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BEYOND: Two Souls
BEYOND: Two Souls
Action/Adventure
I had never played Beyond: Two Souls and I got the game for free with my Playstation Plus subscription. I decided to check it out. Right from the start of the game, the story hooks you in with an introduction to a young woman (played by Ellen Page) sitting in a sheriff's office looking grim. This is where Beyond really begins. It's an intriguing way to start a story and I found myself wanting to know who this young woman was and how she got to this point.

As the story progresses, you learn that the young woman's name is Jodie and she has a psychic connection with an entity known as Aiden. Jodie can communicate and work with Aiden to use telepathic abilities such as moving objects or possessing people's minds. This is where the game has time jumps between Jodie's childhood, her teen years, and adulthood. It seems the story does this on purpose, showing that memories in Jodie's mind are jumbled so there are frequent time jumps back and forth. It can be a little confusing at times, but it seems to meld well with the story.

You can adjust the difficulty settings in the game from easy to normal depending on your play style which is nice. Since this was my first time playing the game, I went with the easy setting so I could get a feel for things and just enjoy the story. As the story switched back and forth in the timeline you get to see the things Jodie went through as a kid with Aiden and how she came to be with the lead scientist of the paranormal department, Nathan who is played by Willem Dafoe. Throughout Jodie's childhood, Nathan is a constant presence and a bit of a father figure to her as they run tests to see how strong Jodie's abilities are as well as testing her connection to Aiden. This is where the game introduces you to the controls and the quick action button events.

You can also switch views between Jodie and Aiden. There are many points in the game where Jodie relies on Aiden for certain parts of the story in order to move objects, possess people, or fight enemies. This is where the quick action controls come in. Honestly, I did not like the quick action controls because for me it detracted from the story immersion and often felt like a chore to do especially if I missed it the first time. There were times where it was vital that I not miss the quick action moment and it could be very frustrating when I did miss it.

The aspect of Jodie and Aiden learning and growing together as the story progresses is definitely interesting. There are great emotional moments in the story with Jodie as she is trying to navigate what it means to be herself while trying to adjust and separate herself from Aiden. You also get to see how her relationships change with people like Nathan as she grows. The time skips through the fifteen year span of Jodie's life fill in some of the gaps in the story, but there are times where it feels a bit muddled because in some aspects it takes away the player control and just takes you along for the ride. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because Ellen Page does a phenomenal job as Jodie and I found myself caring a lot about this character and wanting to protect her from all the people who were trying to control or manipulate her.

There are multiple endings to Beyond depending on choices you make as Jodie, but it doesn't always seem like there are a ton of choices because you are basically there to see Jodie's story unfold and see how she came to be where she is. The voice acting and motion capture of the game is incredible and everyone did a fantastic job telling this story. That's not to say Beyond isn't flawed. As I said before, I did not like the quick action event sequences. I felt this detracted from the story a bit. I also felt there were a couple of writing choices that could have been done better and in a more thoughtful manner such as a troubling scene in one of Jodie's teen years memories. I also felt the ending could have been stronger because it took an odd cliffhanger turn. That being said, I did enjoy Beyond: Two Souls because of the great casting and the story. Ellen Page as Jodie is the real deal bringing a great sincerity to the character that made me care genuinely about Jodie and wanting her to be okay. That is the sign of some good storytelling. Beyond is definitely worth playing through at least once to see the story unfold through Jodie's eyes.
  
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KalJ95 (21 KP) rated the PlayStation 4 version of STAR WARS Battlefront II in Video Games

Jun 10, 2020  
STAR WARS Battlefront II
STAR WARS Battlefront II
2017 | Shooter
Star Wars Immersion At Its Finest. (2 more)
Multiplayer Is Feels Fluid, Bouncy And Satisfying.
Frequent Updates Have Saved The Game.
Sometimes Buggy. (1 more)
Campaign Is Short, Bare and Repetitive.
Can EA Redeem Themselves? (2020 Update Review)
I will begin this by telling you a story. Back in 2016, I bought EA and DICE's STAR WARS Battlefront for £25, feeling like a got a pretty good bargain. Little did I know at the time that this was an EA project, I had very high hopes after spending hundreds of hours of my childhood playing the original, Battlefront and Battlefront II, on my original XBOX. To me, along with KOTOR and Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, were the pinnacle of how good a STAR WARS game could be. I played four hours of this remake, and realised how much of a mistake I had made. I subsequently put the game on eBay, with the description, “Please take this abomination from me before I throw it at the wall!”. It sold for £9. Worth it.
Once I discovered EA and DICE were doing a sequel, I knew this was to be avoided at all costs. Upon launch, Battlefront II was slammed by critics and fans for various reasons, including a loot based system that gave a player a clear advantage over another, and a story which was so short and bare boned it barely even passed four hours. A complete disaster all round. Yet, a new hope arose. Frequent updates have come since then, and all updates have been free for players as a sorry for all the mistakes both companies have made with the property. So, with all this information in the past, I received Battlefront II as a free game with PlayStation Plus for June. A what a treat it is.

STAR WARS Battlefront II is a well improved shooter over its 2015 release, and an all round excellent game, and this is down to its updates being made free to all its players. Battlefront II must be broken up into parts in order to properly get a fair review, so let’s start with the campaign.

