Review: State of Mind (Xbox One)

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  • Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Reviewed On: Xbox One, releases August 15th, 2018
  • Also playable on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & PC

Note: The review embargo for State of Mind is today, Monday August 13th 2018 however the developer, due to State of Mind's focus on narrative and storytelling, has asked that we hold any video footage after the game's introduction until the game releases on the 15th. This post will be updated with more video content on Wednesday.

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Out this Wednesday is the latest point-and-click adventure game State of Mind from German developer & publisher Daedalic Entertainment. Daedalic, since it's creation in 2007, has been making a name for itself as a standout in the narrative adventure & point and click genre with highlights such as the Edna & Harvey series, The Pillars of the Earth and the tactical turn-based RPG series Blackguards.

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When mind and machine become one – what will remain of humanity? That's the core theme at the heart of State of Mind's journey. The narrative adventure is set in dystopian Berlin, Germany 2048. Society's on the brink of collapse as poverty, illness, lack of resources, and robotics threaten the human way of life. Is there hope, salvation to be found? A colony on Mars? Super AI? Trans-human adaptation and Virtual Reality? Government Conspiracy? Does any of these intrigue you, strike your fancy? If so, I'm willing to bet you'd really enjoy the story that State of Mind sets out to tell. There are similarities to Blade Runner, I, Robot, Ready Player One, Surrogates or Ex Machina if you're looking for them so if that's your kinda story this is your kind of game. The plot, the focus and main offering to be had with State of Mind, is a fun one but also difficult to dance around and avoid spoiling any of the fun. Let me just say the following:

  • If you think you know where it's going? You don't. Trust me.
  • For me, the ending was worth the journey to get there.
  • The best parts, as with all adventures, is in the details, the sub-plot and supporting characters so take your time and READ everything. It's a slow burn State of Mind that peels away layer after layer with ever rock you turn over.
  • You'll control several characters which allows the player to experience the story from multiple perspectives.
  • It's a mature, adult themed game thus the M rating (17+) a rating I agree with, definitely not suitable for the kiddos.
  • In total, I think my main campaign took me about 8-9 hours to complete over a 2 day period taking time to capture video/moments along the way.

https://youtu.be/vZflQp9Wb5I

Visually State of Mind is intriguing. The characters are all created out of this polygonal-triangle makeup that reminds me of how characters looked back in the early days of 3D graphics in the 90's, but much much MUCH better. Actually, considering the theme, it's a great fit as the character models add to the tech-y, sci-fi scheme most of the game is going for with most of its more impressive and stylized, grungy, neon lit environments. It's unique and a standout for me during my playtime. Several times during the game I used the left stick to just pan across the world around me. My only complaint with the visuals is that I wish there were more variations of NPC models present in several environments like the club, workplaces, streets and sidewalks. It's definitely noticeable more than once that a crowd was really more like 3-4 characters duplicated over and over (really, why are so many of the male characters wearing the same infinity scarf?). The overall use of textures, color and shapes is a simple but impressive one and definitely hits the science-fiction, almost cyber-punk scenery I believe the developers were trying to accomplish.

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As an adventure game built around point-and-click commands you already know what the gameplay consists of. You'll walk around, reading / interacting with objects and characters unlocking clues you'll use to progress the story along. Par for the course right? Thankfully, Daedalic has thrown in an OT flavored curve-ball to alleviate the repetitiveness that comes with the formula so often. Throughout my campaign at times I took control of drones that required a FPS-like mini-game or stealthily eavesdropping a conversation. There's also some minor hacking, phone calling, and several environmental picture-based puzzles that largely shake you from my one gameplay complaint, the walking. While never a deal breaker, you'll spend most of your time in State of Mind walking from location to location, character to character, and item to item and I must admit the floaty, tank-like walking controls weren't the best I've experienced. Characters feel like they have a large/wide turning area and even the smallest objects obstruct your path which combined had me stuck on corners or running into and along walls and other boundaries. I do wish there were more action-oriented moments to be had in the story as they're definitely the highlight of the campaign, but I also understand the slower, more investigative chapters enhance the chaos later on.

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I played State of Mind on Xbox One X where it performed pretty smooth throughout the game. There were only a couple, minor, seconds at a time where I thought I recognized some slowdown. I did get stuck on a couple elements of the environment, mainly desks/chairs in the office spaces that required me rebooting the last save point but the saves are generous and it only happened twice. Chapters, environments, and scenery load times were pretty reasonable, no more than 20-30 secs or so each time. I'm most intrigued to find out how the game performs on Nintendo Switch as there's just not a comparable experience to be found on Nintendo's handheld. Xbox and PlayStation have similar games from Tacoma, Fragments of Him and Firewatch. State of Mind could be a stand-out for Switch owners looking for a narrative game to get invested into if the frame rate and load times are reasonable.

I'll look to update this review with some Switch coverage as its made available from other outlets.

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I'm quite impressed with the story and experience State of Mind offers. The characters were believable, and as much as they can be in a dystopian, science-fiction setting... grounded. Humans are human, they're flawed and live complex, messy lives just like we do. The result is a storyline that I was invested in on a personal and global level. Additionally, I really enjoyed the linear gameplay. In a world with more and more complex decision and skill-trees, State of mind keeps you focused on the task at hand and moving forward. Unlike other adventure games / walking sims, you won't find yourself lost or not knowing what to do often.

The elephant in the room for many gamers, I believe, rests with the asking price of $40. A lot has been said this generation about the demise of the middle "B-Tier" games with the rise of mobile and independent game development, but that's kind of  the space where State of Mind is trying to fit into. The story's really good and so is the art and style, but it's not at a level above and beyond an Edith Finch, Firewatch, or an Everybody's Gone To the Rapture all of which launched at much lower prices.

Should you dare to buy in from the start or wait for a sale, I think you'll find a rewarding weekend of linear-adventure gaming with a neat, boundary pushing story.

Final Verdict 78/100

https://youtu.be/UvKiSeFeaa0

Flipping Death: The PSVG Review

flipping death banner.png Welcome to Flatwood Peaks, a small whimsical town with a problem – Death is on vacation. Play as Penny and help trapped ghosts with your trusted scythe. Flip the entire world around to solve puzzles on both the living and the dead side and slowly uncover the mystery surrounding your own demise. Key Gameplay Features ● Unique mix of adventure and platforming set in a twisted, rich and colorful world ● Flip the entire world with the press of a single button! ● Possess the living and use them to solve puzzles ● Innovative physics combined with an immersive story told over several different chapters ● Spiritual successor to our previous well-received game Stick it To The Man!

Check out our Review Done Quick Here:

https://youtu.be/eRnO_dRpsiw

Release date: August 7, 2018. Price: $19.99 / €19.99 Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam (PC) Languages: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish Developer and publisher: Zoink Games

You can also watch Donnie's stream of the first hour if you want further details:

https://youtu.be/XkcjQY-yheY

Monster Hunter World: Review in Transit

See the source image It has been awhile since I dusted my keyboard off for something that wasn't the OT or my special piece (listen to the podcast for more info). However, after a lot of conversation it just felt like it was time to pull up to the desk, grab a cup of coffee, and talk to you the amazing people who come to PSVG. Thank you so much for your time and I hope you find this fun and informative.

I had already pre-ordered the collectors edition of Monster Hunter World a few months ago. I was more or less excited for it I mean you know me, collectibles are kind of my thing! I was also lucky enough to get a two-fer! Dragon Ball Z Fighters also came out same day and I had pre-ordered the collectors of that.

The collectors edition was not up to my standards and was kind of upsetting just from the stand point of what I got but that is a topic for another story. So on launch day I opened up the box, put the game in, and began downloading. A few minutes later (thank you Spectrum and Xbox) I was in game running around searching for meaning.

