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Showing posts from 2014

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

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Something I can't emphasize enough when writing this review: a change in scenery and mixing up the familiar doesn't make a game bad. Not once will I say that the gang's new look effected the score of the game (while I am one of the very few apparently who likes it), and I won't argue that because Sonic isn't going fast for a majority of the game it's bad. I will say that the glitches, mediocre level designs, and pretty boring brawling segments make Sonic Boom pretty... Not good.

Sonic and the group (Amy, Knuckles, and Tails) are fighting Eggman and stumble into a cave. To get out of the cave, they need to - accidentally - release the main villain this time around, another new character, Lyric. Lyric is a lizard / snake looking thing who appears more potentially evil than Eggman in this iteration.

There are frequent cut-scenes that can't be skipped unless they're being viewed a second time that explain the story. There's also some bantering between…

PowerA Dualshock 4 Controller Charging Dock

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Ever since the dawn of rechargeable controllers, I've always wanted a hub of sorts to plug them into so they'll always be ready to go when I am, and have a full charge for longer gaming sessions. It's no secret that the PS4 controllers have a pretty poor battery life as it is. With the added options of dimming the brightness on the light bar and lowering the volume of the built-in speaker - we still only stretch about eight to ten hours with one full charge.

It's great to have this charging dock, specifically for the PlayStation 4 controller's downfalls. It fits snug in front of our elevated television, and the black matte finish matches the majority of items in our entertainment center. Coming up with some minor complaints is hardly a difficult task though. For one, it looks and feels a bit cheap. I'm never really sure if I successfully clicked a controller down on it and usually have to try a couple of times to be sure the light bar turns yellow.
Also, I wou…

Five Nights at Freddy's

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Released: August 18, 2014 Players: 1 Platforms: PC, iPhone, Amazon, Android Developer/Publisher: Scott Games
Alright, lets get one thing out of the way, this game scared the crap out of me, multiple times. I heard about this game from a friend and almost immediately bought it.
The premise is incredibly simple, you're the new night security guard of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza (think Chuck E. Cheese). On your first night you get a call from the old guard who explains something happens with the animatronic robots at night. Your goal?  Survive until 6 a.m.  
Sounds kind of boring right? Well, you're wrong. You see, you only have a laptop to check the cameras, a light for the hallways on your right and left, and a door for each side. The first few times I played I thought "what's the big deal? nothing's happening" until it hit about 3 in the game. Suddenly the lights go dark and the bunny is gone, just gone. Switching to the dining room camera I see him standing ther…

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is kind of what I wanted Call of Duty-esque games to evolve into in a way. It's fun, silly, bright, and colorful - yet still features a lot of tactical and strategic depth. Every plant and zombie you play as has checks and balances - and the only thing that's considered over-powered is a mastery of the class you're playing. Plus the local split-screen option, while admittedly sparse, is great fun if you want to play with a friend on the couch.

There isn't quite one set-in-stone narrative for Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. Rather, there are quite a lot of smaller campaigns with one-off missions being done over and over (think Brink, but good). It's primarily an online, multiplayer experience anyway - so nobody's going to buy it for a good story. Even so, the little things it does offer (guardian sunflower needs protecting, a golf-ball bomb needs detonated, etc.) are charming and worth a chuckle when explaining the game to f…

The Evil Within

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If you thought that Resident Evil 4 was the last good game in the series flagship titles, or that Alan Wake was a fresh take on horror - I'm sure you're going to love The Evil Within. There's a few definite points in the game where it becomes less about the horror and more about staying alive - but when it gets scary, it goes all-in. The most notable strength of the game comes from its ability to set up a scene, and give you a sense of dread before relieving it with a big scare, which is very rare these days in our jumpy, "Got'chya, let's move on to the next loud noise." loop we've been stuck in for a while.

You are a 30-something dark-haired male detective (Okay, okay, we can't break free of EVERY obvious gaming trope this time around) named Sebastian. Things appear to be going normal, and soon turns very hellish minutes into the game. Most things I can write about the premise of the narrative are loaded with spoilers, so I'll try to keep th…

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

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The first word I said when I started up Shadow of Mordor was "Finally." Finally there was a game released by a reputable studio and publisher that wasn't completely over-hyped. Finally there's a game worthy of my time on my PlayStation 4 (the last serious game I played on PS4 was The Last of Us Remastered). If it's not obvious, I bought into Watchdogs and Destiny, and I was extremely disappointing with both. Middle-Earth didn't shove marketing down my throat and it is one of the better games to come out this year.

I don't really follow The Lord of The Rings very much, so I'm not sure how the events of Shadow of Mordor fits in with everything surrounding it, but I sure did enjoy the story at face value. You play as Talion, a ranger with wraith-like abilities thanks to his "savior" Celebrimbor. In the beginning, some quite upsetting things happen to Talion and he finds himself in Mordor seeking revenge.

The cutscenes are beautiful, and are mo…

Boom Beach

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From the creators of the breakout hit, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach is a little more of the same (yet slightly different) gameplay we're accustomed to. It's a very hurry up and wait game, and orchestrating attacks and planning defenses is still a very strong point. In my opinion, I thought Supercell's other titles - including Clash of Clans and Hay Day - were extremely boring, but Boom Beach actually holds my attention to this day.

