April 1st, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Claptrap and The Vault Hunters!

After years of speculation and rumors Borderlands 3 will be coming to a console near you. Gearbox and 2K confirmed the long awaited sequel at a keynote during PAX East. Although little information was provided at the initial announcement, Gearbox promised more in the near future.

Check out the trailer!

The next reveals will happen on April 3rd. And, Hopefully we get our bags filled with exciting Borderlands 3 news. In the meantime, true Borderlands fans can rejoice in the second major announcement. Borderlands: Game of the Year edition is will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. When? April 3rd. Why? Well because, why not and it’s getting some big quality updates.

For any newcomers to the series, Borderlands is a First Person RPG Shooter. Some fan favorite elements of Borderlands include a ridiculous range of customization and weapons crafting options and 4 player co-op. I mean who am I kidding, everything about Borderlands is a fan favorite. From the unique comic book aesthetic to the different play styles of each character to the amazing narrative. Borderlands is a series that is experienced not just played.

So it looks like it’s going to be a good year for Borderlands fans and the Gearbox crew. Are you excited for Borderlands 3?

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March 26th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Yesterday, gamers across the internet gathered in excitement for a fiesta of Playstation announcements. Sony’s first official “State of Play”, a short form trailer filled livestream, debut was smooth as butter. A few surprise announcements here. A couple exclusives there. And a ton of confirmed release dates made the most of the roughly 20 minute event. Ignoring the awful voice of the digital announcer, it’s safe to say “State of Play” was a success.

But, was it the right move?

State of Play
PlayStation

Long time Playstation fans are accustomed to narrative driven experiences. A rule that holds true for announcement trailers as well. Looking back on past Playstation events, you’ll quickly find that most trailers ran 2-3 minutes with tons of narrative detail. Whether eluded to or directly presented, the trailers draw you in by presenting a full living world. Cinematic or in game footage, the announcements tend to deliver the beginning of your next gaming adventure. 

State of Play, Sony’s equivalent of a Nintendo Direct, took what felt like a very different approach. It crammed as many announcements as possible into 20 minutes with tons of gameplay footage. Gameplay footage that shows what you will be doing without intriguing us with the why we’re doing it. Sure with a game like the PSVR exclusive IronMan VR, coming fall 2019, you don’t need to necessarily know why he’s fighting the bad guys. He’s a superhero, that’s just what they do. 

IronMan VR
Camouflaj, PlayStation Worldwide Studios

However, with a game like Ready Set Heroes, as fun as the multiplayer action game looks, it’d be great to learn more about the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m personally excited for the idea of 4 player party game. Especially one that looks like the Looney Tunes dungeon crawler i never knew i wanted. It just didn’t feel like Sony. It felt like Nintendo. 

It’s not about the violence or adulthood

And before you type “Eh look another guy to grown for fun games.” realize my complaint is not about the games. It’s about the presentation. Years of watching E3, Paris Games Week, Tokyo Games Show announcements have set a certain expectation. An expectation that I’ve quietly watch continue to become less and less important. I’d be lying if I said I knew this was coming. Looking back on the most recent E3 conferences though, I feel kind of foolish for not.

Since the release of the PS4, every Sony E3 conference has featured a short form sizzle reel announcing 10-15 games in a matter of minutes. It started off as just the Indie game reveal. Which was offensive for it’s own reasons we don’t have time to talk about now. And slowly it evolved to what we can now expect to be a regular occurrence called “State of Play”. That’s not the end though. Even during this short form experience Sony managed to pack in a video montage cramming release dates for 8 games into what felt like seconds. 

8 Games in 60 Seconds? Whoa.

Games like Falcon Age, Everybody’s Golf VR, Trover Saves the Universe were included in this short montage. Forget release dates, the spotlight on these games wasn’t long enough for me to write down all 8 names. And I write super fast because I have awful hand writing, so to me that says a lot. I want to go back to the good old days when gamers complained not enough games were shown. Ok maybe not that far back. Maybe go back to the short-lived time where the balance was almost perfect.

Regardless, I’m a diehard Playstation fan so I’m going to rock with the team no matter what. But, I’m no yes man. If I see something I’m not particularly excited about I’m going to say something. As of right now, I am not entirely excited for the next State of Play. And considering PlayStation will be absent from E3 2019, I’m concerned. Your move Sony. 

