PSVR gets a discount, Persona 5 gets an App, & THQ gets, well, everything else.
We are 8 weeks into 2018 and the slow news weeks are starting to happen. That can only mean one thing; E3 approaches! Tickets went live last week and I don’t really know how many have been sold but it’s that time. I couldn’t let you guys down though so I had to dig real deep. And dig deep I did, here are the reasons you should feel like a Lucky Gamer this week:
1. No Hearthstone on Switch.
Straight to the point. Despite numerous ambiguous teases and tweets from Blizzard that may have felt promising, the game’s designer Dean Ayala has provided a firm “no”. It’s weird because Hearthstone is such a perfect fit for Nintendo Switch as a platform. The only speculation I could make at this time is that they don’t feel confident with the online infrastructure of the Nintendo Switch. Even that doesn’t entirely make sense for me because Splatoon 2 plays great. Maybe there are things about video game you can never understand from just playing. What are the odds?
2. No Hearthstone but at least you get De Blob.
One of the most amazing 3D platfomers of the last consoles generation is getting remastered for Nintendo Switch. De Blob, originally released back in 2008, will be coming to the Switch at some point in 2018 as tweeted by THQ Nordic. Last year we saw the release of the remaster on PS4 & Xbox one with the sequel coming sometimes this year. De Blob is one of those fun games that can serve as a cool party experiences to introduce new people to gaming. Given Nintendo’s recent track of cool additions to games, it will be really exciting to see what kind of bonus features De Blob will get. Maybe we’ll be able to dress up De Blob as Pikachu or link.
3. It’s the return of the purple dragon!
If someone would have told me that Skylander’s was not going to be the end of Spyro the Dragon, I would have laughed in their face. In fact I think I actually might have. So to anyone who’s face I laughed in, well I apologize. Much like I did when Crash Bandicoot made his remastered trilogy return. It turns out that was enough to push Activision and/or Sony to stop playing with our emotions and give us back our playstation mascots! That realization led us here: Spyro the Dragon Trilogy remaster is in the works and potentially coming to PS4 in Q3 of 2018. To put that in basic terms: Spyro is coming for Christmas, people! The trilogy is rumored to have the first three Spyro games remastered with brand new everything. Textures, assets, and all the other boring stuff. The real exciting news, which may come as a surprise to most, Crash and Spyro are potentially timed exclusive deals which means they may come to other platforms afterwards! This is going to be huge for two of the most iconic characters in video game history. Looks like the Gamers win again.
4. US government is against loot boxes, maybe.
It turns out it’s time for the government to get involved in video games again. It’s been a long while since the US government felt the need to step in and take stand in the video games industry. Fear not however fellow gamers, this time it appears they are on our side. At least thats what it looks like. US Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has issued a letter to our friends over at the ESRB establishing a strong outline of concerns regarding micro transactions. More specifically regarding Loot Boxes and Loot Box Systems. Her concern is primarily surrounding “in game purchases for surprise winnings” because they may be highly addicting. This comes hot on the heals of the World Health Organization update which adds “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable mental disorder. All of this follows Hawaii’s recent proposal of bills which specifically target Loot Boxes as a form of “illegal gambling”. Now that we have reached the end of this topic, I am no longer sure who’s side these people are actually on.
5. The Devil May Cry for free occasionally.
February 27th marks the day of the beast. Actually, I’m not sure if that is true at all. Something that is completely true is that starting on February 27th Devil May Cry HD will be available for free to all PC players with a Twitch Prime Membership. With Capcom running this promotion for an undisclosed length of time, rumors floating around of a Devil May Cry 5 on the horizon are staring to feel real true. Couple the free give away with the upcoming release of Devil May Cry HD releasing on March 13th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC makes for a powerful argument. I personally had nothing against the rebooted Dante for the most recent game, but I can’t wait to go back to hanging out with cool Dante. I also really hope the rumor of a new Devil May Cry is true regardless which Dante we get. Speaking of devils and demons, did I mention that Persona 5 is getting an official Mementos App? Well, in Japan at least.
6. Missing? Who’s missing?
There is only one name in the video game industry that evokes more confusion than the question “is a hot dog a sandwich?”. That name is Hidetaka Suehiro. Actually, no it’s not. That’s the man that evokes confusion, however the name is Swery. And there you go, your hold world just flipped thinking bout what this guy has done now. Now let’s be very clear: Swery has provided absolutely no information about this game beside the fact he’s working with Arc System Works, and it’s called “The Missing”. Also, the game will “blow your mind” when it releases late this year. On the topic of Arc System Works and missing things, the first two DLC characters for Dragon Ball FighterZ have leaked and I can’t wait to (spoiler alert) play as Broly & Bardock.
