April 15th, 2020 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
As I muse on whether or not to get an Assassin’s Creed tattoo… (see previous post), I now examine the games I’m playing. I haven’t picked up Final Fantasy 7 Remake because I’m fully content with the many other games I’m playing on rotation.
Doom Eternal, The Division 2, Forza Horizon 4, and Battlefield V. They are already seeing regular use on my Xbox. But my Switch! I recently moved the dock to a different TV because reasons. Am I playing a Nintendo game? NO! I’m playing Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection. It contains AC Black Flag, AC Rogue, and all DLC. Black Flag is one one of my favorites.
Now, let’s get to it. There’s a mingame in AC4 called “Kenway’s Fleet”. In this game, you manage a fleet of ships, send them on missions, and conduct sea battles to secure trade routes. Except I’m making this sound cooler than actually it is. It’s basically a free to wait auto-play mobile game before they invented the predatory microtransactions to accompany it.
In sea battles, you just select ships with stats to automatically fight other ships, then proceed to watch a handful of boat PNG files pretend to shoot each other.
It’s incredibly lo-fi.
When you send your ships out on a mission, it’s to get you money and resources. Now, these trade missions work in real time. If I send a ship to Mexico, it will be gone for 8 real-time hours. Even when I’m not playing. I send a ship on a mission, quit, go to bed, wake up, “Hey, my ship is back! Yaaaay!” Today’s Ubisoft would have sold you a “Time Saver” MT for this feature. How sad!
Coincidentally, there was a companion app for Black Flag that essentially worked as a second screen for the map, along with other features. My old crappy phone could barely handle the real-time map. But it could handle Kenway’s Fleet! As a result, collecting my gains was the first thing I did every time I fired that game up.
The app doesn’t appear to be on the Play Store anymore, and I’m not sure if it would work even if I found the .APK file for it. In the meantime, I’ve got about 3 more hours before my frigate “Triunfo” makes it home. Did you enjoy this minigame? What minigames have YOU enjoyed? Tell me in the comments.
Hear the audio version of this rant HERE.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: AC IV, assassins creed, black flag, minigame, mobile, mobile games, oddly satisfying, phones, pirates, satisfaction
October 8th, 2018 by Vega Montanez
Are you ready to stream Xbox games?
Early this morning Microsoft announced their official entry into the cloud based streaming world. Project xCloud is the Microsoft vision of the future of gaming. While the plan is still very early in development, Microsoft says they will begin public trials at some point in 2019.
For those of you thinking “Wait, didn’t they say this when they announced the Xbox One?”, you’re absolutely right. The blog post makes quick mention of the previously announced Azure Cloud, a smart move considering we haven’t heard much with that name since the original announcement.
Where xCloud seems to differ heavily is that it carries a focus on not only allowing gamers to play on any console or pc but also mobile. Specifically stating “giving mobile-only players access to worlds, characters, and immersive stories they haven’t been able to experience before. Microsoft says they are internally testing input controls to make sure all the games transition seamlessly between the various platforms.
What do you think, is Project xCloud the next big thing in gaming?
Posted in Articles Tagged with: 2019, azure, cloud, console, gamer, games, Microsoft, mobile, one, pc, project, square, streaming, xbox, xCloud
June 9th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
- Sizzle reel has Sports, Battlefield, Sims, Anthem, Star Wars, and Esports footage.
- They decided to use a holographic AR system to show off their games.
- Andrea Rene opened the show, she emphasized that a lot of people would be playing games at the show.
- Oskar Gabrielson and Lars came on to talk about the gameplay customizations and innovations being done for the multiplayer.
- Dive and smash thru windows, moveable weapon emplacements, more destructible environments, customize everything.
- War Stories is back for the single player.
- No loot boxes or premium passes confirmed and that daily content would be made.
- They confirmed Battle Royale mode and got BOO’d live on stage, which was hilarious.
- Ground Operations mode was featured and then they moved on a cinematic trailer, followed up by a tease for a story that would be revealed at the Microsoft press conference.
- A theatrical trailer was then shown for FIFA showing a famous footballer that I don’t know
- Aaron McHardy hosted along with Lena to talk about the game while standing next to a bigass UEFA trophy.
- It was announced that the story mode would pursue this cup and that as per usual, many new modes and features were added.
- World cup mode confirmed as always.
- They made a joke about England fans.
- They announced that you could play the full game experience as a trial mode for free RIGHT NOW.
- EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson showed up to talk about the game some more.
- Wilson then showed off a project being worked on where you could stream EA games to practically any device using cloud computing technology.
- Origin Access Premier: a new service was announced that appears to give you all the EA games as they come out, along with Vault access, launching later this summer.
- A sizzle reel was shown off to advertise the new service.
Jedi: Fallen Order
- Andrea showed up again, standing next to Vince Zampella from Respawn Entertainment.
- He introduced Jedi: Fallen Order.
- He was interviewed about the game but was constantly being very vague about it, except that it takes place between films 3-4.
- He announced for Holiday of 2019.
Star Wars Battlefield II
- Apologies were had with SWBF2’s disastrous launch with Dennis Brannvall.