25 hours later I am comfortable giving my initial impressions and a score that will change as I get farther in game. Lets dive into the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

THE GOOD:

The things this game do well are numerous. Character customization is top tier and something I am still blown away. Being able to design your character but also your Palico is just fantastic but it goes even further. You can also design your player card in game and share it with people you come across in game. The level of detail this game goes into is just incredible and I find myself spending time at the hubs just looking at the menus and seeing what all I can do.

The story was a weakness for me in some areas, but what I do like is that it doesn't try to be something its not. So far no crazy love story or journey of redemption. You are a hunter who is sent to hunt. Easy right. You meet some good characters, no great ones yet, but they are good and I find the whole story arc to be intriguing so far.

The game play is fluid which is huge for a game like this. Being able to attack the target you choice with the push of button, scroll between enemies quickly, and craft/scavenge to get new stronger gear is an excellent added incentive for these maps.

The Monsters are numerous and diverse. You can't go into every fight the same or you will find them harder and harder to conquer. Paying attention to what gear you have and what its strengths and weaknesses are vs your current prey is huge.

No Map feels the same. They are diverse, unique, and numerous. I have had more fun getting lost on these levels trying to find certain craft able materials then I had in exploring the last three open world games I played.

 

THE BAD:

I feel like I may be in the small portion of gamers who feels this, but having a silent protagonist just drives me nuts. Give me dialogue options in game. The story is good, I just want to be able to take part in it by saying, "Hey, maybe we shouldn't do that?" or "I love you!" By giving my character who does almost all of the work the ability to say something, is huge to me.

The SOS system needs a way to track player skill. Not level mind you, skill. I have sent SOS in game where I am calling for help vs certain Monsters. Some of these people help me and we enjoy the gear. More often than not though, I have had people join me who die repeatedly and cost me the 30 min or more I have been fighting this monster and I have to restart the quest.

The Lore is hard to find. A kin to Destiny one, there is a huge back story to these games. I just need to be able to find it better instead of getting pieces here in cut scenes. I am a story fanatic and I just want more of it.

 

THE UGLY: (The raw feeling I have at the end)

This game changed once I was willing to put in the work. Learning different attacks, finding the best set of armor for my play style, and using my Palico to help me in battle. Using my attack lock became a must and I am so grateful that I had some great people to play with. This game is a community driven experience. I am sure you can play alone and find some joy in but there is nothing like tackling a huge monster together and the absolute euphoria after you capture or defeat them.

 

If you need some one to play with you can hit me up on Xbox at The CoachHulk and I would love to help you through the game. This is end of my initial impressions. More to come as I get farther into the game. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope even more to see you on the battlefield together. Thank you and have fun gamer.

Codemasters game reviews: F1 2017 and DiRT 4 (PS4)

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I’m not breaking any ground by saying that 2017 has been an awesome year in gaming across the board. Whether you like shooters, “adventure” games, third-person action games, platformers, retro games, sports games or VR game, you are in luck with 2017. That brings me to racing games.

While racing or games have been around since basically the beginning of video games — 1974’s Gran Track 10 from Atari — my own experience with them has been far more limited. I’ve played my share of arcade “kart” racers, some of the futuristic racing games, and loved Mario Andretti Racing on Sega Genesis, but I’ve largely avoided the genre. I’m not a “car guy” and haven’t really followed the sport until now.

My desire for a good, proper racing game started to build after seeing the fun Xbox owners had with Forza Horizon 3 last year. As a PS4 owner, I’ve had my eye on Gran Turismo Sport since then. It’s the first racing game I jumped on this year, and while I really enjoy the driving and think the online is pristine, the overall game is missing a career mode focus I was yearning for (at least until the upcoming free DLC is added this month).

This leads me to Codemasters and their masterpieces in F1 2017 and DiRT 4 that released earlier this year. They have been a revelation both in my personal gaming habits and in my sport fandom.

F1 2017

The F1 cars handle like a dream. The act of driving them, even with just my DualShock 4, is plainly a lot of fun. The game features each of the 2017 Formula 1 cars, drivers and tracks, with an additional 12 classic cars from 1988 through 2010 for you to race with.

While the game has a variety of modes — time trials, single Grands Prix and Championship Mode — the meat of the game is in its career mode. This is where I fell in love with the game and the sport as a whole.

As a basic noob to the series, I appreciate the breadth of difficulty and length options available. The game has a sliding scale of 0-110 for computer driving difficulty, on top of a variety of driving assists that include traction control, a visible driving line, brake assist and more. This has been invaluable to me as I familiarize myself with the game. You can also race as few as 3 laps, or up to 100 percent of the actual Grand Prix’s lap time. Within the career, you can also decide how many practice sessions to include, and what kind of qualifying to include.

For my part, I started racing at just a 25 difficulty and 25% race length. That length is the shortest race that allows for pit stops, which is integral to the strategy of an actual Formula 1 race. I’m doing the full practice and qualifying weekend, as well, which gives me a chance to really get to know the track and try to improve my time.

The career mode is packed with strategy and an RPG-like progression system. For my part, I’ve signed on with the Haas racing team. As one of the lower end cars, the Haas has a lot of room to improve. Throughout the career, you decide how to develop your car and what areas to focus on. Haas has decent engine power, but a weak chassis and low downforce, so I’m focusing on those areas. From week to week, you also need to swap out engine parts and your gearbox, though you have a limited number of parts you can use before incurring a penalty.

During a race, your tire choice and pit stop timing plays a huge role in where you finish the race. Now heading into Mexico in my first career season, I’ve grown to really love all of the different moving parts in the game. I have increased the difficulty to 50, and seem to be getting results pretty much on-par with the real-life Haas drivers this season, which slightly more success — after all, fun is more important than strict realism. I love the way the game handles this sliding difficulty.

F1 2017 has my favorite single-player career mode in any sports game, ever. I’ve won two separate Grands Prix now, and am looking forward to, in a future season, becoming the first American F1 champion since Mario Andretti in 1978.

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DiRT 4

The first thing that hit me when I finally clicked on DiRT 4 is the killer soundtrack. The music is just bumping and puts me in the mood to drive fast cars through the countryside.

A recurring theme, I’ve never before played a Rally racing game, or watched Rally Racing of any kind. I bought in solely because I loved F1 and this one went on sale recently.

Driving a Rally race is a thrilling experience, and possibly even moreso than driving an F1 car at 200 miles per hour. The handling of the rally cars feels great, and the career mode is appropriately in-depth. I love buying my cars, tuning them and getting used to them as I go.

Aside from Rally mode, there are also Land Rush events, Rallycross and Historic Rally. The Land Rush and Rallycross events are much more traditional racing events, as you run in heats of 4, 6 or 8 cars to make it to the final championship event. The races are jam-packed, high speed and just plain fun.

The other big part of the game is the ability to “create” your own rally courses, run them and share them online. While the scenery doesn’t change a ton, this provides a ton of replayability to the game.

However, the further I get into DiRT 4, the more that procedural generation starts to gnaw at me. The scenery becomes a little too familiar — I feel like I’ve driven past the same log cabin dozens of times — and the roads just don’t feel like real roads. The cars are still a blast to drive, and I like getting to know each separate make and model.

I just wonder if the game would be better served by having actual rally courses — like WRC 7 — combined with the procedural generation model.

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Madden 17: A Review, Reflection, and look to the future.

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.62" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"] 13 days. What could you do in 13 days, friends? As a teacher who is wrapping up a summer of yard work, house projects, movies, and more I feel that in 13 days I could accomplish almost anything. But the 13 is not just an obscure number thrown out to get you thinking; instead, it is the amount of time I have put into Madden 17 on the Xbox One alone. I tend not to play online, except for the multiplayer achievements in the game, as I prefer the franchise mode. Here I get to build up a dynasty in the image I would want--a tough defense, a good running back, a team that limits turnovers, plays fast in all their phases (offense, defense, and special teams), and has the best defensive and offensive lines in the league. In my opinion, teams like this can't lose.

