MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE VIDEO MINOR SPOILERS IN DESCRIPTION You have been warned.
Hell of a headline. You know, usually in video games that give you romance options, you have a pretty good idea at who you want to go for. I frequently play as a female and go after men or women equally, but as a man, a bit less so. YET, here I am playing the third episode of this hit series and I found myself thinking. Making my character gay is DEFINITELY the better option. The character you meet who you can express interest in actually makes more sense to the plot. And I liked him better than the woman you can express interest in. Just in time for pride month!
Also mad props to the game for throwing in D.A.N.C.E. by Justice, that completely blindsided me. Like I thought Spotify accidentally opened or something but nope, it was the game.
What would it look like if your favorite video game characters all had dating profiles?
Video game protagonists have it rough. They usually have to take care of everyone, single-handedly, all by themselves. Many of them are far too busy to give dating a shot, since they never have any free time. But now that some of them have finished the game, they can relax and mingle. And what better way to seek out some company than joining Tinder? Here’s just a few profiles we could see. Let us know in the comments who you’d swipe left or right for.
There’s more in store if you want. Comment and share, we will make more.
January is normally the dumping ground for bad stuff. Bad movies, bad games, bad manners. Fortunately for us, several (potentially) great cames will be coming out. We have New Super Mario Bros Deluxe, Ace Combat 7, the Resident Evil 2 remake, the second epsiode of Life is Strange 2, and……. I don’t know. I think that’s it. Either way, it seems the free games of January 2018 are….. meh. Have a look at the mediocrity of it all.
Xbox Live Gold
Never Alone – An eskimo girl and a fox do some things. A smart 2D scroller. Celeste – Okay, so this game isn’t “Just Okay”, its actually an award winner. So it’s probably good. WRC6 FIA World Rally Championship – If you’re a fan of dirt track/rally racing types, now is your time to shine with this fun indie racing hit. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – No, this isn’t a REAL Tomb Raider game. It’s an isometric shooter starring the titular character and some other guy I guess. Far Cry 2 – This one is tough with an absolutely unforgiving saving system. If you die and don’t have a buddy, prepare to start the entire mission over.
Xbox Game Pass
Life is Strange Complete Season, Life is Strange Before the Storm, Life is Strange 2 Episode 1, Ark: Survival Evolved, Farming Simulator 17, Absolver, Just Cause 3, Aftercharge.
Steep – This is a huge snowy mountain sandbox games for those who enjoy Snowboard, Skiing, Paragliding, and Wingsuit. It was very hard to pull off a single trick.
Portal Knights – It’s like Minecraft, but it’s also nothing like Minecraft.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection – A air combat game where you pilot big mecha. Fast paced action and a lot of jetpacking make this oldie pretty good. (PS3)
Super Mutant Alien Assault – A hardcore platformer to the likes of N++ and Super Meat Boy. (PS3)
Warframe: A free to play shooter game, but there’s a Booster Pack available for free.
This overview of Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 took place during a podcast. But it went on for so long we had to remove it from the podcast. We put it here instead. I mean, you could listen to use talk about the game. Or you can just sit there and be mesmerized in this latest rendition of DANKVISION.
Vampyr is a game that flew under the radar, coming right before E3. And it was June, which is the front side of the gaming deadzone where not to many major releases pop up. But still, despite the review I gave it, here’s some videos on the game. Decide for yourself.
Vampyr is an action-adventure game featuring melee combat and advanced character interaction. It was published by Focus Home Interactive and developed by DONTNOD Entertainment, makers of Life is Strange and Remember Me. You play as Jonathan Reid, a very successful doctor who specializes in blood transfusions. In an ironic twist of fate, he becomes a vampire (called Ekons in the game, and no, the spelling “vampyr” was never used in the entire game) and becomes entangled in a mystery. The city of London has been struck with overwhelming cases of Spanish Flu. Your overall quest is to simply cure this disease plaguing London, but that’s not all. While beating crazed vampires with a large stick can be fun sometimes, you also have to help the citizens of the city. You do so by traveling to safe spots, talking to people, learning about them, and treating them for a variety of medical issues. The other twist? You get EXP from doing quests, but if you find yourself having a hard time, you can choose to feast on anyone from the populous. It’s not that simple though, killing the wrong person could result in destabilizing an entire town if you’re not careful.
