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      Youtube Team   10/02/2017

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Well after about 2 weeks my little one finally gets to come home! Happy Dad right now

    5S.jpg

  3. Last week
  4. Anything can be transformed into a horror game, because if you think about it someone, somewhere is afraid of everything on the planet. But you would be creating a niche game if you made one about arachibutyrophobia. Let’s be honest, how many people would be scared by a game that focuses on the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth? Games with wider appeal would have to deal with more general fears, or something more relatable. Shining Gate Software has hit on one of those in their latest release Decay – The Mare. You play as Sam, a young man that is trying to get his life back on track. You have checked into a drug rehab facility, Reaching Dreams, to finally kick your addiction. But, you wake up in the middle of your first night, and something is off. Are you hallucinating? Are you on a bad trip? This this a bad dream? Or have you stumbled into a real paranormal mystery? No matter what, there is something strange going on. And the only way to get it to stop is to get to the bottom of it. The game is divided into 3 episodes, each one delving deeper into the story. You will have to wander through facility solving puzzles to gain access to more parts of the building. Your powers of observation and memory will be tested as you try to decrypt some of the more interesting conundrums. All of the answers lie within the walls of Reaching Dreams, you may just have to take a few notes along the way. Decay – The Mare, gains most of it’s suspense from the dark environment and the uncertainty of what is going on. It was released in 2015 on PC, so the graphics are a little dated, but the grainy look does work for the most part. The only time it becomes an issue is when you have to find some of the in-game items. There are a few instances where the colors tend to blend together and you only realize they are there when your cursor changes. The soundtrack is subtle, macabre, and ominous. If you have the ability to play while listening through headphones – I recommend it, as this will increase the scare factor 10 fold. Decay – The Mare is out now on XB1 and Steam. You can add it to your collection for $9.99, which is less than the price of a horror flick, and will easily provide you with as many scares. 8/10
  5. Earlier
  6. twitch.tv/thehiddenlevels
  7. There have been a lot of twin stick shooters popping up recently. Many follow the same formula, run around and shoot everything that moves. Black Shell Media has released Zombie Party by Peach Pie Productions – a twin stick shooter that has a side scrolling mode, a pet sanctuary, and more enemies that aren’t zombies than are. Zombie Party is an RPG with rogue like elements in pure retro rampage form. The game features 4 actual game modes for you to choose from – Adventure, Dungeon, Arcade and Death Match. Adventure sees you facing wave after wave of enemies interspersed with bosses until you die. Dungeon lets you explore an area, kill enemies and descend into the dungeon and kill the bosses. Arcade is the side scroller which sets you against zombie hordes. Death Match pits you against AI players or other local players to the end. Actually, all the modes are better with friends – unfortunately, you can only play local multiplayer. One of the cool things about the title is the sheer amount of weaponry that you can find and use. There is a wide range of melee weapons, firearms, grenades, bombs, runes, potions, and artifacts. You can even find and rescue pets that will help you in your fight against your enemies. Some will gather supplies for you while others will attack in your stead. The graphics are pure retro gold. Enemy design is fun and playful. Colors very depending on the area you are in, but are mostly bright. Things light up even more when you start firing weapons like the rainbow gun. The music is a chip tune concert for the heart. You will find yourself tapping your feet as you lay out your foes. Zombie Party is out now on XB1 and Steam. You can pick it up for $9.99 and get started slaying right away. As much fun as it is to play solo, grab a friend or three, gather around the tv and just blast away. 9/10