This year was unlike any other year in Madden for me. My friend Dan and I have played ten seasons so far in this league. The Bears have won 9 Super Bowls, and the Jets have won 1. Our league started with four people--Dan, Brian, our very own Nathan Thomas, and myself. After a season, it expanded to 5 with the great Alex D. replacing Brian (who left under mysterious circumstances) and another friend, Cory. Cory and Alex stayed two seasons, and Alex through some great drafting handed my Bears one of the two losses I have had in 10 seasons in the NFC championship where he fell to Dan's Jets in the Superbowl.

Below you will see a quick video of some of my favorite moments.

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For those of you who watched the video above, man that last second touchdown was one of my favorite games ever. For those of you who didn't, you missed out and its only 2 minutes long.

I will go more into this franchise after the review portion, so if the franchise stuff is interesting to you, go ahead and skip to the heading labeled reflection.

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Review:

What makes a football game great? To this gamer, gameplay, customization, control, and modes all mix to create a great experience. Madden has grown from the early days of box-like players to looking completely real. (My father-in-law saw the TV screen when I was playing and asked what game I was watching.)  Players look different--thinner, taller, smaller, bigger. Speed is a premium, and the guys who have it can change the outcome of a game quickly. The game play has changed from my early days and here is what I LOVE and don't love about Madden 17.

The Good:

  1. A mix of game modes for all players: want to have a 10-year franchise with some great friends? Check. Want to play by yourself in a franchise you control? Check. Want to play with a fantasy draft format? Want to play solo, online, or with friends with that fantasy team? Check! Every mode from online franchise to Draft champions and Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) are all improved on and offer new features to keep them fresh and fun.
  2. Gameplay is King. This is the best playing Madden game so far. The hit stick button, or stick, works well and is determined based on your player's skills. For example, if you have a great tackler, he will bring the heat. If he's not so good, you may miss... bad. Passing is the best I have seen, and the control you have as a quarterback is exceptional. Being able to read the coverage, adjust the route, and throw to the proper shoulder have made passing vastly improved from years past.
  3. O-line does their job! The most important part of an offense is the line. If they can get off their blocks, working together, to chip and climb to the backers, you should never get tackled for a loss if you are reading the defense properly.
  4. Defense swarms to the ball! I am so thankful for this. I love building a defense that plays fast and everyone pursues (my favorite skill to add XP too). This game is the best defensive improvement in Madden history (again so far) because I will see 5 Bears jerseys swarm to the ball. Ask Dan, it's annoying to be on the receiving end.

The Bad:

  1. The fullback still chooses wrong on run plays. The TE's and O-line being so improved I thought for sure that the fullback would be better. However, often on outside runs, he will not go to the nearest threat and instead climb to the second level leaving you one on with a defensive end or linebacker. This drives me nuts as the mechanic still seems like he should easily be able to take on that threat instead of leaving me out to dry.
  2. Madden Ultimate Team needs to have some form of carry over. I would be much more interested in this game mode if my two favorite players carried over from year to year. I don't know how hard that mechanic would be, but I would be so down to keep my 99 Jay Cutler from 2015 and carry him with me till the end of time.

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The Reflection:

Ten seasons. I can honestly say this has been my favorite thing I have done in gaming and I got to compete in it with some great folks whom I hold in the utmost esteem. We have played countless games, set records, and had some fun trash talking each other here and there. My Bears became revered, and an almost Yankee-like hatred came towards them from the rest of the league.

Below are some screen shots of the awesome things we have done. Go ahead and look through them. I will have more at the end and will be diving into more of what made this so much fun for me overall a little later.

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Those are just a few of the records we have broken since we started this league. Now on year 10, as we wrap up week 17 with the Bears and Jets 16-0 respectively, I felt the need to write about how much fun this has been for me. Finding a group of gamers that love games the way I do is rare. Finding a group of gamers that enjoy playing Madden as much as I do is even rarer. Before I met Nathan, Dan, Ray, Brian, and Josh thanks to MTTG two years ago, I played games solo. I could have never imagined the added bonus this game has when played with friends. Being able to trade players between teams (thanks Dan for Leonard!), working on draft day deals, scouting out the best players, and occasionally swiping players off of each other' practice squads has led to an experience I won't soon forget.

There are three moments that are my favorites, and I wanted to share them with all of you great folks at PSVG.

  1. The turnover bowl. Around year six or seven of our league, Dan and I were playing in the Super Bowl, and for some reason, our offenses refused to score points. By halftime, it was a 7-0 Bears lead, but we had both thrown at least 6 INT's combined. The game did not get better as we were close to 10+ TO for the game, and it was a narrow margin of victory for the Bears.
  2. Dan and my team met in the regular season, and I played awfully. I was making bad decisions, couldn't get a read on his play calling, and I was losing by 10 with 3 minutes to go in the game. I was forced to kick a FG and then hope my defense could get me the ball back. It did, but with less than a minute on the clock. I got down the field and scored with seconds left on the clock. I then went for the win, 5 WR,s and I hit Zeke on a slant to score the two-point conversion going up 1. I kicked off and made a tackle for the win as time expired.
  3. Battling Gronk. As you can see in the pictures, Gronk and Nathan are doing work together. He might be the only player who touches the ball; in fact, on the Patriots as Lord Vader (Nate's created coach), he gave the ball to the big man so much that he was setting record after record. Not to be out done, I decided one season to change my philosophy and went after the record myself. I was able to get the single game marks but fell short some of the season ones set by Gronk and Nash (a drafted QB for the Pats). The rivalry was fun and one that added an extra element to the game for me. Not just to win, but to win and chase these records I had never thought of chasing before.

These were great memories for me as a gamer, and I am so excited to see what Madden 18 brings. I am hoping for some cool features that they haven't announced to pop up when I pick it up early and dive in (thanks, GOAT edition). With a story mode, draft champions, MUT, and of course Online Franchises to look forward to, I can't wait to spend 13 more days of the year playing this game with friends. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on the field this fall.

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Demon's Crystals Review

Demon's Crystal by StarCruiser Studio is described on xbox one as, "a frenetic twin stick shooter where you guide the Urican demons through countless hazards in order to restore peace to the world." Now I don't know about you but that is one of those cringe worthy moments for me as a gamer. Save the world? Urican? That's a whole lot of build up for a game I have never hear of. But if there is one thing the past has taught me, its to not judge a book till you've read it, or at least tried to read it, or its been covered or something like that. So I dove in ready to have a character of demonic origin and to save the world. You have your choice of 4 playable characters. 2 female and 2 male Demons each wearing a different colored outfit, but other than that they are just cover art and they don't actually look very different in game except for the color. I jumped in and went to work with the first character available. World after world I conquered evil skeletons, ghouls, and the undead. I watched as cheeves popped and was getting into it. After my first boss fight I stopped to take a break. My wife who was sitting in the same room asked me if there was multiplayer and I responded, "I'm not sure."

There is as we found out and we went through and played every game mode type in around 20 minutes. A few hits and some misses but all in all a pleasant experience.

As we dive into the bits and pieces of Demon's Crystal I wanted to share my first experience with it because this game is an overall fun experience and though I didn't love the game, I did enjoy my time with it. With that, lets break down Demon's Crystal.

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Single Player:

The single player campaign is not so much story based. Each level has a set of goals that you navigate. Kill this many bad guys, collect this many things, etc. Once you beat the objective, the game either stops and starts over for the next objective, or your demon springs to life and jumps off the level to the next one ending the round.