Narrative:

The story follows Iden Versio, an Empire Commander who’s morals are tested and sides are divided once she discovers the truth behind her allegiances as the story goes on. The campaign is the weakest part of the package, roughly taking around four to five hours to complete, and the missions feel the same; go to objective, kill enemies, find other objectives etc. The formula gets mixed a few times to introduce iconic heroes and villains through this timeline of STAR WARS history. Average would be the perfect word to describe this aspect, it doesn’t try anything new or experiment, and thats a shame because they introduce some new ideas that could of shaken up the story a little. They did add an expansion called Resurrection, following on some years after the campaign. Again, its too short for any real substance or replay value. Arcade mode is fun enough too, pitting you against different tasks for the Light and Dark side. Each one puts you with different Heroes, Villains or Soldiers, as you fight against a numbered amount of enemies. It all is enough to satisfy for a couple of hours, but if you're buying Battlefront for single-player purposes, don't bother.

Multiplayer:

The Multiplayer is fantastic, immersion filled experience fans of STAR WARS will love. I’ve recently lost a lot of love for the franchise, but this game has made me remember why I loved it as a child. The combination of John William’s score, the fluid gunplay that bounces with every successful hit, mixed with the amazing environments of each world and excellent sound effects. This makes it absolutely flawless. It features various different game modes to choose from, my personal favourite being Co-op missions, all your standard multiplayer shooter modes. Unlike before, where you had to buy the STAR WARS characters you want to play as, you now have to earn points during battle to play as them. The system works as you feel you’ve earned the way to play as, for example, Luke or Han. Sometimes it feels a little buggy in places, especially in modes with forty players, but it never ruins the overall game.

The issues, which they’re are many, occur in multiplayer frequently. The Galactic Assault is messy, and frustrating most of the time due to wonky controls. It feels like the controller doesn’t work for the ships, but works perfectly for the on-ground assaults. I did try this mode a number of times, and the same things happened again and again.

The package is finely finished with some great customisation options for your troopers and also the main characters of the franchise. The sheer number of characters in the roster is staggering. Some choices, like BB-8, feel a little shoehorned, but weirdly they all feel different, with their own unique perks. As a whole, it feels like for once EA has decided to put the consumer first with their product, rather than thinking of the money. They’ve taken the time to issue an apology for the awful services they’ve been providing, by putting a product they know the fans will love. I never thought I would say it, but props to DICE and EA. You’ve redeemed yourselves, for now.
  
Call of Duty: Ghosts - Invasion
Call of Duty: Ghosts - Invasion
Shooter
Just in time for the 4th of July, Activision has released the Invasion DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts so PC and Playstation users can get in on the action. The content as per the usual formula releases first on Xbox systems and then makes it way to the other platforms where it can be purchased on its own or as part of a season pass which offers 4 DLC releases.

The new release offers four new maps and the latest chapter of Extinction which will provide plenty of variety to keep fans going until the final DLC set is released which sets the stage for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in the fall.

Mixing old and new the new maps have much to offer at first glance and look to take the online experience of the game to the next level.

Pharaoh

Is set amongst Egyptian runes and there are dark temples and rubble strewn courtyards for players to navigate. Sadly it also makes for an ideal place for campers to setup in the shadow and this is one of the biggest frustrations as spawn camping happened to me often.

When I could get out to explore the richly detailed maps were great fun and I enjoyed the traps such as the collapsible pillar, the secret room, and the flesh eating scarabs as well as other treats the developers provided. I just wish gameplay issues did not mar the joy as much as they did.

Departed

Is set in a small Mexican Town during the Day of the Dead festival as if you had any doubt, the hearse and lively décor in the town’s fountain would be a giveaway. There is a church, retail shops, courtyards, and vehicles to contend with, however once again, camping rules the day as players often hide in the shadows or above picking players off when they spawn and making progress around the map tricky.

The Death Mariachi can be obtained via Field Orders and having a spectral ally with dual .44 Magnums can be a huge help along the way to victory for those lucky enough to obtain it.

Mutiny

This is perhaps the most creative of the new content as players battle in and around pirate ships and must contend with some speed and stealth requirements and two great Field Orders. There is the cannon barrage from the nearby sailing ship and the Ghostly Crew who are more than happy to help send enemies down the briny depths each chance they get.

I found a shotgun or an AK 47 worked best here as the close quarters make ideal conditions for a shotgun but on deck and the pier the rapid fire functions of the AK really helped out.

Favela

This is an update of the popular map from Modern Warfare II set in the Rio slums. Players have to run and gun across varied terrain to battle the enemy which is no easy task as snipers and campers love this map so expect to be frustrated if you have not played it before. Every window is a possible hiding place so this is not ideal for run and gun players.

Awakening

This is the third chapter in the Extinction storyline where players team up to battle an alien threat. This time they take the fight and the drill to the Alien’s backyard. As before players earn money by dispatching aliens which can be used for better weapons and power ups.

You need to work with one another as death will happen and you will need your team to revive you as once all four players are down, the game is over, and you will have to start the campaign over.

Calling in some sentry guns and artillery strikes help with the never ending waves as this is the best of the DLC by far.

 As much as I wanted to love this collection, sadly I ran into several issues with this collection which has marred my enjoyment of it. Issues with camping, lag, and rampant hacking have been so bad that I have struggled at times to find games on the PC version and when I have, gameplay at times has been almost unplayable.

