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.

 

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Review (Switch)

See the source image OK, I know what you are thinking...didn't they already review this game? And the answer is yes, but not on the Nintendo Switch. We wanted to take some time and test out this title again on Nintendo's hardware. Kyle reviewed this one originally, and now it's time to get my take on it. I did not read Kyle's review again before reviewing this myself, so lets see how close we both felt on Oceanhorn.

Keeping in mind originally this was a mobile title, this is insane to imagine paying this on a phone. So if you had and skipped out on any console version, I think you should go back, this doesn't feel like a mobile game at all to me. The developers definitely spent some extra time putting on the polish before porting it over. But i'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Let's start with the story first, here is the official description from the developers:

"Grow from a boy to a legend.

You wake up and find a letter from your father. He is gone...

The only lead is his old notebook and a mysterious necklace. What happened?

Explore the islands of Uncharted Seas, a world filled with many dangers, puzzles and secrets. Fight monsters, learn to use magic and discover ancient treasures which will help you on your quest. Use all your wits and skill to unravel the mysteries of the ancient kingdom Arcadia and sea monster Oceanhorn.

Oceanhorn combines captivating storytelling, breathtaking 3D visuals and exciting gameplay into one massive action adventure experience you will never forget.

Enjoy an incredible soundtrack from the best video game composers in the world: Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (Seiken Densetsu)."

Alright so let's see, silent protagonist? check. Sword and a shield? check. Sailing from island to island? check. Affinity to throwing pots and jars? check....wait a minute this sounds very familiar....but you know what? I'm ok with it. While some make say it's a knockoff or an imitation, I don't. You can be inspired by other aspects in other games but still provide enough legs and heart to make it your own. Oceanhorn does just that.

The game plays out across a series of islands that play out more like a unique dungeon experience each time. There are a variety of different puzzles on each of them that will require some back and forth for sure as you get new items and unlock new skills. To get from island to island you hop in your ship and can shoot some enemies and barrels and such to get more XP and gems. I jokingly said it has better naval combat than Black Flag on twitter...while it may not be better...I had more fun with it lol. Each island allows for a little bit of exploration to find some hidden areas and chests but for the most part you are clearly guided in a direction on each island of where to go, now whether or not you can complete the island with what you have currently is a different story. As you progress through the game you unlock other weapons, items and spells to help you along the way. The button placement for me took a little getting used to, I would find myself throwing bombs alot when I meant to attack with my sword. But overall not a big deal to work with!

The puzzles are definitely a big focus in this game. While at the beginning hours they are relatively simple and just require some back and forth they do get a little more difficult towards the latter half. I am not entirely sure if they are really harder or more just obscure to figure out/find. Boss battles were pretty easy as is most of the combat in the game, while not really challenging it made for a fun and lighthearted experience. The game overall takes around I'd say 8-10 hours depending on how much exploration or how many side quests you go after.

Graphics are cartoony but well done. While there is lack of facial animation and such, for a downloadable indie title, I think it's very good. There are clearly different environments on different islands and doesn't get too repetitive with the visuals except in caves sometimes. Most of my gameplay was done in handheld mode and I can say it was flawless. I did not have any "chugging" or lag or frame rate drops at all. Which I applaud the developers for taking the time to really make this the best experience they could. Playing it docked on the big screen does show a little more how some of the animation is a little rough, but overall nothing to be concerned about.

The music in this game is a major highlight. They had some really talented folks working on it and it shows. At certain points its whimsical and light and other points dark and epic which fits the tone of the game very well. Definitely stands out as a great soundtrack in recent memory for myself within games.

All in all I think this is a great summer time pick up for some fun. Plus at it's $15 price point, you really can't go wrong! So if you are down for some exploration and some high seas action, I recommend giving Oceanhorn a whirl! With the sequel already in the works, grab this one today!

Oceanhorn was reviewed using a Switch code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

Review: ARMS for Nintendo Switch

See the source image It’s the third round of a tight match-up in ARMS. My Ribbon Girl’s life meter is dwindling away, dropping close to the 25-percent mark after my opponent — a particularly adept Kid Cobra — catches me with a throw.

Ribbon Girl shakes it off and charges up her ARMS. She’s rocking two standard boxing gloves right now, one with the ice power and one with electricity. Jump. Air-dodge. Jump again. Let the electric glove fly, and it connects! She throws a paralyzed Kid Cobra to the ground, and now both competitors’ special meters are filled.

ARMS, the newest IP from Nintendo, has caught me by surprise. To be honest, it’s got a lot of things going against it: I’m not good at fighting games; the art style initially comes off as too “kid” for me; single-player mode is scant, and the overall menu seems a little barren on the surface. But I tried the test punch out, and from the first fight I was hooked.

The controls for ARMS are delightfully simple. While this could be a detriment to a fighting game, it works tremendously well in this setting. You can play the game however you want to: Motion controls; Joy Con Controller; sideways Joy Con; Pro Controller; and handheld. I’ve tried each way except the sideways Joy Con, and success can be found in any configuration.

Whether pushing buttons or flailing your own arms, the controls are intuitive. One button throws each ARM out, while pushing both at the same time tosses both out for a grapple maneuver. Push the stick in to block; one button for jump, and another for dash. There are no preset combos. The variety steps in when you use each different character and start to experiment with the different ARMS.

Currently, speed is a clear advantage in the game. The characters I’m best with, and worst against, are the fastest. We’re talking Ninjara, Kid Cobra, Min Min and Ribbon Girl. But the larger characters, like Mechanica and Master Mummy, have their own strengths and are hard to defeat against a skilled competitor.

