Controllers, Clouds, Counterstrike, and Cole Train
Good news and bad news. Comparisons of titanic forces. And all the power money could buy if money could buy power. That’s what this week looks like for the gamers who can use a little good feeling. Last week brought us interesting rumors around power moves and saddening, yet exciting delay announcements. Here are the reason you should feel like a Lucky Gamer:
1. Microsoft buys more clouds and enters the rumor mill.
Microsoft is undeniably the most financially capable of the big three video game console makers. Sony’s a company shifted their focus to Playstation a few years back to help keep the entire company afloat. Nintendo, on the other hand, really only makes video games so they are stable but not as much cash flow available. That’s why the rumor that Microsoft is considering buying EA, Valve, & PUBG corp. is incredibly believable. And with none of those three having responded to comment after nearly a week (at the time of this writing) boy oh boy what might we be in for. On the factual side of business, it’s business as usual. The super company just acquired PlayFab, a backend cloud based service provider. The goal is to have PlayFab work as an extension tool to build on Azure, the current cloud. Look at you go Microsoft, look at you go.
2. Waiting for Redemption better be worth it.
Who am I kidding, of course it will be worth it. It’s Red Dead Redemption, and even though i’m not the biggest fan, I have to admit I am among those looking forward to this adventure. With that said, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed to October 26th. Watch out Ubisoft, Rockstar is coming hard. Not much was said about what cause the delay but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is they gave us a solid release date, that could change, and that makes me way more comfortable with the delay then anything else they could have said. You know, other than “We tested it and felt like our horse mechanics just weren’t as fun as Dynasty Warriors, so back to the drawing board.” Also they released new screenshots of gorgeous sunsets. And horses.
3. Unlike Sonic, Mario is doing pretty well.
This battle of icons has been raging for as long as the video game industry has been booming. It’s like Jay-Z v Nas. Yankees v Red Sox. Trump v Everything that makes sense for a president to do. So of course Mario got word of all the things Sonic has been up to and decided to 10 up him. Sonic got a TV series, Mario partnered with Illumination Entertainment to make a movie. A whole feature length film. That’s how you go big but there’s more. Mario Kart tour was announced for mobile which is set to release sometime before March 2019. Boom headshot! Well not exactly. See in the midst of all these upcoming plans Nintendo also took the time to humbly brag that the Nintendo Switch has outsold the Wii U lifetime sales in less than 10 months. With the best selling game being, you probably guessed it, Super Mario Odyssey. Damn Mario straight killing the game. It’s also the fastest selling console in the history of consoles though, so no big deal.
4. Enter new Dualshock 4 Controllers.
This is the most exciting news for me! As a playstation controller connoisseur, there is no way I was going to miss an opportunity to make a big deal over the new PS4 dual shock 4 remote colors. Midnight Blue (which actually happens to legitimately be my favorite color) and Steel Black. They look absolutely gorgeous. Both controls will be available in March for the standard price of $64.99. And this announcement comes hot on the heels of a sneaker partnership announcement too! Damn it Sony, I am a starving artist. You need to show some damn consideration for the little guys cause now I gotta come short with the rent so I can get one of each control and the Playstation sneakers. Oh well, totally worth it.
5. Yea I used this pun last week but, let’s Switch the topic.
If you’re the type of gamer who has been patiently waiting to be charged more money for a service you’ve kind of already been using, then boy is this the box for you. Nintendo announced that the Switch’s online service will be launching in September of this year. No other information was really given so it’s safe to say the previous statements apply. It will most likely run you $19.99 and give access to a Classic Games Selection and eShop discounts, much like the competition. Also, although announced by Microsoft, the Nintendo Switch is getting some rather unique content. The Switch version of Minecraft saw the addition of the Xbox characters pack. This means you’ll be able to play as Master Chief, Cole Train, Banjo, and many more on a Nintendo console. Does this mean we are getting closer to a future where Gamestop employees no longer have to say “Mario is not on Xbox”? The update also includes the Moana character pack featuring characters from the Disney movie.
