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Rocket League - Review - PS4
by: Luke Horn - 07/17/15
Physics, Gravity, and Rocket League! I am certain that Newton had this game in mind when he said,“and to every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary, reaction.” For me, as a gamer and online player, two of the most important things for a multi-player game to have are action and playability. Rocket League excels in both these categories and in doing so creates a highly addictive game. It is a follow up to a previous game from Psyonix called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Its aerial defying assaults, constant action and reaction, and turbo charged cars, keep you moving the entire time you are playing this game. You can have up to 8 gamers on multi-player mode, play an exhibition game or use the all new season mode. The game combines fast cars with a sport that is already in constant motion – soccer. Acceleration is an understatement. The point of the game, like most sports games, is to win. You chase around a giant soccer ball in a gravity defying car in order to score a goal. . It is such a simple but genius combination.
The motion and physics of the game creates an environment where the gamer becomes intoxicated by the fluid movement. I often found myself so caught up in the movement of the game that at first I was simply racing around attempting gravity defying flips and turns. Once I settled in, the real fun began – trying to score goals! When floating through the air or across the field, you start to become adept with the controls. A small tilt here, a turn there, a move at the wrong time or at the right time, and you either have the perfect moment and score or you find yourself hitting only air. You have to make quick decisions and impromptu moves throughout a match in order to both score a goal and be successful. The arenas provide even more ground to the already motion enhanced game as there are no boundaries. You can race up the walls, into the goals and even try to zip across the top of the arena.
Online play is at the heart of the game as it provides an opportunity to really look at the strategy of the game. In the single player modes, you really rely on an AI environment that is already providing its own cohesive strategy, which at times isn’t strategic at all. There will inevitably be at least one occurrence of your own teammate scoring on your goal. It seems to be a slight flaw in the single player modes. The depth of the game comes out in the multiplayer mode because you have to work together and figure out what type of collaboration will help you succeed. It isn’t so difficult that it is frustrating; in fact the games simple play makes this a fun part of Rocket League. The online portion is what keeps the game fresh and exciting. Who doesn’t like to brag over the mic when they score a side flipping, car spinning, turbo-blasting goal?
The game provides a robust selection of unlocks and boasts over 10 billion custom combinations for your Rocket League car. So for all you customization junkies, go forth and have fun. One of my favorite things was the heart thumping techno music as its fast paced motion provoking sounds mimic the game and was a perfect fit for its neon enhanced no boundaries arenas. The game virtually has no rules other than scoring. You can crash or destroy your opponent, go offsides, use every part of the arena and even run in and out of the goals or as in my case sometimes, drive upside down on it. Have fun! Rocket League is a blast, especially when you score a goal! No pun intended – ok maybe it was. See you online and as always - game on. I give 8.5 out of 10. Rocket League is developed by Psyonix and a review code was provided for this review.
Gaming Nexus' Jeremy Duff gives the weekly rundown of news and notable releases. This week features: Tembo: The Badass Elephnat from Sega for PC, Xbox One and PS4, the re-release of Journey for PS4, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive for PS4 and the Beta of Street Fighter V!
Game of Thrones: Episode 2 "The Lost Lords" Review - Xbox One
By: Alan M. Wasserman
Ahhh…Westeros, a land rife with politicking, neck stabbing, thieving and scheming, and plotting why do I love thee so? In this second chapter of Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice “The Lost Lords” brings you back to the broken House Forrester and continues their struggle against the Whitehall’s, Bolton’s and Lannister’s. The game starts with a recap of the decisions you made in the last chapter so you can cringe and swear to yourself all over again when you see the results of your poor choices. As the credits roll you are pulled to Yunkai following the liberation of the city by Daenerys Targaryen to find Asher Forrester, the exiled son of House Forrester who was largely absent from the first chapter, attempting to collect a bounty on a slaver in one of the city’s taverns. Things, per usual in Westeros, take a turn for the worse when Asher and his mercenary companion Beskha are assaulted by the Lost Legion. The game then launches into a chaotic fight scene that brings evolved mechanics from the first game. The fights require timed thumb stick swipes to dodge attacks, quick time events to attack or avoid attacks, and the Telltale Games’ standard mechanic of moving the target over the highlighted portion of enemies’ bodies and pushing the right button. I was surprised at the speed of the battle, and the timer moves much quicker. I got Asher run through with swords several times before I got it right. Sorry Bro.
