Monday, November 28, 2016

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered

And of course what would Infinite Warfare be if I didn't get the deluxe edition and obtain the remastering of one of my favorite Call of Duties of all time.

Call of Duty 4.

Nostalgia is what Infinity Ward was going for here. In order to help their new game's sales, they revived what arguably may be the most favored Call of Duty in history. The new game definitely has it's perks, but you can never go wrong with some old fashioned, boots on the ground warfare. We'll judge it on it's Graphics, Gameplay, and Multiplayer.

First off I'm going to talk about how immaculate the graphics are. Remastered is an understatement for how beautiful the graphics look. I played the original game and it has came such a long way since the xbox 360/playstation 3 versions. There's not too much to say about the graphics other than how crisp they are and how beautiful they have made this game.  9.7/10

Gameplay has stayed the same and they did not change anything, which is good, but also slightly sad due to the fact maybe some changes would be appreciated. The only changes that were made were glitches that were actually useful but were patched. This made the remaster slightly upsetting. I was still appreciative it was made. Rating 7.3/10

Lastly, and once again my favorite, the multiplayer. Now, the biggest letdown of this remaster was the fact they did not bring back all of the maps. This heavily hurt my enjoyment with the remaster because it just feels like you are constantly playing the same maps over and over. I wanted to enjoy this remaster a hell of a lot more than I did, but, it let me down a lot more than I was hoping. Multiplayer: 7.4/10

Overall: 8.13/10

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

If you haven't noticed by now, I tend to play games that are part of a much bigger series. Dark Souls, Madden, Pokemon, etc. Don't worry. I, without a doubt, am going to continue this trend into this review and more to come.

In this review is a game in a franchise that many people may say is "dying off." In my opinion, the series has so much more potential to reach for places never traversed by game designers, and could still possibly be one of the best series of video games to exist. This series is the popular FPS, Call of Duty. This particular review will be on the newest in the series, "Infinite Warfare."

Although many complain about these futuristic Call of Duty titles, I'll give you my input on what I think of this entry to the series, grading it on it's campaign, gameplay, and multiplayer.

The campaign is your typical casual gamer's first impression of a game usually. Infinite Warfare did a much better job when implementing the space and robot warfare, as compared to Black Ops 3. The missions remained fun and addictive throughout the entire thing, and had me on the edge of my seat toward the end of it. The story line was incredible and as I said before, an overall much better campaign than it's predecessor. It gave people something to look forward to in the multiplayer. Rating? 8.2/10

The biggest concern for most people buying this game, was whether or not these jetpacks and other flying items would exist in multiplayer. No need to worry kids, they do not. The gameplay is very cooperative and it, in a way, is much like Black Ops 3. It plays nearly the same with a chain based movement system, including wall running and a light version of exo-jumping. A slight difference I have noticed in playing it, is that while these motions are fluid, are a lot slower than the predecessor. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it gives the user more time to react toward dynamic situations and other scenarios where the player may need to keep their head on a swivel. The feel for this game is very easy had the user played the past call of duties. Solid 8.6/10

My personal favorite of every Call of Duty installation; Multiplayer. This title brings back the "number of items" class system where you create classes revolving around your gameplay style, and you may have any collection of 10 items on you at once. When changing classes if you want another item, you must give up one of the previous 10 in order to make the class eligible. The new maps, although it seems like there were not too many, for the most part are detailed very nicely and have a nice variety to them, however I do feel as if they favor Sub Machine guns more than any of the other weapon classes. And lastly, the most favored part of this game by many of the veteran players are the throwback weapons. You may unlock one of these per prestige, and these are community favored weapons Call of Duty has brought back for us to use all in one game, although they have been given different names. All in all not too bad, 8.8/10

Although not my favorite Call of Duty entry, a respectable one, I have been enjoying this title since the midnight it released. Overall: 8.5/10

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Madden 17

Every year we expect a new game, and most years the changes are minuscule, but still much appreciated. This year, however, the everlasting Madden series threw us a curveball... and it succeeded.

As an avid NFL fan, I live for every August when the new game is released. Mainly because it means I get the chance to beat my friends in yet another addition to the franchise. Once again I'm going to go back to the original rating system: Difficulty, Gameplay, and Multiplayer. Let's rate.

