June 1st, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

It may be called Rage but I’m not even mad.

Allegedly, Rage 2 was an endangered game until Avalanche Studios “rescued” it. I’m not sure that is truly the case. The shooting in the game is still the ultra-satisfying and fast paced action you expect from id software. It’s just too bad there’s this whole map and plot that get in the way of your enjoyment. How so?

GRAPHICS

GRAPHICS: 1/2

  • If you like sand, you’re gonna love 80% of this game. There are spots that aren’t sand, and they actually don’t look as good.
  • There’s no designated aesthetic for Rage. It has been, and always will be, a combination of other similar games smashed together.
  • The draw distance on the map is dismal, and that’s on the Xbox One X version. And don’t get me started on their FOV slider.
  • Some games make you stop and stare in awe at the land before you. In Rage 2, I couldn’t ignore the scenery fast enough.
  • At least there was nothing distinctly terrible about the visuals?
STORY/IMMERSION

STORY/IMMERSION: 0/2

  • I don’t always skip cut scenes on a first playthrough. But when I do, it’s usually another id software game. Like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, I regularly bypassed the plot out of sheer boredom.
  • The plot is too hard to follow anyway, the game expects you to just know stuff about the lore of Rage, which is something nobody has.
  • Did I even need a reason to shoot baddies? The game could have just said “here’s the bad guys, shoot them” and I would have had a blast.
  • But the game is so serious and the ridiculous action is at odds with the serious plot.
  • The plot also seems considerably unfinished, like it’s one third of a Far Cry game. And just like Ubisoft, they were keen to just litter the map with different stuff to do that earned you points towards being given story missions. One of which was a real slog.
  • This game was finished during a 3-night rental. Well, 4 nights total but I didn’t play it one night. I had to sort of force myself to plow through it.
AUDIO

AUDIO: 1/2

  • Soundtrack sounds like it’s on autopilot. And even worse, there were times where it became grueling. Because occasionally the action music won’t shut off and continues looping.
  • I’m trying REALLY hard to remember any song in this game and I just can’t. I distinctly remember the Mutant Bash TV song being OK. But that’s because it was comical.
  • The guns and explosions are satisfactory. You can certainly feel the impact when you pull the trigger.
  • Voice acting isn’t bad. Not that I know that much since I skipped half the cut scenes. It’s whatever. It did the job bare minimum.
  • When you pick up items of any kind you hear the same exact “pow” noise every time. You also get a chime when you upgrade but there are many upgrades where there’s no sound at all. Really removes the “ooomphf” from leveling up your sh*t.
  • The sound FX are like a poor imitation of Titanfall 2‘s BOMBASTIC level up and weapon sounds.
GAMEPLAY

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

  • Despite the open world feeling like more of a nuisance than a gameplay feature, it does leave a lot of areas to go to. And in all those areas are baddies and you get to shoot them. This game is at its best when you are shooting the baddies.
  • But seriously, id software has first person shooter mechanics down pat. It seems like Avalanche just used the exact same structure they did in their “Mad Max” adaptation, but let id do all the fine tuning.
  • The powers are fun, and while the challenge dramatically change, it’s not bogged down by any RPG elements. Each location just has a challenge rating, from 1-10, and I appreciate that you can just walk on in to a high difficulty area and still win if you’re good enough.
  • There are probably cooler guns, yet I spent the majority of the game with a heavily upgraded version of the starter weapon, the ranger assault rifle. And it never got old. Especially when upgraded to high capacity and faster fire rate. Why aim when you can shoot more bullets?
FUN

FUN: 2/2

  • When this game is a shooter, it’s a great shooter. When this game is an open world sandbox, it’s a boring commute between combat sections. I almost would have preferred to just have a loading screen to teleport me to all the missions.
  • You know what really breaks immersion though? Having a pause menu that stutters and lags when you go from category to category.
  • Also the HUD disappears if you press the “Xbox” button. I had to do this frequently because I was capturing footage.
  • Despite all the complaints above, the actual combat just makes up for it in so many ways. It’s similar to Destiny in a way. They got themselves a great shooter that feels well polished, looks good, but lacks in story and creativity.

