assassins creed 3 remaster
May 6th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Why are people trying to make it look worse?

Assassins Creed III is the latest game from Ubisoft to receive the “Remaster” treatment. Pretty much all of their games have now been upgraded or started that way. Even Assassins Creed 1 has Xbox One X enhancements. Yet still, there are a plethora of videos popping up. They show the new remaster looking much worse than the original. This isn’t even the first time this has been done. Assassins Creed, the Ezio Trilogy was also lambasted for looking worse. However, in that case, it didn’t actually look worse. Polygon just chose to only show off stuff that looks worse. It included a bug that has nothing to do with the remaster. And here they are doing it again. The character models may look like clay, but everything else in the game looks far better than it ever did before. Here’s why.

Also, it’s free if you had the season pass for Assassins Creed Odyssey. Considering that the standalone game or the season pass both cost 40, you should definitely buy the latter.




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xbox game pass
April 29th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Keep em coming, Microsoft!

Xbox continues to power on with their greatest asset. The Xbox Game Pass already has a load of great games to play. With this update, there are even more great choices. What’s best about these is their value and length. A lot of the games on offer are solid, well rounded experiences. They aren’t just dropping a few niche and trashy disposable games. They are getting you THE best games from yesteryear. The titles in this pass of theirs are all of the games that if you missed, you need to play. What are they?

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The original Deus Ex game was an absolute paradigm changer for the PC gaming industry. N’stuff. I’ve never played the original. I started with Invisible War, a game everyone hated but that’s only because nothing could be as good as that first game (and it’s janky AF). But after that failure, the Deus Ex series found life in the prequel series starring Adam Jensen. A man who is basically the Major from Ghost in the Shell but is a gruff dude working big tech security, and later, Interpol. Mankind Divided is a direct sequel to Human Revolution, which came out last console generation. It wouldn’t hurt to play that title, but it’s not absolutely essential to MD, since a lot of the characters from the first game are mere afterthoughts. That and a handy-dandy 11 minute video comes with the game to recap it for you.

What happens next, is you find yourself in a world the producers called the “Mechanical Apartheid“. This is due to a mass hack that resulted in one of the world’s most bloody acts of terrorism, an event where all cybernetically enhanced individuals received some sort of hacking signal that reduced them to turning into a vicious mob, killing everyone (until Adam Jensen stopped). Understandably shook, the world of the enhanced, now known as the slur “klanks”, live under constant supervision by a humanity who doesn’t trust them. But Adam Jensen is special, and because of his skills, he lands a job at Interpol working a counter-terror task force. Over the course of the game, you will explore the streets of Prague while trying to stop an ‘illuminati’-tier conspiracy that if fulfilled, may destroy the freedom of all individuals as we know it. Yikes.

This game is play it your way, and is mainly a tactical stealth action game. You can stealth your way past everything, hack your way past everything, shoot your way pas everything, blow up your way past everything, or mix it up a little bit. Sadly, the project was suddenly forced out the door before it was completely finished. It now serves as what was supposed to be a new trilogy… only the other two aren’t currently getting made. If you go into this game aware that a few threads will be left dangling, you’ll still have a blast.

Check out our review right here.

Prey (2017)

Prey is another game with a littered history. The original Prey came out in 2005 after being worked on for 15 YEARS. No joke, but it finally came out and it wasn’t half bad. Some people may accuse the game of being racist for having an Indigenous American protagonist who uses ancient Indian magic to protect himself, and to that i say get the fuck over yourself. It’s a game. And the sequel is even better.

See, Prey was originally supposed to come out as Prey 2, a pseudo-sequel at best where you play as a bounty hunter who rounded up criminals using gadgets and some parkour. The game disappeared. Then, at an E3, it re-emerged as Prey, which means I now have to distinguish them by release date. This time Arkane Studios made it, the brains behind Dishonored. Just like their other game, Prey became a game in same style as the “System Shock / Bioshock” games.