As you play, your character levels up allowing you to dispose of enemies faster and adds more power ups for use the farther you go in the game. On levell/world eight, my level 30 character made quick work, where as my level 5 had a bit of struggle. Also the amount of XP given per level is also changed by the level of your character, allowing your lower levels to play up and level up faster.

After completing the game I can say that the campaign on the lowest level was fairly easy and I was able to beat it quickly (less than 2 hours)

However, on the next difficulty I struggled mightily against it and it took me much longer to beat it (a lot of dying and 5 hours later it was conquered)

This game didn't have the polish of a Resogun, but added  the multiple tiered goals for each world that actually made the game a lot more fun for me as I went on. When you pick up new power ups, different weapons types, and learn how to use them effectively, the strategy of the game jumps out at you and gives another layer of enjoyment for gamers.

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Multiplayer:

The multiplayer has the following modes, I also added how many players are needed to play each mode.

Survival (2P-4P) Crystal Quest (2P-4P) Deathmatch (2P-4P) Seize The Large Crystal (2P-4P) Versus (3P - 4P) you can do Player 1+2 versus Player 3. Only 3 controllers required! Kill The Enemies (2P-4P)

 

Best Mode: The Versus mode. Wife, friend vs your beloved Coach Mo. Did I win, no. Did I have fun, Yes. This mode allows for a little strategy, some fun level set ups, and had we had a 4th player more wins for myself.

Least Favorite moede: Crystal Quest. Yea it is what it sounds like and it was just not as much fun for me. Would have loved to see some added flair to this mode to make it more fun for groups.

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This game gave me some really fun highs in the harder mode of single player and some couch co-op multiplayer fun. If you have the controllers, the friends to use the controllers, and are looking for a fun co-op experience I would highly recommend this game. As a game to be played solo, if you enjoyed Resogun, We are Doomed, and Game Corp; then again I would highly recommend it to you. With a variety of weapons/power ups to use, massive waves of demonic bad guys, this combination of twin stick shooter and survival horde mode is a blast. If you are a fan of games like 8 days, How to Survive, and Tokyo 42 I would tell you to maybe steer clear of this particular title on less you can get a steal of a deal.

I hope you enjoyed what you read and that this review helped you to decide to shoot some badies in Demon's Crystals.

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Perception - Xbox One

See the source image Perception is an adventure/horror game in which you play as a blind woman... If that doesn't grab your attention, I don't know what the heck will!

Let's go through a quick checklist before we begin the review:

Large creepy vacant house? - Check Doors opening and closing by themselves? - Check Creepy Ghost children? - Check Wait, what's this, an engaging and well written story? - Check

Before I continue, I want to let you know I'm going to leave out a lot of details regarding the story. I truly think that covering gameplay will get you interested enough to give this game a shot, so I don't want to spoil anything for you.

Right off the bat, this game gets me with two things. 1: It says it's based on a true story (whether that's true or not I will let you decide) and 2: you start in Logan Airport, which is in my home state, so extra brownie points for them!

The setup of the story is that you play Cassie, a blind girl, who has been having dreams of this strange house that she has set out to find. You make your way through Logan airport, very briefly, you then find yourself on the walkway leading up to “the house” which is located in Gloucester.

So, you are probably reading this and saying to yourself, “Ok, you play as a blind girl and this guy hasn't mentioned how that is possible!” or maybe you are not thinking that and I'm just projecting.

Cassie uses her walking cane to assist in echolocation. By tapping your cane, Cassie is able to “see” her surroundings based on said echolocation. Be warned though, using your cane too much in the house can attract unwanted attention…  THE HOUSE IS ALIVE!!!! Or is it?

I'm a big fan of this mechanic. Playing a horror game in which your experience is mostly a dark or a pitch black screen is incredibly tense. Knowing that every time you need to “see” your environment could also attract something terrifying is an element I don't think I have experienced in game in quite some time.

Perception does a great job in sound design as well. Your environment will often provide you with vision, whether it be a heater running, a scary record player that suddenly turns on, or even the wind will give you a cool pathway while outside of the house. You will also see how much, or how little, attention you can attract by interacting with many household objects by means of your cane. Be sure to locate rugs so you can “see” without creating too much noise. Your cane can also echolocate off of hardwood floors, steel objects (like heaters, fireplaces, doors, etc.), and even just the air itself. Each one of those creates a unique sound and vision.

At one point I was playing the game and thought, “This isn't too scary,” just to have a jump scare right around the corner. It's very subtle and would often catch me off guard, which is great! Once I came across my first object I could “hide” in, I knew I was in for more scares in the future.

The game is pretty linear, but I never felt that I was “on rails” while playing the game. You can pretty much explore to your heart’s content, but there is always an option to hold on a button to see where you should be headed. One of the cool things the game has to offer is right at the very beginning when you start your game, it gives you two options (pictured). You can have your main character, Cassie, be more or less “chatty”. Basically talking to herself to give you clues or to just hear her inner dialogue. I obviously chose the chattier version so I could enjoy the story, but I imagine the less chatty version is basically “hard mode” (I could be wrong).

The game plays out in acts, with each one ending at the conclusion of a story, so to speak. Like I said earlier, I don't want to spoil anything. The character development is fantastic, and you really start to get into the character as you play. I felt very connected to Cassie, and often felt empathy toward how she must have to live her life. She is supported by a small cast of friends via her cell phone. I should mention this as well because her phone has a program called “Delphi." This is what you use to “read” notes and documents you find while exploring the house. I will say this game really reminded me of Resident Evil (the good ones) in its exploration and puzzle solving.

Overall, Perception is a must play! Fantastic gameplay, a unique story and play style, engaging character and story development, and not to mention it's pretty gosh darn terrifying!

Let me know in the comments what you thought of this game.

 

Human: Fall Flat (PS4) Review

Physics-based puzzle games are a tough nut to crack. Make the game too hard and the player leaves the game frustrated, never to return to the thumb contorting nightmare they just experienced. Make the game too easy and the player leaves disappointed, thinking about the untapped potential of the game they just played. Human: Fall Flat attempts to balance this difficulty teeter-totter by keeping the mechanics simple (all you can do is grab things and jump) but increasing the complexity of the situation you need to apply the mechanics in. While there is the occasional stumble, Human: Fall Flat manages to stay on its feet to the end. Jumping in, you take control of Bob, he is a builder, but I do not believe there is any relation to the other one. The first few levels are increasingly complex tutorials, but even as the difficulty grows, the answers are straight forward. Eventually, you get to the first "real" level and you are immediately challenged to put together everything you have learned to solve a more complex, and far less straightforward, combination of puzzles. These levels are where the game really shines. Though there seems to be an intended way to solve each stage, you do have significant freedom in how you approach each situation. There are areas to explore that have nothing to do with solving the puzzles to escape. On the other hand, if you are skillful in your approach and have mastered locomotion, you can skip entire parts of puzzles on your way to the exit.

When controlling Bob, you have only a few options of what you can do: grab things and jump. On the most basic level that is it. However, the possibilities are quite vast. Each arm is independently controlled with the right and left trigger. You will grab at wherever you are looking with the trigger you pull. So, you can look right and grab a lever, then look left and grab a separate lever, and then twist your body to move them each a different direction. Or, commonly, look up and jump to grab a ledge with both hands. Then use the sticks to pull yourself up and let go of the triggers once half of your body is up to stand-up. In trying to write this it is confusing, but I have included a video of it in action as it is quite intuitive once you learn it. Now, intuitive does not mean easy, or that it works the first time, but if you think something will work, it almost always will.

