Tag Archives: Playstation 4

Injustice 2 keeps it moving with Fighter Pack 2: Black Manta, Raiden & Hellboy

While we’re still busying enjoying the new ranged fighter Starfire, Netherrealm dropped details on the upcoming fighter pack 2 which will include Black Manta, Raiden, and Hellboy. Netherrealm put together a sexy video of the new combatants for your pleasure.

Hellboy is probably the greatest surprise of the bunch, while Raiden and Black Manta long having been guessed to be part of the roster. Black Manta will be the first of the new pack to be released. The release date has yet to be dropped but you can see Black Manta’s promo video below. If you’ve been lagging, I’ve also included a vid of Starfire’s abilities below that.

Advertisements

Preview – Agony (PC, PS4, XOne)

The product of Kickstarter, developed by MadMind Studio and to be published by PlayWay, it’s clear from the onset this is an indie project. Once you fire up the trailer, though, that thought immediately goes out the window.

Like, what the fuck was that? Look, if that didn’t rustle your jimmies then I don’t know what the hell your problem is. Get it? Hell? Oh shit, I can do this all day.

What stands out most about Agony is how horribly good it looks. It’s showing off the beautiful (maybe grotesque in this case?) shine the new-ish Unreal 4 engine possesses.

Played in first-person, so far the concept is navigating puzzles while occasionally possessing demons to keep eventually find a way free from this. The trailers have painted Agony in similar ranks to Outlast, which is fine company to be in.

Currently there is no release date for the game outside of a vague Q4 2017 listing. Regardless, this one is worth keeping on your radar. Or if nothing else, now is a good time to get those much needed upgrades to make games like this really pop. This is probably also not a good game for people who do psychedelics. Just saying.

Like seriously, what the fuck?

Starfire revealed for Injustice 2

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re fans of Netherrealm Studio’s Injustice 2 (yes, I speak for the ladies too with this one). While we’re still messing around with Sub-Zero, Netherrealm’s head, Ed Boon, dropped some delicious reveals on Twitter for the next DLC character: Starfire. And she’s hot (get it! GET WHAT I DID)!

 

Starfire wasn’t exactly a question of if so much as when. We’ve long known she would be part of the roster at some point. Welp, there she is and she’s ready to smack your bitch ass up. Her release date isn’t known yet, but so far each release has been a month apart so it’s not out the realm of possibility she’ll drop the second week of August.

Return to the Limelight: Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live is a tale of two games. There is the offline, single player mode and a persistent online mode. The single player features 42 songs of questionable taste and five difficulty settings: Basic, Easy, Normal, Advanced, and Expert. I say questionable taste because a solid majority of the songs you slog through in single-player don’t feel like guitar hero-type songs. Imagine Dragons’ “Demons”, or Mumford and Sons, or OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” don’t ring as guitar anthems. Instead they feel like songs I’d have seen in the Band Hero, the children’s Guitar Hero spin-off. But pop music dominates the majority of single-player set list with a very, very light sprinkle of classic rock held out until the very end. What’s most disappointing is there is no further depth to single-player. Once you’ve gone through the initial set-list, that’s it. There are no more hidden or likely downloadable songs in the future. At least none which have been announced anyway.

Guitar Hero TV is the true reason you’d be playing this game at all. TV is a persistent online competition against anyone connected online to TV mode playing the same songs as you. A premium membership, like Live Gold or PS Plus, aren’t needed since there isn’t direct against a specific person. Instead you will be matched against ten players at a time and each player dukes it out for a gold medal. TV also has a much bigger and diverse catalog of songs, currently sitting at 152 songs. It plays like some bizarre form of interactive MTV or The Box, for those of you old enough to remember request lines during the cable black box generation. You immediately join songs in progress between one of two channels that swap playlists every half hour. It’ll be weird at first to join songs in progress, but it serves as practice while you wait for the next song to start. I love TV’s immediate access to songs but the mode is marred by a system I can only call mobile-itus. Yup, here’s where the micro-transactions factor in.

