Mafia III - Hangar 13 and 2K Czech
Reviewed on Xbox One
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
Mafia III, a game die hard fans of the Mafia franchise have been waiting ever so patiently to get their hands on since the end of the second game's life cycle almost a mere 7 years ago released on all current generation platforms on Friday, October the 7th. You play as the protagonist, Lincoln Clay, which is a seasoned Vietnam war veteran that was taken in by a family that runs some of the rackets for the black mob. When you return from the war, the main mob boss for the fictional town of New Bordeaux which is a take on the real life town of New Orleans decides to execute your family and essentially you as well. Problem with that being that the bullet used to execute you bounces off your temple instead of killing you, so when you wake up you’re essentially a force to be reckoned with wanting nothing but absolute genocide to the people that murdered your family. Seeing as amazing of a plot as this is for a video game, most people had some very high expectations for the title, the sadly fell short.
Throughout the game, you are sent to take out lieutenants, each lieutenant is tied to maintaining certain rackets for a district, so once you take out all of their rackets you will drag them out which eventually brings an end to the Italian mob as a whole. Just as I described it, that is literally all you do throughout the game, which gets stale very fast. What makes matters even worse is the AI. Sure they can be smart at points during actual shootouts but if you take the stealth approach, they almost appear to have severe disabilities. Combined with the whistling mechanic you can pretty much take out every guard for every mission with extreme ease. It’s more repetitive and almost half baked then your average match of Call of Duty Zombies if you are just grinding through rounds with your friends.
There are three underbosses that you meet within the length of the story, one very familiar boss just so happened to be the protagonist in Mafia II, Vito Scaletta. Other two bosses, are ties within the story with the haitian and irish mob both Thomas Burke and Cassandra. Once you collect a district from a lieutenant you then distribute it to one of your underbosses, with that being said if you don’t assign them carefully you will wind up having to kill them as they become not so fond of you. Scaletta’s role in Mafia III was one of the very few amazing parts, from the fact that if you reach loyalty levels (which happens by giving them a certain amount of districts) you find out more about the ending of Mafia II which a lot of fans have been baffled by for years.
Another disappointing factor in the game is the lack of fast travel based system, making it a pain to drive from one end of the enormous, yet empty, open world to the other along with the small lighting issues you would experience at sunrise and night time. When sunrise would hit, the game would get so terribly lit that you would think you were standing on the surface of the planet Mercury. At night it got so dark, that you couldn't see a damn thing, regardless of the brightness settings making it a hassle to play.
One of the two things that save Mafia III for being a decent game, is the excellent Mo-cap performances and cinematic experience that is given with the cutscenes it almost feels like a late 90’s brutal action flick. If you want to save yourself sixty dollars though and still want the experience, you probably could get it from a jumbled together YouTube video that contains all of the cutscenes. Secondly, it's beautiful and huge soundtrack that contained hundreds of licensed authentic songs from the late sixties providing the feeling that you actually are in the time period, that and the insane amount of racism since Lincoln Clay is in fact a black man in that time.
Save yourself a few bucks and either watch the YouTube video I mentioned or catch it on sale at like Black Friday or some other time that it’s around $30 because it feels like Hangar 13 half assed this game beyond belief and that they should have waited a little while longer on the release to fix some of the small stuff and maybe even make an actually linear story.
Titanfall, the game that leaves a stale taste in every person that has experienced the game’s mouth has a sequel coming out this year, because of the somehow unprecedented success the original game had. Titanfall 2 was officially announced a few months ago and we saw our first taste of gameplay at the EA E3 press conference back in beginning of June, which promised us key components the original game lacked such as a single player story mode and more variety when it came to the multiplayer side of things. Gamescom, another huge gaming exposition, happened in Germany over the past week and we were told that we would be getting an open pre-alpha test for consoles to try Titanfall 2 this weekend starting August 19th and going until the 21st and then picking itself back up next weekend giving them time to fix small bugs and glitches that were found with the alpha software.