Skill is one thing but when you unload half a clip in a target and they stand there taking it or kill you dead with one shot all the while being hit, you know you have a hack, lag, or gameplay issues. This happened time and time again, day in and day out.

Many players had told me in game how unhappy they have been with this collection as the maps encourage camping which leads to a lot of frustration.

Some users have complained that the matchmaking system is combing players regardless of their geography which is resulting in latency issues. I cannot tell you how many times a game has slowed to a crawl or stopped or how gunfire appeared to have no affect due to lag which on a 20 MBS line should not happen.

I did not see issues as bad as this with the previous two DLCs, the first one actually helped change my thoughts on the multiplay of Ghost which for me has been the least enjoyable of the series. That being said, it sadly is a return to form this time around and I am hoping that we have a better finale in store.

http://sknr.net/2014/07/14/call-of-duty-ghosts-invasion-dlc/
  
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Daniel Boyd (1023 KP) created a post

Sep 23, 2020  
Power Moves Out Of Necessity



An Essay On The Recent Acquisition of Zenimax Media and Bethesda Studios by Microsoft


Before this week it looked like Sony could do no wrong as they made the final sprint towards the release of their next gen system. It’s funny how quickly things can change in a week.

 First there was the monumental fuck up that was the PS5 pre-orders, which included but are not limited to; times that pre orders are going live not being clearly stated, each retailer apparently having totally random respective times that pre orders went live and pre orders seemingly being in stock until the point when the customer goes to pay at the checkout screen when they are told, ‘sorry buddy, not today!”

 Then there were the rumours, followed swiftly by the confirmation that the PS5 will indeed NOT be backwards compatible with anything pre PS4. Why is this something that is so difficult to do? This means that plenty of your favourite games from generations past, including titans such as the classic Hitman games, Silent Hill 2, the entire MGS franchise prior to Ground Zeroes, will spend yet another generation stuck on old hardware that is getting continuously older and harder to maintain.

 For years people have been begging Sony to introduce a service similar to GamePass, which has been a huge benefit to Xbox and PC players for a while now.
They listened… sort of.
The PlayStation Plus Collection was announced which includes a meaty array of huge last gen exclusives, including Uncharted 4 and God of War. The caveat is that while GamePass includes brand new first party releases added to the service on launch, as well as a respectable back catalogue of exclusives, the PS Plus Collection does not. Apparently it is ‘not financially feasible,’ for Sony to adopt this practice.

 Following all of this, Xbox then makes one of the most industry-shaking power moves that we have seen in the last decade, by announcing that they are purchasing Zenimax Media and by extension all of the studios under that umbrella, including Bethesda Softworks, Arkane Studios, id Software, Machine Games and Tango Gameworks. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down.

 Now before you go and place a panicked pre order on an Xbox Series X, it has been announced that not all games from these studios will be exclusive to Microsoft systems. Instead this will be something that will be decided on a case to case basis and PS exclusives Deathloop from Arkane and Ghostwire: Tokyo from Tango will still be released as exclusives on Sony’s console. However, Microsoft did spend 7.5 billion dollars on the acquisition and you can bet on the fact they are going to want something for their money. If they can manage to claim Elder Scrolls VI, or Fallout 5 as a Microsoft exclusive, it could shift a lot of the market back to Xbox. The most likely candidate in my opinion for a MS exclusive, is Bethesda’s announced new IP; Starfield. It is already highly anticipated and will most likely be a huge seller when it drops and if Sony folks can’t get their hands on it, I can see many people making the jump to Microsoft.

 I have written before about my issues with exclusivity on either side of the console war, but I also understand the industry well enough to see that it is a necessary evil and in this cut-throat market, this is a clever investment. I really appreciate Xbox making a big move like this as quite frankly they had to do something major in this vein to even be in with a chance of winning the next generation. It’s good to see that they are refusing to go down without a fight. They really need a boost like this if they want to have any chance of catching up with Sony in the next generation.

 The only hitch in this whole plan is that had they done this five years ago, - before disappointments like Prey, ESO, Wolfenstein: Youngblood and especially Fallout 76, - this would have been ten times more effective and mind-blowing. As of today, it seems more like 2 companies that are both on their respective backs trying to help each other up.

 Overall, I think this is a good thing for the industry as a whole. I think that it will drive more intense competition, which will in turn result in better games. As a gamer, I think I would be way more upset about this if I hadn’t just built a decent gaming PC where I can play any Microsoft exclusives anyway, but I still think that it will ultimately benefit the individual gamer also by forcing more competition between developers and therefore a higher standard of games. I do think that it will encourage people who were originally going to just buy a PS5 to at least consider getting both consoles. This will have an effect down the line when MS starts announcing Xbox exclusive Bethesda titles etc, but we’ll see how much of an effect it ends up having at launch.
     
