New series coming soon!

This last month I’ve been trying to think of different types of articles that I could write on here. I don’t just want to write reviews, especially since right now there’s really not a lot of new games out that I can review, and I don’t really want to write news articles. There’s already plenty of sites that produce news articles and eventually, a reader is just going to be reading the same thing on every site. The other day I came up with a series that I think could be a great way of getting articles on a regular basis. This series is going to be called, ” My first time Playing”.

So what exactly will these articles focus on? Well over the years there have been games that I’ve never got around to playing. whether it was because  I didn’t have time to play it, didn’t have the cash, or just didn’t feel like playing it at the time. From time to time, I like to go back to these games and play them. Now I won’t be reviewing the game I discuss, as most three-years-old or older, so there just won’t any point to actually reviewing them. Instead “My first time Playing”, will primarily be an impressions series. I’ll give my general thoughts on the game, and the reception the game got whether it got critical acclaim or got a negative reception.

Do I have any games planned for this series? Yes, I already have a game planned and I’ll start working on the article shortly.

What is the game? The first game I am planning on discussing is World of Warcraft.

Why this particular game? I’ll discuss this in more depth in the article but to keep it short, Warcraft is a game I’ve been trying to get in for awhile but being more a singleplayer gamer, I always had a tough time getting into it. In April I finally managed to really get into the game. Again I’ll give more details in the article.

I don’t have an exact date on when I’ll have this article posted but I am aiming by the end of the month.

 

 

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The Elder Scrolls VI Wishlist

The Elder Scrolls is quite possibly my favorite game series. Each game feels different from the previous entry and always feels special. While it most likely will be awhile before The Elder Scrolls VI is announced I just wanted to take the time to create a list of the ten things I would like to see in the next game. The list is in no particular order, just numbered for convenience. Also, for the list, I am only using Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim as examples. Reason being is because those are the only Elder Scroll games I’ve played and because for the most part when people think of The Elder Scrolls they picture one of those three games.

1. Cites and Towns

I am a huge fan of  cites in video games, I just love being able to explore them to try and find as secrets  as I can and I enjoy seeing the different architecture of each building, In fact, the first  thing  I did when I left the Imperial City sewers for the first time was headed off to the first city I could see and that was the Imperial City. I loved exploring each of the districts, gambling at the arena or even completing in Arena matches to become the grand champion,  and I enjoyed seeing all the different races living in the city. The cites in Oblivion were large and filled with exciting quests to find. Each city felt different than the previous one which made it, even more, exciting to explore each one.

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Cites in Skyrim, however, took a bit of a downgrade. There were only two cities in Skyrim that I had enjoyed exploring and those cites were Solitude and Markarth. Even then when compared to the cites in Oblivion and Morrowind, both cities were small and didn’t have as much to explore. Besides the two cites mentioned the main cities in Skyrim felt more like small towns than cities.

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What I would like to see in the next Elder Scrolls game is larger main cities with smaller villages to find when out exploring whichever province the next game is set in. I want there to be a city where you can spot the buildings from miles away, and once you get closer to that city it looks like a heavily populated city,  that could hold many secrets. Cites in the next game shouldn’t just be something that you go to sell or buy goods from the merchants or because you need to go there to complete a quest. Players should want to go there not just for those needs but to explore them as well.

2. Better Role-playing

At its heart, The Elder Scrolls is a role-playing game. However, most of the role-playing comes from combat. What I’d like to see in The Elder Scrolls 6 is a bigger focus on non-combat role-playing. Let’s say you are a player who loves Alchemy. You know which ingredients you will need to create powerful potions that will sell for a lot of money. So, you decide to convert your home into an alchemy store. Starting off you’d have to actually gather your ingredients out in the wilderness and once you start making enough coin you could even hire the worker to do this for you. You could even do the same for smithing. I just would like more options for those who want an alternative to combat.

3. Classes and Attributes

Removing classes and attributes in Skyrim was something that I could never find the reasoning to why they did this. I felt that the classes and attributes added more depth to creating your character. You had to be careful when upgrading certain attributes. If you upgraded the wrong attribute it could possibly ruin your character making you significantly less powerful than enemies. Skyrim was more forgiving. It eliminated the class system and instead of focusing on major and minor skills to level up; now any skill would affect your main level and if you wanted to switch from archery to two-handed weapons in the middle of the game it was fairly easy to do. Now while you could switch your play style in Morrowind and Oblivion this was a lot harder to do.

In Morrowind, if you didn’t have two-handed weapons as a major or minor skill and then if you started to level that skill, it would have zero effect on your actual character level. This was also the case with Oblivion. Then if you were focusing a little much on two-handed weaponry and weren’t leveling up archery, you would start to notice that enemies were stronger and your character really wasn’t getting any better.

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What I’d like to see return is the random chance of skill to not be successful in whatever action you were trying to do. In Morrowind there was always the chance that swinging a melee weapon could miss, or brewing a potion could fail, your arrow could miss even with the crosshair directly on the on the enemy and casting a spell could fail as well. This made Morrowind feel like a tabletop RPG. Now, I don’t think they should have this system for melee weapons or archery. It just doesn’t make sense that a sword would miss when you are inches from your opponent. I feel that this system should be used for alchemy and magic. To me, it just makes sense that a mage even one that is powerful could fail at casting a spell, especially if they are trying to cast a powerful spell. Same with an alchemist. There should always be that chance that chance that potion may not turn out. The chance just all comes down to how you build your character. The stronger you become the better your chances of casting that spell or brewing a potion would become.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing the lockpicking mini-game being removed as well. To me, the lockpicking mini-game was more about player skill and not how you built your character. Sure, the better your lockpicking skill is the easier locking picking would be, but you could still open a master lock at a low level. You might chew through half of your picks, but you could still open it. With Morrowind, lockpicking was all about your character’s skill not if you pass a mini-game. Try and open a master lock with only a lockpicking skill of 20, then you’re most likely not going to open it.

By bringing back classes and attributes, and having the chance that an action may fail based on how you built your character, I feel that The Elder Scrolls VI could return to it traditional RPG roots.

 

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4. Improved Melee Combat

When it comes to which combat play style I choose in an Elder Scrolls game, I typically go with a ranged playstyle and this comes down because I always found melee combat in The Elder Scrolls games to have a rather clunky feeling to it at times, It just  felt like any melee weapon that used  had no weight to them. What I would like to see is for the weapons to have more weight to them and what I mean by that is I want a sword to actually feel and act like a sword during combat. I would like to see swords ricochet off of one another would both opponents swing their swords. I’d also like to see more decapitations with swords. Swords should be taking off a leg or an arm occasionally. I feel by adding both of these features melee combat would actually start feeling less clunky and more like a real melee weapon.

5. Voice Acting

The voice acting in The Elder Scrolls game for the most has normally been great, but the one issue I’ve always had is hearing the same voices over and over again. It’s probably the worse in Oblivion where you can see two citizens talking to each other with the same exact voice. It felt like they were just having a conversation with themselves and not with another person.in  Skyrim every guard had the same exact voice. Now, I get that The Elder Scrolls are big games with lots of NPCs but The Witcher 3 is also a big  open-world game with lots of NPCs, but it doesn’t repeat voices and if it does it’s just for regular citizens roaming the cities, not characters that you can talk to and interact with. There’s really no excuse in The Elder Scrolls VI to make sure that have characters has their own unique voice.

6. Survival Mode

Now while survival mode has already been available in Skyrim through mods and now through Bethesda’s Creation Club,  but I want this mode to be in The Elder Scrolls VI from lunch. Survival mode not only makes the game harder but make the player feel more immersed in the game world.

Personally, I’d like the survival mechanics to feel a little more realistic. One of my biggest gripes with survival games that include having to take care of your basic human needs is that they focus on these mechanics a little too much. It just feels that every few minutes you’re having to eat, drink, or sleep. It feels like your character is eating and burning over two thousand calories every minute. This was especially noticeable in Fallout 4 and Skrim. To be a survival mode should be about having to micromanage your levels of hungry, thirst, and how tired you are constantly. These basic needs should still feel important, but there are other things that contribute to your survival.

One great thing about Skyrim’s survival mode came from its climate. With the temperature ranging from chilly to freezing, you had to make sure that your character was staying warm. Add in the fact that fast travel was disabled, you’d had to actually prepare for a long journey. Mapping out if you’d be okay, not taking fur armor with you to keep you warm.  Climate survival really can work depending on where the next Elder Scrolls game takes place. A province like Hammerfell could benefit from this type of survival since the province is mostly a wide-open desert. Instead of having to manage coldness, you’d instead have to manage how hot your character becomes, or trying to keep your character hydrated due to the heat. Basically what I want to see in The Elder Scrolls is a bigger and better survival mode.

7. Weapon and Armor Durability

This was something else that always made me question why it was taken out from Skyrim, especially since smithing was a skill now. You could make your own weapons and armor but for some reason, durability was taken out. I really don’t get why they did this. Weapons and armor will degrade over time, especially when being used a lot. I personally would like to see weapon durability make a return, unlike Morrowind and Oblivion I don’t want to see a message saying my weapon or armor is damaged; I actually want to see it damaged. There should be dents in the armor, a sword could even shatter in your hand and the bowstring could snap. The Elder Scrolls VI  should offer visual ways of knowing your gear is damaged not just with a message.

