enfrdeitptrues

FPS

  • Aim Hero Preview (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Aim Hero
    Developed by: ProGames Studio
    Published by: ProGames Studio
    Release date: September 5, 2016
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $4.99

    Thank you ProGames Studio for sending us this game to review!

    First person shooter games are very competitive and your virtual life depends on fast reflexes and accurate aiming.  Aim Hero can help you improve your skills in popular games like CS:GO, Overwatch, and Paladins. Support for more mouse configurations is in the works for this early access title.  Currently this game is a little rough around the edges with its limited music and map selection, but it still has potential in increasing your skills to give you an edge over your competition.  

    There are seven training modes with numerous targets to shoot with varying speeds, directions, and angles.  Most of the training modes last three minutes with the exception to the Fast Aiming mode which only lasts for ten seconds.  A majority of the training sessions have unlimited ammo except for the Penta mode which only gives you a few shots to hit the moving targets that maneuver horizontally across the screen.  

    At the end of each session you’ll get a training report which will display the total shots fired and how many of them hit the targets.  Your accuracy will be calculated and scored accordingly.  Your misses are tracked and subtracted from the score.  Negative scores are possible and your best score will be stored for future reference.  Ideally your best score will be the current round indicating that your aiming is indeed improving.

    Aim Hero
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Great training software into increase your accuracy in popular FPS games
    Weak Points: Not a wide variety in maps or music; the targeting doesn’t seem to be precise
    Moral Warnings: You’re just shooting targets so it’s pretty clean

    Some of the training sessions only have one map while others have a few to choose from.  The developers plan on adding more.  All of the map choices have bare bone visuals so don’t expect the lush and realistic environments that popular FPS games offer.   

    I achieved a 97% accuracy in the Classic mode that has multiple targets fading into existence.  If you miss, there will be a mark left on the screen for a short while afterwards.  If you’re looking to hit moving targets then you’ll find the Strafing, Penta, Simple, and Lightning Gun modes fun.  Most of the game modes equip you with a pistol but as the title suggests, the gun shoots lightning in the Lightning training session.

    Despite having a good Gamdias gaming mouse and a high quality SteelSeries mouse pad, I can only blame my aging body for my poor performance in the Reflex mode.  Targets are fairly predictable in all of the other modes except for this one where they suddenly appear and disappear just as quickly.  You have to be fast and have decent hardware to do well here.  Like most FPS games, Aim Hero will bring out carpal tunnel symptoms if you have it.  I’ve had to do a few wrist shakes mid-session to ease oncoming pain.  

    Aim Hero
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 62%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 4/10
    Sound - 3/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Cat owners should take note that their cats may find the moving red targets fun to watch.  One of my cats enjoyed watching me play and sat in front of my monitor to join in the fun.  Since you’re only shooting moving targets and not humans, this game is safe to play for people of all ages. As long as your wrists can handle the stress!

    The visuals and sound effects are pretty bare bones and there is only one music track that constantly loops as you’re playing.  You can lower the music volume as well as adjust your difficulty in the game options if you desire.  Hopefully more unique maps and music get added to this game in the near future.

    Despite the lack of content, there’s plenty of potential in this title.  The developers actively listen to and implement suggestions given by the community.  The asking price of $4.99 is reasonable and this game is worth picking up if you want to entertain your cat or improve your FPS skills.

      

  • Arizona Sunshine (Oculus Rift)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Arizona Sunshine
    Developed by: Vertigo Games, Jawalkers Interactive
    Published by: Vertigo games
    Release Date: December 6, 2016
    Available on: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to four players
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $39.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Vertigo Games for sending us review copies of this title!

    Trapped in the Arizona desert with sand and zombies as far as the eye can see, your only hope is to make contact with other survivors via a weak radio signal.  Armed with a pistol and a few rounds of ammo you make your way across the desert in search of better weapons and supplies.  

    Traveling in this 3D VR game is done via teleporting so motion sickness isn’t much of an issue.  The only problem I experienced was with all the turning around I did; I would lose tracking due to my body facing the wrong way.  To properly enjoy this title, you’ll need plenty of space to move around in.  

    Up to two players can join in the campaign, which only lasts a few hours if you can survive through it.  There are four difficulties: easy, normal, hard, and apocalyptic. Scrounging around for ammo will be necessary since it’s not always lying about.  Be prepared to search through abandoned cars, filing cabinets, and buildings, with some of them requiring to be unlocked first.  

    Arizona Sunshine
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Well-polished VR experience; funny dialogue; cross-platform multiplayer support
    Weak Points: Short campaign; nobody to play with online
    Moral Warnings: Lots of blood, guts, and gore; swearing (d*mn, sh*t, f*ck)

    The zombies are most vulnerable to head shots and conserving your ammo is a must in this game.  Not surprisingly, many of the zombies are outfitted with football helmets and construction hats to protect what’s left of their brains.  When shooting the limbs off of zombies, they’ll still come crawling in your general direction so make sure they’re completely dead before writing them off.  Some of the zombies are fast and others take their time coming your way.

    Killing zombies is a pretty messy process so expect to see lots of blood, guts, and gore throughout your desert adventure.  The main character has some pretty funny commentary throughout the game, and most of it is laden with colorful language.  Not that they’re even remotely attractive, but some of the female zombies are wearing bikinis.

    There are two game modes with one of them originally being temporarily restricted to Intel i7 processors.  After much backlash from consumers, the developers apologized and opened up all of the modes to everyone.   Besides the campaign, there’s a Horde mode which supports up to four players.

    Arizona Sunshine
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 59%
    Violence - 1/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 6.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The Horde Mode tests your survival skills against waves of zombies coming in your general direction.  After each successful wave, some ammo is made available to you.   There’s a limited number of explosive barrels and grenades to utilize, so make them count!   

    While virtual reality is still in its infancy, it’s difficult to find other people who own VR headsets.  Sadly, your chances of finding people to play online against are even slimmer.  Playing between platforms (Rift + Vive) is possible over a local area network (IP address).  

    If you’re looking to blast zombies to bits in VR with friends online, then you may want to look elsewhere.  The single-player experience is still fun, but short.  I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for Arizona Sunshine, but if you catch it on a sale it’s definitely worth picking up.  It’s a gory, but funny game that’s definitely not suitable for children.

  • Arkshot (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Arkshot
    Developed by: Code Avarice
    Published by: Digerati DIstribution
    Release Date: May 19, 2016
    Available on: PC/Mac/Linux
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to four players online
    ESRB Rating: not rated
    Price: $4.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Digerati Distribution for sending us a review copy of this game!

    Code Advarice has been around for a little while and we reviewed their temporarily removed Steam game, Paranautical Activity.  Their latest title, Arkshot, is an online only first person bow shooter game that has remained on Steam, but nobody is buying or playing it anymore it seems.  I’m really bummed because this game looks fun and I really wanted to shoot stuff with a virtual bow and arrow after watching the Arrow TV show.

    Sadly, Arkshot is multiplayer only and there are no bots to play against if you have no friends or anyone online to spar with.  During my limited play throughs I’ve only seen three other players besides myself online at the same time.   Because of the multiplayer requirement, I only recommend picking up this title if you have friends that own it as well and they’re willing to play it with you.

    Once you find people to play against, you’ll have plenty to do with the five game modes and fourteen maps to choose from.  Some of the standard game modes are included like Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and Deathmatch.  There are a couple of new modes as well including Slow Down where each kill makes you slower and Head Hunter where you have to collect skulls and bring them to a kiosk to get credit for them.  Most of the game modes are won by being the first to achieve the pre-determined number of kills.

     
    Arkshot
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Unique bow based first person shooter game with a wide variety of maps, customizations, and game modes available
    Weak Points: Nobody to play against and no bots make this game useless unless you have friends that own it
    Moral Warnings: Violence with triangulated blood on the ground when you’re shot with an arrow; language (sh*t) within the game; crude and sexual humor with erotic and bodily noises as taunts

    If you’re new to the game or stuck with nobody to play with, I highly recommend checking out the training area.  In here you’ll learn the basic maneuvers and about the available power-ups.  Be sure not to loiter since a sky arrow comes in your general direction every twenty-seconds.  Moving is done via the WASD keys and the shift key activates sprinting.  The space bar is used for jumping and you can combine that with a right mouse button to glide.  

    There are a ton of power-ups including invisibility (until you draw your bow), arrows that shoot clones of your character, bubble shields, shrinking for thirty seconds or double your stamina and movement for half of a minute.  One of my favorite power-ups is the ability to jump in mid-air.  Some arrow power-ups are available as well including smoke screen arrows, push back arrows, and weightless arrows that bounce and pierce.    Since you can only carry ten arrows at a time, you’ll have to be on the lookout for resupply stashes or pick up used arrows off of the ground.

    There are lots of customization options to set your floating ranger like character apart from the rest.  You can set the color of its cloak and hat via the color bar.  The face can be customized with a decent variety of masks.  There are quite a few bows to choose from as well.  One of them is named “boner” as it’s fashioned with a spine like appearance and has skulls on it.  While that bow wasn’t phallic in design, other parts of the game are sexualized with the ability to taunt players by yelling “penis” at them or orgasmic sounds.   There doesn’t appear to be swearing in the taunts, but the chat box’s description says to type your “sh*t” in there.  

    Arkshot
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 58%
    Gameplay - 5/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 69%
    Violence - 4.5/10
    Language - 6/10
    Sexual Content - 6.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

    Like many first person shooter games, violence is to be expected.  When shot a player’s body will disappear and leave a puddle of triangulated blood.  The graphics as far as I could tell are decent.  They’re fairly colorful and moderately detailed.  I can’t comment on the multiplayer maps since I was not able to create or join a match successfully.  The training area is well thought out and easy to navigate.  There are plenty of targets with various moving patterns to practice on.

    From what I was able to hear, the background music is decent and the announcer voices are well done.  Again, I can’t comment any further without being able to play the game.

    While I don’t anticipate being able to play this game any time soon, I do hope to try it at a LAN party or after a Steam sale or a Humble Bundle.  Perhaps when the game gets even cheaper more people will be online to play it.  Until then I suggest holding off on getting this game until you know you have people to play against.

  • ATOMEGA (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    ATOMEGA
    Developed by: Reflections
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Release date: September 19, 2017
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to eight online
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence
    Price: $9.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

    ATOMEGA is an online only first person shooter where you begin as a comet-looking ATOM and collect blocks to grow and evolve into the ultimate Omega form. In total, there are seven forms, which all behave differently and get more powerful yet slower with each transformation. The ATOM form is nimble, invincible, and unable to shoot anything.

    Once you collect your first block of mass you become a Cel and can finally fire your laser a few times before it temporarily runs out of energy. In this form, you can move quickly and you’ll have to since you’re the most vulnerable target on the map. More evolved EXOFORMs can shoot you down or simply stomp you back into your ATOM form. Fallen EXOFORMs are a great place to collect mass and grow rapidly.

    ATOMEGA
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fun and family friendly game; low price point
    Weak Points: Online only; four player minimum; not much gameplay variety; only one map; unbalanced
    Moral Warnings: You’re shooting down other creatures

    There is only one map in this game and it has areas that are only accessible for smaller EXOFORMS. Hiding from the bigger creatures while collecting blocks to grow is a great way to stay alive. When firing at other EXOFORMS, be sure to aim for their ATOM as it seems to do more damage. Another helpful thing to do is to collect and use hacks to give you more power, defenses, or escaping capabilities.

    In total there are ten different hacks you can utilize, but you can only arm and use one at a time. The blink hack is useful for teleporting you out of danger quickly. Extra shields or firepower come in handy for intense battles as well.

    All in all, ATOMEGA is a simple game of trying to stay alive long enough to become the most powerful creature.  My kids really enjoy this game and it’s not bad when it comes to violence as the EXOFORMS turn back into blocks when they’re defeated.  The biggest hurdle is making a comeback once you're shot down.  Being a Cel in a world of Superiors is pretty rough.  

    ATOMEGA
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 94%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Players earn experience for each completed match and they can unlock new colors and glyphs/decorations for their blocks. Players who achieve Omega status are awarded massive points and an Omega symbol in the player rankings chart. Steam trading cards and achievements are also available if you’re into those.