There's not too much of a plot in Boom Beach aside from a bare-bones "This is your villain, save island natives by beating his defenses." We're told the story through text and picture overlays usually at the end of an important battle, and every now and then an update to a building will trigger a short narrative.
Boom Beach looks pretty good for a mobile game. The 3D effects are actually impressive, but you'd need to be paying attention to the visuals to see some of the work that went into them. Everything fits in with the t…

Alice: Madness Returns

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Released: June 14, 2011
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Players: 1
Publisher: Electronic Arts (EA)
Developer: Spicy Horse
ESRB Rating: M for:
-Blood and Gore
-Sexual Themes
-Strong Language
-Violence

Alice: Madness Returns features some great looking environments, interesting/creepy characters, and a heroine that can kick butt while still caring about people. The sequel to American McGee's Alice, Madness Returns picks up 10 years after the events of the first game. Alice has been released from the mental institute she was in, but she's still a bit mad. As she struggles to find out who started the fire that killed her family she's transported from a dark and creepy London setting to the bright, colorful, and off version of Wonderland.

Alice's Wonderland is falling apart and she needs to find out why. From the strange demon train and the enemies that it's spawned to the messed up Hatter, March Hare, and other famous characters twisted to fit into this unique Wonderland, it&…

Type:Rider

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Type:Rider doesn't quite fit in to 2D puzzle platformers in all the expected ways. It's primarily a timing and jumping game, but its secondary purpose is the more interesting one in this case. This is an educational game that makes learning completely optional, with the subject of typeface (mostly known as "fonts"). I liked reading about the different kinds and styles of typeface and the history behind them just a touch more than I enjoyed the game itself which doesn't really strike me as a problem because both are parts of the whole.

There's no narrative here at all, just history lessons about a very specific part it. After doing a level or a series of levels, you'll be transferred to the hub of sorts where you select your next trip back in time. There, you can read up on the various collectible you've acquired on the journey. The game can easily be beaten in a day, as I beat it in a matter of an hour and a half. That doesn't quite speak to my s…

SteamWorld Dig

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One of the very few problems I have with SteamWorld Dig is that it's over too soon. There's a lot to do, but doing all of it in the course of one playthrough might only take four or five hours, less if you know what you're doing. I originally played this on my Nintendo 3DS, but the re-release on PlayStation 4 gave me a chance to play on the big screen and I took it. The price is very fair for what this game is, but I can promise that it doesn't last as long as you'll want it to.

The player controls the main character, Rusty, who arrives at a small Western mining town called Tumbleton after having received a deed for a mine from his long-forgotten, and deceased uncle. The rest of the game is diving downward into the ground and coming back up every now and then to sell resources and buy upgrades.

There's a few "cutscene" style expositions where plot points are discovered, but mainly there's not too much story to tell past the beginning and end so t…

Extra Life 2014

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Hey everyone! Bryan here. Extra Life is right around the corner, and it's going to be a little lonelier than last year (four people instead of eight, ha ha ha) - but still a great event. If you'll remember when we did this last year, the team raised over $500, so I've updated the goal of $500 to $1,000 this year because we knocked it out of the park last time!

If you're unfamiliar, Extra Life is happening October 25th, and Chrissie and I will be livestreaming video games for 24 hours straight. All proceeds we raise go directly to Riley Children's Foundation - who saved my life when I was only a few months old (I suffered from "Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return").

Donate if you can, or just stop by our Twitch when we're livestreaming (we'll be doing some tests before the event I'm sure). We'll be playing PlayStation 4, PC, and possibly Wii U via a capture card on a secondary Twitch channel.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you t…

Super House of Dead Ninjas

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Super House of Dead Ninjas is one of those games that you show your friends and try to master as quickly as possible. I've often described it to people as a "hack-n-slash Risk of Rain." It is a rouge-like in the way that if you don't make it to the end of the game without losing a certain amount of lives (that act more like hit-points) you need to start over - kind of like games from the early 90's that didn't have a save or password feature.

The premise is described in a comic book that you can opt to read or not (I personally didn't) if it interests you to know the reason behind descending a tower of death. The comic is available in the main menu and that's about all the story you get. This game can be played pretty much as long as it still entertains you. I've spent three hours on it already and I'm not nearly tired of it yet.

If there was one turn-off for me, it was the visuals. In fact, that's what was stopping me from buying it indi…

ZAGG Glass for HTC One M8

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Specs: Material: Tempered glass Hardness: 9H Thickness: 0.4mm Clarity: 100% clear
ZAGG is a company that reminds me of Osprey. The quality meets the price head-on, and a lifetime replacement guarantee finishes off the sale before you have the thought to say no. I generally try to stay away from things that look too good to be true (nano-fibers and 4-layer glass is invincible and protects my screen?) but in this case, everyone around me was banging the drum so I took the leap.

The first thing I noticed was the price. 40-dollars for a screen protector is a lot more than what I'm used to spending because even a four-pack of decent plastic ones will only run you about 10 dollars. The second thing I saw was ZAGG's promise of this being the only screen protector I'll ever need for the rest of my life. Honestly, even as a battle-hardened reviewer of tech, the confidence of the company really sold me on their product.

I need to now say that if you get this screen protector at specific…