Author: huntergilbert

Review: Dishonored 2

*Excerpt from The Maneater

Games that focus on stealth have always stood out to me. The Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid series as well as the original Dishonored game stress the potential of quiet, hiding-in-the-shadows gameplay that challenges and rewards the player with a greater sense of accomplishment. Dishonored 2 attempts to do the same and, for the most part, succeeds.

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Dishonored 2 takes place 15 years after the original, and the player is given control of either Corvo Attano or Emily Kaldwin. Attano is the bodyguard-turned-assassin from the first title, whereas Kaldwin is the former Empress of Dunwall, one of the city of the game. Arkane Studios gives the player the decision to play as either Attano or Kaldwin and the ability to give up their powers early on. Both characters have different abilities and skills, which in itself presents a reasonable call to replay the game simply to experience it from the other perspective.

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Dishonored 2’s stealth elements of the game presents new challenges and new ways of solving said challenges from a gameplay perspective. Enemy combatants are more aware of their surroundings because of changes to the artificial intelligence. For example, guards will notice when other members on patrol suddenly go missing. Some games love to play this off easy and make the guards simply not care or shrug off the fact that someone they previously saw is now missing. Now they will investigate and ‘track’ the player, but not directly. If they are confused or in a specific situation, they will simply hit an alarm.

 

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The game presents itself, to the best of its ability, from a linear storytelling perspective. Dishonored 2 is predictable but counters this with player choice and a feeling of freedom that is somewhat rare in linear games. I have the utmost praise for the level of design and variety of scenarios the game presents. Each level contains some sort of environmental variety like stacks of smoke that go up at different times or levers that can be pulled to improve navigation. These elements add depth to the linear gameplay. Dishonored 2 could have easily been a rehashed version of the first game, yet the skills and abilities of the two characters save it from this fate.

The weapons, skills and environments all force the player to act in a creative fashion. Blending of the three elements leads to unique encounters, but only if the player seeks them out. However, you can easily play through this game with a bland perspective. Dishonored 2 is only as enjoyable as you want it to be. The storyline isn’t intriguing. It’s a tale of vengeance much like the first, littered with lengthy and melodramatic exposition. That alone is my only true complaint. Sure, people are reporting bugs and framerate drops on the PC version, but my rig, which has i7-6950x processor and a GTX 1080 graphics card, held up just fine. Considering Bethesda’s new policy to not give out early advanced review copies, I am thoroughly surprised that others did not see this coming. It should be almost expected that there are going to be some bugs and kinks in the game.

Dishonored 2 attempts to stand on its own, and for the most part, it does. It tries its hardest to coerce the player into going the stealth route while not overtly penalizing the player for killing enemies. If you were a fan of the first game, I have no doubt that you will spend countless hours in Dishonored 2.

Edited by Katherine White | kwhite@themaneater.com

Review: Battlefield 1

Many expressed doubts that DICE would be unable to make a AAA game out of a World War I setting; some expressed that the old weapons simply would not appeal to gamers in the present. They were incredibly mistaken, Battlefield 1 is the best first person shooter experience I have encountered thus far on this console generation and here is why. The current first person shooter market is saturated with twitchy spray and prey shooters. Battlefield 1 by no means is not void of twitchy situations, but rather unlike Doom or the Infinite Warfare Beta, it does not rely on them to keep the players attention.

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Gameplay aside, Battlefield 1 is a remarkable depictions of a war that occurred basically a century ago. The gritty, mud covered battlegrounds littered with bodies not only refuse to romanticize war as patriotic adventure, but rather depict a hellish landscape ripe with the dead and dying. The prologue in the campaign does an absolutely outstanding job of making the player feel insignificant and powerless. The player is given control of a member of the Harlem Hellfighters, better known as the 369th Infantry Regiment, an all black unit. The player is tasked with holding the line. Yet, unlike countless other games when the player dies their is no reloading of a past checkpoint or save file, rather a date of birth to 1918 is displayed with the name of a fallen soldier. Instead the game hot swaps the player to a different soldiers perspective; this continues for the entirety of the battle and excluding several scripted deaths, the life of the player is completely up to their own skill. I found this incredibly effective at proving to the player that no one is invincible, and that video games can depict war for what it is, and not as a cinematic Michael Bay esque experience.

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Battlefield 1 follows up with the prologue with several war stories that follow multiple soldiers in different roles throughout the war. This is a departure from the ‘special hero soldier’ plot device that is used in other FPS games in order to put the player in a ton of awesome, cinematic scenarios. Rather the campaign uses the multiple protagonists much like the early WWII Call of Duty games to tell stories from various fronts during the Great War. These are not limited to a female Rebel in Arabia to a member of the Italian Army in search of his brother in the Italian Alps. What multiple ‘mini campaigns’ sacrifice in length they gain in worth and value. The game is not limited by killing off a protagonist or two so be warned. One can argue that the death of the player character simply adds to the reality of war, no one is guaranteed to survive. I found the campaign to be leagues ahead of past Battlefield games and oddly enough i beat it before even entering multiplayer.

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Only DICE can make mud filled trenches and shelled out cities look somewhat beautiful. Battlefield 1 looks fantastic on my PC and runs incredibly well. Before the actual official launch I only encountered a single crash and I blamed this on my own hardware due to a heat issue I quickly resolved. The game does however use a large amount of CPU, my i7 6700k hit around 75-85% usage at times while my GTX 1080 seemed to just exist and not suffer at all. Nonetheless the game runs incredibly well for what it is doing. I read several angry redditors comments complaining that their i5 processors were being strained and that the game was unplayable since they could not play the game on ultra with a 1440 display. Some gamers obviously aren’t realizing all of the work the games’ engine and therefore your computer has to do in order to keep up with 64 players fighting on large scale maps while at the same time looking as great as it does. So of course an i5 may struggle to deliver this game on a silver platter.

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The guns, maps, and player models all look as if someone toiled with them down to the digital strands of fabric on the khaki uniforms of the British soldiers. The attention to detail and the slight variances between different uniforms is a nice touch. This attention does no exclude the buildings in the game as well, it almost makes me feel bad for turning them to rubble with a tank or field gun. Lastly, the effect the weather has on the game is absolutely huge. Fog, clouds, or a sandstorm can all change how a match ends in multiplayer. It adds an element to the game that the players cannot control but rather have to adapt and overcome. For example, planes are pretty useless in a sandstorm (or fog depending on the map) bombing wise unless players are spotting targets on the ground. This changes the dynamic and adds to how players adapt on various maps. These are all fantastic  details that one would not notice had they not been implemented in the game yet it is hard to envision the game without them.

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Multiplayer in my opinion has never been better in a Battlefield game. The new gamemode, Operations, is everything Battlefield 1 be as a gritty WWI shooter. The gamemode to series veterans is best described as the synthesis of Conquest and Rush. In Operations a map is split into sectors. Each respected sector has two points at the least (in some cases there are more). The points are labeled alphabetically. One team is tasked with defending the points from attackers that are given a certain amount of tickets that allow their team members to respawn. Vehicles and defensive emplacements are all tossed into the mix in most sectors. The end result is a progressive and rigorous gamemode that stresses cooperation on the attackers part. Combat is normally maximized or centered around key points or routes to certain points. This creates an incredibly close quarters setting and dynamic. Defenders will at time be fighting off attackers within 10 meters of their own position, at times even closer. Essentially this gamemode best allows for players to engage in trench combat or close quarters combat one may have encountered in WWI. The sub Reddit ( http://www.reddit.com/r/Battlefield ) has had nothing but praise for this gamemode besides some suggestions for balancing.

