams around and does what he wants, as long as he behaves nothing bad happens. He completes quests for other people and often goes to the library. While there are other prisons that will obviously be a challenge, this opening level doesn’t make it appealing to continue.

There is certainly a part of me that is spurred to play more because of how tedious the game is, but it is not all consuming. I’m playing as a white haired gent wearing a blue bear hat named Clive. Clive is going about his day to day life, completing quests and being as good as he can be. Part of me just doesn’t feel right breaking him out when I’ve been pretty diligent about making him an upstanding prisoner. Sure, he could certainly do more in life out of prison, but when I’m playing there isn’t any drive to break free.

Now, this game is really only like that when you play solo. When you play with others there is a sense of urgency. Playing with others online or locally does provide you with more incentive. Now, here you are ready to break free because you have people to support you. It’s now a true game where you want to get out because everyone wants to. This is where the true fun comes in, even if you are playing in the simple first stage now there is competition.

The Escapists 2, to me, is a game about making prisoners and giving them their own stories. My main character Clive or The Kuma, as I’ve dubbed him, has done heinous things and now he is ready to take his lumps and be good. When playing solo, I found that it was par for the course to inject some story just like in the tutorial level. Without any emotion this game plays just like a simple simulator where you are guided by time lines.

While the game looks nice, and in multiplayer situations it can be fun, I just know this isn’t a game for me. I just find it to be droll, and I know that’s not saying alot having only played the first true level. But, if a game doesn’t pull me in the first level it’s not going to pull me in later.

There may be people who really enjoy this game and more power to them for playing it. But, for me, whenever I play it, I’ll be happy playing as Clive, a former Mob Boss, who now just wants to help find his mate’s harmonica that some other guy stole.

If you are itching to break free from a jail, then Escapists 2, may just be the game for you. While it was dull for me, it may just be a fantastic game for you. So, if you wanna escape prison, do it a game like The Escapists 2!

By Jessica Brister On 10 Jan, 2018 At 11:15 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Editorials, Featured, PC Games, PlayStation | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSince I have a lot of hobbies and loves, it’s not uncommon for me to listen to music while playing a game (as I’m sure many gamers do).  One odd aspect of my gaming career is that I inadvertently made “soundtracks” to games that do not play more modern music (i.e. the GTA franchise is out because it already has a soundtrack).  I stuck to this so much that when I think of a game, I automatically think of the soundtrack I made.  Or, if a song is playing from that soundtrack, I immediately am transported back to that game and possibly even that level that I assigned the song to.  This might sound awesome to some people, or it might sound incredibly geeky to others.  I find that I love to flash back to the nostalgia of a game when hearing a particular song; I may not have thought of said game otherwise.  Add some years  to when I first started doing this, and I’m enthralled with what I had initially did: it’s helped me remember aspects of some games that I know that I will never return to.

Enter: Tomb Raider II

It’s one of my favorite all-time games, and it’s definitely the best puzzle-based adventure game I’ve ever played.  I just completely fell in love with it, even though I such at puzzle games and had to buy a walk-through (yes, I said buy; the walk-throughs on the Internet weren’t great).  It looks dated now with Lara Croft’s squarish appearance, so I’m glad I can think back to days when it looked so “real” in comparison to what games came before it.

Tomb Raider II came out in late 1997.  However, I compiled my soundtrack sometime in 2000 on my second play-through, so if there are any songs that are newer than the game, that’s why.  I felt the need to share this list with everyone, if not for the fact that I don’t want it to die in my memory, so enjoy…

Level 1: Great Wall

Song: Creed – Torn (from My Own Prison, 1997)

 

It was the album before Creed turned obnoxious: My Own Prison had some dark vibes, and the song Torn really delivered.  It’s also one of those songs that feels like it starts things off, so it was perfect for the first level, Great Wall.  Lara ran around the ruins of the Great Wall of China, and the level gave an intro for things to come.

Level 2: Venice

Song: Stone Temple Pilots – Sex Type Thing (Core, 1992)

 

I chose this STP song mostly based on the fact that I was listening through Core at the time and also because of the pacing of the song.  If you put Lara at her natural “run,” she runs to the beat of the song.  For whatever reason, this song “took on” the feel of the level.  The actual content of the song itself didn’t necessarily matter, so the song really isn’t some sexual objectification of Lara for me.

Level 3: Bartolli’s Hideout

Song: Stone Temple Pilots – Wicked Garden (Core, 1992)

Another STP song that actually is right after the above fore-mentioned song on the album, Core.  It ended up being a natural transition from one level to the other, even though I took me approximately forty minutes for each level (yes, I put the songs on repeat).  This is also one of the songs where if I hear it, I immediately go back to that level.  Every.  Single.  Time.