Madden itself is not a difficult game to get the concept of. As a matter of fact, Madden was one of the first games I started playing when I was just a toddler. This being said the difficulty of a Madden game is rarely hard. There are also difficulty options as well. The highest of all these options is All-Madden. Playing on All-Madden is rewarding as you will get much, much better at the game, but frustrating as well and you have to be able to handle losing every once in awhile. The All-Madden difficulty truly is for the best of the best. I think having the optional difficulty in Madden makes it a versatile game fit for anyone who is looking for a challenge, or even for people who want to take it easy on a lower difficulty. Give it a 9/10.

Gameplay, for being Madden, has improved drastically. A lot of people I know complain about how Madden gets boring because it is the same thing every single year. There were so many new features added into this game that it's almost like a new game entirely. One of my favorite features is the new running back locomotion. Now as a running back, you may get into a one-on-one situation with a defender and will be put into a quick time event, where you must hit a certain button in order to break a tackle. I think this implement gave a nice twist to the usually simplistic running game. Also, Madden added a bit more to it's receiving actions that were added in the last couple years of the game. You are able to make catches depending on the given scenario of your receiver. This includes a run after catch catch, possession catch, or aggressive catch. These were implemented prior to this year, but this game truly focuses on these and makes sure you have the choice to do what seems fit for the situation. The gameplay in this game is incredible. 9.3/10

And as if I hadn't proved to you guys how much I loved the game in the first place, the multiplayer is just as incredible as ever, however there are not many changes to it, other than the servers being 10 times better. Multiplayer gets a solid 8.7/10

The Madden franchise will never die, at least not in my eyes. It is almost too successful to die. And I mean cm'on, how can you not love a game with Gronk on the cover?

Overall: 9/10

Pokemon: Sun and Moon

Straying away from console gaming, this review will be on a handheld game released November 18th to the U.S. This game has been anticipated since the first word of it's release, and it's just another great game to add to the series.

That's right.

Pokemon Sun and Moon.

I have been anticipating this game for so long, and upon playing it, it did anything but disappoint. It is just another great game to go along with this long lived series. A very successful successor to Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. In this game's case, I will be rating it on difficulty, gameplay, and new features. Now I begin.

The main story through Pokemon games usually does not pose too much of a threat to me. I have completed the main story in my first playthrough of Pokemon Sun and nearly played through perfectly. My only loss was during the Ghost type trial because of the Totem Pokemon there. Aside from this one bump in the road, I did not find this game too difficult whatsoever. However, the game did tend to throw some challenges at you when least expected, and new pokemon and type strengths and weaknesses added in some extra difficulty even for an experienced Pokemon player such as myself.  All in all, not too hard, not too easy, just right for most people. Solid 7/10.

Alright so I am gonna start out with saying that the mechanics of this story are so much different than any other pokemon game ever (aside from the console ones, but I am not including those right now.) As we were all used to going into a gym and finding a single typing to challenge, this game introduces a new mechanic called "trials." Each trial in itself is the same idea as a gym, but instead of facing a trainer, you go against a totem Pokemon with buffed stats. This makes the feel of the game refreshing and new for those constant players, while keeping that easy concept for the new possible players. As well as this concept changing, the Elite 4 is tweaked slightly too, as it does not even exist until you have beaten all your trials. All these features may seem new and sort of confusing to old players at first, but definitely keep the game feeling fresh and new. This earns a 9.1/10.

Now instead of doing Multiplayer like I did previously, I am rating this game strictly on it's new features from it's predecessor. Aside from the trials and elite 4 changes as I mentioned before, the game still has plenty of changes to talk about. On this list are Z moves, new Pokemon, and Poke Pelago. So, Z moves are basically the new introduction as opposed to the mega evolution introduced in X and Y. In order to use a Pokemon's Z move, you must give it a crystal of a type of move it has (ex: Fightium Z, Ghostium Z, etc) and you may use it in battle. The thing is you may only use a Z move once per battle, so use it wisely. This mechanic offers a new threat from many Pokemon as they may have a very tough move not of their typing. This adds caution to the meta game. Now, the new Pokemon introduced were pretty spectacular, as well as the new Pokemon known as "Ultra Beasts." The only problem with the new Pokemon I have is... There isn't enough of them. I would have been so much happier had I found out we received 100+ new Pokemon, but unfortunately that is not the case. Lastly, the Poke Pelago. This is a feature for the bottom screen of the 3DS that allows you to own islands, where you can do many different things, including hatching eggs in a hot spring or grow berries. I have not experimented with this feature as much as I would like, but from what I have done in it, it seems like a very rewarding system. This new content is exciting, even with a lack of new Pokemon, but that is forgiven. Rating: 9.4/10

A very solid addition that I will log many hours of my life into, especially over Winter break.

