Fallout 4: At First Glance

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What a way to wake up

Vault 111: House of Horrors

It Begins

Hey guys, just a quick update. I have began Fallout 4 and needless to say it started off with a bang, quite literally. The shit hits the fan real fast in this game, and it wasn’t long before the action kicked into gear.

I’m not far in this game but already I have witnessed a nuclear explosion, been frozen for 200 years, seen my wife get shot in the face, seen my baby get kidnapped, fought giant roaches and a deathclaw. But one aspect has really stood out to me is that Codsworth (my character’s robot butler/nanny) is a total and complete asshole, I catch up with his robotic, flame throwing ass after I left Vault 111 and after he tells me I’ve been frozen for 200 years he proceeds to quip in his upper crust British accent “You’re 2 centuries late for dinner.”

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What the fuck did you just say to me, Codsworth?

So far I’m having a good time with the game, expect a full review sometime in the future, not making any promises as to when because this game is huge but I will get to it. Hopefully I’ll get to spend a lot of time with it over the next few weeks.

If you’re new to the site that means I’ll have an in-depth, long ass review for you, a la my Lara Croft review.

I’m off to explore the Commonwealth!

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Rise of the Tomb Raider – Dale’s Review

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Lara Croft Delivers Again

Dale’s Review

As the credits roll all one can do is sit in pure bliss and watch. This is the feeling at the end of Rise of the Tomb Raider. We have posted updates during gameplay, but now I’m done and ready to review.

When buying this game it came down to a choice between Fallout 4, and this, and in the end I’m glad I made the decision that I did.  Rise of the Tomb Raider is spectacular in every way.  Despite the fact that I still have to get to Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront, this is the best game I’ve played all year hands down. So let’s get into it.

Square Enix Hit It Out Of The Park

This game is just wonderful.  it contains all the components necessary in a great adventure game; spectacular location, high stakes, a challenging enemy, a mystery and more. The game is especially potent for those of us who grew up idolizing Indiana Jones. If a game company would take everything about this game and slap Indy in it, you’d have a home run Indiana Jones game,but Lara Croft fills the position ably.  This game is basically an Indiana Jones movie in game form, with everything from booby traps to crumbling floors, to ancient relics, are here and it’s all at your fingertips……….literally.

The most exciting, and beautiful, moments in the game are when you’re exploring ancient tombs, and buried cities. There’s a breathtaking Byzantine ship buried in ice that’s totally worth the side quest to experience.

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whenever you are asked why you seek the divine source, this is what you’ll say, in your head…….most of you, ok I said it out loud

The Plot

I don’t think I have to explain who Lara Croft is. If you  need it explained please step to the left and prepare for execution. So, we catch up with Lara one year after the events of the first Tomb Raider, trekking up a mountain in Siberia, looking for something called the Divine Source. You have been discredited by a shadowy organization called Trinity (aka  The Ancient Order of Dicks), who also have some connection to Lara’s deceased father (whom they also discredited). Lara has inadvertently led Trinity to the Siberian mountains and the ancient city of Kitezh. If you know your history and mythology, which I do (I looked it up) it’s actually a legendary lost city in central Russia. That adds a whole layer of mystery to the game and actually connects it to the past.

Graphics

So let’s move on to what really pops in this game, the visuals. The landscape is INCREDIBLE.  Everything from the peaks of icy mountains to the low valleys surrounded by enormous mountains, to the lost cities and tombs themselves, everything is big and awe inspiring.

This game truly excels when it comes to the mountains. I come from a place near the rockies, and love going to the mountains. One thing that anybody who’s seen the real big mountains knows is that mountains are enormous, and awe inspiring  in person. This where the game triumphs, the mountains are huge and looming, and they certainly do the trick of making you feel small.

The underground tombs and lost cities are nothing short of incredible. Decayed and ruined by time but beautiful in their own right, but the truly great thing is that these places are able to be explored. You aren’t bogged  down by linear gameplay or lack of shit to do. Just run around, explore tombs, find cities and be your best Lara Croft.

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The snowy peaks of Siberia

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One of the many tombs just waiting to be explored

Mechanics

This all brings us to the big question, how does the game play?  I enjoyed the game mechanics. The jumping was on point, no button delay at all. One thing that bothered me was the fact that reload is X/Square, and melee is Y/Triangle. This was sort of awkward and difficult to get used to, considering that in most games reload or melee is X/Square, and Y/Triangle is to switch weapons, but you’ll get used to that quickly. Other than that the game mechanics are wonderful, you won’t have any problems once you get used to it.

