Is It Worth It? Battle Chasers: Nightwar

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Tips and Hints for Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Six and a half hours in to Battle Chasers: Nightwar, and I can honestly say this is the most fun I have had with a dungeon crawler RPG since Diablo 3. This game isn’t just gorgeous (I love the art style and effects during battles); it is also challenging without being too frustrating. If you have just picked it up, or are interested in what this game is all about, keep on ready for some tips and hints.

Grinding Is a Necessary Evil

Like a lot of RPGs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, grinding is a part of Battle Chasers. I don’t despise it since it lets me work on different strategies and leveling up characters I may not use as much as someone like Garrison (who has a great name and awesome abilities). Some may not be as thrilled about the possibility of grinding to see all the content, and I understand if it isn’t for everyone. For me, it hasn’t bothered me. I put too many hours in the original Neverwinter Nights as a kid and this is nowhere near as grind-fest heavy as that classic.

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Exploration and dungeon crawler are two areas this game nearly perfects.

Explore, Explore, Explore

This game is set up to let you explore the world, a chunk at a time. As you progress through the story, you open up new distinct areas with their own enemies and dungeon to discover. Not all areas are crucial to forwarding the plot, and I highly recommend visiting them. You may get whooped at first, but you can always come back or talk to other NPC’s to see if they have a side quest for you to undertake as well. Who knows, maybe clearing out those spiders in the sewers gets you some much needed gear and a level or two that you need before returning to a challenging dungeon.

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Battle Chasers: Nightwar_20171005220316

Plan your Attacks Wisely

The action bar on the left side of the screen shows you what order your characters and enemies will take their turn. Use this to your advantage. Each attach has an indication of how long it will take for the character to use that ability. Some are instant, while others take a turn or two before they act. Using a very fast attack to finish off a weakened enemy might just be the edge you need to defeat a boss that summons more enemies during battle.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar Victory

Just looking at that Mimic is giving me Dark Souls PTSD.

Don’t Forget to Equip Perks

Yup, that’s right, I forgot to equip perks for the first four hours I played this game. Every time you level up you gain points that you can spend towards equipping perks for each character. For example, Gulley might have 4 perk points but the perks you want to equip cost 3 and 2 points, so either you grind a little until you level up, or you make a choice on which one you want to equip. All of these are passive stat boosts or enact certain conditions based on other abilities in battle. You can increase attack power, get more health from healing abilities, or even get a permanent boost to your overall defense as long as the perk is active. These can dramatically change how your characters perform in battle, so experimentation is highly encouraged.

Hopefully these few tips and hints are enough to help you glide your way through an incredibly beautiful and interesting world. While the story isn’t as integral to the game as I might want it to be, I am still really enjoying my time with it and look forward to pouring more time into it this weekend. For a small studio and a game half the price of other AAA games coming out recently, this has been a pleasant surprise of an RPG.

Did I miss anything? Did you pick up the game? If so, how are you enjoying it so far? Let me know in the comments!

Tips and Hints for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Author: Nathan Doverspike

I can’t believe how entertaining and polished Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle turned out to be! Not only is it polished to the high standard of most first party Nintendo games, but it’s just as enjoyable as well. Here are some tips and hints for beginners and people looking to play the game to completion (I’m going to go play some more of this gem now).

Don’t Worry About Missing Areas

This one might sound silly, but it’s true for this game. You will frequently come across areas that are inaccessible early on in the game due to your lack of abilities. That’s ok. Make a mental note and simply move on. This game is meant to have some replay value with all of the treasure chests hidden about and challenges that unlock after you complete that area. You’ll gain another ability after you defeat the main boss for that area, which will let you unlock a lot of those areas with ease as you run through them again without having to do any of the battles.

Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Up Your Team

No, that wasn’t supposed to be a pun, but I guess it works. You most likely won’t be able to use Luigi in every battle, no matter how awesome his vacuum/sniper is. There will be battles later in the game that will force you to think differently about the best way to approach situations. For instance, Rabbid Mario is more tanky than some of the other characters, and his shotgun can lay waste to multiple enemies unlucky enough to find themselves caught in its range. Using him instead of a character like Luigi would give you that short-range blast for groups of enemies that Luigi just can’t match. Keep in mind that you will have to use Mario in every battle (no idea why) and at least one Rabbid is also required. While annoying to think about, these don’t hinder the game due to amount of joy that comes from bouncing an enemy in the air and then sniping him out of the air with Mario’s “hero sight” ability.

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Use your environment to your advantage to quickly dispatch of those pesky Rabbids.

Restarting a Battle Doesn’t Penalize You

This is huge in my opinion. This game isn’t a cakewalk the whole time (it really ramps up after the second world), so being able to restart a battle at any time is awesome. Not only that, but the game doesn’t penalize you in any way for doing it, so there’s no risk in restarting if you brought a Rabbid Mario to a mission that requires Luigi. I’m not ashamed to say I started a few battles over when I quickly realized the odds were definitely not in my favor.

Play the Coop Missions

Something this game has that I had no idea until I looked on the back of the case is coop missions. These unlock after you finish a world, and are surprisingly fun. There are a handful of missions for each world, and range in difficulty and length. Some might take five minutes to beat, while others might take 15-20 minutes. If you have a friend or family member that is even remotely interested, give this mode a shot. My wife doesn’t play games very often and we had a blast playing through the tutorial and first set of missions after that.

Overall, I highly recommend this game. If you aren’t much of a gamer, don’t sweat it. This game even has an Easy mode for young, disabled, or people who would just like to enjoy the game without a steep learning curve. This game has a little bit of everything for anyone: humor, a fun story, beautiful worlds to explore, engaging game-play, the ability to upgrade characters and their skills, and lots of different weapons to play around with. If you own a Switch, this is one to definitely check out.

Cat Quest Review – A Purrfectly Enjoyable and Adorable RPG

Released: August 8, 2017 on PC, iOS, and Android

Author: Nathan Doverspike

As I booted up Cat Quest and read the first couple cat pun lines from your spirit companion (named Spiry, because of course they are) I was cautiously optimistic to start this kitty pun adventure. I knew it had cat puns, and being a cat person myself I was hoping to enjoy the dialogue without growing tired of the constant play on words. I was also cautiously optimistic that I would enjoy the game until the end. Thankfully, I can say overall it was a very enjoyable experience, even if it did feel a little short for a bite-sized game.

Developed by Gentlebros, Cat Quest takes you on a journey to save your sister, who has been taken by Drakoth, the game’s antagonist. Along the way, you speak to dozens of cute anthropomorphic cats who speak in almost pure cat-tastic puns and ask you to do dozens of fetch quests (Spiry sometimes comments on the mundane nature all of the fetch quests, which doesn’t make them any more interesting) that often end in a piece of loot as the reward. Even though many were simply go to a place, fight bad guys, and then return to the quest board, they were short enough that they didn’t overstay their welcome. The main quest is also serviceable, and has a nice twist about three quarters of the way through that I found interesting. It won’t blow your mind, but it doesn’t need to for the game to still be fun.

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The world is a decent size, and is easy to navigate through.

The quest for loot, leveling up, and mastering the magic system is what drove me to fully complete the game. Each piece of loot has its own statistics that upgrade when you find duplicates of that item. There’s enough different weapons and pieces of armor that I was always excited to open a new chest, hoping it was a new sword or better armor to equip. The spells are also interesting, whether it doubles your damage, shoots out lighting to the sides, or heals you, each one feels like it belongs and has a use. You can have four equipped at once, are able to swap them out at any time, as well as upgrade them with coins you gain from defeating enemies and completing quests.

The loot alone wouldn’t be interesting if there weren’t plenty of baddies to test them out on. This feline inhabited world has enemies just bouncing around the map, and they get stronger the farther north you go. Just be prepared to die a few times if you go up there too soon, they don’t mess around with the overkill on some of the enemies that have a skull next to their health bar. The enemies also vary in attack patterns and have interesting designs. Some use magic against you, some use  their weapons, and the fearsome dragons use both at the same time.

