Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ReCore

Release Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: Platformer
Platforms: Xbox One, Windows 10.
Platform Reviewed On: Xbox One, Windows 10.
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2016

       ReCore is a pretty fun game overall. This is the first game in the Xbox Play Anywhere program where you buy the game and you are able to play on PC as well. ReCore introduces some really cool mechanics but falls short on executing them in a way that makes it exciting. The world is just way to big for all of the back tracking that the player has to do. It wouldn't be so bad if there was a lot more to explore and do in this huge open world but there is not. The prismatic core system is fine at first but gets really dull very quickly due to the fact that you need a certain amount in order to even progress through the story and finish the game. I kept running into problems where I would hit a wall because i did not have enough cores, mainly because the leveling progress is kind of slow so some of the dungeon you would just ignore because you were not the required level.

Open World Combat.
      
       There are some positives overall with the game though. It has new and interesting mechanics that you never see in a video game. Like the ability to change your ammo type based on the color of the enemy. You match it with their color and it will do more damage overall. When an enemy is weakened you are able to extract it's core with you use to power up your companions, Or you can choose to kill them regularly and get the materials you need to upgrade your companions armor. The customization is pretty good overall and if you craft a set for one of your mechanics then you will get a bonus to that character. It might be finding more loot and making on of their attacks stronger. The platform mechanics are very well done as well and feels like a fast paced 3D platformer. The companion system is good with full customization between four different bots and three different cores. Each companion has their own special techniques. Seth can crawl up rails, Mack can find items hidden in the ground, Duncan is able to smash through rocks and the FL1-R is able to fly you over longer distances and use vents to get boosted up in the air.

Great customization.

       ReCore suffers from a lot of problems from glitches and the dreadful load times. It is a bit better on the PC overall but still has the same glitches in the console version. Load times and visuals are superior on the PC version but doesn't help it very much at all. Overall ReCore is a a good game and with just a bit more development time this game could have shined.

**UPDATE** ReCore received a patch update and the load times are now better. Still not very quick but better than it was.

Good Game:
7.5/10 

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Overwatch

Release Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Platform Reviewed On: PC
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2016

Overwatch is Blizzard's new and very different IP. Overwatch is an FPS team objective game similar to Team Fortress 2. At the time of this review there are 26 playable characters with Ana being the newest edition to the games roster. Blizzard has said they will be releases a lot more characters in the future all for free. Overwatch is one of Blizzards most anticipated game with over 15 million players worldwide and beating the top game League of Legends in Korean cafe's. First time in years.

Overwatch is a team based game where you do one of two objective modes. Capture the nodes or escort the payload. Both modes rely heavily on team communication and the right heroes for the job. The different characters in Overwatch are broken down into specific roles and each are very unique. There are attackers, defense, tanks and support. Each playing a crucial role in winning. When you join a new match you will be either attacking or defending which also changes which heroes will be good to use. At the character selection screen it will also notify you if you have to much of one type, to much of the same character, if you need a support, etc... Which is handy in picking your team with a bunch of random people. Adds some coordination to it.


There are currently 5 options to play. Quick Play which jumps you into a match right away with other people. Play with A.I allows you to play with a team of humans versus a team of A.I controlled characters. Custom Games which allows you to invite friends and create your own games. Competitive Mode which was just recently added and allows you to play a more serious version of the game. Weekly Brawls which changes every single week and is never the same (so far).

Competitive Mode allows you to increase your ranking, earn competitive points which can be used for golden weapons, and to show off your true skill. In Competitive you are only able to select one of each character which makes it so you won't be up against a team of Winstons. The matches in competitive mode are a little bit longer due to the scoring system which makes it that much more competitive.


Weekly Brawls are special modes that changes every Tuesday. This could be Hanzo and Genji's only. Tanks only. Support only. Special rules, over the top regeneration, etc... During the Summe Olympics in Rio, Overwatch introduced a new set of loot crates and a new type of game mode in the weekly brawl called Lucio Ball. The point of Lucia Ball is exactly like Rocket League where you need to get the ball into the opposite goal to score points.

Overwatch does have a leveling system where every level you receive a loot crate. These loot crates have a chance to drop commons, rares, epics, and legendaries. These may include emblems, coins, skins, character intros, etc... There is also an option to purchase loot crates with real money. Loot crates do not effect the gameplay whatsoever, it's purely cosmetic. As soon as you hit a certain level the XP caps at 22,000. The max level in Overwatch is 1890 and every 10 or so levels you unlock a brand new portrait. Every 100 levels you unlock a "prestige" like star.


Blizzard has done something truly special with Overwatch. Deep hidden story, amazing cinematics, fast paced FPS, etc.... Overwatch will only get bigger and better from here on out. The really only negative thing I have to say about Overwatch is it's price point. $60 for a full game or the basic version on PC for $40. At the time there just wasn't enough content to justify that price point. But no with all of these updates it certainly will be worth it. Even now, it's a great ton of fun.