    The visuals are charming and the map is well laid out. I wish more maps and gameplay modes were available though. Maybe more content will be released in the future? There’s not much to say about the audio as there isn’t any background music. The sound effects are good though.
    Upon release, there are plenty of matches to join. However, you need at least four players to join or else you’ll get booted out of the five minute waiting/warm-up session. The asking price is a reasonable $9.99, but make sure that people are still playing the game or that you’ll have friends to join you before biting the bullet. ATOMEGA can be enjoyed by the whole family but it’s best in short spurts as its simple concept may lose its appeal after a while.

  • Dead Effect 2 (PC)

     

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Dead Effect 2
    Developed by: BadFly Interactive
    Published by: BadFly Interactive
    Release Date: May 6, 2016
    Available on: Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Linux
    Genre: FPS
    Number of Players: Up to 2 online
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $19.99

    Thank you BadFly Interactive for sending us this game to review!

    Dead Effect 2 continues where the previous game left off.  On the spaceship ESS Meridian, death was conquered by a mad scientist, but many of the test subjects turned into zombies as a result.  Instead of being rewarded for stopping the madman, your character wakes up in a lab being experimented on.  A cyborg named Danette aides in freeing you, but needs your help in return.  In total there are twenty missions and over one hundred and seventy Steam achievements in this 3D first-person shooter game.

    There are three characters to choose from and each has a different weapon specialty.  I played as Jane Frey who is an assault specialist that prefers shotguns.  The other two characters are male and they include Gunner Davis who uses heavy weapons and Kay Rayner, a sword wielding melee fighter.  The melee character is recommended for experienced players.  There are multiple difficulty levels to try if you’re looking for a challenge.  Grinding is required if you want to have a powerful and well-equipped character to tackle some of the tougher bosses.  You can also have a friend join alongside you in-game to help as well.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find anyone to join my games when online.  There is an active topic on the Steam discussions for people looking to connect with others though.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Good amount of weapon variety and plenty of zombies in space to test them out on
    Weak Points: Horrible voice acting; obvious mobile port 
    Moral Warnings: Gruesome violence, gore, and strong language; female cyborg has visible nipples

    Experience is earned by killing zombies and sometimes they will drop equipment or credits to buy ammo, medkits, weapons, armor, or implants.  There’s quite a lot of customization that you can do to your characters and they have a skill tree with helpful abilities that you can unlock.  Upon completing a level you’ll get scored on how much money and damage you did and how quickly you completed it.  The better you do, the better rewards you can choose from.  Each level has several hidden tablets that are worth finding to read about the game’s backstory.  Some of the tablets will also have door access codes that will save you some time hacking if you can find them instead.

    Aside from shooting and slicing zombies and soldiers, you’ll be tasked with several mini-game puzzles to use various doors and generators and so forth.  Some of the puzzles have you matching sound waves or by connecting certain numbers to equal a specified sum.  

    At the beginning of each level, the game will warn you if you're below the recommended level for completion.  If you’re not strong enough, you can replay previous missions to earn more experience and money.  The boss battles are especially tricky if your weapon is not effective against them.  I like how you can pay to respawn in the same room and the boss’s health will remain where you left it.  If you find that your weapon is totally worthless, you can buy another at the store that changes inventory every twenty minutes or so.  

    Dead Effect 2
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 70%
    Gameplay - 13/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls/Interface - 3/5

    Morality Score - 63%
    Violence - 1/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    With a wide variety of zombies, soldiers, and mutant dogs attacking you, there’s rarely a dull moment.  For an FPS game, Dead Effect 2 does a lot of things right, but it does have some flaws.  This title was originally released on mobile devices and the interface is overly simplified for PC users.  A more intuitive shopping interface would have been nice.  For example, a way to buy multiple quantities of consumables would be much appreciated.

    Another common complaint is the slow walking pace.  While the movement speed is lacking at times, it is bearable.  Those looking for adrenaline rushed Sonic speed will be disappointed.  My final complaint is the voice acting, which is often emotionless and laughable at best.  Thankfully the audio is redeemed by the fast paced rock music that gets your adrenaline pumping while slicing and dicing zombies into pieces.

    It should come as no surprise that this game is violent and there’s plenty of bloodshed and bodily dismemberment to be seen.  You can blow up zombies with explosives, riddle them with bullets, or hack away at them with a chainsaw.  There’s lots of options and weapons to choose from.  As if the blood and gore wasn’t enough to keep this game from the eyes of little ones, headphones should also be worn to prevent kids from hearing every curse word ever created.

    The $19.99 price tag for the PC version seems a bit steep since the mobile version is free to play with in-app purchases.  If you don’t have a mobile device to try this game on, there is a demo available on Steam.  I strongly recommend trying it before parting with $20.  Even though Dead Effect 2 does have its flaws, it’s still a decent game and is worth picking up on sale if you can find it at a good price.

  • Dead Effect 2 VR (Oculus Rift)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Dead Effect 2 VR
    Developed by: BadFly Interactive
    Published by: BadFly Interactive
    Release date: October 3, 2017
    Available on: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to eight online
    ESRB Rating: Mature for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Strong Language
    Price: $24.99

    Thank you BadFly Interactive for sending us this game to review!

    While I haven’t played the original Dead Effect game, I have enjoyed and reviewed the sequel when it was released in 2016. Owners of the $12 non-VR version had an opportunity to purchase the VR edition at a 75% discount, but that offer has ended now that the game is out of Early Access.

    Though the beginning cinematics are shown in an outer space theater mode, the rest of the gameplay has been reworked for VR and it runs great. The controls work well and it’s nice to actually use my hands for the fingerprint scanning in the game. The teleportation movement is very responsive and much faster than the slow pace of the regular game. Better yet, I did not experience any motion sickness playing this title! If you’re familiar with the standard version of Dead Effect 2, you’ll be reminded again about how bad the voice acting is as it has been left intact in the VR edition.

    Fans of Steam achievements will enjoy collecting 163 of them despite the standard version having 177. The story and gameplay remain the same though the weapons have been tweaked for VR and I find myself more accurate with the VR controls instead of using a mouse and keyboard.

    Dead Effect 2 VR
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Solid VR controls; no motion sickness; multiplayer!
    Weak Points: Cinematics are shown in a theater mode; no online games to join
    Moral Warnings: Gruesome violence, gore, and strong language (*ss, sh*t, f*ck) ; female cyborg has visible nipples

    Dead Effect 2 VR continues where the original game left off. On the spaceship ESS Meridian, death was conquered by a mad scientist, but many of the test subjects turned into zombies as a result. Instead of being rewarded for stopping the madman, your character wakes up in a lab being experimented on. A cyborg named Danette aides in freeing you, but needs your help in return.

    There are three characters to choose from and each has a different weapon specialty. I played as Jane Frey who is an assault specialist that prefers shotguns. The other two characters are male and they include Gunner Davis who uses heavy weapons and Kay Rayner, a sword wielding melee fighter. The melee character is recommended for experienced players. There are multiple difficulty levels to try if you’re looking for a challenge. Grinding is required if you want to have a powerful and well-equipped character to tackle some of the tougher bosses.

    Experience is earned by killing zombies and sometimes they will drop equipment or credits to buy ammo, medkits, weapons, armor, or implants. There’s quite a lot of customization that you can do to your characters and they have a skill tree with helpful abilities that you can unlock. Upon completing a level you’ll get scored on how much money and damage you did and how quickly you completed it. The better you do, the better rewards you can choose from. Each level has several hidden tablets that are worth finding to read about the game’s backstory. Some of the tablets will also have door access codes that will save you some time hacking if you can find them instead.

    Aside from shooting and slicing zombies and soldiers, you’ll be tasked with several mini-game puzzles to use various doors and generators and so forth. Some of the puzzles have you matching sound waves or connecting certain numbers to equal a specified sum.

    Dead Effect 2 VR
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 76%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 63%
    Violence - 1/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    At the beginning of each level, the game will warn you if you're below the recommended level for completion. If you’re not strong enough, you can replay previous missions to earn more experience and money. The boss battles are especially tricky if your weapon is not effective against them. I like how you can pay to respawn in the same room and the boss’s health will remain where you left it. If you find that your weapon is totally worthless, you can buy another at the store that changes inventory every twenty minutes or so.

    The single player VR experience is good on its own, but the fact that it has a multiplayer option should definitely make VR owners add this title to their Steam wish list. Just make sure you know friends who have this game. Sadly, I could not find any public games to join. The Steam community is pretty active and I have seen at least one topic for people looking for Steam friends to play together.

    Morally speaking, it should come as no surprise that this game is violent and there’s plenty of bloodshed and bodily dismemberment to be seen. You can blow up zombies with explosives, riddle them with bullets, or hack away at them with a chainsaw. There are lots of options and weapons to choose from. As if the blood and gore wasn’t enough to keep this game from the eyes of little ones, headphones should also be worn to prevent kids from hearing every curse word ever created.

    Dead Effect 2 was originally released on mobile platforms and is free to play with in-app purchases. If you would like to get a 2D feel of the game before parting with $25, I recommend checking out the mobile version. If you’re looking for a solid VR FPS game with multiplayer support, Dead Effect 2 VR won’t disappoint you.

  • Destiny 2 (PS4)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Destiny 2
    Developed by: Bungie
    Published by: Activision-Blizzard
    Released: September 6, 2017 (PS4 and Xbox One), October 24, 2017 (PC)
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
    Genre: First Person Shooter MMO
    ESRB: Teen (Blood, Language, and Violence)
    Number of players: Single Player Campaign. Online Multiplayer. Online required for all modes.
    Price: $59.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    As many video gamers know this is one of the most anticipated sequels in gaming history. How would Bungie bring a worthy sequel to one of the most successful games in video game history? Destiny 1 and its expansions have kept gamers playing regularly for 3 years and even after Destiny 2's release gamers still go back to it just for fun with their friends. Myself, I went back to Destiny 1 to work on a few quests and strikes I wanted to play again to get psyched for Destiny 2. This sequel takes the first game and refines many aspects that video gamers love and then gives us more to enjoy. I would like to say that Bungie is one of the top video game developers and once again they deliver a top notch product.

    As a Destiny 1 fan I kept up to date on Destiny 2 since its announcement. Destiny fans knew that a sequel was coming since Bungie had hinted extensively that one was in the works. Most of Bungie's development studio had been focusing on the sequel these last few years and only a smaller team worked on the expansions, updates, and patches for Destiny 1. Once Destiny 2 was officially announced, the Destiny gaming community went into serious hype mode until the game released. I've been looking forward to another great story, new planets, and reconnecting with friends that may have taken a break from Destiny and now are eagerly waiting to continue this amazing journey.

    For those tens of millions of video gamers, or "guardians" as Bungie calls us, we are given the option to bring our original characters over or create a new one. I chose to bring my warlock class over and continue his adventure protecting mankind and vanquishing evil. The story this time has an evil Cabal (alien race) leader named Ghaul (or as fans have now nicknamed him Gary) strike at the guardians tower on Earth and then try to seize control of the power of the Traveler ( a large orb about a 10th of the size of the moon) and take over the power it gives to guardians to protect the universe from evil. Thus as Ghaul (aka Gary) takes control of the Traveler (so he thinks) the guardians lose all their powers and abilities and become mortal.

    Destiny 2
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Smooth as butter shooting mechanics; beautiful graphics; superb sound; and great story telling.
    Weak Points: Lacking many areas to explore. Somewhat short story.
    Moral Warnings: Violence; Some blood on aliens killed; some language; use of magic and guns.

    As you are now mortal you are forced on a journey to find a way to stop Ghaul and his minions, the Red Legion, from destroying the Earth and all of humanity. Without trying to spoil the story too much, let's just say you have an incredible and enjoyable story ahead. The player will make his/her way to a new safe haven called The Farm where you and other fellow guardians will try to regroup and take back your tower and free the Traveler from Ghaul's evil schemes. This journey will have you travel to new planets and a new area on Earth.