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Just one of the many dragons you’ll defeat on your quest to save your sister and the world.

If I had to nitpick, I would say that after the conclusion of the main quest, I was left wanting more. I wanted to find more loot, fight more enemies, and complete more quests. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue. However, with Cat Quest only clocking in at around nine hours to finish everything the game had to show me, I did feel like there could have been more added to the game. There are hints at more content coming if the game does well enough, so fingers crossed that it gains in popularity so I have another reason to return.

I really enjoyed my time with this game. It isn’t a game that will win an award, but gamers can use more games like Cat Quest. It isn’t particularly long, but the content there is very well crafted and it has a cute and cuddly world to pair with fun and frantic combat that many indie games can’t match. Cheers to Gentlebros for making a gem of an indie game, and I hope they continue to produce more like it.

Score: 9/10 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the Best RPG Released in the Last Decade

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Previously, I wrote an article listing multiple reasons why Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best RPGs to release recently. Only one game tops that fantastic title, and it’s called the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt RED, somewhat unknown in the United States until the release of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (that game is also phenomenal and I highly recommend going back to it if you want to see how much the series evolved between iterations), their name was rightly sung in the highest of the gaming heavens for this masterfully crafted game. In fact, calling it a game doesn’t do this interactive experience justice, because it is so much more than a game. It’s a living, breathing world that is shaped by your actions and interactions with the hundreds of NPC’s across literally hundreds of hours of gameplay. Here are just some of the reasons this game will always have my RPG-loving heart forever.

Sansretour Valley

This is still one of the most beautiful console games out there.

The World

In order to keep my interest, an open world game needs to have something that sets it apart from other games. The world in the Witcher 3 is not just gorgeous to behold (see screenshot above for proof), exploring it is just as captivating. Every question mark on the map holds something interesting, whether it’s an important landmark, an area infested with monsters that you can claim for the townsfolk to restore, hidden treasure, or a brand new quest. When the Hearts of Stone expansion released, I found myself traveling into areas I wasn’t nearly ready to conquer, just to see what new places and loot I could find on my travels. The second and final expansion, Blood and Wine, adds over 30 more hours of content to uncover, along with a vast land inspired by French architecture. A realistic day/night cycle and dynamic weather also adding to the impressiveness of this gorgeous game. The realistic facial expressions and animations also bring out the believable nature of the game, too.

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Yup, your sword glows when you slot runes into it!

The Combat

While I personally enjoyed the combat in the Witcher 2, I understand why a lot of people I spoke with about the title described it as “clunky.” It sort of was. There wasn’t a nice flow to it like the Batman Arkham Asylum game that released two years prior and really set the standard for how fluid combat in RPG’s could feel. Witcher 3 definitely improved upon its predecessor, adding a new rune crafting system, better inventory management (thank goodness for chests), more upgrade options for signs (magic) to use in combat, and a satisfying counter system. Instead of having a light, medium, and heavy attack for combat like the original, the later two ditched that for just a heavy and medium attack, which absolutely streamlined it with what also worked in somewhat similar titles.

Speaking of combat, how does it sound to take on a dragon. Everyone likes that in games right? What about a GIANT dragon that is as intimidating to look at as it is to slay? Or how about a griffon terrorizing the local folk by eating their livestock? Or maybe you prefer traditional golems and liches that so many fantasy games feature? In this game, you get all of that and so many other varieties its almost overwhelming to list them all. Thankfully, the game keeps a bestiary of each one you encounter so you also know what potions, oils, and signs are effective against them.

Which brings me to the last improvement on combat: preparation. Playing the Witcher on anything but easy can be a real test of your mettle. You are able to drink potions that vastly increase certain attributes like vitality or strength, apply different oils to your weapons before entering combat with a foe, lay down traps, or cast signs on the ground and yourself to snare your enemy or even reflect damage back at them. All of this helps you take down the biggest of baddies, and for them you will definitely need all of these on your journey to save Ciri.