Great!

9.5/10

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mini Review: Good Knight Story.



Knight Story is a puzzle RPG game for mobile. It is similar to Puzzle and Dragons in away except you are a knight trying to rescue the princess. As of right now there is 125 different levels to complete. As of this review I am on 113. Knight Story has am average story but the humor is what this game makes up in. Some of the lines from the Knight and monsters are generally pretty fun while some are "roll your eyes" funny. A lot of the bosses are unique and also have their own dialogue. Knight Story involves you matching up different colored orbs to perform that elements attack. There is also an element guide on the top of the battle screen to tell you which element is strong against each other.

During your puzzle adventure you meet a lot of decent characters, find weapons and new spells to help you on your way. If you play often enough without waiting to collect your daily gold reward you will get overpowered very quickly. There is the option of buying in game currency but it shouldn't be dependent on it so much. A lot of the battles I was finding myself losing very often until I waited the set amount of hours, several times and gathered enough gold to upgrade my weapons so I would have a chance.



The levels in Knight Story are not all the same though. Some have you collecting items while trying to stay alive against a large enemy or the normal slaying your enemies to progress. It doesn't look like they will be adding any more levels, it's been several months with no updates which is kind of disappointing. Overall Knight Story is a good, quick pass time and recommend if you're into puzzle RPG's.


Good
7.0/10
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mini Review: Color Switch



Color Switch is an addictive puzzle game on iOS and Android where the point of the game is to bounce a colored ball through obstacles. Sound easy? Think again! There are a couple of ways you can play this. Either play endless mode or the many different modes offered. Endless mode is essentially a mode that never ends, gets faster and you try to beat your score....almost like Flappy Bird. With Color Switch as you progress through each obstacle the color of your ball changes and you need to match it up with the color of the obstacle in order to proceed. These obstacles can be moving, be very small or even change appearance. 

At the time of this review there are currently 19 different game modes. Each one being very different from the others. Fortafy Games adds a new mode almost every bg update for free. One of my personal favorites is Climb where your ball or icon rides up each side of the wall in order to reach the goal. It start off easy but as you progress it gets much faster and almost frame perfect when you switch between the walls. A lot of these modes will having you wanting to throw your phone at the wall but when you beat it, it feels so rewarding.



The music is super catchy and each mode has it's own soundtrack. You collect stars from playing the game overall and are able to use these stars to buy new balls. One might be a pokeball, thumbs up, a skull, etc..... Color Switch is constantly getting updated with new modes, balls, and much more. Highly recommended.

*Update* New mode Slide was added after the review. Also note that this is a free game. 


Great!
9.0/10

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

DOOM


Release Date: May 13, 2016
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Platform Reviewed On: Xbox One, PC
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2016

Doom is finally out after all of these years since DOOM 3. I've been a DOOM fan since I was 7 years old in 1996 and was excited to buy this physically on Day One. Let me tell you, it was worth the long wait. DOOM is a franchise which takes place on Mars and Hell. You play as the notorious DOOM guy who is just badass all around.

You start the game waking up which looks like to be some sort of tomb or crypt. As soon as you get up your put on the suit and all hell breaks loose. The story is a basic but decent story, you usually do not play DOOM for the story though. It's all about feeling like a god and destroying hundreds and hundreds of demons. This game is no different. Besides the beautiful visuals this game is fast paced and plays a lot like the classic DOOM. You even have the option to changing your field of view like in the original DOOM. This version of the game introduces some nice mechanics including the rune trials, access to classic DOOM maps, a skill and gun upgrade system.


Each level you play has secrets. Within these secrets you might fine some collectibles or even some suit upgrades. You can use these suit upgrades for many different things. One example is reducing the damage you receive from exploding barrels. Each level also introduces you to combat skill points which a rewarded by completed in game tasks which is different on every level and by slaughtering demons. You use these skill points to power up your many guns and unlocking their masteries. Unlocking the masteries are not unlocked with your skill points but by performing other tasks. It's a pretty good system overall.

On top of that there are collectibles to find in each level. Every level has little figurines of DOOM guy in different suits. Whenever you grab one it plays the classic DOOM sound as you're looking at it. It makes it feel like DOOM is an open world game when in fact it is not. But it makes the game much more explorable with it's HUGE maps. On top of that you  are also able to collect codex's and learn more about the story.


Glory kills is also an excellent new mechanic in DOOM which is very useful on the higher difficulties. Whenever you weaken a demon you will notice it glows red and blue. That is the indication that you are able to press the melee button and perform a glory execution. When doing so the demons will drop health and sometimes ammo. Another good way of getting health and ammo back is killing demons with your chainsaw. The chainsaw has very limited ammo but it's a great way to get back your weapon ammo if you're running low during a battle.