  8. The longer you play games, the more titles you will see with sequels. Direct, indirect, spiritual, in name only and otherwise. 10 tons LTD has released JYDGE, a top down, twin stick shooter that takes place in the same city from Neon Chrome. JYDGE sets you up as a cybernetic law man in the mega city of Edenberg. It is up to you to wipe out the ever rampant crime problem. Crime comes in all forms, and you will find multiple ways to deal with it. Your only weapon, beside yourself that is, is your Gavel – a multiple fire mode gun, that is also customizable. The story consists of 4 acts, each with 5 missions. Each mission has 3 medals that you can earn for completing a specific objective. You need to earn these medals to unlock new missions and acts. If you don’t unlock 3 medals in each mission don’t fear, there are 4 different difficulty levels, and each has it’s own set of objectives and medals. This is not a twin stick shooter where you can just go around firing arbitrarily. Some missions require you to rescue hostages, so you have to be careful not to tag any civilians with stray bullets. You get to customize your jydge and gavel, and some of these will actually help keep the general public a bit safer. But others will blow up everything in your path, or just protect you from the destruction. The game sports a similar color palette to Neon Chrome. Dark streets with bright, vivid set pieces. Enemies with neon hair that sticks out from the bleak avenues and rooms. The wide range of colors becomes a feast for the eyes. The soundtrack is filled with thumping beats that will carry you through all the difficulty levels, no matter if you are trying to be precise with your shots or just blowing up the block. JYDGE is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. You can add it to your collection for $14.99, but some platforms will have it on sale for the first week of release, so check it out. If you are a fan on twin stick shooters or are looking for something that will challenge you to rethink the way you complete each level – 4 times. 8/10
  9. At heart, I’m a programmer. I love to write code, I enjoy the challenge of trying to take many small actions and intertwine them to accomplish a larger goal. That’s why when I heard about Silicon Zeroes, a new game by PleasingFungus Games, I just had to check it out. This is a puzzle where you take simple modules and connect them together to perform more complex tasks. This game does a great job of easing you into the concepts. The first few puzzles teach you have to use the basic modules, and then have you combine them into something you’ll use in future puzzles. The first set of puzzles are not bad, the difficulty ramps up into the second set, and by the third set, I’m starting to pull my hair out trying to figure it out. There is a ‘story’ to each puzzle, as you are working for a company in the 1960s, trying to build a CPU. The story isn’t really engaging, as it’s just a bit of text before and after the puzzles. The charm of the game is in the challenging puzzles. I don’t care for some of the parts restrictions that are imposed on the puzzles. Certainly makes the puzzles a lot more difficult. This game is not for everyone. If you like logic puzzles and doing trial and error testing to complete a task, you’ll find this game a good conceptualization of that. If the idea of that gets your frustrated thinking about it, you may want to steer clear of this title.
  10. Maldita Castilla is a game created by Juan Antonio Becerra, also know as Locomalito, released in December 2012 for Windows. Maldita Castilla EX is created by the same developer, but with two more chapters, some extra weapons, and enemies. These games take inspiration from the arcade games from the 80s and other console classics like Super Ghosts and Goblins. There is very little randomness in the game, enemies spawn in the same location each time, and bosses are all about learning the patterns. However, that does not make the game ‘easy’. There is still plenty of challenge to the game in learning the spawns and patterns, and being able to execute your moves to defeat them. There is no time limit to completing levels, but the estimated time for completing a speedrun of the game in under 40 minutes. There are secrets and a hidden final chapter that can only be unlocked by finding Moura tears in the levels. The audio and visuals of the game nearly perfectly replicate the feel of an 80s arcade, including the scan lines. It’s customizable, so you don’t have to play with the scan lines, but it’s a nice feature to include. A lot of feelings of nostalgia were brought out by this game, and I’m very pleased with how well done the game is. For achievements, they are certainly going to keep me playing this game. Many of the achievements are for finding the different secrets throughout the game, but the most challenging ones are to complete the game in under 40 minutes, and for finishing the game equipped with the fire sword, which is found in the third level, so you need to complete more than half the game without dying and losing the power-up. This is not an easy 1,000 GS (or Platinum Trophy), but will feel very rewarding when you accomplish it. In summary, Maldita Castilla EX is a very well done game. It’s a great play, and if you remember those days of the arcades and NES classics, this is sure to bring back fond memories. It can be challenging and frustrating, but in the end I found it rewarding and I hope you do too.