The Icing On The Cake

Let’s get into what really brought this game home for me. There was a real sense of danger in things like crumbling floors with spikes beneath, avalanches, finding your way out of underwater caverns before you drown, etc. Stuff like that makes for an exciting experience. Running full tilt through an ancient building as it crumbles around you, is thrilling every time especially when you get to the end of the building. That’s where you realize, you have to jump, and hope you survive all the way to the other side where youa use your axe to latch onto something to grab. Will you make it? You won’t know until you jump.

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Oh………..shit, you have to outrun this (click image to see avalanche video clip

In Conclusion

Ok, so let’s wrap this up, guys and girls. The final verdict is that this game is absolutely wonderful, a thrill, and a pleasure to play. Don’t wait, pick it up now. Get it in your collection. Any game that makes you feel accomplished at the end is a great game, and this is absolutely a great game. As Richard Croft put it,  “Greatness is in what we do, not in who we are.” So get out there  and do something great, adventurers.

 

Rise Of The Tomb Raider – Day One First Glance


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The New Lara Croft

vs The Ancient Order Of Dicks

This game is excellent. Dale will do his usual thorough write up once he finishes, but this is a good sense of how it felt upon first taste.

The links below have some game footage that is just beautiful. Again, this isn’t the review, just the first impressions.

A Watery Grave Narrowly Avoided

https://account.xbox.com/en-US/gameclip/bbb433ec-28b0-42c7-813d-eaba6d7b9ae7?gamertag=robochrist2000&scid=80f60100-215b-4f08-8c68-2b353e5e3f4b

Mountains. Ice. Awesomeness

https://account.xbox.com/en-US/gameclip/b0579fc3-cf4a-4f90-8d01-8df5899e7bb9?gamertag=robochrist2000&scid=80f60100-215b-4f08-8c68-2b353e5e3f4b

AVALANCHE

https://account.xbox.com/en-US/gameclip/b0579fc3-cf4a-4f90-8d01-8df5899e7bb9?gamertag=robochrist2000&scid=80f60100-215b-4f08-8c68-2b353e5e3f4b

It’s like playing an Indiana Jones movie. It’s that good.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Dale’s Review

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Good Game. Bad Ending

Guys and girls, I have always enjoyed the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and have played every single one of them, simply for the sake of the story.  It gave me an opportunity to explore different periods of time, such as Renaissance Italy, or the Caribbean in the golden age of piracy, and those two benefits have been the best part of the AC franchise; with the exception of Black Flag which was simply an overall wonderful game and still the best of the franchise.

The two most recent installments, Unity and Rogue left much to be desired. Unity was a disaster of story telling and mechanics and might as well been called Assassin’s Creed: Glitch Fest 2014. I learned this the hard way when I went to air assassinate some poor son of a bitch and instead wound up missing the target and stuck standing inside of a wagon unable to escape, or be killed, my own personal Sisyphus legend. Obviously, the newest installment Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate had a lot of making up to do, and for the most part it does that, so lets get into this thing.

The Review

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate takes us into the shoes of Jacob and Evie Frye, sibling assassins in Victorian London.  An AC setting has never looked so beautiful. The game manages to capture the bleakness of London’s squalor in the 1800’s. Crouching atop Big Ben, and looking around offers a beautiful look at your surroundings. The thick black smoke rising from the smoke stacks of a distant factory, an almost endless stream of cargo boats cluttering up the Thames far below… this game does more than mimic Victorian London. This game IS Victorian London in all it’s beauty and squalor, which it magnificently melds here. The beauty of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben meshes perfectly with the dirt and squalor of the rest of London, where the few rich live large and the poor live in shit. The world is so exquisite I half expected to run into the characters from Penny Dreadful at some point.

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Seeing this for the first time is a truly special experience and what the AC franchise is all about

It’s Not A Game. It’s An Interactive Movie

Another aspect that adds to the entire experience is the soundtrack, the music in this game is absolutely exquisite, Syndicate single handedly has the best music since the incredible Black Flag soundtrack, an amazing mix of orchestral pieces and operatic pieces, this game is an interactive movie.

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics aren’t much different from the previous AC installments. However,  the use of separate protagonists, each with different personalities and skills, is a true triumph.  This allows each player to gravitate towards whomever suits their play style and personality.

Evie is slick, stealthy, and quiet and she prefers to kill that way, some people play this style of game so they will gravitate towards Evie, I am not one of them.

Jacob is more confrontational and, in my opinion is the stronger fighter. This is my personal style of play. I often find it faster, more fun,  and easier to engage in a straight up brawl. It’s much easier to complete your mission when all opposition is dead.

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more my style

A wonderful aspect that has been added into the AC world are the gangs. Jacob decides to conquer London via the streets, and his gang, The Rooks. Once you’ve conquered all the neighborhoods in a certain territory (such as Whitechapel) you’ll be challenged to a gang war. These are a lot of fun. I just wish they were bigger.

