Z Warriors Assemble!
Undeniably one of the most popular and memorable anime/manga of all time, Dragon Ball Z makes its way once again to the video game space. This time is a bit different though. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Since its release on January 26, 2018, on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Dragon Ball FighterZ has already garnered mass attention from both the casual and professional gaming communities. Can the fresh new coat of paint be enough to sway those who disliked the previous Dragon Ball Z games into paying for this one? Let’s find out.
The fast-paced action is made incredibly beautiful to appreciate because of the wonderful art style. In most instances, the game feels like an episode of the anime being controlled by the player. By keeping the combat locked to a 2-dimensional plane, a lot more attention was paid to the background scenery that of course has its own thing happening. There is almost nothing negative that can be said about the decision to use a more cell shaded look. It allows for the game to look stunning and fun while also keeping the cost of development very controlled. At any given point the vibrancy of the game design really pops the colors into your memory. With an art design like this, there really is no way for this game to not look amazing. Cutscenes in the storyline make the visual work a little less interesting. However, that is not due to graphics but more so due to poor cut scene design. There is no reason at all that can justify why there isn’t an Autoplay option, instead, gamers will have to get comfortable tapping the X button a whole lot.
The storyline for Dragon Ball FighterZ plays out across three chapters: the Super Warriors Arc, the Super Villain Arc, and the Android 21 Arc, each of which follows the story from the perspectives of Goku, Frieza, and Android 18 respectively. Each chapter holds critical information regarding what is going on in this all too generic story. Clones of all the best fighters in the world are popping up all over the place and some weird radiation is making all the real fighters weak. The cause of frustration is obviously the Red Ribbon Army and more directly connected is Android 21. Where the plotline falls short is in moving beyond the elementary level explanation of what’s going on and why the player should care. A lot of opportunities seem to be left unexplored throughout the adventure, many of which could have added some necessary depth to the mission. The timeline suggests that Dragon Ball FighterZ takes place sometime between the “Future Trunks” and “Universe Survival” arcs of Dragon Ball Super, which could explain the difficulty in writing an overly in-depth story. Much of the same issues faced most of the Dragon Ball Z animated films. Is the story bad? No. Is it good? Debatable. Is it up to par with what should be expected from a Dragon Ball Z arc? Probably not.
Sound design is a critical component of any game to really make players feel completely immersed the world. It is even more important when dealing with a licensed property that has to live up to the expectations of devoted fans. Dragon Ball FighterZ does a great job of capturing the fundamental sounds like the noise for charging Ki, the sounds of rock shattering all around the battlefield, and of course the iconic battle screams. Where the audio really drops the ball is in every area that had to be created from scratch. Menu sounds are outright annoying and painful to withstand. There are way too many “beeps” that can be very distracting, so much so that playing on mute until fights began seemed like the only solution to the problem. The voice acting in English was almost completely spot on. Again, however, that incredible voice acting is interrupted by the awful mechanic used to progress the storyline. Overall the audio isn’t terrible, but it’s just a grey area in the complete package.
Welcome back to the iconic PlayStation 2 days of old. Dragon Ball FighterZ plays almost exactly like the original Budokai trilogy a lot of fans grew up on: three face buttons for varying attack strengths and one face button for energy blast. It’s a very entry level fighting mechanic that makes the game incredibly easy for newcomers to fighting games to enjoy. That does not take away that the combo system is just in-depth enough for serious fighting game aficionados to dive deep in to master the gameplay. The action is really fast paced so no matches ever drag on too long and the adoption of MVC style 3v3 makes things all the more interesting. Building up the dream team, whether it be a standard Z Warriors construct or maybe a little more villainy, allows for an additional layer of strategy to come into play during every match. The story mode gameplay mechanic is one of the most interesting aspects of the game and borrows heavily from the franchise’s past. Much like DBZ: Budokai 2 on the PS2, the story mode is played out as a board game in which the player’s avatar moves from space to space to challenge different fighters and make a clear path to fighting a boss battle. Each time the player moves there’s a possibility that other enemies on the board may become stronger. Also taking into account the movement limit, this adds an additional layer of unique strategy to break up the fighting a little bit.