Each character has special traits. Twintelle can float in the air and slow down time around her; Spring Man’s ARMS stay charged when he has low health; Helix can stretch really tall or dodge punches by squishing himself down to the ground.

Throughout your play you will unlock each of the game’s 30 ARMS for each character through a target-punching mini game that you play after earning a certain number of coins. Initially, I disliked this way of unlocking the ARMS and thought it rather slow. However, once I waited to cash in my coins until I could play longer, unlocking the ARMS became more satisfying.

This is where the real strategy of the game comes in. Each ARM has different properties and abilities. Heavy ARMS can push lighter ones out of the way; electric charges can paralyze your opponent; fire abilities burn and cause additional damage, and so-forth. I love experimenting with different combinations to give each of my characters a different flavor as I try to take out my opponents.

ARMS’ single-player component is mostly found in the Grand Prix. This is a straight-up ladder system, where you pick a character and run through the other nine characters to get to a final boss — Max Brass, who will be released as a free DLC playable character in July. Difficulty ranges from 1 to 7, with 1-3 serving as a decent intro. The game really ramps up at difficulty 4 and makes the player approach fights with an actual plan.

The game also lets you go through the Grand Prix with a partner, which is an enjoyable way to bring a less experienced player into the fold. ARMS lets you save your progress in the mode, so you don’t have to take on all 10 fights in one session, and it also has separate saves for the single- and two-player modes.

There’s also a local versus mode, which you can play with 1-4 people. You can play one-on-one; a triple threat match; a Fatal Four-Way (sorry...wrestling terminology); a 2-on-2 match (that is hampered by being attached to your teammate); volleyball; basketball and a skillshot challenge. There’s also a 1-vs-100 mode where you take out 10 waves of opponents, culminating in a fight against the very difficult Hedlock.

Online, you can play in Party Mode, which is a casual lobby that tosses you up against opponents in any of the game’s versus modes. This is a great way to learn new characters.

There’s also the Ranked fighting mode, which consists solely of 1-on-1 fights with now power ups or bombs. Players can access this mode only after beating Grand Prix on level 4, so you know your opponents are at least decent at the game. There are certain characters that seem to come out on top a lot — Kid Cobra is my personal Kryptonite — and throws can be spammed to great success by a skilled opponent. But there’s always a counter, if you’re good enough to take advantage.

Finally, you can also set up a room for private play with your online friends.

ARMS has a surprising amount of replayability. I’m currently working my way through Grand Prix with each character, while also playing Ranked Matches. Online has worked very well so far, with it taking only 10 seconds or less to find a match in Ranked Online.

Speaking of that…

Ribbon Girl and Kid Cobra are now up on their feet, both with their special meters filled. Neither wants to make the first move. Cobra charges his ARMS and starts to dart around quickly. Ribbon Girl says patient and dodges a throw attempt.

Kid Cobra hits his special attack and starts flailing away! Ribbon girl jumps into the air, and jumps three more times to the side while Cobra is worn down. She hits the special, and unloads on Kid Cobra with a flurry of punches! KO!

My ARMS experience is filled with moments like this; with tense fights coming down to the wire in both single-player and online modes. The excitement provokes that “just one more” match feeling, and before I know it, I’ve played 10 more matches.

If you’ve got a Switch, you owe it to yourself to play ARMS.

 

Review: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS)

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section" padding_mobile="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" padding_mobile="off" column_padding_mobile="on" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial"] Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia launched on 3DS here in America back on May 19th. The latest entry into the Fire Emblem Series is actually a full remake / re-imagining (whatever you prefer to call it) of Fire Emblem Gaiden. Gaiden was released back in 1992 on the Famicom (Japanese NES) and the game was only available in Japan until 2009 when the game was released on the Wii Virtual console albeit still only in Japan.

The Fire Emblem series has become somewhat of an annualized franchise in recent history. Specifically in the 3DS era, Fire Emblem Echoes marks the 3rd release for the series joining Awakening and Fates on Nintendo's portable handheld. That also doesn't include spin-offs like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE on Wii U or Nintendo's third mobile/smartphone game Fire Emblem Heroes. Nintendo has without a doubt positioned Fire Emblem as a pillar of its first party lineup for its fans. A surprising turn-around considering the series was almost cancelled due to low performance before the Fire Emblem Awakening was released in 2013. All of which made pulling a remake from the Fire Emblem legacy a great surprise when it was announced in Nintendo's January Direct.

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Presentation

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Visually, Echoes looks just like the other Fire Emblem games (Awakening & Fates) that are on 3DS. That is to say that the cut scenes feature beautifully animated artwork and the same sprite design players have grown accustomed to over the years. One visible difference with Echoes are that character designs are just a bit more toned-down and realistic than those found in Awakening or Fates. It's a slight difference, but many of the characters in Echoes are equipped with more simplistic clothes or armor, which I did make the journey feel a little more grounded than the more fantasy themed attire the series has delivered on before.

There's really only one topic to bring up when discussing the presentation of Echoes and that's voice acting! While I apologize for burying the lead, I sense that many gamers believe presentation to be synonymous with graphics when discussing video games so I thought we'd get that out of the way first. However, back to voice acting. Fire Emblem Echoes HAS VOICE ACTING!!! WHAT?!!  I'm here to inform you that it does make a world of difference to be able to sit back and listen to the dialog with different inflection and timing. It is certainly something that distinguishes Echoes from any other Fire Emblem game and an obvious improvement over scrolling through paragraphs of dialog.