Sansretour Valley

Geralt vs. Giant: you already know who wins this one.

The Story

Speaking of Ciri, the whole story of the Witcher 3 revolves around Geralt finding his long lost acquaintance, Ciri, and saving her from a quickly approaching catastrophic event stemming from her being the last in a line of humanoids who can control space and time. Without spoiling anything specific, let’s just say I was left breathless after I finished the main quest. The expansions also have memorable stories to behold, including a massive toad that speaks (sure why not). The fantastical elements never feel out of place in the world, it’s weird and wonderful in its own quirky way. Geralt knows a lot about killing monsters, but even he doesn’t understand everything that happens in the world around him. The game earns a tip of the cap and two thumbs up for not over-explaining every little thing through spoken exposition, and instead lets you purchase books and read the lore in a separate menu if you want to dive even deeper, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do.

Main Menu

This is the size of the map for just Blood and Wine expansion.

The Characters

Geralt of Rivia (voiced by Doug Cockle) steals the show as the lead character, but other characters round out a very enjoyable cast that returns from Witcher 2. Also featured in the game is Dandelion, possible my least favorite character in the game, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Geralt’s previous love interest), Triss Merigold (a sorceress and possible love interest), Zoltan Chivay (one of Geralt’s closest allies) and of course Ciri. All actors and actresses did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life, and even though I didn’t care for the character of Dandelion in any of the titles, I respect the great job he did in reprising his role. They all have a unique way of interacting with Geralt depending on how you choose to treat others in the world, something may other games fail to accomplish. If you are a total jerk to other people, not only will you most likely have everyone despise you throughout the game, but you will get one of the most unsatisfying endings you can imagine. Just keep that in mind when you want to continually bribe the poor townsfolk for monetary paying in exchange for investigating their requests.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a masterpiece of a video game, something I don’t think can be easily replicated  anytime soon. It had the perfect mixture of solid combat, enjoyable exploration, interesting characters, and so many other great touches like the addition of Gwent (the mini-game in a video game, period). This immersive experience is something I’ll never forget, and after over 100 hours of playing, still go back to it on a very regular basis. I can’t wait to see what great things CD Projekt RED has in store for us with their newest title, Cyberpunk 2077. Did you play the Witcher 3? Did you like it as much as I did? Let me know in the comments!

 

Micro Transactions in Single Player Games Are The Next “Season Pass” But Worse

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Yup, you read that right.  Micro transactions in single player games are the next fad, the newest iteration of the darker and more greedy side of gaming, just like seasons passes were (and still are).  They were a way to generate even more money in addition to the cost of a full priced game, and sometimes offered very little, if any substantial content to the experience.  Plus, there is usually no clear indication what you were getting in most cases until the game was close to release or already available for purchase in stores.  They were a cheap and shady way to get money for content that was even cut from some games.  Other cases saw high-profile games, like Destiny, release content that, while satisfying, was way too short for its price (you can also buy loot boxes in that game as well, if you feel like you haven’t spent enough on the five expansions and base game like me). In a way, micro transactions in single player games are becoming even more sinister than season passes, and here are some examples to back up my claim.

Dead Space 3 – Released February 5th, 2013

Developer – Visceral Games

Publisher – EA

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This one kills me, because it is one of the first ones to have micros transactions in a single player experience and it is one of my favorite franchises.  Even though Dead Space 3 had some disappointing aspects compared to the first two, it was still generally considered a solid game.  The coop was fantastic, especially since you were able to experience some areas differently depending on which character you were (Isaac or Carver).  The game play was also still solid, even if it did feel more like Resident Evil 5 than a Dead Space game at times.  That’s where my compliments end, and the criticism comes out.