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The 4 class structure returns in Battlefield 1 but with a catch, the kits have been altered to a degree. For starters the Assault kit no longer has the med kit, this has been given to a medic class. The LMG kit, Support now has the repair tool, mortars, and ammo. The engineer kit has been split up between the Support and Assault and the Recon/Scout kit is still overused by players solely playing for their kill to death ration and not the objective. I have several complaints. The Engineer kit that was featured in Battlefield 3 & 4 was a well rounded kit that excelled at engaging in close quarters combat with PDWs and Carbines while still being the best counter to vehicle threats. This is no longer the case; some of this is due in part to lack of several kinds of technology such as the RPG since it was not around during the time of WW1.

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In other words one can argue that the class was changed purely because it would not fit into the historical time frame. The anti vehicle role, or better put the anti-tank role has been given to the Assault class: it utilizes powerful anti tank grenades and an AT-Gun. Yet, DICE gave this class SMG and shotguns instead of self-loading rifles. SMGs and anti tank grenades do pair well with one another yet by balancing logic the Medic has access to the self-loading rifle. I feel as if the Medic should have the SMG since reviving dead teammates typically requires the player to approach areas that are full of enemies normally within close quarters range. This works against the medic since the self-loading rifles are a mid range weapon and by being in a position to revive teammates they will be in close proximity with enemies. Basically I would much rather prefer if the Medic had access to a shotgun or had some sort of remedy to essentially the Support and Assault Class in close encounters. Other than that I have no other drastic complaints for the multiplayer besides some tiny complaints that will more than likely be addressed.

Battlefield 1 Map Names & Images Leak

Conquest, Rush, the typical other gamemode and the new gamemode all play well to different degrees. The modes also all mesh incredibly well with the maps provided in the base game and I honestly do not have a map that i dislike to an incredible degree. Sure some aren’t perfect, but the majority of them all play and look incredibly nice. I personally praise the map design and departure from symmetrical map design. Vehicle combat is somewhat balanced, it is completely balanced if the team coordinates as a whole. The days of a single average player 1 v 1 ing a tank are over, that is what I am trying to get at. The gameplay and meta, or player environment is not the same as previous Battlefield games. This is not a bad thing.

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Overall Battlefield 1 is both what one would expect from a Battlefield game and slightly not. I have up-most praise for the singleplayer and the multiplayer. It is by far the best shooter on the market at the moment that can appeal to not only the casual gamer but also the hard core demographic at well. Its treatment of WWI with up-most respect in the singleplayer campaign is a nice touch and is somewhat expected. I have no doubt i will lose countless hours to this game and its expansion packs. I absolutely recommend it.

 

Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Producing a believable narrative with relatable issues in a game can be somewhat difficult. This is a far greater challenge in a game that takes place in a seemingly alternative reality in the near future. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided excels at placing the player back in the Cyberpunk world that Deus Ex: Human Revolution helped introduce to new fans of the Deus Ex series while still appealing to fans of the original games. Player choice combined with the stealth or loud approach topped off with strong RPG elements make this game worth the delay (s) it endured. Much like last year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided stresses player choice regarding gameplay, but unlike Metal Gear player decisions also have more impact on the story and sub plots.

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Level design in Mankind Divided is better than ever. Various routes throughout the game allow for decisions to be made when it came to traversing the in game world. How the player traverses it, whether with stealth or a more ‘direct’ approach is all up to the player most of the time. However, for myself personally the non lethal approach is far more rewarding. This takes more time obviously and some more thought but honestly it is worth it. Verticality is fare more prevalent in this iteration of the franchise. Some areas or hazards such as laser grids or mines can only be dealt with through various upgrades to Adam Jensen, the protagonist. The fantastic plus to various means of traversal are the rewards you can find in various routes. It kept me constantly aware of various routes and I back tracked at times to check areas i either bypassed or sneaked by in entirety. There are tons of areas that may lead to small sub-quest that are easily missed. The quests are not really boring either so don’t expect simple fetch quests/missions. Small engagements ranging from simple dialogue to emails may also help present a sub-quest to the player in an organic fashion.

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The gameplay gravitates to first person perspective although third person shots are also present while in cover or during some conversations. Adam Jensen looks as badass as ever and with the new cover to cover system and mantling he moves far more naturally (even for someone with augmentations). The UI has been overhauled as well, notifications in general are far more visible to the player. Stealth in a sense is easier now due to the changes regarding combat and new augmentations make the game seem easier but with greater power to the player means that greater challenges are in store. The game expects the player to be aware of this. It isn’t quite as hands free as Metal Gear Solid V for references but it certainly does not hold your hand at times.

 

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Gunplay specifically feels right finally when compared to Human Revolution. On the fly modifications can make a normally single use gun such as an assault rifle function like a battle rifle or designated marksmen rifle with the right modifications (well only if you don’t feel like using the actual battle rifle). My one gripe with the gunplay in general is the lack of movement Adam’s hands actually make while shooting. It is just one tiny little detail but he has augmentations so maybe while shooting he has suction grip like hands. The level of improvement when compared to Human Revolution is so noticeable, that in Mankind Divided i never strayed away from using my arsenal simply because for once it was not clunky.

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The synthesis of both the gameplay mechanics regarding combat and RPG elements such as dialogue truly help immerse ones self. One player may experience a relatively non-violent encounter with a sketchy individual. Other players may meet the same individual, exhaust a few line of dialogue, become frustrated with the NPC and kill them. In Mankind Divided that is completely okay, although make sure violent tendencies stay in your video game playthroughs. An example of this for me was an encounter with a con artist that was impersonating a State Police officer. He was scamming people with augmentations into buying forged identification passes/cards that actually did not even work. After dispatching his men at the location where he was having a young woman make the cards I went back to meet him and confront him. Needless to say things went sideways and a fake State Police officer ended up face down in the alley next to his checkpoint. That was how I handled that specific situation, Mankind Divided allows for player choice which i cannot stress over enough.

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The game runs incredibly well on my PC but I cannot speak for the console version since I have yet to play it on PS4 or Xbox One. The new game engine handles lighting and large crowds far better than the previous title. I was able to maintain a steady framerate of 60 throughout the entire experience except for some cut-scenes that appear to be locked at 30 due to being pre-loaded onto the game’s file directory as a video file. The game only crashed once for me personally, although a recent patch fixed that on my end.

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Gameplay and level design aside Deus Ex: Mankind Divided attempts to portray discrimination not through race but through natural humans and those with augmentations. The game both succeeds and fails at doing so. Essentially after an event two years ago simply called the ‘Incident’ that caused people with augmentations to go into a violent rage the world, being the majority of humans that do not have augmentations are afraid that a similar incident will occur again. Thus augs (people with augmentations) are treated like second class citizens due to a combination of fear, hate, distrust, you get the idea. People with prosthetics are forced to carry extra identification, ride in separate train cars, and for the  vast majority of augs live in selected housing. Sound similar? Well it is even more obvious when topped off with the constant police harassment (IE beatings, threats, etc).

