Month: January 2015

Most Anticipated Games of 2015

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2015

*Note that this list is purely my own opinion. I’m basing it off of originality, past performances by developers, and released content thus far.




Just Cause 3 – Avalanche Studios (PS4, Xbone, PC) 2015

Just Cause 2 was one word: chaos. Heck, the currency system collected by destroying a dictator’s military facilities was even called Chaos. The series is an open-world, action adventure game, and the previous game’s map of islands took about 50 minutes to drive from coast-to-coast depending on the vehicle and route. The combat is easy and action-packed. Any gamer who just wants to blow off some steam and help usher in the collapse of an evil dictatorship will enjoy this series. The new game with be set in the Mediterranean Sea and will star the games protagonist, Agent Rico Rodriguez, who works for an agency similar to the CIA. There is no doubt this game will be fun to play but it will more than likely lack a decent story. But this is Just Cause, when has story ever really mattered?


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege- Ubisoft Montreal (PS4, Xbone, PC) 2015

The Rainbow Six series has always been tactical; players require the utmost communication and precision in their squad if they want to complete a mission. Rainbow Six: Siege takes this idea and goes deeper—Siege‘s headline feature is its 5 v 5 multiplayer which pits 5 counter-terrorist soldiers against 5 terrorists, who in the premier gameplay trailer take a hostage which the good guys need to rescue. The catch? You only have one life. At first this seems like a Counter Strike Spin off; yet as revealed in the trailer, the entire environment is destructible, including ceilings, walls, stairs, etc. The gameplay and interviews provided by Ubisoft don’t show that much, but knowing the Rainbow Six series, this game will be difficult and will require a ton of communication between teammates if you want to win. Trailer for the gameplay is here.



Batman: Arkham Knight- Rocksteady Studios (PS4, Xbone, PC) June 2, 2015

The final game in the Arkham series looks quite promising. I myself still find the first one to be the most memorable but from what gameplay gamers have seen thus far, combined with the fact that Rocksteady Studios is developing this one (unlike Origins which was a let down), gives me high hopes for this installment in the franchise. The combat engine has been redone and will play a lot like Shadow of Mordor when it comes to combat since the two games share the same quick time combat system. If you weren’t a fan of Mordor‘s combat I would stay away from this game. From the trailer it seems that Gotham is in a state of utter anarchy and it’s up to Batman to save Gotham one last time. If you enjoyed the combat and can’t wait to drive the Batmobile through Gotham, I suggest picking this game up as soon as it drops exclusively on the next-gen—which I guess is now the current gen. Here is a link to an awesome cinematic trailer.



Rise of the Tomb Raider- Crystal Dynamix ( Xbone, PC, PS4?) 2015

The newest reboot of the Tomb Raider series was one of my favorite games of 2013, with gameplay that mimics the Uncharted series but far more gruesome and brutal. The combat and stealth, not to mention the sick use of a bow and arrows, made the first game in this reboot set it apart from other action games in 2013. It was my second favorite game after the DICE 2013 game of the year, The Last of Us. Yet Tomb Raider gave players a new origins story for Lara Croft. Over the course of the first game, players see her transformation from a naive archaeologist into a ruthless killer as she kills hundreds to get off an island. However, the trailer for this game (here) shows that Lara apparently suffers from PTSD after the events of the first game. Not much is known about the story but if it is anything like the previous one, this game will be a contender for one of the best action adventure games of the year.



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt-  CD Projekt RED (PS4, Xbone, PC) May 19, 2015

I personally would have put this game farther up on the list since it looks the most finished and ready for release, but few at Jesuit have heard of this franchise. This series, in a few words, is The Elderscrolls V: Skyrim on steroids. The game is far more difficult and complex and makes the latter seem like child’s play. Players will find themselves controlling the series’ protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, for the third time in the massive world that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I don’t want to spoil any plot elements but this game’s action RPG-style combat and story will provide players with a memorable experience. It also has a nice spring release right before the summer. Here is a link to a trailer (Mature Content, you are warned)



Star Wars Battlefront- DICE (PS4, Xbone, PC) December 2015

Star Wars Battlefront I & II were incredible games that came out on the original Xbox, PS2, PC, and the PSP. The games allowed players to engage in battles of 16 v 16 (32 v 32 on PC) throughout the Star Wars universe. Its 3rd person and 1st person action felt a lot like the original Battlefield, which is ironic since the new Battlefront is being developed by Dice, the people behind the series’ “Frostbite” engine that allows the games to have destructible environments. Imagine Battlefield 4 re-skinned and debugged combined with the Star Wars universe, forming a Battlefield-Battlefront hybrid. Since no non-alpha gameplay has been shown to the public, all we know about this mysterious yet promising game is that it will play like Battlefield. Teaser Trailer here.



Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End- Naughty Dog (PS4) 2015

Naughty Dog has been busy since they finished The Last of Us,which was the DICE game of the year in 2013. Since then, and probably before then, Naughty Dog has been working on Nathan Drake’s next adventure. Taking place 3 years after Uncharted 3, Nathan Drake (voiced by Nolan North) is approached by his older brother, Sam (voiced by Troy Baker), who he believed to be dead. Apparently, Sam needs Drake’s help in order to obtain a treasure for an unknown third party. The game itself will play a lot like The Last of Us but will be far less brutal. The series is known for its lighthearted humor, and Nathan Drake is almost like a modern-day Indiana Jones so he won’t suddenly become a cold blooded killer like Joel in The Last of Us.  The same writers are also working on the game, so expect an amazing story, and not to mention the 2 best male voice actors. Both Nolan North and Troy Baker have hundreds of past noteworthy rules in video games, cartoons, and anime, including Troy Baker as Joel in The Last of Us. And besides being Nathan Drake, Nolan North was Desmond Miles in the Assassins Creed games. So expect an incredibly detailed and action packed adventure. Here is a link to some gameplay.



