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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August 15th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Why didn’t they call it Spla2n?

In this podcast, Vega and Kurt talk about the features of Splatoon 2. It’s a video game in which you are a squid-kid who shoots at other squidkids. It is clearly paint and not ink, but whatever. And a campaign is there too for a bit but not really. Highlights include comparing it to Tony Hawk, discussing condiments, why the paint-roller is awesome, Quake, Titanfall, tutorials, and many other things.




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August 7th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

More like SPLA2N, right? RIGHT?

Splatoon 2 is a third person shooter developed and published by Nintendo. It’s a fresh game, being the first new intellectual property they’ve created in over a decade. It’s an interesting take on shooters since it’s based on firing ink (and totally not paint) all over the multiplayer battle arena in a fight to cover the most ground before the timer runs out. Additionally, killing enemy players on the opposing team is treated as a “SPLAT!” and not a kill, making it far more family friendly than almost all the shooters currently available in the MP video gaming arena. That said, it also had a somewhat decent campaign attached to it and a brand new horde mode for additional gameplay. There’s also a hidden DDR game, no seriously.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

Although not technically impressive, Splatoon 2 makes waves with some very aesthetically pleasing color palettes. The color of ink you use in every round of multiplayer and every stage of the campaign is random, so you get a fresh new color every time you play. The contrast between your and your opponents’ inks are always bright and vibrant, keeping everything very lively. Plus, there’s themed colors too. At the time of writing this review, I was able to take part in one of the game’s biggest online event features, #Splatfest! The theme of the event was Ketchup vs Mayonnaise so once you’ve picked a side you get to coat the arenas in your choice condiment. Which actually sounds kind of gross when you realize your character is literally swimming inside globs of mayo or catsup, but it works. Besides the ink, level designs between MP maps and the campaign all have enough unique textures to make it a thoroughly lively experience.

STORY: 1/2

Nintendo is not always super big on the plot of their games and it shows here in this case. Mostly pedestrian and banal, the story mode has you taking on the fiendish “Octarians” in a variety of different boxed up pocket dimensions (or at least that’s how it’s structured). They all feature floating platforms and there’s very little rhyme or reason for these designs other than “it’s a videogame”. Your goal is to get through every level so you can save the great zapfish because reasons. Also, a character from the first game went missing. “GEE I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED?” The campaign hits the ground running though, and by the time you get to the ending, it just stops rather abruptly after a challenging final boss. The speaking NPCs in the game use a lot of totally kool 90’s lingo that actually provides more charm than cringe, so it gets points for being thematically consistent, as the game never takes itself too seriously during the entire ordeal.

AUDIO: 1/2

The songs in the game are very hit and miss. Some songs are really exciting and energetic while others are filled with annoying sound effects and generic melodies. This is made apparent in the campaign where you will hear the same songs multiple times. The sound effects can annoy you sometimes. There’s a lot of “blub blub blub” linguistics for your fellow squidkids, and while it is tolerable at first, it gets pretty grating and obnoxious later on. But, when it comes to the sound effects for guns and abilities, Nintendo really knows how to push that button in your head that satisfies you, splat after splat. Notably, while I didn’t care for a lot of the music, the “one minute warning” song that plays at the end of every multiplayer match is extremely catchy and very fitting inside the Splatoon 2 universe.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

Solid shooting gameplay experience here. The multiplayer is definitely the main focus of the title and gives you plenty of variety in weapons and gear so you can play the game your way. As said before, the goal is to coat the map in your paint using a plethora of different ink-firing weapons at your disposal. If you feel like running and gunning, there’s guns for that. Want a lot of splash damage? One of the ‘guns’ is literally just a bucket of paint that works like a shotgun. There’s also an ink Gatling gun for heavy firing action. Or, you can just whip out a paint roller and soak up the map with ink in a support role. I found this mechanic in particular to be a lot of fun, especially when you start painting over all of the enemy team’s hard work and they don’t know it. As for the campaign, it’s a resounding “meh” as you work your way through a handful of loosely thrown-together areas full of floating platforms and various challenges that feel less like a game and more like an extended version of the middle section from Portal 2. But other than a couple of frustrating moments, the execution of the game’s mechanics is nearly perfect.