Bloodborne
Bloodborne
Role-Playing
Strategic, challenging, and rewarding combat (6 more)
Excellent orchestrated soundtrack
Great aesthetic and visual design
Cool boss designs
Old Hunters expansion adds extra challenge
30-40 hour campaign with loads of content
Lovecraftian horror at its finest
Optional chalice dungeons can be a bit repetitive (0 more)
Bloodborne is an action RPG developed by From Software and directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of the Dark Souls series. Bloodborne takes elements from the Dark Souls games and mixes in elements of Gothic and Lovecraftian horror to make one truly unique experience exclusively for the Playstation 4.
 You play as a Hunter and you have come to the city of Yharnam on the night of the Hunt where the lines between man and beast are blurred. Initially, your goal is quite simple: just go out and kill some beasts of all manner. Everything from werewolves to madmen to even other NPC Hunters. But as you progress through the game, you begin to unravel a conspiracy involving ancient gods from the cosmos coming down to incite this madness upon the townsfolk. Souls games aren't really known for their stories. Most of the game's backstory can often be found in item descriptions. However, Bloodborne differentiates itself by having one of the most fleshed out and intriguing plots of the entire Soulsborne series.
The presentation here is breathtaking. It evokes the style of olden Gothic horror tales from days long past. Towering spires line the horizon clearly inspired by Victorian and Gothic style architecture of Romania and this is reflected in the games level design. Blood spills out in a vibrant crimson color. Most of the game is completely silent save for the excellent sound design. The soundtrack only kicks in during boss fights and other key moments in the game making it even more special.
If you are familiar with any of the Dark Souls games, then you pretty much know what to expect from Bloodborne's combat. Bloodborne emphasizes speed and aggression with its combat system, but it is still quite strategic and very challenging. Don't go in thinking you can just rush through this in a weekend. This game takes patience and effort from the player to be rewarded. The weapon variety is significantly smaller than that of the Dark Souls games, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Each weapon feels unique, and each one will cater to a specific play style. And since you can transform almost all the weapons in the game, they almost feel like two weapons in one. For example, a shortsword can be transformed into a greatsword and so on. Instead of giving you a shield, Bloodborne instead gives you a wide variety of firearms, from pistols and shotguns, to a flamesprayer and a cannon. You can use these guns on enemies to riposte and perform a visceral attack for massive damage, even on some of the bosses. Armor sets are all really cool, reflecting the games Gothic design. The good thing is that you don't need to worry about upgrading armor sets like in previous Souls games. And the boss designs here are great, some of the hardest and most challenging fights in any game. You have to learn and figure out the timings of their attacks in order to know when best to strike. And if you ever feel like you're getting stuck, you can always bring in a friend with the game's co-op system. The side characters are also great, some of them giving you optional quests that you can carry out if you choose to do so.
There are optional chalice dungeons that you can complete should you choose to do so. The good thing is that they aren't required to finish the game. The bad thing is that these aren't designed as well as the main game. These dungeons are randomly generated and it certainly feels that way as rooms are often copy pasted together to the point where you feel like you're going in circles. Enemy designs are also lazy as hell here, some of them being reused as bosses. It feels like these chalice dungeons were thrown in at the last minute to offer some kind of replay value when they clearly weren't needed in the first place. I'm baffled by their inclusion as some trophies are linked to the completion of these optional missions. But since these are completely optional, they don't take away from the overall score.
There are also a few more minor gripes that I have with Bloodborne. The camera can often get in the way of the surrounding architecture at times. The framerate dips during some instances, even after several patches. Fortunately, these things don't happen all that often. And why can't I warp between lanterns? This doesn't make much sense as if you want to get to a new area, you have to warp to the hub zone and then warp to the area you want to go to. I feel like this would save a lot of load times if you are going back and forth for farming runs. Oh well.
Bloodborne is never impossibly hard. It does have a high learning curve for new players, but if you keep at it and if you are patient enough, you will discover just how rewarding this experience can be. This was my first foray into the Souls series and I am so looking forward to going back in to Bloodborne to try out new builds, new play styles, new weapons, and even greater challenge in New Game Plus mode. Bloodborne is now one of my all time favorite games ever made.
  
Marvel's Spider-Man
Marvel's Spider-Man
2018 | Action/Adventure
All Round Performances Are Fantastic. (4 more)
Combat Is Arkham-esque.
New York Sandbox Is The Definition Of Fun.
Story Feels Fresh And Thrilling.
The Webswinging.
Frame Rate Issues. (1 more)
Few Missed Opportunities With The Story.
The Best Superhero Game Ever?
When I was nine years old, I fell thirty feet out of a tree on a British summers day. Coincidently, because of damp moss on a branch. I spent seven days in a hospital, recovering from a punctured lung, caused by impact on my ribs. In that week, I spent most of my time playing Spider-Man 2, a tie in with the Sam Raimi film, on a hospital owned PlayStation 2. Why am I telling you this story? Well, I spent quite a substantial amount of time playing that game, and it slowly made me realise the mechanics and skill that go into making a video game. Spider-Man wouldn't just shoot his web up in the sky and start swinging, like the Spider-Man game previous. Spider-Man would have to attach his webs to buildings he flew by, and this blew my mind and kept me occupied for hours and hours. For me, it encapsulated a feeling of being so immersed within a medium, you forget everything around you, and in my case it just so happened to be bed ridden in a hospital with a punctured lung. Spider-Man games have come and gone since that 2004 classic, but none have ever been as fun to play.

Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best Spider-Man game ever made, and an even bolder statement, it just might be the best superhero game ever made. Insomniac have crafted an original experience, whilst keeping the spirit and tone of Spidey the same of that from the comics. You can tell right from the opening cinematic, Insomniac have done their research extensively, from the witty dialogue of Peter Parker’s banter, to the wise cracks he makes as his alter ego when punching the pulp out of thugs and villains. The fundamental idea of what this game strives to be is fun, and this is the very definition.