As for the story, the previously mentioned cutscenes are again as beautiful and well paced as you could hope for and the plot has depth above any good vs. evil trope. From the very beginning, relationships feel personal and important, as you set out on your journey with childhood friends. Alm and Celica's story of being separated and reunited while this overarching drama of two warring countries clashing against each other garners your attention from the game's beginning prologue. As you play through, you'll gain control of both Alm and Celica for different portions of the game. These seperate and intertwining paths allows each character to display their motivations as well as their different opinions on what should or shouldn't be happening on both sides of the conflict. These moments trickle out but ultimately lays the groundwork for several conflicts and a very rewarding payoff. The story was more realistic than others I've played. Characters were mature, had different beliefs and that aided to how the story unfolded. A far cry from boy meets girl and they rescue the world together some might be expecting from trailers and marketing. It's actually a deep and personal story, all enriched by the addition of voice over which cannot be understated.

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Gameplay - No more Rock-Paper-Scissors!

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The biggest change to how Echoes plays is the omission of the weapons triangle. If you're unaware, Fire Emblem commonly uses a weapons triangle that provides characters a weakness or advantage on the battlefield. Instead of the Sword > Axe > Lance > Sword approach to combat, Fire Emblem Echoes adopts a much simpler approach with damage being delt based on attack and defense (for physical attacks) or attack and resistance (for magic attacks).

Also missing from the standard Fire Emblem formula:

The Combat Support System - The Support System was the ability to effectively use the buddy system during combat and place two units on a single tile. Doing this action effectively made the pairing act as one unit with increased stats.

Relationship System - The relationship system that allowed for marriage & children amongst characters by the player's decision was no doubt a big hit with the Fire Emblem die-hards. This meta game allowed players to effectively breed a super soldier as well as investigate more dialog and investment with your favorite characters.

The removal of such a features have been attributed to the mechanics not having not been available in the original Fire Emblem Gaiden, but several other features (dungeons, branching paths, dlc, etc) found in the Echoes reimagining were not in Gaiden so that doesn't seem like impenetrable excuse. Personally, I found the exclusions to be a net-positive even though I understand I'm not in the majority of Fire Emblem die-hards. For me, I have come to find the metagame featuring these relationship systems tedious and hard to understand. I might even add the triangle battle system to that "hard to keep track of" train of thought as Intelligent Systems has continued to add to the original triangle with the additions of hidden weapons, tomes, bows, and magic and characters with flying abilities.

 Even with these exclusions, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia plays like you expect it to. During your journey of over 50 story missions / battle map scenarios, you'll move your assigned team members around a grid based battlefield hoping to gain victory. Carefully using the terrain to your advantage by taking strongholds or using trees for cover is a necessary tactic as much as understanding how fast and far the enemy can move. Just like any other Fire Emblem... well with an exception.

While some could be upset with the exclusions, the new additions of dungeons (and to a lesser extent towns) to the Fire Emblem formula is the most significant gameplay alteration to a Fire Emblem in years. Dungeons in particular are profoundly different. Dungeons are these 3D spaces where you gain fully realized control of your 3D character. This third-person hack and slash mode can be directly compared to a Persona dungeon where you travel through the dungeon exploring hidden areas and choosing when to engage in battle with the enemies that roam the caverns and hallways. There's a dungeon along the path in each act, and you'd be wise to explore each of them as you'll gain both inventory and stronger weapons not to mention team members for completing them. I postulate that the inclusion of these dungeons can be directly attributed to Fire Emblem Warriors that is currently already in development for Nintendo 3DS. My guess is soely made on the character model's 3-button attack and running animations as they're almost one-to-one with how characters from Hyrule Warriors looked when they moved. Regardless, these little environments change up the gameplay enough to that I never felt like I was getting bored going from map to map to map again and again. During my 30+ hours with the main story, I actively looked forward exploring each dungeon and what might be hidden somewhere inside. There's also some interactive investigation areas inside of dungeons where you control a cursor that hovers over items, keys, and people to learn details to solve puzzle or gather important items. The aforementioned towns, are just these TellTale-like investigative areas and don't feature any of the 3D free roaming or battle options. Ultimately these areas are short so they're not unwelcomed, but outside of some voice-over dialog they're really not that important.

The game also comes packed with amiibo support. Alm & Celica unlock exclusive dungeons as a reward for your plastic patronage. During battle, you have the option of summoning very strong amiibo characters for the cost of 10HP. Sadly, the amiibo characters only last one turn, which can help you get out of a pinch but likely isn't worth the 10HP cost of bringing them into play.

I would opine Fire Emblem Echoes as the accessible Fire Emblem option for anyone looking to purchase the game, especially any newcomers to the series. Everything from the menu's, battle map options, combat mechanics, inventory, and stat management have been streamlined for understanding. I played on normal difficulty and casual mode (units respawn after dying) and I definitely noticed that I spent way more time actually playing the game than reading menues and tutorials as I did early on with other Fire Emblem games.

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Value

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With over 50 maps to rout & several dungeons to explore there's pleny of game for anyone jumping into Echoes at the price of $40. The value proposition is in line what you would expect to get from any other Fire Emblem game and that is to say there's a ton of game to be had and even more if you try to go through the game on multiple difficulty levels.

One would be remiss if they didn't mention that Fire Emblem Echoes also has a $45 dollar DLC option. I have not purchased any of the DLC content so I cannot provide any critical opinion, but the newest expansion DLC for Echoes "Rise of the Deliverance" has recieved some positive buzz around the internet. The pack features four fully voiced battle maps that expand on the story with each having dedicated cut-scenes all for the price of $12.99.