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Where the game fails to show off the “Mechanical Apartheid”  (note I did not coin the term, the marketers for the game did) is the fact that besides police harassment and a few threats with some physical encounters sprinkled in the player will hardly have to endure cruelty on a scale compared to the real life situations and time periods this is attempting to mirror. Sure the player as Adam, someone who has a ridiculous amounts of prosthetics is treated poorly, but it hardly compares to the treatment of other augs in the game. Part of this is due to the fact that Adam works for an international counter terrorism unit and therefore has higher clearance identification than the common aug. Even though the player is essentially looking at this in game social issue through a hypothetical window, the game still made me feel uncomfortable due to the discrimination in game. What I encountered in game and felt personally is probably regarded by others as an over analysis of a back drop theme to a video game. However, I have never felt as uncomfortable for my player character in a video game based off of a physical trait as I have in Mankind Divided. 

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The second class treatment and forcing of augs to live in awful parts of the in game city of the real life location of Prague combined with all of the discrimination made me feel uncomfortable at times in a VIDEO GAME. This is why i repetitively stress the importance the medium as a whole has for telling stories and attempting to semi-immerse the player into something they may or may not have experienced before. My point is i felt uncomfortable in a video game sitting in my dorm, I cannot imagine the plight specific individuals have to go through in real life regarding discrimination and or societal bias. Yet, after playing this game one thing I can take away is that I sympathize with groups of people targeted due to various traits even more. It is worth mentioning i already did but I never experienced any form of discrimination in real life. I more than likely never will so dealing with this kind of harassment furthers my understanding as to how uncomfortable it makes someone feel (and this was just in a game not in REAL LIFE). Now it is worth mentioning I am not equating anything i encountered or felt mentally about in the game can even compare to the real life treatment of groups treated as a minority. The video game medium as a whole is at the moment the closest way for me to observe any kind of treatment as one, albeit in game.

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The fact is i experienced this while in a fictional game world and I can turn it off if things ever got that dire (they never did, but still). A large chunk of the population in the United States can’t simply turn off their life or reset who they are, they have to continually go day by day, week by week having to deal with unfair situations and treatment that they themselves, at their core, were not responsible for. I never expected to write a game review that stressed more on the themes of the game than the actual game itself but with everything that has happened in the past and what is still currently happening in our society it is worth mentioning.

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Overall Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a solid game; it struggles with some plot issues and should have just attempted to mirror Human Revolution. It is still a beautiful game graphics wise and the gameplay is arguably the best in the entire series. The themes the game attempts to convey both succeed at times and fall flat; but the game still is able to display the core roots of the themes. Games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided may not be the best games overall but they certainly attempt to tackle more complex issues/themes through interactive storytelling. Better games will come out this fall but i doubt any will attempt to approach such a topic as the treatment of second class citizens and discrimination. Needless to say you should play this game. *Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is available on PC, PS4 & Xbox One. This review was based off of the PC version.

 

Sony’s E3 2016 Press Conference

*This was pushed out incredibly quickly, please pardon minor grammatical errors, this post will be updated throughout the day.

 

Due to my college orientation at Mizzou i was unable to watch Sony’s press conference live. I did however monitor people’s live reactions to what went down at the presser. Sony came out strong with a surprise live demo of the new God of War. The demo was complemented with a live orchestra that was present all evening. The new God of War appears to take place in a Norse mythology setting, yet the series protagonist Kratos is still seemingly present. The crowd went absolutely nuts when Kratos walked out of the shadows. No release date was present so one cannot guess when this title from Santa Monica Studio’s will come out. This first reveal set the tone that the Sony press conference would not only be cinematic trailers but surprise gameplay demos and trailers as well. I will more than likely follow the development of this game closely since reboots of franchises and how they end up in the end always grab my attention, plus Kratos is kind of a bad-ass.

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Bend Studios showed off a post apocalyptic game titled Days Gone, that looked great but lacked a lot of information besides that which was narrated by the protagonist that appears to have been a member of a bike club before some sort of worldwide disaster. This trailer was immediately followed by a new trailer for The Last Guardian. In this new trailer the boy encounters another Trico that appears to not be quite as friendly as the one that was shown off in the original trailer back in 2009. The trailer was essentially a scissor-reel of gameplay and pre rendered events in game all of which seemed incredibly polished since this game now has a release date of October 25, 2016. It is worth mentioning that a LUDICROUS amount of games are coming out on that day and the week before.

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A live gameplay for Horizon Zero Dawn followed The Last Guardian, in the gameplayy demo new mechanics were shown off and the audience got a chance to see the crafting menu for the first time. RPG elements such as dialogue options also made this game feel like an absolute departure from Guerrilla Games typical genre of choice. This excited me since I at first believed this game was a linear action game, the RPG elements and relatively open world shown off through the in game map got me even more excited for this new IP. Aloy, the protagonist proved to be incredibly capable of holding her own in a fight during a boss fight with a corrupted machine. Her assortment of weapons and consumable/craft-able traps were a nice touch. This title will come out in February of 2016.

 

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Quantic Dream’s game Detroit: Become Human was up next. The game which appears to share elements from other Quantic Dream titles such as Heavy Rain showed off the dozens of player choices and interaction available to the player. This was conveyed through the player making decisions for a hostage negotiating android as the android named Connor attempted to save a child from her android caretaker. The game or rather this trailer stressed heavily on the idea of player’s choice and the variety of consequences that will have.The android caretaker stressed that he felt like a slave and other reasons causes him to enter this predicament. It is worth mentioning that this title will delve deep into different trains of thought and philosophical ideas pertaining to what substantiates humanity in a being. That alone intrigues me and has caught my interest. Detroit: Become Human will also have multiple protagonists so one can expect a multiple stories that all relate to each other in the end.

resident evil 7

A full PSVR Demo was shown off next. The demo began in a dark environment that turned out to be a house. The entire thing was creepy and incredibly eerie. I knew from the beginning that this game would not appeal to me since I am a pansy when it comes to horror games. None the less I knew this game was going to appeal to the audience. The first person gameplay seemed to stress the use of the PSVR in order to immerse the player in the player character’s shoes. After reaching what I believe was an incredibly old computer or terminal various screens displayed countless videos that either must have been an archive of past events. An incredibly eerie song accompanied the videos that flashed in and out of focus.

 

 

After several dramatic pans and zooming out of frames the game was revealed as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (stylized Resident EVII biohazard). Yet again the crowd went berserk. This game appears to be a departure from more recent Resident Evil games that have typically fallen into the third person survival horror game genre. What was shown off can be summed up simply as survival horror, although action sequences will more than likely be in this title. The major influence on this game has to be Silent Hill’s PT, I got a totally PT vibe from this demo. The game has a set release date of January 24, 2017. The game will be completely playable with or without PSVR although to get the better horror experience and more than likely some nightmares as well I would personally get it with the PSVR.