The story is follows Peter, as he juggles the responsibility of being a superhero, with the very normal aspects of everyday life, like holding down an apartment, or retaining a relationship with his Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson. While this remains the core of the narrative, villainy is taking shape in the background, as multiple antagonists are preparing to take down the web-slinger, once and for all. Included in the story comes a variety of side missions, activities to complete, collectables to find, and costumes to unlock. The sheer amount of things to do in this game is unbelievable. The costumes alone ranks up to thirty eight (with DLC included), all in ridiculously beautiful detail. I specifically remember a moment when the rising sun over the Big Apple shone over the windows of a skyscraper, bouncing onto the red of Spider-Man’s suit. I was in awe. In fact, I was in awe over the entire map of New York City, which feels alive, even a character within itself. The major monuments all bring such authenticity to the overall feel of a city you can fully explore. Its a massive playground for Spider-Man, and I never felt the need to fast travel at all.

The characters make the story worth playing multiple times. Certain characters can’t be mentioned due to spoiling aspects of the narrative, but stand-out performances happen time and time again. This also brings a dynamic between characters that shines over the entire experience. Peter and MJ are partners, yet their relationship seems distanced from past troubles. We never find out specifically, but the seeds are planted from dialogue that we can only guess from an audiences’ perspective. It brings so much back story to the characters, making them seem so fleshed out and real. No Uncle Ben death scenes either, so that is a plus in my book.

The combat, at first, felt all to familiar with Rocksteady’s Arkham Series, which isn't a problem, but instead I wanted something a little new to engage with. Then a collection of gadgets are introduced, and this mixes everything up. Everything feels so fluid and silky smooth, from webbing thugs against a wall, or sending out a spiderdrone to fire rounds of electric bullets to incapacitate an opponent. Again, this never feels stale, even when I had collected every collectable and finished all activities, I spent hours just waiting for police calls so I could attend crimes an battle enemies. This is perhaps where Insomniac need to be commended most. Games are all too disposable at times, once its done you're done with it, but Marvel’s Spider-Man is so damn fun, even when everything is done. You feel the need to explore, the need to finish the side missions and activities, because every aspect is so well produced.

I do however have minor issues to mention. I did experience tiny pauses in gameplay whilst the city loaded more buildings, I don't know if this was down to playing on a standard PS4 rather than a Pro. The story does sometimes cut a few beats short in areas, and the DLC feels like it could of been included within the game, which ultimately feels like it was, and was decided to be DLC for an extra cost. But, these are little gripes for an overall fantastic package. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
  
Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Uprising
Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Uprising
2013 | Shooter
With the recent announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts speculation has run rampant as to what the series has in store especially with the promise of the new gaming engine and new consoles on the horizon. However Call of Duty: Black Ops II shows that there’s still plenty of life left in the game with the release of Uprising, the second of four planned map packs for the game. Uprising is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game and does require the original game in order to play. Players can purchase the map pack individually or as part of a season pass that allows all past and future content for the game to be acquired at a discounted price.

The pack offers for new maps as well as a new zombie mode called Mob of the Dead, which casts players as inmates at Alcatraz which is being overrun by the undead. Gameplay wise it is similar to pass on the modes in net weapons, power ups, ammunition, and access to other areas of the maps can be obtained through purchase using the in game currency accrued from dispatching the undead.

There is also a nice surprise to this that in addition to trying to locate and assemble parts to make your escape, the voice talents of Michael Madsen, Joe Pantoliano, Chazz Palminteri, and Ray Liotta, provide a very nice depth to the game as they helped bring an infusion of personality to the characters which really makes you care about their outcome.

There is an afterlife mode as well which is necessary for accessing certain areas and gathering components needed for survival. It is also very satisfying to shock some of the undead minions while in this gameplay mode. Players were one and make sure to avoid the new boss Brutus who gives out a solid amount of damage every time he appears.

The four maps are available for play in various modes such as Team Death Match and Mosh Pit but do not offer the number of online modes that are available for the standard version of the game.

 Vertigo is set in a futuristic high-rise in India and requires gamers to be very careful about where they step if they wish to avoid plummeting several stories to their doom. With a circular outside platform and limited indoor areas the emphasis is on using cover as much as possible especially from the abundant cargo and air-conditioning units that litter the map. I found this to be the least satisfying for my style of play as not being able to run, and constantly being at the mercy of snipers did make it very frustrating for me.

 Encore is set in London at a music festival and offers a nice mix of options for players of all gaming styles. From the backstage area which is ideal for setting mines and other traps, to the grandstand boxes which offer numerous opportunities for snipers to ply their craft. Since neither these are my style of play, I was content to work my way under the stage, and through the clubs, restrooms, and park areas as well as on stage to catch enemy units transitioning from one point of the map to the other. The key is not stay in one place too long as I start to the run and gun mode and had solid success.

 Magma is set in Japan following a volcanic eruption. Having to avoid lava and make your way over cooling areas through the village is definitely a nice visual touch. Everything from fish markets to subway stations and trains are on hand, but players have to be quick on the trigger as there are numerous areas for enemies to hide and blend into the shadows. Once I learned some of the nuances of the map, I did find myself having better luck and have racked up scores closer to my average on this one.