The high paced action makes this an easy contender for most fun game of the year and it’s only February. Couple that with the nostalgia of being a true Dragon Ball Z fan and there are very few people in the world who wouldn’t find this game fun. The simple nature of the control scheme, as mentioned before, makes it a very exhilarating party game where newcomers and veterans can still enjoy every battle, win or lose. Although winning is way more fun of course. When playing alone, the story mode provides a unique navigation system that provides the player with plenty of control over how they would like to tackle every chapter. Ignoring the menu sound annoyance, which may not even affect everyone, there is nothing major to complain about for this game. Unless we take in to account the less than stellar delivery of an original story. Still, even the poor storyline does not take a major toll on how much fun this game actually is.
Licensed games are always a major risk. Licensed games for properties that already have a ridiculous amount of games on the market are an even bigger risk. Who knows which direction the DBZ franchise will go next, hopefully an open world Infamous/Batman style game, but for now Dragon Ball FighterZ is delivering on all fronts. It’s tugging on the roots of nostalgia, pushing into the competitive game scene, and introducing a new generation to some of the most iconic characters of our time. Dragon Ball FighterZ is an absolute must play for any fan of fighting games or the DBZ franchise itself.
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Misses the mark harder than 100 stormtroopers.
Star Wars: Battlefront II is a sequel to 2015’s remake of the classic Battlefront (2004) series originally released for the sixth console generation. The new Battlefront II was developed by DICE Studios and published by EA Games. Originally, the first iteration of this remake series came into a bit of controversy when it turned out that the core game only had 4 maps and that the rest of the planned map releases would only come with a fifty dollar expansion pass. Obviously, EA have learned their lesson because there is no expansion pass for Battlefront II. It’s all just water under the bridge now, right?
I was always wondering where the missing assets from Mass Effect Andromeda ended up and wouldn’t you know it, Battlefront II had them the whole time, they were just hiding it in the single player campaign. That goes double for Iden Versio who was one N7 decal away from being a Commander Shepard stand-in. But the graphics were all good. Very good in fact, featuring some inclement weather on multiple planets. There are also some lovely high res textures and animations. The ability to switch between third and first person views also augments the experience, letting you play the game as you see fit (unless playing as a hero). The garden world you go to has rich vegetation amongst its vast stone walls, which gives it a really pleasant look. But seriously though, there were several sections of the game that looked suspiciously like they belonged more in the Mass Effect universe than they did in Star Wars, it’s weird.
The plot is so bad I’m going SPOIL IT. Skip this section if you want, but seriously, I’m doing you a favor. So as Iden Versio, you’re in a spec ops unit called Inferno Squad and you start off after the Death Star II explodes. The Empire, licking its wounds, has the perfect plan to recoup its losses. They decide to just launch an all-out attack on a planet that is loyal to the Empire. Yes, the Empire’s great plan to restore order is to destroy one of its own planets with some sub-par miniature super weapon they just had laying around (and only visually appears to cause super bad weather and nothing else). That’ll show them who’s boss, right? So, since Iden Versio actually has a brain, she goes rogue and flees, only to be captured by the rebel alliance. The rebels, executing a great amount of scrutiny, politely ask her if she’s an Imperial spy and after saying no, determine that she’s trustworthy and instantly give her access to pilot a snazzy new X-wing to help out the cause. I mean, no, she wasn’t about to betray the only people willing to help her, but the change from treating her as an enemy to an ally happens in less than a minute of actual game time. What follows after is a series of very poorly veiled excuses to go planet hopping in order to stay one step ahead of the Empire to find some MacGuffin type thing that was so utterly unmemorable that I finished the game no more than a couple of days ago and already don’t even remember what it was. The series ends with an all-out battle between the rebels and Empire within the atmosphere of Jakku, and if you’ve seen The Force Awakens, you know how that will end. At the end, Kylo Ren enters someone’s mind to find yet another MacGuffin, hinting at a possible sequel to the single player story down the line. But please, please don’t do that. Don’t ever make a Star Wars campaign again, DICE. If you’re up for another Mirror’s Edge, that would be stellar, but stay away from Star Wars.
Well, the audio has one thing going for it: at least a few of the blasters sound authentic, as if grabbed directly from the films themselves. But this is outweighed by that bad. Several points of the game have token moments where you get to play as the “Heroes” from the Star Wars canon, and pretty much all of them are piss-poor attempts at sound-alikes with Kylo Ren possibly being the only one that sounds legit. The rest of the voice acting is pretty ham-fisted, which would have been okay had the game not been trying so hard to get you invested into its seriously laughable plot. Anything new doesn’t sound great either. There’s nothing memorable audio-wise about any of the weapons or explosives, and if one were to hear just the audio, the multiplayer matches would be almost indistinguishable from a Battlefield title, save for the pew pew of the laser weapons. The score is more or less a John Williams sound-alike, but just as with the rest of the game, it doesn’t do anything special or unique. It sounds a lot more like the Star Wars music was fed to a robot on punch cards with instructions to do something similar.