The game is high on narrative and again bounces around to the children of House Forrester. You visit Mira again at King’s Landing where she continues to serve Margaery Tyrell and is divided between her loyalty to her family and the family she serves, you take part in Gared Tuttle’s first days on The Wall as a Night’s Watch initiate, and in a small plot twist you find out, once thought dead, that Rodrick Forrester survived his ordeal at The Twins and is brought back to Ironrath and though crippled takes his place as Lord.
The narrative unfolds as Rodrick tries to rekindle the love of his betrothed Lady Elaena Glenmore whose father commands an army that the Forresters can use to secure their holdings, if only she would still want to marry. Gared gets a short and curt lesson from Westeros’ favorite bastard Jon Snow, who I feel needed a lot more screen time, as they prepare for Mance Raynar’s attack on the wall from The North.
The episode ends at the funeral of the Lord Gregor, killed at The Twins, as Talia Forrester sings a song while the funeral pyre burns; while cut scenes of the estranged family members are interjected over the assembly standing vigil. Before the credits role the camera focuses on Rodrick where an intense look of pain, anger, and focus plays across this scarred face. End episode and you get the recap on how your decisions stacked up against the rest of the community who have played the game and then instantly regret some of those decisions.
I am an unabashed Game of Thrones fan and this game continues that love affair. The decisions you are required to make are tough and painful and makes the decisions you make in games by Bioware or Bethesda seem easy. The best answer is often the most difficult choice as you start to care about these characters and that choice often will not make them happy or even safe. The cameos of the TV shows’ main cast continues to tie this story into the carefully crafted world that HBO and George R.R .Martin have created.
Gameplay wise I only had a few small issues with this chapter. In several of the scenes the backdrops or settings appeared grainy and wavy in appearance. The image would settle and stabilize after a few seconds in frame, but it was still noticeable. There were also some lags in the more action packed scenes where the frame would freeze for second before catching up. In a game that is narrative and choice driven these are not huge deals. Where I did have a larger issue, and it’s more of an annoyance really, is several times dialogue was repeated twice in a row. It would usually occur when a character interjected his/her thoughts into a scene. That line of dialogue would repeat its self and the scene would continue. This chapter seemed shorter than the first one, but still extremely enjoyable. I give it 9.5 out of 10 stars. To all who play this game I say Valar Morghulis!
Armello Review - PS4
by Luke Horn - 09/18/15
In a golden age of science fiction, RPGs and board games such as Pathfinder and Munchkin, Armello has found an ever growing niche that capitalizes on our social geekdomness - digital board games. The digital format for board games, while at one time scorned; has found a home with all of us new age geeks. Armello's beauty and mechanics provide a mix of play, making it one of the most visually pleasing and technically sound digital board games out there.
The plot of the game is fairly simple, the king of Armello has the Rot; a terrible disease that not only kills those it infect, but also turns them into an evil beings. The four clans – Wolf, Bear, Rabbit and Rat – are racing to the king to either take his place on the throne or save him. There are several ways in which to replace the king and depending on your nature, you can do this in a good or an evil way. Like most RPG games, each clan or character has strengths and weaknesses and it is up to you to determine their alignment.
The board setup is very reminiscent of Catan and provides a natural feel for avid board gamers. Like many popular board games, the way you choose your movements across the board is what provides the strategy of the game along with the cards you collect. Be sure to think about what card you are playing and why. This is the other strategic part of the game and makes for a fun and complex setting. Play the wrong card and it can have just as bad of an impact as a botched dice roll. Due to the vast amount of outcomes, Armello is able to stay fresh for its audience.
The luck of dice rolls plays in an integral part of the game but in my opinion it does not dominate the game, it actually adds to its playability. Many of us have played Risk and know a battle is won or lost on a dice roll. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “And So It Goes.” What makes Armello so enticing is the fact that it has taken some of the best elements of the games we love and rolled them into one. Whether you like Magic, Catan, or Game of Thrones, you should be pleased by this multi-faceted digital board game.
Armello can be rather complex but developer League of Geeks has provided a fantastic tutorial that one can quickly learn the game with. With the tutorial it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to grasp the gameplay.
The multiplayer mode allows for up to four players and provides the heart of the game. We all love board games and make no mistake about it, being able to brag to your friends about how smart you are when you win is important. Luckily in today’s digital world we have been provided with formats that allow us to still do this even when our friends move away! Armello gives us the board game, without the drive that many of us no longer have the time for.
Let the dust keep settling on your cardboard board games and pick up a controller. Armello gives one both the convenience of no travel and the enjoyment of a vivaciously blended board game without the headache of waiting for that one time a year when the stars align and we suddenly find a day and time where everyone can meet. I give Armello 9 out of 10! See you online! A review code was provided for this review.