User Review

72 Reviews


  Viewing Reviews 1-10 of 72
avatar name

Posted:
2015-02-19

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

8.0

'The Wolf Among Us' is an interactive point and click adventure game that was released for the PlayStation 4 on November 2014. The game was developed by Telltale Games, who also have a history of producing top quality content that is driven by story. Their prior work, 'The Walking Dead', has become one of the best story driven games in the world. Much like 'The Walking Dead', 'Wolf' is an episodic game that requires its players to download the next installment in order to move on with the story. Let's take a long hard look at what makes 'The Wolf Among Us' so special.

So what's it all about?

So a brief glance at the character list for 'Wolf' will have you nodding your head in recognition. The main character of the story, and who we follow, is Bigby Wolf. He is the sheriff of a gritty little place called Fabletown. There he serves under Ichabod Crane, the deputy mayor, and alongside Snow White, his secretary. The beginning of the game introduces us to just how dark the story will get as we, playing Bigby, are immediately saving a young prostitute from a drunk and violent woodsman. We escort her back to safety and before we part ways she says these stark words: "You're not as bad as they say." And, unfortunately for the young prostitute, those would be the last words we ever hear her say. For the next time we see her she is beheaded and her head is left on the Woodlands doorstep. And thus begins the twisting and turning dark adventure into the world of Fable. Bigby is sent to investigate the murder and to find just who is responsible for the ghastly deed.

So how does it feel on the PlayStation 4?

I don't know when exactly it happened, but at some point there was a unanimous decision from within the entertainment industry to make everything 'gritty'. Batman was given the Nolan treatment. Superman and the Fantastic Four quickly followed. Now you can't look down the aisle of a movie store without staring at a dark and violent re-imagining of a classic or innocent tale. So we shouldn't be surprised to see that Telltale Games chose to go this direction with Bill Willingham's material. Instead of following Willingham's original thread of style: character studies of fairy tale figures in real life, we are greeted with a scathing commentary on the flaws of man and the errors of a class system. The game feels dirty due to how graphic and corrupt the themes within are. Is that bad? Well, if you are playing a Telltale's game then no. You know what you are getting from the company. But it is definitely different, and that isn't something to forget.

So how does it look?

The selling feature for these sorts of story driven adventures, outside of the plot, is how the art can grab you. Even the most interesting game will fall by the wayside if the artwork is off-putting. In signature Telltale fashion, 'The Wolf Among Us' looks as glorious as ever. The series of episodes look ripped straight from a comic book and the HD textures of the characters absolutely pop off our screen. When Bigby fills the screen with anger we can really feel his hatred emanating through to us. When smarmy Ichabod tries to control the flow of things, we can see in each twitch of his facial features how he is going to act. To put it simply, the game looks great. However, to truly appreciate the art direction you must have some sort of familiarity with comic books and the way that Telltale does their job.

So how is the gameplay?

This seems an odd question to ask for those that are interested in what is essentially a point and click adventure. Yet the question is still worth answering. In 'Wolf Among us' you will be granted new areas in each Episode that you play. Once you are in these areas you will need to get down and dirty to work over the scene. You need to investigate rooms, interrogate people, and collect items. You will be granted occasional moments of quick time action where you are forced to react quickly in order to survive. These moments are sparse but they keep your blood up for quite awhile afterwards. Once you've exhausted each area the game will push you forward. It's all simple, in a way, and that makes it all the more satisfying when you do mess up. The game doesn't let you play it perfectly and you will make choices that dramatically change the events going forward. This is a live 'choose your own adventure' and Bigby walks down the path that you lead him on.

Some of the most enjoyable sections of the game occur when you are trying to get information out of some of the more colorful characters in the game. You take on the role of a simplified detective, not unlike 'L.A. Noire', and you have to use all of your tricks to get information out. You will have options to be verbally or physically abusive. You will have options to try and win over your suspect with honey and sugar coated words. But be sure to act quickly and with confidence. Your enemies are smart and they will clam up or run off if they feel your tactics going forward. So in that way you have to always be on your toes. You have to be ready to make things work to crack this case open.

In conclusion.

At its core 'The Wolf Among Us' on the PlayStation 4 begs gamers to take a look at the dregs of society. Even in a place like Fabletown, where magic can be real, people still suffer and try to scrape by. But are these people, the poor and the destitute, the true problems? Bigby Wolf is a flawed man, trying to make good on a life full of hate, and the characters he runs across may be no different.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-10-11

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

7.0

Magicka 2 made its way over to the PS4 by way of the development team over at Paradox Interactive. Magicka 2 is a sequel to the PC only game Magicka and a continuation of the spin off title Wizard Wars. Utilizing a Diablo/Baldurs Gate/Gauntlet Legends isometric camera, gamers band together with their magical butt kickers to roll through a fantasy world full of treasures and danger. An action game through and through, Magicka 2 brings its excitement to home consoles for the first time ever. We are complete suckers for this style of game and couldn’t wait to grab some couch and play through the game with a friend. Keep on reading to see if you will dig the game as much as we did.

Magicka 2 is a perfect blend of both simplicity and complex interactions. One look at screenshots for the game will have you fully in mind of Diablo 2. The isometric viewpoint gives gamers a perfect view of the playing field and the magic that you can use will remind you of all your favorite spellcasting from prior entries in these sorts of games. At surface value, Magicka 2 is a simple game but there is depth to the spell system and addicting qualities to the action oriented gameplay that will no doubt keep gamers coming back for more and more.