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Conclusion

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I could have used more story along my 30 hours with the game and I'm sure some out there will undoubtedly hate that the relationship systems have been removed, but Fire Emblem Echoes might just be my favorite of the 3DS entries. I have similar thoughts about Echoes as I did with Pokemon Sun last year. Both games really make the gameplay easier to digest, faster to pick up and play, and less confusing. Echoes strips away the convoluted stat tracking, combat rules, and class system and just let's you get back to playing a tactical RPG.

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Nintendo Releases Metroid Prime 4 Fact Sheet

Can't get enough Metroid Prime 4 news? Well you might want to comb through the official fact sheet provided to us via Nintendo PR. Of note, notice that Kensuke Tanabe is the leading the development team on the new Metroid game. You might remember some projects under his development - Smash Brothers Brawl, Metroid Prime 1-3, Metroid Prime Hunters, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Donkey Kong Country 3D and Tropical Freeze, and most recently Paper Mario: Color Splash.  

 

Splatoon Voice Chat headset- is well.....very Nintendo....

Great News, after all this time we finally have an answer to a question raised awhile ago for gamers, how will nintendo do voice chat? They did mention along time ago that it would be through an app accessible from your smart devices (not the Nintendo Switch), so we've known for quite some time it would be non-traditional. I do want to preface before we get into the details. This is 100% not necessary and you can do the same thing MANY other ways. We are just reporting what we are being told is the "official" solution provided. Yep, that's it. So the games sound will come directly from your Nintendo Switch while the chat audio comes from your phone or tablet. Connect each of those to the snazzy squid splitter and then connect the very Splatoony headset and voila ,voice-chat. Now before you go thinking well this is an unofficial product...screen shots will argue with you because it also appears to be an in-game item the inklings are wearing.

Good news is, Hori sent over one for us to test out, considering the internet exploded with this news we thought we would release it and show you all it's really not as bad as it looks.

 

What Would It Take To Get Me To Buy An Xbox One

See the source image I hear at least once a week if not more, "Kevin, you should buy an Xbox One....". So I thought it was fitting to contribute to "Xbox Week" here with an explanation why I do not have one, and what it would actually take to get me to purchase one. So let's start with why I don't already have one, no it's not because I'm "Anti-Xbox" or anything as people might initially think. Long ago I did in fact own an Xbox 360 and I have played almost every entry of Gears of War, well at least 1,2, and 3.

For myself the main reason I don't already have one is, I have a Playstation 4 already. It was purchased shortly after launch, once I could get my hands on it. Flash forward to 2017 I just don't see a reason (at least for me) to have both consoles. For someone who already has current gen consoles (PS4, Switch, and a decent PC) there just isn't enough meat on the bone for me. Do the games look better on the X1? No. Does it offer a unique experience? No. Are there tons of great blockbuster exclusives out there to make it worth it for me to spend at least $300 for the console and then the money on top of it to play the games? For me? Not at all.

Now that's not an attack, games many loyal Xboxers love are definitely there. But Halo and Forza doesn't do anything for me, especially not enough to spend over $400 total to experience them. Now there are a few games I am interested in like Gears of War 4, Dead Rising 4, Crackdown 3, and if it still exists Cuphead. So there are certainly games on there or coming soon on there that I would 1005 play, BUT for me at least they don't even come close to stacking up to what PS4 has/had to offer.

Games like The Last of Us, Uncharted, Infamous, Until Dawn, Ratchet and Clank, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Bloodborne, the list goes on and on with much more coming down the pipeline. I already have more than enough to play on my PS4, I don't need another box in my home.

Now, many claim (and I believe) that Xbox has the better online experience. While Sony I think has done alot to catch up on here, I think Xbox still has the throne. But, oh yea, I rarely play anything online.....so once again, not a factor for me!

Kevin, what about backwards compat? While this is a GREAT service for many fans, once again it is something I wouldn't take advantage on, I don't have a 360 library to go back to and play on my X1 and I don't think most of the games offered now warrant me hunting down a 360 copy to play on my X1 .

Ok, my negativity....we've heard so much about why you don't want it.....so what would it take?

Let's start with the easy one that doesn't need a whole lot of explanation. Price drop, while the price overall of the X1 has come down significantly since launch. For someone who doesn't need another box, I still need it lower. Honestly I think it's coming....with the announcement of Scorpio (most likely at E3) I would imagine another price drop is in order for the Xbox One S. My sweet spot? $199.99 and toss in a game for me. For something I do not need, I can justify splurging a little and making the additional purchase for sure.

Secondly it's the games....I need more to play if I were to make the jump. As it stands right now there is very little that appeals to me. Now who knows maybe we will see some of these things happen at E3, but this is a list of games that would get me thinking about an Xbox.

Alan Wake, this was one of my favorite games on the 360, I would love to see this brought back with a new installment, OR a remaster collection of all the older titles wrapped into one.

Fable, Xbox needs their "Zelda"....Nintendo clearly has it, Playstation has it in Horizon Zero Dawn, Microsoft needs it plain and simple. Whether it's given to Rare to work on or whatever, I want to see this classic come back.

Speaking of Rare, if they are in fact not working on Fable, then I want to see them be Rare again. Microsoft has not utilized this team to it's potential at all. Since purchase they have ruined Perfect Dark and worked on a very subpar Conker game as well as some Viva Pinata for the kiddies. Give them the freedom they need to do something great again, and most likely something retro related. At least something to give me the same feelings I had playing their games in the SNES and N64 days.

