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Mario Golf: World Tour – A Hole In…Fun?

maro-golf-world-tour-logo

That title doesn’t really make any sense, but I figured we need to start being trendy and make puns out of our review titles. What I’m curious about is whether that sounds negative or not. A hole-in-one is a good thing but I imagine a hole in your fun is less desirable. Then again, it isn’t saying there is a hole in a one but rather that the hole was hit in one shot, right? So if you say hole-in-fun would that mean that they made it fun on the first try? If you read through this entire paragraph then I just wasted precious moments of your life. No refunds.

So I should probably clarify that I do think that the game is very fun. I haven’t played any of the previous Mario Golf titles but I have heard good things about them. Well, at least about the Camelot developed ones. I heard those had some RPG elements which sounds pretty cool to me. Camelot did make this game as well but from what I’ve seen there do not seem to be any RPG elements. Sounds like kind of a stupid thing to be disappointed over; not having RPG stuff in your golf game. Still, the game is very enjoyable. [Read more...]

FFX HD, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Other Stuff

I have been bouncing around a lot of stuff lately and I believe I have covered some of it. Stuff like ESO and Age of Wonder 3. There are several things that I’m not sure I can make an entire post out of but I figured if I mash it all together then it might fill a page, right? Insert official K&G Seal of Quality here, or at least pretend it is.

FFX/X2 HD – VITA

I went with the Vita version of this over the PS3 version mainly for ease of use. It may not look quite as good but I’ll probably never know or care about the difference. When these were originally released on the Playstation 2 I did own both of them but never actually finished them. After playing X for several hours I think I remember why. The game isn’t bad or anything and the combat and sphere grid is actually pretty good. Unfortunately I must have forgotten how cringe-worthy parts of the game were. The dialogue, the way it’s delivered by the VA’s, weird characters… I feel embarrassed even when I have headphones in and nobody can see what I’m doing. That’s actually pretty interesting since I do remember playing this years ago and having people walk by every single time something weird or awkward happened. Though I’m sure everybody has experienced that with some game.

Sad Spider-Man

Yeah, a little like that.

Amazing Spider-Man 2: THE “GAME”

Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually really let me down. I’ve purchased almost every single Spider-Man console game for TEN years now and have really yet to be disappointed or regret a purchase. Sure most of them may be just average titles but there are a few really good ones. Even then just by being a big Spider-Man fan it can bump up the enjoyment factor by quite a bit. So after a decade of satisfaction I made the unfortunate decision to purchase this Spider-Man game without waiting for reviews or doing any research.

There just really isn’t anything good I can say about the game. The swinging mechanics improved in some ways but do way more wrong than they do right. The combat is a shallow Arkham Batman ripoff and remains tedious throughout the entire experience. The city is mostly devoid of anything actually interesting to do except for boring, repetitive tasks that affect your heroic level. Completing said tasks rewards you with essentially nothing while failing to do them will punish you with huge energy barriers blocking swinging paths and drones flying up your ass. I don’t even want to talk about or acknowledge this thing anymore. I told Keen to get it out of my house because the sight of it made me ill. He came back instead with a copy of Mario Golf, which might as well be alchemy since he just turned shit into gold.

COMING SOON: Mario Golf & Kirby Triple Deluxe

I just got these in the mail Friday and I’m loving them both quite a bit. Right now I don’t feel quite ready to share my thoughts but I do plan on doing a write-up for both games or if it comes down to it I’ll just write half a post for each and mash it together.

Other Stuff: Caverna: The Cave Farmers

We ordered this quite a while ago and I think it’s actually due to be delivered anytime now. We haven’t written about board games in a while so this should provide for some interesting content when it eventually gets here.

Other Stuff: Is SPACE ENGINEERS any good?

I see this on Steam every day and it keeps chanting my name and saying “Buy me!” Keen thinks it looks boring but I’m not so sure. Anybody tried it out? What kind of survival do you have to do? An inquiring mind needs to know.

Age of Wonders III

We actually stumbled upon this game like we do most of them these days. The conversation went something like this:

Graev: Hey, look at this game on Steam. Looks pretty cool, huh?

Keen: Oh is that, Age of Magic or Mystic or something? I’ve heard good things about that.