Coming to the PlayStation 4 was definitely a risking decision to make for the franchise. Having already achieved cult like appeal on the PC, switching platforms could have cost them a fanbase. But it didn’t, at least we don’t think so. Instead, Paradox Interactive has refined their formula and further pushed their wizards and warriors franchise to a completely new demographic of gamers. I never would have gotten the game for PC, but on my PS4 this seems like the perfect way to kill a few hours of stress.

Before we dig too deeply into the rest of the game we wanted to make sure and point out that Magicka 2 is full of irreverent humor and nods to other 'nerdy' fandoms. There are Easter Eggs and asides ab out the show 'Game of Thrones', nods to titles like 'Diablo', and allusions to many other popular things from pop culture lore. But the humor is just a window dressing to a game that actively seeks to pull you in and keep you addicted to the action on the screen.

You begin your experience in the world of Magicka 2 as a mage. Starting out the game you run into a character by the name of Vlad. He is your guide, at least in the early going, and he is pretty convinced that he needs to convince you that he isn’t a vampire - not the blood sucker from history. He gives you an extensive overview regarding the action that happened in past titles and he is definitely a great implementation if only to catch up us non PC gamers on what happened in the first title. Eventually he gives you the quest to take down a big, bad, and evil sorcerer while also being asked to save the 'chosen one'.

The ensuing campaign will run you about six hours and you can play it with a few buddies on your same console. Thankfully the game progresses in terms of difficulty the longer you play, preventing you from engaging in a speedy run through. Magicka 2 makes sure to ramp difficulty in all the right spots to keep you on the edge of your seat, preventing you from simply power leveling and super gearing yourself past all of the supposed bosses. Death comes quick in the latter hours of your gameplay and you should be prepared to greet it with open arms at least a few times.

So the primary mode of combat in the game all comes down to spell casting. You are able to use up to five different spells at a time and they can be chosen from a blend of different styles: fire, earth, water, electric, arcane, and the spirit. Picking through these elements can be accomplished by hitting your DualShock 4 controller. You can create simple spells, like the flamethrower, or you can mix these spells together in surprisingly effective and violent ways. We once combined Earth and Arcane in order to get a 'rock bomb of death'. It was pretty cool and delightful to think that we had created it. Getting used to blending spells is super important because the game takes a no holds barred approach to combat. Once you see enemies you won’t have time to really think until they are all dead. So not knowing how to work your spells can be of very great consequence.

If you aren’t one to simply spell blast your way through enemies then you can also get up close and personal with a magical sword. You can imbue your rapier with the different spells at your disposal in order to magically strengthen it. Add electricity to your sword to add lightning damage to every strike. Mix fire with your blade for firesword magic. Etc etc. Melee is fun in the game but it definitely falls far behind the spell casting in relation to combat.

Thankfully Magicka 2 gives you more than just hordes of enemies to work through. You will also run into puzzle segments that can be solved by utilizing different spells. If you need to get across some water why don’t you try freezing it? Want to break through a wally, try a magical boulder. Are you freezing? Light up a fire spell. If that isn’t enough there are also magical buffs that you can impart upon yourself in order to further customize your magical butt kicking ability.

We won’t dig too deep into the story and we won’t touch on some of our favorite Easter Eggs. Being as the campaign is so short you should have no problem playing through several times before you hang the game up for good.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-19

Darren_Summerell

Writer

Xbox One

6.2

'NBA Live 14' on the Xbox One is a basketball simulation video game developed by EA Tiburon and published by Activision on the next gen consoles.

The 'NBA Live' series, developed by EA Tiburon, has been considered one of the only legitimate points of competition for the revered 'NBA 2K' series that is released every year. So when the series went off the radar for a couple of years, presumably so the company could get themselves together for a new release, basketball video game fans were rightfully worried. Having competition keeps these sorts of games thriving. When 'Madden' lost its primary competition in the 'NFL 2K' series, the game went on to become a placid caricature of itself. That isn't to say it is bad, but that it didn't need to evolve upon itself. There was no competition. So when 'NBA Live 14' was announced for the Xbox One we were rightfully excited. Here was a chance for us to get on the hardwood via a different company. Here was a chance for something special.

We were so wrong.

With Kyrie Irving adorning the cover of the game (he would later go on to miss most of the season that year with an injury) we gleefully unwrapped the packing. Throwing the disc into our Xbox disc tray, we then ran back to our couch and turned up the volume. A few moments later we were being hit with an awesome looking rendered introduction video of our favorite basketball players hooping on the court. LeBron James looked amazing going to the rim, Irving spun into the lane for a crazy lay up, and Derrick Rose added his own two handed dunk. The music and animation brought us in and we thought for sure, for absolutely sure, that we were about to get something special. After three years of development this game was going to be pretty incredible. We were ready to pledge allegiance to the 'Live' franchise without even trying 'NBA 2K14'.

We opted to dive straight into exhibition game play so as to get a feel for how the game checked out. We wanted to know how the ball handled in our hands before we dove into the deeper game modes. A moment later we were in Madison Square Garden as the New York Knicks ready to take on the Miami Heat. The stadium looked pretty good and the players themselves looked awesome, but something was just flat about the presentation. We know that the 'Live' series has always taken a backseat to '2K' in that regard but we didn't expect it to be so... dull.

Once on the court the game came back to us quickly. Using the right trigger you could implement the 'revolutionary' new BounceTek dribble system. There were no tutorials put in place to teach us how to use this feature but we managed to find our way around it before too long. Using a good ball handler we were able to hit the BounceTek stick at the right time in order to do some pretty cool moves while attacking the basket.

The basic core of a strong basketball game is on hand for those that were looking for it. You can dribble, drive, dunk, and shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. Attacking the rim felt pretty good and dunks resonated in our hands. The animations and physics of the net oddly stole the show for us as every shot seemed unique once it got through the bucket.

