Month: March 2015

Review: Battlefield Hardline

After the rough release of Battlefield 4, expectations were relatively high for Visceral Games. The outcome for this game’s release however went quite smoothly. This was the outcome of several lengthy Betas that were offered by the developer. Compared to Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline lacks the game breaking bugs and glitches which is an absolute joy considering I myself am an incredible fan of the franchise. Yet, this game did have some let downs, which I will go into further details regarding its highs and lows.


Most first person shooters lack a compelling and overall good/great story. This is a side effect of the industry’s market regarding competitive multiplayer gaming. Developers in the gaming industry are spending a larger portion of their time working on balancing their multiplayer game modes, which isn’t a bad thing. It provides gamers with a unique social environment where they can team up with friends and compete in a diverse community. On the other hand this lack of time focused on campaigns or singleplayer story modes often leads to boring and uneventful stories. Battlefield Hardline has one of the best singleplayer experiences that I have played in most recently. It absolutely tops any FPS that has come out in the past two years when it comes to providing the player with a unique story.


Instead of being a stereotypical gung ho special forces soldier, the protagonist is a detective/agent in a Police Force. It is a nice new theme that already makes the game stand apart from basically EVERY OTHER shooter on the market in the FPS genre. Without going into spoilers for the story, the game begins in Miami, but over time it begins to encompass a larger spectrum. Thought the game does of its stereotypical characters such as a witty one, a pretty awful bad guy, etc, the game’s story is memorable. Unlike other games where the protagonist is out to kill every single person between point A and B, Battlefield Hardline’s enemies can be arrested and spared from a typical death via gun. This adds another feature to the game since I personally didn’t want to kill people unless absolutely necessary. Ordering crooks to “Freeze, and hit the ground!” honestly is more enjoyable than senselessly killing them. This is because for once you are a cop, you are a person behind a badge. You aren’t out to kill, you are merely attempting to fulfill your duty of protecting and serving the populace. The episodic nature of the campaign also makes the overall feel of the game like of an episode of “Cops” or even “Burn Notice” with its action themes. In summary Visceral really outdid themselves when it came to crafting a unique story for a FPS title.

Gameplay in Battlefield Hardline is nothing too difficult to comprehend if you have played previous games in the series. There are some new aspects such as ziplines, tasers, and basically everything else at a police force’s disposal. This has advantages and disadvantages when compared to other Battlefield games when you have access to the hardest hitting weapons in existence. It forces players to be more like tacticians and it requires a lot more planning on higher difficulties because unlike the military, Cops don’t have access to LAW rocket launchers and tanks. I personally felt as if the combat in Hardline was far more precise and at times harder than previous games in the franchise. For example there may be a dozen enemies in the next room. In Battlefield 4 one could simply fire a rocket into the room or throw a pack of C4; Hardline on the other hand forces the player to utilize tactical grenades such as flash bangs and FMJ rounds to take down enemies of the state. But the ability to destroy one’s environment isn’t absent; it just isn’t always the best option (at least in singleplayer. The same can’t be said for multiplayer).


Unlike previous games, Hardline utilizes a currency system to acquire new weapons and gear in multiplayer. This however doesn’t exempt players from actually unlocking the gear; it has to be first unlocked then purchased. “Cash to Spend” is acquired by killing enemies, completing challenges and following objectives while in game. Though the prices in the image above do not reflect the same ones in game (This is from an Alpha photograph by EA), the overall idea is present. Some guns are more expensive than others and they obviously perform differently. For example, SMGS have little to no range while Assault Rifles can hit targets from farther away if the right attachments are equipped. The same currency model is applied to the previously mentioned attachments as well. Everything from grips to sights are all acquired by spending some cash.


Multiplayer in Hardline is one word: Chaotic. It plays like a hybrid of Battlefield & Call of Duty. It has the awesome graphics and tactical feel from Battlefield and the unskilled chaos like fast paced action of Call of Duty. Though I don’t care for the latter’s aspects of the game, Hardline still feels like a Battlefield game—Just a more fast paced one, which it seems at times is easier for new players to venture into. The absolute chaos that is an outcome of the addition of fast cars and trucks, and the ability to lean through the window sills of the fast cars adds an adrenaline filled experience. Vehicles such as choppers also provide a feel of tension since they can come out of nowhere when fighting in a crowded city. The scout chopper can absolutely devastate a pack of crooks on the ground and the lack of equip-able heavy launchers can prove to make engagements with them extremely difficult. But if you shoot it enough it will eventually drop out of the sky. Finally, the addition of new game modes adds a breath of new life into the franchise which all FPS’s constantly require.