8. Magic

The continent of Tamriel is filled with both new and ancient magic with each race having a different view of those who use magic. Besides playing as an archer, being a mage is one of my favorite ways to play an Elder Scrolls game. There’s just so many combinations that you can use magic with. You can decide to go as a pure mage. Your knowledge of magic is vast and can use it for both offense and defense. You can decide to go with a battle-mage. Equipping a heavy mace in one hand and a powerful spell in the other. You can use the power of illusion to corrupt the minds of Tamriel to become a deadly assassin.

Again, the possibilities with magic are almost endless, however, I feel that there is still much that can be done. Skyrim for me was a step backwards in terms of magic, sure the visuals when it came to spells were amazing and it was great that you could dual wield magic or even have a one-handed weapon in one hand and a spell in the other; but in terms of the number of spells and the fact that the ability to create spells was removed.

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One feature that I was disappointed that wasn’t in Skyrim was being able to create your own spells. Now, Skyrim did allow you to create spell books with certain materials, but this system was severely limited when compared to what Morrowind and Oblivion had to offer.  I spent countless hours making spells and then finding citizens around the Imperial City to test my spells on.   Skyrim desperately needed spell making in the game since it lacked in creative spells and the number of spells the previous two games had to offer.

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Let’s looks at the Conjuration school.  A school that I feel has taken the biggest hit in the number of spells. Both Morrowind and Oblivion had up to 30 different Conjuration spells. Both games allowed you to conjure armor, weapons, and creatures. Skyrim only had 25 spells and most of the conjurations you could do was creatures. You couldn’t conjure armor and the only weapons you could conjure was a bound bow, sword, and battleax. I know there’s the saying of quality over quantity but Morrowind and Oblivion beat Skyrim in both terms. This isn’t just with conjuration either. There were other fun spells like telekinesis, opening locks with a spell, and levitating. All of these spells gave playing as a mage more variety and made the game a lot more fun. I could go on all for the rest of the article just talking about magic but I think it’s time to move on.

9. Reputation

The Elder Scrolls have always had a rather simplistic way of getting characters to like you. Normally it was just by doing something for them and then they would have a positive view of you, but making them hate was just as simply trying to offer them a bribe. Citizens also really didn’t react to your accomplishments. Sure, in Skyrim they would recognize you as the Dragonborn but would fail to recognize anything else you did. It didn’t matter if you had helped the Stormcloacks or the Imperials. Neither faction really would react at all. Sometimes if dressed in Imperial armor a guard would call you an Imperial spy but that was about it.

Personally, I’d like to see something like the reputation system from Fallout: New Vegas. Gaining fame or becoming a villain would come down to who you choose to help and don’t help, which faction you choose to join, and if you just randomly decide to go around killing people. You could track which cities like or don’t like you and citizens would react depending on what your status with the city is like.

Racial reputation would be an interesting feature to add in as well. To me, this was a huge missed opportunity in Skyrim. During the timeline in Skyrim, the province was in a civil war between the Stormcloaks the Imperials, all because the Nords felt that their lively hood was being ruined since they could no longer worship Talos all thanks to the Thalmor. The Stormcloaks also believed that Nords were the only race to live in Skrim, they had a severe hatred for any race that wasn’t Nord. However, this didn’t stop my Dark Elf character from being able to join the Stormcloaks. In fact, no Nord in Windhelm would say anything about the fact that I was Dark Elf even though Dark Elves were treated horribly in Windhelm.

What I would like to see some NPCs treating you differently if you play as a race they don’t like. Let’s say you walk into an alchemy store that is run by a High Elf and you want to sell or buy some potions but since you are playing as a Dark Elf and this particular High Elf doesn’t like Dark Elves he won’t sell you anything or accept your goods. Maybe he even threatens to call the guards if you keep coming into his shop.  There’s a lot more they could do with this and I feel that this would make playing as other races for different playthroughs have more meaning so you can see how different NPCs react to you.

10. Factions need an upgrade

Joining a faction in The Elder Scroll is always filled with pros. You normally get free stuff, plenty of side quests to complete, and the main questline as well. One of the issues I’ve always had with the factions is being able to join multiple factions or even all of them. The reason for this comes down to the morals of each faction. While the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild are all criminals, they both have different rules associated with being part of them. The Thieves Guild are simply that thieves, they aren’t killers. Every mission in the Dark Brotherhood involves assassinations, so to me, it just makes sense that someone who is a part of the Thieves Guild would want to be in the Dark Brotherhood, it would go against everything their guild stands for.

What I’d also like to see is if the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves had some mystery with them again. I remember in Oblivion seeing posters around the Imperial City around someone known as the Gray Fox. Asking citizens around the city I would get responses saying that he was the leader of the Thieves Guild. Eventually, I got a letter to meet in a location at midnight.  Or if you can get on the good side of a begger they’ll tell you location you need to go to.  Once at the location, I  was given the opportunity to join the Thieves Guild but had to compete with a few others who wanted to join as well. With Skyrim as you soon as walk into Riften and enter the marketplace Brynjolf will start talking to about needing help with a job, saying that you haven’t earned any of the gold you are carrying honestly (even if you haven’t stolen any gold or  you got your  gold through honest means.) After completing the job, you can then join the Thieves.

The Dark Brotherhood does the same thing as well. You can hear citizens talking about the Aretino boy in Windhelm trying to contact the Dark Brotherhood by performing the Black Sacrament. Upon going to his home, the boy will ask you to kill Grelod the Kind. After killing her and returning the next time you sleep you will wake up in a shack and be forced to kill one of three people. Upon this, you get to join the Dark Brotherhood. In Oblivion you had to actually kill an innocent before even getting the chance to join.

Both the Brotherhood and the Thieves were stripped of the mystery and investigation of joining one of these two factions, making it simple to join them. Even joining the mage guild or now known as the College of Winterhold. All you had to do is cast one spell and you’re in. Oblivion you had to travel to each mage guild and get a recommendation from them.  Once you did that you are then an official member of the mage guild.

Faction quests in Skyrim were boring and completely forgettable. Really the only quest I can remember was when you have to kill Vittoria Vici during her wedding.  Really that was the only mission out of all the faction quests I can actually remember. When compared to Oblivion. I can remember having to sneak in the Imperial Palace, making sure to avoid any guards so that you can steal an Elder Scroll.  In the Dark Brotherhood, one of my favorite quests had you locked in a house the entire time where the goal was to kill five targets, the catch is you have to make sure no one sees you kill them. I could go on all day on the faction quests I can remember from Oblivion, but that will make this article a little too long.

Basically, when it comes to factions I want to see more memorable quests in the next game and I would like to either be restricted to be only allowed to join one faction or at least have consequences for joining a faction that goes against another’s rules.


Again I could go on all day about the different things I’d like in the next Elder Scrolls game but I feel that listing 10 things is a great start. With the next game most likely not coming out for a few more years, I’ll probably end up making a separate article listing other things I’d like to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAR WARS: Battlefront 2 Review

Publisher – Electronic Arts

Developers –  EA DICEMotive StudiosCriterion Software

Platforms –   PlayStation 4,  ( Reviewed) Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Release Date – November 17th, 2017

2017 is definitely a big year for fans of Star Wars. With less than a month away from the latest film, Star Wars The Last Jedi, we get our first taste of something that is a  Star Wars product.  Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a sequel to 2015’s Battlefront. Unfortunately, my time with Battlefront was rather short, I didn’t manage to pick the game up until last year. While I did enjoy the multiplayer action what I was mostly craving for was a single player story set in the Star Wars universe and this is really the biggest reason while I waited so long to play the game. Plus there were just too many other games that I wanted to play.  Battlefront 2 thankfully does have a single player story campaign and that’s the first thing I want to talk about for this review.

The campaign bridges the gap between The Return of the Empire and The Force Awakens. You play as Iden Versio who is the commander of an Imperial special forces squad called the Inferno Squad. Iden and her squad are actually on Endor when the second  Death Star is destroyed. From here you are given your final orders from the Emperor. Iden and her squad are instructed to destroy the Rebellion and to strike fear across the galaxy by purging planets.

The first issue I have with the campaign comes down to the overall story. The story that was told was unfortunately predictable and extremely short. You can easily beat the came in one play session and this is without rushing through the campaign. There are only 12 missions in the campaign and they are relatively short.  The predictably comes down to Iden’s moral choices.

*The following paragraphs will contain minor spoilers*   

 

The biggest reason I was excited about this campaign was that we were going to get to play as the Empire.  I was excited to play as the bad guy, which is something that doesn’t happen too often in a Star Wars game.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t last too long.  Shortly into the game, literally during the third mission after Iden and her squad are sent to the Imperial controlled world Vardos and are supposed to escort a high-value target before the planet is ultimately destroyed.