  11. I have always been a fan of horror movies. I grew up watching Hitchcock movies, then transitioned into slasher flicks – but I really loved the movies that were more about suspense than just pure gore. It wasn’t until recently that I started to play horror games, because titles have started relying more on immersive storytelling and less on jump scares. Digeratti has released The Coma : Recut, a new, updated version of the Korean horror game that falls into the former category. You play as Youngho, a high school student in the midst of final exams. After an all-night study session you accidentally over sleep and have to rush to make you finals. As you arrive you notice an ambulance loading up the body of a fellow student. Talking to a few friends, you discover that there was an accident overnight and the student mysteriously died. Since not even death can stop finals, you go to class and prepare for your tests. As you start to take your exam you realize the folly of staying up all night, and the lack of sleep catches up to you and you start to drift off. You awaken in a darkened classroom, alone. But something is off, more than just being left in the school after hours and nobody bothering to wake you. As you walk through the dimly lit halls you come across your favorite teacher, Ms. Song, but realize she means to do you serious bodily harm. You quickly run and hide so that you have a few moments to gather your wits and formulate a plan. What follows is kind of like a supernatural game of cat and mouse with Ms. Song in the halls and class rooms of Sehwa High. You must gather clues to unravel the mystery of the building, what is happening, and try to escape. Along the way you will run into Seho, a fellow classmate, and a mysterious girl wearing a school uniform that you don’t recognize. Each will offer you help, in their own way, to try and help you survive and escape. The graphics in the game are perfectly eerie. The darkened, construction riddled hallways are very creepy with the majority of their light coming from your flash light. Unfortunately, if you use your light too long it may draw some unwanted attention. Your footsteps echo through the empty halls and the faster you move the louder the get. Too bad the more noise you make, the easier it is for the killer to find you – noticing a pattern here? The Coma : Recut is out now on XB1, PS4, and Steam and you can drop it into your collection for about $15. It is a chilling game that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to uncover the facts, stay alive, and escape. 8/10
  12. No matter where you look, you will see fusion. Strawberry-kiwi lemon aid, Tex-Mex food, sports-utility vehicles, Frisbee golf, and of course Cat-Dog. The world of mash ups has come to video games with the Plug in Digital release of Transcripted – a twin stick shooter / match 3 game. In this game you control a nano probe that is used to combat disease. You can upgrade your probe and weapons to fight ever more powerful pathogens. You defeat the viruses by destroying their DNA-like strands by matching 3 like colors. You will have to do this while evading attacking from defensive cells. Game play is a mix of twin stick shooter, match 3 and it even has RPG elements thrown in. You pilot your probe through different organic samples and try to destroy their building blocks. This is done by grabbing blocks that drop once you destroy some of the defensive cells and trying to match enough pairs of 3. As you progress, you can use research to increase the stats of your nano probe. Boost your speed, fire power, shields, and even the handling. But, if the game is still too challenging, you can lower the difficulty of both the shooter and puzzle aspects independently. As you progress through the game you will meet new and more powerful enemies. Also the “DNA” strands will move faster, so you will either have to have to have quick aim, or shoot blocks into receptors to slow them down temporarily. There are other elements that get introduced that add twists to the completion of levels. The graphics in the game are a little less than optimal. While the colors in the DNA strands are bright, the individual blocks tend to blur. This doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it does detract from the look a bit. There is also a disconnect with the music. It seems like in spots when the game gets frantic the music will take a mellow turn and vice versa. Transcripted is out now and can be added to your collection for about $8. This is an interesting mash up of genres, and the independent difficulty adjustments will make sure that you will get some decent mileage from the title regardless of your skill level. 7/10