If you miss a jump, or drown, or do something else you are not supposed to, your body will fall back down onto the level crumpled in a heap back at the beginning of the puzzle. Though death happens often (at least to me) it was rarely frustrating, and thankfully the checkpoints are frequent enough that I never felt like I lost significant progress on my quest. Only one time was I repeatedly failing at a task when I was trying to do the "right" thing. Often what you need to attempt to do is easily teased out. Occasionally you have to try a couple of different techniques to make something work, but more often than not, if you fail numerous times at a task, you are likely approaching it wrong. Knowing this helped keep the game from getting frustrating and helped ensure I was regularly making progression toward the end of the level.

While puzzle games have been lookers in the past (The Witness and more recently Rime) the presentation here is not something to write home about. That is not to say the game looks bad, not even close, but there is a minimalism to the presentation that will not appeal to everyone. Additionally, the sparse soundtrack led me to do something I almost never do...listen to podcasts while playing. I felt a bit guilty about this the first time I did it, so when going back to the game, I tried to listen to the audio again. I just could not do it and went back to listening to podcasts.

One advantage Human: Fall Flat has over many puzzle games is a co-op mode that is likely more fun than playing alone. While I spent the majority of my time in single-player, I was able to partake in a bit of local co-op, and the emotions ranged from slightly irritated to uncontrollable delight. While the wonky physics can be humorous individually, they are significantly amplified when you have another person trying their darndest to help, but they make things considerably more complicated. If you are short on patience, this may not be a great mode, but I found myself having the most fun when I had a partner.

As a complete package, Human: Fall Flat delivers a simple concept in a way that was able to balance the frustration with the fun. It is not going to win awards for presentation, but if you can navigate an occasional control struggle, and you enjoy solving puzzles, there is enjoyment to be found. To amplify your fun, find a fellow builder to join in your adventure.

Human: Fall Flat was reviewed using a PS4 code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

A  fine entry into the physics-based puzzle genre, Human: Fall Flat will give you occasional control quirks but typically provides a fun experience.

 

Walking Dead A New Frontier Review: (with a spoiler free crust)

When I first heard I would not be playing as Clementine in the Walking Dead season 3, I found myself upset. I played as Lee begrudgingly. He was fine as a character but if he really had that little girls future at heart the whole issue in the city would have never happened and he and she would have been fine! But after his sacrifice at the end of the season and then playing as Clem in what was a roller coaster of a season and experiences, I just fell in love with her as a character. She had grown before our eyes into a strong lead character who made you want to keep playing. She became my Link, a character who I had no idea what she was thinking despite our choices, and I had no idea if we were going to survive this horrible world.

That however, is why this installment wasn't called Walking Dead season 3. Instead we really are traveling down a "New Frontier" in this game. New characters, new stories, but that same scary, fear filled world surrounding us.

So for me to say my disappoint was palpable, would be as big of an understatement as saying I only kinda like Madden. So I sadly pressed on and started to play the game. Enter our now character Javier.

As you begin the game you get the feeling Javier is spoiled. Dad's favorite, running around trying to find himself after being kicked out of major league baseball, never home to help with his family. Why was this so important to me? Because it shows that this is not your normal person who is about to get his world flipped upside down.

Unlike the older games, where your "group" was made up of strangers  you choose to join up and work with, this game starts us with an actual family unit. You play the game as Javier who is traveling with his sister in law and his nephew and niece. You can see that surviving has been hard on them and they are tired. Living out of a van they end up stopping at a junk yard to scavenge for supplies and unknowingly leads them into a set of crazy situations as they are ambushed by raiders, split up, make new friends, and you are forced to save the lives of your family and new friends in the hardest of times.

Trying to stay as spoiler free as I can, I will tell you that this is one of my favorite Telltale games ever. What I like the most is that they got ride of the walking simulator and made the game more choice/action scene centered. I found myself making choices that mattered, choosing who to side with, who to trust, and responding at the particular moment in fun quick time events. There is some walking but not like the first two walking dead games where you can spend hours lost trying to solve those almost puzzles. Why this is a huge plus in my book, is that it lets you dive into this awesome story. Story is the thing that makes Telltale and few companies in my book do it as well as they do.

Another thing that I love about this game and the steps forward it has taken is in the replay-ability. In all the games I have played from telltale, I have never replayed the game on the same console the way I have this one. I have replayed all 5 episodes between 2 and 5 times. Not because I missed something, but because I wanted to see how the outcome would change. I will tell you, loved ones are saved and lost from choices made through out the game. Choose wisely.

The last thing that makes this game so great is timing. The timing and quick button play is smoother than its ever been. No forced moments, no arduous scenes were you are searching and searching for the right combination of things to look at. Just a great over all flow for the gameplay that made it easy to play over and over again. I haven't rain into any delays or bugs and to reference I have been playing it on Xbox One (the Elite and S models). Some of you might think this is a restatement of my praise from earlier but this is a reference to game play. The controllers are better, timing, etc.

With a great overall story  and the ability to have replay ability and better mechanics, I really think this game is on its way to being one of the best telltale has made so far. Lets hope for more to come from Javier and family and our girl Clem. This gamer was left with all the feels and wanting more from this story line in the future. Here's hoping E3 and Telltale hear my cry.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helped you want to play some video games.

Injustice 2 Review - PS4/Xbox One

Every now and then, a piece of entertainment sneaks up on you and surprises you in a good way. While it’s hard to argue that Injustice 2 has snuck up on anyone, I personally wasn’t expecting to jump into the game until the crew here at PSVG kept talking about their excitement for it. I’m typically terrible at fighting games, and my knowledge of superheroes basically starts and stops with movies and games — I’d never heard of Blue Beetle or Firestorm, or Gorilla Grodd, prior to this game. Thanks to others here at PSVG, and my enjoyment of the first game’s story mode, I decided to give Injustice 2 a try. I was smitten from the beginning.

Story Mode

The first thing you will notice is just how good this game looks. The cutscenes are amazing, and the fighting animations are fluid and fun to watch.

The story jumps right in with the destruction of Krypton from Super Girl’s point of view. The timeline jumps forward to a post Injustice: Gods Among Us world as Bruce Wayne and other DC superheroes are still dealing with the fallout of Superman’s evil ways. The story told in Injustice 2 is filled with twists and fun reveals and is a fun romp, if a bit dark.

Throughout the campaign, you fight as your favorite DC heroes, as well as some lesser known ones I loved (Blue Beetle) or hated (Firestorm). The central conflict of Batman’s philosophy versus Superman’s in dealing with criminals plays out amidst an alien invasion from Braniac and his followers.

The pacing as the story builds up to its final climactic battles is tremendous, and I grew far more attached to Harley Quinn, Black Canary and The Flash than I’ve ever been. The main story also has some inherent replayability, as many fights can be fought with one of two characters, and there are two vastly different conclusions to the game depending on a decision you make in the last chapter.

Welcome to the Multiverse

As much as I enjoyed the story, the Multiverse is what has pushed Injustice 2 over the top for me. Through the multiverse mode, you are given various ladders of enemies to fight while upping your characters’ experience and unlocking new gear and shaders.

As part of the PSVG Guild on PS4 — find us by searching this ID: XQN38 — I am working toward something as a larger part of a group. While I am still terrible playing online against other real people who know what they are doing, I can contribute and work toward various goals thanks to the Multiverse and Guilds.

Injustice 2 has a similar loop that has also hooked me in games like Diablo 3, Destiny and Overwatch. Play game, unlock loot boxes (here called Mother Boxes), open them, equip items and repeat. I love how my version of the Flash can look different from someone else’s, and have slightly different stats. I currently have a purple Flash, a white Batman, a Red Black Adam and more.

Final Thoughts

Although it wasn’t on my radar even a few weeks ago, I’ve absolutely loved my time with Injustice 2. The game does feel overwhelming to a fighting-game noob, as I still find it tough to string combos together. And as good as the story is, I could see the ending coming from a mile away — though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The currency system is also somewhat confusing, and there is a definite feeling of being pushed for microtransactions.