You know, when I’m playing a first person shooter and I’m up close enough to punch someone, I expect to land a hit that at least damages the opponent if it doesn’t kill them. What I don’t expect however, is to teleport two meters directly through them as an overly long punch animation unloads and then take an additional second or two for an asthma inhaler dose before I’m allowed to move again. Gameplay during the campaign was just okay even at its absolute best, with almost all of the levels simply being re-purposed multiplayer maps that will yell at you if you go too far in the wrong direction, even if you’re trying to go somewhere to preempt an enemy attack (like seeing a drop ship landing). The enemy AI is basic at best with many NPCs being capable of landing shots or charging you down, but at other times seeming to almost run into your line of sight on purpose. I even experienced an NPC getting stuck and forcing me to hunt him down so an event could progress. As for multiplayer, initial impressions were optimistic at first, until I realized how long it would take me to play with a gun I don’t like just to get an SMG. I didn’t like that, so I tried to stick with playing as an officer with one of the worst weapons in the entire game, but some decent abilities to bolster friendlies with a stat boost and the ability to lay down a turret. But round after round, no progress was being made, as even playing the objective didn’t feel rewarding. We all know why that was a problem…
Now, normally, I like to make it a policy of this site to demerit a point from the score for egregious lootboxing, but even without any lootboxes, player progression is completely ruined. Offering no way to advance without the help of the now in-game-currency-only crates, they still stave off having improved versions over regular abilities, and that’s just not very good design. There’s no sense of progress when you do well and you’ll be stuck for a long time dealing with guns and abilities you aren’t going to like. Not to mention that just getting into the clusterf*ck of a system that the star cards set up is a total mess and a half. Even worse are the loading times. Either jumping into the campaign or trying out a few of the game’s “arcade” scenarios takes close to a minute, if not more. Which is a shame, too, because the arcade challenges are little more than just uninteresting bot matches. The lag was also incredible, as in “I can’t believe a game with a budget this size has this much lag!” Upon re-reading this review, I realized I forgot to mention the air combat. It sucks. Nothing else to say on that, I’ve played many other games with air combat and the amount of times it was forced into the single player campaign and how utterly useless it is in multiplayer is astonishing.
Star Wars: Battlefront II was a game I wanted to believe simply wasn’t as bad as everyone was saying, and that people were just exaggerating it’s problems. Little did I know that it would be one of the worst games I’d play this year. Even if the loot box controversy hadn’t been a thing, this still is a poorly made game with zero charm, enthusiasm, or gusto. Designed from start to finish to be nothing more than a cash grab (which backfired tremendously), this game is just a wet fart on the video games market. Purchase this game only if you are a hardcore Star Wars fan and the game is in the bargain bin.
Our lowest score to date!
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Oh my god, they killed it!
South Park: The Fractured But Whole is an RPG set in the South Park Universe, it was developed by Ubisoft San Francisco with the help of South Park Digital Studios and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 17th 2017 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, being the sequel to the Stick of Truth. The game has received a lot of help from the creators of the hit TV show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, using source material to keep the game true to the show’s controversial and comical universe.
[Reviewed on PC]
Graphics-wise, it’s actually staying true to the cartoon style of the show, everything looking almost exactly like it does on the show. This makes it seem like it is actually an interactive episode of South Park, which is a good thing in my book. One thing to notice is that the game runs on the Snowdrop engine, the same engine that powered The Division, showing how flexible the engine is, but makes the optimization deceitful. This means that TFBW it is a bit more demanding of lower end systems and most mid-tier laptops with a dedicated GPU. This is surprising given the visual fidelity of the game, it really doesn’t look like it should demand a whole lot from your system, but somehow it does.
The audio is not deeply memorable, but it does not have a great soundtrack, something that I would call significant in other games. But it is inspired off superhero films, and more acts like a filler to make fights a bit more alive. Voice acting gets a good point out of it due to it being genuine and staying true to the show. Whereas many other video game developers either opt-in to get the best in the business or try to find their best sound-alikes, South Park is blessed with it’s recognizable (and affordable) cast that are pertinent to the impact of the show. Eric Cartman wouldn’t be the same without his trademark Cartman voice.