 

Level 4: Opera House

Song: Days of the New – The Down Town (Days of the New, 1997)

Days of the New made all acoustic cool again in the late ’90s.  The Down Town might still be one of my favorites from them.  In this case, it emphasized the cool location of Lara’s exploration of a run-down opera house, while highlighting how dilapidated and grungy the place ended up being.  The song also really feels cool listening to while Lara is running.

 

Level 5: Offshore Rig

Weezer – My Name is Jonas (Weezer, 1994)

This level in particular made me stick to the song, My Name is Jonas, even if I used the rest of the album for other levels.  I thought it was cute because of how the lyrics describe, “The workers are coming home,” and the level is on an offshore rig.  It might be a stretch, but this is another song where I can’t not think of this album when the song plays.

 

Level 6: Diving Area

Weezer – Pretty much the rest of the Blue Album (Weezer, 1994)

I ended up listening to the rest of what Weezer fans say is “The Blue Album,” noting the blue background of Weezer’s self-titled album from 1994.  I flash back to this level any time most of the album is on, and I love it!

 

Level 7: 40 Fathoms

Jars of Clay – Flood (Jars of Clay, 1995)

When you’re playing a level where you have to fight for every breath, I thought Jars of Clay’s Flood was perfect.  This is probably the band’s more famous song.

 

Level 8: Wreck of the Maria Doria

Pantera – Floods (The Great Southern Trendkill, 1995)

One of Pantera’s most haunting and beautifully written songs, Floods seems to just fit with a level where Lara is trapped in a upside-down shipwreck, using pockets of area to survive.

 

Level 9: Living Quarters

Machine Head – Message in a Bottle (The Burning Red, 1999)

Living Quarters explores the passenger side of the Maria Doria, and it’s a bit of a head trip, since this part of the ship settled upside down.  Machine Head’s cover of The Police’s Message in a Bottle continues with my nautical-themed, darker toned set of songs.

 

Level 10: The Deck

Alice in Chains – Grind (Alice in Chains, 1995)

The Deck is an expansive level that highlights part of the deck of the Maria Doria, which had crashed through a huge cavern.  I thought the song “Grind” was appropriate as this level is a bit of a grind.

 

Level 11: Tibetan Foothills

Static X – So Real (Wisconsin Death Trip, 1999)

Tibetan Foothills is probably my favorite level for TR II because of the fun puzzles and the snowmobile action.  The pulsing beat of Static X’s So Real fits perfectly with some cool snowmobiling across the icy mountains.

 

Level 12: Barkhang Monastery

Jars of Clay – Liquid (Jars of Clay, 1995)

Nothing echoes the feeling of exploring a huge monastery like the haunting notes of Jars of Clay’s Liquid.  This is also a favorite level, and you get some much-needed help from the monks as long as you don’t attack them.

 

Level 13: Catacombs of the Talion

Metallica – Call of Ktulu (Ride the Lightning, 1984)

Catacombs of Talion is an icy and particularly tricky level that is perfect with Metallica’s Call of Ktulu.  Because of this pairing, I love to drive in snow storms with this song on.  It brings me back to TR II.

 

Level 14: Ice Palace

Metallica – One (…And Justice For All, 1988)

Ice Palace is the last of the cold climate levels, and it definitely delivers.  It has some crazy puzzles and some tough baddies, which is why I selected Metallica’s One for this level.

Level 15: Temple of Xian

Metallica – Wherever I May Roam (Metallica, 1991)

Temple of Xian is probably the largest level for TR II, and if it’s not, it certainly feels that way.  The place is massive and has some crazy puzzles.  Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam felt perfect for the level.

 

Level 16: Floating Islands

Metallica – Orion (Instrumental) (Master of Puppets, 1986)

The Floating Islands level is a bit of a trip to play; the whole thing is quire surreal.  Because of this, I wanted a song that matched that quality, and I thought Metallica’s Orion (Instrumental), especially the beginning, really fit the level.

 

Level 17: The Dragon’s Lair

Alice in Chains – Again (Alice in Chains, 1995)

There’s nothing quite like a boss level with the completely rock-on song of Alice in Chain’s Again.

 

Level 18: Home Sweet Home

It’s such a short level that no song is necessary.

And for when you’re in post-Tomb Raider II blues after the game is completed, finish it off with:

Alice in Chains – Over Now (Alice in Chains, 1995)

By Ramon Rivera On 9 Jan, 2018 At 11:21 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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I really like to drive; there is nothing more relaxing than taking your car for a ride around the city to clear your mind.  But I also love the speed, love to see what is the top speed I can get on my car.  However, due to obvious reasons, it’s not possible to do it in the city.  Luckily for me, racing games are here to stay. Classics like Outrun and Top Gear were influential during my childhood.  Now, 80’s Overdrive captures the best of said franchises and create a great experience that no racing fan should miss.