Overall Battlefield Hardline is everything one can expect from an FPS game, especially a Battlefield one. It however in my opinion is far more enjoyable than Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare since no matter if you are losing or winning it is still INCREDIBLY EASY to have fun.The multiplayer has a variety of aspects open to all skill levels of players and it requieres actual patience and skill to a degree when compared to Call of Duty. I was honestly surprised by this game’s performance and look forward to continue playing it on my PC.

Verdict: 8.3 Battlefield Hardline is proof that the generic military shooter isn’t the only genre that can fit the FPS genre. It has everything a Battlefield game has and more. Yet, it still feels very much like Battlefield 4. I still suggest this game if you are fan of FPSs since no other FPSs come out until this Fall.

Review: GTA V Heists

“Get Rashkosky into the plane! The Cops are right behind us!” I exclaimed to my Heist crew over my headset as we attempted to flee from the police in a 6 seater prop plane. My three teammates moved the prisoner into the back of the plane as bullets pinged off the wing and fuselage of my plane. I began to panic as the sirens grew louder, the propeller on the plane struggled to come to life as the wheels began to roll beneath the plane. However, after several hairsplitting seconds the plane was in the air and all 5 of us including our target were safely in the air.


That was a retelling of one of the many cinematic experiences I encountered in Grand Theft Auto: V’s Heist Update. After over a year’s worth of waiting the highly anticipated update came out last Tuesday on March 10, 2015. Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to have worked with a tight knit group of players that I frequently play with online, because of this we were able to beat all of the heists at least once and repeated several ones for the fun of it. The process of completing all of the Heists is a lengthy one, each one for the most part becomes more difficult and complicated. Yet, this is reflected in the increased rewards for the progressively difficult missions.


For those unaware, Grand Theft Auto Online has been out for quite some time, furthermore the deal making concept or gamemode of the online play, Heists, has been absent for the entirety of the game’s lifespan up until last Tuesday. This was the consequence of countless delays by the developer, Rockstar North, regarding issues for development and overall server strength required to run the Heists online. This combined with the fact that the developers were making these heists for both last gen and current gen consoles further increased the development process. But after a long period of waiting the Heists have arrived and are surprisingly well polished.

The shear amount of detail and lack of game breaking bugs (there are still bugs though, it isn’t bug free) for such a large and complicated process required to allow four players to cooperatively accomplish several Heists is astonishing to say the least. In a day and age of gaming when developers sloppily update their games and to an extent release completely broken ones (IE Assassins Creed Unity) the amount of debugging done by Rockstar North is impressive. The release for Heists could have been awful, bug filled and maybe even impossible to launch yet the developer took the time to optimize the gamemode and content.


The other positive aspect of the Heist update is the fact that it is completely FREE OF CHARGE. Content on this scale would absolutely cost money if it were in the hands of publishers such as Ubisoft or EA. This merely adds to the overall positive feeling and joy that comes from playing these missions. On top of this tons of costumes, cars, planes, and even a flare gun have been added for free as well. My personal favorite out of all of the content added is the Insurgent APC, an armored truck that has a .50 BMG machine gun on a swivel mount on top of it. The truck is simply a tank, capable of taking several rounds from RPGS and even a blast or two from a tank.


As a whole the entire Heist experience feels complete and well polished. The crew’s ability to change their attire to match their situation or on the other hand to match their psychotic nature. The planning and overall prep for the main Heists is tedious at times but it is worth it in the end during the finale. Other smalls aspects such as the ability to equip your mask on the go using the depad adds to the criminal and professional feel of being a crook in a Heist. The Heists open up to players once they reach level 12 if I am remembering it correctly, but they can be invited to them before they reach this level. The consequence is lower level characters are at a significant disadvantage since they lack the heavy hitting weapons that level the playing field when outnumbered by the entire Los Santos Police Department. Bullet proof tires and helicopter access also help make the process a lot easier, both of which are attained at higher levels.

In summary I highly suggest taking Grand Theft Auto V out of its case again in order to play this phenomenal addition to the sandbox game. The Heists add a degree of teamwork and have a decent reward for accomplishing the missions only if you are willing to do them.