Instead of downloading new tracks individually or in packs like days of old, GHTV is constantly updating with new songs. If you want to play a specific song without having to wait for it to pop in a playlist, you can use Play Tokens. Play Tokens are unlocked when your profile levels up through play only on GHTV, so you’ll acquire a decent amount of them in your first few hours. What if you burned through your play tokens while making your own playlists, since the game charges you points per song? You can pay for more through Hero Cash or Coins. Hero Cash is literal cash converted into one fake currency to pay for more tokens, like Activision is laundering your money for some reason. Coins are provided at the completion of any songs played. You use coins to also buy play tokens, but naturally Hero Cash will gives you more tokens overall much more quickly. I feel like I’m playing a mobile game on a console trying to keep up with getting tokens and just hammering through general playlists.

ghl_1

On the flip side of TV is the weak Live mode. FreeStyleGames swapped fantasy avatars in imaginary sets to filmed live humans acting as if you are literally their guitarist while a band lip-syncs the real tracks. The audience is filmed in two segments: one with them really into your band and the other booing the shit out of you. The footage will blur repeatedly between the two depending on your level or success. I felt my grip on reality slip as the world blurred and the excited blond in front of me was now yelling for my blood in a possessed fervor, not unlike a dizzying schizophrenic episode. Honestly it felt creepy and frustrating being unable to skip over the fake high-fives and thumbs up from my douchebag band mates.

ghl_2

The new 3×3 design is a little confusing at first, but the design isn’t so different that you won’t pick up on it quickly. Instead of colors, like in previous games, the new guitar uses only three vertical frets numbed 1, 2, and 3 with an additional three beside them. After trudging through a tremendously lame single-player for practice, I started to pick up on things real fast online. Then again it also did feel a little odd starting off from the beginning all over again after becoming so familiar with the old way for so long. The guitar looks nice but I’m bummed the guitar still feels small. Then again I have big hands and long arms, so I don’t think Activision was thinking about 28-year-old men when it came to design. The buttons stick like the Rock Band guitar did, and it does get annoying when playing songs with complicated notes, but it wasn’t so persistent that it really hindered me.

I’m reluctant to pitch this game to my friends. Live is too weak in depth and set list to make it a staple at any house party outside of a teenage slumber party. Not to mention Guitar Hero Live’s online mode doesn’t permit unlimited play between songs. With each track having a real cost to them it’s tough for me to let my friends waste my hard earned credits on dumb songs. There is a local two player, one style between two guitars and one with a mic and guitar (a guitar is stilled required for mic use), but it’s limited to the Live segment anyway. I can’t call this a comeback, but it’s definitely been a while. Things have changed, and it’s been a nice slice of revamped nostalgia but the music revolution has already come and went.

Mandatory Score 6/10

A lot of a potential is seen in TV mode but I’m not sure there’s going to be a lot of eager fans adding yet another plastic instrument to their collection. Again.

Review – Fire! Explosions! Knocking Bitches Out! Mad Max

MadMax1

Mad Max is a game that should’ve been made long ago. The films are cult legends, even the shitty one with Tina Turner. Fury Road reinvigorated the franchise and brought it back into public consciousness despite the game missing the film’s release by months (though landed alongside the DVD release). Open world games have grown in sophistication, opening up possibilities. Mad Max is about driving hard, being mad and fighting crazy people. As open world titles go this game a no brainer. So why hasn’t it gotten the love it deserves? As fun as Mad Max can be, it doesn’t feel like it’s gotten much TLC.

Let’s be straight about this though: the Mad Max franchise isn’t about intellectual discovery or a deep narrative. It’s about watching angry, psychotic people committing mass vehicular manslaughter as an unhinged Mel Gibson stomps the desert. The game pretty much reflects this down to the letter, minus Mel Gibson. Instead Max is voiced by a man I swore was Kano from the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie (it’s not unfortunately, for the record). Avalanche Studios did a great job making the world look very gritty and real. This is where the Photo Editor is a blast to mess with, as you creator your own Road Warrior-styled shots that look great.