I’ve now clocked in maybe a solid 3-4 hours with the alpha and it’s hitting me, will Titanfall 2 end up like its predecessor and lose a vast majority of its player base after a few weeks due to lack of replay ability, even for a multiplayer only shooter. I unlike a very big population of the gaming community really enjoyed the original game throughout its excessive amount of betas and around the launch for actually a few months. Even though it fell oddly short of what was expected, the game provided something fresh and unique that wasn’t ever done before and then we saw the likeness picked up for the newer Call of Duty titles. Due to how similar said Call of Duty titles were, I was unsure if a new Titanfall game would even be worth giving a shot, but of course with an open pre-alpha test I tried it out and due to its state I took a lot of the bugs with a grain of salt as it is a work in progress. With that being said, even though the game is a work in progress, you can still get the main concept of the game. It’s trying to save grace with the failure of the name that was Titanfall.
Upon my venture into this game, I’ve tested out both consoles as there is not a PC test available due to them not being able to really describe the spec requirements yet. Titanfall 2 had a huge amount of gameplay that has been shown and it was all on the PlayStation 4 since they didn’t even get the original game, of course that made me wonder how the Xbox port actually ran. I downloaded both games as the pre-loads went live late last night and logged onto my Xbox as the servers were brought online this morning. I didn’t really notice much difference at all between the Xbox and PlayStation ports surprisingly as that is the one thing that fanboy’s absolutely adore picking apart and bashing the other console family for. It felt familiar and somehow like what Titanfall should have been back in 2014, it really tends to show what Respawn is truthfully capable of if you didn’t believe they had it in them even though they were a company that was an old Call of Duty development team, or at least a majority of it. Respawn was made up of a lot of Infinity Ward developers around the Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 era so this should be no surprise as those are the best games in that franchise. Even though I have this really strong gut feeling about Titanfall 2, I cannot manage to place whether this game will fall off the face of the earth as fast as its older sibling did. New game modes are the big turning point for the game and of course the more weapons and customization available making the pre-alpha fun to screw around with friends in but like I said before, I can already feel me getting weary of this after 3-4 hours of gameplay.
If you think Titanfall was a good game or you at least enjoyed it for a certain amount of time give this test a shot, give your own opinion as I really can’t speak for everyone. I will have published a full review of Titanfall 2 once the game officially releases on October 28th however until then, I’m going to try to keep my expectations surprisingly low so I can be hopefully swept away along with trying to enjoy these tests as they come and go to get a stronger more viable opinion on the game.
Stand by for Titanfall.
- Dakota G.
Evolve, that game that crushed the hopes and dreams of many gamers when it launched back in February of 2015. Turtle Rock Studios attempt at a new first person shooter IP failed miserably last year with its fanbase falling off in less than a month and getting absolutely horrendous reviews across the board.
July 6th 2016 marked the appearance of a counter on the game’s website, which caught the attention of people wondering what this game was going to attempt now. We finally know that Turtle Rock is turning Evolve into a free-to-play game across the board, and the beta starts tomorrow.
Don’t worry - if you purchased the game like me and thousands of disappointed people across the globe, you will be granted what they term “Founders Status” for the game, if you decide to play. Turtle Rock is probably hoping that this will somehow boost the game’s stats and player rates, although I severely doubt it will.
Evolve might catch the gamer’s eye once more and maybe be decent this time around (joking of course). It’s massive storage size, regardless of HDD space on your PC or Console, is not worth the maybe 5 minutes of fun you will get out of the install time period, no matter how long it takes.
Stay tuned to the Gaming Corner at Metal Lifestyle for all big gaming news and reviews.
- Dakota G.
