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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...]

Toukiden

For the past several days I’ve been exclusively playing Bravely Default right up until Toukiden came out on Vita. I’m still playing BD but now I’m just switching back and forth between the two. There’s actually a lot of really cool stuff out on the Vita now and it’s only going to get better as the year progresses. More people should definitely consider picking the system up and especially so if they own or plan to own a PS4.

toukiden-logoToukiden is apart of the new “hunting” genre that seems to have been created since Monster Hunter first came out. The game actually borrows several elements from MH and other similar games like Soul Sacrifice. Basically, you undertake a mission from the hub town and get sent to a location that consists of several smaller zones linked together. Your goal is to slay demons rather than monsters, though. You also get a special vision mode that highlights hidden items and breakable parts of enemies, which seems lifted directly from Soul Sacrifice. Unless Soul Sacrifice borrowed it from something else–I have no idea, really.

windshredder

One of the demons you’ll fight in Toukiden.

When you fight the large monsters and break their parts (Arms, Legs, Tails, etc.) you have to do some kind of cleansing ritual to get rid of it and get the loot for that body part. The demon’s parts may be gone but there remains some kind of translucent spirit form behind. So if you cut off a giant demon’s leg he can still walk around with his spirit leg. If you don’t banish the cut off piece then it can get recalled back. I’m not entirely sure if they limbs do less damage or what but I imagine they must. It’s not like Monster Hunter though where you can cut off the tail or whatever and basically render that attack useless or less viable. EDIT: Supposedly in the manual it says that the spirit limbs actually do MORE damage but also take MORE damage. I’ve also noticed that when you destroy their limbs they trip and fall over more when doing specific attacks or charges.

With all of the demon parts and items you gather you can create weapons and armor. I’m actually really glad that this seems pretty much just like Monster Hunter. I was not a real fan of Soul Sacrifice having no gear and basically just being about collecting limited-use spells. Just like monster hunter you usually unlock new armor sets and weapons once you’ve tackled the latest thing and harvested its parts. Unfortunately the game doesn’t have any kind of regular crafting system so you can’t make tons of neat knick-knacks, traps, potions, or whatever. That’s one of my favorite parts about Monster Hunter.

toukiden-weapons

Some of the game’s weapons appear similar but for the most part play out a lot differently. There’s a long sword, dual blades, spear, gauntlets, flail & sickle combo, and bow. I feel like I’m forgetting something but I think that’s it. I’m honestly not a very big fan of many of the weapons. The flail and sickle combo looks awesome but it seems hard to use. I’ve mainly been sticking with the gauntlets which are slow but powerful and allow for some defensive options. One of my biggest gripes with the weapons is that it feels like their move pools are lacking. There’s not a whole lot for you to do with them or at least not a lot of options for tackling situations.

toukiden-gauntletAnother important part of the game are these spirit thingys called Mitama. They are souls of vanquished warriors that you infuse into your weapon. They gain exp or sorts and level up and unlock new passive bonuses. Each Mitama also comes with 4 special commands. The first is a recovery ability that heals you and seems to be on every mitama. Aside from that what you get depends entirely on the type you use. Defense mitama get abilities that increase your defense or let you block all damage and not get knocked around, attack mitama increase your damage/crit/etc, Soul mitama seems to be good for breaking parts, then there’s healing and speed types and so on. It adds another level to the combat which makes up for some of the shortcomings in some of the weapons.

Overall I’d say I’m very satisfied with Toukiden. It’s a lot better than Soul Sacrifice, which is still a good game in its own right, and is probably one of the better hunting games the Vita is likely to see over here. It can be a little unfair when comparing it to the latest Monster Hunter games, which are themselves sequels and expansions upon expansions, so you really have to judge it as the first game in it’s own series. Oh, and there’s also online play which is pretty awesome. If you see somebody running around named “Old Bastard” that would be me.

Tomb Raider: Fancy Hair Edition

Tomb-Raider-Definitive-EditionI recently picked up and beat Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for PS4. Having never played the original game I’m not entirely sure about the differences. Supposedly the graphics are much nicer and there are new skin lighting and hair physics or something like that. I don’t know the exact extent of all that was done but apparently it was enough to make it the “definitive” version of the game and it runs at 1080p and 60FPS. I don’t care so much about the 1080p part since my TV is only 720p but I guess the 60FPS is nice. Still, I find high frame rates to be a bit unnerving at times. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to playing PC games on my crappy computer and only getting like 15-20 FPS. I’ve never really been a frame snob like Keen.

So I figured I break down some of my favorite and least favorite aspects of the game.

+ The game play was actually pretty darn fun. It’s a third person shooter/action game that features a lot of environment traversal via jumping, climbing, rope sliding, and so on. The gun play felt nice and tight and I don’t have any real complaints in this regard.

+ You get a bow! Bows are cool! Every game should have a bow. Plus you can shoot rope arrows! Rope! On arrows! You’ll just have to trust in my enthusiasm. If you knew me then you might understand.