MadMax2

Much of Mad Max’s gameplay has been cribbed from other games, sort of like how Darksiders played out. Combat is taken directly from the Batman Arkham series; it’s free-roaming, systematic base-blowing up/wire-shooting antics was provided by Just Cause (which was also developed by Max’s creators), and a fun photo editor as last seen in Shadow of Mordor. The whole package comes together alright but doesn’t feel wholly fleshed out. Combat feels sluggish and without fluidity. I get Max isn’t Batman. You’re a banged up wastelander, but combat still doesn’t feel responsive. It’s also easy to simply blast on the offensive and roll away, versus trying to take on crowds of people with a stunted counter system.

The game forces you into on-foot confrontations more than it should. Car combat is the star of the game, hands down. Fighting off four cars while blaring down the wastes is a blast, ramming into each other at high speed is exciting. Especially when you start tooling around with your grappling hooks and pulling drivers right out of their cars, or ripping their wheels off. Fighting fisticuffs? Not as great as you’d think.

MadMax3

On-foot controls feel sluggish and awkward, but have a satisfying sound to knocking someone out. While Max is always equipped with a shotgun (and a sniper rifle in the Magnum Opus), gunplay is super weak and awkward to control. Not to metion ammo is in short supply (both on the field and how much you can carry), so for the most part you’ll need to rely on Max’s fists to solve most of your out-of-the-car problems.

Outside of base-busting, committing public service by picking up scraps and playing through the story there aren’t much else in the way of distractions. There are desert legend quests given by specific NPCs that challenge you to hit certain jumps and kill small groups of enemies, but the biggest side missions are death runs. It’s what it sounds like: races designed with car combat in mind. To get to the point, they’ll likely be the last things you choose to do since they are largely frustrating races.

Mad Max is a lot of fun buried under a lot of repetition. Base busting, or just rolling in with your car and picking fights to clear outposts, is a lot of fun. Max is a bad ass and isn’t intimidated by jackasses painted white. After some upgrades Max is a force to be reckoned with both in and out of his car. Enhanced shotgun kills that freak your opponents out, prolonged rage mode to crush opponents quicker, crushing knockout blows are waiting. Granted you have the patience to keep engaging in the same fetch activities over and over and over.

Mandatory Score: 6/10

Fans of the films will get a kick out of taking to the wastelands Road Warrior style. It’s also a fun, post-apocalyptic distraction until Fallout 4 ships out in November. However there are plenty of other action games out there, so it’s hard for me to recommend Mad Max at full price. Much like the films this isn’t one of those games you need to look deep into. Instead it asks you to accept it at superficial value and just roll with it. If you can get past its short comings, there’s a lot of fun to be had. Especially since this is the first time proper fans have gotten the chance to be in the (very unlucky) shoes of Max.

Personal Score: 7/10

For the all the negativity I’ve had throughout this review, I really like this game because I like the source material. The game does a good job of putting me into the mindset that makes the movies so much fun. It’s not about a strong narrative, because there isn’t one. It isn’t about anything else exception knocking people out, starting fires, blowing things up and running goons over. It’s a game I can come home from work to play that doesn’t require me to focus hard. Just sit back, crack open a beer, and enjoy.

Case For/Against – The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

The concept was pretty cool: take the massive role-playing experience provided by the likes of Skyrim and convert it to a MMO in hopes of creating a more narrative-flexible MMO in a genre that’s typically inflexible. Much like Star Wars: The Old Republic tried this last, and Elder Scrolls Online tried to cash in on a single-player franchise and apply it to it’s total opposite. It’s was a gambit that fell relatively flat quickly, despite early praise, and (also like Old Republic) quickly went free-to-play surviving off initial purchases and its atypical in-game store.