    I really enjoyed the story and character throughout my adventure. It's not that long of a story at roughly 6 to 8 hours but it was quite fun. The story in some ways took me longer because in between playing the story missions I would find myself wandering around and fighting enemies on the different planets and Earth for better weapons, gear, and other items. For me, the story, if you count these side activities, would amount to 20 or more hours of gameplay. I just had so much fun (like in Destiny 1) upgrading my guardian's equipment over and over and over again (it's an addicting mechanic Bungie has implemented).

    Even after I completed the story I keep wanting to go back to see what other new items I can get from chests, enemies, and vendors. This loot grinding that Bungie started in Destiny 1 and perfected in Destiny 2 is true genius. My friends are always talking about the newest weapon, armor, or other item they equipped on their guardian. This excellent and refined loot system is one of the many reasons gamers keep playing Destiny 2.

    Another reason gamers keep playing in such a large numbers is the after story content and the areas to explore. In Destiny 2 you can participate solo or with up to two other friends in Patrols, Lost Sectors, Adventures, and Strikes. These activities can take a few minutes (Patrols), or longer engagements like the other three mention above. If you want to battle against other guardians for fun and competition, you can try the Crucible mode which pits two teams of four guardians against each other on beautiful smaller maps. The longest Player vs Enemy AI (PvE) activity in the game is Raids (currently there is only 1) which can take several hours and requires six very high level guardians to participate in it.

    Destiny 2
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 96%
    Gameplay - 20/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 6.5/10
    Language - 8/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Bungie has already announced that they will be bringing additional content like Iron Banner Player vs Player (PvP mode) and Trials of the Nine (PvP mode), as well as other smaller seasonal events and activities like in Destiny 1. Also there have already been announced two expansions coming to the game. The first one will arrive in December 2017, and the second one in the Spring of 2018. Bungie also constantly updates the game with new patches almost weekly to fix small issues that the community has experienced. Nearly all Destiny gamers have been pleased with how quickly Bungie squashes bugs that pop up in their Destiny series of games.

    In regards to graphics and sound, Destiny 2 is a major upgrade over Destiny 1 (which looked great). The lighting, particle effects, depth of field, enemy, NPC's, weapons, armor, etc. have been given a significant upgrade and polish. I really enjoy exploring all the various areas in the game and seeing the lovely details Bungie has put into the game world. You can tell Bungie is a developer who loves to make their games stand out from the crowd. The sound quality is top notch, from the sound of your gun firing, to the enemies' unearthly conversations to themselves and to you. I loved also how the environments seem to come alive on my Sony 7.1 surround sound. This game was made to play with your stereo system loudly so you can hear all the things that are going on in the world your guardian is adventuring in.

    Bungie once again created a game with amazing controls and stability. Controls in a first person shooter is what Bungie does best. Every gamer who buys a Bungie game knows that controlling your character whether in Halo (the ones Bungie created) or the Destiny series can rely on the best of the best in controls. I have had no known issues with stability in my gameplay and thus I'm confident it will continue to be this way through out the game's life cycle (much like Destiny which had few over the 3 years it's been out).

    This game isn't recommended for younger children or even pre teens. It does have blood from time to time in the game, but not overwhelming. The aliens' blood is black and will splash on the ground and disappear. The foul word a*shole is in the game, but not the Lord's name in vain. Each type of character (Titan, Warlock, and Hunter) use a form of magic but in the game it's an ability granted to the guardians as Light power given from the Traveler. Lastly, the aliens look can be very scary for younger children and pre teens.

    So far, I've had a great time playing this amazing science fiction video game. I would highly recommend this to older teens and adults (just don't play around younger children). If you enjoy first person shooters and MMOs then this will be right up your alley because this combines both seamlessly. Well if you don't mind I have some more adventuring to do; I need to get (or shall I say I want) my equipment upgraded more so I can be better prepared for the Crucible.

  • Destiny: Rise of Iron (PS4)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Destiny: Rise of Iron
    Developer: Bungie
    Publisher: Activision
    Released: September 20, 2016
    Available On: Playstation 4, Xbox One
    Genre: First Person Shooter
    Number of Players: 1 (Up to 12 Online)
    ESRB Rating: T for Teen (Animated Blood, Violence)
    Price: $40.25 for the Destiny collection
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Rise of Iron is the latest expansion for Destiny, a massive multiplayer online game developed by Bungie, the company behind the Halo franchise. Destiny released in September of 2014 and has had its share of ups and downs since. From its impressive, yet lackluster debut to its expansions from the mediocre to the impressive, players have been riding Destiny's content rollercoaster for two years. Now with the ‘Rise of Iron’ expansion, new and returning Destiny gamers should wonder whether this ride is about to get bumpy again.

    The story begins with a modern day mission to Mars that changes the course of human history forever. Astronauts come face to face with the Traveler, an extraterrestrial intent on bestowing gifts to humanity. Centuries of space exploration and prosperity for all mankind followed. Unfortunately, the Traveler's enemies sought to undo his work and destroyed Earth and its colonies. All seemed lost in this Collapse until the kind Traveler sacrificed itself to push back their evil forces. The broken god's corpse among the ruins was all that remained of humanity’s Golden Age, and small robots called Ghosts now search tirelessly for potential Guardians - those who can wield the Traveler’s power.

    In size and scope, Destiny’s universe rivals Bungie’s previous franchise: Halo. It tells numerous stories, including one you yourself can create. You can customize your avatar and choose to play as a Human, an Awoken (transformed humans after the Collapse), or an Exo (self-aware war machines from the Golden Age). As a Guardian and member of the Vanguard, it is your duty to protect humanity from the forces of darkness. There are, however, three other organizations working towards their own political goals as this struggle rages on: the New Monarchy, Future War Cult, and Dead Orbit. Players can further customize their Guardian by aligning with one of these factions to earn faction-specific gear. By the end, you'd have an entirely unique Guardian, your own identity in this large universe that Bungie has created. The problem Destiny's plot had was that much of the game’s lore was not found in the game. Unlocked story cards forced players to visit Bungie’s website in order to understand much. However, the developers have long addressed this issue in their expansions. The story in ‘Rise of Iron’ finally sheds light on the events following the Collapse. This new campaign not only makes it clear why certain things are so, but helps better round out the game's world. It's also nice for longtime Destiny players to revisit original locales and see how they've changed over the years. It’s a nostalgic adventure for those who have been loyal players. Ever since Destiny's first release, these changes are most welcome.

    Graphically, Destiny is gorgeous. The game’s cinematic opening really helped set the stage for a beautifully crafted space opera, and the world's designs from the landscapes to the equipment are superb. Rust and plant covered buildings truly gives the impression of a post-Collapse era. The day-to-night cycle on each world is also impressive. Not to mention the first person perspective let's you enjoy the highly detailed graphics and improves overall immersion. Even on the Moon, there are noticeable lighting changes depending on the time of the day. Audio is also a cut above the rest. Aside from a beautiful musical score, Bungie hired a number of professional actors to voice the game’s characters. This all-star list includes Bill Nighy, Nathan Fillion, Lennie James, Lance Reddick, Gina Torres and James Remar. It is easy to see why Destiny was the most expensive series of games ever made, costing Activision more than $140 million to develop.

    Destiny: Rise of Iron
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: A well-crafted space opera; Solid mechanics; wide variety of weapons and armor pieces; looks good and runs smoothly
    Weak Points: Stifling WiFi requirements; Too much level grinding; Unbalanced multiplayer
    Moral Warnings: Gun Violence

    Destiny's gameplay allows players the ability to either play solo, with friends, or with random players. Solo play is what a lot of players focus on to get their character (which you create) "Light Level" high enough so that you can face challenging single player story mission, Strikes, Raids, and PVP matches against other players. Your "Light Level" is Destiny leveling system, which can be increased by finding or buying weapons and armor pieces which have a "Light Level" associated with them. It's this grinding for more powerful gear that keeps millions of Destiny players coming back for more. This game has easily the longest staying power of any shooter game on the market.

    The addition of classes and subclasses, however, changes how players approach enemy engagement. Each subclass has different abilities that can cater to any player's individual play style. For example, Titan subclass Striker is geared towards close encounters, Sunbreaker tailors toward midrange, and Defender is a support class. Where Destiny gets really unique is that despite a strong emphasis on first person shooting mechanics, it acts like a role playing game. Everything from subclasses to weapons and armor are leveled up by killing enemies and completing objectives. Selecting which subclasses and abilities along with weapons and armor, can very well determine the outcomes, especially when on a 'Raid'. Thankfully, players can carry numerous weapons and armor pieces with them. Better yet, Bungie had added a Destiny Gear Manager app for computers and mobile devices that lets players transfer said gear to and from their vault without returning to a social hub. This is especially helpful, since different circumstances demand different preparations.

    After completing story missions, there are numerous activities for players to enjoy. For those who wish to continue exploring, 'Patrols' give them tasks to perform within this greater planet sandbox. These tasks vary from scouting locations to assassinating high ranked enemies. Players can also replay 'Strikes' through the various Strike Playlists, which vary in difficulty and rewards. Now, the heart of Destiny is grinding, which really just means repeating frustrating tasks for better gear. Previous expansions like ‘The Taken King’, released in August 2015, gave players an assortment of new gear to collect, but did not address the insane amount of time it took to obtain them. Recent updates have addressed this issue in a few ways. They increased the legendary weapon and armor drops, allowed Strike drops to be collected form Horde chests, and changed the faction rank up reward system. With these changes, I have found myself getting far more legendary gear than I did previously. I can now readily choose my rewards and have a means to get them quickly. Bungie has also reworked in-game public events so that players are guaranteed fifteen Legendary Marks and a legendary engram for completing their first public event every day. As a result, it's not uncommon to find three or more players willing to aid you. Now drawbacks still do exist, but these updates considerably reduced the grinding, making for a much more enjoyable experience.

    However, as enjoyable as it is to dwell in Destiny’s environment, there is a significant downside to it. There's so much you can do by yourself that it's hard to understand why the game constantly requires other online players in order to run. This, by extension, prevents you from pausing. You can't grab a bite to eat, and you can forget about bathroom breaks. While most story missions take anywhere between ten to twenty minutes, 'Strikes' take roughly half an hour or more, and 'Raids' are at least an hour or two, depending on your team’s skill. This also means you're out of luck if your internet connection is cantankerous, and there are numerous network errors from Destiny servers to begin with. ‘Rise of Iron’ failed to fix the problem. I experienced a number of these errors. Though infrequent, nothing is more frustrating than having the time to play but being unable to.

    Aside from the post-story mission grinding, there are community events held fairly regularly which reward players with unique gear. Some of them, like the Iron Banner’s bounties, have been reworked so that players of all skill levels can complete them. Previously, these bounties included challenges like becoming the top scoring player in the match and getting a ten kill streak. These bounties would not only deny players a large amount of points needed to rank up in the Iron Banner, but could deny them the ability to receive the gear available to more skilled players. Iron Banner bounties are now tied to continued play, not exceptional performance. Post-match rewards have also been adjusted to not only drop more frequently, but be rewarded regardless of Iron Banner rank. This has made the event far more accessible to all players, not just the most skilled. It also gives the players an added incentive to return to Destiny each month when the Iron Banner is on.

    Destiny: Rise of Iron
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 82%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 87%
    Violence - 6.5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    What's worse is that Destiny's multiplayer is horribly unbalanced. Bungie hadn't taken any significant steps to fix it either. The uneven perks between weapons and character subclasses proved to be enough to give any one player a significant advantage. Although Bungie has altered a number of subclass perks for the sake of reinstating balance within the Crucible, it turned tons of subclass skills nearly useless even in regular gameplay. Cheating has also become a very serious problem in Destiny - especially in the weekly Trials of Osiris tournaments. Despite Bungie’s promise to stop this through temporary or permanent bans on caught cheaters, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better. At this point, I’d suggest Bungie either change some tournaments' structures or remove them from gameplay altogether. A handful of other minor issues also add to the problem pileup. Destiny's multiplayer really could have been an enjoyable break from the singleplayer, but too much is lacking for it to hope to compete with other popular competitive games.

