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Found 36 results

  1. SOMA

    I have been playing video games for about 30 years now, and every once in a while a game makes me say “What the hell is going on?” SOMA from Frictional Games is one of those titles. And this is not a bad thing. You play as Simon Jarrett, a young man who was recently in a car accident. As a result of the accident, your girlfriend passed away and you sustained a bad head injury. You have been trying to figure out the extent of your injuries when you are contacted by a doctor that believes he might be able to help. You agree to be a part of his study, and have a complete brain scan. This is when things go sideways. After your scan you wake up and realize that something is very wrong. The bright lights of the doctors are gone. The room is dark, the door is locked and you are surrounded by equipment that wasn’t there before. You must now explore your new surroundings and figure out how you got there, as well as where THERE is. I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but I can safely say that it is a sci-fi, horror, survival which will require stealth over brute force. You will have to unravel the mysteries of your past and try to solve the puzzles of your present so you can move forward. Of course, you have to do this all while not drawing the attention of those that are out to get you. The XB1 version of the game differs slightly from the original PC and Playstation 4 game that was released a few years ago. The XB1 version features SAFE mode, which allows all the horror of the original title, but with no chance of getting injured by any monsters. This makes for a slightly less stressful playthrough, while still being able to experience the entire story. The graphics are dark and gritty. You are pulled into this world almost immediately and held there with a death grip. The environments are varied and extremely well done. Game sound is used to envelop you into this creepy world. Strange mechanical sounds, water dripping in the background, metallic creaks and strange echoes abound. Using headphones really immerses you into the experience, but the sound design is such that you will still get lost in the environments using your TV speakers. Music is sparse throughout the game, and mostly used to emphasize mood. SOMA is out now for XB1 and can be slipped into your collection for $29.99. While the game has you questioning what is going on, the answers are well worth the play time. 10/10
  2. Spintires : Mudrunner

    Reviewing video games can be hard work. I’m not just talking about long hours playing games from every genre. Some titles are closer to on the job training than actual games. Spintires : Mudrunners from Focus Home Interactive is a perfect example of this. This is a simulation game like none out there. The main object of the game is to load your truck up with logs and carry them to the lumber mill. The main difference is that you have to travel on logging roads that are sometimes nothing more than mud covered ditches, ford rivers, and you can occasionally even drive on a real road to get the job done. You have a garage full of trucks to get the job done – once they are unlocked – but this game is far from play. This game is divided into two main sections – the campaign and challenges. Challenges are single levels that require you to complete a task with the vehicle the game chooses. The campaign will have you transporting logs from the lumber mill to the saw mill. You will get to pick your truck and route – provided the truck is in that level – but beware. Most levels will require you to make multiple trips, and each truck carries a different amount of cargo. You will also have to factor in fuel stops and of course, the mud. Picking the wrong truck can add extra miles to your job. The controls for the game are very good for a driving simulator. You can pick between an automatic or manual transmission depending on your preference. I will admit the manual takes a bit of getting used to (and I can drive a stick) but it is helpful when trying to get through the mud. Controlling your truck in the mud is where things get hairy, especially when you must try and park something with some precision. As good as the controls are, the view tends to be a bit lacking. You have an over the cab view and you can move the camera, but it tends to be a bit of an odd angle most of the time. The camera doesn’t swivel smoothly, so you can miss the angle you need. And face it, if you are playing a sim game you want a behind the wheel perspective. The game offers one, but you have limited side views and no views of your mirrors. This means that you are forced to switch to the other view when backing up, attaching trailers or attaching your winch. There is a lot to do in Spintires : Mudrunners, but you have to have the patience for long levels, iffy camera views, and lots of mud, this is a title for you. The simulation side is spot on, and even offers multiplayer if you have a few good buddies that want to form a convoy. 7/10
  3. Assassin's Creed: Origins