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zone of the enders 2nd runner mars vr
October 21st, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Remasters, VR, Rail Shooters, and Demos

In this discussion, we talked about Zone of the Enders: Second Runner, Mars VR, a major re-release of another classic Kojima game. But with this, comes many questions along with it, because of the history of the game. Do some remasters matter? Does VR actually enhance anything? Should a game get released with a demo for another game? And what constitutes a rail shooter? As usual, we will talk about #onlythefacts.




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transference
October 17th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

This was a disappointment.

Did you ever know this game was out? Elijah Wood personally came out to show off the game at two E3 showcases. But now the game is out, and not a peep. Also, despite heavily marketing it as a VR experience tailored for the PS4, it’s also available on Xbox One and PC. Which is suspicious, but how does it play? It plays like someone tried to combine Get Even with PT, that’s what it is.




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October 9th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Claptrap. VR. Claptrap. VR. CLAPTRAP VR!!!

That’s right, VR continues to make strides in becoming the best way to experience your favorite games. Announced on the Playstation blog, Borderlands 2 will be making its way to PSVR on December 14, 2018. One of the most popular first person shooter RPG’s of all time will be letting you experience its wild gunplay from the most first person perspective possible. The full game will be playable and available for the price tag of $49.99.

“Players will get the opportunity to visit Pandora in the most immersive Borderlands experience yet.”

Although Enhanced for VR, Borderlands 2 VR will not include the online multiplayer making this a single player only experience. The new Bad Ass Mega Fun Time will allow players to slow down time to prepare for the battles ahead. All four characters unique abilities that relied on multiplayer have been reworked into the BAMF Time, but its not entirely clear how.

Borderlands 2 VR is exclusively available on PSVR and pre-ordering the game will unlock a PS4 dynamic theme featuring the four vault hunters we’ve come to love. Let us know in the comments below how you feel about the lack of multiplayer in exchange for the VR experience.




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transference review
October 6th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Get Even meets PT

Transference is a first-person sci-fi horror experience for VR. It was developed by SpectreVision and published by Ubisoft. It was heavily advertised as a psychedelic adventure and was heavily promoted by Elijah Wood during E3 2017 & 2018. The plot focuses on your navigating through a computer simulation of the minds of a three-person family. Depending on whose memories you explore, the layout of the house in which you spend the majority of the game will rearrange itself. Surprisingly, when the game came out in late September, it was largely ignored with no fanfare or ads. It also released on Xbox One and PC, despite being slated as a VR-only title. It’s quite possible that VR would enhance the experience, but the game still has to hold up on its own merits. This copy was reviewed without the use of VR, but still on PS4.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

This is definitely a case of style over substance. The game has a great array of really good looking lighting FX, visual glitches, transition sequences, and mocap. There are also several scenes that blend 2D videos into the 3D environment in interesting ways. The problems this game has come from a technical standpoint. Despite the spectacular use of props, colors, and layouts to represent different psyches, one thing takes you out of the experience. The texture quality is just abysmal. Cables look like squares, a jar of sand had jagged edges, a cassette tape looks like a blown-up JPG. That’s really too bad because it definitely shows that a lot of detail was put into everything else. You can pick up props and look at them but the details are muddy. Still, the overall look works.

STORY: 0/2

Absolute drivel. The story of this game is about a family man who went crazy and digitized the minds of his wife, child and himself onto a computer. But the context of why you’re experiencing these memories in the first place is never made apparent. You’re just there to stop in and look at some things that happened to this family. The kid had a dog he loved, and honestly, I can’t remember the actual fate of the dog. Just that something bad happened. The wife is sad because she thinks she gave up her career to be with this man, but I’m not really sure what it was he did that made her have to give everything up.

You never really feel like you’re in danger, and these NPCs are at worst a minor inconvenience…

And the husband? Well, he went crazy. Why? I don’t know, it appears that he just did. The game has several points where you get to watch camcorder footage of the family to get a better idea, but it felt very inconsistent. In one scene, they are at a park having a birthday party and the dad is acting just okay. You find another video later that appears to be the same time and location, but the dad has turned a complete 180 and was acting like a drunken abusive asshole. Why? I don’t know, it looks like he just did. Maybe the truth was hidden on one of the collectibles? That might be the case but it’s not much of a story if it’s mandatory for me to pick up every single object in every room. Also, the less said about the “acting” in this game, the better.