    Destiny is also plagued by microtransactions in the form of the Eververse kiosk. Players can purchase special dances and emotes to further customize their characters. Though they are not as intrusive in this game as they are in others, it is a bit annoying for a developer to nickel and dime players who have spent over seventy dollars to purchase Destiny: The Collection, and more for those who have been buying each expansion upon its release. The Eververse kiosks just provide relatively little for players who aren’t willing to spend a few dollars on amusing emotes.

    When discussing morality in Destiny, it's hard not to discuss the obvious parallels between the Traveler and Jesus Christ. The game's populace even worship it like a god and wait for its resurrection. Considering that far too many games lately mock faith and those who have faith, I found it refreshing that Destiny had this spiritual aspect to it. That doesn’t excuse the animated violence, and parents should adhere to the game’s teen rating. A final warning on morality: be careful while playing online. During my experience with the game, I have met as many bad people as good. I have found myself playing Raids with people who are not only intolerant of religion, but openly mock those who have religious beliefs. Fortunately, there are Christian Destiny clans which players can join.

    Despite its rough start, Destiny has become one of the best games of its generation for its single player content. The ‘Rise of Iron’ expansion adds to the improvements brought by ‘The Taken King’ expansion and last April's update, offering more story content and gear for players to collect. If players are looking for a solid first person shooter to enjoy, this is one that shouldn’t be missed. If, however, you’re looking for a solid online multiplayer shooter, I would recommend looking elsewhere. It's a shame that Bungie still hasn’t been able to address all the many issues that have been plaguing its online play. Oh, well. It's not about how Destiny started. It's about how it finished.

  • Doom (2016) (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    DOOM
    Developed By: id Software, Certain Affinity/Escalation Studios (Multiplayer)
    Published By: Bethesda Softworks
    Released: May 13, 2016
    Available On: Steam (Windows), PS4, Xbox One
    Genre: First Person Shooter
    ESRB Rating: M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
    Number of Players: 1 offline, 12 online 
    Price: $29.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Ah nostalgia, it can be a very powerful thing. People love nostalgic properties because it can remind them of the good old days. We’ve been in a pretty big nostalgic boom these days 'cause all of the 80's and 90's kids are now 80’s and 90’s adults. Said adults are not at the mercy of mom and dad, and now have access to their own money. What better way to spend money than on a trip down to your carefree days of childhood, where the only thing you had to worry about back then were grades and Saturday morning cartoons. Doom is the latest attempt to the nostalgia cash in to grab the Millennial's money. But is this Doom only meant to sucker desperate people out of their hard earned paychecks?

    Doom of 2016 is a reboot of sorts of the original Doom series, with the ever known Doom Slayer (or Doomguy) enacting his revenge on the forces of hell with the only way he knows how; by breaking the bones and ripping out the guts of every demon he comes across. In hopes to wash away the bad taste Doom 3 left in many fans' mouths, the Doom of new attempts to return to its roots and bring back the quick and hectic style the series is known for. Doom as you know is a First Person Shooter, where the entire game is seen through the player character's eyes. The plot takes place on the planet Mars where our main character, with the help of two AI assistants, have to stop the forces of Hell from taking over the planet, and a woman by the name of Olivia Pierce who may or may not be the cause of said major issue.

    The gameplay is part action-adventure, with your character walking through the lands of Mars and Hell, finding power-ups and abilities along the way, while fending off the many enemies that want to stop him. Every once in a while, our Doomguy finds himself in an arena-like area, and this is where the game truly shines as you are tasked to eliminate all your enemies in the vicinity.. Doomguy is fast, outpacing every demon he comes across. This gives the game a wonderful sense of speed, as you need to be constantly maneuvering and quickly thinking of a plan to blow your enemies to bits, without becoming bits yourself. Doomguy can soar through the air with little effort, almost as if he had wings, and can turn and stop on a dime. The weapons at his disposal are shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers, Gauss cannons, and even the ever famous BFG9000 and chainsaw (which are relegated to special type weapons).

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fast, frantic, fluid combat. Wide variety of weapons and secrets.
    Weak Points: Fairly weak ending. Multiplayer is lackluster.
    Moral Warnings: Usage of demonic powers and imagery. Strong use of swearing. Insanely violent and bloody.

    All your favorite enemies are back like the Cacodemon, Reverant, Mancubus and others, and they got new tricks up their sleeve to try and halt your progress. Like the games of old, your health does not regenerate on its own, so you have to forage for health instead of cowering behind a wall waiting for it to regenerate. The weapons all feel like they pack a punch as they are loud, expansive, and all have a distinct weight and sound to them, as they tear apart the enemies that stand in your way. They even have a few temporary power-ups that can either make you even faster, or eradicate your enemies in one punch. Something fairly unique to Doom is the Glory Kills, taking inspiration from the mod Brutal Doom. They are quick cinematic kills, similar to fatalities from the Mortal Kombat series that one can execute when an enemy glows yellow, giving you ammo and health drops. Glory Kills fortunately do not break the flow of combat, as they are a quick animation and transition very well. You can shoot, perform a Glory Kill, and proceed to hop around the battlefield without missing a beat.

    Did I mention that this game is violent? Because oh is it ever so. You bash, tear and gib your enemies in such spectacular fashion with anything that you can get your hands on, and sometimes even with your hands. Blood splatters everywhere, and depending on the weaponry used, guts will fly. This game is extremely violent, and enjoys every single second of it. The soundtrack and quality of the game mostly consists of types of rock, techno, and metal. If you like that kind of music, it's a very solid choice as they really put you in the mood of the nature of the game. The voice acting isn’t anything to write home about with it being fairly standard. The controls feel sharp, precise, and accurate. I never felt at any moment that the times I died were at the fault of unresponsive controls. The game itself has sharp graphics, and even though it only takes place in three areas, the scenery and atmosphere never feel stale.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 45%
    Violence - 0/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

    There are quite a bit of moral warnings in this game. There is heavy usage of demonic and occult imagery such as the inverted pentagram for example. Your main character is implied to gain his power form Hell itself, your main enemies are demons, there are Satanic symbols seen throughout the game, swearing is present throughout the game with a few F’s and S’s here and there. Oddly enough, your character uses his demonic power to save others, not destroy them (besides the demons), which is a very interesting take for a game. Some of the log pieces found throughout the game even give detail on how the demons are absolutely terrified of Doomguy and the lengths they’ve taken to try and rid of him in the past.

    Besides the game ending on a cliffhanger, and sometimes the game stopping you at points for unneeded exposition dumps, I had very little issues with the single player campaign. Sadly, I personally cannot say this about the multiplayer. The multiplayer side, created by the assistance of developers who worked on Halo 5 and Call of Duty’s multiplayer as well as Disney Infinity? Well, that’s kinda out of left field. Anyways, I wasn't a fan of the multiplayer as it felt slower, floaty, and a bit more laid back, than the high intensity and adrenaline rushing single player. The multiplayer takes a more class-based approach with people choosing a preloaded or customized loadout into battle, akin to Call of Duty and Battlefield to kill each other, and the ability to turn into the demons of Hell from the singleplayer portion. I do have to give it some positives, as it does have some exclusive weapons to its multiplayer portion, as well as the pretty deep Snapmap portion of the multiplayer. Sadly, I don’t have a creative bone in my body so I tend to stray away from user created content, but I’ve heard only good things about that portion.

    Doom took me about two sessions to beat, in which I played 6 hours each. I have not encountered any game breaking bugs, crashes or detrimental glitches while going through. In a way it’s not a very long game, only lasting 13 levels, but there are many reasons to come back for more demon squashing action such as the loads of secrets and lore in each level, with some even being retro levels of the original Doom, played in the modern engine. The multiplayer has a fair replayability with its DLC packs and a fairly lengthy leveling system if that is your sort of thing. Multiple difficulty levels for all types of players can warrant multiple playthroughs (with a Ultra-Nightmare difficulty where if you die even once, you have to start the entire game over again). They even added an Arcade Mode, introduced in a recent update. From a very sour first impression from the cinematic heavy E3 trailer to the lackluster and disappointing multiplayer beta that I took part in before release, my expectations were blown away from the single player. It is a very welcomed and much needed return to its roots and a huge step in the right direction. I personally think shooters need to take notes from Doom as the game is worth buying for the campaign alone. It's a nice modern take on an old established IP and is worth a go for any FPS fan, though for some people new to the whole Doom franchise, the heavy use of demonic imagery, occult usage and gray moral ethics of the characters may turn one off from such an experience.

  • Drop Dead (Gear VR)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Drop Dead
    Developed by: Pixel Toys Ltd.
    Published by: Pixel Toys Ltd.
    Release Date: October 26, 2016
    Available on: Gear VR, Oculus Rift
    Genre: FPS
    Number of Players: Single-player, Up to four players online
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Pixel Toys for sending us this game to review!

    Doctor Hironimus Monday has started an apocalypse and most of humanity has turned into brain craving zombies.  It’s up to you and a handful of agents left to save the world.  But how?   Graced with time traveling DNA you can go back in time and stop the mad doctor before it’s too late!

    Drop Dead is an on-rails first person shooter that provides brief pauses to stop the incoming waves of zombies headed your way.  If you’re concerned about motion sickness, there’s a “Take it easy” mode that limits the sudden movements and immersive cut-scenes.  I played the “Full experience” and did not encounter any nausea while playing.

    There are a couple of tutorial levels and thirteen single-player missions to go through in order to save the world from the zombie outbreak.  After each mission is completed you’ll be awarded between one and three stars depending on your time to complete the mission and for your shot accuracy.

    Drop Dead
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Decent action as long as your gun doesn’t jam up or malfunction
    Weak Points: Not many people playing online; dated visuals
    Moral Warnings: Violence and dismemberment; cussing and blaspheming

    While Drop Dead supports using the headset to play, I used my Stratus XL controller and it worked flawlessly with this game.  The controls are pretty straightforward by using the triggers to shoot and the X button to reload.    On many occasions during an ammunition reload my gun would randomly jam or malfunction.  This happens often and usually at the worst moments possible as zombies are surrounding me. 

    Killing zombies wouldn’t be any fun unless you had some nice weapons to take them down with.  The guns you get to find throughout the game range from revolvers to rifles and machine guns.  Though the machine guns pump out a bunch of bullets, they are not as effective as those coming from a shotgun.  Power-ups like energy drinks come in handy and slow down the enemies for a brief moment.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for every possible weapon upgrade and power-up, the world is depending on you!

    There’s a wide variety of zombies including fat ones that move slowly and take a lot of ammo before going down to fast and skinny ones.  Some attack with their bare hands while others wield weapons of their own.   It took a couple deaths before I realized I could shoot the balls of acid thrown by the acid-hurling zombies.  Your best bet is to take down the zombies as fast as possible and that means getting headshots as often as you can.

    Drop Dead
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 65%
    Violence - 3.5/10
    Language - 2/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The zombie’s blood is green and splatters as you shoot them.  If you hit one of their limbs, it will detach.  Like many zombies they look pretty disturbing, especially when they get close and crowd around you before succumbing to death.  The visuals aren’t the greatest, but this game is designed to run off of a phone and not a high-end gaming PC.   There’s a decent amount of level variety ranging from farmyards to graveyards.

    The voice acting is decent and the zombies sound like those in many popular horror movies.  The other agents are well voice acted but throw in some blaspheming and minor cuss words (d*mmit).  

    While there is support for online multiplayer I have not been able to successfully get a game going.  I have sent out and received invites but was never able to make a connection.  While multiplayer games are possible, they are hard to arrange with the seemingly small user base.

    If you like zombie games and on-rails shooters, then Drop Dead may fit the bill.  Like many popular FPS games there is a significant amount of violence and some cussing.  The price is a reasonable $9.99 and is worth checking out if you can find some people to play online.

    ***May 2017 Update***

    The Oculus Rift version of the game has the same graphics, but improved touch controls.  The accuracy and tracking are pretty good.  Having a laser pointer would have made aiming a lot simpler, but perhaps that would have made the game too easy.  The ability to dual wield guns would have been awesome, but you can only carry one gun at a time.  The revolver with infinite ammo goes back on your belt when it’s not being used.  Reloading the gun is accomplished by simply pointing it down and waiting a few seconds.  Reloading can be done even faster if you pull the trigger within a short time window.    Sadly the multiplayer lobbies are empty with estimated waiting times between fourteen and twenty-four minutes.  If you’re looking to play this game online, make sure you have plenty of friends to arrange games with.   