The plot is set exactly one day after the Stick of Truth ends, where we take control of New Kid once again, this time dropping the fantasy theme for a more modern super-hero plot, where Cartman and his friends decide to search for a missing cat so they can get 100$ to kick-start their own franchise. This takes them through different conflict plotlines and sub-plots in between, such as the Civil War -inspired conflict between Coon and Friends (Cartman, Kyle,Clyde, Jimmy and Craig) and the Freedom Pals (Timmy, Kenny, Stan, Tweek, Token) or against Professor Chaos (Butters). Character-Wise, pretty much all the characters are from the show, the kids taking obvious Marvel insipred super-hero personas and, well, other iconic characters such as Randy, Mr Mackney, the PC Principal, Father Maxi, Jesus and the list goes on. I mean, we even have the obvious Morgan Freeman running a taco shop. The plot is pretty interesting, however I wouldn’t really call it ground-breaking. However it has its funny moments, which are a lot, and well, some are sexual, some are offensive and some are just fart jokes. The dialouge is really good, especially since it is amplified by the original voice actors and the small chit-chat and occasional information from the bystanders is pretty interesting. Overall, the story plot does not take itself too serious and it is a welcome comedic break from all the gritty “important” stories from other games released this year.
TFBW takes a 2.5D style in combat, allowing for more freedom in your engagements compared to the previous game. New Kid will progressively have access to all 10 classes as we progress through the game, being able to equip abilities from all these classes, 4 at a time, giving the player more freedom in customizing his skills. The companion system is back, allowing you to pick additional 3 companions to help you during the fight, each having unique abilities according to his archetype. For example, Kyle the Human Kite is a support, being able to heal his allies, while Super Craig is a tank which can taunt enemies. Another element that’s returning is turn-based combat, instead this time it takes place on a grid thanks to the 2.5 D system, the characters being able to move freely around the grid. Attacks also affect different areas of the grid. Because of this, the combat is really well done, being a part that is heavily improved from the first game. One downgrade from the first game is the fact that your gear no longer affects your gear level, instead the system is now based on artifacts, which increases your Might, one part which offers more freedom in how you look, but tones down on the RPG element of the game.
South Park TFBW is a really, really interesting game. t is a welcome comedic break from other games released like Halo, Gears, Assasin’s Creed, adding nuance to Ubisoft’s lineup of games. It is an okay RPG, but what makes this game fun is the South Park aspect, seeing the kids act as superheroes with improvised costumes, made-up lairs, red building bricks as lava and much more. Combined with the crude but a bit toned down humor of south park to make this sequel censor-free, it is a more unique game and a somewhat easy to learn RPG that makes it stand out more than other game released this year
I do recommend it, even though I didn’t have as much fun with it, it should be in your backlog list as one of those games to be played when you are really bored. It is available now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, but I do not see it as a $60 buy due to some of its flaws and how it is made more for South Park fans rather than the average gamer. I’m not saying you won’t enjoy it if you are not into South Park, but if you love the show, this should be a pick up for you!
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: cartman, cartoon, comedy, comedy central, editorial, fart, funny, kenny, kyle, opinion, poop, review, rpg, rpg elements, south park, stan, tactical, video game
(Pay)Back to the basics of arcade racing.
Racing games tend to be the conduit for showing how powerful new consoles are. It’s no surprise, with the release of upgraded consoles PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, that this holiday season has been riddled with racing games. Need For Speed: Payback is one of the contenders aiming to fulfill the adrenaline desires. Published by EA and developed by Ghost Games arrived to store shelves on November 10th, 2017. As the 23rd entry in one of gamings most iconic franchises, Need For Speed: Payback has the difficult job about giving gamers a reason to stop playing the other incredible racing games available now. Full speed ahead to see if this game will continue to revitalize the series that the previous entry reignited.
Right out the gate, racing games have two very important jobs. The first is for the console manufacturers. They need to extract every possible amount of power that the little box can muster and make sure to show it off through visual representation. Need for Speed: Payback does an incredible job making the world feel alive and real but it doesn’t do anything that makes it stand completely outside what other racers are doing. Fortune valley, the most recent recreation of Las Vegas in video games, is a beautiful city filled with different environments that help to breathe fresh air into the long drives. The cars all look fascinating, accurate, and provide a real representation of some of the worlds greatest super cars at home. Some of the character models for less important characters look a little shoddy but nothing of importance is ever effected by the lack of attention. This new racer does a great job of showing off all the technical power in these new consoles but it doesn’t do anything to break the mold or really stand out.
