Tag Archives: PC

Lara Vs. Croft Manor – A 20 Year Celebration.

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The Rise of the Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary has gone live! It’s available in multiple forms. You can buy the 20th Anniversary edition, you can be a Season Pass holder, or you can buy it individually. Not only does it include skins from previous Tomb Raider titles, but it includes new Co-op modes, a new “Lara’s Nightmare” mode, as well as a single-player story that takes place after the events of the primary game.

The single player story takes place in Croft Manor, and instead of combat, it’s focus is on Lara re-discovering her family home and trying to save it from falling into the hands of her uncle. Lara will rediscover her childhood, remember her father and mother, and even learn of secrets hidden away in the bowels of the manor.

Lara’s Nightmare takes place in the manor as well, and is similar to the Cold Darkness Awakened game mode, in which Lara fights infected in her nightmare inside the manor.

On top of all of this, if you play any version of Rise of the Tomb Raider by the 18th of October, you’ll be able to go to the in-game marketplace, head over to “Gifts” and get 100,000 in-game credits, just for playing during the 20th Anniversary Celebration week!

So dust off your copies, grab a friend and take on Rise of the Tomb Raider’s game modes together!

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Keep Your Eyes On That Horizon – A Firewatch Review

maxresdefaultFirewatch is a story-driven game by developer Campo Santo. People call it a walking simulator, and, while that’s true, it’s more about the personal development of your character, Henry, and his relationship with his boss, Delilah. The writing and dialogue in Firewatch tops the list for Walking Simulators for me.

Firewatch released on PC and PS4 in February, and just released on the 21st of September for Xbox One in NA and will release on the 30th of September for Xbox One in EU.

Firewatch starts us with simple text on a screen. Through this text we explore the background of Henry and a woman named Julia. I won’t spoil anything about the back-story here, but it reminds me a lot of the beginning to the movie ‘Up’. The text sequences are broken up by Henry going to his first day on the job, which includes him getting into his truck, starting on the trail, walking the trail and getting to his post. These are nice sequences that give you a feel for your environment and where you’ll be during the course of the game.

It’s the summer of 1989 in the Shoshone National Forest. Henry is here for the whole summer as a Firewatchman. His first few days are pretty eventful as he learns the ropes, chats with Delilah and has other events occur that will begin to shape his summer. What you say to Delilah will begin to shape the tone of the relationship they have.

You progress through a few consecutive days, before finally getting a peaceful summer, at which point, the day count jumps up by a month. You play through sporadic days as events begin to occur, including a large forest fire (which you get the honor of naming), missing persons, and even a mystery that revolves around Henry and Delilah.

The conversations in Firewatch feel more real and genuine than most games in recent memory. Personality, feeling and emotion are put into the dialogue, which truly makes you feel like you are experiencing life through the eyes of a man named Henry.

This story allows you to be comedic, serious, scared, comforting, accusatory, questioning, and various other things, all through what you choose to say to Delilah. There’s no action in this game, so don’t expect to fight wildlife, however it offers a gorgeous location in the Shoshone National Forest, a wonderfully written story with real characters, choice, exploration and an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience with a realistic ending for Henry and Delilah based on their backstories and lives.

Firewatch is $19.99 and worth every penny, even if a once-through will only be about 4 hours, I’ve already gotten 8 hours worth of enjoyment, and plan on many more to come.

A good way to look at this, is if you paid $6/hour for every game (standard movie tickets are about this much depending on length and your location), this game would cost $24 for a once-through. $19.99 is a great price, but never fear, as sales are sure to be ahead with Black Friday and Christmas around the corner!

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The Best Games You Never Played

Hello fellow gamers! As a warning, this will be a long post. Today we’re going to be taking a look at a few games over the years that have gone unnoticed that deserve to be played for various reasons.

First up, we have a game called Dark Void. This game came out on the Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2010. You play as Will, a cargo pilot pre-WWII played by Nolan North, better known for his role as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series on PlayStation. He is flying over the Bermuda Triangle, and ends up going through a portal to a different world ruled by an alien race. Dark void uses a unique vertical cover system, as well as your standard cover system, and has a very Gears of War feel while in combat, although it’s story remains unique. It’s a game that you will beat and may forget ever existed, but is worth the few dollars you’ll pay for it.