  • Epsilon Preview (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Epsilon
    Developed By: Serellan
    Published By: Serellan
    Date Released: October 1, 2015 (Early Access)
    Available On: PC
    Genre: Tactical Shooter
    Number of Players: Offline, Single Player
    ESRB Rating: Not Rated
    Version previewed: Pre-Alpha 1.0.7.5
    Price: $7.99

    Thank you Serellan for sending us an Early Access code!

    Serellan is a relatively new game studio that was established in 2011.  Their development team has experience working on games like GRAW and Halo Reach.  Serellen specializes in tactical shooters and their first project, Takedown was successfully Kickstarted in 2012.  Unfortunately, it was very poorly received due to dumb and inconstant AI.  According to Reddit, all of the Takedown backers will get Steam keys for Epsilon.  Has Serellan learned from their previous missteps and produced a better game this time around?  Read on for our impressions of the pre-alpha build 1.0.7.5.

    For those players like me who enjoy games similar to Police Quest SWAT and Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 games, this would be considered a spiritual successor. The story mode takes place in Istanbul, and explains your mission which is to rescue hostages from Unipol. The story dialogue is not voice acted, but has good action movie like background music to accompany the comic style story board.  After the briefing, you are taken to the planning mode/war room. 

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Nice tactical shooter with great graphics, weapons, and game play.
    Weak Points: Difficult to customize your controls; there has not been much as far as updates.
    Moral Warnings: Light swearing (sh*t) during story mode; there isn’t really any bloodshed though you are killing or arresting terrorists.

    From here you get to choose your four-member team.  When selecting your team members, be sure to pay attention to their strengths and weaknesses.  There are only three attributes to take into consideration (assault, stealth, accuracy), but currently they're all identical.  Once your team is in place, you get to choose the weapons each member will equip, the paths each unit will take, and then embark on your journey/mission to rescue the hostages.   Since this game is still in Early Access, the story mode and weapon/equipment availability is still incomplete.   I cannot wait for the rest of the game to be developed and to see how it will progress.

    The story so far is creative, despite taking place in the future, it feels realistic and still in modern times. It isn't as if you are fighting aliens with laser guns or next-gen weapons: you are using modern day assault rifles and current-day explosives. You are kept in the loop on your weapons and explosives choices and selection process, tools, and maps being used, and you are heavily involved in the planning process.  While planning is recommended, it's not required as you can just wing it if you feel like it.

    Once the mission begins, the game switches to a first person perspective where you can instruct your team members on how to proceed.  When pressing the middle mouse button a command circle appears giving you the option to tell your team to fall In/follow you, hold their position, move out, or secure a terrorist or hostage. A hostage/terrorist has to be in sight in order to secure them.  While some terrorists may die, most of them willingly surrender when you open fire near them.  There isn't much blood to be seen, but bodies do not disappear.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 80%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 3/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 6/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    To me the game music is good, the sound of the guns and explosions going off, bullets flying back and forth are all very realistic.  The voice acting is well done with European accents and none of the voices got on my nerves.  The only parts voice acted are the commands and there is no foul language to be heard in game; however, the story sequences have words like holy sh*t.

    I felt the graphics are good and utilize the Unreal Engine.  They still fall short compared to many of the big budget first person shooters out there.  On a positive note, this game doesn't require as beefy of a computer to play it compared to the prettier games out there.

    The controls are easy to grasp, but you cannot customize them.  There is partial controller support, but I used keyboard and mouse.  

    Overall, to me the game was fun, and I cannot wait to see more from this title.  The early access price is $7.99 and is planned to increase as more content becomes available.  Unfortunately, the development cycle has been rather slow with not much being released in the past few months.  It you don't mind mild blood, language, and waiting for this game to develop, Epsilon is worth looking into.

     

  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 
    Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Release Date: May 1, 2013
    Available on: Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
    Genre: First-person shooter
    Number of Players: Single player only
    ESRB Rating: M for Mature
    Price: $14.99

    Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is a standalone DLC title for the ever-popular Far Cry 3. Although it's very similar gameplay-wise, Blood Dragon is widely different from Far Cry 3 in terms of setting and art style. The game takes place in a futuristic '80s retro style world, on an island full of evil cyber soldiers and blood dragons. Blood dragons are enormous, mutated dragons that roam the island. They are the hardest enemy in the game. Blood Dragon is open-world with a lot to discover, and along with the main story, there are dozens of side missions and achievements that will keep you occupied. Killing enemies nets you experience which, when accumulated, will make you stronger and improve your hit points. Completing side missions will unlock weapon upgrades and other goodies. Although it may seem like there is much to do, you can finish the game in a very short amount of time. The main story took me around 2 hours to complete, but it can take 9+ hours to get 100% completion.

    Being a first-person shooter, Blood Dragon is loaded with intense violence and gore. Blowing enemies' heads into pieces, stabbing through their torsos with stealth attacks and ripping their hearts out of their chests can be very disturbing. Since the enemies are cyber soldiers, the blood is white instead of red. Along with that, swearing is heard at almost every moment in the game. In fact, there is even a button dedicated to flipping off your enemies. Also, there is a sex scene but it's not animated in-game. To clarify, the cut-scenes in this game are comparable to slideshows but with voice over. The sex scene is displayed in images with moaning, and the images do show nudity.

    The gunplay is more or less the same as it would be in any other first-person shooter. Most of the weapons that you can use are guns, but there are also some interesting weapons like the flamethrower. Blood Dragon tries hard to be over-the-top, and for that reason, there are many moments where you will kill a ton of enemies and cause absolute chaos. Even if this is all fine and dandy, the constant enemy waves become a chore, and some of the missions aren't exactly jaw-dropping.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Action packed gameplay leaves you satisfied; Art style is unique
    Weak Points: Although unique, the art style can be painful for the eyes; Enemy AI isn't very smart; Aerial fatalities are sometimes out of your control
    Moral Warnings: Violence; Gore; Excessive swearing; Nudity; Sexual content

    There were a few things that left me impressed, like chain fatalities, but I noticed that a lot of the fatalities that you perform can happen entirely by accident. For instance, jumping in the air while near an enemy can spontaneously make you stab them in the chest and kill them. In most games, there is a button that you can press when you're above the enemy that will do the same thing, but in Blood Dragon it automatically does it for you. Sometimes it can happen even when you weren't planning on doing it, and this can cause some frustration when you're in the middle of a firefight. The animation itself takes a while, and it got me very annoyed at times.

    I enjoyed how stealth was handled in this game. Sneaking around, throwing dice to distract enemies, and attacking them when they least expect it can be quite satisfying. It isn't as complex as it would be in popular stealth titles, but it's a great addition nonetheless. Enemy AI can be very, very stupid at times. Honestly, sometimes I would just sit there and stare at an enemy, and wait for him to notice that I'm right in front of his face. When you're in a firefight, enemies feel robotic and unrealistic, and only know how to walk forward and shoot their gun. I was playing the game on the normal difficulty.

    Graphically, the game is very impressive, and some may appreciate the unique art style. Unfortunately, I had trouble enjoying it due to the unremovable scan lines. I understand that the aim was to give the game a retro feel, but the scan lines can be painful to look at. I had a lot of eyestrain while playing this game, and had to take breaks just to rest my eyes. Besides that issue, the graphics are great. Everything is designed in such a unique way that I find it impossible to forget this game. The animation is very impressive as well.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 77%
    Gameplay - 13/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 35%
    Violence - 0.5/10
    Language - 0/10
    Sexual Content - 0/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

    The soundtrack is very pleasant to listen to and works well, and since the art style is focused on a futuristic retro theme from the '80s, the soundtrack is comparable to the type of techno that was popular at that time. If this all sounds very appealing to you, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I personally loved it, and I'm not much of a fan for this type of music. The sound effects reflect on the futuristic theme as well. You will be hearing a lot of beeps and bloops while playing this game, and it's all very satisfying.

    I personally didn't enjoy Blood Dragon as much as I would have hoped. Yes, the art style is unique and the sound is excellent, but I just didn't find the gameplay to be as enjoyable. The story doesn't take itself seriously, and there are many references to Internet memes and '80s pop culture. The humour in the game is sometimes all over the place, and there are more misses than there are hits. I don't believe I've even cracked a smile once while playing Blood Dragon. I'll admit that there are probably many people who will really like this game and compare it to games like Duke Nukem, but I personally didn't enjoy it.

    The morality issues keep me from recommending this game to others. If you're into humorous over-the-top first-person shooters like Duke Nukem and Bulletstorm, you may enjoy this game. However, for those who would rather play a game that isn't edgy for the sake of being edgy, you may want to avoid this game and spend your money elsewhere.

  • Left 4 Dead 2 (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Left 4 Dead 2 (PC)
    Developer/Publisher: Valve/Valve
    Release Date: November 17, 2009
    Rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language
    Available On: Xbox 360, PC/Mac (version reviewed)
    Genre: FPS
    Number of Players: 1 Campaign (offline) ; 4 Cooperative, 8 Competitive (online)
    MSRP: $20 PC/Mac version (Steam); $30 Xbox 360 version

    Minimum System Requirements:

    (PC)

    Supported OS: Windows® 7 / Vista / Vista64 / XP
    Processor: Pentium 4 3.0GHz
    Memory: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
    Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible video card with 128 MB, Shader model 2.0. ATI X800, NVidia 6600 or better
    Hard Drive: At least 7.5 GB of free space
    Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

    (Mac)

    OS: MacOS X 10.6.4 or higher (Snow Leopard Graphics Update required)
    Processor: Dual core Intel processor, 2GHz or better
    Video Card: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher
    Not supported: OS X 10.5.x, ATI X1600 or X1900 graphics, NVIDIA GeForce 7 graphics or Intel graphics.

     

    When Valve announced that Left 4 Dead 2 was arriving just a year after the first game launched, people met the news with boycotts and frustration. Fears of the sequel being nothing more than a full-priced expansion pack were expressed and even yours truly was unsure if the game would change enough. Rest assured though, Valve has brought a lot to the table so that the experience offered here is more than just a lazy cash-in.

    Before jumping into the review, it’s necessary to explain what kind of content can be expected in the title, mainly because Left 4 Dead 2 ramps up the violence found in the first game exponentially. A new damage model sees Infected being dismembered, disemboweled, and decapitated in various and realistic ways: blood splatters across walls, on the player’s screen, and drenches melee weapons. Gunshots wound Infected differently depending on both their caliber and location. Shotguns can blast holes clean through an enemy’s torso, magnum handguns maim limbs, and assault rifles expose muscle and bone. Bladed melee weapons can cause large gashes and reveal guts and intestine depending on where they land, and the chainsaw in particular slices up enemies into large chunks. By no means my first violent videogame, the first few hours playing had me cringing at how gnarly some of the gore could be. There is an option in the settings to tone down the gore so only heads could be removed, but blood is still present as are corpses.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Better challenge; enjoyable melee weapons; varied modes, maps, and weapons; improved animation and effects; free DLC and community campaigns
    Weak Points: Lackluster teammate AI; not radically different from the first game; Versus could use more balancing
    Moral Warnings: Excessive blood and dismemberment; swearing and blaspheming throughout (“s--t“, “GD--n”, etc.)

     

    Swearing is also prevalent as well. Phrases that are found in most PG-13 movies are in the game, including “s—t”, several crude words, and blaspheming. While not as over the top compared to other M-rated games, the swearing is noticeable mainly when the group is under severe attack. I should mention that a special Infected, the Witch, wears barely anything, and the Spitter has visible underwear, but neither carries sexual overtones.