The boss battles are a ton of fun! Without spoiling who they are (should be obvious) let's just say they are huge and some require some time and strategy to take down. There are a total of three bosses in the campaign all with badass music and fun ways to take them down.

When you go onto the main menu of the game there is another mode on the right side of the campaign. This is called Snapmap and it's great. Snapmap is kind of like forge from Halo but with this you have a lot more customization when building your own map. With snapmap creators have the opportunity to create their own maps, modes, events, and decide to make it online, co-op or even just a solo map. Some can vary to demon waves, park our, music makers, etc... The list never ends. ID Software is also constantly adding updates to this feature as well.


Lastly, I want to talk about the multiplayer. I personally love the multiplayer in this game and cannot get enough of it for the simple reason of it feeling exactly like Unreal Tournament and Quake. A lot of people have their complaints over the multiplayer but I don't see any reason not to like it. The only frustrating situation about the multiplayer are DLC packs mainly. At the time of writing up this review, the first DLC pack Unto the Evil came on on Friday, August 5th, 2016. Season pass holders for Xbox One have not been able to play because it will not unlock the content and Bethesda has stated they are working on it.....4 days ago and during double XP weekend which people including myself were unable to participate in with the new DLC. Besides the technical difficulties with the multiplayer, it's pretty solid overall.

Overall, DOOM is an amazing game and highly recommend it to anyone on any platform. Full of easter eggs, beautiful visuals, an amazing sound track, demons, action, guns, etc.... There is something for everyone in this title. I just hope they figure out this DLC content fast because people are getting very impatient including myself.

GREAT!

9.5/10

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Fire Emblem Fates


Release Date: February 19, 2016
Genre: Tactical role-playing
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2016

Fire Emblem Fates is another great entry into the Fire Emblem series for the Nintendo 3DS. Ever since Awakening, Fire Emblem has been getting some good traction in North America which is fantastic. Each entry gets better than the last (best one is Sacred Stones in my opinion). Fire Emblem Fates does something a little different. There are three games to choose from in this version. Each one has their own stories, characters and even weapons. Conquest and Birthright are the two mains ones recommended to start with while Revelation is the third story which is obtained digitally at a reduced cost. Once you hit chapter 5 you have the option to choose which side you will help.

As you progress through each story line you will discover lies, truths, and shocking twists. Each story gets their own unique player hub where you can upgrade, and build vendors, prison, blacksmith, arena, etc... There is also a multiplayer option where you attack another players hub or defend your own. In Revelation you get the option of using both sides buildings and farms. Each story is different but in the end the main point of it all is to try and stop this war between the two clans.

Fire Emblem Fates also introduces a new mechanic which allows your to partner up with other units. When doing so you get a slight buff in your stats depending on your relatioship with that unit. It also increases your chances of surviving. Another similar mechanic is when you are standing beside other units they will also increase your stats during battle depending on your relationship with that unit. The better the relationship means a higher stat gain.

Conquest:



Conquest is the story of the mighty kingdom Nohr. In this version it is early discovered that you were captured as a baby. In this story you were born in Hoshido and was captured at a very young age and grew up in Nohr. Manipulated you believe your allies in Nohr are in fact your blood relatives. If you choose to defend Nohr (Conquest) you will be shunned by Hoshido. Overall the story for Conquest is fantastic and has some really cool twists and emotional ties with some of the characters. However, this was my least favorite version.
Conquest is the "classic" way of playing Fire Emblem. In Conquest there is no grinding, resources are limited and the difficulty is much higher than any other version. If you are seeking a challenge then choose this path.

Final Rating:
8.5/10

Birthright:



Birthright is the other option to choose once you in chapter 5. This focuses around the clan Hoshido. In Birthright it is again discovered that Hoshido was your birth home but instead of sticking with Nohr you decide to go with Hoshido. Hoshido is the easier option especially with people who are new to the series. Birthright allows grinding and the ability to get stronger so the tougher chapters won't be as tough. Each mode does have Lunatic mode which is always a challenge. Birthright just makes it more bearable.

Birthright is the "newer" way of playing Fire Emblem, similar to Sacred Stones in a way. I found the characters are much more likable in Birthright and the story is a bit better as well. However, this story was not my favorite.

Final Rating:
9.0/10

Revelation:



Revelation is my favorite story out of the three choices. Revelation is a combination of Conquest and Birthright. It allows you to grind if you need to but the difficulty overall is higher than Birthright. In Revelation on Chapter 5 you decide to not join either clan and form one of your own to stop the war. You later discover a place which no one can speak of and the story and history of this place. It's fantastic story but I recommend you play Birthright and Conquest before Revelation.

Revelation also gives you the option to use BOTH building styles from Conquest and Birthright, allowing you to further customize your player hub. With Revelation you gather units from both Nohr and Hoshido. So overall it makes it a much more interesting story and the difficulty is just right.