This one also features a wide variety of powers and play styles. You can shoot your way through, hack your.. YOU GET THE POINT. This one features a far more bizarre plot. You are on a space station (sorry for spoiling the first 20 minutes of the game), where some experiments on a shapeshifting aliens species has gone awry. They have done a LOT to ruin the station, and if you don’t solve all those problems and a single one of them makes it back to Earth, it will be DOOMED. Peep our review here.

Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter is a much beloved franchise known for its challenge and scope. You don’t simply fight monsters. You track them down, you beat them to a pulp, and then you wear their bones on your favorite armor. So does your cat. The cats are pretty rad in these games. However, for a very long time, MH was a very niche title for a specific audience, yet Capcom broadened that scope with Monster Hunter World.

This version of the game provided updated controls, a new story, and a huge focus on online multiplayer to get a lot of players. And it worked. During a very quiet January, this title popped up and became the surprise first-hit of the year. Actually, not only that, it set a new all-time record in sales for Capcom. It keeps people coming back with a steady slew of both free and paid updates. You’ll never run out of stuff to do.

This series is a tough and very involved game. Hunting monsters takes preparation. And preparation requires a full understanding of the ins and outs of the game. Preparation is key. Everything from crafting gadgets, potions, poisons, and other key items can make all the difference during your hunt. Of course, this game has a very, VERY extensive tutorial that makes sure you’re always on top of what you need to know. Sometimes it feels like the tutorial never ended. But 25 hours was enough for me. Also I cheated profusely and usually just “fired a flare” during the fights. That means 3 people will show up and kill the monster for you. You could possibly play the whole entire game this way if you wanted. And should. JK, but check out our review.

Vampyr

Developer DONTNOD is a game producer that makes the best 7/10 games you will ever play. They are notorious for their storylines, which aren’t simply engaging. No, these devs would prefer to bludgeon you over the head with hard-to-discuss topics like memory erasure, suicide, assisted suicide, drug abuse, unfiltered teenage angst, and high school drama classes. Then, in comes Vampyr, a narrative heavy action melee game with a slower and focused pace. If you wanted to play the “easy version” of Dark Souls this is the one. Not only that but they recently patched in a story mode and a hard mode so you can either play it as super easy Dark Souls or actual Dark Souls.

Maximizing the potential for irony, the story stars a recently vampire’d Doctor, Jonathan Reed. He’s world renowned for his research in… wait for it… blood. Yep, the blood doctor turns into a blood sucker. Vampyr gets about as bleak as it can possibly get. You are in an old london riddled with Spanish Flu. The citizens of London aren’t a particularly happy or nice bunch either. Between researching links between the flu and a vampire epidemic, you also deal with the citizens.

Many of them need your help in more ways than one. Not only do you do random quests for them, as per most games, there’s an additional angle. You also have to diagnose them and craft the cures for their ailments. Also, you get teased by the level up system. Level up from fighting enemies, but you get a huge XP bonus if you kill an innocent. Yeah, that’s this game. Those aren’t even the truly tough decisions either. You’ll encounter those at the end of each act and marvel at how all options seem wrong. We reviewed it here.

The Golf Club 2

This game exists.

The Walkind Dead: A New Frontier

It’s the Walking Dead my guy.

What are you still doing here? Go play one of these.



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division 2 review
April 10th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

A Nation Divided.

Ubisoft and Tom Clancy have shared what is quite possibly the longest healthy relationship in all of gaming. Seriously, fact check it. And Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the latest entry into this abstract marriage. Released on March 15th, 2019 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC The Division 2 is a third person multiplayer squad based action shooter. Developed by Massive Entertainment, The Division 2 aims to be the improvement of everything that was great about the first installment. 

