K&G’s Video Game Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2015

Video Game Holiday Buyers Guide 2015

Our Video Game Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2015 is now available! Every year we strive to highlight some of the best games to buy during the holiday season ranging from kid friendly titles all the way up to those games you should probably get for yourself. Most will be well-known titles, but we’ve slipped a few hidden gems in there we think you might enjoy.

If you think we missed a game that should be on our list, or if you have any questions, please let us know. We will be adding to this list periodically in the coming weeks because a few additional games are releasing that we want to make sure we try before recommending — so check back often.

Have a great holiday shopping season!

Star Wars Battlefront Review

Star Wars Battlefront Review

Star Wars Battlefront is out and, after much deliberation, I decided to purchase it after all. You may recall from my Battlefront Beta Impressions that I wasn’t thrilled by a few of the design decisions. I feared the game may be a short-lived phenomenon. I had a few concerns about the game’s longevity because of the maps, the modes, and the features. Now that I can play the full version, here’s how all of those things are playing out.

Maps & Modes in General

Thankfully there are a few more maps per mode than I had originally thought. The ‘biggest’ mode with 40 players has four maps (one on each planet). That brings up a good point: There are only four planets (Endor, Hoth, Sollust, Tatooine) comprising 12 maps, and those 12 maps are more like variations of the four planets or variations of the same map. While the diversity isn’t what I would have loved to see — like a Tattooine city. While not ugly in any way, most are very simple and somewhat flat without a lot of complexity to their impact on gameplay.

The modes are what you expect just with different names and range from capture the flag to dog fighting in ships. Except for the air battle mode, the modes are rather lackluster. Both Graev and I would have really loved to see a Conquest Mode similar to Battlefield. The modes for capture the flag and ‘droid run’ are fairly uninspired and lack a desire for much replayability since they drive combat closer to arcade grenade spam than they do tactical Star Wars battles.

battlefront ship battles

Longevity and Replayability

Herein lies probably the most important factor of all: Does Star Wars Battlefront have staying power? I have to go with my honest gut opinion here and say that it doesn’t have the staying power of shooters we all used to love and play 5-10 years ago. While fun, it’s more of that ‘flash-in-the-pan’ kind of experience. Some people call it the “Titanfall Effect” where its awesome, amazing, innovative, tons of fun, but you stop playing two or three weeks later.

The key to Battlefront’s long-term success rests entirely on how DLC and expansions to the game are handled. Unfortunately, EA doesn’t have the most amazing track record with its shooters — namely the modern Battlefields — and their staying power. I can’t see myself playing this 6 months from now. Does that mean I won’t get my money’s worth? That’ll be subjective. Personally, I’ll get enough hours out of Battlefront to justify the $48 I spent (Thanks to Best Buy’s game club I get 20% off new releases).

battlefront capture the flag mode

Guns, Unlocks, Customization, Etc.

I stated back in my beta impressions that this system was lacking. It still is. Simply gaining access to new things linearly as you level and then spending credits you earn to unlock and slot them is too simple. They are completely missing the customization of recent Battlefield games. Alternatively we could compare this to Battlefront 1 and 2’s class system which they are also lacking. Instead, everyone is the same and you can simply change your character’s ethnicity and/or take off your Storm Trooper’s helmet.

Battlefront’s Multiplayer Platform / UI / Framework

Here’s where they’ve started to make great headway. I really, really like how they handled multiplayer and playing with friends. Inviting friends on both PC & Console is easy. Forming a squad works seamlessly. Playing with Graev on the PS4 has never been easier. Being able to choose a “partner” from your group so that you can spawn on them is a very nice touch.

Battlefront, like every game these days (Overwatch, Fallout4, etc), is designed for consoles first. The UI is defined by that experience. An in-game example of this is how AMAZINGLY well the vehicle control on consoles but how poorly they are implemented on PC. The game is full of amazing control and UI decisions that I enjoy — on consoles.

Battlefront droid run mode

Challenge Modes & Singleplayer in Battlefront

There are a few singleplayer modes that work mostly like challenge modes. Graev and I have had some fun playing these. Two nights ago we spent 2 hours trying to beat them on hard mode and failed after being really far into one of them. The harder modes are absolutely brutal and a real test of skill. While trying to survive waves of storm troopers or capturing pods may be a lot of fun — and being able to do it co-op is even more fun — I can’t say this is a replacement for multiplayer. Battlefront is a multiplayer game.

Gameplay & General Fun

Despite my highly critical remarks so far, I feel that Battlefront is a very fun game. I am glad I bought it, and knowing what I know now I would still buy it again. I love the atmosphere. I love shooting blasters, flying X-wings, playing as Darth Vader (SO FUN), and strategizing with Graev on how best to defend our flag or take on incoming enemies.

Is Star Wars Battlefront worth buying? Yes, but go into this purchase knowing what to expect. Battlefront truly captures the Star Wars feel in a very modern way, but falls slightly short of bringing an innovative or new shooter experience.

Codsworth is a BAMF

I know that Star Wars came out today, but I won’t have my copy until tonight when I get home from work so my thoughts and videos will have to wait a bit there. Let’s talk more Fallout 4!

I was able to push past that power plant finally. I ended up being able to molotov the heck out of that room and got a few lucky shots off with my shotgun. What really did it for me was being able to activate some robot and put it into police mode. I think it killed a few raiders! At one point it turned on me though, and I don’t know why. So I had a robot AND those raiders AND their turrets on me…

Being able to interact with consoles and activate robots or the environment has been neat. I’ve found consoles to activate turrets, lights, alarms, robots, etc. Very neat that I can sort of come up with my own way to get past scenarios.