Halo 5: Guardians – 343 (Xbone) 2015

Several thousand players already played the beta for Halo 5: Guardians this past break. I, along with multiple other critics, weren’t fond of the changes to the once simple shooter, but all of my criticisms of this series’ past mistakes by 343 could be a review on its on. Anyone who has grown up with the Halo franchise is well aware that what kept people playing the game was the story that is arguably one of the best in the FPS genre. 343 is milking this franchise like a cow when it comes to gameplay, and they have provided some decent story elements that don’t even rival that of Bungie’s entries in the series. Yet this game will finally provide Xbox One owners a reason to own their console, as the graphics are simply amazing. If I wasn’t a Halo purist who enjoys the older games more, I would argue that this game’s gameplay is impressive, although I would never compare it to the Classic Halo games. The scoping-in feature, reminiscent of aiming down the sights, and the quick movements ruins the game. The armor that players wear weighs roughly a thousand pounds according to the lore of the franchise. Halo’s 1-3 took place over a 2 week period in which the Spartans were hulking giants, and only a few years have passed since then. The Spartans have turned into acrobats. It complete tears apart the whole super soldier idea made by Bungie and provides plot holes and questions to players who want to play the story. Despite this, I have a feeling this game will hopefully have a decent story, and if not this is my last Halo game. Reveal Trailer link.



Bloodborne – FromSoftware (PS4) March 24, 2015

From the mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki, the man behind Demon Souls, and Dark Souls I, & Dark Souls II, comes Bloodborne. Taking after his past creations, Miyazaki has created another game that has the Soul’s series’ combat and difficulty. The game itself takes place in a gothic, Victorian-esque town where all of the natives have become tainted and mad. The player attempts to gain a cure for a deadly disease said to be housed deep inside the city, past countless ghouls, monsters and zombie-like natives. Gameplay for the game thus far shows grueling and strenous combat that will provide players with the utmost challenge, and unlike the other Soul’s games, players have no shield to hide behind. Combat will be incredibly fast-paced, on the fly, and absolutely unforgiving. Yet players on this PS4 exclusive will be able to summon other players to help them during their dangerous and epic journey through a town plagued with madness. On a final note, this game is a dungeon RPG that can’t be beaten by normal hack-and-slash since if you run out of stamina, you can’t move and will probably die since this game is all about precise dodges and counters. This is my personal favorite exclusive that will be coming to either consoles. Here is a link to some awesome gameplay.



Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Kojima Productions (PS4, Xbone, PC, PS3, 360) 2015

Hideo Kojima, the mind behind the Metal Gear, series has been planning this game for about 28 years, and the story he has told through all of the previous games leads up to this final, climactic story intertwined with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. This action-stealth game which created the stealth genre in past games of the franchise has a rumored world that is apparently 8 times larger than that of Grand Theft Auto V. The game follows Big Boss, a former green beret turned mercenary, who is out for vengeance against those who killed the people close to him and destroyed the place that he loved in  Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The game and story will be a tragedy, since from previous games, which take place in more current years than this games early 80′s timeline, we know that Big Boss ultimately becomes the villian through a long and painful transformation that leads to the deaths of thousands, including those close to him. The game will more than likely be rated M for Alcohol, Sexual Acts, Violence, Language, and brutal uber realistic gore and blood; not to mention things such as human trafficking, blood diamonds and child soldiers will all play a role in this game. For more information on the game that I am already betting will when game of the year, check out my Preview Article on The Roundup here and a great trailer here. Fantastic Fan Made compilation trailer here as well.

Notable Games of 2014

Notable Games of 2014

2014 was kind of a disappointment when it came to video games. In fact, some of the best games were in fact re-releases of older games, but this article isn’t about those. This is because there were many good games that attempted to fill the void of bad ones, so many that one cannot decide what game truly deserves the title of Game of the Year. Therefore I deemed it appropriate to talk briefly about each game that appealed most to gamers this year. The list and descriptions below are purely my opinions and are in order by when the games were released, with newer games at the bottom and older ones at the top.

Final Note: Any game that was previously released such as GTAV, The Last of Us, and all of the Halo games will not be on this list because they are merely the original games remastered on next gen. Also, no sports games- they are relatively the same thing every year, and they are always enjoyable.

IE: Game Title – Developer (Platform)

The Games



Bravely Default- Square Enix (3DS)

In my personal opinion, Square Enix’s Bravely Default was the first noteworthy game of 2014. Combining aspects that all JRPGs are known to have, Bravely Default was a great nod to the older Final Fantasy games and brought much nostalgia to everyone who I know has played it. A friend of mine recommended that I play this game. She told me it was a ton of fun but takes a very long time to beat. Both of these facts are true. The grinding of levels needed to level up your party is quite a hassle, but in the end makes the game a worthwhile experience in this turn-based RPG.




Dark Souls II- FromSoftware (360, PS3, PC)

Bringing the trademark frustration FromSoftware is known to have, Dark Souls II was everything I could have hoped for as a veteran player of both Demon Souls & Dark Souls. In the third installment, the player is tasked with finding a king of a once proud kingdom that now lies in ruin. Challenging bosses, numerous enemies, and gravity itself will cause you to die multiple times. As the series tagline goes, “Prepare to Die and Die Again” in this dungeon-adventure RPG game. This is one of the games I would highly recommend if you have the patience and are willing to play a game that truly is anything but easy, but hey, it’s FromSoftware, all of their games are meant to be incredibly difficult. If you attempt this game, I wish you luck; you are going to need it.


South Park: The Stick of Truth- Obsidian Entertainment (360, PS3, PC)

The Stick of Truth combines the crude adult humor one can expect from South Park specials with aspects of a tactical turn-based RPG. The player controls a new kid in the town of South Park, who has to decide which faction he will fight for, whether it be Cartman’s kingdom or Kyle’s. The animation and art style of the game truly makes the player feel as if they are in an episode of the show. If you are a fan of the show, you can’t let this one slide by.


