Tower 57 Trailer and Impressions

Question: why don’t more video games involve dinosaurs? I mean for real, i was sold on this the second i saw you fight raptors around the 30 second mark. That’s how easy it is to sell a game once you add in dinosaurs, so why don’t more games do it?

Okay, for real though, this looks really good. It reminds me a lot of Enter the Gungeon, and I. Fucking. LOVED.  Enter the Gungeon. So right out of the gate the game has a leg up on it’s competition.  While that may have more to say with how early i play twin stick shooters more than anything, but that’s the comparison i drew, so it’s the one i’m going with.

Anyways, this looks fantastic. The verity of enemy times (FUCKING DINOSAURS), locations and weapons make this look like it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun and i am very much looking forward to giving this one a try.

Battleborn goes Free to Play (Kinda). In Other News: Battleborn is Still a Thing

I’ve never played Battleborn. Like with pretty much everyone, i went with Overwatch as my multiplayer shooter of choice when the two games were coming out. While i don’t regret that decision, i am some what saddened by the bum wrap Battleborn has gotten. Other than the fact the two are both hero shooters, the two don’t seem to have much else in common, with Battleborn taking much more inspiration from the MOBA genre than Overwatch ever did. I think, had the public been kinder, there was more than enough space for both games. Sadly that just wasn’t in the cards, and Battleborn swiftly faded into obscurity.

But you know what, bless Gearboxes little hearts, becuase they are doing everything they can to fight that. While part of that was a cringy attempt to jump on the Overwatch porn train, their newest idea isn’t so bad: go free to play. The problem is everything they don’t tell you in the trailer. They make it clear that only the multiplayer is free (as if anyone cares about the games story or lore), but you can play as much as you want. However, unless you spend money you are limited to a roster of 6 of the games 30 heros a week. From what i understand, this is something a lot of MOBA’s do, but what bothers me is the fact they didn’t state this in the trailer. I might not have had to do a whole lot of digging to find this information out, but it was still more than necessary.

Once more, i’ve never played Battleborn so this is pure speculation on my part but here’s my issue. If you get good enough at Overwatch (which i very much am not) you soon learn that there are checks and balances for each character. I really enjoy playing at Junkrat, but he’s more or less useless against Pharah as she’s often out of my reach. A (good) Widowmaker player can easily deal with Pharah however. And so on, and so on. If that’s true for Battleborn, by restricting the player roster for free players, you’re putting them at a disadvantage as they can’t take full advantage of those checks and balances. And if this is true for Battleborn, this attempt at going free to play will soon become an exorcises in the worst kinds of psychological bullying these kinds of games are known for. I’m not against Devs making money off their work, but this looks to me like a half measure with too much potential to go the wrong way. While it may piss off the….three?…people that actually bought Battleborne, maybe a better way forward would have been to simply go fully free to play. To be fair, i have no idea if the game has the kind of infrastructure to support that kind of change (i.e., is their anything worth spending money on? loot boxes, cosmetics, that kind of thing?). But for right now i’m interested to see where this goes, if it goes any where.

 

 

Call of Duty: WW2 Traverses Old Grounds, for Better and Worse

Call of Duty returning to World War Two is probably the best decision anyone involved in the franchise has made since choosing to leave the setting back in 2007. While some have criticized the idea of making a for fun shoot em up about one of the ugliest points in human history, i’m choosing to hold off on that for right now. I mean, people were saying the same thing about Battlefield One, which was based on an even more useless waste of human lives and suffering, but once it was released people found that the game did in fact try to be a respectful interpretation of the events it depicted. With that in mind, i’m going to wait for release before making my mind up on that front. However, the games first trailer does give me one major reason to be concerned: players will once again be storming the beaches of Normandy.

It might be hard to remember, but once upon a time, World War 2 shooters were a dime a dozen. So much so that “first person shooter” and “world war two” might as well haven been synonyms. If you don’t remember this then you probably also don’t remember HOW MANY GOD DAMN TIMES WE STORMED THE BEACHES OF NORMANDY.