GRAPHICS: 2/2

The Snowdrop Engine looked amazing 3 years ago when it was first used on The Division. Division 2 however, is the first true example of what the Snowdrop Engine is really capable of. As soon as the game launches everything looks incredibly amazing, but that’s not the big selling point. The big selling point is the amount of control, even on consoles, the player has over the visuals of the game. Ubisoft’s proprietary engine allows for so much customization to allow anyone to set the games visual to exactly how they’ll enjoy it most.

The freedom and control the Snowdrop Engine offers coupled with the fact that the game looks great is incredible. Every animation, from person to animal to explosion, looks fantastic. Nature blends itself well into the concrete settings of post apocalyptic destruction filled D.C. Character movements look and feel astonishingly natural, especially for a game so tethered to online. Take some time to kickback and just enjoy the scenery. It will not disappoint.

division 2 review one

STORY/IMMERSION: 1/2

Within the world of the Division exist a major crisis. It’s been a little over half a yeas since the initial infectious outbreak that brought down the U.S. And now things are reaching anarchic levels of bad. Members of the Joint Task Force have defected and left the white house completely vulnerable to the Hyenas and the Outcast. The worst has literally come to fruition and there’s a lot of work ahead to make things better. The story itself is great however the presentation not so much. 

Being an online multiplayer game diminishes the value of the story and makes it really hard to feel like a part of it. Lines between campaign missions and side missions are very blurred because the real gameplay goal is to become stronger. Very rarely does the game stop and allow for the narrative to position itself upfront and center. The focus was clearly on gameplay and shoot’em up mechanics over narrative delivery.

AUDIO: 1/2

The Division 2 has a very unique sound design issue. The world is designed to be chaotic and feel unsafe. However, unless there is a nearby firefight the visual fidelity makes everything feel peaceful, somber, and a bit messy. It has a post car accident feel. Everything looks like something really bad happened, but that bad thing passed. The emptiness of the world makes space a very lonely audio feeling. The good news is this ambience is nearly perfect for an online squad based shooter. Considering most of the sound will be the nonsense chat amongst the squad. 

division 2 review two

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

Third person cover based shooters typically suffer from inconsistent character behavior. Everyone whose ever played has fallen victim to being completely exposed to the enemy because the game misunderstood your cover request. Division 2 has not entirely fixed this but it doesn’t suffer as much as other games. Not sure why, but not complaining. Outside of that major genre flaw, everything in the game feels great. The dynamics of weapon modification is pretty cool even if it suffers from the online game issue of racing to higher numbers.

A lot of the tactics of understanding weapon mods is removed because the overall goal is to increase the overall gear number. That number represents the truest strength of the character. The controls in action are super tight and have a vast number of customization options to fit any play style. And the development team is being super supportive of the community, listening to request and complaints. 

division 2 review three

FUN: 2/2

Despite being a multiplayer game, The Division 2 is still incredibly fun as a single player game. The squad based combat with friends online is hands down the best way to experience this game. However, the experience alone is just as fun, especially if you don’t mind the added challenge of doing it alone. The frequency of ammo and supply restocks make it feel endlessly exciting. The thrill of an even match against enemies keep the action nonstop. Are far as third person shooters go, there really isn’t anything on the market as exciting as The Division 2.

The Division 2 is an incredible sequel and an incredible example of “games as service” done right. The load times could be better, but once the game is loaded hours could fly by without feeling gaming fatigue. Although Division 2 is an online multiplayer game, it is accessible to anyone who enjoys single player third person cover based shooters. Simply put, save for the lack of narrative focus, this is a great game. 

SCORE: 8/10

division 2 review four



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forza horizon better than forza motorsport
November 5th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Forza Horizon has spent a long time to become a fan favorite. The Forza Horizon racing series of video games have become one of the biggest racing game franchises in the entire industry. WIth the most recent Forza Horizon 4, has the game surpassed it’s progenitor, Forza Motorsport?




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free 4 me november 2018
November 4th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Battlefeels and Jacked Boxes for all!