For the first and only time in the series, you could make your own weapons with components you found in breakable boxes and hidden areas.  These crafting materials have ratings, from common to epic, and are designed to improve the weapon you are creating by giving it better statistics or additional attributes.  The problem?  You could just simply purchase a loot box, get an epic weapon, and wreck every enemy in the game.  That completely defeats the purpose of Dead Space games, which originally gave you that sense of dread and fear that you are always running low on ammo and an enemy could ambush you from anywhere.  Not with these epic weapons they won’t!  Even though I enjoyed the core experience, I didn’t approve of these changes and hope they never incorporate them into a future Dead Space game.  P.S. Please make another Dead Space game!

Injustice 2 – Released May 11, 2017

Developer – Nether Realm Studios

Publisher – Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

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Here is where the problem begins to manifest.  Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, known for publishing the Shadow of Mordor, also published the sequel to super hero fighting game Injustice, called simply Injustice 2, on May 11th 2017.  The introduction of micro transactions were met with cautious skepticism, since this is a fighting game with a single player campaign and multiplayer modes as well.  The purchasable loot boxes contain gear for random characters, that can be better or worse than their currently equipped gear.  They are also locked to a level restriction, but that can be changed by using one of the multiple currencies in the game to change it. Instead of criticizing it for having too many currencies, I am going to focus solely on the loot boxes.

I understand that the loot is disabled for some multiplayer modes.  I commend Nether Realm for implementing that in their game. It needed to have that, or else the multiplayer mode would be unbalanced and absolutely unfair for players not forfeiting their hard earned money. Thankfully, that isn’t what this concern is about. It is about having to spend real money in order to get better gear for characters, only for the gear to drop for characters you don’t even use. I never used Bane, and yet I ended up with a ton of gear for him since that is what dropped from the loot boxes. Don’t like what you get? Well why don’t you spend MORE money to get something better. But wait, better hope it’s for a character you like, because if not it will just get disassembled into more currency to spend on the next (usually) drop of garbage gear for characters I never used in the game.

Shadow of War – Releases October 10, 2017

Developer – Monolith Studios

Publisher –  Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment

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Are you seeing a pattern yet? I sure hope so, because it sure is clear to me.  Shadow of War, developed by Monolith Productions and the sequel to the 2014 Game of the Year Shadow of Mordor made by the same studio, is releasing on October 10th, 2017. Originally slated for an August release, it was delayed two months before its release and scheduled for the new date in October. It is easy to overlook this delay as polishing, but I strongly believe it was due to the inclusion of micros transactions. A game published by WB Interactive in 2017 has micro transactions in it? No! It cannot be true! The dark lord Sauron must be the head of WB Interactive to make such a henious decision.

Seriously, another single player game with micro transactions in it, and it by the same publisher as Injustice 2, and released the same year just months apart. That’s not a coincidence. To me, this game doesn’t need the addition of micro transactions to catch my attention. The original did that by having fantastic game play and a serviceable story. It was, by all measures, a great game. Did everyone like it? No, and that’s okay. That doesn’t take away from how good of a game it was. The balancing between your character’s abilities and your enemies always felt fair, with a gradual learning curve and satisfying progression throughout the experience.

Shadow of War, which should now be named Shadow of Give Us More Money, has loot boxes and two different currencies.  One seems like a dummy currency: you earn it but can’t spend it on loot boxes. The other one, called gold (really…gold is the best they could come up with) is the premium currency and is dropped sparingly throughout the game and is used to purchase said loot boxes. The boxes come with three rarities, and can include minions for the multiplayer mode similar to Metal Gear Solid V’s base building mode, or additional weapons and XP boosts. Sounds invasive but not game breaking yet right? Think about this: will the game be balanced to take into consideration that a few whales might drop a couple thousand on loot boxes and just stomp out your base and make your gaming experience miserable? My guess is probably not. Making a single player game literally pay-to-win isn’t fun, and spending 40 plus hours to unlock a legendary weapon or Orc you could get by spending $20.00 on loot boxes sounds like a pretty terrible way to play a game.

It seems that the choice to add these loot boxes into the game came from the publisher. Even still, it is Monolith’s decision to sign with that publisher in the first place, knowing full well that it might mean altering their game to fit the publisher’s greedy and slimy desires. They want to make money, lots and lots of it, even if it means potentially ruining what could be a fantastic video game in the process. I don’t excuse Monolith, but I don’t completely blame them. However, their reaction and body language in a recent live stream that explained and demonstrated the extent of loot boxes does concern me.