While a lot of people like to say that the move to modern combat was due to WW2 shooters over-saturating the market, that’s not quite true. The real problem was that most of the games we were getting focused on the same events. WW2 was a truly global conflict, yet game designers rarely use that to their advantage. Because of that, yeah i’m a little concerned for how this new Call of Duty is going to pan out. If the team at…..whichever studio is working on this game (they’ve got what, three teams making COD now?) thinks that revising WW2 means having go through the same motions as before the switch to modern day, then there really isn’t a lot of reason to get excited for this up coming game.

As always when i write something super negative, i hope i’m wrong. I hope the game has more than this one trailer has to show. But the fact is, you only ever get one chance at a first impression, and so far COD: WW2’s first impression is “you’ve done all this before”.

Huntdown Trailer and Impressions

My knowledge of shoot-em-ups pretty much begins and ends with the original Contra. I’ve never made a point of avoiding the genre i just never had much of an excuse to get into it. I started my gaming life well after side scrolling was the norm and have found few games, retro or otherwise, to be available to me. But you know what i do know pretty well? Something i do have an affinity for that this game capitalists on? The 1979 film The Warriors and Cyberpunk. Mash those two things up and you get Huntdown. And this works just as well as that idea seems. Each gang has a clear identity that could make for interesting shake-ups the the formula, and…while i hate the idea that the game might endorse police overeach the way poorly thought out cyberpunk can….i do kind of want to take the giant rocket wielding police robot out for a spin. I mean, if that’s not this games version of the tank from Metal Slug, then what’s even the point?

Law Breakers goes into Closed Beta This Month

Hey, look! Some actual gaming news that’s worth talking about. That’s rare. Okay, enough jokes. March 16-19, right after PAX, Lawbreakers  will be entering into a closed beta. Ever since i fell in love with Overwatch and heard this was its gory, M-Rated sister i’ve been interested in getting my hands on it. Granted that may not be until the player base dies down to just the overly dedicated and the game becomes inaccessible to new players due to poverty and a lack of free time. But hey, what matters is that i’ll always have overwatch to go back too once i’m inevitably driven off, right? But for those of you with some free time (please leave a comment telling me what that’s like), you can sign up for the open beta HERE . And for those of you with money, email me for my address, i take cash and checks.

Doom First 18 Minutes and Impressions

You want to know my favorite part of this video is? The fact that the game play starts about 40 seconds into the video. As much as i believe in the power of video game story telling, some days you just want to hit start and begin killing stuff, context and cutscenes be damned. And if you’re like me and that’s something you miss, looks like Doom’s got you covered. Once the action starts there’s hardly a break from it in the 18 minute video, and early review impressions lead me to think that’s not going to be any different in the rest of the game. This could easily become tedious, but the game play looks fun and there is sure to be more variety as the game goes on. So long as more demons and more guns are introduced at a steady enough pace, i can’t see myself complaining that the game is “only” about killing demons.

I’m looking forward to this one. Not only does the game play look fun as hell and a far cry from most other shooter released today, but the game almost feel made with me in mind: you killing demons, an agent of superstition, with tools made my mankind’s intellect on freaking Mars. The only eay this could be any more my thing is if DoomGuy was instead a hot lesbian scientist and the end boss was god himself.

 

Enter the Gungeon Review

By William Shelton

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Systems:PS4(Reviewed), PC, Mac

Developer: Dodge Roll

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Rating: T

Obtained By: Purchased

The very first thing I noticed about Enter the Gungeon was that it was freaking adorable. The gun and bullet fetishism saturates nearly every aspect of the games visual design and then given a nice overcoat of bad (read “great”) puns and smiley faces. Your health bar is harts made out of bullets, you fight bullets that shoot you with bullets. The game is so god damn cute I’m honestly kind of worried that the NRA will use it to indoctrinate kids into their organization. My hopefully baseless fears aside, Enter the Gungeon is simply one of the most visually pleasing games i’ve ever played; it’s bright and cheery visuals are the kind of thing that make me glad to be alive. Luckily the rest of the game holds up to the promise of the games visuals. For the most part anyways.