As stated earlier, this game was finished during a rental. By the time I finished, I had not done many of the side quests and locations to clear. If I had more time, I might be inclined to do them. But, it’s just not a $60 experience. That campaign is short and there are plenty of elements that keep Rage 2 away from greatness.

SCORE: 6/10




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October 9th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Mech meets Metal Gear!

Is it just me or am I really starting to have some pull in the video game industry? After releasing my review of the best mech game available on current generation consoles, we get a release date for a new one. Left Alive, a new spin-off from the Front Mission series, will be available on PS4 and Steam on March 5, 2019.

Left Alive is an upcoming third person survival action shooter set in a dark and gritty war torn world. With art designs by Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa, this game quickly found its way on my “must play” list. Square Enix has shrouded the game heavily in mystery. However, Left Alive plans to tell a story focused on three unique protagonist fighting for survival.

The game will let players decide between stealth and wit gameplay or going guns a blazing against enemies of all sizes. And armor. That’s right, as shown in the trailer, players will be able to pilot giant mechs into battle. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper narrative game with heavy man vs machine elements. Unless we’re still counting TitanFall 2, of course. 

Let us know in the comments below, does this game excite you as much as it excites me?




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September 10th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Announced at E3 earlier this year, Tecmo Koei has finally let the cat completely out of the bag. The next installment in the long running franchise, Dead or Alive, will be coming to a console near you on February 15, 2019. What better way to enjoy the day after Valentines Day then embracing the new characters in Dead or Alive 6. Check out the initial announcement trailer below.

Keep it locked to HMG for more cool gamer news!




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June 30th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Games that May have liked passed you by

The Steam Summer Sale has come to invade our wallets. Seeking to give you amazing deals on all of the hottest PC titles, you may find yourself spending hand over fist for games that you’ve always wanted to play, games you might play, and games that you’ll probably never play but you bought them anyway. There are a lot of AAA titles and Indie titles you can choose from, but this list is available to point out all the ones you may have missed for under $10. Get Even was going to be on this list but it disqualified because it’s 10.19 but that one is good too. Anyway…

1) Cradle – $6.49

Cradle is a brilliant but flawed game created by some of the people who made STALKER. But a shooter it is not. Instead, this game is a first-person adventure/puzzle game. Set far into the future, you find yourself traveling back and forth between your yurt and an abandoned amusement park, aided by a female cyborg who guides you along your journey. More importantly, this character lays the foundation for the true star of the game, the story and setting. The game really dives deep into some positively vexing concepts of transhumanism and human nature. Gameplay revolves around solving adventure type puzzles in the real world and completing a challenging block-oriented VR game in the park. The latter is an absolute trash fire of game but thankfully, the game was patched so that if you fail at this block game, you can skip it entirely and move on with the story. The ending may leave you with more questions than answers, the but the journey is better than the destination. Also the graphics are absolutely gorgeous.

2) Antichamber – $4.99

This game was made in 6 months by a AAA game studio. Just kidding, it was made entirely by one person and took 5 years. Self-published under the name Demruth, Alexander Bruce created a fascinating one of a kind experience. Narrative-free, Antichamber is a first-person puzzle game that takes place in a white maze, featuring non-euclidean geometry. What’s that mean? Basically, forget everything you know about physics and logic. Walk down a hallway and turn around and there’s a different room behind you. Find hidden rooms that you can only access by walking backwards while staring at a ring. Cross giant chasms by walking instead of running. Change the room you’re standing in by looking out a window. A true mind bender.

3) 140 – $0.99

An hour-long rhythm platforming game, play with headphones on full blast.

4) Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals – $0.99

This is a point and click adventure game based on the universe of “The Nikopol Trilogy” a bizarre set of anti-sci-fi graphic novels. The universe built in this game is unlike anything else, it is downright puzzling, as tons and tons of creative liberties were taken with everything. This game is actually the best adaptation to me personally, since it’s a more comprehensible story than the film which was just too weird to follow and the original book which was practically dream logic. You may need a guide to get through this game, don’t feel bad if you do, the puzzles are very hard right out the gate. If you’re one who has experienced P&C adventures at their peak, this is one of them.