To conclude, WB Interactive is like a skid mark in my underwear: it’s ugly and hard to clean the stain out of them. They aren’t doing the gaming industry any favors, and I would be more than pleased to see them cut this crap out of having micro transactions in single player games before it gets even more out of hand than it already is. They prey on gamers who have a tendency to gamble, or flat out take advantage of those unable to control their spending. That’s disgusting, and we need to tell them how we feel by speaking with our wallets.

What games do you think should have been on this list?  Do you agree with my opinion, or think I am a doomsayer and losing my mind?  Let me know in the comments!

Facing the Facts: I’m Done Completing Games I Don’t Enjoy Playing

Author: Nathan Doverspike

For nearly 18 years, I’ve been playing video games, from Tomb Raider 2 to Horizon Zero Dawn (go play it if you haven’t, it’s amazing) and loving my time with most of them.  Every once in awhile you come across a game that just doesn’t click for you, whether its the story, theme, gameplay, art style, or maybe something as simple as the music.  I used to do everything I could to push passed these obstacles, in the hopes that there would be some sort of payoff in the end; some feeling of satisfaction for continuing with a game that I didn’t necessarily enjoy.  One title, named Mass Effect Andromeda did just that; it broke me of this habit.  As the title of this article states, after playing Mass Effect Andromeda, I realized that I can no longer beat games that I get no enjoyment from playing.

Before I get into all the reason I refuse to beat games I don’t enjoy and the game that ultimately crushed my soul, I need to say this first.  I LOVE Mass Effect 1 through 3.  I was even alright with the original ending of Mass Effect 3 before they extended it with free DLC.  It had a conclusion, even if it felt like there wasn’t as many choices as there could have been.  It made sense, and that’s what I wanted.  I also adored the characters.  There’s a reason there is a giant piece of artwork featuring characters from Mass Effect in my living room.  The characters and their stories were the best part of the original trilogy, in my opinion.  That said, on to this albatross of a game.

There’s not enough space on this page to describe how frustrating that game was.  To start, the facial animations at launch (they released a patch  that fixed some of the issues) were not only atrocious, they were appalling to behold.  They were so gross, that I thought I was playing some terrible $1 Steam Greenlight game (RIP Steam Greenlight) that used Unity stock assests to make a quick buck or two.  Want to see how ugly they can be? You’ve been warned.

Mass Effect Andromeda Weirdest Face Ever

This is the first person I interacted with in the game. Little did I know, it didn’t get much prettier than that…face.  I think that’s a face?

Yup, that’s how my failed journey through the boring and uneventful game called Mass Effect Andromeda began. With that face staring at me.  Ok, so the combat was satisfying and the skill tree allowed for a bevy of customization.  But in a game that resembled Dragon Age Inquisition more than the original Mass Effect trilogy, I didn’t enjoy the exploration, party members (there were only six, SIX), or the bland/terrible story they tried to tell.  I loved the premise: you are sent on a 600 year journey to find another galaxy to colonize in case the Milky Way is destroyed by the Reapers.  Cool right?  It is, until some of the worst writing in video games is on full blast right from the start and all the characters look like they are from some alpha version of the game.  It felt unfinished.  By all means, it was.

I spent over THIRTY FIVE hours on this turd.  I did everything I could to enjoy it.  I would play podcasts while playing so I had something interesting to listen to (the dialogue is embarrassing except for maybe Drack and Jaal).  That only helped so much, until I realized I wasn’t even having fun exploring the FIVE planets. Yeah, you have the pleasure of exploring FIVE planets the WHOLE GAME.  Even Dragon Age 2 had more locations to explore, and they even recycled a lot of them to pad the time it takes to beat the game.