    Think you can stomach all that? Then welcome to Left 4 Dead 2, sequel to Valve’s co-op first-person shooter (FPS) that sees four brand new survivors making their way through hordes of Infected in a new locale: the Southern United States. No longer confined to just urban environments, the new group will make their way through bayous, swamps, a Louisiana-style French Quarter, and more. The four survivors this time around consist of Rochelle, Coach, Nick, and my personal favorite, Ellis, all of whom complement each other very well personality-wise. You’ll grow to have your own favorite as you play, because these characters are so likeable.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

     

    Game Score: 92%

    Gameplay 18/20

    Graphics 9/10

    Sound 10/10

    Stability 4/5

    Controls/Interface 5/5

    Appropriateness Score: 63%

    Violence 2/10

    Language 1/10

    Sexual Content 8.5/10 

    Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

     

    Occult/Supernatural 10/10

    If you’re new to the series, the basic goal of Left 4 Dead 2 is for you and your three fellow players (or somewhat competent AI bots if playing alone) to battle your way through masses of Infected to reach a safe house. Safe houses allow you to catch your breath and restock on supplies like ammo and health packs before you set out for the next leg of your campaign. A campaign is made up of five levels and by making it to a safe house, you’ll move onto the next level. Certain levels require that you and your team hold out at an area and fend off enemies for a certain time. These “finales” are big events that culminate in large swarms of Infected attacking while you complete predefined objectives. One mission has you actively collecting gas cans to fill a getaway car; another has you hold out while transport arrives. The finales this time around are much more engaging and offer a fair amount of challenge compared to the first game. Those on the PC can play the campaign with bots, online friends, or with complete strangers; the entire matchmaking process has, in my experience, been smooth and other players were found rather quickly.

    So what’s an Infected? It’s a “zombie” more akin to those found in 28 Days Later than in work like Romero\'s Dawn of the Dead. You won’t find any zombies shuffling towards you here though. When the Infected notice you, they’ll sprint in your direction, even climbing and hurdling over obstacles or leaning into turns to reach you faster. While they are relatively weak, they make up for it with numbers. And by numbers, I’m talking over a thousand to two-thousand dead by the time a campaign’s finished. But it’s not just the normal Infected you have to worry about; there are also special Infected. The standard Boomer, Smoker, and Hunter all return, but with them come a few new faces. The Charger, who can tackle one player and knock back the rest as he rushes by; the Spitter, which utilizes a powerful room-clearing acid attack; and the Jockey, a pint-sized mutant who latches onto a survivor and pulls them away from the team into a group of Infected. Also returning from the first game are the Witch (who you shouldn\'t mess with), and the Tank (who you\'ll love to hate).

    To help speed these Infected and the meaner special varieties into the afterlife, your arsenal now includes a plethora of new toys, some of which include melee options. Expect to see a katana, fire axe, crowbar (thanks, Valve), frying pan, and even a cricket bat lying around. The melee choices replace the standard pistol, but the trade-off in hearing Infected go splat and mowing your way through a crowd in a few swipes make it worth it. Military weapons like the AK-47 and SCAR show up in the campaigns, as does new Incendiary and Explosive ammo. Those disappointed in Left 4 Dead’s paltry weapon selection will find a lot of options here.

    Much like the first game, Valve has an AI “Director” in place who will either ramp up or tone down the amount of pressure your team is under depending on how you well you play. If you’re getting a lot of friendly-fire and someone’s dying, the game will ease up on the Infected and give you enough space and trickle in enemies. If you’re doing well, expect more enemies, special Infected attacks, and fewer supplies in the environment. The Director will also mix up where enemies and supplies spawn every time you play, which makes this one of the series strengths. You can blast through all the campaigns in about a day or two, but playing through a second time will always give you a different experience. This, coupled with the game\'s various modes and difficulties, offers a lot of bang for your buck with replayability.

     

    So besides Campaign, what other modes does the game come with? There’s Versus, which is basically a Campaign with four players trying to reach the end while four enemy players take turns as the special Infected whose main goal is to incapacitate and kill the other team. After each level, the teams are switched with the survivors now playing as Infected and vice versa. The team with the highest score (determined by how far the teams actually go distance-wise) wins.

    There’s Realism, a Campaign mode that offers a more realistic experience to those wanting a harder challenge. Infected are harder to take down, require more shots, and Witches can one-shot a player. No player outlines are visible, so if you get dragged away by a Smoker into an alley, it is likely your team won’t hear or see you until it’s too late. Versus Realism is also available to those looking to really test their mettle.

    The two other modes include Survival, which is a time-based last stand where the main goal is to outlast the clock on a certain section of a level. Scavenge is the other mode, which plays a lot like Versus but requires one team to grab gas cans to fill up a generator. The team with the most cans after three rounds wins. I personally enjoy this mode the most since it’s a quick competitive game that takes about ten minutes compared to the forty-five minutes with Versus. Valve has recently been offering quick updates for Left 4 Dead 2 called Mutations. Every week the Mutation mode will have a certain restriction that radically changes the game, whether it’s melee-only in the Campaign, or all of the special Infected in Versus are Tanks.

    The game visuals have gotten a fine upgrade, in more ways than one. Several campaigns take place all throughout the day, character models and special Infected are more detailed, and enemies are more diverse. The most impressive change would be the gore and animations. Infected have multiple layers for their damage model, this means different attacks will reveal muscle, bone, and more gore. Valve added a large number of different wounds, so you may see the spine of an enemy from a shotgun blast, one Infected looking down to see intestine fall out of his own body from a rifle shot, and yet another hitting you with one arm because the other was removed in a gunfight. Like previously stated, the effects can be over the top, but they are an excellent move towards realism. Weather effects have also been added, which suffice it to say makes the Hard Rain campaign absolutely stunning.

    When making sense of this fictional world, Valve has left a few bread crumbs along the way that help tie up the story.  Safe rooms will usually have messages and notes scrawled across the walls, almost as if it’s a public journal. The messages both relay personal information to friends and family about where their loved ones are heading to next; others share a person’s view on the situation (some fairly humorous).

    Contrasted with the first game, the characters and campaign have a much stronger continuity this time around. The characters are total strangers who bond over time or generalize the special Infected in the first moments of the game before settling on a name (e.g. “tongue guy” and then “Smoker”). It’s nice to see Valve allowing the group to evolve as one plays, as well as having a logical progression throughout the campaign. Where Left 4 Dead put the survivors in a random situation and had them escape, Left 4 Dead 2 takes a note from Half-Life 2 and connects the story piece by piece. The hotel roof you start on leads to a shopping mall, mall to the highway, etc.; it’s mostly a seamless experience that involves the Southern culture and locales to various degrees.

    Left 4 Dead 2 is what the first Left 4 Dead should’ve been: a tight and well executed package that offers a challenging spin on the zombie genre. Fans of the first L4D should make the switch to the sequel if they haven’t already; the additions to the core game are not that radical, but they are welcomed and feel fresh enough to warrant a purchase. And now with the recent content updates (including support for Mac), you’re getting extra value for free. Xbox 360 players still have to pay for The Passing/Sacrifice, however.

    Again, this game easily earns its M-rating, and I cannot recommend it to younger teens or those who object to this kind of content. It is a blood bath, especially when using melee weapons, and the language can be a bit excessive at times. For those looking for a tame co-operative game, this is definitely not it. But for folks who are used to such content in their games, Left 4 Dead 2 is a solid and rather original FPS choice. I\'ve enjoyed it immensely and I’m sure you would too regardless of which version you pick up.

    -- Jonathan “Keero” Harling

     

     

  • Offensive Combat: Redux! (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Offensive Combat: Redux!
    Developed by: Three Gates AB
    Published by: Three Gates AB
    Release date: August 18, 2017
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to sixteen online
    ESRB Rating: Teen for violence and crude humor
    Price: $19.99

    Thank you Three Gates AB for sending us this game to review!

    Offensive Combat was a browser based free to play first person shooter. Since I don’t play games on Facebook, I have no experience with the original title. It has since been abandoned and much of its community was heartbroken. Offensive Combat: Redux! has enhanced the visuals and changed the business model by making the game playable without spending any additional money outside of its $19.99 asking price.

    Offensive Combat: Redux! is a solid first person shooter that offers your typical Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag game modes. With the in-game currency you can customize your character’s appearance with a plethora of options to choose from. Some of the selections include a banana, panda, alien, rooster, or even a "Donald Drumpf" mask. You begin the game with a decent amount of starting money, but you can earn more by simply shooting your opponents in game. Weapon upgrades can be done in a similar fashion.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Funny pwning system; excellent map design; lots of options to customize your character and upgrade your weapons; no microtransactions
    Weak Points: No LAN play and not many people playing it online; only six maps and many of them are too big for the sparse number of players
    Moral Warnings: Plenty of violence but no blood or gore; farting noises and crude hand gestures

    Though killing your opponents in a first person shooter is typical, players are rewarded more for "pwning" their victims afterward. Not only are the intimidating gestures funny, they can randomly drop character customization items. Some of the pwning gestures include armpit tooting or squatting and farting on the recently departed. Some more crude options like tea bagging or using a wanker hand gesture are possible as well. The mooning animation merely consists of waving your character's butt around while remaining covered. 

    At the end of a ten minute round, the player’s pwn, kill, and death counts are tallied up for a final score. Pwns are worth the most since they are risky to do. The gestures take between three and five seconds to complete and your character is vulnerable while performing them.

    Each of the six maps have various power-ups scattered on them. Health is not needed since players regain health automatically if they are not shot at for a few seconds. Damage and speed multipliers are usually available though. Armor is handy to find and equip as well. An unnamed powerful gun is available on most maps. Out of habit, I call it a Redeemer and the heavenly music that plays while equipping it makes the name fit.

    Offensive Combat: Redux!
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 82%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 79%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 6.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    There is plenty of map variety and they are all designed exceptionally well. Each map has plenty of places to hide, snipe, and duck for cover. Many of the maps are huge too which is great when you have ten or more people online. Sadly, I rarely encountered more than four. Searching for one or two players on a gigantic map isn’t very fun. The mini map on the upper left hand side is helpful for locating power-ups and players.

    Due to the lack of players, I was only able to play the regular Deathmatch mode. I have not seen any active Capture the Flag or Team Deathmatch games to join. If you’re by yourself, you can play against the bots which are pretty competent, but you cannot adjust their difficulty at all. There is also a shooting range and a map exploration mode. This game would be great for LAN parties, but I don’t see any options for setting up private or local only matches.

    The developers have plans for adding more maps, pwns, and character customizations. Despite the title, this game isn't as offensive as other titles that we have reviewed. I don’t know what future DLC will contain though. Violence is a given, but there isn’t any blood or gore to be seen. Some of the guns are electricity based and kill via electrocution.

    The promise of updates is good but the lack of players is very discouraging. Because of that, I would recommend holding off on this game unless it goes on sale. My kids find this title hilarious but $20 is a bit much for them to spend and not be able to enjoy it fully.

  • Quake Champions (PC) (Preview)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Quake Champions
    Developed by: ID Software
    Published by: Bethesda Softworks
    Release date: August 22, 2017
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to eight online
    ESRB Rating: Pending
    Price: $39.99 for Champions Pack

    Thank you Bethesda for sending us a review code for the Champions Pack!

    When it comes to first person shooters, both Unreal Tournament and Quake hold a near and dear place in my heart. I’ve played a lot of Quake 2 in my teenage years and more Unreal Tournament in my twenties and thirties. We have introduced our kids to the free Unreal Tournament Pre-Alpha and they are enjoying it so far. In fact, one of my daughters is getting frightfully good at it. When Quake Champions releases its free to play version, I’ll be sure to let my kids know.

    Quake Champions is currently available on Steam and through Bethesda for $29.99 and that price will go up once it’s fully released. For the money you get to play it out of beta and with all of the champions unlocked. You’ll also get three reliquaries worth of good loot which allows you to customize champions to make them stand out more. Like many free to play games, there are plenty of micro-transactions and opportunities to spend real money for prettier customizations. By playing matches and earning experience, you can still unlock backpacks, chests, and reliquaries, but it takes longer.