Ladies and gents, once again it is that time where you are paid for your continuing service as a subscriber. Here, we have the free games given to Xbox Live Gold and PSN Plus members. No fuss, no buss, just brass tacks. Do you want to know what games you are getting? We have them here.

Xbox Live Gold

Battlefield 1 – Did you miss last year’s Battlefield entry? Trying to make the old wars cool again, Battlefield 1 was a breath of fresh air in a series that was starting to lose its way. Featuring a lot of anachronistic weaponry, high concept weapons, and outrageous single player stories, it was a blast. Literally too. Before Battlefield V drops, you have a FREE chance to catch up on all the exciting action from this previous entry. Yes, previous, I know, the numbers make no sense.

Race the Sun – This is a simple yet addicting game where you drive super fast on an endless route. Your goal is to make sure the sun stays on the horizon as you navigate difficult obstacles in your way. The game can be rather brutal with its checkpoint system, but it’s still fun. Free is nice too.

Assassins Creed – The original. The source of it all. One of the most popular franchises in the video game world got its start with this one. It’s a flawed experience with several nags that make it less than excellent. But AC2, of course, improved everything, molding it to what is today. That said, this version of the game is interesting because even though it is a 360 title, it has Xbox One X enhancement, including an improved resolution and texture details. It actually looks relatively good for its age.

Dante’s Inferno – No, not the book. The brawler game. This particular title was noted for some of the crazy publicity stunts EA pulled off during its release. It had a fake religious group protesting it at E3. And they sent a handful of copies to devs with some very bizarre circumstances that were related to the seven deadly sins. In fact, the crazy campaign was more memorable than the actual game was. It’s an okay brawler game.

PlayStation Plus

BulletStorm: Full Clip Edition – This was a fun shooter that EA needlessly made a remaster for and charged full price. It features a game that puts a big focus on making the player get creative with their kills. You get points for killing enemies, but you get more points if you’re creative about it, like in midair, or hitting them with a whip, etc. This game had a unique marketing gimmick where EA released a fake Call of Duty game to advertise for it and HOLY CRAP I’M SEEING A PATTERN HERE. I’m onto you, EA!

Yakuza Kiwami – There’s never been a better time to dive head-first into the amazing Yakuza series. This remaster of the original classic makes the game look like a title that came out recently. It’s the kind of remaster that really put in the effort to make the game look better, rather than just upscaling the resolutions and calling it a day. Looking at you, Shenmue 1 & 2 ‘HD’.

Jackbox Party Pack 2 – The Jackbox games are a collection of party game that, while launched on a console, you actually play on your smartphone with up to 8 friends. The second party pack has two outstanding games that are great. It has Quiplash XL, a game where the player is prompted with a topic and has to come up with a funny response. Literally, the funniest person wins. It also has Fibbage 2, a game where tough and bizarre trivia questions are asked. As the player, you get to submit your own wrong answer, then everyone tries to guess the correct answer. You get points if you make people fall for your fake answer. A total blast at parties and the ease of use is fantastic.

Arkedo Series – This just looks like a series of indie pixel games. Whatever.

Burly Men at Sea – Okay Sony, first Arkedo and now this? What are you even doing?

Roundabout – This is not a song by 70’s prog rock band Yes, but is, in fact, a game where you drive a limo around a map. But the limo is constantly spinning and you have to time your movements to the rotation of the car in order to avoid obstacles. It’s a wacky game that features some fun live action cutscenes. The low budget of this game bleeds through it, and a ton of people gave the game a bad review just because it came out at the turn of a new generation of games and didn’t look stunning.

Nintendo Switch Online

The free virtual NES games this month are:

  • Metroid
  • Mighty Bomb Jack
  • TwinBee

Summary

All consoles have some friggin amazing titles on offer here. Battlefield 1 was a fine game with a very robust campaign, so even if you’re concerned that not many people are playing online, you still have a great single player experience. Race the Sun is a bit low rent, but having the enhanced Assassins Creed is a great piece of gaming history to have on hand. I mean, it literally INVENTED the tower climbing mechanic you see in every game now. It will be especially interesting to see how well it holds up. As far as Dante goes, it didn’t sell that well, but if you are curious as to what you missed out on, nows your chance to peep it.