Titanfall- Respawn Entertainment (360, Xbone, PC)

Microsoft attempted to set the bar of next gen FPS shooters in this fast paced run and run, free running shooter. Titanfall comes from a team of experienced developers whose works include the first couple of Medal of Honors (the good ones) and several games in the Call of Duty franchise, including the most well-received and, in my opinion, best Call of Duty game ever: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Titanfall attempts to set itself apart from the normal FPS shooter as it allows players to call in Titans, giant mech suites that carry a lot of firepower. The free running aspect of the game also adds something that really hasn’t been used in any other FPS successfully (Looking at you, Call of Duty). Titanfall provides a nice starting point for what is to come in the next gen games, although this game does have its flaws (but we won’t talk about those).




Watch_Dogs- Ubisoft Montreal (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4, PC)

Watch Dogs (Stylized as Watch_Dogs) depicted a rather uncomfortable and brutal reality of a world where intellectual digital property has practically no privacy whatsoever. Secrets and opinions believed to be safely kept in “the cloud” act as reasons to kill for, and the game itself is a giant power struggle of a file containing encriminating evidence on a major public figure. The game plays like Grand Theft Auto, yet it ties in hacking street lights or police barricades, etc., into the gameplay, adding another unique aspect to the gameplay. This game, if observed closely, may shine light on our world as the information age and hacking becomes more relevant. What kept this game from really being the fantastic game it was previewed to be was the fact that it was delayed twice, which killed the hype for its release. But if you have the money and nothing better to play, go pick the game up. Warning: Does not have a high replay value.

mario kart 8

Mario Kart 8- Nintendo (Wii U)

Nintendo went all out in the latest instalment of their trademark kart game. With returning characters and maps, this game blends overall positive aspects with new ideas regarding gameplay. Tracks now occupy an entire 3D space. The karts, which now defy gravity, allow for some truly vertigo-inducing moments, such as driving upside down or at a complete 90 degree angle from the track. In addition to this defining change in the overall atmosphere of the game, players can now receive an item that can counter the infamous Blue Turtle Shell. This will surely change the conversations one has with friends on the couch in this classic racing game.




Shovel Knight- Yacht Club Games (Wii U, 3DS, PC)

Some may disagree with this game being on my list but in all honesty Shovel Knight was a fantastic throwback to traditional 8-bit plat formers. The somewhat simple nature of the gameplay, however, reveals a difficult game. Taking ideas from games such as Megaman and Zelda this game is hard to describe in a few words, but the plot is simple to explain: the player controls a knight with blue armor who wields a shovel that also acts as a sword and/or club. I suggest looking up gameplay if you want a more in depth description.


Valiant Hearts- Ubisoft Montpellier (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4, PC)

Having been released near the centennial of the beginning of the Great War, Valiant Hearts attempts to capture the horror that was World War I. The art style of this 2D puzzle adventure game adds a lighthearted atmosphere to the difficult topic. Playing as five different characters throughout the game who all end up meeting one another ties the knot to this story that many critics believe is a commentary on the effect social status had on the war. For example, one of the characters is an upper-class man with no combat experience sending men of working class background to slaughter in the trenches of western France. The game’s story itself was enough to make even myself, a history buff, question the morals and reality that took place in the wretched trenches at the beginning of the twentieth century.




Destiny- Bungie (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4)

You either loved it, or you hated it. Bungie’s Destiny had mixed reviews criticizing its repetitive story missions, but you have to understand that this isn’t a normal game. MMOs aren’t known to have amazing stories; you play them for the social and gameplay aspects they provide. Destiny provided players with arguably the best run-and-gun fluid controls that have been lacking in the FPS genre the past couple of years. It’s hard to describe, but Destiny simply plays exactly how I would want an FPS to play. The controls are responsive and can be tuned to your specific sensitivity and layout and the social aspect of the game regarding the idea that you can simply drop into your friend’s game really helps bind this game together. If you are looking for a good story filled with huge cinematic cut scenes, I suggest playing another game. But if you are playing games for the gameplay and are fond of shooters, then I highly recommend this game.

Warning: Do not get it on the last gen systems, it looks awful and watered down. Get it on the next gen. You can read my full review here.


Forza Horizon 2- Playground Games (360, Xbone)

After the lack of cars, tracks and content that was Forza 5, Microsoft finally nailed the racing simulator with an increased amount of car and tracks. Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to Forza Horizon, is the best racing simulator since the PS3’s Gran Turismo 5, which surprised everyone with its catalogue of over 1,000 cars and stunning visuals running at 60FPS 1080P on a PS3 all the way back in 2010. Forza Horizon 2 is everything I wanted Gran Turismo 6 to be. (Sorry to you Sony fans, I myself am impartial.) It hits the idea and gameplay of the ideal racing simulator head on and gives players hours of content in a nice $60 dollar package, and trust me, this game is worth so much more. If racing simulators are your thing or you are in the mood to fly down the track in an exotic sports car, I suggest picking this one up as soon as possible. Here is a link to our full review.



Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor- Monolith Productions (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4, PC)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor takes the combat system of Assassins Creed (note: it is not made by Ubisoft), makes it more fluid, and drops you in the wonderful fictional world of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. The player controls a Ranger (voiced by veteran voice actor Troy Baker, whose works include Bioshock Infinite and Final Fantasy) who also has wraith-like abilities. This open-world game allows the player to explore Mordor and conquer Uruks and Orcs who are responsible for his families deaths. If you want more, as in an in depth review click right here.





Far Cry 4 – Ubisoft Montreal (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4, PC)

As a sequel to Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 had some very big shoes to fill. In this case it did its best to do so but still felt very much like Far Cry 3. The environment and small additional features to gameplay however made it distinguishable from the previous installment. Troy Baker did a phenomenal job by portraying the antagonist Pagan Min, the evil king who rules the Himalayan inspired country of Kyrat. Like other Far Cry games this one is a free roam FPS game with tons of fun side activities and a chilling amount of violence to quell your inner bloodlust (if you are into that kind of thing). The game maintains its feel from previous games and is definitely worth buying if you were fond of the past games or want to play an actual FPS game. Full review is right here.