Review: The Order: 1886

Too Short to Enjoy: The Order: 1886 Review

The Order: 1886, created by Ready at Dawn has been facing harsh criticism for over two weeks now. The game was rumored to be incredibly buggy and short (About 5 hours), the latter of which would not have been an issue the game was not exclusively single-player. In addition, other reviews by notable organizations killed any of my hopes for this game. Needless to say there are no games out that I want to play since Evolve is repetitive as can be, so I decided to risk it and buy The Order: 1886. This led to mixed feelings.


The Order: 1886 takes place in an alternate version of London, England during a steampunk revision of the Industrial Revolution. Weapons and technology are far more advanced than what they were in the actual historical time period. Zeppelins and machine guns that look like the Lewis Machine gun are present in the game. This allowed the developers to be more creative when it came to the overall weaponry, story, and aesthetics of the game. Ultimately this leads to one of the pros of the game, the weapon variety. Guns that fire arcs of electricity, assault rifles with huge magazines, and automatic steampunk-esque pistols all have unique sound bits which are not merely cut and paste sound effects that one would find in Call of Duty or Battlefield. Each weapon looks carefully crafted, the mere attention to detail and creativity are noteworthy and enjoyable. My favorite weapon in the game uses thermite to engulf waves of enemies in an AOE like attack. And all of these weapons are crafted by this alternate history’s version of Nikola Tesla.

Visually speaking, The Order: 1886 is stunning. One could compare this game to the Xbox One’s Ryse: Son of Rome, since it showcases the early hardware capabilities of the PS4. I found the scenery and overall aesthetics of the developer’s version of London appealing to the eyes and incredibly detailed. The game transfers from cinematic cut scenes to gameplay seamlessly. The overall visual integrity, combined with the film like filter, truly made the game feel like a movie or an extravagant cinematic experience. Notice that in the picture above, there are black bars. These were added to give the game a widescreen aspect ration and, therefore, a more cinematic feel. At first, I was annoyed by this, but after the first hour of the game, I had grown relatively used to it. Furthermore, I would like to see more story driven games attempt to replicate this visual design as it appeals to the eyes far better and allows better visuals by the decreased resolution.


If I were to stop writing about this game now, it may seem as if it was a decent game, but The Order: 1886 suffers from two major problems: the game’s length and the lack of variety in the gameplay. I beat the game in one 4 1/2 hour-long sitting and was impressed by the visuals of the game, butI felt cheated out by its abrupt ending and obvious hook for another game. Not to mention that for $60 I would normally expect to get at least 8-10 hours out of a single-player only game. The Order: 1886 has a cool and unique story of monster hunters who fight half breeds, and the steam punk London is great and all, but it does not justify the price tag. If the game had a 30$ price tag, it probably would have seemed more reasonable. But the developers did succeed in making me want more. The game literally ends with a gunshot transition fade to black, followed by a cut scene after the credits. I, myself, as a gamer wanted more. For how much it costs, I deserved more as does every other person who bought this title.


Gameplay was the other challenge this game faced. Early reviews claimed that the game was riddled with hundred of quick time events, moments and actions in game that are accomplished by the simple press of a button. I found this statement to be untrue. It had just as many in game prompts as any Batman or Uncharted game. So people who dislike this game purely because of that are too narrow-minded to acknowledge that the amount of quick time events in The Order:1886 are negligible when compared to other triple A titles. What made gameplay suffer in The Order: 1886 was the lack of freedom, aided by its generic shooter gallery combat. The whole game is essentially an on-rails shooter where you go from point A to B and kill all rebels and half breeds alike. It lacks the variety that many other shooters have. The weapons, as stated earlier, are fun, but I felt as if you only got to use the really cool ones for a limited amount of time. For example, halfway through the story you recover an amazing railgun-like weapon during a sequence where you take on waves of rebels. The gun performed phenomenally, but after that sequence was over the gun is never seen again. Enemy variety was limited. I mowed down dozens of them without difficulty. They felt too easy and lacked proper armament to fight the well equipped player character. The half breeds on the other hand were enjoyable to fight. Being hunted and having to hide in a corner while lycans circled around you was executed perfectly, but it grew repetitive the further you got into the game. The two boss fights in the game were exact copies of each other that happened during very different segments of the game. This felt out of place and unneeded since they were both glorified quick time events. Overall, the gameplay for this game was not very memorable, but it looked visually amazing and had a lot going for it.

Verdict: 6.2  The Order: 1886 is a new promising IP by Ready at Dawn, but it was poorly executed when it came to its length and gameplay variety. It is also impossible to defend the 60$ price tag. I do however recommend it if you want to play a unique story, but please buy this game when its on sale or used, DO NOT BUY IT NEW!