Once you land on the planet you’ll get to see to Stormtroopers holdback civilians at gunpoint, and even shooting down escaping ships. For this sequence, you are able to freely explore, at least as far as the game will let you, all the chaos that is happening due to the Empire. I question Iden’s moral choices because I just can’t see someone who was practically raised since being a child to serve the Empire faithfully would just give up her military career so quickly and so easily. Sure she saw the Empire doing some bad stuff to their own people but I find it hard to believe that this was the first time she had seen the Empire do something bad to their own people.

Let’s take a look at one her squad members Del. Now, Del he actually as a reason for switching that actually makes sense. Del finds himself on the Pillio looking to retrieve something from the Emperor’s Observatory. Along the way get trapped and is rescued by Luke Skywalker. Del is surprised that a Jedi helped him and isn’t anything like the Jedi Knights are described in the stories. Due to this encounter, Del does start to have a change of heart. When switches to the Rebellion with Iden the switch feels a lot more natural compared to Iden’s switch.

Now, if the campaign would have longer I wouldn’t have been as disappointed. The switch to the Rebellion just happens too quickly that I just didn’t care about her change. Still, I would have preferred to stay on the Empire’s side the entire game.

*End of Spoilers

   Now, that we’ve talked about the story let’s move on to the gameplay.  The gameplay in Battlefront 2 ranges from good to average. The combat feels fantastic and is always fast-paced and taking out Stormtroopers with a blaster is always a blast. The guns that you use actually have recoil, making it feel like the guns actually have some weight to them. The recoil on some of the blasters can be really nasty, so you can’t really just run around and aimlessly fire your gun, you’ll actually need to carefully aim in order to fight the recoil.

While playing as Iden she can use a number of different abilities that can be swapped in and out at load-out crates. Throughout the campaign, you’ll unlock more abilities that can be equipped. All of these abilities can also be used in the multiplayer. For the most part, I just stuck to a thermal grenade, a shield, and a shotgun. Iden also has a droid. For the most part, I found the droid to be useless. The droids best feature was that it could shock enemies which would instantly kill them. I would have liked to of seen the droid do a little more than just shock people and open doors.

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I did have one issue when it came to controlling Iden. For some reason DICE took out the ability to roll, instead, Iden can only crouch behind cover. I just find it strange that you can’t roll since in the multiplayer you can roll and crouch. Why can’t you do the same in the campaign? There’s really no answer to why you can’t. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the campaign where a roll would have saved my life.

One of my favorite parts of the campaign was when you got to jump into the cockpit of a TIE fighter or an X-Wing. These moments can be extremely tense and a lot of fun. I found the controls to be a lot easier to control than the previous Battlefront and even DICE’s Battlefield games.  I was actually able to be competitive while flying and wasn’t crashing within a few seconds.  To be honest I would’ve loved if there would have more sections of ship combat, for me that’s where the campaign really shines.

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What disappointed me with the campaign was the style of missions you engage in. Most of the objectives simply have you getting to a thing and either destroying or defending that specific thing.  The issue is that there are no real tactics or strategy, for the most part, the missions just feel like a chaotic shooting gallery. It’s fun shooting gallery but it still lacks any depth. With Iden being the commander of a squad, I was expecting that I would actually get to control my squad in some way; however, that’s not the case. Being able to have a squad member performing suppressing fire, having them flank a rebel sniper or even move up could have at least added some depth to the mission.

My biggest gripe with the campaign is that there are certain times where you play a character that isn’t Iden. The issue with these missions is that they distract with the Iden’s story and doesn’t add anything to the main story. It was nice playing as some classic characters from Star Wars but I would have rather of played as them in a different game.

There are some memorable missions in the campaign. One being the battle of Jakku. The mission has you start off in the sky,  protecting ships from bombers and engaging in some intense dogfights. You then move on to ground combat all without a loading screen. This honestly was the best mission, it really felt like a real large-scale futuristic battle, even if the mission is rather short.

My last issue with the campaign is how it ends. The story ends in just an unsatisfying way, leaving many unanswered questions unanswered. Most likely the story will continue in the future DLC and even though the DLC will be free I still can’t give this a pass. Even with free DLC I still want a good conclusion to a storyline in the base game and unfortunately, Battlefront 2 does not offer that.

Overall I am happy that a single player story was added in Battlefront 2 even if it’s not exactly what I was hoping for. Next, it’s time to move on to the meat of the game. The multiplayer.

First thing’s first let’s talk about the controversy that has been escalating ever since the open BETA. That controversy is microtransactions and loot-crates. As of right now, microtransactions has been temporarily disabled so you can’t buy crystals to use to buy loot-crates. However, loot-crates are still in the game since they are tied to your progression.

There are three crates that you can open in the game. Trooper, Starfighter, and hero. Each crate also as the chance of giving you star-cards from the other crates, crafting parts, and credits.  Here’s the issue with the progression system in Battlefront 2, progression is completely random. It doesn’t matter if the only class you’ve been playing as is assault when you go to open a trooper crate you might get star-cards for the heavy class or even the officer class.

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This randomized progression makes it difficult to get the type of upgrades you need or want to upgrade the class you are playing as. Before I get any further into the progression I want to actually talk about star-cards are. Each class has three abilities that they can perform to help them out in the combat. Star-cards basically can act as upgrades to these abilities. They can give damage boosts to, decrease the cooldown of an ability, and can help out with health regeneration. So, star-cards are extremely important which is why I’ve been frustrated with this system.

With it being randomized it can be hard to feel like you are truly making any type of progress for a specific class. For example, recently I had played up for over two hours as the heavy class. By the end of my play session, I had enough credits to purchase a good amount of loot-crates. I ended up buying three trooper crates. Two of the crates had the same exact duplicate star-card for Yoda, an emote for the assault class, some crafting parts, and credits. The third was crafting parts, star-cards for a TIE Fighter, and the officer class. Not once did a get something for the heavy class. Really it made my entire three – two hours play session feel almost pointless.

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I feel that they should have used the progression from  Battlefield 1. After a few hours of playing any game mode, I always felt like I was unlocking new weapon every time I had leveled up and was specific to the class and playstyle I was using.  While Battlefront 2 definitely has a little more to unlock when compared to Battlefield 1 I still felt that Battlefield was rewarding me a lot more for my time playing.

Could DICE make changes to the progression? I think they could but it would just depend on if they would want to make any changes. Loot-crates if they even really need to be in the game should be regulated to containing cosmetic items, while ranking up should unlock star-cards specific to the class you primarily play as. As of right now, you don’t gain anything for ranking up, making it pointless to even have a rank at all.  It would be nice if they actually gave you some credits for ranking up or even a crate.

There are ways of gaining star-cards without having to open crates and that is by using crafting parts. The downside is that you only gain crafting parts through the random chance of the loot-crates. Even if you do manage to get parts from a crate, you really only get 50 parts. The most I had got was 100 parts. Crafting parts can also be used upgrade cards that you had already unlocked. In order to upgrade your cards, you have to have the required number of parts and you class as to be the correct rank. Your class rank only increases when you unlock cards. So if you’ve unlocked 20 cards, your class rank is 20.

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Now that we’ve talked about the progression it’s time to talk about the game modes and gameplay. Battlefront 2 offers five different game-modes across 11 different maps. Galactic Assault, Starfight Assult, Heroes Vs Villians, Strike, and Blast. For the most part, I found my self-playing Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault. Both modes are a bit similar to one another, however Glacatic Assault pits two teams of twenty players in intense ground combat, while Starfighter assault pits 24 players with 40 AI ships in chaotic space combat.

One big improvement to the multiplayer over the previous game is how you can access to vehicles,  heroes, and villains. In Battlefront 1, if you wanted to play as Luke, you’d have to wait for a random hero token to pop up on the battlefield and depending on which player got to it, they would get to play as Luke.  The same went for if you wanted to use an X-Wing or TIE Fighter.

Battlefront 2 uses a much better system that gives every player a chance at using a vehicle and hero or villain. Everything you do during a match whether it’s getting a kill, playing the objective, damaging an enemy, getting an assist, and even dying will give battlepoints. Whenever you would die the battlepoints would get added to your total score. The battlepoints could then be used to spawn as an X-Wing, TIE Fighter or any other ground and air vehicles. Battlepoints are also used to spawn as a hero or a villain. What I like about this system over the previous one is that it does allow for a bit of strategy during a match. It might be wise to spend your battlepoints at a later point in the match, rather than early on and choosing what you spawn can be important as well.  The system also for more flexibility since you get to choose what you want to spawn as.

What I also like about the battlepoints is that it’s not a huge advantage for the players with the most skill. While a player who is more skilled will gain battlepoints at a faster rate, a player who isn’t as skilled will still earn points at a steady rate. I am not the greatest player at Battlefront 2, in fact, I am really not great at multiplayer in general but I still found myself earning plenty of battlepoints throughout a match where I still felt I was able to be competitive.