Graev: *Looks at name* No, it’s not that. *Browses around Steam a little more* Do you mean this? Age of Wonder 3?

Keen: Yeah, I think so.

Graev: Yeah this looks fun too. Let’s get it.

We run a real tight ship over here.

So What Is It?

age-of-wonders-3-empireI had no idea what Age of Wonders 3 was before I saw it and I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever heard of the series either. To be fair, there seems to be a mess load of games that start with “Age of” and end with something different like Empires, Mythology, Wushu, Conan, Conquest, and a crap-load of other stuff. From what I could tell by looking at screenshots it appeared to be like a Civilization game but with turn-based combat thrown in the mix. The concept seemed fun enough so we gave it a go and ended up playing four hours straight (Which you wont get out of me often). I don’t really feel like delving into the mechanics of the game, which we are both still figuring out anyway, so instead I’m going to talk about some aspects of the game that I really enjoy. I also might throw in a couple of things that irk me as well, depending on how things go. Also I should mention that it is a turn-based game. I was almost finished writing the post and I wasn’t sure if I had mentioned that before. You can do either simultaneous turns or classic.  [Read more...]

Starlight Inception on PlayStation Vita

I have many fond memories of playing TIE Fighter when I was younger and it is still probably my all-time favorite Star Wars game. You’d think that it would have turned me onto other stuff like Wing Commander, but I actually never gave those a try. TIE Fighter is pretty much the only space combat “sim” that I have played but I still really enjoy the game type. It was just the other day when I was browsing the weekly PlayStation store update when I noticed that something called “Starlight Inception” had released on the Vita. I checked it out and apparently it was a successfully funded Kickstarter project and also released on the PC. Since I’ve been drifting more towards handheld gaming lately I was more interested in the Vita version so I reached out to Escape Hatch Entertainment and they were kind enough to drop us a review code. I can’t speak for the PC version of the game but these are my thoughts on the Vita version.

starlight inception space combatVisuals & Presentation

I knew that the Vita version was obviously going to be a downgrade visually but that doesn’t really bother me. TIE Fighter still looks great to me. The visuals are pretty rough, though. When walking around the interior of the main ship (which you do entirely too slow by the way) things look rather plain. However, after I actually got into my first mission I was pretty impressed by the space visuals and how everything looked. The game may not look as nice as its PC counterpart but it gets the job done. Honestly the only things I wish it had were a few particles here and there to give me the feeling that my ship is actually moving but that’s just me nitpicking.

The second mission was pretty awkward. You fly around near the surface of a city which had just recently suffered an explosive attack. The problem is that it mostly looks like a large gray wall with buildings sprouting up as if the view distance was incredibly short distance. I actually tried to find a youtube video of this scene for the PC version and after viewing it I kind of understand what they were doing for that mission. The problem is that pretty much all of the extra effects that actually make that scene work are missing from the Vita version. [Read more...]

Disney Magical World Part 2

Now for the continuation of my Disney Magical World review.

Worlds to visit in Disney Magical World

There are four connected worlds that you can head out to explore. They are Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh. They may not be called specifically that but you get the idea. Before you first set off to these worlds you are summoned by Yen Sid, the intense-looking sorcerer guy from Fantasia that I seriously think looks like Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire, but I won’t go there… Anyway, he tells you about ghosts and sets you up with your first wand. In other worlds you will play through several episodes that will have you fighting off ghosts. You can make yourself stronger in each world by crafting more powerful wands and adventure outfits from the components that you find there. These adventure levels are full of crafting materials, some of which can be on the rare side, and will require subsequent playing for gathering purposes.

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

Defeat ghosts with your wand!

The gameplay of these areas is rather simple. You have a main attack along with a magic attack that has a set number of uses. There’s also a dodge ability and you can charge your main attack up to make it stronger. Still, I find these episodes to be very enjoyable and they offer some great variety to the game. Some of them aren’t exactly easy either. You may get a ton of gems which can be used to heal and resurrect you but the more of them you keep for the end of the level the more treasure you obtain. So sometimes you will be trying to scrape by with half a heart left because you want your best chance of finding that stupid rare rock or whatever. Some worlds also offer some additional gameplay elements. Cinderella, for example, lets you attend Balls which play out in a rhythm game fashion. It doesn’t seem overly complex when compared to similar offerings but I’m bad at it all the same. [Read more...]