7. THQ fills their shopping cart and PSVR hopes to fill yours.
THQ Nordic heard about the Lucky Gamer Recap and said “We are going to do something to get us on that damn list twice in one day!”. You read about De Blob remastered but that’s not all. It looks like THQ Nordic might have gotten their tax returns back early because they just made a very big purchase. In a roughly 150 million dollar deal, THQ Nordic just purchased Koch Media. What does that mean? Well let me give you an idea. Koch Media is the holding company of Deep Silver (Dead Island, Metro), Volition (Saints Row), and Dambuster Studios (Homefront). Ultimately this deal really just means that the THQ we remember watching fold in 2012 is getting right back up. With no plans for restructuring any of the current business plans, it seems some great things may already be in the works. On the flip side because its tax season, and in honor of big purchases, I have to share that PSVR will be $100 off from today (technically yesterday) until March 3rd. Looks like its time to jump on one of those bad boys, hey Chet!
Let me get this straight, THQ goes Bankrupt > Gets bought by THQ > Become THQ Nordic > Deep Silver buys Saints Row > THQ Nordic buys Koch Media > Koch Media is parent company of Deep Silver > THQ now owns Saints Row again. What kind of timeline is this?
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A true return to form.
Franchise fatigue is the first word that comes to mind for a lot of people when they think about annualized titles. Every year the holiday season is filled with a lack of diversity. Christmas list for gamers are quickly flooded by the latest title in the long running franchises. For most, this leads to an uninteresting experience because nothing feels new. Call of Duty however manages to strive on this and find success year over year and WWII is no exception to the rule. Published by Activion and developed by Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, Call of Duty: WWII brings the series back to its roots. Released on November 3rd, 2017 for Playstation 4, X-Box One, and PC Call of Duty: WWII makes every effort to make the old new and shocking.
Activision understands blockbuster video games and the fans of said blockbuster video games. They know how to put the pressure on developers to make sure the games look good. Call of Duty: WWII looks incredible. Save for a few texture loading issues that were sporadic but frequent it was hard to distinguish between game and film in many situations. A lot like the Justice League movie, but in a good way. Replicating locations and battlefields was extremely believable and it remained difficult to turn eyes away from the screen. Explosions, gunfire, acting, trees, sand, dirt it all looked alive and real. Of course it would be silly to say it looks as good as Battlefield, but it’s not to far behind.
Band of misfits throughout America become close friends as they go through the terrors of world war. That sums is it all up. The story hits on almost every possible army tale trope. Squad leader with a dirty past. Squad leader with a heavy commitment to his teams livelihood. Risk taking member of the team who the team doesn’t fully trust. And most importantly there’s a member of the team with a loved one he left back at home an bad terms. Uh-oh. The story is so simplistic that those might actually all be spoiler. The story is not inherently bad, its just extremely predictable and uninteresting. It never takes away from the experience as a whole so it shouldn’t be looked at as a major problem in the game. It does a great job of setting up exciting action-packed Hollywood moments for sure.
Bullets flying through the war zone, explosions surrounding everything that felt safe, and flames engulfing everything in site. Those sounds needed to be more heavily introduced. The surround sound placing was great, but most of the time the environment sounded very thin. Certain sounds like bullet shatter through different materials or the depth of explosions rumbles were shallow and lacking. Screams and commands often felt overpowering and although the voice acting was very good some lines felt out of tone. Online footsteps were pretty accurate, during the campaign they seemed very misplaced and made tracking enemies extremely inconsistent. Not sure where the discrepancy resulted from but it was definitely noticeable. To sum things up the sound as a complete package was never a major distraction but certain individual elements made for a less then perfect experience.
It would be very hard to say that a series that practically created an entire gaming mechanic hasn’t mastered it. WWII proves that the development team has a great hold on the first person shooter gaming mechanics. Everything from the layout of the control (yes they’ve been the same forever, that’s the point) to the fluidity of the inputs, everything feels incredible. Movement is smooth and accurate. The buttons are responsive and input lag seems nearly non existent. It’s nothing short of a wonderful experience. Especially without all the super jumping. Perhaps grounding the game back in reality or the older settings was the smartest move. Boots on the ground indeed.
Online, the network was very stable by the time I played. Nothing new or adventurous outside of the maps. Even some of those felt like minor updates of older maps from the first three games in the series. All the great modes like Team Death Match, Capture the Flag, and Search and Destroy are still in and over course the fan favorite Zombies is back as well. Zombies once again sports a full story for its Zombie mode which is pretty exciting in itself. The only weird thing was the blatant and meaningless Destiny copy with its the third person view at the camp before matches begin. Too soon Activision, too soon.