    I’ll start this review by saying that I’ve completed nearly all of the Assassin’s Creed games, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. Assassin’s Creed: Origin breaks the mold from the traditional Assassin’s Creed game, while still holding true to the game series. This game has a great story, stunning graphics, and gameplay that makes me think of games like The Witcher 3. With the setting in ancient Egypt, you play as Bayek of Siwa, with all the parkour moves you’d expect in an Assassin’s Creed. One of the biggest changes right out of the gate is the use of quests instead of sequences for story progression; as well as a change to traditional Assassin's Creed combat to make a free following feel. In past games, enemies would form a circle and attack one or two at a time. Not anymore, don’t expect the Romans or wildlife to play nice. Equipment choices include a variety of melee weapons, shields, and bows, each with different attacking speeds and styles, giving you the freedom to control how you approach a fight. A new crafting system has been added to Origin, letting you collect and use ores and pelts, found in the world, to upgrade your damage, health, quiver size, and tool pouch. Graphically, the game is beyond beautiful. The environments are stunning to look at, and when you synchronize, there is a sweeping camera shot of the area. I will say, I’ve played this both on the Xbox One and Xbox One X, and it looks even better on the Xbox One X. Interior environments are detailed and don’t feel like cookie-cutter buildings. And that’s saying something for how many different areas there are to explore in this game. My only major criticism is Senu, Bayek’s eagle used for scouting locations and tagging enemies and objectives. In the early part of the game, tagging enemies and finding treasures is a little annoying because of how precise you need to be with targeting things. Thankfully, as you synchronize with more points, Senu’s scouting gets better and makes it easier to tag everything. If you enjoy the Assassin’s Creed series, this game will not disappoint you. The story is wonderfully told, gameplay is fun and engaing, and there is a ton to explore. And it looks like they plan on adding events for free (along with DLCs). As of writing this review (11/12/2017) there is an Animus Glitch event happening for the next day or so. I will not spoil anything about this, but it’s a lot of fun and something completely new to Assassin’s Creed. More of these event are expected in the coming weeks.
  4. The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk

    Earlier this year Headup Games brought the Studio Fizbin game – The Inner World to consoles from PC. This was done to prepare everyone for the release of the sequel – The Inner World : The Last Wind Monk. The wait is over, the game is now out and it returns to Asposia and follows the adventures of the original characters. The Last Wind Monk picks up about 3 years after the events in the 1st game. The world of Asposia is not as rosy as we might have wished. Robert, the rightful King, is missing and Laura has been captured by Emil. Emil is a Conroyalist that believes the flute noses summoned the Basylians, turned Conroy to stone, and are to blame for all the worlds woes. He has made it his mission to round them all up and throw them into the wind fountain. This dark tone emanates through most of the game. Citizens live in fear they will be discovered as flute noses while others blindly hunt them. Robert almost wallows in self-doubt, due to his upbringing by Conroy, and this taints his normally cheerful demeanor. Much of the fun and light heartedness of the 1st game is lost in the shadows of this new Dystopian World, but there are a few pillars of light to be found. As with the 1st title, this is a point and click adventure. You will have to talk to everyone you meet to get the clues needed to solve the puzzles for each chapter. It’s then up to you to collect the items needed, in some cases combine them, and complete the task at hand. Just like the previous game, the puzzles range from fairly simple to running in circles frustrating. There are a few puzzles that even when you get all the clues, you will be left guessing at the correct answers. There is one, which I would almost classify as a mini game, called Knock Knock, that seems to rely more on luck than anything. The music in the game works very well to capture the mood of the scenes. It easily transitions from the heavier story moments to some of the light-hearted moments. The voice acting is good, but occasionally you will notice that Laura has an accent that comes and goes. The graphics are just as crisp as inn the original. It is nice to see that they have brought back many of the supporting characters from the original, and that the quality is just as good. The Inner World : The Last Wind Monk is out now on XB1, PS4, and Steam. The puzzles are harder than the 1st installment, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game is worth checking out – but I would recommend playing the 1st game so you can play through the entire story arc. 9/10
  5. Abyss : The Wraiths of Eden