Disney + Animal Crossing = Disney Magical World

disney-magical-worldWell, pretty much anyway. Disney Magical World might be more like Animal Crosing -lite or Diet Animal Crossing but it makes up for this with several cool features that you can’t find in Animal Crossing. Like in AC, the game progresses in real time. However, unlike AC the time of day doesn’t affect very much. The only real significant things I noticed are visual changes, shop item changes, and requests and whatnot changing out every 12 hours. The time of year does seem to play a part though given that right now in my game there are giant easter eggs and bunny outfits all over the place. I’m actually very excited to see what shows up around Halloween and Christmas but I can only hope the game can keep me interested that long.

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

Meet Mickey Mouse and all sorts of wonderful characters

What’s it like? What can you do in Disney Magical World?

Well, the game takes place in a small kingdom setting that consists of a main square with several connecting paths that lead off to shops, the castle, and other worlds.The main hub is full of normal people like yourself but is also spotted with various Disney characters from Mickey’s universe. So you will see characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and several offshoot characters like Scrooge, HD&L, and Chip & Dale. Every now and then additional Disney characters might pop in as well.

As for spending your time, you can fish and pick various materials that regenerate over time and sell that at McDucks to earn some extra cash. The far better way to earn money seems to be running your Cafe that you acquire early in the game. When you are done with that you can head off to one of the four connected worlds to complete various special episodes. With all of the money and materials you rake in from all of these things, you can create tons of different outfits and furniture to furnish your cafe and room. I’ll further delve into some of these things below. [Read more...]

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare – The BEST shooter I’ve played in years

Plants-vs-zombies-garden-warfare

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare came out near the end of February with pretty much no hype or fanfare. I’m not entirely sure if it was really marketed at all. It was actually several weeks later that I noticed it had indeed come out, initially on Xbox One and 360 only, and that’s when I started paying attention. After watching several videos and streams I just knew it was something I would enjoy, and I was totally right.

The Basics

pvz-engineerThe game is a third-person shooter with the Plants vs. Zombies theme. Garden Warfare is essentially multiplayer only but you could play split-screen offline if you really wanted to. There are several modes including a horde-style defense mode where four plants defend their garden from waves of AI zombies, your regular TDM mode where you have to get 50 kills, Gardens & Graveyards where zombies are trying to push through 6-7 gardens to complete their objective while the Plants defend, and a newly added Gnome Bomb mode where each side has pickup the gnome and use it to blow up three objectives. Gardens & Graveyards is easily my favorite but I do enjoy all of the versus modes. The horde-style defense mode, the name of which escapes me right now, is one that I haven’t quite put a lot of time into. Mainly because it’s the kind of thing that requires good communication and a certain level of competency that I have yet to find. [Read more...]

inFamous Second Son

infamous-second-son

I just beat inFamous Second Son the other day and overall I enjoyed the experience even if there were some annoyances along the way. For those unfamiliar with the series, you play as a person with special powers in an open city environment. Along the way you make clear-cut moral decisions that give you either good or evil karma which determines how the story plays out and what kind of powers you can utilize.

Presentation

The game looks very good but not quite as good as some of the early footage we’ve seen. I don’t know what the framerate is exactly but it definitely didn’t feel stable. It really only seems to hit the low side during really large battles with a lot going on, especially if you activate your “kill everything on the screen” ability. Other than that I mostly experienced fluctuations on the higher end because I kept noticing sudden bursts of disorienting smoothness. That sounds stupid when I read it back but I don’t know how else to describe it. Personally I find that kind of thing jarring and really prefer a stable framerate.

The story takes place some time after the events of the first two games but doesn’t follow any of those characters. You play as a beanie-wearing and vest enthusiast who also likes to graffiti on the side. Along with having one of the most punchable faces I’ve seen he also sports a curiously stupid name: Delsin. It sounds like a dandruff shampoo and cold-medicine mash-up. I pretty much maintained that sentiment for a while before the game even came out. I later found out it is apparently a Native American name, which the character is, so cue white guilt and all that. At least until the character basically admits in a side conversation that his name is stupid and his mom got it from an old western movie. Now I don’t feel so bad. [Read more...]