Dragon Age: Inquisition- Bioware (360, PS3, Xbone, PS4, PC)

Honestly, this is a game I wish I had more time to play. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third installment in the series of the game. The game itself plays like a standard third-person RPG but it has traces of features one would normally find in MMOs like World of Warcraft. The game itself takes place in a fantasy world where the player, his party, and up to 3 other friends embark on an epic quest in order to keep demons from devouring the land. I have the game on my PC, and I have to say this game on max settings looks absolutely breathtaking. Bioware truly wanted to immerse players in their world. Since the title is made by Bioware I’m making the judgement that it is basically Mass Effect but set in a fantasy world where multiple dialogue options are available.

Warning: this game requires a lot of time and commitment, only play it if you feel you can hang around for the incredibly long but satisfying story. (I don’t have the time but wish I did.)



Super Smash Bros – Nintendo (3DS, Wii U)

Having been released earlier on the 3DS this past October, the classic beat ‘em up style game that is Super Smash Bros finally made it to the Wii U this past November. A new addition to the Wii U version of the game is the ability to play 8 person smash all on the same screen. That’s twice the amount of action and you will no longer have to switch out and rotate controllers with friends. This feature, however, does put a large amount of objects on screen making the game even more chaotic, but hey it’s Smash Bros. If you have a Wii U and have plenty of friends (kind of boring by yourself), pick up a copy of smash and have a blast venting your anger out on friends. Full review is right here.


The Conclusion

2014 was a relative let down when it came to video games. Ubisoft went too big this year and paid for it with their 30% stock drop after Assassins Creed Unity & Rogue came out. Not to mention The Crew is simply an awful racing game. Luckily EA didn’t screw up this year when it came to releases. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was a poor attempt at reigniting the franchise and overall all of the big name games that were supposed to be released this year ended up being pushed back to next year. (Specifically The Witcher 3 & Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) MGSVRU_6

However, gamers can still enjoy re-releases such as GTA:V & The Master Chief Collection in order to maintain their gaming passion, because new awesome games are right around the corner. These games include Bloodborne, a Dark Souls-esque game made by the same people coming to the PS4 in March. The Witcher 3 is a huge game to look forward to and will be out in February. But my most anticipated game of next year has a solid release window of 2015 and will be the biggest console game ever made: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (screenshot Above), which I am already predicting will be one of the best games of next year. So gamers shouldn’t worry, great games are coming soon. You can check my preview for it here.

Preview: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

A Game 25+ Years in the Making – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Coming Soon

When I asked my fellow classmates if they had ever heard of the Metal Gear franchise, few had any idea what I was talking about. I find it kind of ironic that the franchise that created the stealth genre revolutionized 3rd person gameplay, and always attempted to be the best at telling stories in its own medium was, for the most part, off the radar of the average gamer. Created and still produced by the same man, Hideo Kojima, the Metal Gear franchise has spanned over 25 (It’ll be 28 in 2015) years! The original game, which launched in 1987 on the MSX2, was a top down stealth shooter that was well received in its day. After several top down sequels, the next innovative game in the series hit the original Playstation in the year of 1998. This title was called Metal Gear Solid and, once again, set the standard for stealth in gaming. In other words, all modern stealth games owe MGS for the common grounded standards of the stealth genre. The next sequel came to the Playstation 2, and was well received, but not as well as the following installment: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel of the entire series. (I won’t even attempt to explain the storyline because of its complexity and sheer depth, qualities that make it such a great series.)  Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was thought to be the final game, as it ended the story of the main character Solid Snake. Released for the Playstation 3, I honestly thought it was a concise and proper ending. I had no further urge for them to continue the series after ending it on such a high note. This, however, would change when I caught wind of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be both a prequel to Metal Gear Solid and a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3. It will follow MGS3′s protagonist, Big Boss (aka Naked Snake), whose DNA is cloned to form Solid Snake (the protagonist of MGS1, MGS2, and MGS4.) In MGS3, the prequel to the new game, Big Boss is the protagonist; a green beret turned CIA asset who is ultimately betrayed by his country for the greater good of the US in a Cold War missile crisis. Turning his back on the country that betrayed him, Big Boss forms a Private Military Company, MSF, in order to continue his work as a soldier on the battlefield. In last year’s mini game, though, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (which takes only around 1-4 hours to beat and acts as a demo for the full game) Big Boss loses not only his company but also many of his close friends. His life work, built by his own blood, sweat and tears, is destroyed in a sneak attack by an unknown faction. This is where Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain picks up.

9 years after barely surviving an explosion from a device implanted inside of a female character (and possible love interest in Ground Zeroes), Big Boss (I’ll call him Snake from here on) awakes from a medically-induced coma and is informed of his condition. He lost his entire left arm from the elbow down in the explosion, and suffered severe injuries to his face from the shrapnel, thus explaining the chunk of metal in his head that can be seen in promotional trailers and screenshots. Not long after this, the hospital Snake is being treated in is attacked by unknown forces, presumably the same that destroyed his company and killed most of his friends. Somehow Snake gets escapes, and what follows is mostly unknown. What we do know is that Snake somehow arrives in a early 1980′s Afghanistan and is told by his long time rival, Revolver Ocelot (voiced by Troy Baker) that his best friend Kaz Miller (known as Master Miller to others) survived the explosion and is still alive and being tortured by Russian Observers in a fire base deep in Afghanistan. This is where the first known actual gameplay of the game occurs.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an open world stealth/action game, which ties into the first mission quite well. The player is tasked with gathering intel on Kaz’s exact location and must plan an infiltration to rescue his friend while maintaining a discreet form of engagement with the enemies. What makes this game stand out from other open world games is the mere scale and attention to detail in the first level alone.  The playable area of Afghanistan is about the size of Los Santos from GTA:V, and have I told you that Afghanistan is one of 8 free roam areas in the game?!? This presumably makes the playable area of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 8 TIMES LARGER THAN GTA:V! The game also runs the best game engine when it comes to lighting, graphics, sound and physics. All cutscenes and gameplay are processed through the same engine making the graphical difference between gameplay and cutscenes almost impossible to notice. The gameplay and cutscenes are so lifelike that camera stills of child soldiers were used by a news broadcast describing the life of a child soldier! (Link for the non believers.)