Playstation VR will have the specs above and will release on October 13, 2016 (5 days before my birthday hurray!). The device will run in tandem with the PS4 so no new upgrades are needed to the platform. The device will cost $399. More than 50 games will be available at launch to the end of the year ranging from indie games to AAA titles. A scissor-reel of various VR games were then shown off during the press conference. Of those it is worth mentioning that one is a VR mission behind the cockpit of an X-Wing in space in Star Wars Battlefront. Farpoint, a new IP saw explorers stuck on a seemingly hostile planet. A Final Fantasy XV trailer was shown off as well as a PSVR companion experience.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was up next. This was the reveal for space ship to ship combat. I could not tell if the flight controls were “on rails” or if the player had absolute control. Zero gravity combat complete with a grapple gun was displayed in this cinematic snip bit of the title. It didn’t appear to seem like a Call of Duty game at, rather it seemed like a Sci-Fy shooter that under a different name or alias would feel more natural. Using debris as cover in a 360 degree environment seemed like a ton of fun though. I think I even saw a grenade that made a zero gravity field of some sorts on enemies.

A new trailer for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was shown off. In it we got our first glances at the ghillie suit missions and more gameplay from the missions as United States Marines attempting to capture Al-Asad. I could not be any more excited for this remaster of a classic game and truly the Call of Duty game that formed the foundation for all of the games to follow. If you pre-purchase Infinite Warfare you can play Modern Warfare Remastered  a whole 30 days early on the PS4.  Since we are talking about Activision it is also a good time to announce that several Crash Bandicoot games will be remastered on the PS4.

Andy House came up and began to talk about Playstations dedication to developers ranging from first party to third party in order to craft the best experience possible for the gamers. This ultimately cultivated in Mr. House introducing “one of the most creative talents in the history of gaming.” His entrance was complemented by a phenomenal orchestral score and the new logo that his new developing company crafted, it goes without saying that Hide Kojima’s entrance into the press conference was fitting of his magnitude in the gaming medium. His entrance was also marked by a cacophony of applause and cheers for the developer that had such a rough split from Konami during the creation of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. After taking the stage Hideo proclaimed, “Hello everyone, I am back! Today I bring something new, we made for you and this is all running in real time. Please enjoy.”

The trailer opened with a quote: “To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour..” – William Blake. The audience and viewers online were welcomed by a black beach littered with dead crabs and sea life. Phantom hand prints with black centers began to make tracks along the beach while the camera pans along with them. The camera settles on a man naked on the black beach, a handcuff attached to one of his wrists (it is worth mentioning no frontal nudity is present in the trailer).

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A umbellical chord is attached from the man to a newborn that he then begins to cradle revealing that the man is modeled after Norman Reedus ( famous from The Walking Dead). The audience went nuts when Norman’s face was completely present. The baby disappears and Norman character looks down at his hands and sees a black substance caking his hands.

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The substance parallels that of the hand prints seen earlier in the trailer. From that in pans upwards away from the hands back to the beach towards piles of dead fish. The character stands up and begins to walk towards where the camera pans. This reveals a cross stitched scar on the character’s lower abdomen. A wide shot from behind the character reveals that he is standing either were the sea level has dropped dramatically, the beach littered with everything from huge whales to fish and five figures levitating up in the sky overlooking the character and the beach.

 

They disappear and in their place A Hideo Kojima Game appears followed Norman Reedus in which is then followed by the title Dead Stranding. It goes without saying that knowing Kojima this trailer was filled to the brim with symbols and hints at the true nature to the game. He is a master of conveying beliefs through the medium of video games through their narrative and surrounding environment. That is why he is such a big name in video games. He has a way of expressing things in ways that a traditional game developer wouldn’t; for him at least this has proved incredibly successful. This game is in incredibly early development. I am predicting with a conservative estimate that this will be a 2019-2020 game, 2018 would be an incredibly liberal estimate. Hideo Kojima had to completely re-haul and remake a team of developers and more than likely he has programmers making an entirely new engine for this game. Unlike a lot of the other AAA studios he is building this game from the ground up, he has no assets he can use in development. None the less I cannot wait for this game. I have never been so hyped for a game I know so very little about.

The next trailer answered the questions about a rumored game under development by Insomniac (minds behind the inFamous IP). A Spiderman game that actually looks great is coming to the PS4. The trailer begins with some shots of Manhattan that are narrated by a teenagers voice that we later learn is Peter Parker’s voice. Incredibly intricate and complicated means of traversal by Spiderman are revealed while the web-slinging super hero moves around Manhattan. The trailer does not reveal anything related to the story but it is full to the brim of movie esque shots of Spiderman moving throughout the city and his quick take-downs of criminals. This looks like the open world Spiderman game that gamers have been wanting for so long. Knowing Insomniacs pedigree they will without a doubt do this franchise the justice it deserves. I mean come on, the past Spiderman games in recent memory have been awful.

The conference ended with a demo of the previously mentioned Days Gone. Turns out the disaster led to or was also the outbreak of zombies. What sets this game apart from a game such as The Last of Us which took it’s own spin on zombies through its fungal spore enemies is the scale of this games combat. The player character is hosing zombies with an assault rifle at an enormous scale. Hundreds of zombies were all moving independently on screen in large action shots during the gameplay. The movement reminded me of the Uncharted series as did the animation for holstering the rifle and movements with the rifle out. A later press release talked more about the game, pointing out it is an open world survival game taking place in the Pacific Northwest. The game takes place two years after the pandemic and the zombie like creatures are called Freakers in game. These things from the trailer appeared to be incredibly fast and intimidating in a horde or pack. The developers themselves are based out of Bend, Oregon (hence Bend Studios), so I have no doubt that the environment in game will be as close to the real Pacific Northwest as it can be.

The Press Conference ended with a final scissor-reel of all of the games shown off and other titles that have already been revealed. Of these games first to third party games were shown in this reel. I have to say that the Sony Press Conference never felt slow or falling behind in pace. Sony absolutely was attempting to capitalize on an emphasis of games and because of this they delivered a stellar conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Final Post for The RoundUp

58,981 words and counting. To many this may appear to be a random number pulled out of thin air. To me personally, it is something much more. At the moment, (according to WordPress) that is the exact amount of words I have written for The Roundup. I believe that I could have written more during my brief two years of writing for The Roundup and I should have begun writing earlier as well. Whether through writing about video games, Net Neutrality, Civil Rights regarding technology, or the ‘White-Washing’ of Ghost in the Shell, I have always attempted to provide the very best for the readers of The Roundup and VGHunter. Of course, the majority of the content I write for The Roundup is video game related. Nonetheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed broadening my perspective horizons via the topics at hand and their respected thematic devices.

If I were to have informed myself freshmen year that I would be attending college after four years at Jesuit in pursuit of a degree in Journalism, I would have called myself crazy. Four years ago I was determined to be a lawyer like my father or enter the petroleum industry to the likes of my biological mother. Obviously, I have changed. People in general change. I credit Jesuit and The Roundup in general for setting me on my current path.