6. Diablo creator announces new game while Counter Strike creator gets in trouble.
The good news. David Brevik, the creator of gaming classic Diablo, has announced he’s finished a new game which is already in closed beta. The new game, title “It Lurks Below”, mixes elements from Minecraft, Terraria, and Brevik’s original work Diablo. If all goes according to plan, “It Lurks Below” should launch later this year on Steam. This is also Brevik’s first major project since 2013 and he mad it on his own as a one man team. The bad news. Jesse Cliffe, co-creator of Counter-Strike, has been suspended by Valve following his arrest on charges of sexual exploitation of a child. It is important to reserve judgment as details are still emerging around these allegations. We can only hope, as gamers, that this gets resolved in an honest matter and none of it is true.
7. Gaming goes South by SouthWest
SXSW Gaming is headed to Austin, TX March 15th through March 17th. It’s been a little while since gaming has taken part in the SXSW festivities but it’s exciting to see it making it’s return. The video game industry is booming and it really shows with events like this popping up all over the world all year around. This year the SXSW Gaming will feature eSports, indies, VR, AAA, and Mobile, which pretty much is all of gaming. Including gaming in this world of music, film, and art is just another example of the built up appreciation of video games. Hardcode gamers rejoice, a new day is coming.
Got anything that made you feel Lucky that I didn’t mention? Drop it in the comments below.
This isn’t the multiplayer game you’ve been looking for.
I really cannot restate enough how disappointing Star Wars Battlefront II was to me. I knew based on all of the feedback from the beta and the pre-release reviews that it wasn’t going to be great. But I specifically wanted to give DICE and/or EA the benefit of the doubt and see if it really was just as bad as everyone said it was. So I played it. And… it was worse than I even imagined.
Many people would come to the website and think we are trying to be edgy with the score we gave to this game. Not quite. While the language I personally used was lost bashing, it was a very inspired brand of bashing to say the least. After hearing so many negative comments and so many negative reviews (AKA 6/10s, the mainstream games journalism equivalent of “bad”), I went in with rather low expectations, and not even those were met.
I stand strong in everything I said and don’t think I was being harsh. To shortly reiterate the review, I found that story was particularly abysmal in its stupidity. The audio was a snorefest of generic music with lazer noises and bad soundalikes. The gameplay really wasn’t all that fun with its needlessly confusing starcard system. And then the loot box fiasco was just the icing on the cake. Fun fact, Ubisoft recentaly globally rolled back all their scheduled 2018 releases and I have a slight suspicion that they intended to implement loot boxes but are now backpedalling. I have no proof of this, just merely a speculation.
So, you may be asking yourself, what’s the point of this article? Are you just here to kick SWBF2 while it’s down? Well, no. This is because it’s not “down” at all since it appears to somehow still be a successful release. But as much as there were many great games this year, there were also 3 major titles that were massive disappointments.
Sonic Forces came out recently and I harped on that being only good for the soundtrack. But would I play that game over playing SWBF2? Yes, this buggy, poorly slapped together mess of a game is still a better and far more entertaining experience, made doubly so because it’s short. And well, that soundtrack, hot damn.
Mass Effect Andromeda was a huge letdown across the board thanks to janky animations, clunky combat, and god awful scripting. But it’s still Mass Effect and as much as I like to joke that SWBF2 was Star Wars game with mass Effect assets, one thing still stands. Andromeda does have substance. By now, Andromeda should also be fairly patched (I hope) to a point where all the multitudes of bugs and glitches have been fixed.
What else was a letdown? Agents of Mayhem, Volitions spiritual successor to Saints Row, was quite mess. It was buggy just like Andromeda, but only half as much. The way the script and character design was made, I genuinely have no idea what audience they had in mind when they made this game, it’s all over the place in tone and script. But after finishing the campaign, I still had stuff to do, and time permitting, I would have done it because even with all the repetition, it was at least playable. A weird design, but playable.
And that’s just 3 examples. I’m not saying that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the worst game of the year, the game runs ok, the graphics are good, and at its core there’s potential for improvement. This, on the otherhand, is a heavy letdown because it didn’t have good press before it came out, and was even worse for wear on release date. But to all the fans who are angry at the bad reviews, you ire is misdirected. Don’t get mad at the reviewers for giving your bad game a bad review. Refocus your attention on EA and ask why, oh why, did they make the decisions they made for the game. You deserve more and you should be asking for more.