Another one I thought of was Left 4 Dead...I could easily see Microsoft bringing this to the X1 as a console exclusive (it would still be on PC) but I would be very excited if they were to announce this one at E3 as a possibility.

Sure, they will undoubtedly have alot to announce this year. I would even take some new stuff, some original IPs. The main issue is there are far less exclusives on either PS4 or X1 so each has to make a play to get people on their console. Most games are brought cross platform, they need to try harder. For the sake of the industry I would like to see that happen this year.

That's it, simple as that. Not as long of a list as one might imagine. Lower the price and give me some more exclusives to get excited about. I think this E3 is a big turning point for Microsoft, either in a good way or a bad way. They need to deliver the goods, show the scorpio (but don't spend 30 min talking about it, like you did with your cable service years ago) and show us some fantastic content. I for sure will be watching.

Be sure to tell me in the comments why you agree with me, or why I am a huge idiot and give me more reasons why I should own one today!

 

Akiba's Beat Review - PS4

[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"] NEET: Short for "Not in Employment, Education, or Training."Typically considered to be underskilled shut-ins who live by themselves in humble yet comfortable apartments, NEETs are known to mooch off their parents' good will to play video games and watch anime all day instead of looking for work.

Asahi Tachibana is a textbook NEET, living a lazy, cozy life in Akihabara, the infamous Tokyo suburb renowned for its proliferation of anime and video game merchandise, maid cafes, pop idols, and all other forms of counterculture indulgence. To him, every day is Sunday, and every Sunday is a fun day.

Little does he know, however, that every day is about to become Sunday for real! Caught in a temporal loop, where the day restarts as soon as it ends, Asahi is one of only a chosen few whose memories don't reset with it. He and his merry band of time-displaced losers must now scour Akihabara for signs of "delusions" – people's innermost fantasies made manifest, changing the cityscape and the behavior of its citizens alike. It is the duty of this ragtag team (whether they like it or not) to infiltrate and destroy these delusions, restoring the natural order of Akiba in the vain hope that each loop may be their last.

During the course of this increasingly improbable quest, Asahi and his companions will unravel a deep, twisted mystery that blurs the line between the physical world and that of mankind's innermost desires. Can this band of misfits restore normalcy (or what passes for normalcy) to Akihabara? Or will they succumb to the will of the enigmatic pink-caped man, who seems to be the key to everything...?

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I initially agreed to take this assignment because I figured it's been quite some time since I've dove into a good old JRPG, and well for better or for worse, I certainly got more than i bargained for with Akiba's Beat. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of it all I will say the localization for this title was REALLY well done. I didn't run into any of the poor translation we sometimes are exposed to in the world of JRPGs and the voice-acting is top notch anime style. I'm not a fan of anime at all so the voice acting to me seemed to be a little over the top and corny, BUT, I know that's exactly how it's supposed to be so I can at least appreciate that.

The art style too especially in the conversation screens are done in traditional anime style, and is very well done. The music holds up as well. Music changes as the mood and tone changes as well as your environment. Most of the music is techno, EDM, or JPOP so it fits the setting perfectly.

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The game overall though does seem a bit fractured. There are basically two styles of gameplay featured here: heavy story involvement where you walk around and converse with other characters and running small tasks here and there. This is where you get most (if not all) of your story from.Every character to encounter and engage with is fully voice acted as well which is a nice touch keeps you more engaged than just reading text box after text box.

Combat, my favorite part of this game, plays out like a strategic hack and slash. You can customize the rest of your party by selecting who the attack (closest, weakest, same as you), how often they use their special abilities and even their items. In this regard it did remind me a lot  like Kingdom Hearts.While it might seem easy, if you rush in without thinking or planning it'll end really quick. When you hit a certain combo level you can activate your special attack modes which greatly multiply your damage and can make quick work of your foes.

 

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Now for all it's got going for it, this game does have some shortcomings, and they did really bother me and effected my scoring when it comes down to it. This game has about 20 hours of action wrapped in an 80 hour cut scene. To give it the anime reference equivalent, it's like watching a season of Dragonball Z, there is hours and hours of build up before anything actually happens. I attempted to stream some gameplay to post with this review and I had played for almost an hour before I was able to fight a single person/creature. As fun as I think the combat is, it was frustrating that I ened up button mashing and not even listening or reading the dialog while attempting to get to that point. Even with using said strategy it was still 45 min before getting to a fighting sequence.

Now maybe it's because I haven't had much exposure to these types of games lately, wanted to dive into Persona and such, but if this is the pattern these games take. I don't think I will be diving back in anytime soon. If you are a big fan of Anime and can get behind the slow moving story then I think you would definitely enjoy this title. If you are not, I think this game is a hard pass for you.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/akibas-beat-character-trailer-600x338.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_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" title="Great Art, Great Music, Great Combat, WAAAAAY too much talking" number="65" percent_sign="on" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#ffcc00" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://youtu.be/9iMlhocP9Ok" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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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Nathan Checks Out Forza Horizon 3's Hot Wheels DLC

The latest DLC for Xbox One's Forza Horizon 3 is out and Nathan streamed his first half-hour to give you an idea on what you can expect. Just in case you were unaware, here's the PR details about this Hot Wheels Expansion:

  • Forza fans, your Hot Wheels fantasies are about to come true! The second Forza Horizon 3 expansion – Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels – arrives on May 9 exclusively on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs (Xbox Play Anywhere), and is included in the Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Pass. This expansion lets players travel to a brand-new location in Australia, a place where lazy Sunday drives are replaced by insane high-speed stunts on miles of looping, banking, giant iconic orange Hot Wheels tracks. Starring famous Hot Wheels vehicles like the Twin Mill, the Rip Rod, and the Boneshaker, Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels promises an automotive adventure unlike anything in Forza history.