DONTNOD have never really done great in the graphics dept. Their best work comes from Life is Strange, but that’s only because the art style masks the lower texture details. This game has functional graphics at best. The city streets are full of nothing but brown, grey, and dark red as if the game took a page out of the last console generation’s “realistic” trend. Reid himself is very well detailed in the amount of care that has been put into his appearance, but he is the only exception. Everyone else either looks passable at best, but more often than not they look bad. Imagine facial textures that are worse than Mass Effect Andromeda. Actually, that goes double for character animations too, as characters will sort of sway back and forth unnaturally while you speak to them, and lip sync could do with some improvements. The lighting effects seemed to just consist of very flat looks, and the shadows are very poor if they even bother to show up. I tolerated these dull graphics for the entire game but there wasn’t a single moment where I was impressed with anything.
I’m having a hard time with how I should score this section. The main plot is interesting enough, and if you’re a big fan of vampire stuff and in-game lore, there’s plenty to dig into. The real talent on display is the NPC interactions. In your travels you will meet people who are out at night going about their business. You can approach any of them and talk to them about how they feel, what they do, and if there’s anything you can do for them. And yet it gets deeper still, as there are special dialog options for every character that you can only learn either from gaining their trust, talking to others, or eavesdropping. Once you’ve unlocked these secrets, you can compel a character to answer questions about the information you learned. You’ll find yourself going back and forth between NPCs talking to them as you learn more and more and complete tasks for them.
This is one of the few games where helping out characters who can’t help themselves has a legitimate reason. The city streets are very treacherous and filled with all sorts of fiends, so most of the people are justified in asking you if you can help out. But all that said, there’s a bigger problem at large, as the quality of writing varies greatly from person to person. You’ll find characters with astoundingly hidden depths, and then you’ll talk to people how are cardboard cutouts. The other problem is the flow of logic when you talk to people. Also, the majority of the plot in this game is delivered by having stiff one-on-one conversations. You run into the same problem you had with games like Mass Effect 1 where the dialog options you have usually fall to “TELL ME MORE ABOUT X.” You can also have a character say something very very distressing in one interaction, and then immediately go back to their default mood if you ask them basic questions. Overall, the case here seems to be a solid example of quantity over quality, and your mileage may vary on this fact.
But, here lies the other problem with the plot. The quality of voice acting also leaves room for a lot of improvement. While core characters are relatively good with their delivery, the same cannot be said of all the NPCs. A lot of the characters have very wooden dialog and can sometimes sound like they were simply rehearsing the lines and but accidentally made that the final cut. A lot of the accents don’t sound genuine, and there were even a couple of times where their accents slipped into something else. But that’s enough about the characters. The game is redeemed with a really rich, soulful soundtrack that matches the aesthetic of 1918 London, while also not being afraid to add in some more modern touches. The combat also has some satisfying sounds, with blood splat, thwacks, flamethrowers, and gas guns all sound exactly as they should.
As said before, the game revolves around talking to people, healing, and completing investigations. At first, the doctor treatments were interesting but it soon became tiresome due to an interesting but very stressful game mechanic. Before that, let’s talk about the combat. It’s a bland, slow and deliberate system with some sluggish reaction times to button presses and seemingly unfair fights that are based solely on numbers. If you’re level 15 and you face someone at level 18 or so, you’ll find that no matter how hard you hit them, nothing tends to hurt them until your level matches theirs. This is especially true of bosses, who have a mountain of health and are relentless. I haven’t had boss fights this bad since Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The melee itself is a generic take on the Souls style, but it simply lacks the depth and response that makes those games so great. What’s worse is if you are under-leveled, you have to do a load of backtracking to find a place to level up and then make your way back. You also do not get your health syringes or bullets back when you die from a boss battle. If you used all of your health packs you are shit out of luck.
