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  • DeadCore

    I have a confession to make, I am not the most graceful person in the world.  In fact, about 15 years ago I shattered BOTH of my ankles chasing after the ice cream man.  This little adventure ended with a plate and 6 screws in one ankle and a one of a kind story.  So, I live out my dreams of flying high and leaping effortlessly through video games.  But, if you ask anyone who has played a game with me that requires precious jumping – my dreams rarely come true.  Recently, Grip Digital s.r.o. released DeadCore on Xbox One and PS4 and I got another shot at living out my dreams.

      DeadCore can best be described as a 1st person shooter, platformer, puzzler, speed runner.  It is a mouth full to say, and a handful to play, but it is a wild ride.  You have fallen endlessly through strong magnetic storms to awaken in a desolate world.  You have no memory, and as you start to explore the world strange message start to appear around you.  A huge tower appears out of the mist and you realize that you must climb it to find answers – you must reach the top.

        The game starts out simple enough, you learn the basics like walking and running.  But, it would be too easy if you were running in the wide open spaces, so you are moving on thin platforms that are suspended in the air.  Once you begin to get comfortable with the basics, jumps and double jumps thrown into the mix.  Soon after you master the art of being a bunny, you are given a rifle to use.  The rifle is not just for show.  You will use the gun to open doors, disable traps, and eventually take out enemies.  You have to be mindful of your aim because you have a limited number of shots.  Another neat feature of the gun is that it tracks your time, so during speed runs you have that information right up front.

      This game is not for the faint of heart or those that are looking for a purely first person shooter experience.  You will need some serious skills to get through this game and beat the time trials.  That being said – everything in game is executed near flawlessly to make sure that you every chance to prove your worth.  The graphics are spot on and the higher you climb on the tower the more dizzying the view gets as you look down into the abyss.

      One you complete the story aspect of the game you are not ready to hang up your shoes.  You can tackle the whole thing over again in speed run mode.  But this time you can mix things up and place the sections in the order that you want.  This porovides you with almost unlimited variety and endless gameplay options.  You can make you playlist as easy or as difficuly as you want.

      DeadCore is out now on XB1 and PS4.  If you are looking for a game that will test you skills, or want to relive the glory days of speed running games where every second counts and precision is key – you need to add this title to you stack.

    Unbox : Newbie's Adventure

       For the last 4 years I have taken my vacation to Boston to go to Pax East – Penny Arcade Expo – an amazing video game show open to the public, featuring triple A titles and Indie titles alike.  One of my favorite parts of Pax is getting to play all the Indie Games that are still in development, months and sometimes years before they are released.  One of these games that I got to play this year was Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure from Merge Games LTD.

      Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure is a one of a kind physics platformer that transforms you into the newest member of the Global Postal Service.  The GPS is made up of self-delivering packages, but unfortunately a group of evil boxes known as The Wild Cards have made it their mission to stop you.  You must rescue trapped packages, collect rolls of golden tape, beat challenges, collect stamps and defeat world bosses.

      There is A LOT to do in this game, and the mechanics are very easy to learn.  The left stick is used to control the direction of your box.  To jump all you have to do is press the right trigger.  You can also “unbox” by pressing the left trigger – this gives you an extra jump.  You have 6 of these without having to grab any health crates.  They come in handy when trying to cross great expanses of water or climb great heights.

      The campaign features 3 different worlds, each containing a different boss.  There also 18 stamps, 200 Golden Tape Rolls, and trapped comrades to rescue.  If that isn’t enough for you to do, there is also couch co-op modes.  You and up to 3 friends can battle in 5 different game modes, or mix them up and play a tournament.  Race, collect gold tape, have the most coins, battle with weapons, or capture the odd box.  Each game mode offers a unique way to play with your friends and will provide hours of enjoyment.

      The graphics of the game are bright and colorful.  All of the characters are well designed and some are really cute.  For the record – my 14 year old son wants a Hop figure.  The music is amazing.  The first major area that you are in is an island and you are treated to a soundtrack straight out of the Caribbean.  Steel drums transport you to the sunny beach. The next level takes place in the mountains, and the soundtrack takes you to the ski lodge nestled among those snow-covered peaks.

      Unbox hits many of the right chords for a platformer – lots of game play, solid controls, different and inventive story and of course fun.  But it also has a few pitfalls.  There are a few occasions when the camera angle can get in the way of platforming.  You can control the camera with the right thumb stick, but twisting it can confuse the issue more.  The other issue I found was the boss fights don’t always seem to go as scripted.  You can quickly figure out how to defeat the boss, but out of nowhere the boss will get hurt some other way, and before you know it, you have won.  This isn’t really a huge problem, but I felt a bit cheated not stomping him myself.

      Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure is available July 26th for XB1 and PS4.  It is already available on PC if that is your platform of choice.  If you own a Switch, don’t fret – the title is confirmed for sometime 2017.      

    Iron Crypticle

    Iron Crypticle is one of the best Indie games of the year.  At the core, the game is a top-down twin-stick rogue-like dungeon crawler with some RPG elements.  It is up to 4 player local co-op, and you are a knight navigating rooms in the dungeon to recover the Princess along with the King’s treasures.  The rooms for each level are random on each playthrough and with three difficulty levels, it brings a challenge to even the most worthy knight.
    Each basic room consists of two waves of monsters, which you need to defeat to proceed.  The enemies drop food items, which increase your score, and the level of your knight, as well as weapons that you can use for a short duration.  The more levels you have, the more HP you’ll have, and the more upgrades you can get on your four stats (Damage, Attack Speed, Movement Speed, and Weapon Duration).  There are a few special rooms, but I will not spoil the fun and let you discover them on your own.
    There is an unlockable system, so as you play new types of weapons will drop, as well as one time use scrolls.  One of the biggest challenges I’ve found with games that use a unlocking system like this is an early weapon is one of the best, and the new ones never have any usefulness.  This leaves the player in a situation where the pool of items has become so large that they no longer get the good weapons.  The developers at Confused Pelican and Tikipod have done a great job with this.  All weapons are well balanced, there are weapons that attack at a long range, but do less damage, and close-range weapons that do a lot of damage.  The only weapon I did not like was the grenade, as it is the only weapon that does not hit enemies right in front of you, but does massive damage at range.
    Art is done in a retro style and looks really good, there is a variety of enemies with different attacks and movement patterns, and the music is well done.  There are boss fights at the end of each level of the dungeon and it is random which boss, and what version of the boss you get.  There is also a New Game+ mode after completing the story once and an Endless mode for many more hours of gameplay.  There is a Leaderboard to compete with your friends and others to try to get the highest scores.
    For such a simple concept, there is a lot to this game.  I can tell that the developers took inspiration from the arcade classic Smash TV when designing this game, and they pulled it together perfectly.  Iron Crypticle is a really fun game to play solo, and even more fun to play on the couch with your friends.  This is a gem in the sea of Indie games.

    Ghost Blade HD

      I have to admit something – I love bullet hell games, but I am not that good at them.  Something about the total chaos and imminent death appeals to me.  Even it it sends my frustration level through the roof.  East Asia Soft has recently released Ghost Blade HD by 2Dream and HUCAST, which is a perfect example of this wild ride.

      There is no explanation of what the story is.  Once you pick which ship you are using, you are tossed right into battle.    You will shoot your way through the stage against various enemies until you reach the boss.  Kick his metal butt, tally up your score and move one to the next level.  If you die too many times, not to worry, you are given several continues, so you will a few extra chances.

      The game features 3 difficulty modes, and the way they execute them is kind of interesting.  Game play is almost exactly the same in all modes.  What I mean by this is that there are the same enemies and the same fire rate in all difficulties.  The only thing that is different is which bullets actually kill you.  This can be a bit confusing if you are playing at a lower level – because it may take a few tries to figure out what is lethal.  Also as you go up in difficulty, the game will add a few extra stages.

       Besides the different difficulty levels, you are treated to a training mode, Score Attack mode, and multiplayer mode.  Score Attack allows you to play through the 1st stage to get as high of a score as you can.  The one difference is that you have unlimited lives – but you will have to try and do it with as few as possible to preserve your combo, and rack up the highest score.

      The graphics in the game are vibrant and really pop.  You will be treated to a myriad of different enemies as well as profound bosses.  Each boss will require you to alter you fighting style a bit, as charging them head on will only end with your ship in itty bitty pieces.

      Ghost Blade HD is now available on XB1 and PS4.  You can add it to your collection for $9.99.  This is a really good example of a bullet hell game, with lots of options.
     
    9/10

    What Remains of Edith Finch

      Many think that the genre of Walking Simulators is something new to gaming, but it has actually been around for decades.  These no pressure games just let you explore without worry of death or dismemberment.  Many are set in beautiful locales, so they are a feast for the senses.  The newest entry into this category comes from Giant Sparrow and Annapurna Interactive under the name of What Remains of Edith Finch.

      What Remains of Edith Finch puts you in the shoes of, you guessed it, Edith Finch.  A young 17-year-old girl who just lost her mom.  Her mother left her the family home and a key to something in the house.  The house has been abandoned for 6 years, but there are many stories trapped within its walls.  So you travel to Orcas Island and begin to unravel your family history, and what has brought you to this place.

      The game begins with you on the ferry from the main land to your family home.  You learn a bit about the Finch Family history as you stroll toward the house.  As you progress, words will appear, hovering above the ground to help guide you along the correct path.  The sights are truly something to behold.  The house looms larger as you approach, and takes on a slightly whimsical feeling, instead of the ominous shadow it originally portrays.