Reviewed on PC
There currently isn’t a gamer that hasn’t heard of Overwatch, whether due to monolithic developer Blizzard, known for its incredible quality and long-lasting games, or the immense marketing campaign that included several beta test sessions with as many Twitch streamers and YouTube content creators as possible; action movie-esque trailers showing a hero or two; and even setting up larger-than-life action figures in heavily populated cities around the world. The hype around this game was unreal, to the point where major outlets and personalities were calling it their game of the year during its first beta session, before a launch date was even announced. And here we are. Overwatch is out, I’ve been playing since I decided to buy it on a whim yesterday, and I’m itching to play more as I sit here and type.
Overwatch is a multiplayer-only, hero-based first person shooter that pits two teams of six players against each other. People have been quick to compare the game to massive online battle arenas such as League Of Legends or DOTA 2, but the game has more in common with a title like Team Fortress 2. While there is a diverse roster of 21 heroes, getting into the game feels much different. Each hero has their own unique set of abilities that set themselves apart from other heroes in certain roles, i.e. Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Take Widowmaker and Hanzo: both are snipers that are considered Defense heroes whose play styles differ completely. Widowmaker has her assault rifle that doubles as her sniper when scoped, and the ability to set a poison trap and let the team see through walls, making her a versatile hero. Hanzo, on the other hand, is equipped with a bow that has a small charge time. He can shoot an arrow that fires smaller arrows on impact (which acts like a shotgun in small rooms), an arrow with a sensor to detect nearby enemies, and his ultimate arrow: a dragon straight from the bow. All of that makes him more of a back-line character, taking picks whenever he can. Elsewhere, Mercy, an angelic medic, heals your team’s Tank as he rushes into battle - the equivalent of playing the Medic class in TF2, healing the Heavy - and Reaper is a grim reaper with dual-wielding shotguns. He plays like a spy with his wraith form, allowing you to creep around the enemy team in order to get flank. No matter your hero’s style, landing your shots and abilities is satisfying.
A good framework for a multiplayer game can falter due to poor map construction, but that's not the case here since each map is designed for a single game mode, similar to competitive play in Counter Strike: Global Offense, and come with varied aesthetics depending on their locations across the globe, among them the stone ruins of Nepal and the film sets of Hollywood. There are two recurring elements: multiple, interconnected paths and verticality. That way, if a team ever find themselves unable to move forward on the wide open and popular path, there's room to try your luck at flanking and swinging the situation in your team's favor. Playing a hero that thrives on the high ground will have plenty of opportunities across the map, too.
Even on an older system, such as mine, Overwatch performs well. While I have all of my settings on low, maybe one or two on medium, I get a frame rate of 40 to the cap of 60, and Dakota’s rig manages to keep a solid 120 FPS on Epic settings (above the well known Ultra settings). It is worth noting that the frame-rate cap is dependent on the refresh rate of your monitor. 60 hz is 60 fps, and 144 hz is 140 fps. It's not bad, considering these settings are prone to combat screen tearing, which is when your system produces more frames than your monitor can refresh, resulting in a sort of chop or stutter. I noticed that Overwatch tends to hold a very steady frame rate on the PlayStation 4, but there is a slight drop on the Xbox One port. Control wise, Overwatch feels very clunky and very hard to play on consoles, at least to your average casual gamer.
The gameplay itself is like heroin. You play one match and are instantly hooked. Staying vigilant in the middle of the fray and timing the use of your abilities is a must, but after a while, you’ll start to find yourself stepping out of your initial comfort zone. I encourage you to try different heroes. In my 10 or so hours of playing, I’ve been put onto teams with less-than-ideal composition and no coordination. It's nice that the game evaluates your team composition on the hero select screen, but it's ultimately in the hands of the players. Having a good composition can make or break a match. A team without a Support will end up dying a lot. A team without enough Offense will get stuck. These problems can be resolved by selecting a new hero in your team’s spawn, which is why it’s good to get comfortable with as many heroes as you can in case you’re the one that needs to bring balance to your team.