Next up we have Indigo Prophecy, or as the European gaming community knows it as Fahrenheit. This game was brought to you by Quantic Dream, the company behind Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and the upcoming Detroit: Become Human. Indigo Prophecy was released on the PS2 and the original Xbox. You play as a few different people. You start as a man, Lucas Kane, who, as a part of a Mayan prophecy, was chosen to be “possessed” in a way, and commits a murder unwillingly. Upon realizing what he’s done, you then have a limited amount of time to clean up the bathroom and hide the murder weapon and the body before the police show up. You then play the detectives that are trying to catch him. That may seem redundant, but you don’t actually watch him hide the weapon, so they still leave a bit of mystery.
You switch back and forth between the characters, and you have to keep track of their mental state as well. If it gets too low, they can get depressed and end up killing themselves. Things get stranger and stranger as the game progresses, with the introduction of the Indigo Child, the fact that Lucas starts seeing things then starts gaining supernatural abilities and the introduction of the rival clans that are after the Indigo Child. As the game progresses, you have certain options and choices which lead to one of three endings. The controls can be a bit strange, but are worth getting used to.

Then there is the Shenmue series. Many people have heard of Shenmue thanks to this years’ E3 where Yu Suzuki, series creator, announced that Shenmue 3 was officially on Kickstarter. Shenmue has been around since the Sega Dreamcast, and remains, to this day, one of the most expensive games ever made. Shenmue has very poor voice acting, and the controls can be cumbersome, but that is part of what makes it unique and loveable. The story is very well written, and the combat is fantastic. The more you train, the better you get personally, and you get to watch Ryo Hazuki develop his skills and become stronger.
One of the reasons Shenmue gained such a cult following was, in fact, the voice acting. Nobody else could ever play Ryo Hazuki, and the bad voice acting just makes the memory even stronger. Shenmue is the game that pioneered the QTE system. It places it during certain moments that require quick reactions and fast thinking. General combat is free-flow, but when not knowing what to expect, you need to act fast.
You can pick up a Dreamcast w/ cords, controller and a VMU and a working copy of Shenmue for about $73. The sequel is on the Xbox and is backwards compatible on the Xbox 360.

Bethesda, the people who brought you Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 published a hidden gem on the original Xbox. Back in October of 2005, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth hit the shelves.This is a horror-survival, first person shooter with heavy psychological elements at play. It is a reimagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth as well as other stories. Set in 1922, primarily, it follows Jack Walters, a private investigator who comes into contact with members of the Great Race of Yith. Over time, Jack becomes more and more involved, unwittingly, against the Esoteric Order of Dagon.
Jack’s sanity plays a huge factor in the gameplay, being that if he loses sanity by certain encounters, he can, and will end up killing himself with whatever he has available at the time. Jack can also get injured to where you will need to heal him, including broken bones, cuts, poison, etc.
The company behind the development of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has 3 more games planned, and ended up going bankrupt before any more were developed. Dark Corners is also backwards compatible on the Xbox 360.

Let’s talk a little bit about Onigiri. Yes, that’s the name for a rice ball in Japan, no I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the Japanese MMORPG Onigiri that was released on consoles earlier this year. Onigiri, upon playing, is very clearly a PC game ported over. You have to deal with some aggravating cursor movements and scrolling, but once you get used to the controls in the game, it actually gets pretty fun. It’s your standard open world, run around and fight things while doing quests and clearing caves MMO, but there is something about it that just draws you in, to where you end up spending hours doing almost nothing.
I’m not 100% sure what the actual story of Onigiri is other than you are an Oni and you are trying to help a princess. Now, this isn’t an MMO in the typical sense, meaning you CAN play in Multiplayer mode, or you can play the entire game in Single Player mode. The biggest difference is in Single Player mode, you get followers to help you in combat. In Multiplayer, you don’t get followers, but you can have your group of friends (or strangers) helping you out.
All of the vocals are in Japanese, but it has English subtitles and the standard dialogue boxes. Onigiri is free-to-play on the Xbox One and PS4 as well. It is definitely worth a try, especially if your a fan of anything Japanese, Oni, or MMOs.

Neverwinter is another MMO that is currently on the Xbox One and Windows, but is planned for a PS4 release next year. Neverwinter is a standalone game and not part of the previous Neverwinter Nights series and takes place centered around the Protector’s Enclave, the central hub/market of the City of Neverwinter, run by Lord Neverember. It is part of the Forgotten Realms world in D&D. Neverwinter is free-to-play, and feels very much like your standard MMO as well as your standard D&D campaign. Controls take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, the hard part is figuring out which abilities to keep equipped.
There aren’t zones in which there are hundreds of people. This is a very heavy story-based game, in which you don’t really have to worry about fighting for spawns.
Like any MMO, you can play the bulk of it solo, but certain dungeons and quests may require more people. That being said, it’s never hard to find people for a group. I have not had a chance to play around with the guild system because you need a full party to start one, but I AM looking to start one, so if you guys see a Meriadoc Brandybuck running around, I’m a Halfling Trickster Rogue, hit me up. I’m not shy!