We ended our exhibition at half time and decided to move on to something new. We didn't hate our first experience with the game but we definitely felt like something was a little bit off. Shaking that vibe we headed over to check out the different game modes available.

While 'NBA 2K' was winning over legions of fans for their wonderful MyCareer mode, the guys at EA Tiburon were developing their own answer with the 'Rising Star' mode. Rising Star is essentially a clone of the MyCareer mode and it is a poorly made one at that. Once you start into the game mode you get to do a few minor customizations of your created character before you are launched into the draft. You eventually land on a pro team where you are then graded for every action you communicate while out on the court. Perform well and gain points so that you can upgrade your stats. The skeleton of a fun game mode was here but it lacked the flash and depth of the MyCareer mode that most of us had fallen in love with. And that sort of defined the other game modes as well (Exhibition, Franchise). We saw what we should be enjoying, but there was never anything more complicated underneath.

Now that we were starting to realize how mediocre the game was we decided to head to the online mode. If there was once place where the developers could not ruin the experience, it would be on the internet. We quickly realized this was a mistake.

Trying to play online was akin to running through a pool full of honey. Everything pushed against you and before long you would be too frustrated to even try playing the game. Lag was constant and connecting with random people was almost impossible. Once you WERE in the game you would have to contend with cheap opponents and unrealistic decisions by the AI around you. We quickly put the online mode in the garbage and walked away from it.

While this review sounds pretty harsh we do have some kind words for the Live Season mode. This Live Season mode allows you to play alongside the current NBA season, updating as things happen in real life. it was a cool way to keep things fresh but we have a feeling that, as the next title gets ready to release, it will quit being maintained--thus dashing the one redeeming feature of the title.

'NBA Live 14' on the Xbox One ended up being one of the most disappointing games we played this year. Everything was in its corner for it to be a success, but nothing came together in the end. On the other hand 'NBA 2k14' ended up being our favorite sports game to be released.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-23

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

8.1

'Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn' is an action fantasy video game created for the PlayStation 4, it is a great choice for the MMOG fans who kind of thrive in this atmosphere. It offers a new insight into the fantasy world of the game with a few improvements.

The 'Final Fantasy' series stands tall as probably one of the biggest franchises in the history of video games. Alongside games like 'Mario Brothers' and 'Halo', 'Final Fantasy' turned the RPG genre into a legitimate threat that would soon consume an entire generation of avid gamers. Since its debut over two decades ago the games have gotten increasingly more advanced. The latest entry, 'Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn', dropped on the PlayStation 4 last April. Developed by longstanding video game legends, Square Enix, 'A Realm Reborn' sought to create a persistent world MMORPG for console owners everywhere. While the games have always been some of the most deep and satisfying experiences available, they've never really run the gamut on the MMO marketplace. Needless to say we were anxious to get our hands on a copy in order to give it a shot.

'Final Fantasy XIV' is set in the fictional realm of Hydaelyn. Hydaelyn is a planet filled with diverging biomes that span across three gigantic land masses. The game takes place on the central continent of Eorzea. Eorzea used to be controlled by The Twelve, a group of ancient guardians, who came to life via the MotherCrystal. Across this giant continent players will run into multiple cities that each have their own unique flavor and flair. The primary cities that players will be concerned with are: Gridania, Ul'dah and Limsa Lominsa. Those three cities act as starting realms and it is among those three that players get to choose how they begin their adventure.

Looking past the story will allow us to take stock of exactly what 'A Realm Reborn' actually is. Those of us who have been lucky (or cursed) to spend any amount of time with online video games will immediately recognize what appears to be the traditional MMORPG set up. You log into a central server, design a character from the ground up, and then assign him to a world (city). From there you traverse through the realm collecting items, killing monsters, and competing quests as you venture ever onward toward whatever level cap that the developers have installed. Along the way you'll partner up with some people, fight other people, and maybe even join a guild along the way.

If what we said sounds boring it is because the set up has become tiring. Western MMORPGs have comfortably fallen into the same routine of shoving players into faceless characters that exist only to grind to the end game. It was our fear that 'A Realm Reborn' would stick to the path to the point of monotony. In some ways they did, but in others they pushed ahead and made an exciting experience for us.

'A Realm Reborn' was initially released on the PC a few years back under the name 'Final fantasy XIV'. The game came out and failed almost immediately. Fans of the franchise were livid, casual plays disinterested, and everyone in between merely unimpressed. The game disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared and fans were left wondering what Square Enix would do with the property. Well, here it is. Taking five years off to fix the game and rehaul all of the issues made for an entirely new experience. A reborn game. A Realm Reborn.

When you join up for the first time you get to create a character. You have to assign him or her to one of the cities we listed above but before doing that you have to commit them to a faction. Your character can be a part of the Disciples of War or the Disciples of Magic. It doesn't really matter too much which one you choose, at least not at the beginning. Gone are the selections for the Hand and Land disciples. After giving your character a rough once over as far as their appearance is concerned you can pick a server (North America, Japan, Europe) and get to playing.

Upon dropping into the game the first thing that you will likely notice is just how beautiful the whole experience is. Always renown for their aesthetics, Square Enix pushed themselves to the limit by utilizing every ounce of the PS4s power. Characters are expertly detailed and each player has their own unique appearance even though there are thousands of us playing online at a time.