The game’s world will also feature real time weather and passage of time, which at first may not seem that impressive,, but the scale is what makes it so impressive. When I say real time, I mean the game follows real time as in each hour in game is an hour in real life. This adds a sense of immersion into the game since for the first mission you are given 3 days to save Kaz. Luckily, players can speed time up if they want to raid an outpost at night since the AI in the game takes into account the actual view and awareness of your enemies in varying situations. The weather also plays a role in this, severe sandstorms prevent communication and obscure the enemies’ line of sight in the Afghanistan area and so far the only other weather feature shown in the Zanzibar region of the game has severe tropical storms that restrict movement and visibility. This will also affect piloting helicopters and driving vehicles such as tanks or APCs as the player. The game worlds themselves were created with options in mind. As Snake, the player has every option and tactic in the book in order to achieve his goal, whether that be sneaking into a supply cache for weapons and setting a charge to detonate on it at a safe distance to calling in reinforcements from your home base to do a frontal assault on a compound. You can even call in helicopter to level your enemies fortifications while humming Ride of the Valkyries.

The game, shouldn’t be all that difficult to a new player, at least on easier difficulties, but it will test your patience in stealth situations, where you as a player will be forced to make split second decisions that could possibly compromise your entire mission. Combat will function like any other 3rd person shooter except for bullet range, wind and trajectory, which will all be key to your success. For example, you will have to adjust your sights when using a tranquilizer gun or a suppressed weapon because combat level suppressed weapons use chilled rounds which, in turn, make them drop far more than unsuppressed bullets. Also, just like they do in real life, suppressors wear out over time, an aspect you should keep in mind since stealth is essential to this genre of game. The player will also have to hide bodies of dead or incapacitated soldiers in order to keep the other unaware. This, added to the fact that enemies will in some cases infinitely spawn/ be deployed into the battlefield as long as they maintain communications and a line of sight of the player, makes the run and gun option viable only in small encounters, which means you as the player will have to use your brain and tactics in order to fool an enemy that severely outnumbers you.


Customization and play styles are also fully up to the player, if you want to go into a fight guns-a-blazing with a belt-fed machine gun, revolver and RPG like Rambo, go ahead. If you want to take the stealthy and smart approach (the only viable option on harder difficulties), you can enter the battle as a silent killer with a suppressed sniper rifle, tranquilizer gun and bowie knife; it is entirely up to the player. Since the game isn’t even out yet, I’m sure there will be more features and other combat aspects of the game. In addition to customizing your own Snake, the player will also be attempting to recreate their old PMC operation as a sort of base-building mini game. This takes place on and off the battlefield, since armaments and ordinance captured in game can be shipped back to your mother base. If you aren’t the stealing type you can also purchase improvements for your base with resources you find in game, and trust me–you will need them. The only revealed aspect of multiplayer so far is a game mode where you attack other bases in Clash of Clans-esque raids where you lead recruits and members of your own PMC group, The Diamond Dogs, against another player and his forces that include everything from guard dogs to drones, tanks to jets. It’s worth pointing out that another game mode will be revealed later this month so this will not be the entirety of the multiplayer side of MGSV.


However, unlike other games on the market, the story mode and journey the player will take part in as Snake will be the major focus of the game as a whole. When I say journey, I mean the fact that, at the beginning of the game, you are a hero, fallen from grace and seeking revenge on those who harmed those close to you. You aren’t fighting for a country, an ideology, or even god for that matter; your character wants nothing short of revenge after everything is taken from him. This sense of loss and remorse portrayed by Snake, voiced by Kiefer Sutherland,will be the theme of the game. As players of Metal Gear Solid 1, 2 and 4 already know, Big Boss or Naked Snake, ends up becoming the antagonist and evil figurehead of the other games. Players already know how it ends, yet the transformation of this iconic character from soldier of fortune hero to cold-blooded killer he becomes later in his life is currently unexplained by the other games. Metal Gear Solid V attempts to answer this 25+ year old question as to how this character is overcome by his own emotions and demons. The player must sadly endure this tragedy and fall from the heroic standard down into the turmoil embodied by the character in other games. Themes that will be touched on in this game include, torture, drugs, violence, sexual crimes, and child soldiers to name a few. (If my description of this isn’t getting the point across watch this trailer. Link right here)


Hideo Kojima, the creator of the game, stated that he wants players to realize that even the best people in regards to purpose and moral identity can fall from grace and become the very thing that they are fighting against. In this case you are Snake and his Diamond Dogs (his PMC) fighting against a unknown and mysterious faction, yet as players of previous games of the series already know, Snake and the Diamond Dogs are perfect exapmles of this idea later on, committing horrible atrocities against humanity. This idea of a tragedy isn’t new to anyone, the medium and mere 25 years in real life to complete it however has not been done before. A 25+ year old game series has led up to this climactic ending, and you, the player, will be forced to watch it and no doubt commit awful acts of violence. Let me be clear, this game is not for the faint of heart, its portrays war and violence in an incredibly realistic and gritty nature. In my opinion it does this better than The Last of Us, and this is coming only from the demo prequel and trailers for this game.

Hideo Kojima also stated that he wants the player to question their own morality as they play this game, because gaming as a medium allows the player to interact with a world and receive a story in a way that movies and books simply can’t. Everything will be from your perspective; you as the player will have to pull the trigger of the gun trained at the back of your friends. You will have to execute your soldiers for desertion and spying against you. As a human, Snake will ultimately destroy everything and everyone around him, acting as an emotional time bomb. Yet the mere event that causes this dramatic shift in the character’s personality is unknown to players and excites me the most when it comes to this games story.