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During my time with the multiplayer, the modes that I really didn’t focus too much on was Strike, Blast, and Heroes Vs Villians. It wasn’t because I found the modes to be bad, I just didn’t have as much fun playing them as I did with Galactic Assault and Starfighter Assault. Strike and Blast felt I was really just using as warm-up matches before jumping into Galactic Assault. I did enjoy the smaller scale battles but shorter rounds at times didn’t really seem like it was worth the loading screen just to get into a match.

As for Heroes Vs Villians, my issue with this mode comes down to a few things, one being that there just isn’t enough players playing it and while that’s not exactly a fault of the game, I feel that more players would be playing it if it was a little more fun. In this game mode, it’s 4v4 where every character you have unlocked is available to play as. One player on each team gets selected as a target and the opposite team as to kill that target in order to get a point. The biggest issue with this mode comes down to heroes who wield lightsabers. Controlling these characters, especially Yoda can be extremely difficult to control. The controls can just feel very awkward when trying to use someone who uses a lightsaber and with a mode that’s  about dueling, I was hoping for better controls and more ways of attacking rather than just mashing the attack button.

Next up let’s talk about the maps. As mentioned before there are currently 11 maps to play on, each are spread across the three different eras. Each map felt different from a previous one and was filled with small little details. Even the maps that didn’t enjoy too much I can still appreciate how well designed the maps are. My personal favorite map was on the planet Kamino, fighting on the cloning facility from Attack of the Clones. The map first has you starting off inside the building fighting in tight hallways and one large open section, after that you move on to the outside fighting on three different platforms. This map is layered is so many details that I had just wished I could explore the map without being in combat. When your inside the facility you’ll see clone troopers who have been injured while fighting, and clones will run to secure a weapon. Once outside it’s all out war. The battle takes place during a heavy storm and waves crash into the building, in massive droid vehicles scale the buildings firing at NPC clones. There’s just too much going on to describe everything that happens on this map. Every map is like this though. There’s plenty going on in the background that will cause you to get distracted because you want to watch what’s going on.

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There is one issue that I did have with the maps and it’s how you get into a map. Once you select a game mode, you are then randomly selected a map. The issue I have with this is that they are maps that I just don’t like to play on or I get put into the same map over and over. I’d personally like to be able to select the map that I want to play on. It took for me forever just to see every map the game had to offer. Plus I just don’t want to play on Hoth anymore. Hoth isn’t a terrible map but compared to the other I did find it to be the weakest one. Hoth’s  biggest issue comes down to its terrain. I can’t tell you how many times where I got stuck on a small hill even though it was something I should have easily been able to walk over. Hoth is just filled with too many invisible walls and because of this I just found the map very frustrating to play on.

Last part of the multiplayer experience I want to talk about is what you’ll unlock and challnges. When it comes to customizing your character there’s actually nothing you get to customize. Your stormtrooper will look exactly the same as everyone else’s stormtrooper, the same goes for any droid or rebel. It’s  that Battlefront 2 took this big of a step backwards when in the previous game you were able to unlock different skins for your characters.  The only little extras your characters get are really cheesy emotes.

What’s really unacceptable is how many guns each class has.  All four classes have four weapons they can use.  The first is unlocked by default the other three you unlock through progression. So, how do you unlock the other thee guns? You unlock these guns by getting a certain number of kills with the last weapon you unlocked. Once you do unlock a gun there are three attachments that you can equip,  these are also unlocked by getting kills. Hopefully down the road, they add more guns to unlock because four guns in any FPS is unacceptable let alone a Star Wars FPS.

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Throughout your multiplayer career, you’ll get to work through a good number of challenges. Most of these challenges have you using a class for a number of minutes, getting a certain number of kills, getting the first kill in a match, plus many more. Completing a challenge will give you credits, crystals (used to by loot-crates and only available with real cash, currently disabled.) and even loot-crates. Most challenge you’ll complete just by playing the game and will unlock them without any real effort, other you may have to work a little to complete. The sad thing is the challenges really was the only thing that felt like real progression since I could actually see what I was working towards and knew what the reward was going to be upon completion.

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Next, let’s talk about the performance. For the most part, Battlefront 2  ran pretty solid, I never experienced a single crash, framerate was stable throughout the came even when a lot was happening on screen and only experienced a few minor glitches. When it came to connection during multiplayer I did notice a few lag spikes, but I never once got discounted from a match.  In terms of the glitches, I encountered nothing was really game-breaking. The most annoying one was during an online match. I got caught between a building and a small cliff. The only way I was able to escape was by killing myself. One hilarious glitch I found was during the campaign, I was sneaking up on a stormtrooper and he was literally sliding across the ground with his feet. I didn’t even attack him right away just so I could see how long till he would start moving his feet. The last glitch I found was again during the campaign where a stormtrooper had sunk halfway into the ground.

Finally let’s talk about sound, voice, and graphics. Really there’s not much too really talk about on any one of these sections. Every sound from the sound of a blaster going off. a TIE Fighter soars in space, the siren on the Death Star, to the roar of a Wookie sound exactly how like they do from the movies. Voice acting wise again there isn’t much to criticize. Voices for the heroes or villains are just ripped lines from the movies. As for the campaign, the only voice I really didn’t care for was Idens. Just like her personality, her acting was wooden and just uninspiring.

As for the graphics there no denying that this game is stunning. If I was rating the game just based on how it looks, it would be a solid 9/10. The only thing really stopping the looks to get a 10/10 is the character models. Some of the models when up close just looks ugly to looks at. Luke is the biggest victim, there’s really no words describe how horrible his model looks. I’d say the map that looks the best is playing on Kashyyyk when it’s on its night cycle. Seeing the red and green colors of blasters being fired in every direction, mixed with the bright flashes of explosion just mixes in perfectly with the clam blackness of the night sky.  This was one of those maps where I’d find myself getting distracted by the visuals.

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Overall Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a mixed bag. The gameplay is honestly a lot of fun and the multiplayer is super addictive. I found myself wanting to come home from work and jump into a match. However, while the gameplay is fun and the multiplayer is fun the game suffers from one fatal flaw and that’s with its progression. If Battlefront 2 wants to keep players playing this game for the rest of the year and till the next game comes out then they seriously need to get a progression system that feels rewarding and isn’t just random. As for the campaign that’s probably the part of the game I was disappointed with the most. I love that single player campaign was included but I was expecting more from a Star Wars storyline.

So, is Star Wars Battlefront 2 worth the $60? I’ve enjoyed my time playing the game and I am most likely going to continue playing it even after I am done with this review, it probably won’t be a much but I can see myself continuing to play it. However, this is one of those time where I wish that the multiplayer and story was sold separately. The multiplayer is all I am going to be playing from now on and if I could have just spent $30 on the multiplayer and not get the campaign then I would have preferred that option and it’s not because I don’t want a single player campaign I just don’t want to pay $60 for a mediocre 4 hour campign along with multiplayer.

Final Rating for Star Wars Battlefront 2: 6/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Park: The Fractured but Whole – Review – With Great Power Comes Great Chicks and Money

Developer:  UbisoftUbisoft San Francisco

Publisher:  Ubisoft

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Window (Reviewed)
Release Date: October 17th, 2017