    There’s a good amount of variety in the champions and they each have three stats and a unique ability. The stats are armor, health, and speed. There are three female champions and most of them are fast and frail. One of my favorite champions is the unholy paladin, Galena, who has more health and armor than the other ladies. Her ability of leaving crosses that heal allies and hurts enemies is pretty cool too. Fans of ID games like Wolfenstein will recognize BJ Blazkowicz and Doom Slayer from DOOM. The acid spraying Sorlag is another one of my favorite champions to play as. The free to play edition will only offer the Ranger. If you want a lot variety, the champion pack is worth picking up at its discounted price.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Interesting champions; beautiful maps and visuals; intense and fun action
    Weak Points: No offline play or LAN support; glitches and lag
    Moral Warnings: Lots of blood and violence; obscene player names and gestures; cussing in the game and in chat; some female characters wear revealing clothing; pagan symbolism

    The matchmaking process takes close to a minute or so to join a game. I had no trouble getting added into 6-8 player Team Deathmatches. Besides a free for all Deathmatch and a one on one dual mode, there is a Sacrifice game mode. The sacrifice mode is similar to capture the flag except you have to bring the spawned skull to your team’s obelisk.

    All of the modes have the coveted quad that spawns every few minutes. Whichever team possesses the quad has a clear advantage with the holder of it doing quad damage. Other item collectibles include ammo, armor shards, health power-ups, and timers to reduce the cooldown time for your champion’s ability. If you see any vases be sure to break them as they may contain a rune that can be used to unlock a champion’s relic armor set.

    The gameplay is fast, furious, and most importantly, fun. Despite being on a low ping server, I did experience some lag which caused some stuttering mid-match. Another glitch I experienced was not being able to complete the tutorial the first time around due to a glitch in the gun sampling room. In order to try the next gun out you have to shoot all of the blobs with the previous one. In my case, one of the blobs would not go away no matter how much ammo I used on it. The second time I played through the tutorial I was able to complete it.

    Quake Champions
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 63%
    Violence - 3.5/10
    Language - 6.5/10
    Sexual Content - 6.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    In its current state, you have to be online to enjoy this game. There is no single-player campaign with bots to freshen up your skills on. There doesn’t seem to be a local network option either. There is a friend system in this game so maybe finding matches with them is possible. Sadly, I don’t have any friends in game so I can’t say with certainty what it does.

    From a moral standpoint, there are some issues worth mentioning. Like all FPS games, there’s violence, but if you don’t shoot first you’ll be on the ground bleeding out. With the various gun types available, there is a fair amount of blood and splatter depending on which ammo is used. Some of the characters use language and hand gestures that I don’t want my kids using. Like most online games, some of the players will have cuss words in their names and won’t hesitate typing out or speaking obscenities in-game. Voice chat can be disabled in the game’s settings.

    In the end, Quake Champions is promising and I look forward to seeing more features added, bugs ironed out, and more players to battle against. The champions are fun to learn and customize and I highly recommend picking up the pack if you like various fighting styles. When the free to play version comes out I’m sure there will be plenty of new players to practice on. Like all games with micro-transactions, be mindful not to go overboard on spending. Be sure that any youngsters playing this game don’t have access to buying items and keep an eye on the people they are playing along with online. Last but not least, take into consideration the language and gore before letting youngsters play this game.

  • Robinson: The Journey (Oculus Rift)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Robinson: The Journey
    Developed by: Crytek
    Published by: Crytek
    Release date: November 8, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift, PSVR
    Genre: FPS, Adventure
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Everyone with Mild Language and Fantasy Violence
    Price: $39.99

    Thank you Crytek for sending us this game to review!

    After his ship crashed, a boy named Robin appears to be the sole survivor on a foreign planet called Tyson III. He’s not alone though; Robin has his AI companion, HIGS, and a baby T-rex named Laika. The young tyrannosaurus rex is quite smart and can play, roar, and follow on command. There are plenty of other creatures to scan and learn about on this island, and not all of them are friendly. In fact, many of the creatures have destroyed various structures and Robin has to fix them in order to survive.

    The 3D graphics in this first person perspective game are incredible. The jungle environment and the creatures are very detailed and look believable, especially in VR. This game is very immersive, but the movements made me and several other gamers motion sick. Because of that reason alone I would avoid purchasing this game at full price. Another factor is the short amount of gameplay as this title can be beaten in less than two hours if the nausea doesn’t get to you first.

    Robinson: The Journey
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Gorgeous visuals; great sound effects and voice acting; fun puzzles to solve
    Weak Points: Motion sickness is a common problem for this game; short amount of gameplay for a $40 title; no touch/motion controller support
    Moral Warnings: Some dinosaurs get hurt, but there is no blood

    Although short, the gameplay is very fun with various life forms to scan, terrain to explore, and many puzzles to solve. To scan the life forms, you have to put your wand in scanning mode and tap on all of the green dots and not the others. If you get another color, you’ll have to start over from the beginning with a different pattern. Smaller life forms like snails and caterpillars are easier to scan than dinosaurs.

    The puzzles are logical and are not too hard to solve. However, if you get stumped, there are several walkthrough videos available on YouTube. In the beginning, the puzzles consist of minor repairs and restoring power to various devices. While a controller is sufficient for this game, the lack of support for touch or motion controllers is a huge oversight.

    Robinson: The Journey
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 66%
    Gameplay - 7/20
    Graphics - 10/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 2/5

    Morality Score - 95%
    Violence - 7.5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Robinson: The Journey is safe for people of all ages to play, but due to the motion sickness I experienced, I won’t be showing this game to others. I don’t recall any foul language, but there is some bloodless dinosaur violence.

    After playing Crytek’s The Climb, I was looking forward to this game. In fact, there are some rock climbing portions in this title, but they don’t involve chalk or stamina levels. Sadly, this game is a disappointment since it makes me nauseous every time I try it. If you enjoy puzzles and dinosaurs, and are not easily rattled by motion sickness, Robinson: The Journey may be worth picking up on sale.

  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (PS4)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Developed by: CI Games
    Published by: CI Games
    Released: 25 April 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
    Genre: First Person Shooter, Tactical Shooter
    ESRB: M for Mature (Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Drug Reference, Blood and Gore, and Intense Violence)
    Number of players: 1 (Multiplayer will be coming with a future update)
    Price:$53.00
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you CI Games for sending us a review copy for this game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior is one of two current Sniper series out right now, the other being the Sniper Elite series developed and published by Rebellion. The Sniper style of games is a very niche market of video games. Some gamers love the slower and strategic style, while others love the Fast-paced twitch style of shooters like Call of Duty, Halo, and SOCOM. Myself, I love the slower paced shooter games, known as tactical shooters.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the third (as the name implies) in a series developed and published by City Interactive (CI Games as they call themselves now). This series has been pretty popular worldwide with the first two games selling over 5.5 million copies. CI Games has now upped the ante and brought what fans of the series have been asking for, and that is a fully open world for gamers to explore.

    In Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (SGW3) you play Marine Captain Jonathan "Jon" North who is sent to the country of Georgia to rescue his brother, Robert North, who was kidnapped and taken by a unknown special ops unit lead by a mysterious leader 2 years before in a mission the brothers were on along the Russian Ukrainian border. Jon believes that his brother is still alive and being held somewhere in Georgia, and that is why he volunteered to go on this mission to kill the group that captured his younger brother and rescue him.

    Jon is set up in a secret small base of operations where he can rest, craft items, and plan his missions to kill the Separatist Cells (the group who captured Robert) who are destabilizing the country. Jon is helped by Lydia, a former Sniper and love interest. Along the way Jon discovers that the mission he is on is one that can affect the whole world (in a bad way) if not successfully completed.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Excellent shooting mechanics, deep crafting and customization; large open world map to explore, and a solid engaging story.
    Weak Points: Long loading times at the start or continuation of a campaign. Occasional enemy pop in and out at long distances. Serious stability issues that cause the game to crash.
    Moral Warnings: Strong Language through out. Blood and gore used over-excessively. Some sexual themes and drug used throughout the game. Not suitable for children or young teens to play or watch.

    SGW3 has some top notch graphics and sound effects. I really enjoyed the look of the entire world. On my PlayStation Pro, the game utilized High Dynamic Resolution 10 (HDR10) brilliantly. The colors of the whole world really shown through with HDR10 and the lighting was well done. The sound effects were well done with the weapons, vehicles, and weather effects sounding very good. The chatter that civilians and enemies carried on was above average, but adequate for gaming standards today.

    One of SGW3's big strengths is its shooting mechanics. I really enjoyed lining up my shot, dialing in my scope (adjusting for distance with a dial on your scope), taking in the wind speed and direction, and then firing off my shot. The game gives you a very good sense of being a sniper and that makes us who have been wanting another great sniper game very happy. I love realism and so do the fans of the series, and that is why the Sniper Ghost Warrior franchise has a loyal fan base.

    Another strength of this game is the crafting and unlocking of more equipment. As you kill or knockout enemies you can search them and gain a variety of resources. You can also find a many different crates and boxes with resources for crafting as well. These resources can be used to create a variety of items like different types of bullets, grenades, and other gadgets. The game will also allow you to use money that you collect from fallen enemies to purchase the items mentioned above, as well as guns, gun skins, and drone upgrades as you unlock them.

    Besides resources the player can unlock weapons (for use by the player) that the enemies drop after you kill them or knock them out. This helped me find better sniper rifles and other weapons for use against the enemy (nothing like using your enemies' own weapons on them). Also there are collectables throughout the open world that once collected appear in your hideout. Also these collectables give the player a little bonus in money (so it's worth finding all of them). I loved how as I found these collectables the developer had them automatically placed in different locations throughout the rooms in your hideout. One type of favorite collectable was rifles from famous snipers in history. These sniper rifles are displayed in a special wall mounted area for the player to check out whenever they wanted. Also in regards to collectables, in the game menus you can see a picture of the item and a lengthy history about it. I love this special attention to detail that CI Games has made available for the player to enjoy.

    Lastly, another thing I liked was the map and map size. The map is rendered in great detail which is very appreciated. I loved that not all areas of interest are on the map until the player travels there and then it shows up (some games do this well, while others show everything, or almost everything). Also the map size is fairly large - not as large as "say" Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands or Skyrim, but it's fairly large. The player as they explore more of the map will unlock "Fast Travel" sign posts which makes the traveling quicker and less of a grind.

    In regards to negatives of the game, the first thing that a gamer experiences is the long initial load time when you start or continue a campaign. It's very long and many players can be put off by it. The developers did say they would try to improve it, but that the reason for the long load time is that the game is loading the entire map and not just a portion of it. This provides for a seamless travel for the player without loading or stuttering as the player travels around the map. Also CI Games has said that this offers very quick load times when players are fast traveling around the map. I have to agree the map loads really quick compared to other games that offer fast travel (i.e. Skyrim).

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 80%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 3/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 72%
    Violence - 2.5/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

     

    Another negative is that the enemies pop in and out if you get too far from an area that they are in. I hope this can be fixed with a future patch; otherwise, it will get frustrating for the player when they want to pull off a 1,000 meter shot and the game won't load the enemies for the area they're supposed to be in.

    The last negative thing I want to bring up is that the stability of the game needs significant improvement. In my 20 plus hours of gameplay, the game froze once, and caused error kick outs of the game 3 times. I was very upset by this and I hope the developer will address this in a future patch.

    The game is supposed to have multiplayer but CI Games has stated they are focused first on more improvements for the game, as well single player future content, and then get the multi player content out later this year. CI Games has promised more free content through out the year so that is something to look forward too.

    For parents I would say this is not for children or young teens. This game got a "Mature" rating for a reason. It has lots of blood (when you shoot an enemy), strong language, and drug references (from time to time). If you have a teen you might want to look at Destiny, Call of Duty, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for their shooter fix.

    In conclusion, this is a very good sniper game with excellent shooting mechanics and realism. I would recommend any adult gamer who is looking for a deep tactical shooter and enjoys a slower style of gameplay. If you're looking for a run and gun type of military shooter you will not find it here. With future patches by the developer, this game will overcome its negative issues and truly shine.