Overwatch has deep customization options to unlock. Some of these options include different skins for your heroes, or even lines of dialogue. While some can only be unlocked after an Achievement, the great majority are found in Loot Boxes. Loot Boxes will drop after every level up and may drop after a game. These boxes contain 4 random items, each item having a rarity. It’s all very similar to CS:GO’s weapon skins, although there is no community market here. The fact that you can not receive a duplicate item is a very nice addition to the system. If the random-number generator tries to give you a duplicate, you will be given gold to purchase individual items instead. If you so desire, you can buy extra Loot Boxes via microtransactions, but with the frequency of Loot Box drops and the ability to buy individual items with in-game currency, spending real money is a waste even if the money made from these purchases goes to making free future content.
Overwatch is nothing short of incredible. Deep, fast-paced combat will keep players sinking hour upon hours into their favorite heroes. As soon as ranked play is added, it’ll absolutely scratch that competitive itch. Most importantly, the game’s success as an eSport in these first months, if not its first year, will determine its lifespan. In the meantime, I’ll be rollerblading across maps in style as Lúcio, being a good team player.
DOOM (2016 Reboot)
Reviewed on Xbox One
DOOM, the game that started a franchise of FPS games, has recently acquired quite the name in the gaming community with the reboot of the series by id Software (RAGE) and Bethesda Softworks (Fallout, Elder Scrolls). First news of said reboot was back in 2013, but the game went into development hell shortly afterwards, making the future of the game unclear. E3 of 2015 brought gameplay of the reboot and it seemed to awe the crowd with the same gore and shoot ’em up mechanics that made the same game so popular. Today, I’ll be breaking down the DOOM reboot into its great and not-so-great parts.
1. The Amazing
DOOM starts off in a familiar and amazingly brutal way. This is the series we have come to love. You start in a hospital bed, unsure of what is going on, and immediately slam an “unwilling” head into the side of the bed, jump out, and start shooting demons like the badass you are. Once you get past the first three demons, you find yourself putting on a very, very familiar suit of armor. Of course, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m bound to keep details vague - but this game never feel short on level depth. In fact, it feels just as replayable as any of the franchise’s previous installments.
Bethesda made sure to include every single demon from the original three games you remember and make them that much more badass. This game looks amazing. “Glory kills” are the game’s new execution type system that allow you to gain more health and ammo back than you would from a normal kill with your gun. Once you do a certain amount of damage to an enemy, they will highlight blue, notifying you that you can now perform the kill. As soon as you are in range, the color will change to orange. To perform the kill, you hold down your melee button (or key, for PC players) and watch the gore commence. Glory kills are completely contextual though, meaning you get a different style depending on where you are looking at the enemy’s body. DOOM even has some newer demons that you haven’t seen before, so keep your eye out for those.
Dropping the mechanic from DOOM 3 that actually requires you to reload your gun and returning to the old school arena-style shooter feel makes the game even more deeply reminiscent of the original. Console gamers also received the option to screw with their field of view - so props to you, Bethesda, for hopefully starting a new trend!
Let’s not forget to explore the music that makes DOOM what it is today. The retro/arcade-y metal is one of the things that just makes the game badass, upping the adrenaline of demonslaying during toppling arena battles in the campaign. Overall, old-school players will feel completely at home with Mick Gordon’s soundtrack.
Lastly, “Snap Map,” the new co-op mode for the game, is amazing, allowing you to build anything from campaign missions to custom missions for you and your friends to enjoy. It adds something new and very welcome to the DOOM franchise. I found myself playing user-created maps with a few friends more than I had expected to when I originally heard about the feature back at last year’s E3 press conference. Surprisingly, even making maps for you and your friends to enjoy is not all that hard. Bethesda was sure to implement a very well-designed set of tutorial missions in Snap Map to help you find your way. Snap Map feels somewhat like the community maps from Trials Evolution, an arcade-style racing game from 2012, which actually helped save the game more than once.
2. The Decent
DOOM has some features that are honestly hit-or-miss, and not surprisingly, they are all new features. Throughout the campaign you will unlock weapon upgrade coins and Praetor suit chips which allow you to upgrade both your armor and your weapons. Unfortunately, the upgrades were put in the game to help with the difficulty, but feel very bland. Some are indeed helpful, but others are really unnecessary.