- Ewok Hunt was featured along with Han Solo DLC based on the film.
- A new overhaul along with a new squad system and new starfighter mode were discussed, along with a multiplayer sandbox experience.
- New content will include the beloved Clone Wars battles.
- General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi were introduced as new heroes along with Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker.
- He also said a new map would be the largest ever.
- Unraveled came back with a brand new trailer featuring little Yarnie getting lost at sea and losing his string. But that’s okay because he meets a blue buddy.
- The lead dev came on to talk about it, speaking of optimism and togetherness, and that the game would have a major co-op focus.
- A player game on stage for a “live” demo of the experience, this is the first time actual gameplay was shown. It may have actually been live because they messed up the footage for a few seconds.
- Yarny gets chased by a chicken, and the gameplay showed that the two characters can fuse for fast sections.
- Editor’s Note: This is the only trailer worth watching so far since you see actual gameplay and it looks like a remarkably improved experience and the specialized co-op games are becoming a new niche
- The section was bookended with another story trailer that also showcased real game footage.
- Oh… and it’s out today, the 9th of June. And somebody in the audience screamed, “oh my god.” That was fun.
- They also talked about A Way Out afterward, which was fitting.
Sea of Solitude
- A new indie game was shown off from Jo-Mei games, featuring another super shy indie dev geeking out at being on stage.
- She talked about the theme of loneliness while discussing the mood of the game. The main character has turned into a monster and is trying to become human again.
- The gameplay footage features a flooded world that you traverse by foot and by boat, featuring platforming and running, but not much else was shown.
NBA LIVE 19
- NBA came out with a trailer focusing on the story campaign that features a ton of character customization.
- Madden was actually shown off in the context of Kevin, an Esports champion of Madden with footage from several championships. He came on to talk about the game and a pro came on with him.
- Madden 19 trailer came on. I can confirm it featured football.
Command and Conquer Rivals
- A real-time strategy game where you have to launch a missile or something had a “live” match on the set before they announced the title of the game.
- This is a touchscreen-based mobile game.
- The pre-alpha can be played by Android owners starting now.
- Afterward, a cinematic trailer was played, looking way more interesting than the actual game.
- Andrew Wilson came on again and rambled about stuff that was basically a thinly veiled apology for all the dumb stuff that EA did last year.
- They paired up with a few advocate groups.
- Anthem came on with an in-engine cinematic trailer, it was rather decent and made a lot of it look awfully cool.
- Andrea came back on also, Casey Hudson, Mark Darrah and from the development team.
- They all sat on chairs and turned the event into a question and answer session. Gameplay was shown as they talked about the game.
- They emphasized that the game has a single player story focus with a ton of co-op features and that it’s not really designed to be an MMO.
- Namedrop, the catalyst of the goings on in the planet is called the “Anthem of Creation”, and that it’s a bit of a post-apocalyptic world that has been ravaged by changes in wildlife and weather.
- The world is constantly changing, where the game’s world and lore can change between gameplay sessions.
- You are a mercenary that fights using the Exo suits called Javelins, you will fight an enemy faction trying to weaponize the monsters.
- Four classes were introduced, the ranger, colossus, interceptor, and storm.
- They talked about customization and said that the suits were fully customizable.
- No loot boxes or advantage microtransactions, but cosmetic microtransactions were confirmed.
- Teamwork is necessary for some missions and the multiplayer is built around fusing the experience with multi without interrupting the single-player experience.
- A long gameplay demo was shown afterward and is easily worth watching. Fake microphone chatter was NOT employed. They showed an amended version of the full trailer.
- February 22, 2019, was the release date for all platforms except Switch.
End of Showcase
- After the show they recapped themselves, hey that’s my job!
- They were going to start a live FIFA game tournament directly after, and then ending sizzle reel rolled.
TAKEAWAY: Anthem looks like the best Iron Man game we will ever get. I am absolutely non-excited for anything else. What did you like in the show? DROP THOSE COMMENTS IN.
Posted in Articles Tagged with: android, anthem, battlefield, battlefield v, battlefront, battlefront 2, comman and conquer, ea, ea games, fifa, fifa 19, iOS, madden, madden 19, mobile, NBA live, NBA live 19, ps4, sea of solitude, star wars, star wars battlefront, unravel, unravel two, unraveled, xbox
April 10th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Finally, a true racing game for the Switch.
Gear.Club Unlimited is a console exclusive racing game for the Nintendo Switch and is based on the Gear.Club games for mobile, although this was developed by Microids. Which is interesting, because that developer is well known for their point-and-click adventure games. You could say this is actually the Switch’s first true racing game, because although Mario Kart 8 does feature racing, I consider it a party game due to all the mayhem. This is the first racing game on the Switch that features real cars on a semi-realistic racing atmosphere. Can it launch a potential new series for the console?
Well to start the graphics are… bad. Really bad. You cannot blame the hardware for the graphics on display here. They don’t even look as good as other mobile racing games out there. Asphalt 8 for mobile dances circles around this. As far as the environments go, they are very unfulfilling. They are blocky and have very low-res textures, and you don’t even have to stop driving to bear witness. Even at top speeds you can see how bad everything looks in full detail. The roads aren’t too real looking either, seeming like they were pulled out of a 90s racing game for PC. The cars themselves aren’t too much better, but they are better. They at least look like the cars they are supposed to, and the game does feature licensed cars, which is nice to have. But even then, trying to represent the real cars is where the game fails, as it looks like it could run on a very early Xbox 360.