At first glance you might mistake The Fractured but Whole as being a 20-hour long season of South Park that you can binge watch in a few days. It has all of the humor that South Park is known for,  the social commentary has been upgraded and is more funnier than ever. The biggest difference between this and a episode of  South Park is we aren’t just watching the boys go on an adventure, we get to join in on it.
You return as the New Kid. After raising to become the the King in The Stick of Truth, the kids decide to switch games and dawn their superhero personas. This leads you to once again becoming as no body. All of your previous achievements are forgotten and must now prove yourself as a superhero. Like in Stick of Truth, the kids are split into two factions. Once being Coons and Friends and the other being Freedom Pals. What starts off being a simple plot line of trying to find a lost cat so that Coon and Friends can use the $100 reward to start their own superhero franchise.  However nothing in South Park is simple. This simple case of a lost cat turns in a larger conspiracy involving cat urine in alcohol and the police.
Returning as the New Kid you will be able to unleash your amazing fart powers once again. This time your farts are literally so powerful that they can bend the fabricates of time and space. One of the first power you will unlock is a time glitch fart. Using this fart will allow you to reverse time. Another fart pauses time and you even get a fart that will change night to day or day to night. All of these farts will allow you solve puzzles as you explore the town of South Park.  You can even use your farts in combat as well. Using the glitch will skip a enemies turn while pausing time allows you to gets some free hits on as many enemies as possible within five seconds. In order to acquire these amazing fart powers you will need a recipe for a burrito. You get the recipe from  Morgan Freeman who for some reason owns and runs his own taco store. I’ll admit I laughed like a little kid every time I used one of these farts.
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The combat in The Fractured but Whole is still turn based but unlike Stick of Truth the turn past combat isn’t using the JRPG like system but instead going for a tactical 3-D grid allowing you, your allies, and your enemies to move around the environment. I prefer this this combat system over the one in Stick of Truth. I found older combat to be rather simplistic and while the new combat is still simple there is a new layer of depth to it.
Being able to move around means that there can be turns where you don’t get to attack your opponent and the same for your opponent. You can also set enemies up for knockback attacks. Let’s say you have Super Craig on your team and decide to punch your opponent. The attack will push them pack a bit and if one of their allies or your own is behind them your opponent will then suffer knockback damage. Again it’s not the most advanced combat system when it comes to RPGs, but I did find that it added some much needed strategy  that was lacking in the previous game.
Combat isn’t as simple as clicking a button and watching your character attack. You still have to be active when attacking. Once you select your attack, depending on what attack you are using, you’ll then have to press the space bar on the PC version at when you see the prompt or prompts or you’ll just have to mash the spacebar quickly. Now you don’t necessarily need to do participate in these little QTE events but by doing so you will gain extra damage and add effects with your attack.
One thing I love about the way the combat is down is how the game still manages to be funny even in the middle of an intense battle. I am not just talking about characters saying something funny either. You can be in the middle of a heated battle and suddenly someone will yell out,”Pause! Car!” The kids will immediately stop playing and move to the sidewalk, with the driver normally telling them not to play on the streets. There are plenty of other great movements that happen but I don’t want to spoil them. I feel that if The Fractured but Whole used any other type of combat then it just wouldn’t be able to have moments like that. Most of the comedy would just come from verbal jokes.
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Being that you are playing as a superhero it only makes sense that your attacks match that of a superhero. When you starts off you’ll be able to select between three classes. A speedster with the power to run and hit your enemies really fast. A brutalist with the power to hit hard. Then there’s the blaster with the power to light people on fire. Each class as their own strengths and weaknesses. Last on you’ll be be able to select a second and even a third class. You can choose to use all of the abilities from your chosen subclass or just mix in the abilities you want. By the end of the game I was an assassin with the power of speed and could control plants.
Each class also as a ultimate ability that charges after each attack and when you get hit by an enemy.  One the bar at the top of the screen fills you will then be able to use your ultimate ability. These ultimate and dish out a ton of damage and are super fun to watch. The only downside to the ultimate abilities is that they can’t be skipped. After watching  the same lengthy cutscene over and over it does get a bit annoying and just makes you wish you could just skip to when the attack actually lands. Again they are fun to watch and most of them are actually really creative but after the third time of seeing Captain Diabetes get diabetes rage from eating a ton of sugar, it just loses it’s charm.
My only issue with the combat comes down to some of the fights you get into. There are a lot of the fight in the game that have special objectives. Normally objectives like having to get to the exit in the nursing home. Or another one has you trying to catch up to Classie inside of a strip club. While doing this you have to battle endless waves of enemies and  one named Spontaneous Bootay.  Bootay can kill you in one hit. It wasn’t the fact that they had these objective in the game it was that they used them a little too often. Actually fighting Spontaneous Bootay would have been more interesting than just moving forward fighting waves of enemies.
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Now that we’ve talked about combat, let’s talk about what you’ll being outside of combat. For the most you’ll be walking around and exploring the town of South Park.  While there aren’t too many new locations to explore, I am actually fine with that. The game is supposed to feel like an episode of South Park and having the spots we seen regularly  is better than adding in locations we don’t see often.  There are a few new locations to explore. You can visit lofts at SoDoSoPa or even CtPa Town. I am a little disappointed that South Park’s mall is still unavailable to explore. I can only imagine what types of references they could have packed in something the size of the malls, or what type of fight you could have gotten into.
Exploring South Park you’ll be find loot such as costumes, artifacts, resources for crafting, and items that you can use in battle. South Park is also packed with collectibles to find. Chinpokomons have been replaced by Memberberries, finding cats for Big Gay Al,  and gathering Yaoi paintings for Craig’s dad. Finding the cats and  the paintings  will even reward you with loot.
Costumes in The Fractured but Whole have taken a bit of a downgrade. You can still still get some pretty ridiculous costumes but this time the costumes are just purely cosmetic. In the previous game you could get costumes that could have certain abilities attached to it. So, it wasn’t just a matter of how your character looked but what powers your gear could have. You honesty could just go through the entire game in your starting costume but that would take away the fun of seeing your characters running around looking like a mummy with a pair of balls on their chin.
Strap-ons   have take a bit of a turn as well. This time being called artifacts and are not being applied to your costumes. Instead every-time you level up you’ll unlock a artifact slot. Placing a artifact in this slot will boot certain statistics such as health, ally health, knockback damage etc.  You’ll also gain DNA strands as well. These affect how your abilities work. You can equip a DNA strand that will boots  the damage of your abilities. However with every positive change there could be negative changes as well. So, equipping a DNA strand that give your brawn abilities may decrease how much damage a ability that is governed by your brains statistic.
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While I am a bit disappointed that costumes are just cosmetic, I do like what they did with artifacts and DNA strands. I found myself contently switching out artifacts for a more powerful one. The only thing I wish they would have done differently was not having your might being determined what artifacts you had on at the time. There were so many times where I wanted to keep a certain artifact slotted but I needed to increase my might in order to to a mission. So I had to go with the artifact that would give me the necessary might level but the time sacrificing certain stats. You can do the mission without the recommend might but depending how much much might you have versus the recommended might may make the mission a lot harder than it should be if you had the correct might.
Summons also make a return and I am a mixed on how I feel about the summons. While I am glad that they made it to where to can now use summons during any battle, including a boss battle, I am a bit disappointed that summons are now consumable items. Once you unlock a summon you are given five consumable items. Once you use all five items then you can no longer use that summon. The only summon that you can craft more of is Moses but finding the materials you need is nearly impossible. I also found that the summons weren’t as interesting as the previous game. Granted I did only unlock three summons but  still none of them really stood out.
Performance wise the only thing I really experienced was framerate issues. For the most part I was getting solid 60 FPS but would sometimes drops below 40. These drops really weren’t distracting but it is worth noting since it did happen more than once.
Final thing I want to talk is graphics and sound. Really there isn’t much to talk about. Like The Stick of Truth this game looks and sounds exactly like an episode of South Park would.  I feel that’s where a lot of the charm of these games comes from. If these games didn’t look and sound exactly like South Park then I don’t think these games would be as great as they are.
Overall if you enjoyed The Stick of Truth then you’ll most likely enjoy South Park: The Fractured but Whole. The improvements to the combat alone make it a worthy sequel.  I did find the game to be a tad funnier than the previous game though it doesn’t have as many shocking moments like Stick of Truth had. The only real draw back comes down to replay value. After you beat the game there isn’t much to do besides finding collectibles, completing side missions and trying to defeat Morgan Freeman in a fight.
Final Rating: 8/10

The Evil Within 2 Review

Developer:   Tango Gameworks

Publisher:  Bethesda Softworks

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Release Date: October 13th, 2017

 

The Evil Within 2 was quite possibly one of my most anticipated games of the year. I was a big fan of the original game despite the flaws the game had. It was a tough, and at times horrifying horror experience but the clunky controls, and awful framerate did mange to take away a bit from the experience. So, the question is does The Evil Within 2 fix it’s more noticeable flaws and is it worth the asking price.

The Evil Within 2 is a third-person survival horror game where you play as Detective Sebastian Castellanos who since the events at the Beacon Mental Hospital has been kicked off the police force  and spends most of his nights drinking at a bar. Sebastian blames himself for not being able to save his Daughter Lilly from a house fire and for the fact that his wife left him.  Everything changes when Sebastian former partner Juli Kidman returns and tell him that Lilly is alive and is trapped in the STEM machine. A device that allows multiple minds to be connected. Lilly is being used as the new core but she is endanger. It’s now up to Sebastian to return to the nightmare world of STEM in hopes that he can finally save his daughter.

The first thing I want to discuss is the story. This was kinda a mixed bag for me. If The Evil Within 2 was a movie then the it would pretty much be a B level horror film. It’s filled with over the top moments, ridiculous dialogue, and some really cringe-worthy dialogue. However, the story-line does keep you engaged, I found myself wanting to keep pushing forward so that I could uncover the mysteries in the town of Union. It’s just a ridiculously campy story. One of the most ridiculous parts of of the game is that in safe houses, Sebastian can drink coffee to refill his health and then will have to wait a bit so that the pot will refill. It’s just really goofy that something like this exits in a game where you can blast zombies  with a shotgun, but this is a good thing.

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Half of Sebastian’s dialogue  consists of:

  • “What the – ?”
  • “What’s going on?”
  • “What the hell?”
  • “What in the hell?”
  • “What the hell is this?”

Pretty much sentence you can think of that will start with the word “what,” Sebastian likes to say repeatedly. By the end of the first two hours of the game, you’ll find yourself just waning Sebastian to shut up.  This then leads me to voice and sound.

The voice acting in this game has to be some of the worst modern voice acting I’ve heard in a long time. Nearly everyone sounds bored delivering their lines and when a line needs some emotion they just sound completely emotionless. There is one moment where  Sebastian does give a rather good emotional response and you do feel for him during they scene but beside that one rare moment he likes to use his deep, and rough voice throughout the game. The best thing to describe to to would be if he was trying to impersonate Batman.  It’s just a wooden and forgettable performance that at times made me want to skip cut-scenes.