If I could describe 80’s Overdrive, I would say that is a love letter of the golden era of 16 bit racers.  The pixel rich visuals are a treat to your eyes, and the game play is simple but engaging in a way that, once you are hooked, you won’t notice time flying by.  The game’s Career Mode is where you will undoubtedly be spending the majority of your time. You purchase a car and then take it out to compete in a range of ranked road races. Each one carries an entry fee, but the cash prize for winning is more than worth the initial outlay.  From time you time, you’ll get the chance to earn bonus money by collecting items, causing a certain amount of damage to a rival or – most usually of all – finishing dead last. These variables add a little spice to the racing action.  Finishing first in the races boosts your global ranking which not only pushes you up the leader board but also unlocks other races around the world. The cash you earn can be used to enhance your current vehicle, giving it a faster top speed, better steering, and more stability.  This is especially important as it reduces your recovery time, should you get into a bump. It’s also possible to equip nitro boost, which can be deployed a limited number of times per each race, provided you’re hitting your top speed.

Another aspect that I like of 80’s Overdrive is the music, which contains suitably atmospheric tracks from the likes of Angst78, Aceman, Karolis, Vectorwolf and Vocoderion, which in my opinion adds to the feel of the awesome 80’s the game is based upon. The time-attack mode, the most obvious nod to the Out Run games before it.  Simple by nature, time-attack tasks players with reaching checkpoints within a time limit.  Reaching a checkpoint adds more time to the clock and seamlessly leads players to another location for their synth-driven journey to the next checkpoint. Racking up points the further you drive, it is telling that the clock tracking your time driven measures in seconds, minutes, and hours. Dodging traffic and veering around tight corners while attempting to beat your best time is the most unadulterated fun 80’s Overdrive offers, especially considering failure yields no further consequence beyond starting again.

Bottom Line: 80’s Overdrive is an amazing racer with rad tunes beautiful pixel graphics and nods to popular culture icons of the 80’s (like Mr. T and the Delorean).  It is a game that any 3DS owner out there should not miss on.

 

 

By Jessica Brown On 9 Jan, 2018 At 09:35 AM | Categorized As Featured, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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With the Consumer Electronics Show just getting started in Las Vegas (the event runs January 9-12) we are already starting to get inundated with tons of pretty displays to ogle at. CES may be a lot of things, but it’s often all about extremes. Here, companies will showcase technology that is still a long ways off from ever becoming mainstream and, for those things that may be commercially available in the near future, they are often incredibly expensive. Many of the products shown off are things that most of us could only dream of owning, but at least the show affords people a glimpse of things to come. It’s also realistically about driving investor interest by showcasing various things these companies are working on in order to show that they are truly leaders in the industry.

That all said, though, CES also shows us some of the things that are going to be hitting the mainstream, even if they would be considered far less exciting than things like Samsung’s new 146 inch TV called “The Wall.”

Samsung is one of the companies that’s really taking off at CES already, showing off the aforementioned behemoth of a modular TV, but also demoing their new 8K Q9S TV (yes, you read that right: four times the resolution of a 4K TV!). At 7680×4320, the Q9S has an insanely high resolution, even for a panel of its size (85 inches). Also, it faces the issue of their being pretty much no 8K content available to view on it. That’s not a problem for Samsung, though, as they claim the TV’s “AI” is capable of smart scaling, learning from the various sources you feed it in order to get better at scaling almost any resolution up to its massive 8K native resolution, resulting in what they say will be an amazingly sharp viewing experience. Samsung has also spent a good deal of time talking about their MicroLED display technology – the company’s answer to LG’s popular high-end OLED displays that are capable of reaching ultra deep black levels. These MicroLEDs will also be able to turn off completely (much like an OLED display’s pixels can), resulting in very rich images as well.

Most of that stuff from Samsung is well beyond the true consumer market at this time, but thankfully companies like Hisense and TCL (both relative newcomers to the North American TV scene) have stepped up to fill in some gaps. Hisense will be offering a new lineup of 4K TVs sometime this year, ranging from the super high-end H10E TV (featuring a whopping 2,200 nits of peak brightness) all the way down to their more budget-friendly H8E and H6E displays. The top-of-the-line H10E will only come in a 75 inch variety, but will feature a massive 1,076 local dimming zones (to deliver life-like black levels), a 120Hz native display, and will use an Android TV system that works with Alexa and Google Home. The H9E+ has many of the same features, but lacks the quantum-dot color touted by the premium model. The more budget friendly models should also still be pretty excellent purchases, with options going up to 65-inches and featuring full HDR10 support.

