Tag Archives: Xbox One

Injustice 2: And with TMNT that makes 38

 

In a bitter sweet moment, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have finally dropped into Injustice 2 capping off what was a pretty exciting run of speculation. No one saw the TMNT coming and as weird as their presence is in a dystopian future with a sad-brains Superman, it’s really fucking awesome to see them at work.

We’ve made no secret around here we like Netherrealm Studios’s Injustice 2. Like a lot. In fact, I have a lot of love for the semi-local product for quite a long time, fondly having played little league across what was once the old Midway office while schooling bitches in Mortal Kombat. Because of course we’re diligent people here at High Kick and were following each DLC’s release (with a small lapse, yes), we couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass by.

The TMNT crew is a bit more complicated to work than most other characters, since your weapon of choice dedicates which turtle you play and half the team operates on their own set of rules. Melee fighters like Raphael and Michelangelo don’t have certain charging-forward moves that Leonardo and Donatello have, but they do have access to new combo inputs the others don’t.

Their use of the character ability is also impacted by which turtle you use: Donatello has access to specialized landmines, Michelangelo utilizes his skateboard to coast and launch it, Raphael uses a taunt move first to build up his character power (that you must input) but will grant him an auto-combo depending on how many taunts performed (limit of 5 stored), and Leonardo utilizes all the other three individually depending on button press (for example, character power button + a direction chooses which turtle will show, while just pressing the character button will spawn Donatello).

I can easily see the TMNT team wrecking havoc on unsuspecting newbs given how each turtle has their own little flavor to them that both makes them familiar but different enough. Because showing is always better than telling, I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking. Cowabunga dude! Come on don’t cringe on me, I had to say it once. AT LEAST ONCE.

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Fortnite: It’s a Safe Space

Here’s the thing: I want to like PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. I want to understand my friends’s obsession with this game, but for the life of me I can’t. Running around an empty world for 10 minutes to be sniped by hackers or just in general isn’t too much fun in my book. It was suggested that maybe I just wasn’t attune to the game enough, that more time practicing would help me see how fun this is. Or better yet, squad-ing with them would make the game more fun. And in this somewhat true, rolling with three others friends will always be more fun than the lone pubby whose lunch for someone’s chicken dinner.

At first I dismissed Fortnite, like I’m sure a lot of PUBG players probably still do, as a poor man’s imitator. You fly into an island map, you parachute to a location of your choice and you stay alive as long as possible. All similar and core functions of PUBG. However Fortnite adds complication where PUBG is pure simplicity and I’m sure that’s where many fans stop.

To be fair I’m not one for competitive shooters. Perhaps now as an adult the last thing I  need is additional stress on top of managing life, and PUBG can be quite fucking stressful. PUBG’s lessons are slow and hard, and vary depending on which map the game tries to push (Miramar sucks, obvs). This is all to say, I felt like I was chasing a high that yet to come. It wasn’t even about the winning moreso it was just feeling like I was just doing something other than running and hiding.

It’s counter-intuitive to a PUBG player to consider creating a wooden wall as cover versus finding the nearest thing for cover. Or even more so counter intuitive to build towers to post up in. Fortnite encourages general creation over circle management: matches are meant to be quick and very messy.

There’s a very different feeling when shit goes down in PUBG:

As opposed to how it goes down in Fortnite:

It’s like talking apples and oranges. Yeah their both fruits but obviously the flavor here is a bit different. Also I have to acknowledge the Fortnite clip was solo while I had a partner in PUBG, but trust me the footage would’ve been more boring without.

To be clear I hate battle royales in general. Even if I find myself craving an occasional match it’s in the same sense that I’m disgusted with myself that I still eat McDonald’s; but drunk at 2a and yeah I’ll get 40 chicken nuggets and large fries, sure. Truth be told, any game can be a lot of fun with the right friends, but PUBG in particular is a tough one to enjoy when cheaters are plenty.

All I’m saying right now is give Fortnite a chance. Yes it’s free, yes it has microtransactions (perhaps less onerous than PUBG’s bullshit crates), and yes it’s visuals are very Team Fortress 2-esqe. It’s also stupid fun and a safe space for PUBG refugees.

Get Gud: A PUBG Beginner’s Story

tl;dr

 

I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS both in Early Access and now in official release, and I still don’t know how to feel about it. I both feel this is the most obnoxious fucking game I’ve played to date and also one of the most intense, often switching off between the two intermittently.  Initially I wanted to write some kind of review, but then I quickly realized it was both a dumb and pointless. Instead, I thought it would be more constructive to document the early experience of the game in the eternal quest to “get gud” as I’m often told. Especially since there is inherent comedy in watching futile attempts to succeed.

There is a very specific sense of fragility to this game. The player knows there is no safety anywhere. No matter how much equipment you gather, how suped up your gun may be, how much bullet-proof padding or how many kills you’ve recently acquired there is always the lingering knowledge your (digital) life is forfeit at literally any moment. Lately, it seems, thanks to Chinese hackers. In many ways, PUBG is legitimately both the most obnoxious and the most frightening game I’ve played yet.

Ultimately words don’t do justice to prove how much I suck. So, I’ve distilled my early experiences with the game into a small video. I’m sorry in advance.

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.

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.