Sonic Heroes Generations &Knuckles Forces is the newest 3D Sonic the Hedgehog videogame from Sonic Team and SEGA. It is the second Sonic game of 2017, following up the publicly lauded Sonic Mania, a 2D game that bases its roots on the old SEGA Genesis titles. Forces is intended to be a semi-sequel to Sonic Generations and once again features “Classic Sonic” and “New Sonic” in the same game, with different gameplay styles for both characters. Also featured for the first time ever in its 25+ year run, Forces allows you to also play as a custom character.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Switch]
To say that the framerate is unstable is an understatement. That said, it’s not as if every frame is crucial to your success in a Sonic game, especially the modern sonic stages where there are times where you can pretty much hold down a button and zip past everything while the motion blur cranks it up. While not technically impressive, the game does well enough to look decent, especially the backgrounds. There may not be a whole lot going on in the foreground but the background animations and skyboxes are alive and full of color. Just don’t expect anything cutting edge.
Okay, so this game’s story was bad. Really, really, REALLY BAD. To that effect, you could actually say that the plot is so bad it’s ironically good. It looks and sounds like a child with ADHD wrote the whole thing during classes in middle school. Doctor Eggman has finally taken over the world, and you can tell he has… because everyone says so and nothing is explicitly shown ever. The amount of time the vast cast of characters deliver exposition in place of showing you anything is astronomical. Yet this awfulness is practically an artform. The entire extended cast of Sonic characters, including the ones nobody cares about, are all present and accounted for. There are some scenes in the game where I’m not sure if they were supposed to be funny, but watching Sonic get his ass kicked by the new villain of this game made me chuckle. That and some of Sonic’s one-liners are genuinely good.
The sound effects are pretty weak in this game, but that’s really not important. I cannot stress this enough: the OST to this game is not only a spectacular soundtrack for a Sonic game, but a great soundtrack overall. Boasting tons of high energy tunes featuring rock, drum n bass, and even some house, it is absolutely a blast and can be enjoyed on its own. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Seriously. A+. More soundtracks need to be this good. Beside the soundtrack, you have got to admire the voice actors’ commitment to their roles. As stated earlier, the dialogue is as stupid as possible, but the sheer force and dedication to being as in character and serious as possible is admirable.
SEGA, we need to talk. Your game was a train wreck. Seriously, it was. There are so many bugs and glitches that you’d find in older Sonic games, you’d expect Sonic Team would have learned their lesson by now. Very old issues like falling off the track or missing a rail grind should not be things that are still happening in your game. This game has the opposite problem Sonic Mania had. Limited lives and difficult checkpointing were tough, but manageable. Here there are no lives and dying initiates an instant jump back to your checkpoint. However, more often than not you’ll find yourself dying repeatedly not due to the challenge or the courses. The game is actually quite easy, but the physics engine is so flimsy and floaty that some of the very mild platforming sections turn into a nightmare. There’s also a ridiculous difficulty spike that happens at the very final boss fight, where this easy game turns into nearly Dark Souls levels of suffering.
It wasn’t fun. The game was 3-5 hours long at best, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a single memorable moment in the entire game. It’s funny that the soundtrack features about 3.5hrs of music, because just listening to the soundtrack all the way through is probably a more enjoyable experience than playing this game. You will also save a lot of money, as there’s very little value to the game even at its 40-dollar price point. The very second I finished this game, I had to fire up Sonic Mania again just to make sure it wasn’t nostalgia goggles that made it good. Nope, Sonic Mania is just a superior game in every conceivable way. It’s sad that this game was the “big budget” one because it feels a lot more like a half-assed clusterf*ck that was slapped together in a couple of months.
After emerging from the ashes of its slew of awful 3D games, Sonic Mania breathed new life into the franchise. This new life was very short-lived, however, as Sonic Forces fires the hedgehog right back into the gutter. Sonic Generations showed the team everything to make a decent 3D sonic game and yet Sonic Team still found a way to screw it up. Uninspired levels, mundane graphics, poor physics, and an idiotic plot kept this game from being worth any attention. If you’re an absolute fan of Sonic and have been dreaming to have your very own original character fight alongside him, you might find something to like here. But even then, please wait for it to go on sale, it’s nowhere good enough to be bought at full price.