Jesuit College Prep in general has done a tremendous amount of work into forming my individual graduating class not only into young men but also into respected graduated alumni. As a doubtful and incredibly cynical freshman, the thought of transforming my fellow Jesuit brother’s felt like a lost cause. We were funneled in from a variety of schools, public and private, Catholic and Protestant. Therefore it seemed like an arduous task to unite these 270+ young men into a single cohesive family, let alone into an established community. I applaud the countless individuals that head and take part in this community for altering the paths not only for me, but also for my Jesuit brethren as well.

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In retrospect, these past fours years have helped my class attempt to figure out who they wanted to be. Jesuit has gone about conducting this transformation through a plethora of organizations. The Medical Society, to name one of the many organizations, has gone above and beyond by exposing individuals that share interest in the medicine field to societies across the globe that are in need for help and comfort. One can easily put two and two together that one’s interests in following up Medical Society with a path through Pre-Med in college makes absolute sense. Jesuit cultivates a student’s ambitions and gifts and then diverts the product towards the next step in obtaining one’s goals. Another example being it is safe to assume that the individuals in Jesuit Engineering Society will more than likely continue down the path to becoming engineers through more advanced studies and projects after Jesuit.

 

This of course would not be possible had Jesuit not offered so many organizations to foster a student’s core interests and goals. Getting to the organization, however, can require a gentle hand of guidance or at times a brutish shove if times are dire. At the end of my sophomore year at Jesuit I had still yet to find my niche at Jesuit when it came to student organizations. While attending my Art Appreciation class a Junior asked me my opinion, whether BioShock Infinite was better than The Last of Us. I firmly explained my stance as to how The Last of Us took the average use of the video game medium’s story and for all intensive purposes blew it out of the water into a cinematic narrative un-paralleled at the time. Although he did not full-heartedly agree with my opinion, Enrique Berrios ’15, jokingly said “you should write about it.” Over time I learned that Enrique wrote for The Roundup. I had previously seen other students write about games on the website but the majority of the articles simply did not care to elaborate on the advantages of telling stories or experiences through an interactive narrative. I approached Dr. Degen in the following August, the beginning of my Junior year and expressed my planned initiative to write about games for The Roundup. If only the two of us knew what that would bring.

It is almost as if when he allowed me to begin writing for the paper that he unknowingly opened the floodgates of my mind. Obviously, my first articles were sub-par and amateurish, to say the least. However, as time went on, my criticisms and praises of various games began to actually read like actual cohesive thoughts bundled into ludicrous amounts of paragraphs that, I can only imagine, got on the nerves of the editors who had to decipher their content. At this time, the idea of possibly writing professionally seemed far-fetched; the only writer in my family is my biological grandfather who worked at various papers including The Houston Chronicle. I was still gung-ho and set on being a lawyer. I can safely assume that this all changed with one article.

I have never been one to enjoy reading about politics, although I consume a variety of reports on varies topical issues, the idea of writing about a politically-charged news point seemed even more far fetched than the idea of being a writer. I think that is why (when I actually wrote my first viewpoint piece) it ended up being one that lacked a lot of political charge or power behind it.

The topic: Net Neutrality. I can safely that up until that point I had yet to write about something so incredibly impactful on our overall society. The origins of this piece are quite simple. I walked near Dr. Degen’s office one morning and he asked for my opinion on the subject, he probably thought that the Junior that enjoys typing away about video games would more than likely have a thoughtful opinion on the matter. One thing led to another and I wrote the article. In it, I criticized Internet Service Providers for capping speeds and charging exponentially higher prices compared to that of other developed nations (not to mention dolling out abysmal download speeds and marketing them as if they were cutting edge). In the end I felt pleased and proud of the piece I had crafted. For the first time in my entire life I felt as if I was truly onto something that could take me down a path of possible success while remaining content. I have nothing but Jesuit College Prep and, by process, The Roundup for helping me discover this.

In between writing compelling articles such as Net Neutrality and how the San-Bernadino phone should either be unlocked or left locked, I obviously kept busy with more gaming articles. It is worth pointing out that I must thank the conglomerate of editors at The Roundup who took time to edit incredibly long articles that probably bored them to death at times. Sure, critiquing content and grammar is a foundation to being an editor but the articles they have cleaned up for the most part are practical compendiums of knowledge for a single game at times. For their hard work, I am incredibly thankful for.

Finally, it is worth thanking the man who decided to give me such a “long leash” to work with: Dr. Degen. He put up with my at times overly-energetic attitude and even sanctioned that The Roundup had permission to secure press passes to several gaming conventions, one being RTX 2015 (received some splendid free press passes for that one). In addition to allowing me to better sharpen my craft as a writer in a school affiliated website, I will eternally be thankful. The overall networking with other professional writers through those conventions or through asking actual entertainments websites for advice for articles would not have been possible had Dr. Degen not bestowed upon me a place to publish my reviews, news tid-bits, and opinions. Which in turn wouldn’t have let me meet certain mentors who then helped me decide to go to Mizzou in pursuit of a degree pertaining to Journalism.

I have no doubts that Editor-in-Chief Alex Motter could have picked a better leader for The Roundup next year than Martin Flores. Alex plainly stated that Martin’s “innate ability to come up with creative innovations and inspire his peers makes me ecstatic to see the amazing things next year’s staff will accomplish.” I could not agree more with this statement. The Roundup can only grow through his leadership and that of the moderators, editors and especially the writers.

Although personally writing this article seems like an end to something that I cherished so much, I can only look forward to what Jesuit and what The Roundup has made possible for me as a writer. I have had a remarkable and memorable time writing for The Roundup, a time period filled to the cusp by splendid memories and collaborations with fellow colleagues. I have no doubts that I would write all 60,509 words again if need be.

Find Your Passion. I know I did.

– Hunter Gilbert

2014-2016 Writer

Review: Doom

The first person genre for consuming video games and cinematic experiences was arguably brought to life among the masses in December of 1993. December 10, 1993 was the release of the titular title Doom. The effects of this sole title’s release can be seen through its core game-play aspects which have been adopted by the majority of first person shooters. The most recent re-imagining of Doom has proved to successfully recapture the feel and overall aesthetic of the original game. Although this title can be argued as “just a remake,” it also brings plenty of new content to player. Personally, anybody that argues that this is simply the original Doom rehashed has never played the original Doom. 

Doom has always put game-play first, while the story is on the back burner. So it wasn’t very surprising that this title lacked a blockbuster story or compelling narrative. ID Software did however successfully attempt to convey world building through the environment of the UAC Compound on Mars and Hell itself. Small descriptions of weapons, facilities, enemies, etc, allow for further understanding of the environment the player will find themselves in. This of course requires a need for conclusion or an additional story for the skeleton of plot that is revealed in game. Essentially, the player steps into the role of the Doom Marine (later referred to as the Doom Slayer). The player is tasked with shutting down a portal from Hell in a research facility on the Martian surface. This facility, run by the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), was experimenting using a form of energy from Hell in order to power things back on Earth. This energy, “ardent energy,” is siphoned from a pit in Hell simply called The Well. As the player progresses, further plot details unfold such as the true origins of the Doom Marine and how exactly the portal appeared. This game is essentially an attempt to reboot the franchise, so it can be inferred that the player is successful in shutting the portal down. Besides the bare-bones plot details, the story does not matter at all to me. Game-play on the other hand, game-play is key.