But the game is just plain fun to play, and I look forward to continuing to play it in the coming months.

What the rest of the PSVG Team Thinks:

Nathan:

I would not consider myself a fighting game fan, but when I saw the first Injustice I decided I wanted to try it. I really enjoyed it, just because of the story and the smooth gameplay. When Injustice 2 was announced, I already had a bit of built in hype from the first.

I purchased the Ultimate Edition, which comes with instant character skin unlocks for Power Girl, John Stewart Green Lantern, and Reverse Flash, as well as 2 sets of exclusive “shaders”, and the upcoming slate of nine downloadable characters. Safe to say, I went all in on this game! My purchase feels justified, as I write this, I have played over 20 hours on the Xbox One version of the game.

The combat feels right, the moves are not too complicated, and it just looks spectacular! I would say that it serves novice and experienced fighting genre gamer fans, as it is easy to learn, but harder to master. The story is fantastic, paired with absolutely stunning visuals in the cut scenes make you want to progress past each fight to find out what happens next, and find out which character you know from the comics will make an appearance! In my opinion, the story in this game is better than the recent DC movies, and superior to the story of Captain America: Civil War.

In all, this game is a must play. I’d recommend at least seeking out the stitched together cut scenes of the first game so you can understand the story going in. Past the story mode, the multiverse mode offers great arcade-type challenges, as well as character endings for each fighter in the Battle Simulator. As you play, you also unlock “Mother Boxes” which give you random gear for your fighters that adds to the unique experience you have. This customization lets you fight unique versions of characters in the Multiverse, as they are randomly given appearances. It really keeps things fresh and interesting! PLAY THIS GAME!

 

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Kyle H.:

Fighting games are the genre I wish I could wreck house in, but I usually just get wrecked. Despite that, I like jumping into fighting games as the thrill of the one versus one combat is something difficult to replicate in other games. Injustice 2 capitalizes on this sensation and throws in just about everything and the kitchen sink to keep you engaged.

The campaign is surprisingly robust, you can join in evolving multiverse events, participate in a guild to take on challenges as a group, unlock unique gear to customize your favorite combatants, oh, and you can also do traditional online competitive battles against other (almost always better) players.

Tight controls, slick visuals, and unique additions to traditional fighting games make Injustice 2 an easy game to recommend, even if you are not deeply knowledgeable about the DC comic universe.

There are a few drawbacks: the multiple types of in-game currency, expensive DLC characters, and a plethora of different loot crates you can earn (or purchase) all point to a game that is looking to squeeze every cent it can get out of you. If you are patient, there will likely be a “Game of the Year” addition in a year or so with everything in it at a far more reasonable price. However, if you can handle the cost, or are free from the compulsion to have every piece of content for a game, Injustice 2 is a fighting game that will punch its way into your heart.

Kevin:

With a storyline so good that the DCEU should pay attention and get these guys to write their movies, this is the most fun I've had with a fighting game since Smash Bros. Great roster with more coming down the pipeline, no character seems to be overpowered, it's all about balance and knowing your opponent. Very deep online and gear mechanics, lots to do and keeping you coming back for a long time.  Good for strategists and button-mashers alike, a must have for any fighting game fan or super hero fan for that matter. Now if we can just get them to use some of the CW stuff. 

Injustice 2 was purchased and reviewed by the authors on the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy..

 

Tango Fiesta: The Greatest Action Story Never Told

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Tango Fiesta is a sly top down twin stick shooter that places you in every single 80's action flick all rolled into one. It's greatest strength lies it's absolutely absurd and hilarious story. If you are familiar with any of the action flicks of the 80's then you will be right at home and chuckling away at the silly dialog and main character John Strong who looks Bruce Willis as John McClain in die Hard. John Strong is the greatest action hero you've never hear of. Has he defeated the Russians? Yup. Did he squash the Middle East? Been there done that. Save the planet from Aliens? You bet'cha. Tango Fiesta is his untold story.

Every level in Tango Fiesta is randomly generated, and is based off of some action movie. This greatly lends to its replay value. There are also multiple characters you can play as each with their own stats and attributes. Sadly no matter who you play with the game is still narrated by John Strong. It would have been nice to have multiple retelling of the same story from diff points of view.

Your load out consists of a main and secondary weapon as well as an explosive. The guns run the gamut of what you would expect from AK's to Uzis to shotguns and you can purchase new ones over time with the loot you collect from the levels. You have the same options with the explosives which range form simple grenades to . As far as the twin stick mechanics go you don't quite have a full 360 range of motion when shooting just up down left right and diagonals. So you do have to do some navigation work and line you shots up to be effective. Outside of that you do have your typical ammo packs health packs and you do have to reload which depending on the weapon determines how long the animation is. So combine all of that and you do get a bit more strategy than a standard twin stick space shooter for example. Lastly there are bosses each with their own ridiculous action movie villain name. The boss battles are nice in that you have the entirety of the level to play in complete with additional enemies, health packs and ammo to try and be the last man standing.

 

 

 

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Tango Fiesta is great addition to the twin stick shooter genre. It has a colorful story, fun characters, and is downright hilarious. Add to it the fact that you have multiple characters, you can play it in a single or 4 player setting, there are a ton of weapons to buy and every level is different every time. It's fun its frantic and it's hilarious. If you've got a weekend and are looking for something to just pick up and play this is a great entry for that.

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Coach Mo's Thoughts

Tango Fiesta made me laugh out loud almost the entire time. The dialogue in game and  during the cut scenes is one of the best things Merge Games was able to do. It is a nod to all those 80’s action movies we loved to mock and imitate in our youth. It made me want to watch some old movies in the middle of playing to satisfy that nostalgia.

When you jump into the game and we move past the humor, the game play was good. Please don’t read that as me not liking it. It was good for being a twin stick shooter. However, in playing solo my first run through I was able to beat the first levels and boss fight in less than 10 minutes rescuing John’s girlfriend who was kidnapped by his old partner. I found that if you run through the level to the objective, dodging enemy fire, and then shoot the objective from a far then you are able to destroy the objectives with out alerting the near by enemies.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Many times during the game, your character asks, “Why did you come to Andromeda?” That same question can be asked of the player of any game, “Why are you playing this game?”

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Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth installment of the Mass Effect lineage, technically taking place a few hundred years after the events of Mass Effect 3, but the characters are unaware of anything past the beginning of Mass Effect 2, since that is about the time that they began their journey to Andromeda.

In the course of the game, you get to see the new galaxy through the eyes of Pathfinder Ryder, the human responsible for finding and taming a new home for the human race. You have a set of “Golden Worlds” that were selected from the hundreds of possible planets in Andromeda, which could support human life. Your mission starts out as you try to identify the best option of these “Golden Worlds” for the human race to begin anew, but you quickly discover that it is not going to be an easy task to do so.

As you discover new planets, you also discover new threats, possible friends or foes, species and others that wish to join you on your mission. To enable you to effectively explore these new, vast worlds, you receive command of your spaceship, the Tempest, and a planetary rover called the Nomad. For me, planetary exploration is a hallmark of the Mass Effect series, and this entry has some of the best exploration, whether it is going to clusters and exploring the planets on the Tempest, or driving the Nomad across various environments. Driving the Nomad is fantastic, and harkens back to the Mako (in a good way) from Mass Effect 1. The Nomad does not have any weaponry, but features an all-terrain mode that enables you to climb the highest mountains, a booster to move you quickly around, and thrusters that let you hover for a short time. All of this combines to make one of the best vehicles I have used in gaming!