Secrets are such a great new addition to the game, but then there’s the issue of the map. Yes, secrets should be hard to find, but if you have the automap that reveals all of them for the level it should be easy. Sadly, that’s not the case and it’s very hard to spot some of them. Bethesda did manage to pack a bunch of old school DOOM levels into the newer ones which you can find on each level of the single player campaign which is easily the best part of the “secret” system Overall, the map system is so vague it makes it hard for players to figure out where the secret passages are to collect the reward, which is odd.
Ammo is very scarce on DOOM’s higher difficulties, or so it feels, which is completely okay by me - except when both the Gauss Cannon and the Plasma Rifle share the same ammo, making it hard to use either without repercussions in sticky situations.
We can’t forget the new boss battles. I’m on the fence about these, but I will say that the Cyberdemon was one amazing homage to the original games. I just don’t want to dive into too much depth on these for the sake of keeping this spoiler free. Suffice to say that they felt very repetitive and strenuous.
Multiplayer also falls into this category, but I have a very love/hate relationship with it. It seems to me that there only are a select few weapons in the multiplayer section that help save this, along with some of the newer game modes we haven’t seen from other first person shooters. DOOM’s player vs. player seems all too weak unless you have one weapon: the combat shotgun. Now, keep in mind that the super shotgun is also very effective, but the combat shotgun raises the bar a little higher because you don’t reload it every time it is fired. Character customization almost completely saves multiplayer because it is at-to-above-par for other games, like Call of Duty and such, that are on the market now, without ruining it with a microtransaction system (at least for now).
3. The Terrible
Firstly, Rune Trials.
Yeah, that thing Bethesda showed off that's like a perk system in the stream? It’s godawful. Some of the runes themselves are not bad. The challenges just put their difficult over the edge, which makes playing on Ultra-Violence feel like playing Nightmare. I wouldn’t recommend stressing over the hard ones since you only need a select few to get the job done.
Lastly for the bad are the field drones that deliver your weapon mods. Weapon mods were a fantastic addition the game, but you can only change between them at a field drone, and you can only do one mod at a time, making it painful if you put on a bad mod.
Overall, DOOM is worth the $60. Skip the multiplayer and take the nostalgia trip they call a campaign. DOOM ran me about 13-14 hours on my first playthrough, but the time should go up with the difficulty.
Everyone pull out their mouse and keyboards: it’s time to party like it’s 1993 all over again.
Zetsubou No Shima
DLC 2 Eclipse / Black Ops III
Buy Now For PS4
Zetsubou No Shima is the second downloadable content zombie map for Black Ops III that is currently only available on the PlayStation 4. Zetsubou is the newest successor to Shi No Numa, the second DLC zombie map for World at War, and recalls a lot of that map. Black Ops 3 has a very heavy emphasis on “boss” zombies or above average/more-difficult-to-kill-than-average AI zombies, and this map provides two new bosses: the Thrasher and the Queen Spider. Thrasher zombies initially seemed like they would be quite the pain to take care of after what Treyarch showcased from the trailers of the new map, but to everyone's surprise, they are easily the least threatening bosses yet. Thrasher zombies can be killed with a few shotgun shells or by popping the massive orange bubbles that are located on the zombie’s head, shoulder, and right leg. Spiders are a new and very scary twist on the old-school zombie hounds you would find yourself facing every five rounds,and they come with their own boss: the Spider Queen, which you are not forced to face, but which you can once you earn the new “wonder” weapon called the KT-4 from acquiring three parts from the map itself. This map plays very fresh compared to the other three maps you can play, not including DOA2 or Dead Ops Arcade 2. It’s massive - I would like to say possibly even more massive than Der Eisendrache from the first downloadable content. The map also provides a new specialist weapon, which I am still currently trying to acquire without looking on YouTube for a tutorial. While this map has a ton to offer, it currently falls short because of the massive amounts of bugs and glitches I have encountered, making some things such as the KT-4 unbuildable or unacquirable. There is also an occasional texture glitch where the spiders won’t even appear on your screen but can still kill you. Yes, essentially they are invisible for a minute or two.