Doom is a frantic, adrenaline-fueled nightmare at times. Hordes of demons and possessed undead will continually rush the player until all have been dealt with. Doom like its predecessors gives the player access to a variety of methods of destruction. In the newest Doom, these weapons range from the new gauss cannon to the classic chainsaw. Obviously some weapons are better than others, while some are more effective against other types of enemies. Combining attacks by swapping constantly between weapons also proves to be incredibly effective against the demons from hell. The player arsenal in the beginning of the game is quite small so obviously this tactic of sporadically switching between weapons via the weapons wheel won’t exactly work. None the less the idea of killing all of the enemies in a room in order to enable linear progression in the game can only be as fun as the player wants it to be. Sure the weapons are amazing, the overly violent glory kills are fantastic animations (too graphic for me to actual show), and the outrageous carnage is fun but it can grow tiring and tedious.

The latest Doom in my opinion attempts to cater way too much to veteran player’s nostalgia. The single-player campaign offers obviously more modern means of conveying combat movement and overall game-play but it still appears to be strikingly the same. You can take that as you will, I personally didn’t dislike this but also was not a fan of it. The middle portion of the campaign though felt incredibly repetitive and I found myself taking breaks from the game simply because I was bored by repetitive eliminates. Find several specific key cards or skulls and fight through endless waves of hell spawn in order to get to the next area; then only to do it all again. I wish there was more variety than that but besides the three boss fights and some surprisingly well-placed platforming, the game begins to put itself on repeat by the end of the first act. At times, new guns and the ability to potentially upgrade all of your arsenal with new attachments proved to be the only thing that kept me playing the campaign. The very last chapter, however, stands apart. I won’t spoil it, but something about it just felt right when it comes to a modern interpretation of the first two games.

The original Doom is a timeless classic that was REVOLUTIONARY for its time. However, ID Software’s attempts to successfully recapture this lightning in a bottle prove to either be successful for incredibly nostalgic players or underwhelming to others. A reboot can only depend on the nostalgic factor oh so much before it ends up feeling like a cripple using the original nostalgia as a crutch. Sure, this game can stand on its own when a new player to the series plays it. Yet, I have a feeling that a newcomer to the series may feel underwhelmed because there are plenty of games that execute this kind of game-play more skillfully and smoothly. I have a feeling that this game will resonate more will players of the past games, whether that is a good or bad thing isn’t really the point.

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Doom’s multiplayer feels like a forgotten offspring of Call of Duty & Halo with some Quake sprinkled in while on speed. The map design is straight out of Quake in my opinion. Power weapon spawns such as the gauss cannon and the demon runes (they let the player become an over powered demon) become choke points on the map. This would ideally create some memorable matches centered around these points, this is not the case. Doom made the same mistake Halo 4 and every subsequent Halo game made multiplayer wise: they added the function of custom loadouts. The main joy in games such as Quake, the original 3 Halos games and arena style shooters was the focus on finding ‘power weapons’ that would give the player advantages over other players that are using the default kit and weapons. That is what set these games apart from Call of Duty or Battlefield. The new Doom not only adds custom classes but also consumables that act a lot like perks. This completely defeats the purpose, aesthetic and fun of Doom. When the majority of players can equip incredibly overpowered weapons, excluding the BFG and gauss cannon, the entire aspect and fun of finding these weapons detracts from the total experience. The whole flaw in the multiplayer could be addressed if custom classes were axed and the power weapons drops were increased in order to cater to players want for more powerful weapons while keeping them out of everyone’s hands.

Verdict: 7/10

Civilization VI Reveal

With a thematic trailer of exploration and civilization combined with the powerful and moving orchestral score, Civilization VI has been revealed. It has been five years since the release of the previous title, Civilization V, and three years since the release of the final expansion, Brave New World. Firaxis Games, the developers, decided to announce the title on their 25th anniversary. I personally believed that Civilization VI would either come out in 2015 or 2016 since CIV IV & V were released in 5 year increments. In a sense, I was partially correct. This trailer revealed little to no ideas or knowledge regarding the new title. However, additional information regarding new mechanics and changes can be found on the studio’s page. I will attempt to nitpick the important revealed changes and summarize the rest as a whole.

For starters, the art style is drastically different from that of Civilization VI. Some may debate that it is too “cartoonish.” I, for one, am in favor of the change in art direction. It is obviously brighter and more vivid when it comes to the color palette. This is not a bad thing; change can be a good thing in this case. The possibilities of conveying specific civilizations’ aesthetic style will more than likely be on display through this new art style. For example, the samurai unit next to the farmland appears to be well put together. This decision to switch the art design may also be due to a widening of the series audience and target demographic. The art style may attract players on the younger end of the spectrum. Anyone who has actually played the series though cares little about the art style and more for the gameplay and turn-by-turn decisions one makes to better their civilization.

Several other minor changes have been revealed but the major one that I will attempt to explain is the change regarding a player’s cities. Global Happiness, for one, is no longer in play when it comes to managing your empire in Civilization VI, a change I welcome with open arms. Cities are now encompassing more than one tile. In other words, most city improvements take up a tile or ‘district.’ This means that players will need to plan ahead when forming their city early game, this will kept them from wasting potentially useful late game tiles. This gameplay aspect will also be noteworthy when attacking a city. Fort ‘districts’ or defensive structures should now always be the major focal point while attacking another civilization’s city. When these are destroyed, the city will be far more easy to either annex or raze to the ground.

There are plenty of additional changes not mentioned above, but I found the city example the most intriguing. You can find more info on Civilization VI here.

Players can expect this title to be released this Fall on October 21, 2016.

Review: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Some developers (and publishers) tend to beat a franchise to death, milking it for every nickel and dime is it worth. This normally leads to a game series ‘death’ in a sense. So when developers announce that they will be concluding the series with one final title, the response from the public is always mixed. One camp doesn’t necessarily want something that they care about so incredibly much to end but understands that things move on and end. The other camp is simply too naive to realize that everything ends; and if it doesn’t it more than likely will grow into a game series that is completely alien to its core ideas, gameplay aspects and narrative of the original. I find myself nearly always with the first group of people. Naughty Dog had the fortitude to realize that the Uncharted series and its main character Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake deserved a well put together ending. I will easily put Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End among the best final chapters in a game’s series; here is why.

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For those not aware of the entire franchise and story, the series follows Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake. He can best bed described as a modern day Indiana Jones without the whip and fedora (My entire recap and review of the first three games can be found here). This game takes place several years after the third game, Drake’s Deception. The charismatic and likable Nate has apparently retired from the life of pursuit of treasures and lost cities. He has in fact settled down and got married to Elena from the previous games. While working for a salvage company, one in which Nate is the leader scuba diver, he is approached by his brother Sam (VA by Troy Baker). Nate had believed that his brother was dead, killed while they were undercover in a Panamanian Prison looking for Captain Henry Avery’s treasure. This is how the game begins excluding a boat chase on the high seas in the Indian Ocean that acts as a tutorial. This bundled with a movement tutorial that takes place during Nate’s childhood at an orphanage rounds out the beginning of the game.