  13. I have been playing games for over 3 decades and in that time I have seen puzzles games take many forms. Computerized Rubiks cubes, Tetris, MYST, Lemmings, and even games like Portal. But never in the thousands of titles I have played have I ever come across a game like Maize by Finish Line Games. Maize is a 1st person adventure puzzle game. I know what you are thinking – that doesn’t sound that different, that sounds like MYST. Well, MYST didn’t have sentient corn. Now you are thinking “that has to be a serious typo” but my keyboard is working fine and I am actually taking my meds. Corn that can walk, talk, and even help you figure out what you need to do next on your adventure. Oh, and don’t forget your Russian, robotic, bear companion that is along for the ride. Told you it was different. You wake up in a corn field with no idea how you got there or what you are supposed to be doing. After a bit of exploring, you find a large door that requires 3 keys to enter. A bit wandering reveals a farm house and starts you on your journey into the lab that lays behind the door. In the lab you will start to uncover answers to some of your lingering questions like how did the corn get this way, what is their fate, can corn dance? You will also learn the history of the lab and the two doctors, Ted and Bob, who ran its experiments. To progress through the facility, you will have to solve a series of puzzles. Most will require you to use objects that you have acquired from your surroundings. But not everything you grab is useful. There are 75 collectables that are stored in your folio that only count towards an achievement / trophy. Each of these items has an interesting description, so they do bear a once over. But there are at least that many with a purpose in the game. The graphics in Maize are spectacular. No matter if you are exploring the secret underground lab or wandering through the large corn field you will want to take a moment to admire the amount of detail that was included. Even the shadows on the induvial kernels of corn are almost mesmerizing. The audio is great. The voice acting is amazing. Face it, when you have a Russian, robotic bear insulting you and sentient corn leading you through a game what can go wrong? Maize is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. It is a great puzzle game that will keep you in stitches. There is also an achievement for completing the game in under 2 hours, so you can even speed run it if you have big enough cobs. Personally I am hoping for a stuffed Vladdy. 8/10
  14. I have never played any type of Warhammer game in my life. This may seem like a comment out of left field, but it does actually have a place here. The developers at Cyanide Studios have mashed together the characters and races from Warhammer and American football again with their release of Blood Bowl 2 : Legendary Edition. If you think this is just another football game, you are sorely mistaken. Blood Bowl 2 is a turn based strategy game that is just masquerading as a football game. But this twist separates it from the other games in the genre and adds new depth to the game. The addition of other vampires, dwarves, elves and more also adds for more fun and twists to your basic sports title. Blood Bowl 2 offers many different ways to play the game. There is a campaign, challenge mode, customizable leagues ( single and multiplayer ) , and friendly matches that can be played either online or locally. Each game consists of 2 halves of 8 turns each, in which you can move each of your players – unless you happen to have a turnover. And as I stated this is not your typical football game. You can bribe the refs, hire a wizard to cast a spell to help your team or even hire a mercenary. All of the modes play fairly the same. You must either score, or prevent the other team from scoring. What sets this game apart is that each move is given a percentage of successful completion and will roll dice to give you an outcome for encounters. Now, you are at the mercy of luck and the roll of the dice. And the fans are not just there to watch the game. If you get pushed out of bounds, the fans will pummel you senseless and toss the ball randomly onto the field. The Legendary Edition of the game includes the base title as well as all of the available races. Goblins, Halflings, Treeman, Amazons, Vampires, Ogres, and more. This edition allows you to grab all the content in one neat package. You also get star players, a new stadium, and more interesting matches with All-Star Teams and Mixed Teams. The graphics in the game are great. The plays are carried out through short videos. Each tackle, touch down, and other important play has a stunning, bone jarring visual. The sounds of the grid iron are there as well, but where the sounds really soar are in campaign mode. Campaign Mode features a couple of sports casters explaining the story and providing color commentary. This commentary will have you laughing out loud. Blood Bowl 2 : The Legendary Edition is out now on XB1, PS4 and PC and can be added to your collection for about $45. This is a fun twist on the turn based strategy genre and sports games. 7/10