The reason millions of people flock to Call of Duty every single year without hesitation or reservation is because of how much fun the game is. Every development team manages to make every aspect of the game a competitive and exciting experience. Whether mowing down enemy target to end World War 2 in the campaign or going toe to toe with a friend in a no scope rifle challenge online each ending feels just as rewarding. The zombies mode tends to offer a more impactful feeling of euphoria by telling a more heroic story. The hero is saving a country or a few hundred thousand people, he’s saving the world. The zombie menace is an equal threat to all. That’s the best part, it’s so broad and open it allows the imagination to run wild and create it’s own story in place of the not so great one already being told. Party game or solo after a long day of work, its going to be a great time.
Franchise fatigue hits everyone differently so it can be very difficult for a developer to figure out what the best thing to do with a new entry in the series is. The decision for Call of Duty to go back to the past was a powerful gamble that definitely worked out in their favor. The game plays incredibly well, feels extremely fresh, and welcomes new players into the old with a simple story to play through. The audio could have used more work, but it still gets the job done which is equally as important.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: activision, call of duty, cod, editorial, loot boxes, opinion, raven software, review, sledgehammer games, video games, videogames, world war 2, ww2, WWII
Shooting and looting again.
The best way to follow up a successful game is to simply repeat the formula. That is exactly what the team at Bungie did with the release of the highly anticipated Destiny 2. It is an online only multiplayer first person shooter set in a post apocalyptic space future. Published by Activision, Destiny 2 is the latest in a series with a 10 year support plan. Within the mythic space story players assume the role of a Guardian tasked with protecting Earth’s last safe city. Released on September 6th, 2017 Destiny 2 has reignited a spark of excitement in its already massive community of devoted fans. How does it do inviting new kids to the club though?
Imagining what it feels like to walk on the moon or flying through space is a simple task. Bringing that sensation to life is an entirely different task. It is a task that the team at bungie has been doing successfully since the Halo days. Destiny 2 is no exception. Visually, the game is incredibly stunning and beautiful. Every aspect of the experience looks like it deserves to be where it was placed. Although, the repetitive nature of the gameplay takes away from the excitement induced by the scenery, it does not damage the scenery itself. Locations and equipment are the true champions in the game because of how vivid and natural they look. If only there were a few more enemy designs to really explore the level of detail that Bungie can focus on.
When Destiny originally launched in 2014 there was an immense outcry from the audience over the lack of a valid campaign mode for the game. Fast forward three years and Destiny 2 provides much clearer narrative. Clear does not make better unfortunately. This time around the development team put a good amount of emphasis on the story but it is still very lacking. A lack of character development and interesting plot twist make it very hard to enjoy the possibly immense lore behind this game. There are still way to many unanswered questions and more come rising the further you go down the rabbit hole. And not to beat a dead horse but the lack of any coherent character development makes it even more difficult to emotionally connect or care about what happening on screen. The plot is definitely not the worst thing ever written but it definitely doesn’t accomplish what it should or could have. For now it seems the true plot twist for Destiny will continue to be that there is no plot twist and every lore about the game is pretty much made up by the fans.
Similar to the success Bungie had recreating something visually real that very few people have ever experienced they nailed the sound designs. It’s hard to believe anyone has ever shot or heard the shot of a laser rifle, but Destiny 2 makes the player feel this false memory. It would probably be more difficult to convince a hardcore Destiny 2 player that a laser doesn’t sound the way it does in the game then vice versa. The music was appropriately ambient and the fade outs during intense moments absolutely created the suspenseful feeling the visuals were showing. When playing in surround sound, the living room quickly turns into a high intensity battlefield set in a distant location in space. The excellent combination of sound design and visual fidelity make every breathtaking moment truly feel like there is no air in space.
Land. Kill. Loot. Repeat. That is the entire premise of every single MMO and Destiny 2 is no different. In fact it is so identical to the first iteration that it occasionally borders on excessively repetitive. For hardcore Destiny fans this is fantastic, for everyone else it is merely ok. A major issue for players who aren’t as heavily invested, the gameplay gap between the wide range of players becomes huge very quickly. As a sequel to a pretty successful game to much change shouldn’t be expected however there seemed to be a lack of anything refreshing.
When taking on a challenging raid with a few great friends Destiny 2 is an exciting adventure. The moment those friends move to a light level to far ahead of your own, the game immediately becomes less interesting. It is still a fun game for the most part with tons of customization and socialization features but it does lack that dazzling touch. Perhaps if the story would have been a little more interesting it could have been more pulling. It is still a great source of relief thanks to the endless army of alien soldiers to empty clips into.
Destiny 2 is by default better than its predecessor. That does not excuse Destiny 2 for failing to be the very best it can be. By no means is Destiny 2 a bad game, but it does still seem to need a little bit more fleshing out to be great. Luckily it can follow the path of the original game and continue to grow as time passes through the annual add on content. Becoming a legend or rather “Becoming Legend” is still well within the realm of possibilities for these guardians.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: activision, bungie, destiny, destiny 2, editorial, first person shooter, fps, loot, loot boxes, loot crates, mmo, mmo lite, mmorpg, review