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Sam explains to his younger brother that he, in fact, survived being shot while at the Prison and recently escaped. The problem, and the reason why Nate abandons his sedimentary lifestyle is that the man that broke Sam out was a drug lord imprisoned next to him. Hector Alvarez had constantly heard Sam ramble on about Captain Avery’s treasure and how he knew where it was. So when Alvarez broke out he managed to get Sam out as well on the condition that he bring half of Avery’s treasure to him. If he fails in doing so after a period of three months Alvarez’s men will kill Sam. This plot device allowed Naughty Dog the chance to pair arguably the two best actors in the video game industry together. Nolan North playing Nathan Drake alongside Troy Baker’s Same Drake just feels natural even though the latter character hadn’t been mentioned in the other games since he apparently died 15 years ago and Nathan move on. The chemistry between the two actor’s performances makes the two characters feel like actual real life blood brothers. For the majority of the game, Nate is alongside Sam, their banter and joking behavior with one another does not feel scripted in the slightest degree. The writer’s choice to use Sam as a tool in order to explain the past three games to the player through Nate keeps new players from being out of the loop for the past stories. Nate consistently refers to past adventures and explains them to Sam while they trek across the world for Avery’s treasure. This may feel a little repetitive and directed towards veteran players nostalgia of the past games yet at the same time, it is informative and at times usual for the plot to advance.

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What literally makes this game stand out from others is the wide variety of environmental set pieces and the visual presentation of the game. Uncharted 4 arguably is the best looking game on the market when it is broken down into art design and graphical presentation. For example, the foliage above combined with the dilapidated structures of this forgotten pirate Colony convey the passage of time and abandonment of this settlement incredibly well. Each tomb, town, island, etc all are incredibly well put together. This, of course, is important to have since this game ends up being a globe-trotting adventure. Basically, all of the environments look believable, nothing in the game looks to flashy but at the same time isn’t muddied down or bland. Environmental hazards or conditions such as rain or the explosion of a convenient red barrel all have an impact on the presentation of this title. Naughty Dog even managed to make mud look good in a way. I won’t spoil as to how but Nathan get incredibly dirty at times, covered in filth and grime. If the game had awful gameplay in my opinion it would still be worth eventually playing thanks to the diverse and well put together environments and the optimized graphics.

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Like the other titles in the series, Uncharted 4’s gameplay is split between third-person action sequences, littered with fantastic explosion and predominately balanced by basic gun play. The other half of the gameplay found in this series presents itself through puzzles in ancient settings (tombs, ships, caves) and the overall traversal of the actual in game environments. At times a cliff face and how the player will traverse it can be a puzzle. In Uncharted 4 however, Nate has a grappling hook which acts as a double-edged sword. It can make traversal of these environments easier, but the hook and swinging mechanics have also opened new doors for the developers to make more difficult puzzles. None of the puzzles are particularly hard per say, but they can take a while to either solve or transverse. This, of course, depends if it is literally a puzzle (pictured above) or rather if it is the act of climbing a hazardous cliff side in Scotland.

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The various character one will encounter, such as the two villains above, are all incredibly well written. All of them have layers or levels to their personality along with their goals and intentions. Rafe Adler (the man in the tuxedo above), comes from an incredibly rich and successful family. At the time of the game, he runs his parent’s inherited business but wants to make a name for himself and break away from his parent’s shadow. To him, the vast amount of wealth that would coincide with discovery Captain Avery’s treasure is unimportant. While Nate and Sam seek fortune, Rafe is searching for fame. So he has been using his wealth to employ the Private Military Company named Shoreline, headed by the woman on the left in the picture above: Nadine Ross. Nadine, unlike Rafe, is only interested in the money Rafe is paying her and her South African PMC. Although the idea of finding the treasure does indeed interest her, she is nowhere near as devoted to the search for it as Rafe and the Drake brothers. She is far more interested in running the PMC she inherited from her father, this reflects her characters behavior and morals in the game.

Victor “Sully” Sullivan makes an appearance in Uncharted 4 as well. The veteran thief and mentor to Nate have been keeping busy still continuing to be a thief despite his age. His role in the game of being Nate’s sidekick during gameplay has been replaced by Sam. He is still quite present in the game but partakes in a more supporting role. Elena Fisher, now Elena Drake, appears in the game and is essential to the subsidiary plot of the game. To sum that bit up Nate goes off on the adventure but tells Elena that he is actually going on an international salvaging mission in Malaysia. This lie as a whole divides Elena and Nate for part of the game but as one can expect she forgive him since he is basically doing this for his brother. The writing, especially near the end of the game, suffers from incredibly slow pacing at times, but overall the pacing was on point.

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Lastly, the gunplay is easily the best in the entire series. Reloading is now triangle on the controller but I grew accustomed to that quickly. The one complaint I have for the basic combat system is the ability to hold only two weapons. At the same time, I must compliment Naughty Dog for implementing slings for all rifles. This added to the realism since the rifles no longer float behind Nate. This pistol holster and the attention to detail when Nate physically switches weapons has clean and fluid animations that do not detract from the already stellar gameplay. The cover system has been overhauled, or at least it feels that way. It feels and plays a lot like Naughty Dog’s other game The Last of Us. Well, the cover system is like The Last of Us; the pacing is quicker when it comes to combat. Movement is far more important when engaging enemies. Otherwise, you may find yourself flanked because you were attempting to hold up in a single location. I won’t go into detail regarding the gameplay because the game, for the most part, plays like the other’s but is more precise and smooth. Also, the main focus for all of these games is the story and overall narrative. The third person combat is by no means anything unique but it isn’t bad either. Yet, when this gameplay is combined with blockbuster-esque set pieces and grade-A acting a fantastic masterpiece is created.

Overall I found my time spent playing the story mode in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End incredibly enjoyable. I was not able to play a lot of multiplayer since I had to quickly begin to play Doom for the next review. The story without going into detail or spoilers territory the game has a solid bookend ending. There are no cliffhangers and every single plot line is either ended or shifted into the greater meta of the story. What I am trying to say is that I could not ask for a better ending for this series. Although it does leave some room for the franchise to expand, Nathan Drake’s story or at least his adventuring has come to a close in an absolute fashion. I wish I could go into further detail but that would spoil the ending and its epilogue. I am personally pleased to hear that Naughty Dog is claiming to be finished with the series; Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the pinnacle of an award-winning series.

Verdict: 9.7/10 – nearly a 10 but does have some minor faults.

Battlefield I Announced!

After Infinity Ward announced the next Call of Duty game, DICE and Electronic Arts were quick to point out that the next Battlefield game would be premiered the Friday after the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare reveal. Several developers at DICE even trash talked the Call of Duty trailer claiming that “the internet will melt when the Battlefield trailer is released. For all intensive purposes YouTube and Reddit did indeed melt at the sight of the Battlefield 1 trailer. Although the title may appear deceiving this is not the first Battlefield game. The 1 in the title is in reference to World War I, the time period that the game takes place. To my own common knowledge there has not been a single AAA game that has attempted to encapsulate World War I in a video game altogether (there is however an indie game titled Verdun that has attempted to do this).