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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(3DS) - Nintendo Details DLC Coming to Fire Emblem Echoes

[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"]If you haven't moved onto a full-time Switch player yet, Nintendo wants to remind you that their new Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, is due out in just a few weeks and will include a season pass. DLC content is nothing new for fans of the Fire Emblem franchise and Echoes isn't breaking that trend. Echoes will feature 5 DLC packs packed full of dungeons and maps for those that want to add to your experience but it'll come at the cost of $45 (more than the game itself!) if you buy the DLC pass which will save you about $7 if you're planning on buying them all separately.

What do you think about this DLC plan? Are you getting Echoes and still playing 3DS or have you moved on.

 

The upcoming Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia game, which launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on May 19, is a massive game filled to the brim with content. For players who want to extend their adventure even further, five major DLC packs are coming to the game starting on May 19, adding more maps, dungeons, characters and items.

The upcoming Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia game, which launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on May 19, is a massive game filled to the brim with content.
The upcoming Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia game, which launches exclusively for the Ninten ...

Season Pass (May 19, $44.99, 22 pieces of content): The Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Season Pass includes all five DLC packs as they release. By purchasing the Season Pass, fans who want to receive all DLC will save more than 30 percent compared to purchasing all 22 pieces of content on their own.

DLC Pack #1 – Fledgling Warriors Pack (May 19, $7.99, three pieces of content): Ideal for early- to mid-game adventurers, this pack includes a new dungeon (The Astral Temple) and two new maps, great for gaining more items, money and experience points.

DLC Pack #2 – Undaunted Heroes Pack (May 25, $9.99, three pieces of content): In addition to a new dungeon (The Inner Sanctum), this pack also includes two challenging new maps that stronger, more seasoned heroes will want to tackle.

DLC Pack #3 – Lost Altars Pack (May 25, $14.99, 10 pieces of content): The mysterious dungeons included in this pack hold the power to upgrade characters to exclusive classes that don’t appear in the main game.

DLC Pack #4 – Rise of the Deliverance Pack (June 1, $12.99, four pieces of content): Discover the previously untold history of Valentia in this Prologue pack. Complete with new story content and additional voice acting that details the rise of the Deliverance in Zofia, this collection of challenging maps includes new support conversations between selected heroes, as well as the ability to take command of a character players won’t be able to control in the main game.

DLC Pack #5 ($5.99, two pieces of content): More information about this final DLC pack will be revealed in the future.

All of these packs, as well as the individual components included in each pack, can be purchased separately, giving players the flexibility to buy as many or as few as they want.

While Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia features all this great paid DLC, free downloadable content will also be released for the game after launch for a limited time, starting on May 19. The first free content is a special gift from Goddess Mila and can be obtained when playing the game. For more details about the game’s DLC, visit http://fireemblemechoes.nintendo.com/dlc.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia launches for Nintendo 3DS on May 19 at a suggested retail price of $39.99. A limited-edition bundle for the game will launch on the same day at a suggested retail price of $59.99. Also launching on May 19 are the Alm and Celica amiibo figures, available only as a set at a suggested retail price of $24.99.

For more information about Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia visit http://fireemblemechoes.nintendo.com/.

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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.

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Destiny 2: Electric Boogaloo

[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"] So yesterday at 10am PST we got the full reveal trailer, and man what a hell of a reveal it was. The last city has been stomped by the Cabal and their leader Ghaul (Gary), and we have had to retreat from the city losing pretty much everything in the process. If that isn't a brilliant way to reset everything without resetting everything I don't know what is. Bungie found a way to keep all of the lore and story beats intact, but still manage to do away with all of the systems and things that were just way to convoluted. This soft reset manages to keep the essence of what Destiny is. It's not unlike say any sequel where you are stripped of your powers after becoming all-powerful in the previous entry. So with that being said...

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So here's what we know so far: The Cabal came saw and kicked us out of our home. The remaining Guardians and survivors have fled the city into the wilderness to regroup and prepare to take back our home, and presumably the Traveler. It seems as though we will have to acquire new powers, which will require travel to new places in our solar system (can we please go to Europa already). From the absence of any Ghosts in the reveal we can only assume that we are without them for a period of time. However it has been confirmed that Nolan North will be reprising his role as the Ghost (I miss Dinklebot). The Vanguard has survived the attack, but it looks like they are split up into two camps. Lord Shaxx has survived as well and you can see him in the trailer. There will be new foes from the Cabal. A dual sword wielding monstrosity that we assume is part of the red legion. Some new Cabal Phalanx shield toting guys and what looks to be some kind of dog like creature. Last but not least the Cabal leader Ghaul (I will be calling him Gary till the end of time) who looks to be more metal than space turtle. What is of interesting note is that there is no sign of Eris Morn, The Speaker, The Cyrptarch, Tess Everess or any of the faction leaders so we are unsure of their fates. We also know based on the image of the expansion pass (yes they are doing that again) it looks like one with deal with Osiris and the other with Rasputin.