While the voice acting wasn’t the greatest, the environmental sound is actually pretty great. The loud boom of a shotgun being fired, or the growling of a hungry zombie, and the giggling of a multi-face, saw wielding monster adds a great horror atmosphere to this survival horror game.  The only sounds in the game that could have been improved is the assault rifle and the double barrel shotgun. The rifle really doesn’t sound that powerful. In fact it sounds as if it as a silencer to it, expect it doesn’t. As with the double barrel, is doesn’t pack the same punch that the sawed-off shotgun as it. It’s more powerful but it doesn’t sound like it.

In The Evil Within missions were rather linear and while you could explore a bit, you normally were being slowly pushed towards your goal. The Evil Within 2 changes this up a bit. There are linear missions but it’s how you get to your missions that isn’t linear. STEM’S core has manifested this town called Union. It’s your typical small town. There’s a theater, a city halls, stores, and houses with picket fences. You are pretty much free to explore this town as much as you want. While it’s not a huge area, there are plenty of secrets and side missions to be found.

Moving to this semi-open world environment means that there are a lot more threats that are ready to kill you, because of this it’s really not wise to run around without caution. The best thing to do when moving around Union to reach a destination is to sneak as much as possible. While sneaking can be a bit slowly, it beats having to engage in a fight every two seconds.  The game rewards the the patient player not only with their life but with resources as well.

While ammo, medical supplies, weapon parts are scarce, if you take your time and explore Union; you’ll be able to find the materials you need to make supplies. Throughout the game you’ll find things like gunpowder, herbs, fuses and pipes that can be used to craft ammo for you weapons, or medical supplies. Now, there’s two ways you can craft. You can craft at a workbench inside safe houses or you can craft on the fly by going to the weapon menu. Crafting without a workbench does however use up more supplies, so it’s best to only craft without a workbench when you are in serious danger.

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Along with being able to craft ammo, and medical supplies, you can also upgrade Sebastian and the weapons he uses. In the original game you use used green gel from defeated enemies to upgrade both things like health,  stamina, and how sneaky you could be but you also used to the gel to upgrade you weapons as well. So you’d have to really decide what you wanted to improve. Did you really need a bit more health, or another bullet for your gun or even increased firepower. In The Evil Within 2, they decided to split this up. Now, you green gel for Sebastian’s abilities and weapon parts to upgrade your weapons. I actually quite like this change. I feel like I was able to upgrade both my weapons and Sebastian to the type of play style that I wanted.

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One of my biggest issues with the game comes to it’s boss fights. The original game managed to create some unique and challenging boss fights, while it’s sequel took a huge step backwards. Boss fights consist of running around, while the monster chases you, and you try and take a quick shot on it. There’s no real strategy you can use to take them out besides run around in circle and fire your gun when you see an opening. The only challenging boss fight was towards the end and that’s only becasue you are in a very confined space and have to fight two tough enemies at the same time. The fights just lack any originality and just feel like a chore more than a fun and challenging  fight.

To make it worse if you run a low or out of ammo, well then the game starts to drop infinite ammo. There was one section where I was literally making a loop, grabbing the ammo, shooting the boss till the clip was empty and went back to the ammo.  To me this defeats the purpose of a survival horror game. You’re supposed to low on ammo. Every single bullet is supposed to matter and if you run out of ammo and can’t find any more then oh well. The only real reason I can see to why they added this infinite ammo loop is becasue they knew these boss fights were cheap and lacked any type of real depth.

Another issue I had was the the designs and types of enemies you will fight. Most of the game you’ll be shooting and stabbing the same generic looking zombies. Towards the end of the game you’ll get some zombies that can catch themselves on fire, and will charge at will to deal some massive damage. Really the only well designed monsters are the bosses. My personal favorite was the the first boss. She was  tall and had multiple faces and a large saw blade for a weapon.  The most memorable things about her was that he had this creepy laugh when chasing you, it was like she really enjoyed tormenting you.

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The Evil Within®

Graphically, The Evil Within 2 certainly isn’t going to be winning any awards. I am actually a bit disappointed with how the game looks. It’s not a ugly game by any means but for a game that’s a sequel I expected the game to look a bit better than it is. Really the only reason the game even looks somewhat better than the original game is becasue they got rid of the grey tint that seemed to be everywhere and instead added a good amount of color. When you looked past the color there still a lot of low textures on walls, cars, and character models.

The last thing I want to talk about it how the game performed and how the controls felt. First up is the controls. Controlling Sebastian felt like trying to control your own self when you’ve had a little too much to drink. He just and a very clunky and sluggish feel to him, especially when engaged in combat.  When he’s sneaking he’s a little easier to control but even then he still has a awful feel to him.  The camera is also extremely close to Sebastian which made is hard to see anything behind you. I even found aiming to be a tad difficult becasue a lot of the time his head would block my view. I feel that they should have added a way to swap shoulders. It’s actually unusual that in a third-person game they didn’t have that. I feel that it could have helped with the aiming when Sebastian decided to block the me from seeing.

The only issues I found when it came to performance was the framerate. When exploring the outside of Union the framerate never seemed to stay at a stable FPS. One minute it was at 30 FPS and then would drops to the low 20s. In doors the FPS was a little more stable but would still get a dip here and there. Thankfully I never experienced a crash but still notice some clipping issues. If it wasn’t for the FPS then the performance of the game would have been solid.

Now comes to the real question. Is The Evil Within 2 worth the asking price of $60? The game feels like it could have been an instant survival horror classic. It can be a challenging experience even on the normal survival difficultly, there’s even a new difficultly that you unlock after you beat the game that makes it even more punishing. The biggest downside to The Evil Within 2, comes down to it’s clunky combat and unoriginal boss fights. Personally I also found the game to not be that scary. There were some creepy moments but I never felt truly scared like I have with a game like Dead Space, or  Resident Evil 7.  I  personally would recommend waiting for a sale on the game.


 

Pros                                                  Cons

Semi-Open world that allows for exploring Clunky combat/controls
Excellent audio Uninspiring boss fights
A more in-depth crafting system Unstable framerate
No microtransactions or “loot” boxes Awful voice acting

Final Rating:  6/10 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny 2 Review – An Improved Sequel?

Developer: Bungie

Publisher: Actvision

Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)

Release Date: September 6, October 24th (PC)

Desinty 2 Beta 2


When Destiny was released in 2014, I had a lot of hope for it. Everything that was shown made it seem like it was going to be the next big first-person-shooter. While Destiny was a big hit, it didn’t quite meet the expectations that a lot of gamers had for it. Destiny was by no means a bad game. In fact it was a decent game that had smooth gun-play but unfortunately had a weak story, and missions that felt more like a chore than a fun and engaging mission.  Does Destiny 2 manage to fix the key issues with the previous game or does it fall into the same traps and is it worth the price?

Probably one of the biggest issues that myself and a lot of gamers had with the original game was the way the main campaign played out. Missions were boring and at times really didn’t feel like they had a purpose. Basically the main missions had you fight through groups of enemies and to get to a certain things, normally a computer and then you’d have your ghost hack in the computer. While your ghost was working you’d then have to defend the ghost while waves of enemies would attack you. The issues with these  missions was that there really wasn’t a way to fail the mission besides by dying. The enemies never actually tried to stop your ghost. They would just attack you and that was it. Since the enemies never seemed to care about the objective it was fairly easy to just sit back and eliminate them. There was no real pressure to get out in the open when all they cared about was you.

The last issue was that the entire main campaign was filled with these horde missions. After the third mission it became very clear that Destiny wasn’t going to have a coherent story with actual missions.

Destiny 2,  manages to fix this issue. The main campaign is actually fun to play through becasue each mission feels different compared to the previous mission. There are a few times were you will have to defend your ghost but it’s never the main focus of the mission. Probably my highlight mission was on Titian one of Saturn’s moons and you have to steal a CPU. Upon stealing the CPU you set off an alarm and  have to escape using a vehicle. It was short section but it was a nice change of pace from just having to shoot enemies.

The unfortunate part about the campaign is that it’s just too damn easy.  Sure, there are some parts were I did die but these deaths weren’t becasue the particularly section was tough, there mostly deaths where I wasn’t paying attention or did something dumb. There are some hard sections but there just isn’t enough of these sections to make the campaign feel like a challenge.  It also doesn’t help that the AI for the most part is horrible.The AI doesn’t try and fight with any tactics at all. They just run out and fire in the open making them easy targets.The only time Destiny 2 actually feel like challenge is when teaming  with other players to do strikes or public events.  I just wish that the campaign could have at least been a bit more harder instead of having to team up with other player for a challenge.

Where Destiny 2  truly shines is with it’s game-play. Nearly everything that you do in the game rewards you with something. This in turn gives you a reason to want to participate in public events, completing an adventure or even taking 20 minutes to  get through a strike. This is because all three activities give you a guaranteed loot drop.Public events and adventures upon completion gives you a rare piece of gear, while strike missions can give you rare, exotic or even legendary.