    Artifex Mundi has opened up its catalogue and has released another one of their point and click games to consoles. Abyss : The Wraiths of Eden is a standalone adventure that is a nice intro to the genre if you have never played this type of game. You play as a woman looking for her husband, Robert, who disappeared scuba diving during a bad storm. You decide to go looking for him, and discover an underwater city named Eden. The city appears to be deserted, but was once a model of Utopian society. Among the rubble there are signs that Robert has been there, but he is now being held by the Legates – an almost spectral figure that seems to enforce the rules in Eden. It’s up to you to solve the mysteries of Eden, find Robert, and rescue anyone that might still be alive in the underwater city. This is done by searching the station, solving puzzles, and playing mini games. The further you get into the station, the more will be revealed about the History of Eden, the people that lived there, and the creatures patrolling the streets. Game play is similar to most of the other games from the developer. It is a standard point and click adventure. There are hidden object games in which you will have to find important inventory objects that you will have to use throughout the game. If you are not up to finding hidden objects, you can switch over to a domino game in which you will have to cover at least 1 of the 4 squares of the Eden logo for each of the objects. There are also mini games for you to conquer. These range from fairly easy to difficult. With enough manipulation, even the more difficult puzzles will work themselves out. Graphics in the game are as exceptional as ever. The artists excel at fine detail, especially in the hidden object scenes. The soundtrack is good and adds to the creepy vibe of the title. There are a few issues with the basic sound effects though. One that really stands out is when you use a hand drill but the sound is for a power drill. But this is a minor thing. Abyss : The Wraiths of Eden is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. It is a good addition to the collection – as it has a bit of everything in it. Action, suspense, comedy, horror and drama. This is also a good way to introduce casual gamers to console gaming. 8/10
  6. Slayaway Camp : Butchers Cut

    There are tons of puzzle games coming out for consoles. Blue Wizard Digital created a mix of a puzzle game and ‘80’s slashers flick in Slayaway Camp – Butchers Cut. Originally released on Steam, Digerati Distribution has brought it to XB1 and PS4. The object of the game is simple – kill all the innocent people then escape. This is done by sliding around the board until you run into them. You will have to use the walls and objects in the environment to block your movement, or else you might end up missing a victim. As the levels progress you will also have environmental hazards to help you off your victims – holes, fires, electric fences. But beware, these hazards can also kill you if you are not careful. But sometimes you have to sidle up next to a victim to scare them into a better position so that you can complete the level. When you first start up the game you will get to choose between the PG and R rated versions of the game. They both play the same, but they sport different music and the PG version has 0 blood, the victims are just knocked out, and the victims in the mini game are replaced with targets. This means that the game can be played by any aged member of the family. The game is divided into 13 “movies” each with at least 10 levels with over 200 total for the title. Once you complete each movie it will unlock deleted scenes and NC-17 levels. There is also a movie that is just a mini game that tests yours reflexes to see how many kills you can get in a row. The more you kill, the more skull coins you can earn. Skull coins are used to unlock more gruesome kills, and can help you in case you get stuck. If there is a level you are having trouble working out, you can buy a hint for 25 coins or a full video walkthrough for another 100 coins. On some of the later levels you may have to watch the video a few times – but luckily you only have to pay once. You can also use the coins to buy extra killers from the mystery box to complete your collection. The graphics in Slayaway Camp are a bit blocky, but work well with the game. When you play you can pick between either a ¾ top down view, which will allow you to better see the victims and environment or a straight top down view. Both work well, so it comes down to personal preference. If you play with full gore, you won’t be disappointed, as blood splatters everywhere, and skulls roll when you slide back over them. The soundtrack, especially in the R rated game play, is totally addictive. Think ‘80’s hard rock that would have inhabited the slasher movies that the game parodies. Slayaway Camp : Butchers Cut is out now on XB1 and PS4. You can get the original game on Steam or purchase a bundle with all the extra levels. There is even a version you can grab for your phone if you want to try your hand at mobile homicide. 9/10
  7. JYDGE

    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
  8. Maldita Castilla EX - Cursed Castile

    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.
  9. The Coma : Recut

    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
  10. Maize

    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
  11. Blood Bowl 2 : Legendary Edition