Story wise that's what we know so far. Other than that Deej gave us a nice neat little timeline. May 18th will be the gameplay reveal, the beta will be in the summer, there will also be more info during the summer and it launches Friday September 8th which means my family will be missing me that weekend lol. Lastly for you Master Racers out there it will be on PC, PS4 will still have timed exclusives and there is a $250 Collectors Edition that I will probably make Coach Mo do an unboxing video on. So let us know what you think. Will you be jumping back into Destiny, starting fresh, playing the wait and see game or just not interested? Keep it locked here and on our twitter accounts (@PSVG, @PSVG_PSIsland)  for more news and updates on Destiny 2 as it drops.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery admin_label="Gallery" gallery_ids="9006,9008,9011,9012,9013,9015,9016,9017,9018,9019,9020,9021,9022,9023" fullwidth="on" show_title_and_caption="on" show_pagination="on" background_layout="light" auto="on" hover_overlay_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.9)" caption_all_caps="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Interview with Vladimir Piskunov, CEO/CTO of Bitbox Ltd.

[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"] Life is Feudal is video game franchise set in a fictional Medieval world, developed by Bitbox Ltd. On top of their two flagship titles - Life is Feudal: Your Own and Life is Feudal: MMO, Bitbox Ltd have expanded the franchise by publishing other titles, such as MindIllusion's title, Forest Village. Below is the interview we conducted with Vladimir Piskunov who is the CEO/CTO of Bixbox Ltd.

What made you decide to develop games?

"I've been a hardcore gamer since childhood and I quickly progressed from casual/primitive gameplay types of the games to more advanced ones, ending up on Sandbox MMOs genre. I’ve played Ultima Online, EVE Online, Shadowbane, Darkfall and many other of similar or not so similar MMOs. After some time I realized that there was no game that would satisfy all my gaming needs and more importantly- there was no such game in development. I had nothing to play with and I had nothing to wait for. So I decided to make the "Game of my Dreams" by myself."

How did Bitbox come to be?

"Right when I was about to turn 28, I decided that I should actually try to develop the Game of my Dreams. In May 2010 I started a topic in a local game development portal looking for like-minded enthusiasts. People were coming in and out of our team, because enthusiasm is something that ends rather quickly from the most people. But I’ve managed to gather the team core of about 5 people and with this small team we created a technical demo of our game that contained a networked terraforming/tunneling system and free building systems. With this tech demo I started looking for investors for our project and found one small local investor in the Fall 2011. Thus, Bitbox Ltd. was born and we became a full time-paid game developers."

How do you decide what to design/develop?

"I basically looked around and saw that there was nothing made, or being made, that met with what I wanted from a game. And so, I said "I'll make my own."

Any plans to make the jump into console gaming or would you rather stick to PC and why?

"We prefer to stick to PC. Mostly because supporting different platforms is a quite a complex task, that has many demands on all sides of project: development, UI, controllers, and game design. Our games are already complex by themselves , and so porting them to consoles will take triple the amount amount of efforts we currently spend on the PC versions."

How did Life is Feudal come to be exactly?

"A realistic medieval setting something that appealed to me personally and to our team. It was 2010, and A Song of Ice and Fire was rather popular, but not at its peak, and we thought that it was a good reference, especially the first books, that contained no dragons and almost no Walkers :)"

"We had a couple of different titles for our game, all circling around a synergy of combat and peace, PvP players and crafting/PvE players. Thus we had the working title, "Craftsman", and "Marksman". But later on, once we found how really harsh, hard and unforgiving our game was, we decided to stick to the “Life is Feudal” title. Got killed 5 times in a row? - Life is Feudal. Forgot to feed your livestock and they all died of starvation? - oh well, Life is Feudal. And so on :)"

Life is Feudal was able to cover all development cost within 49 hours of releasing, that is amazing! What do you contribute to the success?

"We attribute that to the interesting gameplay from this Game of my Dreams - gameplay that apparently others dreamed of, too. We had no budget for any marketing or PR, so it was all organic interest. And of course, without Steam we would not be able to achieve such exposure."

What is being worked on currently/next?

"Right now, we’re doing Closed Beta tests of our Life is Feudal:MMO right. Truth to be told, the Life is Feudal:Your Own we released on Steam in 2014 was just a "pocket" version of the Game of My Dreams, but the MMO version, with 21x21 kms map and up to 10,000 simultaneous players on it, well, that's truly a full vision of my Dream game. And I’m very excited and can't wait until we hit full release!"

 

(We hope to be able to get Vladimir on the podcast eventually, but in the meantime to learn more about Life is Feudal and Bitbox please check out: http://lifeisfeudal.com/)

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APL4r7p3vUg"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_2cYpvjMp8"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Review - Orwell (PC)

[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"] Orwell takes place in a country called the Nation, led by a modern-day authoritarian government known as The Party in the capital of Bonton. In 2012, the Party passed the Safety Bill, a law expanding the government's ability to spy on its citizens in the name of national security. As part of the bill the Ministry of Security, led by Secretary of Security Catherine Delacroix, commissioned a covert surveillance system code named Demiurge (later renamed Orwell).

Orwell allows investigations into the private communications of people of interest, but doesn't allow any one person full access. Instead, Orwell's operation is run by two groups; Investigators, persons outside of the Nation working for the government who search through the communication of target persons and upload items of interest (represented as "datachunks"), and Advisors, people inside of the Nation who use the received datachunks to determine the course of action and to recommend actions to the authorities.

The player takes the role of an Orwell investigator, who has just been selected to use the system.