I have to applaud the franchise for returning to its roots. The original Battlefield game took place in World War II. Although this is not a return to the same time period, several elements found in the original game are more than likely going to return in Battlefield I. According to the press release and the trailer event, Battlefield I will have both a single player campaign and multiplayer. This of course is not surprising in the slightest degree. The campaign will follow several different soldiers from different respected armies that fought in the plains of France, the Italian Alps, the Arabian Peninsula and more. The British MK II tank in the screenshot above is taken more than likely from the Arabian Peninsula portion of the game. Combat in the game will include mounted Calvary combat, early tank battles, dog-fighting in the skies and large scale naval and Zeppelin engagements.

Some may believe that World War I or the Great War was nothing more than men standing in trenches shooting at each other for four years, in reality this is only partially true. More evolved combat was fought in the Italian Peninsula, modern day Turkey, the Eastern front and the combined arms combat in the Arabian Peninsula. This war was the dawn of modern combat, machine guns, gas attacks, and tanks were used by both sides. This conflict alone bred hostilities that arguably led to countless conflicts from then all the way to current day. It is about time that these battles were retold through a perspective that has already been used to convey battles from World War II, the Vietnam War and increasingly modern wars. I for one believe that this game can be more than just a game. It can attempt to tell stories that embody what it meant to fight in this time period, it can shed light on a conflict in which all of the combatants are now dead.

Large scale combat is staple in this series. Combined arms tactic in game prove essential to the overarching meta of both the singleplayer and multiplayer experiences, what better time period to experiment with this kind of gameplay than the dawn of these very tactics? EA and DICE will more than likely do the memories of those that were involved with this global conflict justice through this game. From what was shown of the game I can safely assume that this game will be massive in scale, the words expressed by the developers on Friday echo this. Combat at the amount of fronts that were shown off in this brief trailer corroborates this. I also believe that the remix of “Seven Nation Army” may be a reference to the 7 major nations that took part in the war. Of course more than 7 fought in the Great War but 7 particular nations contributed far more to the conflict than the others.

Lastly, some may argue that the weapons and tech used in the Great War are simply not compatible with a modern fast action first person shooter. To those people I will refute with the claim that dozens of weapons were used in both World War I and World War II. Among them are the Russian Mosin Nagant, the Browning Automatic Rifle, the British Lee-Enfield Rifle, and even the Colt 1911 and the Winchester 1897 to name a few. These weapons were in the countless World War II shooters and all of those games’ gameplay held up just fine. Combat in the game will obviously be more up close and personal as described by the developers who also pointed out that they completely reworked the melee combat system for this title. CQC will be incredibly relevant in this title and will also be quite violent.

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The gaming communities response has also been showering the change in gameplay with praise. At the time of this screenshot the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare trailer which had been released this past Monday is already about to be passed in views by the Battlefield I trailer. It is worth mentioning that the Battlefield I trailer has had overwhelmingly positive feedback. If you prebuy the Early Enlister Deluxe version of Battlefield I you can expect to play it on PC/PS4/Xbox One on October 18th (my Birthday!). This version comes with additional content and early access to the first map pack and the Harlem Hellfighters Pack (This was an American Combat Unit comprised of African American soldiers). If you decide to wait you can pick up the game on the 21st of October this fall.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Announced

Today, Infinity Ward released the reveal trailer for the next game in the Call of Duty franchise. The next title, Infinite Warfare, has everything from an enormous robot grappling with a tank to combat in space. I highly suggest watching the trailer before reading this article, though. I personally felt excited and disappointed by the ‘gameplay’ that was displayed in the trailer. Having been a critic of basically every single Call of Duty game since Black Ops I can safely say that I know exactly how to break down and tear to shred dozens of aspects of the series since that title. Yet, Infinite Warfare already looks to be the best title in the franchise since 2010’s Black Ops. Here is why: the description for the YouTube trailer reads as followed – “Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare returns to the roots of the franchise where large-scale war and cinematic, immersive military storytelling take center stage. Prepare for a gripping war story in which players fight against the Settlement Defense Front to defend our very way of life.”

The combat shown, regardless if it is cinematic or actual gameplay, looks very different from every single kind of set piece shown in a Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare 3. The scale of the engagement displayed during the surprise attack that encompasses the majority of the beginning of the trailer is reminiscent of the Khe Sanh level in Black Ops or the battle for Washington D.C. in Modern Warfare 2. Every other game after Modern Warfare 3 began to solely depend on the cinematic feel of small scale raid like missions in which the player is always apart of some sort of elite pre-madonna squad. Black Ops, on the other hand, threw the player into large scale engagements such as the Khe Sanh level, a historic battle that was tremendous in scale. Modern Warfare 2 had the player put on the boots of an Army Ranger, a role that is specialized but nowhere near as flashy as a DEVGRU operator, and thrust them into WW3 against the Russians. Sure Call of Duty: Ghosts had the player fight some form of a South American Coalition but it still was bogged down by flashy raids and hit and run missions. The Call of Duty franchises roots are in LARGE SCALE SET-PIECES, like the D-Day level in Call of Duty 2 or the Battle for Berlin in World at War; not specialized teams of cybernetically augmented super soldiers (leave that for Halo & Doom).

The sheer scale of Infinite Warfare is directly conveyed through the player characters entering into a aircraft that flies above the battlefield and into SPACE. Although I am not a fan of the level of dependency the series is now focusing on science fiction elements, I am glad that it no longer appears that this title will be a running and jumping simulator like the past two titles. For all intensive purposes, Advanced Warfare & Black Ops 3 felt like steps in the wrong direction for the franchise. Faster combat isn’t always better. It is already evident due to the character models found in the Infinite Warfare trailer that the ridiculous mec-suit/augmentation cliche has been ditched for more genuine combat. I welcome this with open arms, the series almost felt like a self-aware satire of itself in most recent entries.

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The opportunity for completely different set pieces, set in space to this scale will be something to look forward to. Sure Call of Duty:Ghosts had this but it was to a much, much smaller scale. The lack of super soldier armor ad abilities actually makes me feel somewhat optimistic for the title. This game will literally take the franchise to places it has never been before. Seriously, from what can be analyzed by screenshots of the trailer the game journeys to another celestial body or planet (maybe a moon). Of course, more facts will be revealed in dear time but at the moment, I am somewhat excited for the campaign in this title. I will hold my breath before I say anything about the multiplayer that has yet to be shown off. This trailer that was filled to the brim with action and diverse set pieces along with a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” had one last aspect to show off- Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare Remastered.

After fans have been yelling at the top of their lungs, arguably the best or second best game in the entire franchise is finally receiving the remastering it deserves. This will cost you, though. The remastered full game, multiplayer included with separate leveling and multiplayer from Infinite Warfare will cost you at the least $80. Obviously, there are more expensive versions of the game that will be for sale but if you just want to suit up in that Ghillie suit again you will have to buy Infinite Warfare along with the game you actually will play. I am not saying that Infinite Warfare will be a bad game, quite the opposite, in fact, it just so happens that you will have to pay more to feed your nostalgia. The short tidbit at the end of the trailer that actually showed gameplay from the remastered version of Call of Duty 4 had me the most excited through and through. Gamers can expect both Infinite Warfare & Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered on November 4, this fall.