  15. until
    Join us for our weekly Podcast about nothing
  16. until
    Twitch.tv/operationsupplydrop
  17. There is a pretty long history of video games based on movies being pretty horrid. All one has to do is look up E.T. for the 2600 and they will see the beginnings. Games either have little to do with their celluloid partners, or they pale in comparison to all the hype. Often they seem like they have been rushed to market just to add a few extra dollars to the studios pockets. But every once in a while there is a game that holds its own. Don’t Knock Twice is a horror film in which a mother trying to re-connect with her daughter attracts the attention of a demonic witch. The game follows a similar plot line to the film. I must say that I have not seen the movie at this time, but the game does stand on its own merits, and doesn’t require any knowledge of the movie. You play as Jess, a woman that gave up her daughter at a young age, but it now trying to make amends. You begin the game in a darkened room, lit only by the fire in the fire place. Your cell phone rings and it is a text from your daughter, trying to figure out what is going on. You must investigate your house to piece together what is going on, as well as your history with your daughter. All the answers you seek can be found in your eerie home. Don’t Knock Twice does an amazing job at creating a very ominous atmosphere that you are stuck in. The graphics are fairly realistic, and the only light comes from the candle you are carrying, or your cell phone screen. There are a few scattered bolts of lightning that will also brighten your view, but they pass too quickly for you to really use their light. The sound effects are next level creepy. I grew up in an old Victorian house and spent hours wondering if the house was settling, the wind was blowing under the shutters, or if someone was walking across the creaky wide board wood floors. All of those sounds are perfectly replicated and slid into the soundtrack. There are really only 2 draw backs to this title. The first is the length of the game. It will only take you about an hour or so to complete your 1st playthrough. The game requires at least 2 playthroughs in order to grab all of the achievements. But this brings up the 2nd short fall, once you have played through the game once, you know what is going to happen and the tension is all but lost. There are enough little details to warrant 2 plays, but after that you can zip through the game too quick to be scared. Don’t Knock Twice is out now on XB1, PS4, PC and is even available on multiple VR platforms. If you are a fan of horror / suspense games, this game is definitely worth a look see. Ii would just recommend you leave the lights on. 8/10
  18. until
    https://www.twitch.tv/maevri
  19. I will be the first to admit that I am not the typical person you would see playing Life is Strange. I had originally went into my Gamescom press briefing knowing that I wanted to write a review about Before the Storm, but didn’t have a deep personal interest to request a key and play it. My mind quickly changed when during the game-play presentation when I found myself wanting to ask non-editorial questions, laughing with the game dialogue, and wanting to explore beyond the purpose I was there for. The presenter made the point upfront and several times that their goal was to make the game about having meaningful relationships between the characters and not wash it out with non-contributing features. It quickly showed off just how in-depth some of these relationships were and how the numerous choices a player could make would contribute to different experiences. It was also pointed out that unlike the last game, there is now no rewind power. This means that the player is presented with choices that have a lasting and permanent effects on the character. For instance, if a player choose to get into some shady dealings, they may come back to haunt you later on. Personally, I enjoyed every minute of the game and will be playing the entire Life is Strange series after the next two chapters come out. I recommend to check this one out if you are even remotely interested in it!