Final Rating:
9.5/10

Overall Rating:
9.0/10
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Undertale


Undertale is an RPG available exclusively for PC and Mac, but don’t let that dissuade you. It is by and large one of the most unique games currently available for many different reasons. Gameplay varies tremendously with the situation, but most of the “exploration” takes place in a traditional top down view with four directional movement (diagonals are also included). It’s an entirely different experience than the huge AAA titles (looking at you, Fallout 4), and I love it for that.

One of the nicer aspects about a game such as Undertale is its more traditional offline nature. You get to have a solitary experience (the strong-willed can complete a run in a day) and take in the world with no distractions. It’s just you and the game, and that’s refreshing. Without the requirement of an internet connection, you don’t even need to hide yourself from trolls or hackers.

Visually speaking, Undertale is designed as a cross between retro 8-bit and 16-bit type graphics reminiscent of the Earthbound franchise. Despite that, the pixel models are selectively very detailed and characters all have unique movements and animations to correspond with their moods and feelings. In terms of creating an immersive environment, Undertale does exceedingly well.

Battles are handled on a turn-based system, but don’t let that throw you off. Enemy turns involve dodging a slew of varying attacks in a danmaku bullet hell style of gameplay, minus the need to destroy enemy ships (as seen in games such as Gradius). The biggest difference is on the offensive turn, as there’s more than just attacking or healing. You also have various dialogues and the most central element of the game.

Mercy

Every fight has two options: kill or mercy. Monsters will eventually die if attacked until they run out of HP, but you can also “spare” them by using dialogue options. For instance, early in the game a reindeer with tree antlers appears as a random encounter. Upon use of the “check” command, you see its trees have been decorated and it doesn’t like that.

If you spend turns removing those decorations instead of attacking, you can spare the monster without dealing any damage. Given the nature of most games, you might wonder exactly why you would even bother. After all, monsters you don’t “kill” yield no experience points.

Yet the game has a few different ways to play. On a pacifist run, you can play to the very end without ever killing a single monster. That includes bosses! If you play your dialogues right, you can even befriend them. Naturally, this also comes with some additional challenges.

No killing means no exp, which means you never level up. Not that you’d need to deal extra damage, but that also means you don’t get any additional HP. Playing the game better becomes more important than leveling up, so the game forces you to become better. Unless, of course, you get fed up and decide to start killing everything in sight.

Murder

The other way to play through Undertale is often referred to as a “genocide” run. As the name implies, you kill everything you come across. This yields the most exp and lets you level up, giving you more HP to handle enemy attacks. While the genocide run is generally considered easier, it has some interesting effects.

Certain fights change when you alter the course of the story by killing everyone. Some enemies become more difficult or more aggressive (as one might imagine). Other fights will take longer (strangely enough) to win if you’re just using attack.

Other than regular battles, there are some other systems in Undertale worthy of note.

In the Field

Outside of battle, there are a number of different puzzles and traps you’ll need to navigate to reach your destination. While most puzzles aren’t incredibly challenging, they do require some thought. A few are timed and will demand some additional dexterity.

That means tons of mini-games, so you won’t always be able to rely exclusively on the skills you’re using to battle through the rest of the game. Decision making is important because what choices you make will have different outcomes. This can even include what equipment you’re wearing.

Inventory in the game is extraordinarily limited, as you can only carry up to 8 items at a time. You’ll need to choose what you bring with you carefully. Though random battles are somewhat infrequent, you can quickly find yourself in a bad spot if you have no healing items because your inventory is filled with dogs (you’ll understand if you play).

Plot

It might seem curious to list the plot so late in an RPG review, but that’s only to save the best for last. Undertale’s plot is simple in nature but filled with clever jokes and heavy themes. Within the first few minutes of the game you’ll find yourself cast as a child that’s fallen into a cave. This is a place where, in an ancient war, humans banished the monsters to and sealed them away with a barrier. This is a land where monsters rule.

While your goal is mostly to escape the underground and return home, the variety of unique and entertaining characters can quickly make you forget about reaching the end. Recall that your enemies can quickly become your friends, but only if you handle the battles and dialogue right. You’ll quickly learn that the protagonist’s life is incredibly important, even as a child.

Where to Get It?

Undertale is available on Steam and GOG for an affordable $9.99. Due to the different choices you can make in the game, you can get at least several runs out of it. Considering how most modern games run as high as $60 (before the DLC), a ten spot seems like a good deal.
Do you have any additional questions about Undertale? If you’ve played it, what did you think of it? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

About the Author: Lots of people play video games, and Cassie is no exception. When she’s not slaying dragons or beating her friends, she’s usually writing about tech and gaming online. If you’d like to read more of her work, check it out on Culture Coverage.

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