Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mario Kart 8.

Console: Nintendo Wii U
Genre: Kart Racing
Release Date: May 30th, 2014
Date Reviewed: June 20th, 2014

I’ve been a big fan of the entire Mario Kart series since the very first one on the SNES. I have played and owned all of them at some point. I even enjoyed Mario Kart: Double Dash immensely for the Nintendo Gamecube. I just recently bought a Wii U to add to my collection and decided to buy the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Edition. I to this day love my new Wii U and the games I have for it. Enjoy the review!

Mario Kart 8 (MK8) is a breath of fresh air to the series. The very first Mario Kart game to be HD on the big screen! MK8 plays like any other Mario Kart game. There is a great new mechanic in MK8 that adds a “WOW” factor to the races. The new mechanic is anti-gravity. With this mechanic you can basically race in any direction! You drive upside down, around in loops, etc… This adds new dynamic to the Mario Kart. With this new mechanic they can create new and refreshing courses to future Mario Kart games. Even with Mario Kart 8, these courses are really enjoyable. MK8 also offers some new items to use against other racers. One of these new items is the boomerang. Using this item allows you to, you guessed it, throw a boomerang ahead or behind you and it comes right back to you. You can throw the boomerang up to 3 times in front of you or behind you. When you throw it, the boomerang will go ahead and then circle back to you allowing you to throw it again. Very handy item if you have the accuracy to use it like the green shell. Another new item added to the game is the “8” item. When you use this you will get 8 items that circle around you. Some of these items include a star, a bomb omb, a banana and a green shell. Whichever item is in front of you circling, you will use that item first.

Anti Gravity is the new Mechanic.

Coins make their way back into MK8 as well. These coins will help you unlock new karts, wheels, and parasails. There are a lot to unlock with these coins so make sure you collect them. You can collect up to 10 per race. Drift boosting also makes a return to MK8 but it is much easier to do this time around. Simply press and hold the right of left trigger to drift and continue to hold it to get a boost when you let go of it. There are also many different characters that you can unlock in MK8. Unlocking characters is extremely easy. By completing courses and earning cups you will always unlock a random character. Some of these characters include Rosalina, Toadette, and all of the Koopa Kids. The Wii U tablet can be used as a controller or can be used as a secondary screen which displays the race track and all of the racers. The same modes are back as well including Grand Prix, Versus, Time Trials, and Battle. All of these can be played online while Time Trials gives you uploaded ghost data to race against.

Online racing in MK8 is fantastic. The Wii version had a lot of lag issues while racing online. MK8 puts you up against 11 other people per race and I have not experienced any lagging or hiccups in my connection while racing. If you need something to do besides earning trophies in Grand Prix then give the online modes a try. It is great if you are racing competitively or just for fun. You start off with 1000 points and depending how well you do you will earn a certain amount of points. But if you’re coming in 10th, 11th, or 12th all of the time then you will slowly start to lose points. It’s a good system especially if you are very good at the game. What I mean by that is Nintendo tries to promote “just have fun” feel online instead of “you have 18 losses and 2 wins, you suck”. This way people don’t really care and race to have fun. At the time of this review my score is at 1600.

Awesome character Roster.

Overall reaction for MK8 has been very positive for me. I am still having a lot of fun with the game just by racing online and with communities I know and enjoy playing with. I am very happy that you are able to join communities to play with your friends, live streamers, youtubers, etc… MK8 is very fun, beautiful, fast paced and cheerful as it always has been. This is a great edition to the series and probably one of the best since Mario Kart: 64.

MK8 is the first Mario Kart game to enter the HD market with Wii U being able to do so now. The characters look so good; all of them have received a major HD upgrade. The character animations are very good as well. The biggest thing you will notice when playing MK8 are the environments of the courses. I have caught myself multiple times not paying attention to the races themselves because I was just amazed by the environment. They are very colorful, detailed and look outstanding.  The visual effects are extremely well done and the game runs incredibly smooth. No lag, no frame drops, just smooth gameplay all the way through.

The second you load up MK8 the music starts up. The menu music is fast paced and sounds great. Gets your adrenaline going. The menu music has a nice rock feeling to it with small sections with an electric guitar. Compared to MK7, the music in MK8 is much much better. The new courses are no remixed versions of older tracks. All music in the new tracks is brand new editions to the series. The music in the older tracks from previous games are the same obviously but sound so much better and updated to today’s standards.