Give it some time if you’re on edge about this map. Let Treyarch do its thing and smooth out the bugs, then make the purchase. It will be a very smooth, fantastic map.
What started as a highly successful Kickstarter on September 12 of 2013, meeting its modest $27,000 goal and going on to raise $645,158 before the end of the campaign, Hyper Light Drifter is finally out on PC, with Xbox One and PS4 ports on their way. It’s an isometric pixel art game that is compared by its lead designer to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and also evokes elements of the Dark Souls franchise.
The game’s opening cutscene depicts some sort of apocalyptic event where we find our character, the Drifter, standing in a pool of blood, surrounded by countless bodies. They cough blood that turns black upon hitting the ground and quickly congeals into something sinister. The Drifter takes off and soon finds himself on a cliff in the presence of massive, mechanical beings. We then experience a surreal moment of the Drifter standing at a monumental doorway, and upon passing through, we are greeted with a vision of glowing gem. As he reaches out, the black shapeshifting creature from before takes hold. The Drifter wakes up, and this is where we start the game.
That entire scene, along with the rest of the game, features no dialogue. This makes for an engaging experience, as every bit of the story is either conveyed through the actions of the silent protagonist, stories from other characters told through a series of images, or the environment. Exploration is hugely beneficial to understanding the game. While there are secrets and collectables that make up the criteria for a 100% run, none of it ever feels like that. You can get money for upgrades wandering down a path that you know isn’t the way to the next event, a dead end with a sprawling backdrop of fallen mechanical giants, or a switch that opens another path somewhere on the map. Another element that makes the game so engaging is the soundtrack, written and recorded by Disasterpeace, who some might know from the Fez soundtrack and others from the indie horror hit It Follows. If you’ve heard either of these soundtracks, then you can expect a certain retro electronic soundscape. His style works well for the game, and the songs are impeccable.
The gameplay is simple: swing your sword, shoot your gun, dash. It seems easy enough, but don’t be deceived, as the game makes it easy to learn but difficult to master. Every enemy you encounter will only have one or two clearly-telegraphed attacks, but they are quick. That means you have to stay observant and alert in combat. While going through the game, you’ll get money to spend on upgrades or finding new guns, but none are clear upgrades. Instead, they are utility-based, and there are no straight damage ups or health upgrades. Unlocking the ability to deflect enemy bullets with your sword is great, but doing so leaves you stationary and open to other attacks from any direction. Unlocking more ammo for guns will make it easier to pick off enemies from afar, but you’ll eventually have to jump into the fray and slice away at foes to regenerate more ammo. It's very satisfying to make progress in the game because you never feel as if your character’s weapons or power level have made it easier - you just get better at playing, which is something I feel a lot of modern games now don’t do in order to show everything the game has to offer to players of lesser skill. While some may call it exclusionary, I believe differently. If you enjoy the game, then you do your best to improve because you want to see the end.
While these are reasons I praise this game, they are also its flaws. The fact that the game doesn’t tell you anything, even where to go, can be frustrating at times. Choosing the wrong path when you stand in the center of town, which acts like a hub world, can artificially create a significant difficulty spike, something I experienced myself. Making little progress over a long period of time, I teleported back to the hub world, selected the other path, and reached its end in no time and with very few avoidable deaths. There are also secrets switches throughout the game that open new paths. While every switch has some sort of identifier that matches its corresponding roadblock, there are a lot of them, and I find myself having a hard time remembering identifiers. This leaves you running blind through random areas hoping to come across a newly-opened secret path. Lastly, while the game runs at a solid 30fps on any machine, the game is also locked at 30fps. As you progress, you start realizing some deaths many not entirely be your fault since he combat relies on precision and a locked frame rate impacts reaction time. It can exaggerate input lag, making the game unfairly difficult at times.