 Studio is a reworking of the classic Firing Line map and is set at a Hollywood film studio. From the long areas of the lot which are ideal for snipers as well as the ample rooftop spaces, players must be on their toes because death can come from anywhere at any time. From a T Rex to a crashed alien ship this map has plenty of variety. One moment you are moving through a medieval castle, the next moment you are walking through a saloon and then stomping a miniaturized city like Godzilla. There are also plenty of other great locales and it would be fun just to run through and sightsee if there was not so much mayhem going on around you.

I find it best to avoid snipers zones and make your way through the areas that offer plenty of cover and make great use of the trailers as they certainly provide cover and great areas of transition as well as ambush.

While uprising does not offer anything new in terms of weaponry, equipment, or rewards, what it does offer is several hours of new gameplay enjoyment for friends of the series who are in need of effects while they wait for the next release in the series. With two more map scheduled between now and November, you’ll want to check this out and as long as you are moderate in your expectations understanding these are simply new maps to enhance your gameplay, then you might find yourself really enjoying what is being offered with this diverse yet enjoyable collection.

http://sknr.net/2013/05/19/call-of-duty-black-ops-2-uprising/
  
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2017 | Action/Adventure
This has all been done before. (0 more)
Bonus Points - An Example Of The Favoritism Towards Certain Developers In The Gaming Industry, Even When They Don’t Deliver
Zelda: Breath Of The Wild came out last month and it has taken the gaming world by storm. As a non Zelda fan, I am left wondering why this is the case. Why is this Zelda game so revolutionary? I don’t own the game, but I have played the first few hours of it and I have read a good number of reviews on the game. There are a few critics claiming that this game, ‘writes a new chapter in the videogames industry,’ and that it is an, ‘evolution of everything that has come before.’

While I appreciate that this is a well made game and it is doing new things within the Zelda franchise, these statements stick in my throat a little. This isn’t because I don’t agree that this is an impressive game, because it is. Other than the odd frame rate drop, there aren’t many flaws with this game and I did enjoy the few hours that I spent with it, (I had a lend of a friends Switch for the night so I could try the game for myself.)

My problem comes from the fact that this is a well made game that isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before a million times and frankly been done better. Full disclosure, I have never been a Zelda fan, but I wanted this game to convert me and I’m sorry to say that it didn’t. The purpose of this piece isn’t to attack the Zelda franchise, so you fanboys can put your pitchforks down. What I want to discuss is how when Nintendo do anything that is slightly better than a disaster, it is heralded as the brave new step in video games by a large number of the video game press.

I get it, nostalgia is a powerful lens and most writers in their 30’s grew up playing on Nintendo systems and franchises like Mario and Zelda, but as someone who is around ten years younger and grew up with Playstation, I don’t feel that Nintendo has advanced a great deal since the turn of the millennium and frankly, I don’t see Nintendo as having broken any new ground in the last twenty years.

If games like Breath of the Wild came out on another console, they wouldn’t be lauded as the best thing since sliced bread. In fact they have, it’s called Horizon: Zero Dawn! When Horizon came out it received a positive critical reception and high sales, but no one was writing articles claiming it was the next step in the evolution of video games. Splatoon has been put on a pedestal and has been described as ‘fresh,’ and, ‘unique,’ even though it is nothing more than a dumbed down version of Team Fortress 2 for a younger audience. Super Mario Maker was released in 2015 and it was essentially a $60 level editor. Level editors have been included in other games since forever and no fuss has been made, but when Nintendo sell an entire game based on the concept, it’s hailed as another, ‘triumph by Nintendo.’

When you compare Breath of The Wild to other recent open world games like The Witcher or Skyrim, there is nothing that makes it unique from a design and functionality standpoint. If Breath of The Wild came out in 2008, then sure you could get away with labeling it revolutionary, but in this day and age it isn’t any more special than Horizon or Skyrim.

Let’s look at some of the features that have been called unique in the game. The tower climbing to uncover zones of the map mechanic has been done in the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series’. Using plants for crafting and cooking has been done in Far Cry and Skyrim. Far Cry 2 and Dead Island had degradable weapons. The inventory system is very reminiscent of multiple Ubisoft titles; essentially Breath of The Wild has taken some elements from other games and made something from that within the Zelda universe.

This may sound patronizing, but it honestly isn’t intended that way. I get it, Nintendo fans have had it hard over these last five years, they have had nothing to be proud of since the launch of the Wii and they have had to stand by their console of choice and defend themselves with very little ammo to defend themselves with, but as a result nowadays when anything better than a car crash is released by them it is inflated by a large number of critics in the industry and so Nintendo fans are given a justification for putting their mediocre games on a pedestal. This is why to the rest of the industry it appears that Nintendo fans can’t accept things for the way that they really are and everything is blown so far out of proportion.

Some examples of Nintendo games being blown out of proportion and reviewers being clouded by nostalgia are available to go and check out right now on Metacritic. Zelda: Skyward Sword is currently sitting at a 93, Zelda: Twilight Princess is sitting at a 95 and Metroid: Other M has a 79. All three of these games are recognized as subpar and once the novelty wore off, even the most hardcore of Nintendo fans would agree that these are forgettable, black marks on the respective franchises track records. Not that BOTW isn’t a game for Zelda fans to be proud of, because it is. I can see why this would be people’s game of the year so far and I can see why it could be considered as the best Zelda game, but to someone that isn’t a Zelda fan that praise is meaningless.