Getting past the power plant and being able to see fresh air again was nice. I made my way back to Sanctuary where I offloaded TONS of materials and upgraded my armor and planted lots of crops — built a radio transmitter too so I hope that my population grows!

I decided to swap out Dogmeat for Codsworth, and HOLY CRAP he’s amazing. He charges in and saws people in half! Stupid Dogmeat just runs in and detonates mines or provokes raiders into nuking me. Codsworth is like, “Mr. Doug shall I $&*# them up for you?!” Yes, please. I took Codworth on a few outings and we ended up liberating another settlement and clearing out a few other areas of raiders.

What I’m still struggling with is finding a decent gun. Guns aren’t dropping. Ammo is sorta dropping more now. So I have ammo but my guns are pipe rifles, pipe pistols, and a basic short barrel shotgun. Does my luck suck or do the better rifles/guns of any kind drop somewhere else? Oh, I did find another Fat Man nuke launcher. Can I break these down somehow? I’m trying to figure out how to scrap them. I thought it was at the weapons bench, but couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I missed it.

Today I’ll be playing lots of Star Wars, but tomorrow I’ll pick up on my adventure again. Now that I have the hang of things I’ll take some videos to go along with these entries. That way you guys can see the context and help me out.

So Many (Too many?) Games in November

November is just ridiculous. So many games came out and are still coming out on top of what was already a big October.

Fallout 4 came out and I have been experiencing that from a newb’s perspective. I’m taking it slow due to not having a ton of time to commit to playing, but loving the experience. I can see FO4 is easily going to take dozens of hours to do everything I want.

EverQuest has been a big lure for me these past two weeks. In these past two weeks I’ve gone from level 1 to 26 on my Monk on Ragefire, and I am having a blast. Planning to keep this going as long as my friends play. Check out our new little series below.

I’m also devoting a little bit more time to finishing up the last hour or two in Kingdom Hearts. Absolutely loved KH in my first ever play-through, and now I’m faced with having a bazillion more of them to get through before KH3. It’s a mountain I’ll enjoy climbing, but going to take some work to get through them.

Lastly, I’m still working through Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I will absolutely be writing up a full review on this one. My love for the AC franchise runs deep. Look for that to come in the next week or two.

Now… Star Wars Battlefront goes live in less that two hours. Yeah, ’nuff said.

What I haven’t even had time to acknowledge yet but have added to my Christmas List for friends and family to gift my way:

  • Legacy of the Void
  • Halo 5
  • LEGO Dimensions

How the heck am I supposed to play all of these games?! First world problems, but I haven’t had this predicament in a long, long time. Fantastic problem to have, though I do wish these companies would have come together and decided to space things out a bit.

Base Building in Fallout 4 is the Coolest Thing Ever

My adventure continues in Fallout 4 as I experience all things Fallout with the wide-eyed enthusiasm and ignorance of a complete newb. I mistakenly thought I was headed to Boston when an NPC (I think it was Codsworth) said the name, but turns out Boston isn’t anywhere in my near future. I spent several hours today playing and ended up making my way through much of Concord and Lexington — both of which were nicer when I visited them in real life and not so much when they are inhabited by mutants and raiders.

Roaming the Wastelands

While not nearly as post-nuclear fallout as I think it should have been, the world itself has a much more colorful and interesting feel than what I’ve observed in screenshots of other Fallout games. They did this for people like me who can only stand looking at so many shades of brown before I get bored. I like how I have an even more open sense of ‘roam the world and do whatever you want’ than even Skyrim. This is more on the Morrowind level of openness.

I… had no idea how much this game would bring out the hoarder in me. I search everywhere and collect everything. Every file cabinet, every house, every coffee mug. It might be useful! I must have it! Regretting that one point in strength about now. But what’s so cool about this game is that all of this stuff -is- useful. I -do- need all of it.

Base Building

My absolute favorite thing in Fallout 4 so far, and perhaps will remain so forever, is the base building. I spend hours scrapping crap, planting crops, making water collectors, decorating houses, etc. This is just SO COOL that I can take parts of the world and make them my bases. This has to be in all Bethesta RPGs moving forward and every game should simply rip it off moving forward.

I was particularly proud of myself when I built a water purifier in the river and wired it to a generator to collect water for my settlement. How cool is that?!

Tough Road Ahead

I got a little bit discouraged and ended up taking a break tonight after trying to help rid a power plant of raiders. Turns out they have turrets and molotovs and nukes and power armor of their own. I died a lot…

My biggest struggle right now is having to carry 4 different guns with different ammo types and never having ammo for the one gun I have that I WANT to use. I’m going Rifleman perk, and unfortunately my rifles feel like they deal about as much damage as shooting a BB gun at a tank. Finally found a nice rifle but it uses .308 instead of .38 ammo. Grr.

If not for being in the middle of this quest I would simply leave and come back, but I think I am on the last room of this plant. Once done I’ll have helped and perhaps claimed the settlement I was asked to assist. I hear better things are in my future if I can push past this part.

Oh, I did find a Fat Boy nuke launcher or something. I’m tempted to nuke this factory and be done!

I’ll happily take any advice you have for me on how I can get better weapons. Overall though, so far so good. I made lots of progress, got side tracked a bit looking for things, spent hours on my base, and I’m looking forward to my next play session.