Menu music is sooooooooooo good.

Final Thoughts:
MK8 is a breath of fresh air. Yes it remains to be basically the same as the previous games but the game has been amped up to HD quality with a brand new anti-gravity mechanic that adds a lot to the game itself. With the amazing quality, to great online play MK8 is definitely a breath of fresh air. You will enjoy this game immensely with endless game play. I highly recommend this game to everyone.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Console: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2014

Wolfenstein has always been a huge part of my life. I have played every single one including Wolfenstein 3D. I have always held this series close to my heart and always found each game in the series to suck me into the action and story. This is my review on the newest edition to the Wolfenstein series. Wolfenstein: The New Order. I am reviewing this for the Xbox One version.

Game play:
Wolfenstein: New Order is not your ordinary FPS. It has two campaigns, mostly very similar to one another but different outcomes. Without spoilers you basically choose a campaign for one of two characters. At the beginning you do not have that option. You have to select which character is part of your campaign right off the first mission. Once the game has been beaten you are able to go back and choose the other character for you campaign. Wolfenstein has stealth mechanics and well as full blown action packed mechanics. Depending on which difficulty you choose you will be using more stealth the harder it is and more running and gunning on the easier difficulties. Wolfenstein is a very challenging game. If you're looking for a real challenge then go and try the Uber difficulty. You may throw a controller or two. Wolfenstein has a mixture of good FPS action, movie like cinematics, stealth gameplay, a perk system, and a fantastic story that action made me use some of my emotions.

The Perk System is great!

The perk system is a fantastic way to customize your play style. Whether it be stealth, demolitions, run and gun, etc... Each tier of perks has it's own prerequisites you need to do in order to unlock that perk. One example is you have to kill 5 guards while being stealthed with throwing knives. Once you do this challenge you unlock a new perk allowing you to carry more throwing knives with you. If you're a completionist then you will want to try and get all of the perks. But that is not all there is too do for you completionists out there just like in the other Wolfenstein games in the series.

In New Order, there are a ton of things to collect. Some of them are harder to find then others due to them hiding in secret locations. Sticking to the old Wolfenstein system you are able to find secret doors and switches to open up secret areas to add to your collectables. One set of collectables that I really enjoyed finding are the golden items. They are scattered everywhere and most of them are tough to find on your own. They can be hidden behind the smallest cracks and you will walk past them. Besides golden items you can also find encryptions. When you find all of the encryptions you can go into the main menu under extras and try to encrypt the codes to unlock cheats and funny little additions to your campaign. There are also things like models, letters, and audio files to collect which make exploring much more enjoyable.

The gameplay overall is very fun and addicting. If you rush through the game you will complete it in roughly 5-6 hours. But if you spend the time exploring and collecting everything it will take you 10+ hours. Keep in mind that there are two campaigns you can play. The cinematics and cut scenes pulled myself into the game even deeper. Some characters make you hate their guts and want to hunt them down while other events and characters make you want to sob and weep. Each character has their own unique
story and some of them you really get to know. Finally, there is a wonderful easter egg hidden in the game. When you are in your hide out go to the very top floor. You will see a mattress with pictures above it. Look at the mattress and it will show an icon to examine called "Nightmare". Hold X to sleep on the mattress. When you fall asleep you will be in the very first Wolfenstein game and you have to fight your way out of it.

Duel Wielding guns!

This review was done on the current gen consoles. It was reviewed on the Xbox One so it will be graphically superior to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions although it still does look great on the last generation.

The graphics in Wolfenstein are overall very well done. I wouldn't say exceptional due to it being on Xbox One. It doesn't look "next gen." The cut scenes are very beautiful and cinematics are great and really get you involved in what's going on as well. The gameplay visuals are good but like previously stated, doesn't feel "next gen". Overall I was still impressed with the visuals in the game. There is a lot of gore in the game and some people may feel uneasy. In one cut scene after you escape the labour camp there is a cut scene that happens and it was even making me somewhat uneasy. But it added great effect to the game overall.

The audio in the game was really great. The soundtrack really impressed me overall. I have always been a fan of heavier music. As soon as you enter the main menu you hear this wonderful soundtrack. It has a "Wolfenstein" feel to it. The music in game and music in the cinematics and cut scenes were all very well done and added to the already great experience of the story and action within the game. Overall it was fantastic!!

The Main Menu music.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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