    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
  12. Don't Knock Twice

    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
  13. The Escapists 2

    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
  14. Mages of Mystralia

    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.
  15. Knock Knock

    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
  16. Pressure Overdrive

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to try to defeat an evil water stealing mastermind while piloting a steam punk bath tub? I mean, honestly, who hasn’t? Well you don’t have to wonder any longer because Chasing Carrots has released Pressure Overdrive where you can do just that. You play as Morgan, a young, carefree soul that lives on the edge of a lake. One morning as you go for your morning dip you realize that all the water is gone. You quickly notice signs for a new spa and understand what has happened. Your lake, and all the water in the surrounding area, has been syphoned off to create this luxury get away and it is up to you to fix things. So you decide to build a steam powered bath tub of doom straight out of Mad Max to liberate the wet stuff and foil the evil mastermind. To beat him you must traverse 30 different levels and beat 3 separate bosses. You can either do this solo, or with a friend in local co-op. No matter how you decide to play, there are 3 different skill levels to choose from. You can have multiple saves going at once, so you can try out different combinations to see what works, or just play with different friends. If the campaign isn’t your style you can always play Endless mode, where you battle wave after wave till you succumb to the enemy. One of the coolest things about this game is your bath tub. Because you are not going to bring an ordinary tub into battle, you are going to bring the big guns. As you destroy enemies you collect gold which can be used to upgrade your tub. Add a bigger gun, more armor, side grinders, rear electric bolts and more. Customize your ride to suit the way you play, but beware everything is steam powered, so if you run low on steam, you will slow down and your fire rate will drop. As you delve deeper into the spa you get a look at a wide variety of locations and enemies. The graphics are bright, colorful, and maintain their integrity as you are zipping through the levels. Each boss has an interesting design that will excite you when you see them and challenge you while you are battling them. You also get a rocking soundtrack to accompany you on your journey. Pressure Overdrive is out now. You can pick it up for XB1, PS4, or Steam. 8/10
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Spellspire

    10 Tons LTD is known for releasing quirky physics based puzzle games such as Tennis in the Face, Baseball Riot, and King Oddball. But their newest release, while a bit quirky, relies more on a vast vocabulary than a knowledge of angles and velocity. Spellspire is word game with RPG elements that will test your brain and your reflexes. You play the part of a wizard that must make their way up 100 floors of a tower, defeating progressively harder enemies as you go. To attack enemies, you must form words from the 10-letter pool you are given at the start of each floor. Words increase in damage the more letters you use. So, a 3-letter word inflicts the minimum amount while using all 10 letters will cause a devastating blow. This means that you will want to save the longer words for the more powerful enemies on the stage. Game play is simple – form words, attack monsters, clear the floor and earn gold. You can then use that gold to buy new gear and upgrade it in the shop. Robes, hats, wands as well as basic health and attack. These upgrades will help you defeat the more powerful enemies and the bosses that reside on each 10th floor. Wands can also be imbued with special abilities such as poison, ice, etc which will have different effects on enemies, so make sure to check out their weaknesses in the Monsterpedia. The health comes into play because if you don’t destroy a foe before the onscreen timer runs out, they will attack you. As straight forward as the game is, the controls on consoles can get in the way of themselves very easily. You use the right stick to move the cursor over the letter you want, then click on it with the A button. Once you have formed your word, you use the right trigger to attack. The word will flash if you have formed a usable word, so you don’t have to waste time worrying if you have input a bad word. There are also about 111,000 words in the dictionary – including many swear and slang words, so you have a lot of material to work with. But when you are rushing against the clock it is very easy to click the wrong tile. The game was originally a mobile title, and the tile selection was done with tapping the screen, so there would be less chance of mistakes. There is a fair amount of content in this game if you are into word games. Each time you play a floor, the letter pool is changed, so you get a new experience. Also, once you beat a floor it is changed to a challenge level. The monsters become faster and you must complete it while maintaining set criteria. If you complete the challenge you will earn a star. Clearing floors, as well as earning stars will unlock new equipment for you to buy in the store with the gold you have earned. The graphics are cartoony, which is fine for this type of game. The enemies are well varied and interesting to look at, even though you will be spending most of your time focusing on the lower right hand corner of the screen where the letter tiles are. The music is upbeat and fits well with the genre. Long gaming sessions may find you lowering the volume, but your brain will probably start to yell at you for missing easy 3-letter words first and you will want to take a break. No matter what platform you play on, you should be able to find Spellspire. You can grab it on iOS and Android for free – in app purchases may apply - so you can play on the go, or grab it on XB1, PS4, or Steam for $ 9.99. 7/10
  23. Tango Fiesta