5) Quantum Break –$9.99

If you missed this Xbox-exclusive title, now you can get the complete experience at only a fraction of the original cost. This is a game made by the auteur developer Remedy and is another game that defies definition. One part game, one part Netflix TV series, actions you choose in the video game will have an impact on the TV show that comes with it, as well as future levels. If you ever wanted to fall into the pattern of playing a level for about an hour before diving into a 20 minute episode of a show, this might be for you. The combat itself is satisfyingly challenging, making you take good use of your time-shifting powers to get through sections of the game. As for the plot, it’s a time travel story, which as you may know, can get VERY deep.

6) The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – $2.99

In case you haven’t caught on, I like unique sci-fi/fantasy games, and here’s another one. This is a first-person puzzle adventure game where telling you anything about the game is a bit of a spoiler since you’re supposed to figure out what you’re doing by yourself. Just expect to solve murder mysteries and face down some unusual encounters with the story.

7) Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – $0.99

I think a lot of people missed the point of Kane & Lynch 2, frequently saying that it’s hard to like the titular protagonists, but that’s the point. Those two are awful human beings for the most part and usually deserve everything that happens to them. You don’t need to play the original to play this one. The heavy stylized format of the game’s visuals come from the behavior of the camera, wherein the whole game looks like you’re being followed around by some guy holding a cheap camera he found on eBay for under $100. As you fight in third-person cover-based shooter combat, the camera will never stay put unless you’re aiming. Sprinting causes a heavy shake on the camera and light sources frequently burn out the image. Not for those with nausea issues.

8) Jet Set Radio – $1.19

Play the classic Dreamcast game in HD as you ride around on rollerskates spraying graffiti. Though I greatly prefer the sequel, Jet Set Radio Future. This game became the codifier of what we now know as “cel-shading”. The game is very challenging and will leave you wondering how anybody beat this game in the first place.

9) The Void – $1.99

A game where you… okay this game is just really hard to explain in general but you’re in the afterlife and you have to collect colors and draw diagrams onto naked women and trees while also using the color to make sure your internal organs are healthy or something. I died 3 times in the tutorial in this maddeningly hard game, but I intend to play it again with cheats on just to fully experience the rest of this unfathomable game.

10) Remember Me – $5.99

Playing like an even lower budget version of a Platinum Games game, DONTNOD’s first game is a great melee brawler with a plot that is equal parts amazing and horrifying. In this sci-fi world, memories are shared as currency. Yeah, try wrapping your head around how that came to pass. Protagonist Nilin is a character whose memories have recently been wiped and must now put everything back together on what you did and why you did it. She can also do something others can’t. She can remix other people’s own memories in a very good puzzle minigame that deserves it’s own game entirely. Make someone remember something the wrong way in order to help you is all kinds of fucked up, and you’ll be shocked to do some of the things you do.

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October 8th, 2015 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

In case you don’t pay attention to kids’ games as much as I do, it may have passed you by that there’s a new LEGO game out. It’s called LEGO Dimensions, and in the vein of games like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and maybe Amiibos, it’s one of the games where you put little figures on a reader and they appear in the game. LEGO does you one better though, because you get to build the figures as you would most LEGO things before you put them on the scanner. In fact, this game takes it a step further and allows you to customize vehicle figures into 3 different configurations, and each configuration will appear in the game. That’s legitimately cool!

You wanna know what isn’t cool though? The “in-real-life downloadable content by way of toys” that games like these have. There are three types of add-ons you can buy from the store. Green striped boxes are called “Fun Packs” and feature one character and one vehicle, orange striped boxes are called “Team Packs” and feature two characters and two vehicles, and the yellow striped boxes are called “Level Packs” and feature a character, vehicle, object, and additional levels. This IRLDLCbWoT model can be quite costly, as team packs and level packs are $25 and fun packs cost $15. The base game? One hundred dollars. But that’s par for the course on games like this, right? Right? Besides, it’s got cool stuff like Scooby-Doo, Doctor Who, Simpsons, DC Comics, Portal 2, Back to the Future, the Hobbit, Jurassic World, and holy crap was that PORTAL 2?

Read more of this article »

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