Albion Online Alpha

Albion Online is a F2P sandbox MMO currently in alpha.  We received keys to participate in the alpha test that began this evening which ended up being so much fun that I had to jump on here and share my thoughts.  I would have had this post up yesterday evening shortly after playing, but my poor little laptop BSOD’d and I lost the whole thing. :(

Albion Online UI

UO meets Action RPG

Think of Ultima Online + a little bit of action RPG and you’ll start to form the foundation of Albion Online.  Played from an isometric perspective, Albion Online offers a completely sandbox experience on any device.  I was shocked to see that you can play cross-platform on iOS, Android devices, PC, etc.

 

Building

Players in Albion are able to build structures out in the world.  From what I can tell, there appear to be pre-designated spots close to the main city.  I haven’t explored far (the world is pretty dang big) enough to see if it opens up to more of a ‘place anywhere’ mechanic.  You can place storage buildings to help you store all of your heavy resources (there is a carry capacity), crafting stations, buildings to decorate, etc.  Like UO, you are safe in your building unless you built in the guild warfare areas.

Gathering and Skills

Albion Online Skills

This is about 5% of the skill menu

From the moment I started playing I realized how much time I could lose to this game.  The very first thing I had to do was gather wood, stone, and hides to craft myself some basic tools and armor.  I recommend making a shield and adding the Shield Wall spell — great survivability!  After crafting my tools I realized that everything in-game seems to be driven by the skill menu.  This skill menu is MASSIVE and makes Path of Exile look tame. [Read more...]

Project Spark

We just discovered an awesome little game/tool called Project Spark.  I remember back at E3 they showed off this new tool that would allow players to create their own games, build their own worlds, and (hyperbole) revolutionize the way games are played.  Well, it’s now available for people to try on Xbox One and Windows 8.

I was skeptical, but after playing around for a few hours I am totally loving what this thing can do.  I’ll try and explain a very broad overview of Project Spark, but you really need to watch the video I made to truly understand.  It’s a long one, so use the times below to jump to different parts that may interest you:

  • Creative mode (01:30-12:25)
  • Someone made the Original Fable RPG (12:31)
  • Pinball (17:47)

Project Spark Create ModeCreate Mode

The possibilities in Create Mode aren’t endless, but they are closer than anything else I’ve experienced.  Creating any kind of game from a platformer to a fully realized RPG is as simple as hand-crafting the terran, adding props, and “scripting” (Koding, as Project Spark likes to call it) the gameplay.  Utilize Kode is simple because everything is built with intuitive ‘when’ and ‘do’ statements.  When X occurs, do Y.  The interface offers visual cues to follow, and if you have any experience playing games you will know what to look for when trying to make the game play how you would expect.

Add, subtract, expand, erode, smooth, blockify — it’s all there.  After playing EverQuest Landmark for so long, I felt like Project Spark was almost too easy.  Not that Landmark makes things difficult, but Project Spark’s terrain tools are so natural feeling that I really sort of with Landmark could be this easy.  Project Spark’s limitations are really only in what props can be placed.

Project Spark Zombie GamePlay Mode

Play everything from a fully realized RPG, 3D platformers like Mario 64, or side-scrollers like Donkey Kong.  All of these can be made in the create mode then be shared and played.  I get a huge Warcraft 3 custom game vibe from Play Mode.  Looking at all the Tower Defense, Defend the point, and mini-RPGs out there it’s like the perfect ‘game’ to play when you are itching for that custom map experience.

Marketplace

Project Spark is free to play, so the developers are making their money via a marketplace.  You can buy tokens or earn credits.  Both will let you buy assets to use in-game when building.  You can buy individual props (everything from barrels to characters like a Knight) or new textures.  You can buy entire packages to make castles, new spell effects, new abilities, sounds, etc.  If you are serious about making games and love to get feedback from people who vote on them, etc., then you will love Project Spark’s marketplace.  I’m unsure as to whether or not there will be monetization for people to be able to sell their creations or not.

Check out the video above for a more in-depth look at Project Spark.