And here comes the interesting part. Leveling up. In order to use your XP to upgrade abilities, you need to sleep. Find a bed at a hideout or return to your room at the hospital and go to bed. But when you sleep, the next day arrives. Anyone who was sick and untreated will get sicker, people you healed will get better, people who were previously unhealed become sick, and any action you took in the district that deeply affects that location will take place. That’s right, you basically have to bank all your experience points and make sure everyone in the four boroughs of London are nice and healthy before you take that nap.
Sitting back and diving deep into the character interaction is fun and all, but this game is not without a plethora of killjoys. Loading times are really long, where launching the game will send you to a black screen for 20 seconds. You have to wait for certain interiors to load and that takes a long time, sometimes nearly a minute of waiting. Dying also drops a really long wait time on you. Oh, and if you run too fast across town, you’ll get a freezeframe loading screen for about 5-10 seconds. That, combined with the crapton of backtracking you will be doing doesn’t help. Especially because there’s NO fast travel. Granted, the map isn’t too large and once you’ve run around the whole world enough (and you will), you get to learn the routes without having to consult the map. You’ll need to know the map and the community screen as you’ll also be running all over the place to make sure everyone has been healed before you rest. Again, the tedium of facing down boss fights will bear down on you, often leading to frustration as you must make your way out and then come back just to fight an enemy that has a higher number than you. But, the interactions are still fascinating in their own right.
Vampyr is a deeply flawed game, yet somehow I could not take my hands off it. Up until the day I decided I wanted to beat the game as fast as possible, I was pretty engrossed in the world this game offered. Something, I’m not sure what, just kept me coming back again and again, playing it for long stretches as I did everything in my power to help everyone. Or at least I did until I needed to beat the game quickly and just decided to kill everyone. But fancy that, interact with an NPC you don’t like? Get the instant gratification of killing them. There are a lot of personalities here, and you will definitely find some people kill-worthy. This is a low scoring game but it’s one of the best low scoring games I’ve played in quite a while.
Mystery game opened with a lot of atmosphere. It was Halo Infinite.
Phil Spencer came on rocking his jacket and t-shirt, as is expected.
He talked about Fanfest and other charities.
Then he said they would show off 50 games.
18 exclusives, 15 world premieres, but that’s usually a lie because they are almost always time.
Ori: The Will of the Wisps
Another Ori featuring a lot more characters and a trailer was show off that featured a lot of action.
Announced for 2019.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software popped up, and in a while, we discovered it was a ninja/samurai flavored souls game.
Todd Howard everyone!
Fallout 4 added to game pass.
Fallout 76 is a prequel to all the games.
4 times the size of Fallout 4, set in West Virginia.
The cinematic trailer was unleashed in black and white.
The game was revealed to be a PROPER Fallout sequel.
An in-engine gameplay trailer was shown featuring a child playing around with space toys and doing cool stuff to the real world.
Set in the same universe as life is strange.
Oh look, a PS4 game on Xbox.
A big in-engine trailer featuring a LOT of Terry Crews.
It ironically looked like Saints Row 4.
A bigass gameplay trailer was shown, showcasing the plot, exploration, and enemy encounters.
Phil Spencer came back on and the brakes were put on the onslaught of trailers.
Kingdom Hearts 3
A lot of gameplay was shown in a trailer, featuring a lot of speaking scenes from Frozen, along with confirmations of content from Wreck it Ralph, Tangled, Hercules and Toy Story.
Sea of Thieves
Story content has been added, featuring a lengthy cutscene for a trailer.
Cursed Sails and Sacred Seas, coming July and September.
Same Trailer as EA press.
Forza Horizon 4
A long trailer was shown showing multiple kinds of weather and locales.
“Great Britain” is the location.
The world will feature a shared world drive instead drivatars.
The game features multiple seasons.
You can interact with other cars from your car.
Release date October 2nd, available on Game Pass.