PS4 has some strong current gen entries. Bulletstorm was also not a big hit and vastly overlooked. In fact, you probably didn’t know that they just randomly added Duke Nukem to the new version. Did you know that? You do now. And after that, Yakuza Kiwami 2 JUST CAME OUT, so it’s a great time to play it. That said, you may find that you don’t have enough time to play the sequel because Yakuza games are big. That said, with the exception of the Jackbox games, the rest of the Sony titles are considerably lackluster, I wouldn’t bother with the last 3 on the list.

NES on Switch, on the other hand, has a major game up its sleeve. The original Metroid is an all-around classic. I personally have never played a SINGLE MetroidVania title. Sad huh? But what better time to start than right now, while it’s free? If it’s free it’s for me right? That is the title of the series after all. The other games? Never heard of them.




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forza horizon 4
October 25th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

What’s the big deal about this racing game?

The latest rendition of the Forza series, Forza Horizon 4 has everything. It welcomes you, no matter what. It rewards you for everything. Whether it be exploring, painting, buying, racing, tuning, photos, ANYTHING. In an era where racing games are vastly underappreciated and highly niche, this is a game that welcomes everyone. Forza plays however you want it to play, whether you want it to be a fun arcade racer or a hardcore simulator. This game also covers you with 8 different difficulty levels. And it has several assist options for control of the car. If you even partially like racing, this is an absolute must-see.

And a fun video on Winter Season.

Corrections:

Horizon seasons change every week.
Forza Horizon 4 contains more cars than the previous one.
You should really buy a game CDKeys using our affiliate link @
http://www.cdkeys.com/?mw_aref=HardModeGamers

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October 23rd, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Xbox’s hidden success story.

Forza Horizon 4 is the best racing game ever made.

No, wait, Forza Horizon 4 is the best current gen game ever made.

No no no, Forza Horizon 4 is the game ever made forever. End of review.

Score: 11/10

Okay, no. Fine, I’ll do a real review I guess. Forza Horizon 4 is the eleventh entry in the Forza racing series exclusively on Xbox One (and PC). It’s the racing game for people who love racing games, and also those who don’t. Developed by Turn 10 and Playground Games and published by Microsoft, it’s one of the only killer apps that the Xbox has in terms of exclusive properties. It’s hard to understand why it’s good, even for people who enjoy it. The game in general just has a way of accommodating all types of players. You can play it as a hardcore simulation racing experience full of professional competitors. Or, you can play it as an arcade racer with enemies who are dumb as bricks. Or, you could just ignore the entire game and make a name for yourself exclusively on making liveries and tuning setups for cars. In addition, you can also stare at and sit in the cars you purchased. How could you go wrong?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

The power of the Xbox One is in full bloom on this game. Whether you’re playing it in glorious 4K on your X model, or just playing the vanilla version on your S model, Horizon 4 is absolutely stunning. It’s first party games like these that use the full potential of the Xbox’s capabilities. This game is the first one to feature changing seasons to keep the game lively. Every week, the game swaps between Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. The appearance and condition of the large (but not too large) map change dramatically with every season, promising you a different experience every time you get on. Each one of these seasons is expressed in stunning detail, whether you’re driving across the frozen lake of winter or blowing through the foliage of autumn. Every car is excellently crafted. This is a perfect 1 to 1 model of their real-life counterparts. Not to mention the greatest looking rain effects ever, as the car you’re driving gets littered with tiny specks of water. They glisten on your hood and roof as you sprint through the picturesque city of fake Edinburgh.