  20. If you have been following my reviews for a while you will have noticed that I have a fondness for hidden object / puzzle games. These titles allow me to slow down, focus on all the minute details of gameplay and story. They also remind me of the hours I would spend with those paper puzzle books before the release of the Atari. Artifex Mundi is the leading publisher of hidden object games and they have just released another title from their catalog to the XB1. Eventide 2 : Sorcerer’s Mirror continues to follow the adventures of botanist Mary as she explores the Slavic countryside. The game starts out with Mary rock climbing with her niece Jenny, and everything seems well. But soon you encounter an evil sorcerer who kidnaps Jenny and plunges you into another adventure. It is up to you to save your niece, discover the sorcerers plan, and save the country. This is done by solving puzzle mini games, using magic potions, and uncovering the secrets of the past. Gameplay is very similar to other games from the publisher. One new feature is a moral system. Throughout the game there are a total of 5 choices that you must make that will affect how the game plays out. The choices have a minimal effect on your playthrough, but you will have a few different conversations because of what you pick. If you want to get all the achievements, you must playthrough at least twice, so you will get a chance to see how everything plays out. The title also includes a fair amount of inventory crafting. This means that you will find a group of items and then need to assemble them in the inventory bar. This brings a little more thought into the game as you must figure out what is needed to craft the different items. The game also brings back collectables. There are 2 separate types of collectables that you have to search out while playing – cards with Imps on them and gleaming mirrors. While these are only required for achievements, it still adds a bit to the game play. Don’t worry if you don’t find them all on your 1st playthrough, when you play through again the items you have found will already be collected, so you just need to grab the few you missed. Graphics in the game are great as usual. The areas you visit are beautifully rendered, and the hidden object puzzles are challenging. The soundtrack helps create the tone for the game, be it a peaceful waterfall or sneaking around the sorcerer’s castle. The music and sound effects help to immerse you into this world of magic, where things are not always as they seem. Eventide 2 : Sorcerer’s Mirror is out now for the Xbox One. You can pick it up for around $10 or you can grab the bundle that includes both Eventide titles for $15. If you are a casual gamer that is looking for an interesting story I would recommend this title for you. There are some fun puzzles to solve and the game will keep you entertained for several hours. And if you are an achievement hunter, this is a title for you as well. 7/10
  21. You spend the bulk of your time playing video games doing things that would land you a pretty hefty prison sentence. Speeding, robbing banks, fighting, and of course shooting enough rounds into your foes to kill them a dozen times over. Team 17 and Mouldy Toof Studios have decided to toss you back into the clink for your miscellaneous crimes in The Escapists 2. You may start out in a cell, but like the original Escapists, the goal is to regain your freedom in the shortest time possible. Tunnel, fly, chip through walls, cut through wires, or sneak out any way you can. Each prison – there are 10 total – has multiple escapes including ones that can only be accomplished with an accomplice. That’s right, this time you can bring along a partner in crime. Gameplay is very like the original game. You get tossed in prison and you must find a way out. You can gather supplies from inside the prison and craft them into useful tools for your escape. But, in order to craft items, you will have to spend some time in the library reading to increase your intelligence. If you are going to fight, you had better hit the gym to build your strength and stamina. One upgrade from the original is that in fights you no longer just smack your enemy, you can charge up your strikes to do more damage. A big addition to The Escapists 2 are mobile prisons. These are lock ups that you have a limited amount of time to escape from, and very specific escape routes. There is no routine to follow while transported, so you are free to focus on your escape. The main thing you must watch out for on these prisons is the guards. If they find you out of your cell, they will instantly chase you down and show you who is in charge. Multiplayer adds a whole new dimension to the game as well. You can play local or online co-op games, where you try to work together to escape. One nice feature is that you can have friends drop in and drop out as they want – they don’t have to play through an entire prison with you. The one disadvantage to this is that if you drop out, when you return to the prison you have lost all your hidden items and personal stats. If you are more of a lone wolf, you can play versus mode. In this mode you not only have to be the 1st to escape, but you have to deal with others trying to sabotage you at every step. The wide variety of prisons adds a lot of depth to the game play. You start at a simple prison and before you know it you are in a World War 2 prison camp, stuck on an oil rig, or even somewhere out of this world. The way you escape from one prison will be vastly different from the next. There are nods to some Great Escape movies tucked in as well. The developers wanted to make sure that you didn’t get lonely while you were serving your time, so they added a few YouTube stars into the mix as fellow cellmates. The Escapists 2 is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. You can get the digital version on any of the platforms for $19.99. If you are looking for a physical copy, you can grab one of those for a little more. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner, don’t fear – the game is slated to come to your console soon. If you are a fan of the 1st game, scooping up this title is essential. If you have never played the title before, this is a great introduction to the series. 10/10