Public events in the original game were almost worthless to participate in, they were fun and at times chaotic events but they didn’t happen too frequently and when they did happen you really didn’t know when and where it was going to happen. Even if you did manage to participate in a public event and completed it, there was a strong chance that you wouldn’t get anything for your effot  Destiny 2  fixes all of these issues.

First off public events as mentioned before actually reward you. Now, you do have to complete the event. This means that if  you don’t defeat the walker before the time limit ends you won’t get your loot, but if you do fully complete the event you will be rewarded with a rare item. Each public event also as a heroic event tied to it. If you complete certain objectives, the public event will turn heroic. This is a harder version of a regular public event and increases your chances of getting better loot.

Finding these events is now possible. When you pull up your map you can see any public events that are happening or about to happen and where they are. Public events also happen frequently.  I’d say there’s a public event happening almost all the time. All of these fixes make these events an easy way to get some great loot.

One thing that did annoy me was once again like in the original game there was little to spend your glimmer on. There are vendors but most of the stuff they sell is under-leveled and never seems to actually get items that are near your level. The about the only vendors are good for in turning in tokens so that you can increase your reputation and get a legendary engram. Towards the end of the game I had a ton of glimmer as was just buy random weapons and gear so I could destroy them and use the materials to increase my reputation with the weaponsmith

I am glad that Bungie was able to increase the frequency between loot drops but I do wish that armor  and weapons would have looked better. There’s really no major differences between a helmet that I get at level 1 and a helmet that I get at level 20, besides the stats of the helmet.   In terms of cosmetics a level 1 helmet   looks just as generic as a level 20 helmet. Even an exotic or legendary piece of gear doesn’t look much different than something that is rare. It’s a shame that when I go to the Farm, Destiny 2’s social hub. That I pretty much look like any other warlock.  

There are ways of making your gear standout from other players and that’s by using shaders. Even then there still just isn’t much to make your character stand out. I really don’t care if I can make my helmet red when it’s just going to look like any other helmet that I can turn red. I want more details on the helmet. I want it to look like something that makes me want to keep it and store it my vault. Not something that just makes me want to destroy it for materials.

Like with most triple A games these days, microtransactions  have been unnecessarily shoved into the game. You can purchase silver with real cash  to then buy bright engrams which will give you a  random variety of shaders and weapon mods. Now you can earn these engrams throughout the game without spending a dime but there’s still no reason to add microtransactions into this game, especially when it already costs $60.

The lackluster character customization also returns. After you pick what class you want to play as you can then change up how the face of your character will look. The level of customization you can do is terrible. The most you can do is pick your race, human, Exo, and Awoken. After that you can change up the hair style,  add color, and  add markings. That’s all you can do. It makes you wonder why even allow players to customize the look of your character when their’s so little you can actually do.

 

 

Next up is the story. The story in Destiny 2 is far better than the story we got in Destiny. However it’s not exactly a great story.   The opening mission Homecoming starts off with a bang. We see a faction known as the Red Legion attack the tower and take over the Last City. The Red Legion  is  also building a cage over the Traveler. This takes away the light from the Guardians, leaving them powerless and unable to resurrect if they die. From here the Guardians have to regroup and find a way to get their light back.

What I love about this opening mission is that we are introduced to key protagonists and our antagonist. This is something else the original game lacked. While it had protagonists and an antagonist, they never really felt like characters. Thankfully this time we actually get characters that have personality and even there’s  some that you can start to care for.

The problem with the story is there isn’t any emotional value to anything that happens in the story. Sure it sucks that the Guardians can now die but we don’t see any Guardians die. Same with civilians. Seeing the Red Legion rounding up Guardians and civilians and then executing them; would have added something more to the game. It would have made defeating this enemy even more important. You also get you light back rather quickly. While it wouldn’t have made sense to play the entire game without your powers, it still would have been great to have gone more than two missions without your light. It could have added that much needed challenge.

The other issue is that the story is just too short. You can beat the game in a matter of 4-7 hours, if you just play through the main story.  If you participate in public events and adventures, you can grind it out to about 8 hours. It does seem that Bungie knew that the campaign was a bit on the short side and tried to find ways of adding to the length. Depending on how fast you level up there are some missions where you have to be a certain level in order to play the mission. This isn’t just a recommend level either, you can’t do the mission at all unless you are that level. So, you then have find a way to level up. You also don’t get access to a sparrow until about halfway towards the end of the game. This means you have to walk for most of the game. Luckily there are plenty of fast travel points along the map but it can be a bit annoying when you have to spend a long period of time just walking trying to get to your destination.

The world of Destiny  is something I want to learn more about. The world Bungie has created truly fascinates me it’s just unfortunate that Bungie doesn’t want to give players a way to dive deeper into the world they’ve created.  In the original game there was the Grimoire. The Grimoire acted as an encyclopedia for the lore of Destiny.  You could read about the traveler. Who the  Guardians were. Read more about the different enemy factions. They even went into more details about the weapons and vehicles. You can tell that there was time and effort put  into creating this world. The downside to this was it wasn’t in the game. In order to use the Grimoire you had to go to Bungie’s website. While I did visit the website when I wasn’t playing the game, I would have preferred a way to do in game. So instead of just adding it into the game they just scrapped it completely.

I feel that Destiny  is a game that is being held back by it’s social features. Destiny  could  be a great game with an epic storyline if they just focused on making  on single player game. Don’t get me wrong I love doing strikes and enjoy teaming up with other Gurdians during a public event but I enjoy a great single player experience even more. I don’t think we’ll ever get a Desinty game at it’s full potential if they don’t cut out these social features.

Throughout the review I’ve mentioned adventures and strikes. So, let’s talk a little more about them. Adventures for the first half of the game replaces patrols from the previous game but are a lot more fun to do. Adventures are basically side missions that typically last for five-ten minutes.  While the missions are rather short and like the campaign are pretty easy, I found myself trying to do as many as possible. They were a nice distraction from the main campaign and as mentioned before you are reward for doing them.

When it comes to strikes I found myself having a lot more fun playing them than I did with the original game. I feel the reason comes down to a few  things, one of which is something that I already mentioned and that’s actually getting a reward. Every strike gives you  a good amount of loot when you beat the final boss. Now you’re not taking 20 minutes to complete a strike and getting nothing. The other reason is when you finally get access to strikes.

Strikes don’t unlock till towards the end of the game when compared to Destiny, which unlocked within your first two hours. By the time I had reached the end game I found myself not really wanting to complete strikes any more becasue I had already been doing them for most of the game. This time around I find myself actually wanting to complete strikes more than anything else.  Just writing about the strikes makes me want to log into Destiny 2 and run through a strike right now.

That’s something else that Destiny 2  does so well, it has that one more go feeling. When ever I would complete a strike of a Crucible match, I would find myself almost immediately wanting to queue up for another mission or match. I wanted to use the new weapons and gear that I got and hopefully some even more loot.

Boss fights at the end of a strike  are more challenging and aren’t just bullet sponge targets. That doesn’t mean they can’t soak up a good amount of damage becasue they can but this time you see a good amount of impact when hitting the boss with a power weapon or your supercharge attack.

The only thing I don’t like about strikes is that there all bunched into a quickplay  option so you never know which strike you are getting into until you’re already playing it. I would have preferred a way to select which strike I wanted to play. There were a few times where I ended up playing the same strike multiple times in a row. While I don’t mind playing a strike multiple times I don’t want to play the same strike after I had just completed it.

One of the last things I want to talk about is Destiny 2’s, PVP AKA The Crucible. I didn’t spend too much time in  The Crucible in the original game. It was fun but by the end of the game I started to get a bit bored with it. With Destiny 2, I decided to save PVP for the end game and I am having actually having a lot of fun with it.

There are two modes you can choose from, quickplay and competitive. Both modes are 4v4 and each have different play styles. Quickplay is an easier mode where your power doesn’t matter and teamwork really isn’t a requirement. With competitive power level does matter and team work is a definite must. Once I had unlocked competitive play that’s where I found myself playing the most. I enjoyed the more skilled based combat and just how intense a match could become. My personal favorite mode to play was survival.

Survival is pretty much a team deathmatch mode with a one catch, each team has a limited amount of lives. Both teams start off with eight lives and with each death means your team is one step closer to losing. Each match is a best out of five. If playing with two even teams then  a round may come down to a one-on-one fight, this allows for some  great competitive matches that never feel one sided.

Like with strikes there’s no way to pick which game mode you play. So once again your left to a randomized chance. If it were up to me I would really only play survival. It’s the game mode I’ve had the most fun with.

Performance wise Destiny 2 ran at a solid framerate throughout the game, even when a lot was happening on the screen. I never experienced a crash during my playtime but did run into  few bugs. One being during a strike. During it  the boss managed to teleport and clip into a platform for about 20 seconds. He was still trying to attack us but couldn’t and we couldn’t either.  Luckily this wasn’t a bug that ruined the strike. He eventually got unstuck and we were able to finish him off. Another small bug, was I got a black screen when trying to get to the Farm. The game wasn’t frozen nor did it crash. I could still bring up my inventory and hear sounds but I just couldn’t see anything. I had to log out of the game in order for this to fix itself. Besides that there was nothing game-breaking.