STORY: 2/2

This game has an astounding way of keeping you invested in the game. You are merely a competitor in the Horizon racing series, as opposed to being the boss in 3. The game conforms to suit the kind of racing you want to play. Four is the power number in this game. There are 4 racing types: Dirt, Cross Country, Street, and Road. The more you complete in a specific series, the more races of that type will appear on that map. For instance, street racing isn’t my bag, so I stick to playing the other types. There are only 3 street races on my map, but several dozen races of my preferred series dotting the landscape. The same goes for stunt challenges, four of which are: danger signs (jumps), drift zones, speed zones, and speed traps. If you like speed traps and beat them, you’ll get more. If you hate drift zones and don’t bother, there will only be a few.

The racing experience itself does a great showcase of the game to get you into the grove. Before you join the official Horizon roster, you have to prove yourself by playing “Year One” of the festival. You get to experience all four seasons in a very short period of time. During that, you learn of all these game types, as well as learning what earns you ‘influence,’ the progress tracker of the game that determines your driver level. You can get influence from practically everything, from races, painting, shopping, you name it. The game is also content throwing Wheelspins at you. Which sounds like gambling loot boxes, but you CANNOT buy them with real money. It’s simply a reward given to you for taking part in the game, and it is very generous.

Finally, the game also has 4 story modes: Stunt Driver, Drift Club, World’s Fastest Rentals, and LaRacer @ Horizon. These challenge races have replaced the “bucket list” of former games, giving you more context to a litany of racing challenges. It gives the game a lot more power to give you some context as to why you’re driving the car they gave you and what the challenge is. Of course, Horizon has its showcase races as well. Five races in which you perform a Top Gear style race against certain vehicles. You race a train, a large hovercraft, and a VTOL, among other things. Never a dull moment.

AUDIO: 2/2

All the cars sound authentic. All the DJs are as annoying as real DJs. Voices are fine. The licensed OST is certainly a crowd-pleaser. Although it actually features fewer radio stations than the previous iteration, the lineup of songs still fit the mood of the game to a stunning degree. That is if you even care about the soundtrack. I do, but many gearheads may agree that the only sound they need to hear is the sound of the motor.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

As stated before, you can play this game however you want. When you set up the difficulty, you can choose from more than 8 difficulty levels of driver AI. The AI itself is good because it simulates real drivers, rather than relying on cheap rubber band tactics like other games do. From there you can pick if you need traction control, stability control, or steering help. Then how to see how much help you need with breaks and whether or not you need a line to show you where to drive or just where to hit the brakes. Then you select transmission. Then you set if you want damage to be real, simulated, or completely absent. Then you select if you want the rewind feature enabled. All of these settings determine how much money you get at the end of a race. The more assistance you turn off, the more bonus money you earn. It absolutely is a “play how you want” game that will accommodate everyone.

There’s also a section in the menu screen called “My Horizon Life” that tells you what your progress in every facet of the game. The race types, exploration, photos, cars owned, paint jobs, online races. Absolutely everything is tracked and rewards you accordingly. And those wheelspins you earn are a fine motivator to keep you playing. That’s along with the perks you get just from getting points earned from driving, in or out of races. Also, every week, with the new season, comes new challenges. In the #Forzathon section of the menu, you can view challenges that are started daily, and up to 3 can be completed per day. There’s a challenge of the week that will ask you to buy a certain car or type of car and complete four challenges with it. Furthermore, all this challenge participation will give you an alternative currency (which also CANNOT be bought with real money) that you can spend on special prizes for the season. You can also partake in “Live” events, which is basically a team car meetup where you all head to a place, have a chat, take photos, then work as a team to complete 3 challenges. The multiplayer is seamless, and unless you specifically ask to play alone, you will encounter other drivers. But you have nothing to wait for when you launch the game. Just boom, you’re playing and other people are on the map.