You play as one of four characters who have entered the gungeon looking for the “Gun that can Kill The Past”. Each character has a different set of starting weapons, items and abilities, but the game doesn’t do to well explaining these differences. I spent most of my time as either The Marine, who can take an extra hit, or The Convict who starts out with a pistol and shotgun. While these starting buffs do differentiate each character, they don’t have any real impact on the game play in any meaningful way. You go room to room clearing out waves of enemies with twin-stick, bullethell style combat, and the twitchy, reflex based gameplay is the same for each character.

Also the same regardless of character: the games challenge. As the combat is styled after bullethell shooters the screen can become almost completely filled with projectiles, and most of the games rooms are bigger than the screen can fit, so you’ll often have to be on the lookout for bullets coming from off screen as well. The game demands near total situation awareness, and it’s a testament to the game that most of my deaths came from me not paying attention rather than cheap shots. This is another area where the games are design helps immensely. The player character, the enemies, projectiles and the environments are all so visually distinct that I never lost track of what I was looking at or looking for. Nothing ever just blends into the background, so nothing ever just sneaks up on you unless you’re not paying attention. Add to this a dodge roll with a few built in invincibility frames and a couple of screen clearing “blanks” that replenish every floor and you have the making for a great combat system that tests players but always feels fair.

Another fun little trick the developers had was making a lot of the common enemies look like bullets who’s shot patterns resemble the kind of bullet they are. Maybe this is the American in me(gun culture here is so entrenched it’s near impossible to escape), but I could tell from a look at most of these how they were going to shoot and how to handle them. I know shotguns spread so I knew I needed some distance from the shotgun-shell foes so I could move between the spread. Not every enemy is like this, but I felt it helped me understand things in the early game.

There is one major issue, though this is mostly a problem early on: upgrade scarcity. Each floor has a shop and usually two hidden chests that hold either new guns or some form of upgrade, and chests, harts, keys, and blank shots sometimes span in after clearing a room. While this sounds nice, the span rate for needed items is unreliable at best. You start out with one key, and if you use that and only get a passive ability that isn’t really helpful at the moment, it’s possible that that will be all you take with you into the boss fight. There’s no guarantee shops will have needed items, and even if they do have what you want, money is rare and doesn’t have a set spawn rate. I’ve had rooms with multiple heavy hitters that took forever to bring down or with four waves and came out with one shell (the games currency), but then had a room with one small guy give me five or more. I’ve repeatedly gone into the first boss fight with one hit point and my starting pistol because nothing of use spawned in. At times like that the game becomes simply frustrating. Worse still, after beating each boss you get some rewards, like health and armor and one major item, but even that’s not guaranteed to be of any use. There have been times when I have moved on to the second floor with nearly no health and still only had my starting pistol. But thank god I had more ammo capacity for a gun that had infinite ammo. Part of that is too be expected I guess. The games dungeon is built off a roguelike model, so upon death you get sent back to the beginning with a new layout and new item spawns, but that never made those bad runs feel any better.

These issues are made worse when you realize you’re not getting to play around with some of the best guns gaming has to offer. In all honesty, no one has made an arsenal this imaginative and fascinating outside Insomniac’s “Ratchet and Clank” franchise. There’s a gun called “The Lowercase R” that shoots the letters “B,U,L,L,E,T” while saying “bullet” as it fires. There are freeze rays, heat rays, t-shirt cannons, lasers and so, so many more. There are a few “boring” guns as well, like pistols and shotguns and the like, but even those are a blast to play with. For gods sake, there’s a water gun in the game, and even that’s fun to use.

I don’t see myself ever really stopping with this game. I may only play it for half an hour at most, but it’s a good game to kill some time with. The game is just so damn cute and entertaining that it’s hard to think of time when I wont want to play it if I have some time too kill.

Story: 6/10

Game Play: 8.5/10

Music/Sound: 9/10

Visuals: 9/10

Replay Value: 9/10

Reviewers Tilt: 9/10

Overall Score: 8.42/10