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As with any Mass Effect game, there are branching decisions to be made that will shape and tailor your personal journey. At least twice, I encountered a choice that made me set the controller down and think about the possible outcomes, and how I wanted Andromeda to be shaped. You could make a choice that one of your crew absolutely do not like, but you know it would be better for Andromeda. Those kind of decisions can make it difficult to choose, and really, there sometimes are not “correct” choices, just the lesser of two evils. This made me really invest more in Ryder, my crew, and Andromeda as a whole.

As mentioned above, the crew of the Tempest is a motivating force behind some of your decisions. As you progress through the narrative, hear their back-stories, and go on missions with them, your crew feels like a family. I genuinely began to care about their stories, and as the crew grew together, I wanted to make sure I was a good leader for them. After a shaky start, my progression as their leader felt earned, not given. Most of your crew could accompany you on missions, as you can take two companions with you. Obviously, you would want to consider which companions would augment your selected abilities, and create a formidable team. On the other hand, if you do not really care about those tactics, grab your two favorites and listen to their conversations as you explore Andromeda, hear their reactions to your decisions, and even get their thoughts before you make those decisions.

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When you put all of these things together, you get the sum of what a Mass Effect game is, and it has been done well in Mass Effect Andromeda… for the most part. Quite a few flaws mar this otherwise gem of a game. Most noticeably, I encountered quite a few issues with graphics, textures, and lighting. During a conversation, I spoke to invisible characters (that were not making use of cloaking devices), characters with obstructed faces due to improper placement of light sources that would cast an unfortunate shadow, and I had to exit out of the game completely a few times because I was not able to select dialogue options to progress the game. I also have a number of missions or tasks that I cannot complete because of some bug in the mission. Achievements are also not popping for feats that I know I accomplished. It is quite frustrating to see these types of issues in this otherwise great game, but I am hoping that with patches, most of these issues could be fixed.

When you tire of exploring Andromeda with the crew of your Tempest, you can switch over to multiplayer and run Horde-type missions with up to three other players. Its wave based, and cycles through hacking, survival, and VIP type waves, leading up to the final extraction wave. The missions can prove to be intense, especially when trying to get a full team extraction!

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In all, this is a fun and engaging game. As of this writing, I have spent over 90 hours with the game, and have really enjoyed it! It is unfortunate that this game has the technical issues, because I would definitely score it higher if I experienced them with less frequency. The story is worthy of entry into the Mass Effect canon, while I personally don’t think it’s as good as the Shephard storyline, it’s still compelling in its own right.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below, or hit me up over on Twitter @VoicedByNathan!

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Telltale Guardians of the Galaxy episode One: Tangled Up in Blue: Quick Impression

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/guardians.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] I am a huge Telltale fan. I feel that is something you should know from the start of this. I have played every game they've made on the Microsoft console side and have played almost all of them multiple times. I love the stories, the easy cheeves, the awesome characters and decisions, and the cheeves.

The only thing that seems to be the norm for me in the Telltale games is that I buy the physical copy almost exclusively unless there is some really great deal. I don't replay these games on the same console. I beat the game, trade it back in, and just enjoy the memory of what happened.

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So on May 2nd I picked up Guardians of the Galaxy for my Xbox one and proceeded to play Episode one Tangled Up in Blue. Now this wasn't the best episode one from Telltale (Minecraft Story Mode and Borderlands) but this was a strong start.

With as little to no spoilers as I can, you start the episode chasing after a huge marvel villain who is laying waste to the Nova corps. You and your team have to infiltrate and old Cree structure, find a way to stop him, and then deal with the aftermath.

What I enjoyed the most about this first episode was the fact that I played as every character in the main fight scene, giving it just this  awesome feeling of a blockbuster movie and the story doing a great job for fans of the franchise and newbies alike. If you had never seen the movie, read the comics, or been exposed to Star Lord and his crew, before the end of this episode you have a great idea of what makes each character tick and I found that to be done in a way that doesn't drown you (i.e Telltale Batman, did you know his parents were dead?)

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Now I know what some of you are thinking, man this guy loves Telltale so he is probably just has blinders on to all the bugs. To that I will tell you what I tell my friends at PSVG, I have never once had an issue or bug in a Telltale game on my xbox one or 360. Not one. No frame drop, weird voice over issues, nothing. I have had issues playing them on my surface but this thing is old and not meant for gaming I don't think. So my experience with Guardians episode one, was bug free.

 

Well that's all for me fam, I hope you enjoyed this quick impressions and if you end up playing it, let me know. Would love to chat openly about this game and my very fun experience playing it.

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Toby: The Secret Mine Review

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Do you like the dark? Not the scary darkness in creepy movies. I would say more of that 2 am, walking around on the outskirts of a city type darkness. If you are picking up what I am saying then Toby: The Secret Mine might be the game for you. Toby TSM is a LImbo/Inside esk style of game with a dark art style and no vocal narrative. As I started to play the game I even tried to go left (first achievement you can get in Limbo) just out of curiosity on how similar these games may be. No cheeve sorry folks.

 

 

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As I dove into the game, I found it easier than I thought it would be at first. The "puzzles" in this platformer hybrid game were easy to solve and where I died and failed in games like Limbo and Inside once or twice in the opening scenes, I got through the first 6 levels quickly and without dying or really having to do much work. I did however miss some hidden friends (collectibles) due to not realizing how the game hides things inside the dark landscapes.

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Unlike the games I listed above (LImbo and Inside in case you forgot or were skimming and stopped here to read cause you like parentheses) Toby doesn't tell a story through the landscape. Instead it is used against you, hiding collectables, danger, and shortcuts to your destination. At first I found this to be an annoyance but after more time in game, I found it to be an exciting piece of level design. LIke games before it, the game is hiding its true self from me to make it more menacing and difficult. Once you learn what to look for like moveable structures, hidden doors in weirdly placed buildings, and crackling noises that tell you the ground beneath you can be broken to reveal a hidden tunnel the game became easier to traffic on the higher levels.

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Top 5 on the Plus Side:

 

  1. Level design is very creative and makes you really search the levels even though they aren't very big.
  2. Art style makes the game and its collectibles very enjoyable
  3. Short and fun experience
  4. Creative puzzles that are accessible to those who play few puzzle games and can still be fun for those who play a lot
  5. Doesn't punish you for mistakes like some games do (Inside I am looking at you)

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Some things that need Improvement:

  1. Though my interpretation of the story was good, I'm not sure everyone out there has a creative, make your own side story as they go type of imagination. If you tend to be more literal in your experiences of games, maybe thing twice on this one.
  2. Sound design has some good moments, but in my opinion was lacking. There are some good moments, just would of loved to hear more from the levels based of the character and where he/she/it was standing.
  3. Collectible level tracking would have made the 1000 on this game so much more enjoyable. Though it isn't a huge problem as the game does track the collectables in the top right corner in game, you don't know which one you

 

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All in all this is a really fun experience to be had. I found myself thinking about playing when I was at school and would come home, jump into a level and get 10-15 minutes in before I would work on lesson plans or spend time with the family. Though the game is short, took maybe 1-2 hours to complete and on my second play through to cheeve hunt took me less than an hour.

 

This game has a unique art style, good level design, and innovative puzzles. If that sounds like something you would enjoy then I hope this review helps you decide to play Toby: The Secret Mine.

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Ghost Recon Wildlands - The Ultimate Review

Ghost Recon Wildlands will be one of the most underrated games of 2017, but offers the player one of the best MilSim experiences ever built in one of the most beautiful environments crafted in gaming. Whether you are a shooter or an explorer, an adventurer or an achievement/trophy hunter, the Wildlands offers a reward and exciting experience that must be enjoyed one province at a time. And yes, even though it is awesome to play solo, it is better with others.