Set up like a traditional MMO you will quickly find that there are menus aplenty to take consideration of. You will see a bar for your health, your magic, and your currency. You will also have access to even more hidden sub-menus that reveal even more depth to what is going on behind your character. Navigating them with the PS4 controller is possible, but it isn't comfortable. Fortunately for those of us more used to the traditional mouse/keyboard, there are options. Syncing your mouse/keyboard is a breeze and it immediately made the experience much more comfortable for us.

One of the issues that many gamers had with Final Fantasy XIV' was the fact that it was tediously easy. There was never really any challenge in the dungeons and once you got to a certain level, everything was simple. Square Enix developed two difficulty enhancements in order to make dungeons much more challenging. Gamers that find themselves growing bored would do well to try the harder modes. We think they'll probably end up retreating back to the default settings before too long.

What we have always loved about the 'Final Fantasy' series is the fact that it has such depth to its lore. Every character could have a novel written about their backstory and we'd probably fall in love with it. That same attention to detail is here. NPCs have personality and they add depth to a world that feels breathing (and it should, it is persistent after all) and alive. At times it was easy to forget that we were playing in an MMO, which is the ultimate compliment for a video game. If we only had one MMO to play this year, we'd have to suggest ''Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn' on the PlayStation 4.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-23

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

8.2

'Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition' on the PlayStation 4 is a fighting video game based upon the fictional universe of DC Comics. The game was developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

In the last six or seven years we've gotten a surplus of comic book goodness in just about every form of entertainment known to man. From comics to video games all the way to the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, things have been looking pretty up. While Marvel Studios has been dominating the world of cinematic superheroes, it has been DC that is feeling the rush of success on video games. 'Injustice: Gods Among us' is a wonderful fighter that flips the script on what to expect out of our favorite DC Heroes and Villains. From the first trailer we saw to the last fight we had in the game, we were in love. Keep on reading to see why this game should become the Pledge of Allegiance for DC fans everywhere.

Written by NetherRealm Studios alongside the head writers at DC Comics, 'Injustice: Gods Among Us' brings fans into a set of alternate universes in order to tell its wacky but invigorating story. If you want to skip the next paragraph then just know this: The Joker did it.

But to be more specific, the plot of 'Gods Among Us' starts with the Joker destroying all of Metropolis with a gigantic nuclear weapon. Millions of people are dead and Superman is essentially lost. The Joker manages to trick Supes into killing Lois Lane and the unborn child they share. This causes Superman to snap into a rage that has previously never been seen of the iconic hero. The Joker ends up getting killed during by Superman during Batman's interrogation of the villain. Superman continues his descent into pseudo madness as he becomes the High Councillor of a new order. Batman obviously doesn't take kindly to this and the two begin what is to become a long war. Five years into this gigantic, universe altering world, Batman discovers the an alternate universe where the Joker failed in his plot to destroy Metropolis. This is where the crossover of universes first happens and when things take a turn for the mind bending. We won't give up too much more, as you should play it in order to appreciate it fully.

'Gods Among Us' is a follow up to the originally titled 'Injustice'. This new release features all of the story elements and characters from the initial game but it also includes all of the DLC that had previously been released in individual fashion. You end up with a roster nearing 40 total characters from the beloved DC Universe, each of which has been rendered in their full and highly detailed 3D glory. Alongside these characters you can also unlock alternate skins for some of the more interesting characters.

If you haven't realized by now, 'Injustice: Gods Among Us' is a fighting/brawler game made in the likeness of titles like 'Mortal Kombat' and 'Street Fighter'. Upon loading the game up you are given a side view of the arena and it is there that you take control of your character in order to obliterate your opponent. Instead of your match being divided into multiple rounds you are instead given two health bars. The first person to deplete the others health to zero, twice, wins the round.

Combat in the game is what drives the story forward so it is obviously important that it is accessible. fortunately for us 'Injustice' is as easy to play as riding a bicycle. It is tempting to load up your favorite character and just button mash but there are so many reasons to take time to learn the strategy. Seeing as the fighting itself is limited to four buttons and your movement controls, there is no reason not to spend some time learning combinations. Each character has their own special abilities and it takes away from the energy bar at the top of the screen in order to use them. You can rack up energy by deploying combos and doing other fancy moves. Once you get your meter filled enough you can send out an ultimate attack that can typically end the match in one or two hits. Each legendary character is given a special set of moves that appeals directly to the fan in all of us. The Joker has his own darkly sadistic moves while Harley Quinn is demented and oozing sexuality. Batman has his gizmos, the Green Lantern has his ring, and so on and so forth.

Seeing as this is a fighting game there is always concern about how the storyline is portrayed. A lot of fighting games tend to make the campaign mode a throw in just so those of us who would complain about it not being there are satisfied. This isn't the case with 'Injustice'. The campaign mode is as interesting as competing online and we think even more so. As with 'Mortal Kombat', released back in 2011, you will jump from character to character in order to see all points of view of the story. and trust us, there are plenty of alternating viewpoints to get a load of. The multiple universes allow for you to experience the same character in different ways as well as to see fresh new looks at how characters would react in crazy situations. We loved the darkness of the 'war' universe as well as the alternate Earth.

The graphics in 'Injustice: Gods Among Us' are hit and miss at times. The actual characters themselves look completely gorgeous. Each character has been modeled to almost life like optimization. The cutscenes and voice acting look equally good. Where the aesthetics fall off is with the backgrounds art and animations. The backdrop for most of the fights tends to be bland and sort of lifeless.

We found 'Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition' on the PlayStation 4 to be a fitting upgrade to our arsenal of fighting games. The intriguing story and beautiful character models pulled us right into the universe.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-21

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

8.1

'Wolfenstein: The New Order' on the PlayStation 4 is a first-person shooter which was published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by MachineGames for the next gen consoles.