Tamriel Unlimited is among the first (Neverwinter having the distinction of being the first MMO on next-gen consoles) in likely many more console-headed MMOs. It controls and plays admirably on a controller, especially in a genre that features many nuances requiring key-logged macros, but things work pretty well. I can’t speak for the experience as a whole. Full disclosure I’ve never been a huge fan of MMOs. The last two I voraciously consumed were City of Villains and the first Guild Wars. I found myself chronically wanting to assault people in real life during my very, very brief stint with World of Warcraft, and after that effectively gave up on the genre until my next very, very brief stint with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach talking about this game, so I’m just going to do this in the most simplistic way I can:

Pros

On the plus side, if you’re a big time Elder Scrolls fan whose been playing since the days of Dagerfall, it’s a treat to finally explore the whole world of Tamriel. Finally getting to see the likes of Elsweyr or Black Marsh was pretty cool. Especially after just having only read about them in in-game lore for several years. Maybe these will also be locations I’ll one day fully explore in a single-player setting since playing online felt like a non-stop chore.

I digress, to Elder Scrolls Online’s credit the world looks really good and true to Elder Scrolls’ fantasy design (though generic it might be anyway). Also the character creation system is pretty damn flexible. From the character creator itself, which allows very detailed avatars, to the build of the characters themselves. Instead of investing points into a general pool, Elder Scrolls Online tasks players with developing the character through repeated use, much like in the singe-player franchise. Want to wield a greatsword? In true form you must use one over and over in order to specialize with that weapon. Unfortunately, I also have beef with this system which leads me to the…

Cons

… of the specialization system. I get what the game wants the player to accomplish. Become good through use. Instead of waiting to level up to use something, you just use that weapon type from the start and keep with it. Instead of investing general points into pools, like being good at all swords or staves or bows, you have to invest in specific weapon types of those weapons. Meaning there are multiple types of the same magic staves to invest points in. So say when you invest in restoration staves, those point buffs don’t match to the other staff types like the destruction magic staves. It’s way specific as even the mainline games don’t do this. This means you must at times knowingly stick with weaker weapon options because that’s what you invested points in. Did that all read a little confusing? Good now we’re both on the same page about it.

As for the rest of the game very little of it feels like anything but the same MMO archetype I’ve experienced for decades. Sure, there are some occasional lines in a side-quest that check to see if I’ve been paying attention to the story but generally I’m not. I’m trapped in an eternal loop of fetch quests running around like a dumb bitch. Might as well make it mandatory to name your character Gopher, because I’m constantly going for other people’s shit. There’s nothing particularly engaging about the plot. A Deadric lord stole my soul, that alone should lead to a badass revenge story, but instead it’s, “Our nation is at war! Oh by the way, you have no soul, did you know that?” And I suppose that’s the fundamental problem when it comes to these story-focused MMOs.

The story wants you to suspend your disbelief and ask you to believe your unique (you’re not, ever) despite seeing an endless supply of new characters join you in your seemingly pivotal moment. It’s like being nominated for an award, onto find that every single person who was nominated won anyway. What the fuck is the point of this. As for it’s basic MMO elements, it’s grouping system also sucks to boot. It’s faster and more efficient to just spam, “LFG, LFG” over and over than trying to use the built-in system. So there’s that too.

MMOs are a dime a dozen now. There are some games that are worth your time and others that simply aren’t. Elder Scrolls Online, in my humble opinion, isn’t. Exploring Tamriel with friends might be cool, and the experience system makes it flexible enough to make whatever build your mind comes up, but that’s where the fun ends. There will be two minds on this game as long as it exists: the fans of the singe-player games disappointed with how unrecognizable the MMO is, and MMO fans who have been so inundated by other MMOs that they don’t give a shit anymore, it’s another fix.

Mandatory Score: 6/10

The nicest thing I can say about Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is that it’s decent. But decent isn’t enough. Not when there are plenty of better, and subscription free, MMOs out there if you’re desperate to fulfill your OCD needs of eternal character grinding. Granted, it’s not all bad but it’s hard to want to invest in something that invested little in itself.