The games title is pretty telling when it’s comes to the plot in this particular game. The story opens up with a typical race crew of misfits who each fill a general role working together to steal a car with some crazy prototype technologies. Things go bad pretty quick and a member of the crew screws the whole team over. The team falls a part everyone goes on their own sad adventure till they eventually team back up to fight the good fight. In no way is Need for Speed: Paybacks story bad. In fact it’s actually pretty great. The story unfolds through the eyes of the 3 playable characters from the crew and the fourth who happens to be the team mechanic. The issue with the story, as with many of the titles this year, it feels to predictable. Maybe it’s a writing issue or maybe it’s a reviewer issue. The story just lacks any real sense of freshness. However it’s still a really good fun story to experience, just not one that will have the edge of the seat warm by any standards. Also, not sure why one of the main characters is Bruce Wayne. Just saying.
Hearing the roar of the roar of the most powerful engines in the world is one of the most endorphin-inducing sounds for any person. Vehicles moving at speeds that literally break wind (insert fart joke) have to sound as real as possible. The screeching of tires, the sounds of collision, everything sounds incredibly real. It would be easy for a neighbor to confused the sound of this game through surround sound for an actual vehicle collision. On top of the hyper realistic world noise, the voice acting is also pretty good. Lines are delivered in ways that feel convincing and compelling. None of the characters fall into a muddy or uninteresting tone however there maybe a little backlash over the stereotypes in some of the characters voices. Arguably the most important audio component in any racing game or sports game is the soundtrack, and boy does Payback deliver. Boasting a playlist that covers a wide range of genres that keep the blood pumping the music really pulls everything together. It’s super easy to envision someone racing down the street with A$AP Ferg’s “Trap and A Dream” playing at neighborhood rattling volumes.
It’s hard to judge gameplay on a game type that has one basic mechanic: Drive fast. Sure some of the game modes and challenges add a little dynamics to the concept but overall it’s just drive really fast. And for better or worse that’s where Need for Speed: Payback sits. It doesn’t really do anything new but it also doesn’t really get anything wrong. The one gameplay mechanic that was kind of a silly decision was not including police cruisers and chases in the free roam. All police chases are tied little bait boxes which provide loot when completed but have no negative impact at all when failed. It’s a really interesting choice that doesn’t quite make any sense no matter which lens it’s looked at through. It was just a bad choice that hopefully can get patched in via an update or something. Who knows how games work? Either way all the other modes and race styles almost make up for it but not quite enough. The one thing that seemed to be a major point of concern were the loot boxes EA is trying to force into every game. After playing the game for a few hours, there was never a moment where purchasing a loot box felt necessary. The pay to win model, for single player, doesn’t exist, however the impact on multiplayer is still not entirely clear. Hopefully the concern remains baseless.
Tying things back to the beginning of the review, the second important mission every racing game is tagged with completing is owed to the gamers. Every member of the development team who wasn’t taking the console apart to figure how to abuse its power, is now focused on making sure the game carries endless amounts of fun. Check this box for Need for Speed: Payback for sure. Hours and hours of fun can be had with this game whether playing through the interesting story or driving around fortune valley smashing billboards there is something for everyone. Vehicle customization remains a staple feature, now that EA finally figured out no one ever asked for racing games with out customization, and boy does it get deep. Of course it doesn’t get as deep as the ultra pro racing sim, Forza, but it definitely goes a lot further than any other arcade racing sim available now. Locating derelicts feels like an exciting scavenger hunt in this brand new world while racing around the world aimless still feels just as adventurous. The major complaint is still the lack of police cruisers when free roaming but outside of that can’t imagine putting the control down once the engines start.