Read More

Review: Sublevel Zero Redux

Greetings Koopalings! Donnie here from Play Some Video Games to review a new addition to consoles - Sublevel Zero Redux. I used this review opportunity to dust off the Xbox One in the office, but you can play Sublevel Zero Redux on your PlayStation 4 or a PC using the Steam client. I streamed the game three times using Beam on Xbox One, but so far have had difficulty downloading them to add to our YouTube page. When I get this ironed out, I'll add the Let's Plays to this review but thanks for those that tuned in to watch. Sublevel Zero Redux is a new first person shooter / procedurally generated roguelike from independent studio Sigtrap Games (@SIGTRAPgames).  The big sell with Sublevel Zero Redux is its six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) in which you're piloting a gunship both left, right, up, down, forward and back in three dimensional space. As with many roguelikes of recent memory (Don't Starve / Binding of Issac), Sublevel Zero Redux also features permadeath which means no lives & no saves. It's not a style of game I would recommend to all gamers, even I can't claim to be a fan of the genre, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the experience.

Presentation

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The game features a tron-like art style of neon glowing retro-bit blocks and warm colored environments. The use of color and contrast is very attractive. Its a modern take on classic game art and it is quite enjoyable even if simple.  Aiding the presentation are some sweet, sweet tunes. The music and sound effects definitely help to sell the the sci-fi setting. Weapons also fire with great visual and audio effects which continues to build an immersive experience. I definitely recommend pulling out some headphones so you never miss a beat.

Equally good as the audio & visual direction are the mechanics. Guiding a ship with six-degrees of freedom in 3D space isn't something often implemented in video games. The sheer amount of negative combinations that could result in a player trying to harness such movement has to be a nightmare for any developer. I'm happy to report that Sigtrap Games has largely pulled it off. Controlling your ship through the winding hallways and connected rooms is pleasant from the start. It wasn't until my 4th or 5th run with the game that I began to really settle into the groove, but once it clicked, it was very rewarding to zip in and out of doorways blasting away with mini-guns and rockets before switching to grenades while dodging on-coming attacks with a barrel roll. There were a few occassions where my ship turned it's axis when I didn't specifically want it to, but it never impeded my progress or adversely affected my playtime.

That's all to say, the game really impresses "for an indie game." I don't mean to sound derogatory at all, we all know independent studios have largely taken up the non-AAA video game scene. However, even with that said, there are very few indie games I've played that have this level of polish regarding performance. I didn't experience a single frame rate stutter, a crash, or any other technical issue worth reporting. Considering how ambitious the goal to deliver six-degrees of freedom is, Sigtrap Games deserves some major kudos for a job very well done.

Gameplay

The game begins with a small cinematic explaining that the universe is literally falling apart. Wormholes open randomly, swallowing galaxies, planets, ships, people.... you get the idea. You enter an ancient facility that is behind all of this chaos in an attempt to save the galaxy. Ultimately the story is a forgettable one and is probably the easiest stone to throw at Sublevel Zero Redux. The world is so well constructed, it feels like a missed opportunity not to have some dialog between characters or more cut-scenes in between levels. I could imagine some Firewatch like dialog from your gunship back to homebase or an operator really adding some depth to the adventure.

Death is permanent with this game and you're going to die at least a handful ,if not a couple dozen of times (at least I did). The maps are procedurally generated after each death which keeps the game feeling new every time. As you progress through each labyrinth, you encounter several floating robot combatants that move as you do and also fire projectiles for you to doge. It's pretty standard shooter stuff but it makes for an enjoyable loop due to the superb control you have over your ship. The hook here is Sublevel Zero is one of those 'Just One More' type of games. You'll never feel as if you were robbed from glory or that you weren't good enough. There's always a hint of... "I can do this, just one more go" with Sublevel Zero Redux that will bring you back beyond your first successful run.

To add just a little more flavor to the dish, you can upgrade and outfit your ship, as well as unlock new ones. As you progress though each sublevel, you'll acquire materials and weapons that you can use to equip and upgrade new weapons and hulls. You can equip two sets of primary and secondary weapons which you can quick swap in combat with the right and left bumpers. Honestly I found crafting mostly a random affair as I never truly knew if I was actually upgrading over my previous tools. I was largely just clicking menu options periodically as they became available as there's little in the way of guidance and instruction for this portion of the game. Additionally, the loot drops found in chests throughout campaign never seemed to really upgrade my ship in a tangible way.

Value

Sublevel Zero is unlike anything out there and there isn't a strong direct comparative for Sublevel Zero Redux on consoles. At best, this game compares to Forsaken on Nintendo 64 or the niche-popular PC game Decent from the 90s. I imagine many other reviews for Sublevel Zero Redux might mention that the game is short as some negative statement. While it is true that this game can be beaten fairly quickly (3.5 hours for me on my first day) it is a rogue-like and meant to be played through multiple times. This is where my biggest flaw with the game comes into focus. The loop began to grow stale on my third run through the game, which isn't the best criticism for a Roguelike. The game is fun to play but has very little motivation or purpose for completing the quest let alone completing it for a second, third, or multiple runs. There's little diversity in the environments making everything feel the same no matter how many different times you die and hit the reset button.

I'd offer that the amount of gameplay available coupled with the better than average music, style, and control justifies the Andrew Jackson ($20) out of your wallet.

Conclusion

Sublevel Zero Redux is the type of game that coined the phrase "for fans of the genre/series." I wish there was a lot more here from a plot perspective, even an occassional boss battle would have been a welcome addition to the formula. It's just unique enough that I'd recommend this game the next time you're in-between big releases and want to get into something new. It's a wonderful option available that won't require a 60 hour (or dollar) investment to enjoy.

Sublevel Zero Redux is a great example of why we have come to love independent studios. With Sublevel Zero Redux the Sigtrap team attempt to bring something fresh and new to the often "too-similar" first person shooter market and the experience is worth taking a flier on.

 

Sublevel Zero Redux was reviewed using an Xbox One code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

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Specter of Torment Review - Switch

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] A simple, touching and effective story surprising strength of the original Shovel Knight campaign’s story. The Specter of Torment addition continues that tradition and builds on the lore of the universe by telling the ultimately tragic story of Specter Knight’s ascension (or descension?) to his status in the Order of No Quarter.

The new campaign comes with the overall package, now rechristened as the Treasure Trove, or you can purchase it separately. It comes with the base game if you already own it, or you can purchase it ala carte. The entire package is worth purchasing -- even on Switch if you own it elsewhere -- and Specter of Torment also stands on its own.

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If you've played Shovel Knight, you know what to expect graphically. Specter of Torment is a gorgeous 8-bit game. The levels follow the same themes as the original game, but are adjusted to take advantage of Specter Knight’s move set.

Specter’s move set is a little faster than the Blue Burrower, which takes some getting used to. While in the air, you can slash through certain obstacles to reach higher areas, or into enemies to cause damage.

Many boss fights go down to the wire, with Specter Knight’s slashing move being the difference between success and failure.

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The structure of the game is more akin to a Mega Man game, where you can choose to go to any level in any order. The reward for each level is different based on difficulty.

The story is relatively straightforward, as you are attempting to recruit each of the other knights to serve The Enchantress. After every couple levels, there will be a separate flashback level that tells the story of how Specter Knight came to be in the service of the Enchantress.

The story is touching and sad, and may just be the highlight of the game. That's saying something as the gameplay is solid and matches up well with the original campaign.

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Shovel Knight is a must play game, and is one of my favorite games of this generation. With Specter of Torment, I have had a wonderful excuse to revisit a game that I love. The series’ earlier expansion, Plague of Shadows, left me feeling indifferent. Specter of Torment is a thrilling return to form that leaves me more excited for the next chapter in the Shovel Knight saga.

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Specter Knight was purchased by the reviewer on the Nintendo Switch. View this page to learn more about our review policies and scoring descriptions.

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