      Once you enter the house, the story really grabs a hold of you.  You learn about your family tree through vignettes about their life.  During each story you take control of that family member as they narrate their plot.  What sets this game apart from others is the way that each family member tells their story.  Each life is represented with a different view, so the art style and music is tailored to that specific person.  This helps to show the variety of personalities in the Finch family.

      The graphics are absolutely gorgeous.  Whether you are strolling through the woods, exploring the old house, or just looking at the family photos that are scattered around the house – the level of detail shown will draw you deep into the story.  You begin to feel for all the characters that you interact with – like they are part of your own family.

      The only real negative that I can find in the game is the length.  You are immersed into the lives of this family for too short of a time.  Even though you can play through the game in under 3 hours, the story is strong enough to hold up to multiple visits. 
     
      What Remains of Edith Finch is out now on XB1, Playstation, and Steam.  This experience elevates the walking simulator to true art, and should be in everyone’s collection.  
     
    10/10
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  • Posts

    • I've only seen videos from scrubs playing the new Beta for Destiny 2.  Need to get some feedback from fellow vets and see what the consensus is.  So anyone have any thoughts or opinions on the new game? Worth buying? Avoiding? Buying on sale a year from now?
    • Finding Your Next Mission! Our corporate sponsors and other business relationships make us keenly aware of the high demand for veterans in the marketplace. Our mission for the ACT program is to capitalize on the leadership, principles, and mission accomplishment mentality that every veteran possesses and help them translate that into continued success in the civilian sector. Our taxpayers have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into training these elite men and women and at HCC we provide the additional training, coaching, and mentoring to ensure that investment produces a tremendous return for the veteran, the employer, and our economy. A few things our veterans receive: ·         Training and counseling from HR Professionals and our corporate partners ·         Network development and assessment for career advancement ·         Targeted job search/resume techniques and potential employer research strategies ·         Social media guidance ·         Assessments and Strengths evaluation ·         Connections with vast HCC network of businesses and employers ·         Interview/elevator speech prep     This is a free, five day, in-house training at HCC’s Veteran Business Center located in Farmers Branch, Texas Apply online at http://www.hccvet.org/act-program/     Respectfully, William J. Miller Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. ACT/Fellows Program Manager (214) 431-3834 william.miller@hccvet.org
    • When selecting your time slot, what time zone is it based on?
    • Hey Sam! If you want to start streaming for OSD - just find a date on the calendar (I will work on your privileges now) and then secure it with your stream link and information, on that day, let us know and we will get you all of the stuff you need to get started streaming in support of Operation Supply Drop, I will also be going over the rules for streaming on the channel *the usual stuff*.    Thanks for joining us! 
    • Hello to all! My name is Troy, (Sam_U_ElJackson). I am 47 years old and an Active Army / Army National Guard vet. I spent a total of 18 years in and got out because of PTSD. After struggling to hold down a fulltime job  I stepped into uncharted waters and started streaming. I started as a console streamer then I bought a gaming PC. Each day has been a blessing and an escape from my daily struggles in life. I figured, if I am streaming for fun, why not do it for a cause and meet others that share things I have in common. After a short search I found Operation Supply Drop, and Mil-Sim Gaming.  I am always looking for new friends, other gamers, and do not mind adding people to my discord or games to play with me! I mostly stream/play 7 Days To Die and Minecraft. Hope everyone has fun and feel free to reach out to me! Troy aka Sam_U_ElJackson  
    • Hello to all! Name is Mike, aka Wanderingjew101. I am 31 years old and an Army National Guard vet. Spent 8 years in and got out because of an injury with my ankle. I am now working at a local liquor store, am in school milking my GI Bill benefits to get my Bachelors in Business Leadership and Management (so I can open my own business here shortly after I get the degree). I stream in my off time and do it for the fun of streaming. I have done one charity stream for Help Hope Live, and hope to keep that kind of thing going from time to time, on a regular basis, on my own stream. I figured, if I am streaming for fun, why not do it for a cause. Found the Operation Supply Drop to hit my in the place where I use to have a heart, and figured I would take steps to raising money for the cause!  I am always looking for new friends, other gamers, and do not mind adding people to my discord or games to play with me! Hope everyone has fun and feel free to reach out to me! Michael aka Wanderingjew101
    • sounds good monkee, pm me the details on discord when you have time.
    • Hey with the new dates I am going to have to drop out of the Tournament.  My recruiting center has an even that weekend that will take me out all weekend.  Sorry
    • Hey welcome to the community,  I am actually originally from MN but stationed in CT.  Look forward to playing some games with you if we play the same stuff.
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