These flaws are worth considering since they can turn people off to the game. I don’t blame them, but if you can look past these flaws or find a way to deal with them, this is an adventure game worth checking out.
- Alex B.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Rating: 9.2 out of 10
Reviewed on Xbox One
Tom Clancy games are undoubtedly a soft spot in any long-time tactical gamer’s heart if they are done correctly. The Division was one of the games under his name that had a lot of us speculating after several delays and an eventual release three years after the original E3 Expo demo. The Division was really hyped up when it was first announced for the reason that it was an open world, post-apocalyptic game unlike any before (i.e., no zombies or mutants), and it was announced around the time the next generation of consoles was revealed. The Division dropped this past Tuesday, but I had already put in a solid 36 hours in the first 72 hours the game was released, so I would be able to hit the level cap and the endgame to process the game fully, seeing how big of a title this is. After the second delay which moved it to the middle of 2015, I found my excitement dying a little, but I trusted that Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment knew what they were doing and would make this game worthwhile.
The Division is an MMORPG third-person shooter. It is quite rare to find games like this outside of the MMORPG first-person shooter Destiny, released fall of 2014. There are glaringly noticeable similarities between the way these two games work, almost to the point of exact replication. The rarity of guns and armor is labeled by color in both games. If an enemy is over five levels higher than your current rank, the rank is covered by a skull. Even so, Ubisoft make sure to fix what Destiny did wrong: the enemies are not, in fact, invincible. The Division exceeds my expectations as an RPG, throwing in some elements that even big-name games like Diablo III don’t have.
The Division only falls short of a ten for its lack of story. Sure, it’s there, and it will excel as a franchise, but this is a necessary thing to point out: this game throws missions in the mix without context. You get dropped into a world, make your character, and are sent through numerous quests for supplies to repair your Base of Operations. Something was also missing from the Character Customization, or so it feels until you start collecting clothes from dead enemies and from closets in abandoned apartments to change your appearance. This does not affect your armor ratings, but offers a little extra customization to differentiate you from your fellow peers.
Last but not least, The Division’s PVP (player vs. player) of sorts, the Dark Zone, is an amazing experience for those who are up to a very intensive challenge. Access to Dark Zone areas are unlocked immediately, although I would not recommend going in until at least level 11 or 12. You are dropped into an area of the world where communications no longer exist and Division Agents like yourself have gone rogue (you can too!). The area features nothing but the game’s hardest enemy tiers, Legendary and Epic, which have a ton more health, making them a real threat. You get your best loot from the Dark Zone. Named Epic enemies and/or bosses will drop high tier loot every kill, but the catch is you have to extract anything you grab in the Dark Zone to use it in the game. Extraction Areas are located in all Dark Zone arenas and are activated by shooting a flare into the sky. It takes approximately a minute and a half for the chopper to reach the Extraction Zone, but you will be occupied watching out for waves of enemies, or worse: Rogue Agents. Rogue Agents are actual online players who kill others in the Dark Zone for their loot. You can be one, but you’ll be marked with a skull and trackable to other agents on the map. Death can be very dissatisfying, but that adds to the tension of the Dark Zone. Upon death, you will lose all loot you were carrying and some of your Dark Zone currency, along with XP. Fortunately, the Dark Zone has its own ranking system, so it will not affect your level outside of the Dark Zone. Make sure to tread carefully and with a group of friends, if possible.
I would recommend The Division to any gamer who wants to get pulled into a game for hours, if not weeks. If you were like me and can’t decide whether to make the purchase or not, do it! The game is only going to get better over time, and you’ll be behind the later you start.
- Dakota G.
Reviewed on PC
Buy on Steam
SUPERHOT, the new FPS title currently only available on Steam and making its way onto Xbox One sometime in March, is an innovative new IP developed by the creatively-named “SUPERHOT DEVELOPMENT TEAM” that captures the gamer and puts them into what seems like their own personal alternate reality.