The player as Snake will ultimately embrace their/Snake’s inner demons and become the bad guy. This will occur throughout a long process since the game is rumored to be the LARGEST CONSOLE GAME EVER at a size of over 100GBs! This means the game will more than likely be 2-3 Blu Rays discs and will take up 1/5 of the space on the new next gen consoles. The game itself is being developed on the PS4 and will be ported to the Xbox One and PC, with a crummier version being put on the PS3 and Xbox 360. (Since it can’t read blu-ray discs, there will be about 9 discs for the install on the Xbox 360. Good luck.) An additional exclusive disc of content is rumored to be on the PS4 since Sony and Konami, the games publishers, have always been very close to one another (All Major MGS main game entries have been Sony Exclusives).

In summary Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will make the player question their moral compass in this third person action/stealth free roam game. It will be the final entry in the series from Hideo Kojima, who will be working on Silent Hills and has no further interest in the franchise after what is sure to be a conclusive and bittersweet end. No set release date has been set for MGSV but Kojima promised a 2015 release, as the game has been in production since 2008. I personally am predicting that this game will win game of the year 2015 with its simply superior graphics, benchmark story, gameplay and development history seen in just the gameplay trailers. No doubt from a mere data standpoint, this will literally be the biggest/largest game ever released on a console, so it has that going for it.

Here is a final fan-made trailer that is a compilation of the best moments of the trailers that have been released thus far.

Review: Far Cry 4

Elephants, Assault Rifles, and Bears, Oh My! Far Cry 4 Review

Ubisoft has had their fair share of disappointments and failures this year when it comes to game releases, excluding Valiant Hearts, one of my favorite games this year. Far Cry 4 helps break their bad streak and delivers to its audience after the success of its predecessor: Far Cry 3. Far Cry 4 is set in the fictional country of Kyrat, which is modeled after Nepal’s Himalayas, and in which the player returns to his homeland to scatter his mother’s ashes. Problems arise when he becomes quickly entangled in a civil war with close ties to his family and lineage.


The story in Far Cry 4 isn’t going to win awards, but it does attempt to naturalize itself more. Unlike the previous Far Cry games, the protagonist hails from the location you travel through in the game. Incredibly unique characters, such as an African Warlord-turned Christian who ties everything he says to scripture, are still very much present in the game. The character’s now ironic fighting for God contrasts nicely with the world in anarchy. However, the character that steals the show is the antagonist, Pagan Min, who is voiced by fellow Texan and veteran voice actor, Troy Baker (Seriously this guy is in everything from JRPGs to Call of Duty.) Pagan Min is essentially the king of Kyrat; his image is on all of the currency and propaganda describing his “light” is played throughout the in-game radio. The character himself is actually quite reserved excluding two scenes in game, including one in which he stabs his own soldier to death then complains about the blood on his shoes. Pagan Min is anything but intimidating physically, yet he is absolutely sinister, and Troy Baker nails the dialogue and atmosphere of this self-proclaimed king. Other characters are noteworthy but are simply overshadowed by this performance.


Gameplay in Far Cry 4 is almost exactly the same as Far Cry 3. Some may see this as laziness, but it works. In other words “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” The POV of the game is first person, making this game a open world FPS/Adventure game. Players are able to carry up to 4 weapons at once after skinning animals for pelts for holsters. The amount of ammo, syringes, explosives, etc. are also all-dependent on how many skins of animals you have collected. As mentioned earlier, the player can also craft syringes to recover health and add temporary boosts of speed, strength etc. All of these boosts are made from various plants the player can discover in the land of Kyrat. Skill points are also gained from leveling up which can be used to buy attributes and abilities that will further strengthen the player in the harsh Himalayan environment, an environment that is filled with animals that will absolutely tear the player apart, such as bears, leopards, tigers etc. The wildlife continues to be just as much of a threat as the enemy factions’ soldiers. This idea of fearing nature has been prevalent in nearly every Far Cry game.


Side missions in the game range from hunting wild animals to freeing hostages who are being held at gunpoint by corrupt government forces. Players of the previous game will be no strangers to the idea of radio towers (bell towers in this game) and outposts which populate the countryside of Kyrat. These strategic points of interest must be taken over in order for you player to be able to expel the corrupt and oppressive government forces that occupy them. A new strategic military installation in this iteration of Far Cry is the addition of fortresses, which are basically outposts on steroids. These massive forts must be weakened before the player, by themselves or with a friend, attempts to take them over. In order to take one over, the player must eliminate all alarms to stop forces from entering the fort and must eliminate all forces inside of the fort. Seems easy right? Well it is at first until helicopters full of soldiers begin making runs over the fortress while you scramble to disable all of the alarms. Experimenting, a friend and I decided that sniping the alarms from far away in co-op mode with suppressed snipers made this task of capturing the fortresses and outposts far easier. Just place yourself on a hill with your friend (if you have any) and snipe at the bright yellow alarm boxes before the enemy even notices you are there. After the alarms are gone feel free to unequip the sniper rifle and head on in like a patriot and liberate the installation like a true American, by blowing the entire thing up. That is merely one approach, but seems to work the best from my experience so far.


As mentioned earlier, outposts, fortress, and just about everything other than main story missions can be tackled with the cooperation of a friend or stranger over PSN/Xbox Live/Steam (dependent on platform). This further helped display the sheer amount of fun you can have in this game when you play with a friend. For example, I drove a truck with a mounted machine gun on top while my partner disabled a truck full of soldiers while we raced down a Himalayan mountain road at incredibly fast and fun speeds. Fishing with TNT couldn’t be any more fun with a friend, but don’t blow yourself up along with the fish (I learned that the hard way). The aspect of having an open country to mess around in with your friends whether it be liberating the land like a patriot, hunting exotic and endangered animals (do not attempt in real life), or just racing quads down a mountainside, Far Cry 4 provides fun cooperative situations for you and a friend.

The PVP multiplayer is an arena based 5v5 matchmaking that honestly could be better. It becomes rather repetitive after several matches yet it wasn’t bad, it just merely doesn’t stack up to the rest of the game. In my opinion it should have been dropped entirely and replaced with a 4 player co-op campaign like the one in Far Cry 3. That co-op campaign was surprisingly fun for what it was when played with friends. To be honest I kind of missed it and was disappointed by its lack of continuation in this iteration. However, the co-op mode, where a friend can drop into your session, is a good addition to the overall gameplay of Far Cry 4.