When I heard Victorian London gang war I expected the opening fight from Gangs of New York, not the fight from the end of The Outsiders (if that). Unfortunately there’s really only two gangs The Rooks and The Blighters. Including more gangs with some sort of politics system would have made this aspect of the game a lot more fun.

Power, politics and strategic alliances have always been a part of gang land.The gang aspect of the game should have been treated like the mafia, with multiple factions, and a hierarchy in place. This would have allowed for the player to conquer territory using a bit more strategy and savvy.  Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor’s nemesis system springs to mind. Imagine the possibilities if you could simply kill the leader of a rival faction in order to place an ambitious underling in charge, as a puppet leader.  Or offering the gang money and power in order to turn on their own leader. A system like that would have taken a fun aspect and turned it into a selling point, allowing a player to take over the streets using their own particular, unique brand of skill, savvy and savagery.

Weak Ending

The only real problem I can think of is the ending, which i won’t spoil for anybody here.  It does involve fighting a man in a magic shawl thing, and doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the game. Also, the problem with having such a beautifully built environment is that it makes you long to see what they can do with an Ancient Rome, Greece or Egypt.

The biggest problem in my mind with the AC franchise is the same problem I see with the Call of Duty franchise. It keeps going forward when there is still plenty of interesting ground to cover in the past.

Assassin’s Creed is now at the point where the Western world begins taking its modern shape. Guns, cannons, steam ships and railroads are beginning to rule the landscape, and considering they even lightly covered WWI in Syndicate, I don’t see how they can continue to go forwards in time.  Ubisoft basically has the beginning of man all the way up to the Crusades, and the eras in between installments to show us and let us play around in. Should they decide to go Elsewhere  I am definitely excited to see what the future has in store.

Welcome to the Brotherhood, boys and girls.

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First Look At Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate

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Click For Full Size

Victorian London From Atop Big Ben Assassins Creed Syndicate

If you click the monsters will get you

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Click For Full Size

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate For The Xbox One

Click The Link To See The Panorama Video

A Look At 19th Century London From Atop Big Ben

Dale is just messing around with the first play of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, on his Xbox 1, and he sent me this video. along with the following text.

texts video games assassin's creed mark and dale

“I’ve met Charles Dicken and Alexander Graham Bell, and won a gang war.”  That sounds promising. I would play that game. Especially given how gorgeous it looks. I hope Assassins Creed Syndicate delivers. Dale will be writing his review soon, so keep an eye out for that.

The Force is Strong with this One

star wars battlefront beta review

Beta Review

[NOTE: This was written when Beta was still open, and I was young, and flushed with enthusiasm. The Beta is now closed. Life is pointless.]

Guys, the Star Wars Battlefront beta is nearly closed, that’s why I felt the need to finally post my thoughts of it. To be honest, I was blown away.  The Walker Assault game mode is  the most pure fun I’ve had playing a game in some time, and I’ve already reviewed some good ones.

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The AT-AT’s are incredible.

Where It’s AT-AT

In Walker Assault you will play as either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire. If you choose the rebels the mission of you and your comrades is to activate relays, in order to call in your Y-Wings to bomb the ever living fuck out of the Imperial AT-AT’s, That is no easy task. The forces of the Galactic Empire will be determined to stop you, and the Empire will bring all their forces to bear on the rebel scum (yes, you will find yourself shouting that at your TV screen way more than you want to). These forces include AT-AT walkers, AT-ST’s, Tie fighters, Tie Fighter Interceptors and occasionally Lord Vader himself.

The most fun thing about Walker Assault is the fact that it is pure and utter anarchy. When you drop in, especially as an Imperial Storm Trooper, you find yourself in the snow staring up at a lumbering AT-AT, which looks ENORMOUS. When you finally get into the fight it’s mayhem. Think of the Omaha Beach scene in Saving Private Ryan. Like that.

Now one great thing about Battlefront is the use of vehicles. it gives the battle a potent sense of danger when you look around and see AT-AT’s firing their cannons, calling in orbital strikes… blaster fire is flying all over the place, tie fighters and X-wings are strafing and bombing the battle field, and chasing each other around, and crashing inches away from you. It certainly makes you feel like you are neck deep in a raging battle.

But Wait, There’s More

The experience is made even better by being able to pickup special objects and power ups. Whether it be a mounted machine gun blaster, an imploding grenade or a hero pickup, it certainly makes the game brim with possibilities. Especially the hero pickups. When you snag your first one, and are able to take control of either Luke Skywalker, or Darth Vader, the feeling is exhilarating. You run around with your lightsaber blocking blaster shots and watching your enemies fearfully try to escape you before you force choke their ass, while lifting their soon to be lifeless meat bag into the air,. All the while you probably laugh maniacally and terrify your neighbors. Maybe that’s why my neighbors never speak to me. The heroes are tough and it takes team work to take one down, but goddamn being one is fun.