Phil Spencer came back on again, making a few boasts and talking about the new studios acquired with The Initiative, Undead Labs, Playground Games, and Ninja Theory, Compulsion games. All will now be big
We Happy Few
Story trailer was shown off.
Release date August 10, 2018.
Summer 2018 was given a release date along with new game modes, maps, and DLC.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Oh wow, a PS4 game on Xbox!
The Division 2
A very tactical trailer was shown that featured nothing other than talking.
It was followed up with a gameplay demo that featured a forested environment.
It was revealed to be in DC and featured a firefight in an airplane graveyard.
Xbox Game Pass
Ashley Spencer introduced FastStart, a program that will install your games faster.
She made a really awkward smile while nobody clapped.
Games that are Xbox Exclusives will release on Game Pass same day as retail release.
They also added many many games to the library including ESO, The Division, Fallout 4 which are available now.
Indie Game Sizzle Reel
One of these will catch your interest.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
A new trailer was shown with a lot of gameplay featuring the plot, locations, and action gameplay.
It’s not Skate 4, you guys.
MMO trailer with many scenes.
Devil May Cry 5
A mixed trailer and gameplay trailer showed off the short-haired new Dante from DMC. I see no way in which this will cause a commotion.
Real Dante was shown at the end.
This might be a Dad game.
The devs came out to talk about it, one of them talked about the Xbox One X enhancements.
Hideki Sagochi said it will be the “best game he’s ever made”
Cuphead The Delicious Last Course
Coming in 2019, only a teaser was shown.
An isometric rogue game with a whimsical fox featuring polygonal graphics.
Afterward, Phil Spencer came out saying all the next games are world premieres.
Trailer combining your favorite characters from many different fighting animes.
Dying Light 2
The game had an introductory trailer that showed the setting with a bit of gameplay.
After, the dev came out to talk about new features of the game.
It was emphasized that the game world will have actual consequences.
They showed a “live” gameplay demo featuring a large amount of traversal.
Afterward, they showed a critical choice in the game that had different consequences depending on whether you side with a faction or kill them.
Only a teaser and 2019 were shown.
Just Cause 4
A reel full of in-game cutscenes and gameplay was shown, it’s more of the same.
Gears Pop! & Tactics & 5
A mobile game, based on Gears of War Pop Vinyl toys, teased with a small trailer.
After, Gears Tactics was shown, an RTS adaptation of the series.
Then they officially announced Gears 5 and showed off a cinematic trailer.
The cinematic trailer was very emotional if you’re invested in the franchise.
A lot of the scenery looked spectacular too, along with some new enemy designs.
Big Phil came out to close the show, summarize everything, and say more random things about the company and the console.
Big fakeout ending, as another game came out.
We got our first real look at the game, featuring a full story trailer that showcased the setting and story.
January 23rd, 2018 by Stefan Adrian "AdminMas7er" Robu
Teenage Girl Simulator 2017
Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is an episodic story-based adventure developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix. It is a prequel to Life Is Strange and it follows the story of a 16-year-old Chloe Price and her relationship with Rachel Amber, her newfound friend. They go onto an adventure regarding their own personal problems, which is the main focus of the game: two teenagers trying to solve teenager-ish problems which can change their lives forever. Being an episodic game, the episodes were released over time, and this review comes after Episode 3: Hell is Empty was released, which is the final episode in this game. A bonus episode is scheduled for deluxe edition owners, but is not relevant to the plot of the game. For first impressions on the game, you can check the original review here.
Graphics-wise, there are differences here and there comparing it to the original. The characters look similar, the environments are very familiar, most being brought back from the first game, with some new areas here and there. Technical-wise, the game was developed for current generation consoles, moving from Unreal Engine to Unity. The game feels a bit emptier in some parts, while livelier in others, with a change from a red-pink hue, to a more yellow aesthetic. The lightning seems a bit downgraded, and so do the shadows. But the faces and lip-sync, which was one of the bigger issues of the first game, have been improved. The game has Xbox One X Enhancement support, as well as some smaller patched-in improvements for the PS4 Pro.