    As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's I think I was exposed to some of the greatest movies and games that were ever released. The proof I have of that is that today Hollywood is remaking most of the films, and the game industry is paying homage to the games and the movies on a regular basis. The latest title to do this is Tango Fiesta by Spilt Milk Studio, a top down twin stick shooter that recalls the days of Smash TV and the co-op play of Gauntlet. The game is set in a world where the events of almost every 80's adventure movie actually happened to a man named John Strong, it is up to you to prevail against the forces of evil. Commando, Predator, Die Hard, Robo Cop, Running Man, and more are referenced. You even get to play as characters modeled after the heroes of those iconic flicks. There are 6 different characters to choose from as you start out your adventure. There are 2 seperate game modes to pick from Arcade and Story Mode, each playable with up to 4 players local co-op. The modes are basically thee same, Story takes you through the 5 worlds in order while Arcade mixes things up a bit. Each world consists of 3 different levels and a boss. In each of the levels you must complete a specific objective - either destroy some buildings, helicopters or shut down communications towers. The other main difference is that in Story mode you are able to pick a primary, secondary and throwable weapon - arcade you are limited to primary and throwable ( your secondary is automatically chosen for you ). The weapons locker in the game is a bit limited at the start of play, but as you play through the game you will unlock a more powerful arsenal. Using each hero, getting a specific number of kills, killing off bosses will all increase your fire power. But this increased popwer doesn't come cheap. Each new weapon will have to be purchased with gold that is recovered from enemies that are killed in game. With several weapons costing over $100k, and only getting $200 for most kills, there is a bit of grinding involved on getting some of the best guns. Game play is pretty straight forward. At the start of each level you are shown the objectives you need to clear before you are dropped into the level. It is then up to you if you want to just run to them, clear them out and move on, or spend time destroying lots of enemies that will keep re-spawning. For the most part you won't have to worry about health or ammunition, as you will see certain enemies with little flags above them saying that they will drop the different resources. But unfortunately they don't always drop what you need, or anything at all. This doesn't usually present a problem until the later worlds when you start to become swamped with enemies. Tango Fiesta can be played solo, but it is exponentially better the more friends you have playing with you. Not only does it make it easier to clear the higher worlds, but it is just a lot more fun slaying throngs of foes with your buddies. But bringing friends along for the ride will present a few problems as well. Friendly fire is on, so you have to make sure you knkow where you are shooting at all times. Not only that, but you all play on the same screen, so if someone falls behind, they will fall off the screen. This can be a bit disorienting for them, so you will have to make sure that everyone keeps up. And with some characters markedly slower than others, this can take a little extra team work. Unfortunately you will have to gather your friends in your game room to play because the title lacks online multiplayer support. No matter if you are looking for a game to play with your friends for a while, or something to pick up to relive the glory days of 80's action flicks, Tango Fiesta will scratch that itch. It is available now on XB1, PS4, and Steam. The title has a sticker price of $9.99. 7/10
  24. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