The basis of this game is you getting dropped into a world where you kill a bunch of red guys - which seems pretty simple, but there is a catch, like always. SUPERHOT is unlike any game I’ve ever played before. It has nothing necessarily special to bring to the table in terms of graphics, but lucky for SUPERHOT DEVELOPMENT TEAM, I don’t think graphics weigh down a game as long as the story has weight. It has no difficulty settings, making it ideal for the gamer who loves a challenge.
It starts very easy, with little to no plot, and gets progressively harder, although I did not believe this would be a story-filled game anyway. Campaign mode is essential, and believe or not, the game is very much a strategy game as well as a first-person shooter. You can be dropped in a room with no weapons and a briefcase to be surrounded by enemies loaded with shotguns and assault rifles. One interesting feature of the game is that time only moves when you do, making it a very Matrix-y shooter in that sense. You can dodge bullets and eject the enemy’s weapons from their hands and use it to your advantage moments later. You will die time and time again, but you will learn who to take out first through trial-and-error.
SUPERHOT will take a toll on your mind, making you think about everything around you, but you will love this game if you’re into giving new IPs a shot. $25 for a short yet compelling story mode may seem like quite a bit - I mean, you can beat the story in no more than 4 hours if you catch onto the mechanics quickly. I was quick to forgive the steep price tag once I beat the story, since you then unlock SUPERHOT's endless mode upon completion and are thrown a variety of different challenge levels, along with the option to repeat any of the story missions if you so desire. I would recommend this game to just about anyone from amateurs to experts in first-person shooters. It is one of the best games I have played in the past five to six years.
- Dakota G.
Far Cry Primal
Reviewed on Xbox One
Buy Now for Xbox One and PS4 (PC on March 1st)
Publisher Ubisoft and their development team Ubisoft Montreal released the new installment in the beloved video game franchise Far Cry on Tuesday, February 23rd on both new-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with the PC port releasing next week. Far Cry Primal was a game I heard slim-to-nothing about, other than from a select few friends of mine raving about how amazing it sounded, so I went into this game with little to no expectations at all. It is the first in the series to leave the guns behind and go back to 10,000 BCE. I was astonished when I completed the first two missions and began to wander around the world. I noticed it felt very familiar, as i I had played it before, which I was very happy with. When I first started playing, I was afraid it would feel like an entirely new Ubisoft IP and not a Far Cry game like we all know and love. I was surrounded with a lot of familiar mechanics and gameplay styles just like in the earlier installments. I took a solid 5 or 6 hours to myself before starting the actual story to explore and open up the map so I could see how massive and fulfilling the new prehistoric open world would be. From lighting the bonfires and liberating enemy tribe outposts just like the radio towers and outposts from the older games, to hunting down sabretooth tigers and cave lions, it was all very fun. I was very uneasy about the combat aspect of Far Cry Primal at first since I’m used to the guns-blazing mechanics of the old ones. I was immediately satisfied when I went into the first outpost and shot a spear through someone's eyeball. It may not have been a bullet, but it was just as rewarding. I thought this game would lack something in stealth, but your clubs allow you to take just as great of a takedown on the enemies. I still have no clue what the story mode was even about, but it was a ton of fun. It had the same basis as any Far Cry title: there’s one huge bad guy that you have to kill in the end to save yourself and the people you meet throughout the game. You might be saying to yourself, “Well, he’s giving this game a lot of credit, but why is it not a solid 10 on the rating?” This game takes place in 10,000 BCE, but some of its wildlife did not properly exist at the time, which made it hard for me to forgive the game in that aspect. I also noticed that some of the taming aspects for the animals were slightly out of balance, but it’s something that can be fixed through a simple patch that will come soon, I guarantee. If you are a long-time Far Cry fan, then this game will soothe you, since it is a lot like the older installments with some new mechanics. I recommended it for an Open World FPS lover.
- Dakota G.