  22. It has now been over a full week since Gamescom 2017 has ended but the dust isn’t settling yet with PAX West (formerly PAX Prime) just ending and preparations for Twitch’s third TwitchCon underway. During this year’s Gamescom I saw a lot of what happened last year; packed convention halls, big new AAA title booths, and 350,000 gaming fans overrunning Cologne. Likely due to safety and capacity restrictions, the overall number of public visitors remained exactly the same as last year at 350,000. Although there were dozens of extra companies represented this year, and despite Electronic Arts (EA) renting out all of hall one, all of these additions only resulted in an increased presence in the trade and business areas which are off-limits to the public visitors. As expected, EA did it big this year by bringing back Battlefield 1’s booth with its new In the Name of the Tsar DLC, winning the best add-on award. The addition of a hall-spanning overhead ramp with a 2018 BMW M5 hanging off it must have really impressed judges as they also won the best booth award too. If Gamescom had a longest line award, EA would have also would have certainly won this award also. Star Wars Battlefront II had a queue that extended past the three-hour mark, prompting many to stare helplessly at the massive X-Wing suspended above the booth before pressing on towards less-crowded areas. We also experienced just how crazy it got when their stage area became burst into action, being illuminated by hundreds of lights and amplified by over 135 speakers, turning their already packed stage area into an impromptu concert hall. I also need to throw in a big thank you to the whole EA and DICE staff for allowing me to not only run around unhindered but also be invited on stage to stream some Battlefield! Ubisoft was also well-represented in the same action-packed hall as EA with a massive Assassins Creed Origins booth. Unfortunately, I was not able to get into any of their private press briefings and only one of their public presentations due to the overwhelming excitement for their upcoming titles. I was also unable to easily access the Farcry 5 booth beyond a few quick video tours of over-the-shoulder gameplay. One of the notable highlights for me personally was the Ubisoft announcing Anno 1800, the 7th game in Anno series, for release in late 2018. With Overwatch being their hit title last year and no new groundbreaking announcements this year, the Blizzard area was mostly unchanged, but it was still a very impressive setup as always. One thing to note was I was very envious of the Diablo III players enjoying comfy sofas while onlookers were wearied from the typically long wait times with other Blizzard booths. Destiny 2 made a big splash this year by being represented at three different booths across the venue; one for each console and my favorite, the PC booth. I was able to over-the-shoulder watch the very smooth gameplay on PC and was very excited that Bungie did not leave the PC crowd with a sub-par experience. Many people who experienced the open PC beta were posting glowing social media comments about how well the game was functioning on PC. I have yet to personally pick up Destiny myself, however, my co-workers all seem to all share the same opinion that the PC version stood benefit the Destiny franchise the most. Square Enix also made a few waves this year with their presentations on Life is Strange: Before the Storm, right before its release mere days after the convention ended. Without any spoilers or previous knowledge of the game, I feel that they really did really well meeting their goal; make a game based around meaningful relationships and not any fancy mechanics or abilities. Their Final Fantasy franchise took up a large amount of their remaining show-floor space but I did not note any major announcements. Twitch itself also had a very similar presence to last year with some notable exceptions. One of the most immediate and funny things to note was the new Twitch Prime and H1Z1 booths and the overall consolidation of the Amazon-owned floorspace. Another funny thing I noted was that the H1Z1 booth was blatantly placed mere feet apart from the Player Unknown’s Battleground booth. Both of these were sharing a common pathway and open space with the ESL booth, but I do wonder how Daybreak and Bluehole feel about having their nearly identical titles so uncomfortable close. The most unexpected but gracious addition was the new Twitch merchandise booth, something that was amazing considering the typical multi-hour lines for the same items at TwitchCon every year. Finally, at the end of nearly every day I enjoyed meeting the lovely Discord staff many of whom were attending Gamescom for the first time.