    C I Games recently released the 3rd game in their Sniper Ghost Warrior series, aptly named Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. Now before I get too deep into this review I have to lay a few cards on the table. The first is that I have not played either of the first two games in the series. The second is that I was taught to shoot by a Marine Corps Sniper who served in Vietnam, then rotated back to the states to become a Scout Sniper instructor. While I am not a complete expert on ballistics, I do know my way around a weapon. So with that out of the way - let's begin. The game begins with a prologue mission, which serves to set up some back story for our main character, John North and act as a basic tutorial. You are introduced to different types of movement, weapons, attacks, ammunition, and the equipment you have at your disposal. The mission centers on John and his brother Robert, another sniper, when they are sent on a classified mission to scout and clear an enemy base. But things don't always go as planned. Fast forward a bit and our story continues. John is now in Georgia - the country, not the state - and he is on assignment to help out the locals and destabalize the seperatists. This assignment takes on a lot of different roles. Your missions will vary from intellegence gathering, hostage rescue, termination of most wanted targets, and creating general chaos. The regions that you operate in also contain dozens of points of interest for you to explore. These points contain different smaller missions for you to complete. Some may require you to save civilians, some have you track down needed supplies, while others simply serve as fast travel points around the area. Regardless, they add some depth and more time that you can spend in the world. These side missions will also help you increase your skill, gather supplies so that you can craft resources and help you explore the landscapes. Most of your traveling is designed to be done in your car. Your exit your safe house, hop in your ride, drive to your mission, park and go through the objectives. Once complete, you exfiltrate the area, return to your vehicle and drive back to the safe house to get your next set of orders. Unfortunately, things tend to go pear shaped when you really don't want them too. Many times once you complete a mission and return to where you stashed your ride it has vanished. This means you are left to run back to a fast travel location or in some cases all the way back to your safehouse since you are not able to grab any of the other cars that are in the world. You can work straight through the story and be done with the game or take your time doing the optional side missions and hunting the most wanted targets as you like. This offers a bit of variety in the flow of the game. It will also allow you to travel between the different regions of the game, explore more, earn and find more of the weapons of the trade. One of the most crucial aspects of the game is the shooting mechanics. It is after all a sniping game. Most of the weapons you use you will have to take distance, elevation and wind speed into account prior to your shot. Only a few high powered / high tech sniper rifles are immune from these factors. You will also have to take enemy armor into your calculations. At 100 yards you may be able to get away with a headshot against an enemy wearing a helmet, but at 400 + yards that same shot will require armor piercing rounds to ensure a killshot. It is nice to see kinectics and ballistics taken into account. The other interesting aspect is that each round fired through a silenced weapon will degrade the attached silencer until it is destroyed. The only way to counter this is to repair it in between missions when you are at your safe house, or carry repair kits with you. The amount of noise you make can influence if the enemy hears you, but this seems to vary a lot. I have been crouched and had an enemy on the far side of an objective take notice of me and one that was less than half his distance to me pay no attention to me. I have also been able to run full speed up to enemies over 30-40 meters and they didn't bat an eye before I was able to "stealth" kill them. If you are spotted, you can usually go prone and simply vanish. If things do go sideways with your mission and a fire fight breaks out, if you are able to move your position, and don't return fire for a minute or so the AI figures you have bugged out and they continue their regular patrol patterns. Graphics in the game are really good. There is a good diversity of enemy types and they are rendered well. Environments are set up beautifully, and there are a few very interesting destinations used as set pieces. The slow motion kill shots are well done, but can get a bit repeatative if you are only going for head shots, and let's face it - we are all trying to pop them like ripe melons for the extra points. The music is upbeat, regional tunes that go well with the setting. The sound effects also help to enhance the game astetic whether it is the howling of the wind, or the howling of the wolves, you will begin to feel like a lone sniper on a mission where survival is solely up to your skills. As fun and interesting as this title is, it does suffer a few setbacks. The 1st is one that you will see right off. Really long load times when you start up the game - like start up the game and go make a sandwich long. These usually only happen at the start of each session, but they are very frustrating. Next, as I mentioned, there is a good chance your vechile will not be where you left it. Also multiple times as I played I encountered the same bug. I would shoot someone, the game would go into the slow motion kill shot and stop just before bullet impact and I was taken back to the moment right before I pulled the trigger. This means you have to re-adjust and try the same shot 3 to 4 times. You can also clear objectives, get an in game notification they are cleared and then get shot my a random enemy that has been re-spawned. The story is interesting, if not predictable, but will give you many hours of engaging gameplay. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is out now on XB1, PS4, PC, and Wii U. You can pick it up now with a season pass that includes extra content for $59.99. I reviewed the game on XB1. 7/10
  25. Sniper Ghost Warrior 3: A Review

    If there’s one thing I love about video games, it is the storytelling. Almost all games that I play or have played involve it in some way or another. Whether it is the massive story arches and connectivity of the Mass Effect series, or the small side quests that lead to relatively nothing in the Elder Scrolls, I love the quest for quests. And when given this game, I can tell you, I was excited. A Far Cry style open world FPS-RPG from a sniper’s perspective, what an awesome sounding game! (CI Games) And what an awesome let down. After a 40GB install, I expected the game to load and run smoothly, yet it surprisingly took multiple minutes(close to 7 min. every time) to load. And then, it still wasn’t at full quality I expected of a 2017 release, even at Ultra settings. Disappointing, but they may fix this in future patches. (reddit) The story line of the game is lackluster as well, about an inconceivable mission gone awry when two Marine snipers(who are brothers) are sent to a mission alone(which, as a writer for a military based site-this notion bothered me), and predictably, one brother is kidnapped and made rogue by a terrorist group, from which you must rescue him. Sniping up the terrorist chain of command until you can find him. A saving grace of the game is the customization aspects and their effect on gameplay. Manufacture ammo, and customize your weapons, and see how they change the way you maneuver and where you take your shots. I noticed, with one rifle, I would take much more conservative shots, and with another I’d play a lot more aggressive. It depended on what rifle and attachments I used. (n4g.com) My final opinion of the game is that, as a FPS, this game is pretty good, the sniping mechanics of wind and distance, as well as the ability to customize and manufacture weapons, ammo, and add-ons is very enjoyable. Yet, the story and the graphics could be better. They left too much for my mind to criticize while playing the game. I would recommend this to a person who likes sniping and/or open world games, and doesn’t really care about it being a cookie-cutter story.
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