In summary, the inflation of mediocrity in the industry has to stop, if we want gaming to improve. If we want to break new ground across the gaming media, these sycophants and apologists living in a false perception of reality have to go. These novelty games that are applauded for simply carrying the title of a beloved franchise, have to stop being praised so highly and given a free pass of any sort of criticism just because of a nostalgic lens.
  
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Jamie Towell Cook (12 KP) rated the PlayStation 4 version of Kingdom Hearts III in Video Games

Apr 6, 2020  
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III
2018 | Action, Role-Playing
Contains spoilers, click to show
Kingdom Hearts 3 is the long anticipated third part officially in the series. It started back in 2002 and now in 2019 we finally have the 3rd (and allegedly) final part of what is Sora and his friends story. In this time we have travelled to many beloved Disney classics from Mount Olympus to Neverland and for some bizarre reason we even went to Tarzan's world. During all of this Sora is learning how to be the Keyblade wielder and defend all the worlds from the threat of the darkness. On his journey he meets many familiar faces ranging from final fantasy characters such as Cloud, Tidus and Vivi to famous disney heroes such as Ariel, Beast, Jack Skellington.

Unfortunalty since it began in 2002 Kingdom Hearts became a jumbled mess jumping on different consoles along the way. It may have begun as a PlayStation game but soon after there was a spin off for the game boy advance and another for the psp and another for the nintendo ds. Releasing titles that actually continue the plot from the original game on various different consoles and expecting fans to just role with that and keep up, well thats not exactly the best of ideas! Luckily the story so far has been released and rereleased and rererereleased so that fans can figure out just what the hell is actually going on in this either brilliantly masterminded tale or a way for the game producers to milk the franchise for all its worth. I'll let you decide that one.

So any ways, with a whopping 14 years between KH2 and KH3 a lot has changed within the Disney world and with their new corporate purchases a lot of people had questions about what would we see in a new Kingdom Hearts. Would the new game feature any worlds from Marvel? Would we see something from the Muppet Show? Maybe Star Wars? The answer to this was a big fat no. They were going to keep it old school Disney......although by old school Disney that didn't have the same meaning as what I thought it would. Instead of the familiar faces we have grown accustomed to there is no Halloween Town, no Neverland, no Atlantica (Thank god, good call on that one) instead we visit new realms, draining whatever is left from the Frozen franchise and travelling to worlds such as Arendale, San Frantokyo and some other Disney Pixar worlds. Now i'm not saying there is anything wrong with these worlds because they are beautiful and stunning and fun to play through. Couldn't they have at least tried to feature some golden oldies as well. Something else that i noticed that as well that made me feel disappointed in this release was the lack of final fantasy characters, minus a very brief glimpse of 2 characters as statues thats pretty much it.

The story itself is appealing as it continues the tales of Sora, Ventus and Roxas and ultimately brings the trios story to a (almost) conclusion. The voice acting for the kingdom hearts series will never win any awards and in some areas is just hands down terrible but, as it plays out you notice it a lot less and just want to see where its all headed.

The gameplay is as it has always been, if its not broke don't fix it. There are a few additions though. Kingdom Hearts 1 had abilities, in kingdom hearts 2 we seen this become built upon by fusion. This was a way of fusing Sora's abilities with either Donald or Goofy and eventually both. Leading to Wisdom mode, which was magic based. Valour mode, which was strength and defence based. Master, which, yes you guessed it, is a mix of all the above. Limit mode, which brings Sora's abilities to the spotlight. Then you had Final form which was basically a combination of Limit and Master and finally there was anti form, this turned Sora into a heartless version of himself with attacks and abilities to match. These were all scrapped in Kingdom Hearts 3 to make way for attractions, which is an attack based on Disneyworld theme park attractions. There are also attacks based on whose in your team as well. As fun as these are in the beginning, they get old and repetitive fast. The summons have never really played a main part in the Kingdom Hearts series since its first release and KH3 makes that very apparent again, with what i thought was a very lackluster 5 summons in the form of Ariel, Ralph, Stitch, Simba and a dream eater from Kingdom Hearts own series. I mean come on, wheres Mushu? Genie? Bambi? Dumbo? Tinkerbell? Why aren't there any new ones? They could have played up new Pixar entries such as Bolt or Up, even The Incredibles.
The other feature that is new and unique to KH3 is the ability to transform the Keyblade. Now picking up a new keyblade isn't just about the stat boosts, they each feature something different and unique. Without giving too much away, all i can really say about this is the additions to turn your weapon in to such things as shields, blasters and other random creations based on the worlds they are related to is actually a brilliant concept and makes up for the drive form that was taken from KH2 and not featured again.

I really hope that Square Enix are planning on releasing some decent DLC for KH3. Hopefully in the form of some old Disney worlds, a coliseum and some extra story with old familiar faces. Because it is definitely needed.

The Gummi ship does manage to make a come back (yet again). I would like to say something positive about this because it does seem like a lot of work went into making this feel like a more relevant part of the game but, the controls take a bit of figuring out and there is no real need for it other than it being a mini game really.

If Square Enix does add some DLC that adds worlds, characters, keyblades and modes. Then i honestly believe they could boost the game from being a good game to an amazing game. Just listen to the fans, hear what they want and deliver.

I wish i had better news for Kingdom Hearts fans. Especially those who have waited those 14 years but i am judging this game harshly because of my love for the series and the length of time it has been under development.
  