  23. Indie games run the gambit of genres and quality. They also vary between short forays and long adventures that will rival any AAA title out there. Borealys Games has recently released Mages of Mystralia, and it fits firmly in the adventure genre and is a very detailed, and fairly expansive title. You play the part of Zia, a young woman who one day discovers that she is a mage. This realization comes to her when she accidentally burns down her house. Since nobody really understands magic, you are instantly banished from your village to fend for yourself. It isn’t long before you meet another mage who introduces himself as your new mentor in the ways of magic. Thus, begins your journey into the world of magic and uncovering the mysteries of what is happening in the world around you. The heart of this adventure game is the magic spell system. You start out the game with 4 basic spells, but you will find runes that you can use to manipulate them to act in new ways. There is a simple flame spell which can be used to light fires, but add a move rune and it will become a projectile weapon. Next you can add a right rune so that your projectile hooks to the right after you release it, to attack enemies around corners. Then you slap on a duplicate rune, and you can now fire 3 fireballs at once. Finally, you can add a link rune so that once your fireball hits its target, it will trigger another spell, such as an explosion. You can set up each of these spells for different situations, but can only have 1 of each type active at a time. As you play through the adventure you will unlock new areas with the new spell iterations that you learn. These areas will hold and more powerful enemies for you to overcome. There will also be puzzles for you to try and solve. Many of these puzzles will unlock new wands for you to use, or a stash of beads that can be traded to permanently increase your health or mana. Like many adventures, the more powerful you become, the more items you can discover lurking in the corners of the map. Mages of Mystralia boasts a 2/3 top down view that excels in its depiction of evil. The area bosses tend to tower over Zia, showing just how much of an uphill fight she has on her hands. As you travel the land each location exudes its own character. Darkened crypts, sunny farm land, busy towns, and abandoned mines are all beautifully rendered. Each spell also takes on a life of its own, especially as you evolve them. The soundtrack of the game fits well with the scope of the adventure. Boss battles seemed even more intense as the music builds in the background. Mages of Mystralia is an adventure game that will keep you engaged from the very start. The game evokes memories of Legend of Zelda, but the magic system propels it to the next level. Grab it now on XB1, PS4, or Steam. The price tag is $19.99 which is more than reasonable when you look at the length and content of the game.
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  25. There seems to be a booming market for survival horror games. Every week or so there is a new title popping up in this genre, but many seem to be poorly crafted stories that lean to heavily on the jump scare to create any suspense. Some games, like Knock Knock by Sometimes You and Ice-Pick Lodge LLC take the time to weave a creepy tale in a strange environment to raise the tension levels slowly until you are at the edge of your seat. You play as a young man who is a self-proclaimed “world-ologist”, as in someone who studies everything in the world. You live in a large house in the woods alone as you collect your data on the things around you. But you seem to be having some trouble sleeping, and something just doesn’t seem right in your house, and in the woods around you. Can you figure out what is amiss? Is it just your mind playing tricks on you? Delve into this strange and eerie world and unlock the answers for yourself. You start out by waking up at night and having a feeling that something is a bit off in your house. You must wander through the rooms, turning on lights to see if there is something out of place. Of course it would be too easy to just flip a switch to turn on the lights, so you have to hold down a button to either fix the lights or change the bulb. This takes a few seconds and will make you wonder what may be laying in the dark. If you stay in a room for a few moments, you may close your eyes and the room will return to normal. You must make it through the night till dawn breaks to complete the sequence. The game alternates between inside the house and exploring the woods. As you explore the forest surrounding your house you will be greeted with one of the most subtly creepy soundtracks a game has to offer. There is an orchestra of natural sounds – crickets, footsteps, wind, cracking branches and more. These are intermixed with supernatural moans and howls that will make you wonder if you are alone, or if someone is watching you. And for the record, if you have a cricket loose in your house KILL IT before you start playing this game, it will only freak you out more. The graphics lean more toward the cartoonish side, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it is for kids. The main character looks like a sleep deprived Chucky doll. As you wander into darkened rooms the small candle you carry casts ominous shadows on the wall. Gameplay can seem a bit repetitive at first – go into a room, fix light, go to next room, but you will quickly see that your house slowly grows and adds rooms as you progress. Also as you progress, you have to play hide and seek with the uninvited guests to your home. If you do happen to get spotted, you will only get set back a few hours, not to the start of the game. Knock Knock may not look like your typical horror survival game, but it will have you on the edge of your seat and looking over your shoulder. You can pick up a copy on XB1, PS4, PS Vita, and PC. 9/10
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