+ You can earn exp and purchase new abilities. Well, mostly passive abilities but still. You can get things that increase the salvage and exp you get or unlock abilities that make you a better killer. There are three different sections to choose from. Something like: Survival, Hunting, and… I’m blanking out. I think it’s weapon related. They aren’t really skill trees and you can pretty much choose anything you want to purchase aside from a few abilities which are linked, requiring a previous kill, and some abilities only unlock once you have purchased a certain number of skills.

+ Salvage can be used to upgrade your weapons, which is pretty awesome. You can increase stuff like damage, handling, and even add some new abilities to some like silencers, exploding arrows, fire shells, etc. Who doesn’t enjoy upgrading stuff? I wouldn’t care to know them!

+ The weapons are pretty cool. Aside from the bow you get an assault rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. As you upgrade them more and more you eventually get better versions of each. You also get a swanky climbing ax used for, well, climbing but you can also bury it into enemy skulls all sneaky like.

+ There are some optional tombs that you can raid (Oh, now I get it) which feature some pretty cool puzzles. I like puzzles and think all games should feature them. Why not, right? Keeps ya sharp!

+ There’s a lot of stuff to collect but fortunately it is made easier by some special glowy survival vision deal plus you can just find a map that shows the location of everything.

+ Fancy PS4 visuals plus it supposedly runs at 1080p 60FPS, if that’s your thing. [Read more...]

Rust

Rust Logo

We discovered an awesome game the other day called Rust.  It’s from the makers of Garry’s Mod, and it’s available right now in pre-release form via Steam for $19.99.  Rust is all about surviving in a world driven by player interactions.  The world in Rust is a hostile one full of dangers like bears, hunger, and 12 year-olds masquerading as internet tough guys.  Starting with just a rock as your only tool and weapon, you are alone in a world where even the nicest human being will revert to a vicious cave man and kill you for your shirt.

Keen and Graev's Rust Base

Our little base of operations made our of wood with a metal door.

Gathering resources and hoarding supplies are the key to survival.  Chopping trees gets you wood, smashing rocks gives ores, and killing animals yields cloth/leather/meat/etc.  Refining resources and using crafting recipes will allow you to turn wood and stone into a hatchet, metals into revolvers, and all sorts of incredibly useful tools to give you a leg up on everyone else.

Our first day in Rust was all about learning the ropes, gathering supplies, and learning the hard way that you can’t log off in a building with a wooden door.  Wooden doors can be chopped down to reveal your vulnerable body sleeping.  That’s right, you don’t disappear when you log out and your stuff is never safe. Every wall, post, door, floor, ceiling, etc., can be and placed and requires you to farm the materials.  It’s a lot of work but oddly addicting.

Keen and Graev crafting in Rust

Melting down metal allowed us to make bullets for our makeshift revolver.

Our second day we learned that a metal door can only be destroyed by explosives, and the odds that someone will waste their explosives on your humble abode are slim to none.  We actually lucked out… a guy we settled by forgot to shut his door before logging out and, well, Graev paid him a little visit while he slept.  Hey, don’t judge!  If we didn’t do it then someone else would have, and we wouldn’t have found enough resources to get us a metal door.  So now as I write this I pray someone doesn’t blow up my house and take all our hard earned stockpiles of raw chicken.

If the constant rush of adrenaline and heart-pounding, nerve-racking cutt-throat gameplay is what you crave, then Rust won’t disappoint.  If you’re not quite up to it, or have blood pressure issues, you can always play on a server without PvE.  There are even servers running mods to add functionality and remove some of the frustration.  My plan tomorrow is to give these other servers a try.

Though still in “alpha,” Rust is worth the $20 and I expect it to be quite a hit as features continue to be added.  We will continue to follow Rust during its development and tell you about any fun or interesting adventures.

Dead Rising 3

Dead Rising 3

My time has been split between a lot of games lately, and I haven’t really written about much. I keep hopping between new stuff on PS4 and Xbone One while also finishing up some 360/ps3 and Wii U games. In the end it makes progress pretty slow, but I’ve finally played enough of Dead Rising 3 to write my thoughts.

General Info

I’ll give a brief explanation for those that might not be familiar with the games. Basically, there is a period of several days, something like five, and you have to survive a zombie infested area while completing various story missions. Optional side objectives will pop up now and then and you have a limited amount of time to complete them before they are gone for good. There are tons of objects littered around for you to bash zombies with or you can even combine items to make some rather sinister combo weapons. Depending on how well you do and what you can accomplish within the time limit you get a specific ending.

Dead Rising 3 MapThe game was immediately familiar since I had played the previous two games. At its core it seems to have maintained most of its original mechanics without screwing things up too much. The biggest change that I noticed is the ability to choose between a Story and Nightmare mode. The first gives you a generous amount of time to explore and complete goals and also autosaves your progress. Nightmare Mode is like previous Dead Rising games and the clock is constantly ticking fast so you have to make sure you complete objectives, explore, and rescue people within the time you have. I went with Nightmare Mode since I really liked the pace of the first two games and because I hate having a good time. [Read more...]