     

  • SUPERHOT (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    SUPERHOT
    Developed By: SUPERHOT Team|
    Published By: SUPERHOT Team
    Release Date: February 25, 2016
    Available On: PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Xbox One
    ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence, Drug Reference
    Genre: First Person Shooter
    Mode: Single Player
    MSRP: $24.99

    Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

    Originally kickstarted in 2014, SUPERHOT is based on the gameplay concept that the rest of the world only moves when you do.  This allows for some rather interesting strategic possibilities, and helps create what SUPERHOT told me to say is the 'most innovative shooter I have played in years'.

    Taking a somewhat retro aesthetic, you join this game as a player in a new VR game.  The computer itself is reminiscent of one from the 1980s, with a tube TV screen shape, and a simple retro text interface for the menus.  The 3D first person style graphics are somewhat similar to 1980s rendered graphics, with simple polygonal flat surfaces, and characters rendered equally simple, using all triangles.  The sound effects also reinforce this point, as there is no music, but excellent sound effects that reinforce the 1980s VR feel, with lots of intentional distortion similar to period pieces like Lawnmower Man and Max Headroom.

     

    SUPERHOT
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Very neat (and fun!) time manipulation mechanic; scenario and story are interesting; lots of bonus challenges once you beat the game; it's the most innovative shooter I've played in years
    Weak Points: Main campaign is fairly short, beatable in under three hours
    Moral Warnings: Drug reference according to ESRB (I missed it); you kill everyone you come in contact with, or they kill you; computer bosses you around and makes you do strange things like share the final strong point above

    In each level, your goal is to be the last one standing.  Every person on each level has only one goal, and that is to kill you.  Some use guns, others use melee weapons, and others just their fists.  The same goes for you – you can use any of those weapons, or virtually any other of the movable items in a level to disrupt or kill your opponents.  This can often be critical, as you can be vastly outnumbered – and you only have a split second to startle one opponent or dodge the bullets from another.

    The level design is well done, as I found each one requires a new skill, or twists on already established ones.  There are some surprises as well.  Time doesn't technically stand still, it just goes at about 1/1000th speed.  So bullets, vehicles, and other fast moving things still move, just really slowly while you wait.  This can lead to some tense situations where you have to act faster than expected.  It also allows for some tricky planning where you can use that to your advantage, especially once you unlock body hopping.

    While each level is rather memorable, each one isn't that long, so the game can go by quickly.  I was able to see the ending the same day I started playing, in under three hours.  However, there are a lot of challenge modes and other forms of unlocked content, but no new actual levels from what I saw.  However, some of the challenges are pretty neat.  I found Katana mode lots of fun, for example.  In this mode, you start each level with a Katana, and cannot use any other weapon at all. If you throw it at someone, you better plan for a way to go pick it up again!

    SUPERHOT
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    And that's really the thing about SUPERHOT – while there is definitely action here, there is also a fair amount of strategic planning, and lots of repetition until you get it just right.  It somewhat tests your reflexes, but if you can learn from mistakes and plan around dealing with multiple threats simultaneously, it can be a lot of fun.  And you'll feel like Neo from the Matrix while doing it.  Or even Agent Smith.

    It is probably not surprising that there is plenty of first person violence, that clearly you are inflicting on others.  And you have not done your job unless it's fatal.  There is no blood or gore at all; characters split into triangles and fade away when killed.  I did not see any curse words at all, and while the ESRB pointed out a drug reference, I did not pick up on it.  The computer is rather pushy, and performs some kind of psychological manipulation on the player.

    SUPERHOT is honestly a really fun FPS game that is much different than most in that it is more about strategy than pure twitch reflexes, as you have plenty of time to line up shots.  My only real complaint about it is that it's short.  I believe that the ESRB rating of Teen is appropriate in this case.  I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.  It might even be one of the most innovative shooters I've played in years.

  • SUPERHOT VR (Oculus Rift)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    SUPERHOT VR
    Developed by: SUPERHOT
    Published by: SUPERHOT Team
    Release date: December 6, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence and drug reference
    Price: $24.99

    Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

    SUPERHOT was successfully Kickstarted in June of 2014 and exceeded the initial goal by $150,768.  For as little as $14, backers could get a DRM-free version of the game that we reviewed here.  Backers are also entitled to the newly re-vamped VR edition which sells exclusively on the Oculus store and will come to Steam sometime in the near future.  Until that happens Vive owners can play the game using Revive.

    SUPERHOT VR uses the same formula of slow motion FPS action where the enemies only move when you do.  Any movement including your head or hands will prompt your attackers to charge at you or fire their weapons.  If you have ever wanted to relive the slow motion Matrix scenes, it’s possible with this game and an Oculus Touch setup.

    The Oculus Touch integration is great and I experienced minimal glitches.  I once launched the game and only one of my hand controllers was not detected for some reason.  I actually did pretty well one handed.  It’s so fun to catch a rifle with one hand and literally blow the enemy to bits in the same instant.  Since the enemies appear to be made of glass they shatter upon impact.  There is no blood or gore to worry about here.  When I relaunched the game, both controllers were working again and I was able to get further in the game with two hands.  Dual wielding is fun too!

    SUPERHOT VR
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Awesome game mechanics that have you really dodging bullets, knives, and other projectiles in slow motion; flawless integration with the Oculus Touch controllers 
    Weak Points: Cannot choose levels until you beat the game; relatively short
    Moral Warnings: Killing glass like beings that shatter upon impact; can use wine bottles as weapons

    Besides shotguns, there are pistols and machine guns. Each gun seems to have unlimited ammo while the enemies wield them, but run out quickly once they get in your hands.  In other words, don’t expect your attackers to run out of bullets.  When the gun runs out of ammo you can chuck it at your opponent to take them down.  Other fun weapons include knives, cleavers, shurikens, staplers, ash trays, and even a dog bowl.   

    Attacking is one thing, but you also have to thwart the attacks of your foes.  There is often some form of cover, but be prepared to dodge several bullets coming your direction.  Each segment consists of a few levels and if you die in the middle of a level you’ll have to begin from the first one.  After a few levels are completed, you’ll see and hear the phrase “Super Hot” and are often whisked away to a computer room to progress the minimalistic story.

    The premise of this game is that you’re playing a VR game and your goal is to destroy some pyramid.  In order to progress the story, I had to shoot myself in the head a couple of times.  What SUPERHOT VR lacks in story, it makes up for in the action.

    SUPERHOT VR
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 19/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    SUPERHOT VR is my favorite VR game so far.  The movement is smooth and the action is tight.  I was getting so into ducking and dodging bullets that I smacked my flat screen TV.  Thankfully it wasn’t damaged.  My legs were also sore the next day; in addition to the sweat on my head, I was exercising my muscles too.  If people ask me what I’ve been doing to workout I’ll tell them that I’ve been having fun dodging bullets.

    One minor nitpick that I have is that until you beat the game, you can’t choose what level to play.  Since I have completed the game this is no longer an issue but until that happened there are no profiles or an easy way to let people experience the game from the beginning without messing up your progress.  

    Though SUPERHOT VR is a rather short experience that can be completed in a few hours, it’s a must play for Oculus Touch owners.  I hope that more levels come out for it and I look forward to future releases from the SUPERHOT Team.

     

  • Tick Tock Bang Bang (PC)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Developed By: Dejobaan Games, LLC
    Published By: Dejobaan Games, LLC
    Released: June 9, 2016
    Available On: Windows
    Genre: First-Person Shooter
    ESRB Rating: N/A
    Number of Players: 1
    Price: $9.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Dejobaan Games, LLC for sending us this game to review!

    Superpowers are a bit like playing the lottery. Sometimes, exposure to intergalactic radiation lets you make indestructible force fields and turn invisible. Sometimes, you’re born with a gene that lets you shoot lasers from your eyes. Sometimes, the best you can get is making time slow to a crawl while you’re standing still. If you belong to the latter group, know that you can still make a killing in the movie industry.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang puts you in the shoes of renowned stuntwoman Delta T, who can manipulate the flow of time while she stands still. To finish filming Tick Tock Bang Bang, the movie based on the true story of the Boston Sky Robot Uprising of 2032, she’ll have to utilize her powers to dodge runaway cars, flaming projectiles, and exploding mannequins. Luckily for her, getting hit in the face with a garbage truck only ruins the shot, not her bones.

    The game is split into fifty-one decently diverse levels, ranging in time from a few seconds to around two minutes at most. In essence, Tick Tock Bang Bang is a series of obstacle courses revolving around dodging and/or destroying a number of different robotic attackers. Your goal is to complete the objective, usually either reaching a spot in the level or destroying a number of robots, in as little time as possible. Getting hit by a car or robot attack sends you back to the start to try again. The main mechanic revolves around standing still to slow time, aiding in your predictive movements. If this sounds familiar, it's no fluke - SUPERHOT was a major influence on the creation of Tick Tock Bang Bang, and its robot even makes an appearance about midway through the game.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Stylish action; absurdly multifaceted level and robot creator
    Weak Points: Clunky gameplay; no music outside the title screen; small, inactive community
    Moral Warnings: Shooting robot drones, a few humanoid

    As the levels and robots get more complex, so too do your tools. You start with nothing but your natural time-slowing abilities, but you soon gain a futuristic gun – though you’ll have to scavenge for ammunition from the world or busted bots to use more than an extremely short burst of lightning. Other pickups, including black hole generators and EMP bursts, are rare but vital – and usually a blast to use. It’s a good thing, too: by the end of the game, you’ll be up against some seriously gigantic robots, capable of spewing missiles and lasers all over the map.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang controls well enough, with standard WASD movement, jumping with the spacebar, and the comically useless “gargle” command on G. Jumping can be a bit off, however: you’ll have to leap what seems like well in advance of the ledge, or you’ll just fall. The time-slowing mechanic is activated simply by not moving, but this can conflict with situations that require some waiting around; you’ll have to jiggle around back and forth to keep time moving if you don’t want to spend the next half-hour waiting for a laser to pass by. There’s also a hefty delay between your shots, so prepare for more jazzercising if you want to deal with more than one robot at a time.

    While the base levels will likely only take you an hour and a half to get through, the real meat of the game comes in its Steam Workshop integration. Once you’re done trying to set the best times versus the online leaderboard in the main game, you can turn your creative prowess on making your own levels and titans. These editors are ridiculously detailed, with tons of options for everything imaginable – including stage props and robot weapons that aren’t found in the story mode at all. It’s also free to publish, letting the rest of the community, however small it currently is, tackle your challenge. While there aren’t too many community creations – maybe twenty of each – what is there is generally great, including robots resembling Mothra and Mr. Potato Head. If you’re not the creative type, though, there will be little to keep your interest after finishing the main and user-created levels.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 74%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 5/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 96%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The game as a whole is visually interesting, but aurally dull. Most of the levels take cues from Mirror’s Edge: lots of bright, primary colors against a plethora of white. The bots are finely detailed, and those that animate do so smoothly. The various attacks are bright and obvious, and the game runs fine even with lots of incoming fire – though if you create a titan with hundreds of lasers and energy saw blades shooting everywhere, your computer will gain its own time-slowing powers. There is, however, not much to be said about the music – mostly because there’s not much music to talk about. You get a dubstep-type track when you first boot up the title screen, a second in the credits, and some generic club music included in the level creator; that’s all. No music plays at any point in-game. The sound effects are convincing, and the small amount of voiceovers from Delta T and the director are generally high in quality, but it’s all a little empty with no background music to go with it.

    Despite the potentially intimidating title, Tick Tock Bang Bang has no real moral problems. It is an FPS, but you’ll only turn your sights on mindless robots. There are a few humanoid ones, looking like segmented mannequins, who act as suicide bombers. There’s also a “martini” prop in the stage creator that serves as an event trigger, but this is found nowhere in the main game and only in a few custom stages.

    Altogether, Tick Tock Bang Bang is an enjoyable romp with varying longevity. If you’re the sort of person that enjoys creation, then the two editors and Steam Workshop integration will be right up your alley – though, with the small player count, the amount of people seeing your work might be on the low end. For the rest, it stands as a neat, if short, experience that might be worth a look or two when a sale crops up. Just remember that any resemblance to other games, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    -Cadogan

Latest Comments

Latest Downloads

About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

S5 Box

JFusion Login Module

Register