Last up, we have two games in one. Let’s start it with Warframe. Warframe, once again, is an MMO-style game set in the distant future. It’s only semi-open world and does follow a story. You never have to worry about running into other players unless you go to the central hub/market relays or you have them in your party, which max’s out at 4 players. That being said, you can also start your own clan by yourself, with friends or join a clan.
Your clan hall starts out with just the basic room, and you need to build everything yourself. Clan members can help and donate materials and credits. Most everything requires a material called Forma, which is very rare, and to by in the store, is very expensive. To buy it, you need a premium currency called Platinum, which you can only buy through micro-transactions, or trade what are called “prime parts” to other players for it.
The gameplay is third person and very hack&slash mixed with shoot-em-up. There is a running gag called “Press X to Ninja”, which is the PS4’s take for Warframe on the meme “Press B to Jump” With the new movement system they have implemented in October, You really do just need to press the button to Ninja.
In Warframe, you are what they call a Tenno, using your suit, called a Warframe. The Tenno are operatives of the Lotus, and organization that is trying to bring peace and order back to the galaxy. The First Tenno, according to the Lotus, dates back to the days when Earth was abundant with human life. This is a tie-in to Digital Extremes’ Xbox 360 launch title of Dark Sector, in which you play as a CIA operative names Hayden Tenno. He gets infected with a virus, that turns his body into what is essentially a Warframe.
Warframe is the great, unnoticed, free-to-play spiritual successor to Dark Sector, a great game that got unnoticed in the last console generation. Warframe is available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

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The end of Survival Horror?

The end of Survival Horror? Image by Maxwell Grayson

A friend of mine known as “Valkyira” asked a very valid question. Can I give my opinion on Survival Horror games and why they seem to be on the way out?

“Valkyira” brings up a good point. Survival Horror games….Let me rephrase that.. TRUE Survival Horror games are on the decline and have been for a few years.

Good Horror Survival games are hard to come by and always have outside of Japan. In Japan Survival Horror are like shooters to the US or UK. If I remember correctly it’s something like 80% of Horror games never make it out of Japan because they simply don’t sell. Horror games have never had a huge market outside of Japan.

We are seeing fewer and fewer true Survival Horror games such as the original Silent Hill or Resident Evil. Clock Tower has always been a favorite among Survival Horror fans as well. I love these games because they scare the crap out of me and have phenomenal storytelling. Now the story to the Dead Space trilogy to me is very dark and twisted, however it stands nowhere near the classics. It does have it’s own merit in the new age, but the classics will always outshine. That being said, Survival Horror games today are on the decline because instead of following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they take the base concepts, and add a modern shooter feel in lieu of the traditional open world RPG feel. In my opinion, that’s the true downfall of Survival Horror.

You are no longer surviving in an open world like Silent Hill, You are now a trained soldier on a set course to the end goal. No more updating maps, no more FINDING maps. No more enemies that chase you through the map, no more attempts at escaping when out of ammo. Now you stay and fight until you die or win because it’s the only way forward. You are no longer allowed to try and trick your enemy into a large circle so you can escape to your goal, followed by the threat of that enemy waiting for you when you leave. Enemies are now standard and scripted enemies, instead of acting like the ruthless hunters that they used to be.

In my opinion, Dead Space is the only game in recent years that uses ruthless-type enemies, you cut off a leg? Well tough, they hop at you, take two they use their arms. Shoot off the head, another comes out of their chest. They do not stop until you cause massive trauma to their entire body. Cut off the limbs to stop them. They crawl through vents and actually play dead.

Again, this is why Dead Space has it’s own merit in the top listings of MODERN Survival Horror only. Because of it’s story and it’s enemies. While the shooter aspect makes it fun, it’s hard Survival. Same with the new Resident Evil games. I still love them to death, because they evolved like they had to. They did a proper virus evolution and people crucified them for it but if they had stayed the same, people wouldn’t play it because it’s “just the same recycled garbage.” Capcom used their best judgment and while Resident Evil 5 was NOT Survival Horror, it was Action Horror, it was still a proper virus evolution. Same with Resident Evil 6, However I will say that Leon’s campaign added the Resident Evil 4 feel back to the game.

The evolution of gaming is doing away with Survival Horror because gamers just want action and shooting. I think 2013 will start to make a comeback on Survival Horror, or at very least keep the Action Horror genre alive, if not the Psychological Horror (sub-genre of Survival in my opinion).

It will be a sad day in the world of video games when Survival Horror dies out, but for those days, we always have a $20 PS2 or a $5 PS1, even a $15 DreamCast, so we can always go back and play the classics. You can also pick up some classics in HD collections, such as Silent Hill 2 & 3 or the entire Doom series.

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May 29, 2013 · 11:10 PM