Verdict: 9.5/10* (if you haven’t played Far Cry 3) or 8/10* (if you played Far Cry 3)

Far Cry 4 is a nice addition to the franchise yet it fails to exit the shadow of Far Cry 3. However, if you did not play Far Cry 3 you will have an absolute blast with this free roam FPS adventure game. Even veteran players of the series will be fond of new additions to gameplay; however, it won’t feel like an entire new experience.

Still Loading: Net Neutrality

Still Loading: Net Neutrality

Our Constitution, which acts as the standard for political and social policies, states, “We the people,” and is followed by the rest of the preamble describing a basic understanding as to how our nation as a whole should be run. It focuses on the idea that the common people of the United States of America have the right to dictate and control their government, thereby insuring them the hope of obtaining and keeping basic rights that are thought to be insured to them by our founding fathers. One would argue that since humanity is in an age of information, two people from different sides of our planet holding a face to face conversation is a given right that should be insured to every American. The Internet acts as a highway of knowledge and opinions, not to mention entertainment and leisure. It has brought out and led, in my opinion, to some of the best innovations in the past decade. So let me ask the average American one question: Do you believe the government has the right to cap and/or take away this right that acts as the doorway to a greater understanding and connection to the rest of the world?

Net Neutrality, a term coined near the dawn of the Internet, states: that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, or mode of communication. This has been the standard and backbone to the Internet when it comes to providers and consumers of their services. Yet recently, this ideal, and in some aspects this right to a free Internet, has come under attack from corporations and politicians’ political agendas.

Some Internet providers and politicians who are supported by such providers claim that data can be used to discriminate and differentiate from user to user. In other words my data and Internet required to play a match of Halo or binge watch a series on Netflix will cost more than a person who is emailing a friend or reading a politically-biased news source. In other words, what you are doing on the Internet will effect and raise the cost for you as a consumer.


Some Internet service providers claim this will allow for what they are describing as fast and slow lanes on the Internet: fast ones for highly-demanding activities such as watching Netflix or doming your friends in a match of slayer on Halo. The slow ones would be for people who aren’t demanding as much bandwidth, people who might be sending emails or reading their poetry or whatever. The thing is this would be understandable if, as a nation, we actually had high-quality Internet. According to a recent study by Ookla Speedtest the strong and proud United States ranks 31st in the world in terms of average download speeds. Quite shocking when many Americans are thought to believe we get the best “everything” while other countries such as Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia and even Uruguay have better averages than the U.S.’s measly 20.77 Mbps. The statistics are even worse on the upload side of America’s Internet speeds, which clock in at a sluggish 6.31 Mbps—a speed beaten by Lesotho, Belarus and other countries you have probably never heard of because the U.S. comes in at 42nd in the world.


As one can see, this justification of giving consumers fast and reliable Internet through fast and slow lanes would be great if it were possible with the standards Internet providers are already giving us. We already pay unreasonable prices for crummy Internet: for example users in Seoul, South Korea, pay the equivalent of $30 a month for 1 Gigabit Internet which is 50 times faster than the national average! The price for obtaining this fast of a connection costs U.S. consumers around $300 in Los Angeles or New York according to the annual report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. This is the outcome of a market dominated by large corporations who have a stranglehold on consumers. And after all of this, they expect us to pay more?

Some politicians, such as Ted Cruz, who just so happened to accept $47,000 in campaign funds from the telecom industry, including AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and the NCTA, believe this to be justified. He claims that “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of the government.” (Taken from his tweet on November 10, 2014.)


He is right when it comes to the fact that the Internet shouldn’t operate at the speed of the government; it should operate faster. This would be impossible if providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others got what they wanted. In reality these corporations fear the thought of the average American consumer discovering that the rest of the developed world has better services than them. They are attempting to coerce politicians to eliminate Net Neutrality under the radar before common people realize what is happening.

Yet not all politicians are against it. President Obama came out recently supporting Net Neutrality, and since I don’t always agree with his policies this was a pleasant surprise. He advised the FCC to reclassify Internet service as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. So in summary, the government as a whole isn’t out trying to cap our Internet speeds; it turns out the only ones who support this are the ones who directly benefit from funds from these corporations. The citizens also shouldn’t look at this topic from a liberal or conservative perspective; issues such as Net Neutrality can’t be observed from a political lens. Instead, the average consumer and citizen of the United States should think from an individual perspective as to how this will affect their lifestyle and budget.


Net Neutrality to me personally would greatly hurt my hopes and dreams of becoming a journalist for a company that reviews or discusses entertainment and other forms of media. I would more than likely have to take down my website I currently run and would have to pay fees for subpar Internet. The Internet provides writers, including many other students and recent college graduates, a place to voice their opinion to the masses. It allows one to be heard, or at least have a place to speak and give their two cents on an issue. By capping Internet speeds these certain politicians and Internet providers would be stunting and killing off the dreams and intentions of the younger generation. These same politicians say they are supporting this with the intentions of helping our generation, a generation that, let me remind you, is fueled by knowledge and the ease of connectivity on the Net.

Why should they be capping and controlling the very thing that has brought about and led to the most innovation in the past 10 years? What could possibly be the other morally right answer to this? The fact is there isn’t. This attempt to kill Net Neutrality benefits no one except the Internet service providers who essentially have a monopoly on the service, as well as the politicians who line their wallets with funds from these companies. It’s easy to agree to something when you have no idea what they are arguing and or seeking. This is why since Ted Cruz is from Texas I would actually very much enjoy sharing some coffee or tea with him so he can hear my opinion as someone who would be affected by this. This seems reasonable since I myself can’t be heard in politics since I myself as a 17 year old can’t vote. I, myself, and the young rising generation of our nation should have the right to voice our opinions on something that would damage our future so much since the Internet and technology is the future. If more young individuals were aware that this was even happening—if they knew what would be taken from them—they would surely stand up in large protests against this political agenda.