Audio: 2/2

Despite the terrible script and bad acting, the quality of the voice work is well implemented into the game. Several wonky features are added to the voices of the family, distorting them, echoing them, and burning them. This game dives into the reality of horror for the most part, and this game expertly implements the “horror atmosphere” that many scary games excel at. It has everything, cramped spaces, hums, random noises, door knocking, clock ticking, music boxes, the usual. This is amplified with a soundtrack that blends into the scenes you encounter. There are heavy padded synths feeding through distortion tubes as scenes get more and more intense. Zero complaints about anything in the audio department of this game.

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

This is a relaxed horror experience if that makes any sense. You enter an apartment, and spooky things happen. You will walk around, look at things, watch video logs, and avoid walking afoul of the enemies in the game. These phantoms you encounter look like the Endermen from Minecraft. If you touch them, you just get sent backward a little bit. You never really feel like you’re in danger, and these NPCs are at worst a minor inconvenience and one of the least scary things about the game. Thankfully, there really aren’t any jump scares. The biggest problem was that there were a handful of puzzles that either stopped the game dead or were extremely easy. I won’t be able to forgive this game for the “piano puzzle” sequence any time soon. Some of the puzzles made sense plotwise, while others were real head-scratchers.

VR: That said, VR might have enhanced the scares just a little bit. This is literally the only section that VR could have improved the experience. It might have been scarier to walk around this cramped place in a fully immersive manner.

FUN: 0/2

The couple of puzzles that stopped me dead in my tracks were rather annoying. Once I did figure them out, I didn’t feel smart. I just felt “Oh really? Just that? Okay then.” My interest in the fate of this family diminished by the minute. When the game rolled into its conclusion about 2 hours in, I was glad it was over, because I didn’t want to play it anymore. Even then, the ending is incredibly abrupt and completely unfulfilling, accomplishing nothing. You basically just rode around on a haunted mansion ride until you had to get off. The game just shrugs and says to me, “Yup, that’s it. Have a nice day I guess.” Maybe it’s my fault for having high expectations, but I’ve had these expectations for other games in the SciFi/Horror genre that live up to the hype. This one doesn’t.

This whole experience is basically a shaggy dog story about a broken family. Transference is content with itself; it tells you about a series of unfortunate events (which is a crap book series, fight me). This generation of gaming is finding more and more “AA” experiences resurface and make for some high-quality adventures. We got tales like Hellblade, Get Even, Soma, and several other games that serve as an experience on top of being a game. This particular title doesn’t really make the cut.

SCORE: 5/10




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October 5th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Stabilizers? Check. Laser Canons? Check. Frequency Blade? Probably not what its called but check. Let’s start f*cking sh*t up baby. 

I’m in the cockpit of the all powerful orbital frame Jehuty and even though they keep calling me Dingo, Vega is ready to party. First objective is to get this gate open so I can get in there and see what the big hype over this other orbital frame is. I have two panels, obviously super far away from each other, and that should set things straight. Alright, let’s get to it. 

{Game Over}

Ok, alright cool, let’s try that again. This time I’m gonna go for the one on the left first.

As I proceed to destroy these robots I start to wonder “Who the hell is piloting the enemy machines?” Eh, none of my business. Keep slashing and destroying this endless supply of machine enemies. I finally arrive at the panel and with an over charged spirit bomb (it’s not really a spirit bomb but dammit thats what it looks like) I destroy it. Now I gotta travel all the way to the other side of the gate. Let me save real quick in case something goes wrong. Playing this from a first person perspective is way harder than playing in third person. And the lock on system still doesn’t work properly.

On to the other side. Alright here we go, not doing to bad. 

{Game Over} 

What the f*ck! Why doesn’t this damn game lock on to the closest enemy instead of whatever f*cking random enemy it wants. Wait. Are you kidding me! It’s making me start over and I gotta clear the first panel again. Aahhh!

Alright, we got this.

{Game Over}

Urgh!

{Game Over}

Son of a-

{Game Over} 

I suck at video games. I’m going to bed.




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October 4th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

An Old Mech Game Given The Present of New Life By Future Tech

In a landscape nearly devoid of mech-based adventures, Konami (the company best known for being terrible) dug deep into its bag of old games and gave Zone of the Enders a second life. The irony behind Konami remastering another amazing series by the great Hideo Kojima is pretty amazing, but enough politics. Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner Remastered is a third-person action adventure set in a futuristic world where humans inhabitant both Earth and Mars and war is fought in space. Released for the Playstation 4 and PC on September 6th, 2018, the remaster was developed by Konami and Cygames. Does Zone of the Enders deserve to exist alongside the rest of the recent remasters?