FUN: 2/2

Albeit frustrating sometimes, Splatoon 2 keeps you coming back again and again and again. This is the most fun I’ve had with online multiplayer participation since Titanfall 2. For me, that is a very big deal because while I used to be a fan of multiplayer, I gradually lost interest until just recently. I have two gripes with this game. It takes a really really long time grinding through the game’s “Regular Battle” mode in order to reach “Ranked Battle” which adds more game types on top of “Turf War”. But once you get there, you realize the new modes aren’t as fun as Turf War anyway, so that’s kind of a wash overall. It would also be nice if the battle lobby let you see what your team’s loadout is going to look like so you don’t end up having two paint roller players on your team, because that’s usually a losing combination. But, the game is just so much fun that even if you aren’t winning, you’re still having a blast.

Splatoon 2 is no different from the original WiiU release in any way other than the addition of the new horde mode called “Salmon Run” (which for some strange reason is only periodically available). For many players though, this is acceptable as the number of people who have not owned a WiiU but decided to pick up a Switch will find a lot to love with this fresh and original series. Besides some minor snags here and there, you’re almost completely guaranteed to get sucked into this excitingly chaotic wonder.

SCORE: 8/10




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June 6th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Wayne has a good point about hard copies.

 

In this short minicast, Kurt has an epiphany on his collection of games, as pointed out by Wayne. He also accidentally says “sold digital copies” at least twice so forgive him, he is bad at explaining things.




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October 28th, 2016 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Titanfall 2 is a fast-paced, movement focused, futuristic FPS developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA Games. A lot of the focus is put on several unique factors, including using parkour techniques to fight your enemies, giant metal walking Gundam-style tanks, and a surprisingly robust campaign with more than just shooting people for 5-6 hours. The developer is comprised of a lot of the original creative team that worked on Call of Duty, so there’s an air of pedigree when it comes to this release. But how is it?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

TTF2 has a surprisingly diverse palette for a modern military shooter type of game. Part of this is due to the futuristic “science equals magic” design to all of the locations. In the campaign, you’ll find your way through a factory that builds pre-fab houses, a factory that warps reality, and some high up radio towers, just to name a few places. The multiplayer sections adds many more maps with unique appearances and small visual touch-ups that make them really pop. With technically superior graphics and great design not only on the locations but on the variety of enemies, this game comes out on top when it comes to graphical prowess.

STORY: 1/2

Now this was a real surprise. You could be forgiven going into this sequel to prior entry that had no campaign whatsoever (no, radio conversations over a multiplayer match doesn’t count), and think to yourself, how could this possibly be any good? Titanfall 2 succeeds on this front by having a fairly straightforward mission you carry out, filled with many boss encounters featuring a colorful set of adversaries, and a robot companion who comically takes everything you say literally. For the most part, TTF2 is keen to just sit back and let cool stuff happen to drive you forward rather than any emotional investments, and for a short campaign it works. It’s a shame the protagonist was a blandy mcblandface with a bland name I’ve already forgotten.

AUDIO: 2/2

While the original score itself isn’t particularly special other than not just being generic orchestral fare, the real star of the show is the sound effects. This game knows what it means to make every gunshot, jump, wallrun, boost, and titular ‘titanfall’ have some incredible impact. Even more bombastic are the sound effects for the level up screen in multiplayer. Not even joking, look up how ridiculous the sounds are. No matter how much chaos is going on, the sound is constantly ready to match that level of craziness.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

Calling Titanfall 2 a first person shooter doesn’t do it justice. A better description will be sprinting jetpack wall run shooter, or SJWs for short. [lennyface] It’s unfair to tell people they are playing a game the wrong way when they are not doing a certain thing, but right out of the gate, movement and physics play a big part in how you take on enemies. Additionally, there are many sections of the campaign that don’t actually have combat, instead making you tackle some very innovative jumping and platforming sections. It takes some phenomenal design to make first person platforming not completely suck, and this game pulls it off with flying colors. I haven’t seen this much variation in a campaign since, well, Half-Life 2 really.

FUN: 2/2

I don’t particularly like playing shooters online much anymore, as they are usually prohibitively difficult for newcomers. But TTF2 unique blend of various tactics make one of the most entertaining multiplayer experiences I’ve had in years. Last multiplayer shooter I ever played extensively was Halo Reach, and that was quite a while ago. The variation of game modes and challenges keep me coming back week after week. On top of that, the free updates platform ensures longevity in the player base for continued fun to be had.

Titanfall 2 got me to actively play a multiplayer shooter again, and that means a lot. With an exciting campagin featuring some fantastically designed set pieces, TTF2 should not be missed if you’re looking for a shooter that takes some of the greatest elements of FPSs and puts them all together in an overall exemplary experience. An absolute must-have.

SCORE: 9/10




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