The developers over at MachineGames have been tasked with reviving a franchise that many deem to be almost untouchable. 'Wolfenstein' made its console debut back in 1981 under the name 'Castle Wolfenstein' but most of us probably got or first taste of the bizarre WWII shooter back in 1992 when 'Wolfenstein 3D' dropped for the Super Nintendo. Since then the series has been releasing steady games with our newest entry making it to the PlayStation 4 in the name of: 'Wolfenstein: The New Order'. We got a chance to sit down with 'The New Order' just to see if the sequel lived up to the prior entries. For fans of 'Wolfenstein' in its originality, it might be time to hold your breath. Keep reading to see if you'll be adding this game to your PS4 library!

For those few gamers out there that don't really know what 'Wolfenstein' is about, or why we should love it, let's take a moment to really give it the respect that the series deserves. Before there was 'Doom', which is commonly referred to as the first defining FPS game, there was 'Wolfenstein'. id Software, publishers of the franchise from the very beginning, have been pulling the game along with each new generation of consoles. Mixing the shtick of over the top evil Nazis (if that is even possible) with the grittiness of an awesome first person shooter, 'Wolfenstein' has turned into one of the ultimate gaming experiences. When 'Wolfenstein' made the move to 3D fans were even more amped up to play it. Now, harnessing the power of the PS4, there should be no shortage of fans lining up at the door. And, if we had our way, that is how things would be. Because 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' is one of the defining FPS games available right now.

Machine Games took up the mantle of development for 'The New Order' and their recent track record is as good as it gets. Machine Games developed 'The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay' in 2004 before developing 'The Darkness' in 2007. Both titles were revered for their elaborate storytelling, gritty aura, and absolutely engrossing gameplay experiences.

At its core, 'Wolfenstein' has never been about the storyline. I mean, how could it be? The game goes so over the top in regards to drama that attempting to play it straight would be disastrous. Nazi mega scientists developing futuristic tech during the depths of WWII sounds ridiculous. Don't even let us get started on the zombies. So how well could a company whose primary badges of honor were related to storytelling revitalize this series? It turns out that Machine Games knew what they were doing.

'The New Order' is a direct follow up to the 2009 release 'Wolfenstein' and playing that title before this one would make the most amount of sense. The series is set in an alternate history where World War II did not go quite the way we thought it did. Nazi's have utilized occult powers to unearth ancient technology and the Allied powers are on the brink of destruction.

The game opens up with our action hero BJ Blazkowicz leading a mission into a German castle in 1946. His goal is to kill Wilhelm Strasse, otherwise known as Deathshead. Deathshead is the lead scientist for the occult powered Nazi's and he is one of the most brilliant strategists in the entire world. The last time we saw him, back in the '09 release, he was crawling from the downed wreckage of a zeppelin. Yeah, if you haven't been playing 'Wolfenstein' then probably nothing is making sense here. Anyways, onto the mission.

Yeah, it fails. Our man BJ takes a hit trying to escape the castle and he falls, knocked out and thrown into a coma. For ten years BJ lays there until he comes to inside of an asylum owned by the Polish. While he was out quite a bit happened. Namely: The Nazi's won the war. They won the world. However there are still a few resistance fighters left alive and that is where our story takes us.

So as you can see, already the storyline is pretty darn interesting. We know that Nazis, by now, have become pretty cliche in the mainstream. Yet, 'Wolfenstein' was using them to great appeal before it was cool. Having the Nazis actually WIN WWII and take over the world is a delightful twist and it is only bested by the fact that our hero is put out of commission for the duration. We can only fill in the blanks with our imagination as to what happened.

The developers put a lot of work into creating a dystopian, science fiction based world and it really helps to sell the game to us. When BJ comes to and starts to explore this world, it becomes deeper and deeper with every step. From the robots to the Nazi propaganda adorning everything, we feel completely transformed. While there are moments of absurdist humor here, 'The New Order' mostly plays it straight and that comes with massive appeal to us.

How does it look on the PlayStation 4?

Ignoring the story, 'Wolfenstein' has never looked this good. The textures in the game are just beautiful and they really help to sell this dark new world. We loved the level design because there was so much to see in every single frame. Everywhere you look you can see tinges of what the world could have been had the Nazis not stepped into play. From the music to the posters to the style of dress that the citizens in this world wear, it's all there and tweaked to perfection.

Our last comment is in regards to the actual game play. Fighting in this game is smooth. You'll seamlessly switch between a variety of futuristic projectile weapons, reminding one of steampunk inspired gear, while also going hand to hand on many occasions. Using strategy to clear out rooms really helps make the game feel grounded, and we dig that it still maintains the core functionality of a great shooters.

On the whole we found 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' on the PlayStation 4 to be one of the most enjoyable games we've picked up in a long time. There are some issues here for new gamers: the story is convoluted and references will go over their head, but that's about it. Give the game a shot!

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-19

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

7.8

'Destiny' on the PlayStation 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bungie and published by Activision. The game was released on the PlayStation 4 on September 9, 2014.

When 'Destiny' was first announced it had to deal with the fact that it would be obviously compared to the almost mythical 'Halo' franchise that developers Bungie made so popular. So knowing that this would be the case Bungie decided to go out of their way to try and mark a completely new experience. We grabbed the PS4 version of the game and decided to jump into this new world and IP by such a reputable company. While we weren't sold on the concept at first, it definitely grew on us as we played. Keep reading to find out if this game will be in your hands in the near future.

A flawed experimentation.