FUN: 2/2

As stated many times, the game constantly finds ways to reward you. Everything you do in this game will get you credits and influence. You can do anything you want to and the game will cater to how you want to play it. The only frustration I’ve found in the game is that during multiplayer races, one bad turn can ruin your entire run. But that’s my fault because I rely too heavily on rewind and drive like a maniac. No more needs to be said. Unless you hate racing games explicitly, there’s no way you can hate on this title.

The developers of Forza Horizon 4 worked very hard in making sure that this installment of the series addresses a few of the sticking point and nags from the prior entry, but even that game was merely just shy of absolute perfection. This one finishes the job while opening up the game to new possibilities for the future. I implore you, please play this game. The demo is free, and you can play the full game if you own Xbox Game Pass. You could get the whole entire game for just a $10 single monthly subscription. Or just buy it, you can do that too. And you should. It’s that good.

SCORE: 10/10

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forza horizon 4 wheelspin
October 6th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

You spin me right round, Forza, right round!

Racing fans all over the world rejoice. The official “only game series worth playing on Xbox” has just dropped its newest iteration, Forza Horizon 4. This is the relaxed, more open world format of the game that can be custom tailored to your play style, from arcade racer to hardcore simulator. I haven’t reviewed the game yet but I am confident it is the best racing game ever made. But we’ll have to wait for the review on that.

We are here to talk about loot boxes. They are a sticking point in the gaming industry that has recently left gamers with a bad taste in their mouths. It’s easy to say EA was the straw that broke the camel’s back with their disastrous issues brought up by Dice’s Star Wars Battlefront II. It made national headlines to the point where non-gaming outlets were covering the issue. It inspired several developers to actively patch out the aspect in their games. It even got a country to outlaw it.

Now, Microsoft has been walking on thin ice in regards to this for quite some time. The more recent games in the Forza franchise featured an alternative currency you can buy with real money. This alternative currency could be used to buy cars. But they took a step too far with Forza Motorsport 7, in which you could earn “prize crates”. These prize crates were filled with cars, in-game currency, and challenge cards. The challenge cards were interesting, in that they just offered you a bonus bounty if you complete certain conditions during a race. For example, placing in 5th or better, or making 3 perfect turns would net you some more coin.

Forza Horizon 4 NK Garaffa 1

But the Forza Horizon Wheelspin is present in all four titles in the series. The only difference is you can’t really purchase spins, outside of using perk tokens in later titles. But, still, it is basically a slot machine that has different prizes you can win. The fourth installment expanded on the items you can win. On top of cars and money, they added cosmetics for your avatar, car horns, and emotes. Yes, emotes. However, something else changed with this version. That alternative currency is gone, completely removed from the game. You can’t buy cars with real money anymore, and you certainly can’t buy the wheel spins or the new SUPER wheelspins. You win one item for wheelspins and three items for super wheelspins. The only microtransaction outside of expansion packs is the treasure map, which reveals all of the secrets on your map for just $3.

So what makes a loot box a loot box? Overwatch may not have been the first, but it did codify the concept of loot boxes. The list of items you can win from crates are icons, skins, emotes, sprays, voice lines, victory poses, highlight intros, and loot. So, cosmetics and some currency. But you can pay to get a whole bunch of these, and you get 4 items per box. And one “rare” item is guaranteed in every box, with rare being the second tier of swag, sporting blue. After that, you have purple for epic loot and orange for legendary loot. MANY games that feature “loot” in general, box or no box, use this color-coded system and verbiage for their items. In Forza Horizon 4, that most certainly is the case, the names and colors are the same.

You only win one loot box from leveling up in Overwatch, with some exceptions for certain events and standards. In Horizon 4, the game practically throws wheelspins at you. Level up? Wheelspin. Do a couple stunts? Wheelspin. Buy a house? Wheelspin. Paint a car? Wheelspin. Take some photos? Wheelspin. Buy a few cars? Wheelspin. Get a couple perk points? Wheelspin. I could stop here but I’m going to keep going anyway. Win a few races? Wheelspin. Lose a few races? Wheelspin. Complete a championship? Wheelspin. Drive around doing absolutely nothing? Wheelspin. Participate in a live event? Wheelspin! EXIST? WHEELSPIN! DON’T EXIST? WHEELSPIN!