Coming out to an Overall of 8.5/10

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dark Souls 3 DLC 1: Ashes of Ariandel

On October 25th, the first batch of extra content was released for the gaming hell/paradise that is Dark Souls 3. As I mentioned in my last review, I am always eager to pick up the newest FromSoft game/DLC, so of course I had to buy this the day it came out, and as with the original game I am going to run you guys through 3 critiquing stages: Difficulty, Gameplay, and Multiplayer. Let's game.

I will let the masochist in me speak first on how much I adored the challenges that were thrown at me in this DLC. Starting off with large packs of wolves taking turns trying to rip me to shreds, along with their leader having a few occasional standoffs with me, I thought they would give me the hardest challenge of all the enemies in the DLC, but (thankfully), I was wrong. The larger viking-like enemies posed a threat to me as there was a section where you must trudge through an open valley full of these enemies toward a tower. Sound easy? Not when there are two of these vikings shooting explosive arrows at you from the tower you are trying to reach. Even when you do reach the tower you must fight 2-3 other vikings before you even make it to the top to fight these two. Now, the next part only showed difficult prior to knowing about them. I was making my way through one of the plentiful snow trails, when all of a sudden, I was picked up and brutally killed. By what? By a tree. If you are not ready for these enemies disguised as trees they will indeed do very, very crude things to you. Now I suppose I shall talk about the two bosses that exist throughout the DLC. As you may have remembered, I spoke of a leader wolf. Yep, he's back. In this fight you will fight against "Champion's Gravetender" and "Gravetender Greatwolf." At least he has a name, right? The gravetender himself is merely like fighting any other human NPC, and lacks difficulty. However, it is when you get him down to around half health, the greatwolf is summoned. During my fight with him, I managed to kill him before the wolf even took a shot at me, making it simple. As for the wolf, he tends to have almost an identical moveset as he did when you fought him the few times prior. He has at most, an additional two attacks, but most of them are telegraphed and easy to avoid. Now, the second boss however, I was unable to defeat without the help of an NPC Summon. Sister Friede appears as a harmless, but important NPC throughout the DLC. But now, she wants to cut your head off. This is the first three stage boss fight the souls series has ever included. This caught many (myself included) off guard when facing her and getting past her second stage for the first time. The only real difficulty about her fight however, is the long, intensive combos, much like the Dancer boss from the main game. All in all, this DLC had its rough spots, but I was able to clear it in a reasonable amount of time. Difficulty? 7.2/10.

Don't let the slightly low difficulty steer you away from this DLC. Wow was it beautiful. The snowy landscape was breathtaking and all the textures and colors were constantly blowing my mind. The story line of Friede and her father was a very interesting one as well. Dark Souls story line is nowhere near the easiest to follow, but I must say this DLC had one that was a little easier for it's casual players to follow as well as its die hard fans. The added weapons were absolutely spectacular as well. There were quite a few, but I'll go into detail about the one that I now consistently use. That weapon is the "Milwood Greataxe." I saw it had decent strength scaling and since my main character is a strength build, I thought I would give it a chance since I have been using the butcher's knife my entire first one and a half playthroughs. After upgrading it to max, and infusing it with a heavy gem, it became my new favorite weapon entirely. Not only does it offer this greataxe, but it also offers quite a few dexterity-scaling weapons as well. Overall, the gameplay of this DLC and items in it were immaculate. Rating? 9.4/10. (The only drawback being how short it was.)