When 'Destiny' was announced we were burdened with almost incomprehensible expectations by readers all over the gaming world. 'Destiny' had to bank off of the 'Halo' franchise without ever catering to those fans. The developers at Bungie were being watched closely. Would they just rehash their old ideas in order to get another pay check? Fortunately moments after putting the game in, we were certain that we were in for a whole new ride.

The game takes place in the far and distant future. Humanity is coming off of the most prosperous time of all existence. After discovering a benevolent celestial being by the name of 'The Traveler', humanity is given the gift of knowledge and a golden age soon follows. From there humans spread out across the galaxy, far and wide, colonizing planets as they come across them. Then a vile darkness begins to spread, an enemy to 'The Traveler'. Soon humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction with the only survivors being those who were at Earth, under protection of 'The Traveler'. Now all of humanity lives inside of a single city named The Tower and it is there that we see our race begin to fight back, pushing against those great forces of darkness.

That is pretty much the gist of the story and all you need to know in order to operate proficiently in this new world. While the story teeters on the edge of melodrama, it still has enough of a hook to keep us interested. While much of the story has been rehashed from other mediums, we didn't pay it too much attention. A weak story has followed Bungie's work no matter where they have gone and we fully expected that to be the case here.

One of our biggest issues, and the most resonating gripe we've seen parroted around the internet, is that the game lacks a good character to latch onto. 'Halo' had Master Chief and the character quickly became an icon. There is nobody in 'Destiny' that we really cared about. Throughout the meandering story you get introduced to new characters only to see them dropped off the face of the Earth in the next section. We don't stand out as interesting characters in the game and even the enemies, easiest of all to make interesting, pass by in a bland way.

Fortunately 'Destiny' plays beautifully and that is where we found most of our joy coming from during our experimentation with the title. 'Destiny' itself works like a FPS mashed with some elements of the traditional RPG. A minute with the game will show you that the shooting, melee, and power controls are ripped straight out of the 'Halo' guide to efficiency. Everything controls naturally and it is easy to engage in strategic firefights. The action is fast paced and you are always looking for new ways to take out your opponent while never allowing them to get the drop on you.

In 'Destiny' you have the choice between three different classes: The Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. Each class comes geared with its own subclass and that subclass allows you to reach new heights in your customization. This is where we see the heaviest aspects of the RPG element glow through. Every class has their own special abilities and moves that are kept in check by a cool down mechanism that keeps you from spamming them. The three different classes we listed above are well designed and balanced. You can play each one of them and get a different experience each time.

'Destiny' puts a heavy emphasis on the world of PvE (Player versus Everything) and it is definitely pulling inspiration from some of the legendary MMOs of our time. You can travel to four different hubs (Earth, Venus, Mars, and the Moon) and from there you can explore different environments. These environments are filled to the brim with new enemies, side missions, loot caches, and collectable materials to either utilize or sell away from cash. You'll run across different players as you roll through these hubs and these instances help to breathe life to what, at times, feels like a solitary experience in a multiplayer world.

When you accept missions in these hubs you are put into an instanced (read: alone) world. There you will complete the mission by yourself, without any interference from other plays that are currently online. Complete the mission and you will eventually get bumped back out to the general instance. Party up with other players to tackle harder missions or go at them alone to test your skills.

'Destiny' puts a heavy emphasis on finding your own way through the leveling system. Each time that you level up you will see your base stats rise and you will also unlock new gear. Learn new skills with experience points and work on filling out your different subclasses. The more you are leveled up the more powerful you are able to be on the battlefield.

While we had definite reservations during our time with 'Destiny', we couldn't help but feel that the experience was rewarding us. The fast paced, action oriented gameplay worked well and we loved having other players in the same world as us. This isn't a unique experience, but it is definitely something to consider for those needing a console based MMO.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-19

Darren_Summerell

Writer

Xbox One

8.8

The 'Diablo' series belongs somewhere in the annals of video gaming history due to the cult like following it inspired. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, this third person isometric dungeon crawler has been the go to game for fantasy fanatics for decades. Now 'Diablo III: Reaper of Souls' has released for the Xbox One and we couldn't wait to get our hands on it. We had some reservations, mainly due to the fact that we had always played 'Diablo' games on our PCs, but once we got our hands on the title things quickly became apparent to us. We were in for a treat.

When 'Diablo III' was announced fans got rightfully intrigued and excited. This would be the game they had been waiting years to get their hands on. When the title finally released for the PC it came out to surprisingly lukewarm reviews. Despite the rabid fanbase, the game wasn't a polished experience. Things didn't feel quite right and the game never hit its mark. Let's not even begin to talk about DRM or the assorted other issues that uniquely plague computer gamers.

So we were rightfully skeptical about how a port to the Xbox One would carry over. We knew that 'Diablo III: Reaper of Souls' was an expansion to a game that came out pretty flawed upon release but we knew that Blizzard was the kind of company that could fix the situation if they were given enough time in order to do so. So we waited. And waited. And waited. And finally we got our hands on the Xbox One release of 'Reaper' and before we knew it we were back into the world that Blizzard so handily created. As the first expansion pack to be released for 'Diablo III' there was a lot here for us to hope for.

'Reaper of Souls' picks up in Act 5, right after your player has defeated Nephalem. Tyrael has foudn the Black Soulstone that holds, basically, the essence of seven great evils. He realizes how dangerous it is and so he ventures to to take it back to the Sanctuary in order to seal it away forever. This goes about as well as any good thing goes in the 'Diablo' series. Malthael ambushes the man and soon takes the soulstone and flees away as the 'angel of death'. This is where you come in. If you thought your adventure was over after Act 4, get ready for a whole new darker chapter.