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Gamers, I give you, your oh shit moment

Now, the other game modes are ok. The defend the pod multiplayer, and the survival mode, are good,  but really the Walker Assault game mode is the strongest aspect of this game.

November 17 Release

I can’t wait for the full game to come out! I can’t wait to pick it up and play some of the single player battles, and play more of the Walker Assault game mode on other planets, and in different environments. Judging by what I saw this game should be in every collection, and every kid’s Christmas list this year. it’s fun as hell and intense as hell, enjoy boys and girls and in the heat of battle remember:

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NHL 16 – Go Puck Yourself

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Hockey is man’s highest calling

NHL 16 Xbox One

Game Review

Today guys and girls we’re here to discuss NHL 16, the newest installment of EA sports’s annual NHL series. I’m happy to report that, overall,  the game is a return to form, after the disastrous NHL 15 . No more classic game modes like EASHL stripped,and replaced with Hockey Ultimate Team.  NHL 16 is fun, and the controls work well, so let’s get into the meat of the game.

There Is Much Hockey

The game looks absolutely incredible, from the reflections on fresh ice to the jerseys flowing as you skate, its a beautiful constructed game, much like NHL 15, only this time the great look of the game has functionality to go along with it, it truly does create the perfect atmosphere, with the great look, the roaring fans and even mascots for hype purposes the game truly creates a potent desire to be competitive and to create spectacular plays. One are the game could improve is the fans, any of us who have been to a hockey game knows that fans react in certain ways to certain situations, elevating their cheers when a solid play creates a big chance, and sounds of disappointment when on that chance the puck sails wide or the opposing goaltender makes an incredible save, fan reactions need to be shown and heard to give weight to the proceedings on the ice. I was sad to hear that this game had very few changes from NHL 15 in the commentating department, just Eddie Olczyk and Doc Emrick saying the same shit they said in NHL 15.

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Dangle, Drag, and Deke

Now on to the gameplay itself, the game works extremely well in my opinion, passing is crisp and often works, unlike NHL 15 where it seems pucks would often miss the mark for no reason, or just sail past the player you were trying to feed, in 16 you can actually defend the dreaded cross crease pass, where as in NHL 15 it was very difficult because often if you parked a player in-between the two offensive players on either side of the goaltender the pass would go right through and boom, goal horn, unfortunately the cross crease pass, if completed is still a trump card that goes in almost every time and is way, way overused, and immensely frustrating.  Unfortunately, EA Sports is a still a company that loves highlight reel hockey and caters the game to those who love to deke and dangle their way across the ice and through defensemen and sadly EA creates NHL games that reward the flashy players over those that play responsible hockey, hey EA, there’s a reason that when players dangle, toe drag and deke their way to a goal in the real NHL its so special and needs to be replayed over and over again, because it doesn’t work anywhere even half as often as it happens in your games.

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Y’All Are Babies

Sadly, there is one fatal flaw in NHL 16, and in all NHL games, that really hold them back from being great. It’s something EA will NEVER be able to fix and that is, the people who play them.

The people who play NHL games online are some of the biggest fuck faces i’ve encountered in my entire life. I know, I know. You meet douchebags in every game.  True. NHL games are full of them, people who seem to believe that they can’t lose and always deserve a win, to the extent that the majority will just rage quit when losing, I have a personal policy that I NEVER rage quit, ever, I’ve played sports, I still play sports, I come from a family of people who play sports, and I understand that in real sports you can never walk off the field just because you’re losing, it’s pathetic, I wouldn’t be able to have self respect if I walked off because I’m losing, this behavior is the product of spoiled American kids who get a trophy just for showing up and who’s parents spew bullshit like “everyone’s a winner”, no, not everyone’s a winner, people lose frequently, this creates a generation of people who now believe that they are entitled to the win and can’t accept even the possibility of losing. Seriously though, I’ve never been called so many shitty names before in my life, every time I log in and sit down for a game I prepare to basically get abused, in one week of online play I was referred to as a pussy, f***ot, n***er and a slew of other words simply for beating somebody, one guy even called me a pussy for not turning my mic on, “turn your mic on pussy, you’re a f***ot man, you’re a fucking f***ot”, I’m not the one who’s trying to talk to anonymous men on the internet buddy. Seriously though, I can’t stress enough how moronic most of the people who play this game are, unsportsmanlike conduct for all of them.

rangers salute

Mighty Dale Rules

in conclusion, if you’re a hockey fan this is definitely a game you need in your collection, everything works better than NHL 15, it looks really good and plays excellently, a few hiccups aside, its a good game and you’ll have a lot of fun playing it, just plug in, sit down, make plays and lighten the fuck up, Kirk out.