More importantly, how does Zone of the Enders work in VR?

(Note: VR Review does not impact the overall score of the game because it is not the originally designed experience.)

Graphics 1/2

There should absolutely be a standard for allowing companies to use the term “Remastered” for any future game release. Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner treads the line between just better than the craptastic Shenmue remakes that Sega released and the absolutely stunning Yakuza remakes that Sega released. One major advantage for Zone of the Enders is the great way that the game was originally designed to not look hyperrealistic. The visuals paired with the level of fun the game carries makes it very possible to kick back and look beyond the broken character models. Without ever having been to Mars, its safe to assume that Zone of the Enders did a great job recreating exactly what the surface of the red planet looks like.

“Developers truly benefit from the skill of using cartoonish art styles and Zone of the Enders wins heavily thanks to its anime style.

VR: The game looks worst. The real question here is: was anyone expecting any other response? When playing in first-person through VR the game doesn’t look bad but it definitely doesn’t feel immersive. Think about this one thing for a second. When playing in third-person all of the lasers and explosions are happening, visually at least, in front of the character. When playing in VR the player can look at all the angles of this lighting special effect that was designed to be viewed head-on. Boom, worst, not entirely immersive but not bad. Shenmue was still worse and it wasn’t even in VR. 

Story 1/2

For anyone who has not played the first Zone of the Enders, STOP. There will be spoilers ahead because Zone of The Enders: 2nd Runner is a direct sequel. With that said, it’s been damn near 15 years, so get over it. Ready? Let’s go. The game takes place two years after the events of the original game. Playing as Dingo Egret, a miner working on the planet Callisto who comes across the all-powerful orbital frame, Jehuty. That is literally the last part of simplicity this game has until the very end credits. From that point it goes into true Kojima mode with main characters dying and being revived, past significantly important characters appearing then suddenly deciding they want absolutely no part of the new story, and a world-destroying battle between two superweapons on the brink that falls on poor Dingo’s shoulders to be smack dab in the middle of.

Anyone who has ever been a fan of Gundam, Metal Gear or any mech-based anime will absolutely love this. Anyone who read that last sentence and thought what the f*ck is a Gundam, maybe stay away. 

VR: Same story. Really not sure what anyone expected to see here. 

Audio 2/2

Sound effects help to drive the validity of any game’s atmosphere and Zone of the Enders sounds like a robot war. Nailed it; not a beat missed. Lasers flying by sound way more dangerous than they look. Explosions are short-lived, but in the moment they sound very great. The voice acting and dialogue is great even though it doesn’t seem like any of it was updated for the remaster. It was just really great from the source. The menu sound effects sound exactly like the sounds from Metal Gear Solid 1-3 so super fans should be prepared for some nostalgia. Some excellent nostalgia. Damn Konami why you do Kojima so bad.

VR: Sound is the most critical aspect of VR. If the game sounds right the player can get fully immersed in the experience. Zone of the Enders takes place in space and space is, by most accounts, pretty quiet. That empty atmosphere is great as long as there are no other sounds in the outside world. Most people can’t afford to play their VR in an isolated perfect environment but everything else sounding great is definitely a VR experience. 

Gameplay 1/2

Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner Re-Mastered is a remastered PS2 game, and it definitely shows. The control schemes are extremely dated and very light on motor control demands. There are only a handful of buttons used from the entire DualShock remote. Even with the highly bragged about adjustment of the way the secondary weapons button works it still feels super dated. The biggest issue with the controls for the game is found in the lock-on system. For whatever reason, the lock-on system locks on to whatever target that it wants to and when changing targets, probably due to the fast-paced gameplay, the thing goes bonkers. Rather than simply pushing the analog stick towards the closest target to lock on, the game just cycles randomly through all the targets on screen. That’s a really bad thing to happen when playing what is essentially an on-rails shooter. 

VR: Probably the best VR experience available to date. The entire game is playable in VR and it feels amazing. Jumping into the cockpit of the super mech known as Jehuty is everything most people want from a VR experience. This is a VR Experience that should not be missed. With better visuals, it would be the epitome of VR gaming. It still suffers from most of the things that made the non-VR version hard to play but in VR those are well worth the pain. 