At the end of the road, Need for Speed: Payback will be remembered for giving fans almost everything they love without to much extra filler. Beautiful cars to drive through beautiful scenery while playing beautiful music. That sums up the fun in a beautiful way. Anyone looking for a great story or something incredibly brand new in racing gameplay may not be 100% satisfied with this selection but it would be hard to believe they didn’t enjoy themselves at all. Need for Speed: Payback is almost the game fans of the series wanted but in the world’s current state, maybe complaining about the little things isn’t to great of an idea. Just hop into Payback and push those cars to wind breaking speeds. [Editor’s Note: Fart Joke Here Too]
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: arcade racer, cars, cops, driving, ea, film, heist, most wanted, need for speed, racing, robbers, video game
Agrarian Acreage or Mild Blands?
Expanding on the success of one of the longest running video game franchises of all time, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands takes the tactical squad based shooter to new levels. Developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by the franchise power house Ubisoft, home of successful franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six. Wildlands was released on March 7th, 2017. It is a third person squad-based tactical shooter action story experience laced with the modern day lure of seamless integrated online multiplayer and set in a vast open world, designed to replicate the beautiful country of Bolivia (Latinos Unite!), Wildlands targets the bar with orders to kill on sight.
Ubisoft has a history of publishing games that were originally advertised as being the next step in graphical prowess but ultimately come out as standard products representative of the current generation. Wildlands is no exception. Make no mistake, despite the flawed (and common) marketing tactic, GRW is beautiful. By including the entire country of Bolivia, the team has managed to provide a lush nature filled environment which resonates very well with the desire to go sight seeing. There are the typical minor flaws in consistency of the engine being able to recognize that things can not go through other things without causing damage. Blades of grass can frequently be seen going through characters instead of bending around them, but at no point does this take away from the overall experience. Although the people of Bolivia have plenty of reason to feel offended by this game’s representation of their country, they should absolutely feel flattered by the careful detail put into recreating its beauty.
The opening video in Wildlands tells the captivating story of the Santa Blanca Cartel and its leader “El Sueno”. However due to its open world setting it ultimately falls short of being an incredible narrative. The story is interesting but it ends up being presented in a very convoluted way due to the excessive amount of player freedom and the very distracting side missions. Normally regarded as a limitation, the game could benefit from an invisible wall. The story is told through the arch of dismantling the Santa Blanca cartel operations piece by piece by collecting intel throughout the map. It provide clues or damage reputations of every head honcho throughout the organization. The problems in storytelling rise quickly as you traverse the country into areas that are under management by different ring leaders. In those areas, the story-based intel start getting all mixed up. Once the full story behind any one cartel member is collected it becomes very clear that the story is deep and would be better told if it managed to keep the player constricted to one area and target at a time (kind of like the original Crackdown). El Sueno had a vivid dream that was fully worth exploring but was overshadowed by the size of his operation.
On one side. Ghost Recon: Wildlands fails immensely at providing an interesting audio experience yet on the other it excels in ways very few games ever have. It comes down to the bilingual approach to this world. The conversations in English are boring, bland, and terribly scripted. When not operating in complete silence or pointing out a spotted target, the squad exchanges ridiculous, terribly timed dialogue about their favorite foods, unrealistic insults, and directionless conversations which never seems to connect to the world around them. The communication often feels so unnatural that at times it can be very distracting and lead to wonder about how long this supposed shadow unit has actually been working together. On the flip side, the Spanish dialogue is excellent. Everything from the talk show radio host, to the propaganda, to the rare conversation between villagers or cartel soldiers, to the narcissistic monologues over the airwaves by El Sueno himself feel completely authentic. Unless of course, the player does not speak or understand Spanish. Unfortunately, the many people who fall into that category are missing an entire genuinely important part of the game. Otherwise, hooray gun noises and boom booms.
With a vast open world, Ghost Recon: Wildlands redefines what it means to be a squad-based third person shooter. Although the open world hurts the story, it does wonders for the gameplay. The change of structure allowed the developing team to include a wide array of side missions, good vehicle control schemes, travel possibilities, and of course the beloved “do it your way” approach to every mission. Some side missions can be failed with no retry option! The Ghost Recon franchise has always been well recognized for its fluid third person shooter mechanics and Wildlands is no exception. Every thing from cover based shooting to squad commands and controls would make Uncharted and Gears of War fans blush while providing a great way to scratch a painful itch for the SOCOM fans of old. At every button press it is evident that gameplay was a top priority throughout the entire development cycle.