This needs to be specified more in the about section, but when a game doesn’t have a story, it has to either benefit from not having a story or have a good progression system. GCU has the latter. The goals and rules of the races are as straightforward as possible. You have a couple of cardboard cutout characters who will tell you what to do and where to go, and that’s all you need. This game has tons and tons of races, all of which use the typical mobile formula of giving you a 1, 2, or 3 star ranking based on your performance. The more stars you get, the more races you earn, and in a matter of hours my map was a litany of racing championships to partake in. The money you earn in the game is also fair, with cars, parts, and even your own tune up shop gear all being decently priced and tiered accordingly. Everything in the game has a goalpost, everything is upgradeable, everything rewards you. Best of all: no alternate currencies!
So, the game doesn’t have great audio either. A lot of the cars have that lawnmower sound, the menu music is generic and… there’s no soundtrack. How do you judge that? Is it good because it could have had a bad soundtrack and doesn’t have one at all? Is it bad because it should have a soundtrack? There are a lot of games that don’t feature music during races, so it’s hard to say. The game’s sounds are functional, for the most part, even if they don’t match the car being used, but that’s getting too technical. I guess you can just this game is BYOS, Bring Your Own Soundtrack, and that’s… just okay I guess.
At first I thought the game was bland. But after a couple races, the game showed that not only can the AI be altered but that you can also alter the assists for driving. This is one of those racers that sits halfway between being a sim and being an arcade game. It’s the kind of formula that makes Forza Horizon so great. And GCU has an ace up its sleeve, because you can REWIND your mistakes in it, just like Forza. In fact, not only can you rewind, but you can rewind to whatever specific spot (in a 15 second window) you want to go back to, whereas Forza’s rewind forces you to rewind back to wherever it wants you to go back to. So yeah, this tiny indie game just one-upped Turn 10 in one of its biggest gimmicks. Besides all of that, the racing is fun and various. The locations, despite not being gorgeous, are unique and varied. Controlling the car hits just the right spot, and can be as difficult or as easy as you want, based on your choices for assists. The game has different kinds of races too, from time trials where you race the ghosts of other cars, to rally tracks that get off the asphalt and into the mud. It’s satisfying, and with the length of each race being short, it’s great for short rounds or long runs.
Like I said earlier, the game doesn’t give off the best first impression, what with the cardboard characters, low visual fidelity, lackluster sound and rigid structure, but once you get past the first 30 minutes to an hour, the game opens up in a grand way giving you multiple options on how you want to proceed. This isn’t a game that has trapped me and has me coming back day after day all in a row, but I play it in between games or when I’m on break at work; it’s always a quick and easy distraction to just go, get your fill in, and stop whenever you’re done.
While Gear.Club Unlimited may not be the darkhorse the Nintendo Switch needs to bring itself up against the big boys in racing, it is not without its merits. If a solid, if very direct, racing game is all you need and you wanna take it on the go, get this game. It’s value-priced to download and is almost exactly worth what it sells for.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: car, driving, gear club unlimited, gear.club, microids, mobile, motorsport, nintendo, nintendo switch, racing, sim, simulator, switch, video games
July 21st, 2015 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
It’s easy to dismiss kids’ games as not worthwhile. After all, what could you possibly hope to gain from a kids’ game? Children are stupid and don’t know anything, so what sort of insight can a game designed for them possibly offer to you? Educational games can probably teach you things most adults don’t know because they are pretty stupid as well, truth be told. But for a solid, upstanding, not-stupid person, are these games really worth playing? I say yes, and here’s a few reasons why.
Before we get straight into it, what makes a kid’s game a proper “Kids’ Game”? Is it the marketing? Is it the characters? Is it a learning game? Does it have micro-transactions? Is the word “Nintendo” on it? Many are quick to immediately declare all Nintendo games to be games for children. Nintendo games have a very wide appeal and a broad spectrum of fun characters, but they aren’t often overly violent, gory, sweary, or emotional. Does that actually make it for kids, or does that make them simply “all-ages”? Properties like Mario are games that kids play, surely, but that plumber has been around for years and people in their thirties will still play that or the next Pokemon when they come out, no question. Minecraft is an incredibly popular game for children (maybe even the new Mario for a new generation), but adults play Minecraft too. Heck, it makes up a large portion of the “Let’s Play” community videos. What about Splatoon, is it a game for kids now, or squids now? Really, in order for a game to be officially a kids’ game, it really comes down to what the game is mostly intended and marketed to. Maybe a kids’ game can also be an all-ages game, but it was meant for kids (the Trix Cereal of the video game world). For now, let’s define them as “because I said so” for the sake of brevity.
Read more of this article »
Posted in Articles Tagged with: android, angry birds, mario, mario party, minecraft, mobile, nintendo, pc, splatoon, thrillville, xbox 360, xbox one, zoo tycoon