If you thought that 'Diablo III' presented itself as a dark experience then you will begin to think of that time as rainbows and butterflies versus what you experience in 'Reaper'. This expansion takes a turn for the dark. Colors are saturated and bleak. Textures are gritty, crumbling, and soul crushing. You'll find corpses piled in cathedrals, evil spirits possessing the poor and weak NPCs, and you'll come to find a King that is in no shape to protect the people he has been charged to care for. The story is as obfuscating as any entry in the world of 'Diablo' and it is only to be paid attention to if you are a hardcore fan. Having been out of the game for awhile we spent a lot of time going, "Wait, who? What?" The intense names and extensive lore don't do anything to help the casual player out.

If you've spent any time with the other entries in Blizzard's flagship franchise then you know essentially what you are getting with 'Reaper'. This is a dungeon crawler in the truest sense of the word. You will push through many different terrains as you seek the ever illusive perfect loot. Much of the game is focused on you killing things in order to get better gear so that you can go forward and kill more things. It doesn't sound entirely riveting when we put it like that, but it is truly a fun experience.

Knowing that the game hasn't changed at its core we instead started hunting for those extra features and gameplay refinements that make these expansion packs worth buying. We ended up finding a couple that were well worth mentioning.

Adventure Mode

One of the most exciting new additions was the Adventure Mode. This mode allows players to go to any region available in the game without having to actually start a new game in order to do so. You'll have new objectives (which we'll list below) that you can work on defeating.

Bounties & Nephalem Rifts

When you are playing in Adventure Mode you probably want something to spice it up. Enter bounties. Each act allows you to complete 5 random bounties. Bounties require you to kill a specific enemy, kill a certain number of enemies, complete a certain event, or just clear out a certain area. In return for completing these bounties you will be given a monetary reward, some loot, and a few bloodshards which you can trade for better items. You will also get Rift Fragments which are used to activate Nephalem Rifts. These Rifts, once activated, open up a new dungeon for you to play through.

Now that we've talked about some of the new additions to the game we can take time to appreciate the overall aesthetic. We've talked about how dark the game is, but we haven't really discussed how beautiful it is. Some people complain about the top down view due to the fact that it can be restrictive from an artistic standpoint. We don't mind. The game still manages to show off stunning scale in the form of buildings and monsters.

The more we played through 'Diablo III: Reaper of Souls' the more we found ourselves enjoying the experience. 'Reaper of Souls' is almost definitively 'more of the same', but the 'same' that it gives us is a quality experience. There is just enough new content here that we wouldn't have felt bad if we had to shell out the $20 you have to spend to get the content for the game. If only for the new 5th act the expansion was worth having.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-03-12

Darren_Summerell

Writer

Xbox One

7.4

"#IDARB" has been bringing people together in different ways since it premiered on the XBOX One last year. The hashtag/acronym title stands for 'It Draws a Red Box' and the experience is something reminiscent of the sort of game we'd invent as children. Other Ocean developed the game with the core idea behind it to be collaborative, creative, and chaotic sports that you could play with your friends. We hadn't ever heard of the title before we got our hands on it so we went in with an empty opinion and the motivation to see it through to the end, wherever it actually took us.

Not like anything else...

If we had to boil down "#IDARB" to a sentence it would be this: put the ball in the opposing goal at all costs. At its core this game really just stresses that simple gameplay element. You want to score points. In order to score points you need to avoid enemies. In order to avoid enemies you need to utilize the different platforms in the level. The farther back you are from the goal post, the higher your score will be if you actually somehow make the difficult shot. That's a pretty simple concept and one that shouldn't surprise anybody.

Only "#IDARB" exists on a 2D, platforming world. This 'sport' works in both horizontal and vertical styles and can be played by two big and opposing teams. You can play against the AI in offline mode by yourself but the heart of the game will only come out when you have a crowded room of your friends drunkenly, or soberly, screaming at the television because you just punched the ball out of their hands again.

At face value this isn't a particularly unique experience. There isn't anything here that hasn't been done before on some level. After all, 'Tecmo Bowl' has to lay claim to the original 2D sporting game, right? What IS special about this game is the fact that it is a collaborative effort by players who aren't typically looking for this kind of competition.

It's unique blend with social media also makes the game feel so much bigger than it actually is. There are specific hashtag codes (used on sites like Twitter) that gamers will use to broadcast their thoughts on the online game. The messages gets displayed across the bottom of the screen and, in its own lame way, this makes us feel like our competition is being broadcast on ESPN or something.

One of the more creative elements in the game, which also lends to the pure hectic nature of the 'sport', is the fact that we can custom design our own character elements. Nope, no uniforms for us thank you. Instead you can go into a 2D character creation tool and completely mock something up from scratch. This bit of creativity opens the door for clans to create similar outfits or for the troublemaker to make a character that looks absolutely and distractingly bizarre.

Along this same path of customization we found out that we could also create our own team banners to hang up in the background of the different 'arenas'. Things can get pretty unique quickly. We found ourselves often times laughing at the sheer incredulity of a team of clowns alley ooping over our panda/cat hybrid defenders. Seriously, this is the stuff that really weird dreams are made of.

Users can also dig into a superficial sound editor to add their own music to the game. Maybe we aren't good at programming songs, or maybe the editor is a bit bunk, but either way we found that the musical selections ranged from the weird to the un-listenable.

The essential action on the screen consists of some sort of weird basketball and soccer hybrid. The games begin with a descending clock and the emphasis to go, score, as quick as possible. In this sort of game you only helped yourself if you were willing to work together as a team. Mastering the alley oop is one of the most potent maneuvers that you can pull off in the game and it is the foundation of a competitive squad. Still, there is some fun in joining in as a rogue player. If you are good at dodging incoming opponents then you can duck, jump and climb your way to an easy 'score' on the other end.