Open world? Check. Tight gameplay mechanics? Present. Endless hours of incredible fun, intertwined within a decent plot line, excellent use of side missions, and a beautiful environment to explore? Absolutely. In true Ubisoft nature they have once again commanded the creation of a gigantic open world that offers players of any archetype something to enjoy. Every mission can be tackled in a variety of ways that suit every play style, yet the game’s narrative is loosely guided enough to never force any two players to pursue the exact same paths. The approach may still need some fine-tuning for the players seeking a Hollywood-tier story-driven experience. Mapping out the best approach to overtaking an enemy base is equally as fun whether the plan is executed flawlessly or falls apart disastrously. And playing co-op online with reliable partners makes the experience timeless.
Squad based tactical shooters are often a good experience, but rarely do they deliver at the level that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands manages to. It is very clear that, outside of the issues with telling it’s story, the development team put in every effort to make this game fun, fluid, and exciting. Ubisoft hardly fails to provide experiences that raise the bar on multiple levels and their expertise in crafting incredible open worlds for players to explore continues to show. Every game bearing the Tom Clancy moniker successfully captures a strong following of dependable fans and Wildlands has everything it needs to continue the trend.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: gamers, gaming, ghost, ghost recon wildlands, hard, mode, rating, recon, review, score, tom clancy, ubisoft, video game, video games, wildlands
The slashing will continue until morale improves!
After what seems like years of waiting it is finally here! Made by Illfonics, Friday the 13th The Game is an asymmetrical third-person survival game. You can try and survive as a camper (AKA victims) or cause pandemonium and rip everyone apart as the man himself, Jason Vorhees. The developer got the majority of its funds from Kickstarter and had the backing of original F13th director Sean S. Cunningham (and horror icons like Cain Hodder and Tom Savini). What can I say? Most big time horror fans couldn’t wait to get their hands on this.
How does it look? Pretty damn good! I initially thought that this was going to look much better, but they were just okay. I was disappointed in the in game characters reaction faces. They just seemed very cartoon-like. Sometimes you get caught in a weird camera angle or a killing scene and start seeing some clipping and glitching. But overall the permformance is quite smooth. Plus, the Jason skins look pretty ‘on-point’ for the most part.
So during development we (the consumers) were told that there would be a some single player campaign. Now that game is out, there’s only multiplayer… for now. There isn’t really any story to the actual game. It relies more on the nostalgia of the movie series, and that’s not a bad thing. I know for me, being able to stalk and murder someone as Jason was the selling point. I have Dead by Daylight and even with the Halloween DLC being so awesome… JASON IS THE MAN! Sorry Mr. Carpenter, I still love you though. But developers say we will be getting some single player stuff so with hope, we wait.
No complaints here! From the screaming or screeching of the victims, the hacking and slashing sounds during the kills to the music and the way it’s used is just absolutely perfect. That signature Jason ‘leitmotif’ sound is used when Jason is close to you and it just happens so abruptly you almost forget you’re in a game and freak out that Jason is right behind you! The “terror” music is also used not just for sounds but also as a notification that someone in your group is being attacked. For me at least hearing those things put me on edge, making it easy to get lost in the game.
So this game is actually quite easy to pick up and play! Pretty standard controller layout is shown during loading screens (which can take some time). Some of the game mechanics like Jason’s “shift” ability can be kinda hard to control around obstacles. I mentioned before some of the camera angles are really rough especially when in the cabins. The biggest flaw was trying to play this when it was released for consoles and NOT GETTING TO PLAY! I would like to lower the score for that, but since its release the devs have been working hard to fix this issue. They even released some free skins as a thank you for the patience of their customers. Classy move guys!
Despite the bugs and server problems this game is just so awesome to play. Maybe I’m just a fan boy of the subject matter [edtior’s note: he is], but getting to murder as Jason is breathtaking. I found myself getting so excited and giggling like a schoolgirl when I finally grabbed that damn teenager and ripped their head off! Even when you are one of the victims getting killed is just too much fun. The music gave great atmosphere and I was just engulfed when playing. Once I got onto a good server with awesome people I was able to play game after game, and these aren’t the shortest game sessions. They are short sessions if the randomly selected Jason is bad at it.
So many people have been waiting for this game and I have to say yes it delivers! It’s not a perfect game by any means. Friday the 13th is buggy and has server problems but it’s all worth it once you get that first kill. The gamer in me loves it for being a fun and sometimes frustrating game but the horror fan in me has the hugest boner for it!
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: bandai, fans, friday the 13th, horror, jason, jason voorhees, license, movie, multiplayer, namco, slasher, thriller, video, video game