I ended my playthrough after reaching the third planet.  It was a giant ice location full of sadness and emptiness. Wait, that’s what I was feeling while I was playing this.  Sorry about that. I meant to say it was full of empty space and sparse enemy encounters, sprinkled in a few giant towers that you need to scan (that part sucked too) and a ton of fetch quests that amounted to getting some experience and nothing satisfying.  I couldn’t take the punishment anymore, so I traded in Mass Effect Andromeda and used the money to wipe my tears away.

As we come to the end of my sad tale, I want to make it clear that I am totally cool with anyone liking this game.  I just found it unbearable for the reasons listed above, but everyone is more than welcome to have their own opinions and likes/dislikes.  I want to hear from YOU!  Are there any games that you just couldn’t finish?  Why? Was it because of the gameplay, story, or something else entirely?

 

 

 

Four Reasons Why Horizon Zero Dawn is One of The Best Open World RPG’s

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Horizon Zero Dawn was the biggest surprise of 2017 to me.  It didn’t come out of left field like Shadow of Mordor did in 2014, where I knew almost nothing about the game and absolutely loved it, but it did something I feel never fully accomplished: it made me want more even after I was completely done with all of the main and side content.  Horizon, in my humble opinion, is the best open world game that has come out in years, and here are four reasons why.

  1. The Story

Not know for their stories, open world games usually rely on their world-building and interactive environments and interesting characters.  That’s why this is my first and most important reason for this game being so good. The story starts slow, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t quickly speed up after the tutorial ends around hour 2 or so, and won’t let you breath until you finish the final mission.  In total, I would say I spent about 20-25 hours on the story alone, and loved every minute of it.  Every twist and turn, every revelation, every boss battle was enthralling and engaging unlike any other game I’ve played in a long time.

horizon zero dawn blood sky2. The World

The world of Horizon is beautiful, and when I say beautiful, I mean look at the screenshot I took above. That is the game running on a normal PS4 on a 1080p TV.  No PS4 Pro needed here, the game is a treat to look at.  It’s photo mode really allows you to capture the beauty of the game by letting you take stills of the game in motion.  You can even move the camera as shown above so Aloy isn’t even in the picture. The sunsets and snowy mountains aren’t the only highlight of the game either.

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3.  The Creatures

The nature of the mechanical beasts is a massive spoiler, so I won’t dive into that whole plot.  What I will say, though, is that they are so much fun to hunt.  Yup, that’s right, you get to hunt giant mechanized dinosaurs and sabertooth tigers in a video game.  The giant beasts that inhabit this land are dangerous, and some are downright terrifying to fight.  An ability you unlock later in the game makes them even more awesome, but you’ll have to play the game to find out what that mechanic is and how much better the game gets after you unlock it.

horzion zero dawn at nighttime

4. The Combat

While this is the last item on the list, it could have easily been my top choice as well.  That’s what makes this game so amazing: there isn’t just one thing it does well.  It does everything almost perfect, mixing so many awesome concepts and mechanics together.  The combat is so satsifying.  Sliding between a metal T-Rex’s legs, going in slow motion, firing arrows into its underbelly, and regaining your footing only to watch, for a split second, your arrows explode and send giant chucks of armor into the air before dodging incoming missiles and planning your next attack on the monstrosity. That’s just one example of how fluid combat is throughout the game.

I love this game! I put over 40 hours into it, and I am just over half way done with all of the side quests!  That isn’t including the upcoming DLC planned for the game, that sends Aloy to a whole new area with new beasts to slay.  Hopefully after reading this, you’ll go and at least watch some YouTube videos of it and eventually give it a shot.  After all, who doesn’t want to ride around on a mechanical bull and slay giant T-Rex monsters?

 

My Time with the Nintendo Switch

Author: AJ

Nintendo’s attempt to make a stunning platform, both console and handheld-hybrid was a quite impressive and bold move in today’s gaming industry.

I bought my Switch day one, without pre-ordering it, without any intention on buying one in the first place. I stood there in my place of employment, I said “I’m not going to buy one. I’m not going to buy one…” so I bought one. Complete impulse and hype of the moment, seeing customers flood in the doors to buy one.