Now, before the DLC came out, I was not planning on doing a multiplayer section for the review of this game, but after I saw what was introduced in it, I couldn't pass it up. In this DLC, Fromsoft included a Dark Souls arena-like mode. In this mode you can square off in a 1 on 1, a 2 on 2, or even a free for all. This has changed the multiplayer of Dark Souls and thrown in a whole other aspect entirely. I would have never saw it coming if I had not seen it first hand. Now, don't think you can grab the game and the DLC and it will be ready for you go into already. To gain access to it you first must beat the first boss in the DLC, and you will acquire an item that must be taken to the shrine bonfire to use. My only complaint as of now is that I have only managed to play on one arena map. It is unknown if there or more that you must unlock, or if they will come along with the future DLC that is left. This was a great DLC add-on. Multiplayer? 9.7/10

An incredible first add-on, to an incredible series-ending game. It's sad to see such a great game go, but at least we have one more DLC waiting for us down the road.

Overall: 8.76/10

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dark Souls 3

Less than a month away from the first DLC, I figured this would be the perfect time to give my thoughts on the newest entry in one of the most popular RPG series for consoles and PC. 

The "Souls" series as it was deemed, holds 4 games. Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, and the newest entry which I will be covering today, Dark Souls 3. Dark Souls 3 follows the same schematic as the other games - die over and over throughout an area, only to get wrecked by some ridiculous boss creature once you finally reach the end. 

Now that I have given those who are not familiar with the Souls series an insight of what it is about, now I'm going to give my analysis of the game in 3 categories: Difficulty, Gameplay, and Multiplayer. I will be rating them from 1-10, 1 being poor, 10 being outstanding.

As fans of the Souls series, difficulty is almost considered part of the fun factor of the game. Everyone who has played the game has that boss that they remember having to fight over and over for hours on end to no success.. until, you finally do beat him. That feeling of success can not be beaten by the best of feelings. Now, that being said, Dark Souls 3, while being a step up from it's predecessor, Dark Souls 2, it still did not present as much of a challenge early game, although, bosses did increase in difficulty quite greatly once reaching an area later in the game known as "Irithyll of the Boreal Valley." The boss of this area posed the first anger inducing challenge for me, which ironically is about halfway through the game. Referring to the regular enemies I never really encountered many that were tough to beat. The hardest of the common enemies were the dancers that reside in Irithyll. Given the challenge does not start until about halfway through the game, the end game truly does make up for that, I promise. Rating? 7.7/10

As for the gameplay, Dark Souls 2 has been my favorite due to how much I truly enjoyed the DLC to that game. Not only for the new areas, enemies, and bosses, but for the new armor and weapons as well. I actually found myself using a DLC weapon as soon as I got it. Now, the gameplay in Dark Souls 3 is also quite favorable to me. Early in the game you are given opportunities at acquiring somewhat powerful weapons/spells/hexs/miracles/pyromancies no matter what sort of build you are. As for my strength build, I acquired an A strength scaling weapon within the first few areas. I have tinkered around with nearly all of the builds (have not tried my luck as a pyromancer yet) and of them, it seems my solely strength build has had the most diligent success. So when it comes to the gameplay, I would isolate it from the other games. I don't believe a specific build gives you a great advantage over any of the others when playing through the game. Whereas in previous games, there was usually a one build that surpassed others for certain reasons. So in this game, don't be afraid to try whichever build interests you most. 9.5/10

Multiplayer plays a somewhat critical role in the entire Souls series. Throughout the series, you are able to summon friendly phantoms (aka other players) into your game to help you defeat a boss that you have struggled with. Now of course that just sounds way too convenient, right? Well it is. Other players can also come in as red phantoms and invade and kill you. Now, Dark Souls 2 multiplayer was executed somewhat nicely. However, I wish I could say 3 improved them. In Dark Souls 3, if you are willing to try and take on 3 other people at once, then sure, you might this fun.
I have tried my handful of PvP in Dark Souls 3 and I found it hard to believe just how many "ganks" I came across. Now, when I did find somebody by themselves, sure, I enjoyed it; but the problem was that it hardly happened. Now, maybe this was just bad luck, but otherwise, it was not horrible. Connection was fine, hit boxes seemed accurate, all in all, it was good aside from the matchmaking. 7.2/10

The content of this game is incredible, from the areas to the intensive design of the creatures, and bosses. I find the game addicting and hard to put down. It is definitely fighting for the top spot of the series and has earned a decent overall rating. I heavily advise to pick the game up before the DLC comes out, and if you are new to the series, good luck, and I hope you have funds for another controller once you break yours. 

Overall: 8.13/10