Bloodborne
Bloodborne
Role-Playing
Incredible atmosphere (5 more)
Great variety of enemies
Beautiful art and imagery
Interesting Lore (optional)
Plenty of different ways to play
Great combat mechanics
Can be difficult (1 more)
Not as easy and some people make it look
Challenging and Satisfying
Contains spoilers, click to show
Bloodborne is part of the famous series of games such as Demon Souls and Dark Souls, which if you know those previous games, you'll know that they are infamous for their difficulty, even spawning an entire meme phrase that simply says "git gud".

Bloodborne however, stands aside from the souls series because it's combat mechanics are faster and each enemy requires the player to evolve their skills and tactics in order to progress. The first major difference in Bloodborne that might throw previous souls players off, is the fact that there is no shield. Instead the Hunter wields a right handed melee weapon and in the left hand they wild a ranged weapon in place of a shield. This ranged weapon at first is primarily used not for damage, but for parry's/counter attacks.

The lack of shield helps the player evolve their combat from hiding behind a shield like in the souls games, to being more aggressive in a fight but also tactical because during your first run through of the game, you'll simply be dealing with each enemy through trial and error until you learn their attacks and learn how to defeat them. This is something that has been in every souls game and that is why these games are so rewarding.

The reason Bloodborne is my favourite is because of this speed that makes you evolve in combat. I ran into this game thinking it was like other RPG games where I could pretty much take on any beginning level enemy and even if they packed a punch I'd take out the enemy with a thin line of health left, only to use a few health potions and repeat. But Bloodborne? Good God you can't rush this game!

Every enemy has their own attack system that varies. Some Yarnhamites are more vicious that other, and some are more defensive and cautious. There are also enemies that are deceptive. If you were to come across a large, fat troll in a fantasy world, you'd expect them to be rather slow, especially when swinging a weapon. You'd only expect the force and weight of the weapon to give speed to a swing. But the large troll creatures in Bloodborne are deceptively fast and even if you keep some distance between you, they can leap really quickly and instantly pummel you with a cinder block.

But I'm not going to reveal too much about enemies because it's easier and more fun to test out the game for yourself.

Boss fights are the main factor for the infamous difficulty of the souls series and Bloodborne is no stranger to this element either. There are Two bosses in the beginning of the game. One is optional but I would highly recommend facing it. The other boss is your first taste (if you didn't kill the optional boss first) of the challenges you'll face. Both bosses help prepare for later boss fights because of their different combat styles.

The first (optional) boss is the Cleric Beast on the bridge in the beginning level, and it is intimidating as fuck for a beginner of the souls series. If you haven't watched or played a souls game before and you go into Bloodborne (or any of them) with no knowledge of the scale of bosses, then they are intimidating in comparison to your measly character size. However once you learn this boss, and face later bosses, you'll realize that this boss is one of the easiest to face.

The next boss and the main boss of the beginning level, who is not optional as defeating him let's you progress through the story, is Father Gascoigne, another Hunter in the world of Bloodborne and the first of many you'll come across but facing this hunter is by far one of the most painstakingly challenging beginning fights to a game I've ever had to face. In my first run through I died to him so so soooo many times and sometimes it was simply cos he was on low health and I got cocky and fucked up. However defeating this boss, and any boss in this game, really feels like an achievement.

I've realised iv made this review hella long but that's because Bloodborne cannot be easily reviewed in just a few words but I'll do my best to do a quick overall conclusion as to why this is my favourite game:

The level design isn't flawless but it is incredible and the atmosphere created through sound design and soundtrack make this game incredibly in depth and really creepy which I love because even after a few play through I still get creeped out and even jump at some of the jumpscares that I forget about!

The weapons of this game are all well designed aesthetically and though I know certain ones I never use, they are all useable depending on player preference and style of play. There's so much to choose from and learn and every item in this game has a description that teaches the player more about the Lore of the world but that is of course optional and isn't required necessarily to understand the games main quest plot.

This game also requires exploration because the path the player needs to take isn't set out for them which makes the game less linear meaning that you can play this game differently every time you play it. It also might mean that you'll need to look up the paths you need to take online or in a guide in order to just get through the game and complete it. Otherwise it could take you hours, maybe days to figure out where you need to go.

The combat mechanics of Bloodborne are some of the best I've ever seen and played with and that's why it stands out to me above the other souls games.

The boss fights are intense and each new boss helps the player to adapt and evolve their combat skills and tactics in order to overcome the enemy.

The world is very heavily Lovecraftian and therefore the Lore is incredible but also optional. Also, there are easier ways to fight this games enemies including bosses, so if you're struggling, then Google it and there will be hundreds of players in the same boat as you, and in my opinion there's no wrong way to play games like this. If it remains fun and let's me complete the storyline, such as summoning AI for boss battles in offline mode. Then play however you want to because it's you playing the game, not some internet troll who says you're shit and/or cheating the game. If it's possible to do in game, it's part of the game...deal with it!

There are faults such as minor framerate glitches, and glitches with the ragdoll bodies of defeated enemies falling through the environment. There are also some elements that are part of the game such as windows for visceral attacks and hitboxes which sometimes feel like bullshit, but this also helps you evolve so....pros and cons.

My final comment is this;

The best way to learn about this game and enjoy it, is to play it for yourself. It's hard to put into words (even this amount of words in this review) just how incredible this game looks and feels. So if you have a Playstation 4 then grab yourself a copy of Bloodborne and enjoy!

Fear the Old blood!