Fun 2/2

Wooooooooooohoooooooooo. Playing Mech games is arguably always fun. Anyone who disagrees is entitled to their opinion but is completely wrong. Outside of the frustration of losing a battle due to a faulty lock-on system, it’s very easy to let time fly by as Jehuty flies or slides all around the surface of Mars, the interior of a massive space battleship. It’s an on-the-rails shooter for the most part in the vein of a super modernized Gradius, but who didn’t like throwing quarters in those old arcade machines? The other issue with the game that hinders its fun levels just a tad is that the save system doesn’t play entirely nice with pick up and play gamers. Fortunately, the PS4 rest mode is a nice workaround for this objective-based issue. 

VR: How do you make a fun game more fun? Add the latest technology to its tool belt. Playing Zone of the Enders 2nd Runner in VR mode feels like the way it was meant to be played. Zipping around Mars in first person perspective could only be more exciting in a Sword Art Online style full dive mechanism that doesn’t exist yet. Just to reiterate, everyone should play Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner in VR Mode at least once. It is truly an experience. 

Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner is a remaster like no other. Sure, a ton of remasters exist that look a million times better, but Zone brings a brand new element to the game that hadn’t existed previously. Hideo Kojima must have shattered at least three or four rooms’ worth of valuable merchandise when he saw what Konami was able to accomplish with one of his crazy ideas. Honestly, it’s a bit confusing as to why Konami didn’t make the VR mode a more significant marketing push for the game. Priced at only $29.99 brand new, this is a must-have experience for anyone interested in VR.

Scratch that, anyone with a PSVR or PC-based VR system needs to get their hands on Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner today. Especially since the evil monsters at Konami published the game, so we never know what to expect. This last good review pushed them to start making pachinko versions of the game. 

Score: 7/10




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September 25th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Alright so maybe my inner MGS fan read into the avatar name to hard but this VR game looks awesome. Multiplayer Co-Op launching on October 9th for PSVR is Evasion. Check out the trailer below and see “GreyFox” for yourself. And don’t hate me this game deserves the clickbait attention. (Also that might be GreyFox, I’m on hold with the developers, Archiact, right now.)

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May 27th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Who knew they meant playing the game when they said return to hell…

Damn. What a ridiculous piece of… Well, let me not say that. The damn thing probably just needs an update. It’s just stupid frustrating that I can’t just get the game to work. This is no where as fun as playing God of War. Let’s see how long this update it is… I really hope it’s just an update issue and not that I need to buy Move Controllers. What!? 36 hours to download the update! F*ck this, Doom is stupid. I’m gonna go buy Move Controllers this weekend. 

(Flashback an hour)

Ok, I spent way too much time last week using the PSVR as a glorified 70inch screen that I could play on while laying in bed. Let’s bust open this Doom VFR and see what the hype is about. Maybe I’ll even learn what the F stands for in VFR haha. I walked over to the physical game palace (my wall shelf) and looked through the spines. I grabbed the fully sealed copy of Doom VFR that came packaged with the HMG PSVR. Cracked the bad boy open and threw it in the PS4 to install. 

While the game began installing I did what everyone should do while waiting for games to install. I went to poo. How could anyone ever play any games on a fully loaded bowel. Even worse, a VR game. Yea not gonna get me to throw up anytime soon, I’m smarter than the average bear. For the record and for the young that was a Yogi Bear reference not a homosexuality reference. Moving on.

“I went to poo.”

I completed the deed and went back to find Doom had fully installed. Hazzaahhh it was time to shoot things. Or so I thought. I booted the game and for two whole scenes had barely any control of the game other than moving my camera and my head around. Oh and of course watching the on screen hands squeeze every time I hit the trigger buttons. Can’t pretend I wasn’t entertained by this. Then it happened, the game broke. Maybe? I’m not quite sure but when it was finally time to play, I couldn’t aim vertically and so I could not progress through the first tutorial prompt. 

The first tutorial prompt people. I legit had to google a Doom VFR walkthrough video to see if I was missing something or just having technical issues. And that led us to where we are now.

(Flash forward an hour)

I really hope that getting Move Controllers will solve the problem, cause my internet sucks.

Hold up, two PS Move controllers cost HOW MUCH?

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