As a final note, no other countries have this sort of differentiating between data in order to charge for Internet services. They also have far faster Internet speeds than we do in the United States. So please someone explain to me as to why we as a nation must pay so much for honestly some of the worst service there is out there? The answer is simply monopolies and their stranglehold they have on consumers in our nation. They should be put in their place and checked because there is no freedom behind killing Net Neutrality. Isn’t this the land of the free?

Review: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare

Recycled Warfare – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review

Every year Activision sets aside a large portion of its staff to release a new game, one that lacks originality but is made up by including re-skinned weapons and assets. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is no exception to this trend. Originally promising intense new combat via exoskeleton battle suits and a compelling story with Kevin Spacey, this game fails to exit the shadow of its past iterations in this aging franchise. After the poor release and reception of last years Call of Duty: Ghost one would think Activision would finally decide to change its formula when it comes to making “Innovative” and “Blockbuster” games. In my opinion Call of Duty hit its high point with either Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, every addition to the franchise has continued to show that the franchise lacks innovation and new ideas.

Gameplay in Advanced Warfare isn’t anything new. Any past player of the franchise will have no problem stepping into this game, and if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all. The exoskeleton does add some new aspects to the game such as increased jump height and free running skills. Yet this isn’t anything gamers haven’t seen before, this kind of game play is anything but new. For example Titanfall, a game I wasn’t even that impressed with, had far superior free running and gameplay compared to Advanced Warfare. The game is far more fluid than any other Call of Duty, but that isn’t saying much. What keeps Advanced Warfare from being a noteworthy addition to the franchise is Activision‘s lack of common sense, since developers need more time to make a successful game. Previously, two-year cycles were given to developers when they were given the task to create a sequel. Now the developers have three years to make a new game. The problem is that this isn’t enough time to make a truly revolutionary and innovative game. As one of the largest publishers of video games in the world, Activision should strive to put more resources into the development of their stale titles.

When it comes to graphics Advanced Warfare isn’t ugly, but when compared to other games that have come out or are about to come out, it simply lacks the next gen touch. The differences between last gen and next gen are only noticeable when you pause the game and compare frame to frame because when you are in the heat of battle in this generic shooter the last thing you will notice will be the anti-aliasing and lighting in the game. This handicaps Advanced Warfare from being a noteworthy game. When juxtaposed to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Advanced Warfare is a sad excuse for a game when it comes to visuals. It simply can’t compare to rival games. This is the outcome of Activision’s decision to use the same in house game engine on both last gen and next gen versions of their game. For the first time in 7 years Call of Duty finally has a new game engine. The previous engine, in use since 2007′s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (my favorite of the series), was showing age and entering the end of its life cycle, which was quite noticeable with last year’s disaster of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Many other developers are shifting away from the last gen, which is good for next gen games since porting it to last gen handicaps the game on the next gen which simply isn’t fair. Ubisoft already made two different Assassins Creed games for each generation; this gives players the best version of the game that they can get on their platform, yet Activision is too greedy to do this. They are too busy milking money from consumers who honestly deserve better than this.kevinSpacey

This game, however, isn’t all bad news: the story in Advanced Warfare is the best I have played since Modern Warfare 2, the story shows a grim future for the world. In the year 2054, the world’s military is run by Private Military Corporations, and the player works for Jonathon Irons, the CEO of Atlas voiced by Kevin Spacey, the largest military power on the face of the planet. The player is joined by Jack Mitchell, voiced by my favorite veteran voice actor Troy Baker, a former marine who has joined the PMCs since they are now the most effective fighting force on the planet. The campaign shows a bleak future where wars are fought by people who are driven solely by wealth and political gain.

codExThe campaign does a great job of introducing future tech such as exoskeletons into the game. The future tech is a nice addition yet the vehicles feel clunky and unpolished. Personally, I believe the Call of Duty franchise should stay away from vehicle combat. However, the story is executed with amazing precision; Kevin Spacey provides a performance that rivals that of many cable television shows, which is great for the story telling in the video game medium. The campaign isn’t the longest, but unlike the recent Call of Duty games, this one is actually worth playing.

Multiplayer is everything you can expect from a Call of Duty game. For the first time ever, skills and perks are logically explained. While in previous iterations of the game your player character can reload at unrealistic speeds and have infinite sprint is finally answered for, the solution to these unrealistic game play ideals is… exoskeletons! The exoskeletons provide more verticality and speed to the game, adding some much needed life to this dying franchise. Skills and perks are integrated into your own personal exoskeleton, which finally solves the weird mystery regarding your soldiers amazing physical prowess. The maps are fun, and they share ideas and play styles from the last games maps. All in all, the multiplayer is great if you seek repetitive game play, yet this game is still a lot of fun to play since it isn’t that difficult to be good at. So if you feel like gunning down your friends in an online match, pick this game up.

Verdict: 7.5/10*  What makes my review different from writers at IGN, Destructiod or Polygon is the fact that, unlike them, my job doesn’t depend on the success of a video game or the industry in general. I can give my honest opinion without receiving any backlash from publishers and developer. This gives me the ability to give an honest opinion, one that isn’t cropped by large corporations or overarching editors. In other words I don’t have to comply to untrue reviews from these large companies.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare suffers from the failure to break its own mold preset by past iterations. It still retains its casual game play which makes it such a good series yet it disgraces its past noticeable iterations by lacking innovation and true change. Sure, Advanced Warfare has game changing “exoskeletons,” but it absolutely cannot bet compared to the great games in the franchise such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, which were hallmarks in the FPS genre. With so many other Call of Duty esque games on the market, Advanced Warfare fails to distinguish itself from these “knock-offs,” some of which honestly deliver a better package than this. As a consumer, it’s up to you all to choose whether or not to buy this game. If, as a consumer, you were to not buy this game, you would be showing your disapproval in the industry and would force innovation and change in the game industry. This would provide gamers with better quality games than this one and other poor excuses for games. In the end, consumers make or break the video game industry, and honestly any industry that is noticeably successful. You can blindly buy this game and fuel this corporation’s greed for money or you can pass on it and buy a decent game.