More exciting to me is TCL bringing back its very popular P series of TVs, now branded as the “TCL 6 Series.” The 6 Series will feature both 55 and 65 inch models, both of which come with three HDMI 2.0a ports (allowing for HDR support on every port), Dolby Vision and HDR10 support, enhanced contrast control zones, a new feature called “HDR Pro Gamma,” wide color gamut, and “240Hz Natural Motion.” TCL also says that a 5 Series will be available, featuring displays ranging from 45 to 65 inches, and offering essentially the same features, minus the sleek metal design the 6 Series will have. Both lines of TVs should start becoming available this spring and should make for some excellent options for those in the market for a higher-end display that’s easier on your wallet.

With CES having only just started, there’s plenty more mainstream (and insanely high-end!) stuff to look forward to!

By Ramon Rivera On 8 Jan, 2018 At 02:49 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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When Smash Bros was released, it took the world by surprise. No one ever imagined to see Nintendo characters fighting each other, and the idea proved to be well done. After Smash Bros came out, many games emerged with the same idea of, throwing the opponents from a platform in order to win the match. Many had different mechanics, but all usually had the same objective to them.  Some were average and others were bad, but ultimately, no game was able to stand apart as anything other than a smash clone. That is until now that Brawlout has entered the fray.

At first glance, you might think that Brawlout is another smash clone because it shares some similarities with the aforementioned series. Once you get into it, however,  you can see that Brawlout is very different from Smash, and that it can stand proudly next to it. Control wise you have two jump buttons, an attack button, a special button, and L and R serve as dodge and aerial dash buttons. One novel thing in Brawlout is that while you can do basic attacks with the A button, and directional and charged attacks (like Smash the developers decided to add something new: combos.

While it’s true that there are combos in other games,  they tend to be more advanced level combos than most entry level gamers can’t pull off. Brawlout on the other hand, decided to go the extra mile and make the game accessible to everyone, while keeping tech and skills at a level that even advanced gamers can enjoy. The combo system is really intuitive: pressing the A button three times and then pressing the B button will have your character performing a combo. While the command is the same for all characters, each one has different attacks and properties.

There are some that have follow up attacks on their specials.  Also, there is no shield here.  Instead of blocking, you can simply dodge pressing either the L or R button. For me, this is awesome because match are more fast paced, and if your opponent is combo happy you can dodge and bring some punishment.  The lack of items is another thing that I applaud.  If you win, it’s based on skill, not for an item, another great mechanic in Brawlout is the Rage System.  While you are receiving damage, a red gauge starts to fill.  When it’s at fifty percent, you can press L and R at the same time to use it as a combo breaker, so if you are getting pinned down, it is a way to turn the tables on your favor. If it reaches 100%, you can enter Rage Mode by pressing L and R.  Rage Mode raises your attack power, makes you harder to knock down, and gives you more recovery speed, while being thrown out of the stage.  If you are being thrown you can use the double jump and the aerial dash to get back to the platform.  Also Up B  can get you to the edge, so you can use all three to get back so even if you are thrown far you still have a chance.

You have six original characters, plus two guest characters: Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee and The Drifter From Hyper Light Drifter. Each character has different move sets with their own strengths and weaknesses.  For example Paco, whose moves are set around, throws like a luchador.  For me, this is one of the stronger characters on the game. Brawlout is a fast paced, all out battle royal, meaning that in order to win, quick thinking and fast reactions are key to victory. Brawlout feels really smooth: running at 60fps both docked and undocked.  The game allows this fast pace to work really well.  It also has several modes for you to get into, as well as an in-game store to unlock extras. Single player offerings include your standard quick-play and tutorial options, a free practice mode, and an arcade mode where you have to play through rounds of matches across three difficulties. Playing in these matches will raise the ‘mastery’ (or skill level) of your chosen character, eventually working towards future unlocks. Some things, such as new skins or taunts, are unlocked randomly as you earn more in-game currency by playing matches and completing daily challenges. New stages, on the other hand, are locked behind specific characters.  You’ll need to get each character to level 10 to get their specific arena.

There is also an online mode which consists exclusively of one-on-one matches. In a nice touch, you are able to jump into local matches or browse through the in-game store while the game tries to find an online match for you. Following the theme of the action so far, when online matches are working perfectly they are great fun and you can host your own games for friends to join.  If you like, however, due to the nature of peer-to-peer online servers, several matches where a user had a poor internet connection caused the entire match to run in unplayable slow-motion. Of course, everyone’s experience with this will differ, but I recommend ensuring that you have a very fast and secure connection if you wish to jump online.

Bottom Line: Brawlout is another great addition to the Nintendo Switch.  If you were hungry for a Smash-like game, you can’t go wrong here.  It has a great cast of characters, fun game play unlocks, and daily bonuses. Brawlout has something for everyone, and I definitely recommend it.  I hope to see you online!