The game features fundamentally non detailed 2D graphics and we aren't sure that this is a complaint. If the game became any more graphically advanced we are almost positive that there would be some charm lost in the process. No, we like the way that the game sticks to a short list of assets and art styles. The absurdity of it all really ramps up as a result.

The rest of the interface is pretty simple. You have your scores in the bottom right and left hand corners as well as a clock at the top. You race up and down the platforms in order to move the ball, sort of like a 2D version of Quidditch, as you get close to the opposing goal. On defense you are allowed to attack other players in order to steal the ball and run the opposite direction. Great scores are hit with instant replays and buzzer beaters will get the slow motion treatment when looking back.

Scoring in the game is complicated bordering on nonsensical, so it fits in with the rest of the experience. If you score from farther out then you will get more points. Likewise, if you manage to score off of a pass that also bounced off of a wall or something, your point total will really start climbing.

What we loved about "#IDARB" is that it was a competitive game meant for non competitive gamers. How absurd the whole title is lends itself to a friendly experience, even in the online matchmaking system. We rarely found ourselves truly upset with losing and instead were more eager to jump into the next game.

avatar name

Posted:
2015-02-21

Darren_Summerell

Writer

PS4

8.0

The Pinball Arcade is a tight selection of pinball games that were pulled together and developed by FarSight Studios. Along with Crave Entertainment and Alliance Digital Media, the game was released on the PlayStation 4 as part of a push for the next generation of consoles. The game features a plethora of tables that are licensed by industry juggernauts and the game itself offers a host of DLC to keep players coming back for more. While the idea of a pinball based next gen game certainly seems bizarre, it isn't hard to see why a devoted selection of fans keep their fingers on the bumper. Let's take a look at the nitty gritty behind this pinball arcade simulator.

A brief glance.

Let's be honest. When you are looking for a next gen pinball game you really are scraping at the bottom of the barrel in terms of selection. The factg are pretty simple, there aren't many titles around that even begin to try and offer this sort of simulated experience. So right off the bat this game has an audience and an opening to do something special. Originally released for PC, and pushed through Steam's Green Light program, The Pinball Arcade enjoyed a succesful run on older consoles. It made its premier on the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2012 before being upgraded and ported to our current consoles. With that being said, owners of the PS4 should still be interested in getting a hold of this game. It isn't merely a port. It is a complete experience that really can't be rivaled.

An authentic experience.

Grab your beer but forget the quarters. You aren't going to need them for this game. The team behind Pinball Arcade did their best to bring you everything that you would need in order to forget that you aren't actually in an arcade or at the back of a bar. When you turn on the game you will be greeted with an array of menus. From there you can either jump straight into the action, picking one of your available tables, or you can opt to download some of the other available tables. The game naturally comes with 'Tales of the Arabian Night' as a free way to play. But the team behind the game has released a whole slew of buyable tables as part of the DLC. You don't need to get them to play. You might never even want to get them. But they are there and they increase your experience with the game by 10fold. They are also enjoyable and appropriately priced.

How does it all look on the Playstation 4?

Looking at a game that was developed for the last generation may scare off a few propel. But when it comes to pinball our eyes shouldn't be so preoccupied with graphics. That being said, the game looks great. The tables are immaculately detailed and the animations when you activate certain effects will pull a grin from even the most stone faced of players. There are flashy effects, cool cutaways, and some really neat features to keep you interested. The colors pop off of the television and the textures of the table will have you thinking that you are leaning over it. On a 1080p screen you will be fully immersed. Without purchasing another table you can still get a full experience out of just 'Arabian Nights'.

Expanding the game room.

Most players who enjoy pinball will want to expand their arcade room. This means that they are the guys who will look to the DLC as a way to increase the breadth of their experience. For as cheap as the DLC is, especially when considering the game itself is free from the arcade, DLC feels more like the actual purchase price. So once you find your way to the buyable tables you will have more than a couple of options to choose form. There are four seasons of tables and they can be purchased in seasonal 'packs'. This is a bulk purchase that gives you multiple tables for a discounted price. However, if you'd rather just pick the games that appeal to you, you can also go individually. Games range from licensed megastars (Twilight Zone, Star Trek: The Next Generation) all the way to a slew of original designs. There is something for everyone and we really enjoyed how many options we were given. At the time of this writing there are 55 total tables available. This is where we most readily applaud the designers behind the game. With so many companies going for annual releases (and we can easily imagine the Pinball Arcade doing something similar) the guys opted for DLC. That means you don't have to keep buying new games to get new tables. They keep the experience completely centralized and they allow their players to opt for more. It's a small thing but something we respect.

Hit the rails.

All of the above writing is besides the point if the game itself isn't fun to play. Clunky controls can ruin a great concept and potentially interesting experience. Thankfully the guys got The Pinball Arcade correct. The game excels at the sole purpose that people bought it for. Using the bumper, the rails, and all of the other little features will have you accelerating to the high score table in no time. The ball feels fluid off of the machine and its interaction with the environment is solid. The physics of the game seem appropriate and we have a feeling that this is a close recreation of the actual game.

A few final thoughts.

The Pinball Arcade manages to do something quite nifty with their PS4 port. They brought in their original game, upscaled its looks while keeping its soul, and they made it worth purchasing for a new demographic. The clever usage of DLC over annual releases keeps frugal gamers happy, and the availability of a free table puts players in the driver seat before asking them to buy the car.


  Viewing Reviews 1-10 of 72