The story is based around a younger Chloe Price, set 3 years before the events of the first game, in a world where she has lost her father recently, her best friend Max has left her, and she struggles with school. It’s a world where we see Chloe from another perspective, not just the one of a reckless, brash, angsty teenager, as she was in the first game. She finds a new friend in the one and only Rachel Amber, a considerably popular girl at the school. They go into an adventure known as “being a teenager”, having different types of problems, such as identity problems, family problems, existential crises, and so on. Other characters also return, where we see a different side of them. Not only that but you can get a little but more involved with your friends, including playing a tabletop RPG with your friends and running into characters who are aren’t quite finished in terms of what they become in the original game. Compared to the first game, the story shows an improvement in some areas. It feels like a more lively story, with more in-your-face moments, the drama being a little bit more “normal”, and a bit more dramatic at the same time. One minute, you’re taking part in a school play, the next moment, a soap opera-tier plot twist jumps right out at your coming from almost nowhere. The writing is also an improvement, having less forced “hip” words which were a bit annoying, but it has more awkward situations. It is good in some parts and absolutely horrible in others, one such situation is the ending, being as mistreated as the first game. Overall, the story quality depends from person to person, which is both a good, and a bad thing at the same time.
Regarding the audio, let’s start with the obvious. Chloe’s voice actor has changed due to actors’ strike at that time (the strike ended and Ashly Burch will return for the bonus episode), being replaced with Rhianna DeVries. This change is subtle in some parts, while very obvious in other situations. Otherwise, some voice actors return, while others are brand new, doing an okay job at capturing the teenager vibe. The soundtrack is composed and written by Daughter, a British indie folk band, with the music blending in with the atmosphere for the game, being closely related to Chloe’s emotions. Though some tracks tend to repeat themselves, otherwise, it’s an improvement compared to the first game. Having a more focused soundtrack really holds onto the theme of the game more, and there are several moments in the game where you can just stop and enjoy a moment of zen as music plays while you sit around.
What made the first LiS unique to other story adventure games (I’m looking at you Telltale) was the rewind mechanic, where you can return back and review your choices, or see what was the other choice. Well, Before the Storm removed this mechanic, which had no explanation at all in the first place, and implemented “Backtalk”, which makes a bit more sense, and seems more realistic. Plus it brings a bit more emphasis on the whole “your choices matter” part of the game. “Backtalk” is a mode where Chloe goes into a sort of an argument with someone, where the player has to choose his words wisely, and pay close attention to what the other person is saying. This is used as an extra option, which opens another way to solve a situation. Otherwise, it’s pretty much just like every other story-based episodic game out there. Another great addition is the collectibles, which are Graffiti in this case, where Chloe can draw different graffiti, depending on what the player wants from the options given. Overall, it’s still good and playable but without the time-traveling spin, the experience is a bit more mundane.
“Fun” in this case, is a very subjective thing. I felt that the game was pleasing enough, it had its moments, both good and bad. Replayability-wise, the only reason to replay such games is to see the other choices. Once again, unlike the original, you can’t just view all your choices and pick what you want. You’ll actually have to play the game a second time to get more branching options that may or may not pay off in the end.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a mixed bag. Nobody asked for this, yet it was welcoming enough when it was announced. It had a decent 1st episode, that left me yearning for more, the 2nd episode was focused more on character development, especially the relationship between Chloe and Rachel, which was a high point from the all episodes. And Episode 3 was a low blow, having a lot of unnecessary, but intense drama, and a disappointing ending. Otherwise, this game was pretty enjoyable. If narrative experiences are your thing, this is a decent, bite-sized adventure. It also isn’t necessary to play the original in order to enjoy this prequel.
People frequently complain when the ending of a game ruins a series. Especially if said series is a ‘choose your own adventure’ type of experience. Why should I bother at all if the ending is the same? Sure. Why bother eating an apple, it eventually will become a core. Don’t eat that ice cream, it ends up being an empty bowl. What happens throughout the course of a game is far more likely affect than that silly little ending you encounter. [Minor spoilers for Mass Effect and Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 2]