The final thing I want to talk about is graphics and audio presentation. While the original game had plenty of flaws, graphics and audio wasn’t one of those flaws. Not much as changed in Destiny 2 and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the visuals aren’t really improved there are some noticeable improvements in terms of textures that may have been held back by the PS3 and Xbox 360 in the first game. It’s actually impressive with how stunning Destiny can look while still able to keep a solid framerate.

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In terms of audio, once again not much has changed. The soundtrack is still perfection and sets the mood for each encounter. Guns have a great futuristic sound to them. The only sound I wish they would have improved a bit was the grenade launcher. It wasn’t a bad sound but it didn’t sound as powerful as it sound have, especially when compared to the shotgun which has a bigger punch.

Now comes to the big question. Is Destiny 2 worth the $60 price tag? The answer to that isn’t as simple as saying yes or no. If this is your first time playing Destiny then yes. There is plenty of content that will keep you entertained for hours. If you loved the first game, played it from day one, bought every expansion ,and were playing it all the way till Destiny 2  came out; then the answer is yes. Everything that was in the first game is here this game but improved. If you hated the first game then the answer is no.

Now if you were more in the middle, you didn’t hate Destiny but you also didn’t like it, then I would suggest waiting for a sale. As for me, I enjoyed my time playing Destiny 2 but I do think the $60 price tag is a bit too much.  There are noticeable changes but at times these changes feel more like a large update rather than a $60 sequel. I personally feel that this should have been a $40 standalone expansion. The content provided is easily worth $40, just not $60.


          Pros                                Cons 

+ Rewarding and fun activities

 

-No way to read into the lore
+Challenging strikes

 

-Lackluster Customization
 +Frequent loot drops

 

-Little to spend Glimmer on
+Characters that have personality

 

-A improved but still average story
+Great Visuals -Easy and short campaign
+Completive Loot Drops -Microtransactions

Final Rating: 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elite Dangerous Review – A Cosmic Adventure

Developer: Frontier Developments

Publisher: Frontier Developments

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)

Release Date: December 16th, 2015 (PC), October 6th, 2015 (Xbox One), June 27th, 2017 (PlayStation 4)

During my first hour playing Elite Dangerous I wanted to throw my controller across the room, break the controller in half and unplug my entire console and throw it out an open window, all out of frustration from not being able to dock at a station. What followed that first hour was a bit more frustration but starting to slowly learn how to play the game. Even when I was frustrated with the game I was still having a lot of fun playing Elite Dangerous.

What makes your first few hours in Elite Dangerous so frustrating is the tight learning curve the Elite Dangerous has. While there are a few tutorials, they really aren’t enough to fully teach you how to play the game. These tutorials will teach you things like piloting, combat, and landing procedures. However, one you complete these tutorials and jump into the game, Elite Dangerous throws you in the cockpit of a basic ship known as “The Sidewinder.” From here it’s up to figure out what you want to do and where to go. This can be extremely daunting and even with completing the tutorials, you’ll still have a hard time performing most of the game’s mechanics.

The thing is Elite Dangerous is meant to be hard, at its heart Elite Dangerous is a space simulator. It wants to feel helpless while you’re out in the depth of the Cosmos. Elite Dangerous wants to fail but it also wants you to learn from your mistake. It’s just up to figure out how to learn from failure. The best way to watch videos on YouTube, read up tips and tricks or just learn through repetition. In reality, no matter how many videos you watch of someone showing you how to dock at a station, the best way to truly learn how to dock is by jumping into the game and practice docking.

There are two ways you can play Elite Dangerous. You can play in open-play which will allow you to run into other players. Or you can play in solo-play and have the entire Milky Way to yourself. I personally played in solo-play for most of time. I just didn’t see the need to play this just so that to other player could ruin my exploration by killing me. I am also a bit selfish and want the galaxy to myself. Even when playing in Solo-play you will need an internet connection and that’s because this is a persistent open-world. Even when the game is off, things are still happening. Powers are trying to expand; community goals are still running and the economy is still working. While it would have been nice to not need a connection during solo-play it would have lost a lot of the experience by doing that.

When it comes to open-world games, developers often like to tease that you’ll have complete freedom to do what you want. Elite Dangerous doesn’t just tease this freedom, it actually executes it. In Elite Dangerous you can become a trader, filling up your cargo hold with goods and taking advantage of systems that are in an economic boom. You can choose to become a bounty hunter and hunt down those who have committed crimes towards other space pioneers, or you can go the opposite route and become a pirate yourself. You can hunt down pilots that have rich cargo, shoot them down, steal their cargo and then sell it on the black market. This will ultimately make each fight little risky as other bounty hunters will now be on to you. If trading, and fighting isn’t your things, you can also become a comic explorer. Setting out in the blackness of space far away from civilization and seeing what no other human has seen before.

While you can choose to only partake in one activity, the best to truly experience Elite Dangerous is by doing a mix of everything. For instance, I currently have two ships. One ship is for mission running and combat while the other is built for exploring, that way if during one game session I decide that I want to do a bit of exploring I can get out of my combat ship and get into my exploration ship. The choice comes down to you and you have the whole Milky Way to decide what you want to do.

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This is your game world. There are 400 billion systems to explore.  

Elite Dangerous doesn’t have a campaign to complete, but there are story-lines to found. Currently there are nine powers who are at war with each other and are trying to expand their reach over the galaxy. You can choose to join up with one of these powers and help them in their cause. You just won’t be interacting with a NPC and running through a series of missions to help them. There’s also random encounters with an alien race that seems like it might be building to a bigger story.

To be honest I am glad that there isn’t a long campaign to complete. I am fine with just jumping into the game and creating my own stories. I’ve already had more memorable moments in Elite Dangerous than any other scripted game I’ve played this year. My first time playing I set out to deliver some data to a nearby station. When I came out of hyperspace and I found myself face to face with a Pulsar. Not knowing how close I could get I began to get a bit closer and found my engines overheating fast. My ship eventually blew up and I had to buy my ship again. This was my first painful experience with Elite Dangerous but it’s something I’ll never forget.

Elite Dangerous is possibly the best-looking game I’ve played all year, even beating out Horizon Zero Dawn. The inside of each ships cockpit is extremely detailed, when you overheat you’ll actually see smoke and sparks coming from the computers and when you apply heat-sinks to counter the heat, ice will appear on the window. The best part about the visuals through are the stars. Every time I’d jump into a new system, the first thing I liked to do was decrease my speed to a stop and place myself directly in front of the star so I could see the beauty of the star. Seeing a solar flare shoot out of a star and form a loop is also a sight to see.

 

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There are a few ways you can purchase Elite Dangerous, you can get the base game for $29.99, or you can get a version that that has the base game and the Horizons season pass for $59,99. The season pass already has four expansions with a fifth one set to come out. With the pass, you’ll be able to land on the surfaces of moons and planets and explore the surfaces while gather materials to use for crafting. The season pass is $29.99 if you just buy the base game. The base game does have offer hours of content but the season pass does complete your Elite Dangerous experience. However, I would recommend getting the base game first and seeing how you like the game before investing into the game further.

One of the biggest issues with Elite Dangerous is the grind. There’s just so many things that you’ll need to grind for. From trying to get enough credits to afford a new ship, trying to raise your ranking with a particular faction in order to gain a permit for a system or gain enough reputation to get more better rewarding missions. The grind factor is going to vary from player to player. I personally don’t mind the grind too much, I don’t want to be able to get the best ship within my first week but the grind for reputation and rankings can get a bit annoying.

 

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The Anaconda is one of most expensive ships in the game.  

 

Besides playing the main game there is one more mode you can play, called Arena. Arena puts you up against other player in intense aerial combat in close-quarters. There are three modes you can play.

– Team Deathmatch puts is a four vs four fight to see which team can get the most points.

– Deathmatch is a free-for-all to see which player can get the most kills

-Capture the flag opposite teams try to capture the opponents flag.

Arena is a lot of fun due to the excellent combat in Elite Dangerous. Combat is simply just aiming and firing. You have to be in constant movement to avoid losing your shields and taking hull damage and time having to micromanage other elements of your ship   While Arena is fun, I just don’t really see myself playing it too often. Besides there only being three modes to choose from, I also found myself having a hard time getting into a game. I don’t know if there just isn’t enough people playing it or if it was a networking issue. I really wouldn’t blame players for not wanting to play it, besides it having a quick progression system, allowing to unlock new load-outs and ships; there just isn’t thing rewarding about the mode. You don’t get any credits for shooting players down or anything to use on your own ship in the main game, so I’d rather just play the main game and collect bounties in combat.

Overall Elite Dangerous is a tough game to recommend, not because it’s bad (it’s an amazing game) but simply for the fact that it’s just not a game for everyone. While that can be said for any game, Elite Dangerous is targeted at a certain audience. It’s more for those who want a tough space simulator and want to go out and explore deep space. Elite Dangerous is truly a rewarding and fun experience and is a game I will be sinking even more hours into.

Rating 8/10