Forza Horizon 4 NK Garaffa 2

I swear I could not go more than 15 minutes without getting at least one or two wheelspins. That may be because I bought the ‘Ultimate Edition’ of the game and got some generous boosts to start, but even afterward, I just kept getting more and more. It actually got annoying and broke up the pace of the game. Thankfully, you don’t have to sit through a whole wheelspin animation, which is only about 5-7 seconds, not much at all. But even then you can skip that animation, get your prize, and be on your merry way.

So, what’s different about the Horizon 4 wheelspin again? Let’s review. You cannot purchase them with real money. The alternate currency system is not present. You get them all the time. Basic wheelspins will always get you either a car or more money. Super wheelspins will get you 3 of anything else. You do not get unfair advantages in multiplayer for wheelspins. You don’t get cards that change the conditions of earning more. Every spin is a winner (unless you get 10,000CR, that’s pretty lame).

It feels a lot more like the game is using these prizes to encourage you for playing the game. You can and will play the game regardless of the wheel spins. Yet as you play, the game is constantly rewarding you pretty much just for playing it. You may feel appreciated by the game as you continue to get gift after gift after gift. You may feel far more appreciated than you ever felt possible with this inclusion. Despite the “slot machine” appearance, it feels a lot more like you are just being given some free things, instead of gambling. Because of these reasons, I assert that the Horizon Wheelspin is neither a loot box nor a form of gambling. On top of that, I appreciate Microsoft’s nerve to decide not to include alternative currency this time around. I hope this game along with others continues with that mindset for the foreseeable future.



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xbox killer app
October 1st, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Xbox’s last and best hope.

I understand that not a lot of people are racing game fans. But please, listen to me. Old racing games may have soured you to the concept. Sometimes is the bullshit AI. Sometimes it’s the simulation being too hard. But FH4 is actually the perfect racing game. It encompasses any form of playstyle, where you can play it exactly how you want. If you want a fun arcade racer, you have it. Hardcore simulation? You can get that too. Somewhere in the middle? You bet.

I also isn’t trying to hard to lay a plot on you. This new installment definitely has more cutscenes, but it’s all just context and filler. People physically talk to you instead of chatting you on the radio. There’s still showcases, but there’s also a new feature called “Stunt Driver”. Not to be confused with Stuntman: Ignition, the recently free 360 game for Xbox Gold subscribers.

The changing of seasons also keeps the game fresh, as the rotation of weather changes several of the races you get to in the game. This is yet another addition to the winning formula of the Forza series. Again, maybe some bad racing game turned you off. But this here, this is the racing game to play. This is the best racing gave you will ever play. It’s genuinely Game-of-the-Year material as far as I’m concerned. It certainly is Xbox’s killer app, and I expect holiday sale bundles should come with this masterpiece. I want an Xbox One X just to play this game. It’s that good. Forget Halo and Gears of War. Play Forza. It will enhance your life in ways you could never imagine.

Forza Horizon 4 releases October 2nd. Tomorrow as of the time of this post.

But honestly, why the fuck is the Tesla Model S not in this game?




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September 21st, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Is there any Xbox Fanboy left?

This video is not only a discussion of PS4 exclusive titles. It’s also a sequel to another video we made about 7 months ago. Chet was team Xbox for the longest time. Not anymore, thanks to the lack of any interesting games other than Forza. Which is great if you like racing. But that doesn’t cut the bread does it? Anyway, he’s got two more major PS4 titles under his belt, and he is rather impressed.

So here it is, a fresh take on the new God of War from a guy who never played any of the others. And also, Detroit: Become Human.




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