Now that I’ve owned it for a little over a month, I’m ready to give my review.

Day one: I was so excited and hated myself for dropping almost $400 un-budgeted dollars on this thing, but there was a part of me that wondered if this was going the path of the Wii U. But, I unboxed it, set it all up, popped in my Breath of the Wild cartridge and let it do its thing.

The Joy-Cons: Unwrapping the controllers, and snapping them into the console for the first time was actually really satisfying. Then popping them out and putting them in the controller grip was also very satisfying, the noise was on par with some ASMR, like, unexplainable. It was very strange holding a controller that felt like a box, but I got used to it after about an hour. I didn’t realize initially how much technology Nintendo put into these little things– the red one having the home button and IR blaster, the blue having the capture button, each with their own motion control accelerometers, vibration motors, individual or synced pairing, and a plethora of other things, I was impressed from a technological aspect, however once complaints starting rolling in with connectivity issues, and button and joystick wear, I thought to myself “Oh no, I just bought the biggest blunder of 2017…” but, to this day, it’s been fine with no issues.

The System itself and the Dock: It was oddly small the first time I saw it out of the box, almost as big as some phones I’ve had it the past. I looked around the system, saw the nicely laser printed logos, and federal regulations, A KICKSTAND! and a decent machine for gaming, from a tablet perspective. Then I noticed a heat sink on the top, granted I knew this thing was going to probably heat up, but that worried me. “What if I’m taking it somewhere and it overheats because the vent is blocked? God forbid I keep that in sleep mode in my bag.” But I haven’t had any issue with that, either. Granted my thought process with it was a little extreme, but I consider all angles when I buy a new thing. But it was fun to slide down into the dock for the first time just like you saw in the commercials, that smooth decent into the dock, then they effortlessly took the Joy-Cons off the system while docked to play 1-2 Switch, that was not the case for me. I almost barbarically ripped the system out of the dock the first time I tried that. But I’ve changed my methods.

Performance: I was quite surprised at the Switches performance. Small, but pretty powerful. Granted it’s rocking a custom Nvidia chip, 8-core processor and 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which after I read this, I fully understood the need for a vent. Booting up The Legend of Zelda for the first time made this evident that this machine was no slouch. Grass-filled plains, volcanic rock valleys, enemies, shrines, towers, enemies, a full desert region, ENEMIES EVERYWHERE, and the happy people of Goron, all in a seamless open-world to explore, I didn’t have too many issues in this department. It did have some FPS drops, but not as many as Just Cause 3 or any other game to that effect. So, all-in-all I was pretty satisfied with that.

Software: Okay, now this is where I find fault with the console, granted its only been out for a month, I wanted more launch titles than just Breath of the Wild. Now, you can’t always get what you want, but I found myself a little burnt out at the 23rd hour I spent in the game. The Nintendo E-Shop is a little lackluster, and the salvation of my time with the system is going to be Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition, for the time being. Although the Binding of Issac and Fast RMX seemed like good alternatives I didn’t really feel like investing in. I almost broke down to buy Lego City Undercover but couldn’t bring myself to do so. And when Nintendo said “Virtual Console” I was expecting more like GBC, N64, NES, SNES, GBA, and the like, but instead found myself looking at NEOGEO games with some disappointment. And as far as the system firmware goes, its snappy, simple, and easy to navigate with no complaints.

Overall, it’s too early for me to give a hard review on Nintendo’s newest system, but I’ve been mostly pleased up to this point. It’s only a matter of time before I’m playing it more than my Xbox or PS4, when more third-party development starts to kick in and I’ll be playing Skyrim in a remote location, even though I already bought the Special Edition for my Xbox One. Now, when they’re able to make the Witcher 3 portable, THAT is when my Switch will need to prepare itself for maximum use! I give the system my personal score of 7/10.

Thanks for reading! I will try to stay current and relevant on my articles and try to release them in a consistent manner. But until next time, Stay Golden and thank you for sticking with us on this journey into being a great gaming site!!