Now, let me be clear, if you are looking for a fast pace action game on PC, well go look at something Jason or Lucas would have played. My PC tastes are much slower than theirs and I generally look for something different and hopefully with an engaging story at the same time. This game explores a lot of themes that are relevant with what goes on (or at least we think does) regularly today. Throughout this game it's your job to comb through peoples private phone calls, text messages, bank accounts, blog posts, etc all in hopes to piece together what happened and how to stop it.

I will keep this review spoiler free - otherwise there wouldn't be much reason for you all to go out an experience this game. At first things seem to be kosher and you feel you have the right and authority to do what you are doing for the sense of safety, security, and to save lives. However after playing for an hour or more you start to feel "odd" and you may start thinking to yourself, "Should I be doing this? Should I be seeing this?" And it's moments like this where the game shines brightest for me.

 

 

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The characters in the game are pretty fleshed out and don't seem to get repetitive or predictable for that matter. And considering your entire side of the story is uncovered by you spying on them, it was pretty essential to nail them down well which the game definitely does. The writers definitely tapped into how people communicate now a days through social media, text, etc and made it real for this game for us to digest.

Now as far as the ethics behind this game go: Since you are the one uncovering everything and submitting it essentially shaping the story the role of the Adviser becomes important, they do not have access to your systems and can't even talk to you  but they will judge evidence impartially, so you really have to pay attention to what data gets sent in and what you should ignore aka not relevant.

Now it is 100% possible for you to lead the investigation in the wrong way by submitting incorrect evidence or conversations. It doesn't seem to throw off the plot of the story that much overall but i may play through a second time to see how different it may be if at all. It's a hard game to really explain, it's more of an experience. It is a very simple game to play through mechanically, but it has a complex story that really pulls you in. Once you complete it, it will stick with you for awhile and leave you with plenty to think about after it's done.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][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/2017/03/orwell-game-banner.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" title="Review Score" number="90" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#000000"] [/et_pb_circle_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://youtu.be/up-yaDbqH2k"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Riptide GP: Renegade - Xbox One

[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"] Wave Race, Wipeout and Hydro Thunder walk into a bar. That Bar is this game.

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If you are like me, the first thing you thought of when you heard the title of this game was the mobile game. You will be happy to hear that this is the developers first in the series of games to be built from consoles. They ran the gauntlet that is Microsoft's XPA certification standards to make sure to delivery a high quality game.

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You jump right into what can best be described as the plot from a Fast and Furious movie. You are a racer who has been challenged by a rival racer to an “illegal” race. Once you reach the finish line, it becomes obvious you were set up and go to jail!! I'm presuming some type of racer jail with a bunch of cool guys like in the Longest yard. Meanwhile your rival rises to the top of the racing circuit. once you are released from Water jail, you best friend/racer is waiting for you…… who immediately challenges you to another illegal race! Would your character be so stupid to go along with this?   

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Don't worry, she assures you that there are no police here. So of course, you go with her. You soon learn that you are not welcome back in the circuit, but if you start from the bottom in underground races (in very public areas by the way) that you might be able to get some reputation back and be allowed back in. With your ultimate goal of getting revenge and beating the man who set you up!

 

I'm going to be honest with you, the story is pretty bland. There are a few entertaining moments, like a robot named DeadBeef, and a comical brother and sister rave duo. But you are not going to play this game or remember it for its story. Let's get into the game.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][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/2017/03/riptide-2.jpg" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="top" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][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"]

You have a selection of “levels” which unfold into a bunch of events inside each one. Naturally they are all locked at first and as you progress you unlock the next race. Typically the requirement to get to the next race is that you have to earn at least 1 star (bronze/3rd place) in each previous event. You can't stack up stars to unlock future levels. Meaning even if I get 3 stars on the first race, I need to at least get one on the next stage to progress. I will say this did both me a little bit. There are some races that are purely just stunt points, and you compete against computer scores in a race of unique stunts. For me, is not a huge stunt guy (at least not until this game), so it really bummed me out that I could not progress until I got at least 1 star. That being said, it's really a tiny gripe.

 

Where the game really shines is its level design. Not too dissimilar from MARIO Kart, each lap (3 total usually) changes the level in some way. There are a lot of things going on in the background, whether it's a space shuttle launching or different parts of the level unlocking. It's really quite impressive. It really keeps the replay ability high, which is important, because you will find yourself racing on the same maps quite frequently.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][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/2017/03/riptide-3.jpg" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][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"]

There is also the leveling mechanic. You have your watercraft and as you win races you win credits. Each craft does have a max level it can be upstaged to, your starting craft obviously low leveled. As you progress through the game you will ultimately have Boss Fights and win that character and their watercraft. You can switch out your racer, but that has no effect of your stats. So if you want to race as Deadbeef, have a blast! Not me. You also unlock the racers vehicle, which can and should be upgraded. Along with that you also earn experience points in which you can buy passive upgrades and new stunts. Like I said earlier, stunts are not for me. However there are some very cool stunts, like something out of SSX Tricky.

 

RipTide also offers one of my favorite features that seem to be long lost in this current gaming culture. Local competitive play.  You can play Riptide GP in 6 player split screen! Now I just need 6 friends!!

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Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this game. It's an exciting adventure into full console gaming  for the developer and i cant wait to see what they do next.. You can tell they put in a lot of work to make this an exciting and challenging racer. Go out and pick this up and have a blast!

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Riptide GP: Renegade offers a fun and challenging racer akin to the good ole days of arcade games crashing into your living rooms. If you have the need for speed, cruise your "wave" over to this Thunderous racer!

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