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Assassin’s Creed Rogue Review: A Must Play

Assassin's Creed Rogue Story

This post will contain spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Unity, III, etc.

Assassins’ Creed Rogue launched the exact same day as Assassin’s Creed Unity, received absolutely no press, and launched on “last-gen” consoles. Rogue’s fate was sealed before it even launched, and for whatever reason fell by the wayside as a game I had not even heard of — even as a major fan of the franchise — until just a few months ago. I’m glad I played because Rogue is easily one of the best in the entire series.

A Return to Great Storytelling

You’ll recall from my Unity review that I felt like Ubisoft abandoned the fantastic (and horrifically complex) story they’ve been telling for so many years. Rogue doesn’t suffer from these issues. In fact, Rogue not only bridges entire series into a complete package that actually makes sense — it actually brings clarity to Unity’s story!

You play as Shay Patrick Cormac, a novice to the Assassin order. After the Assassins keep making terrible decisions regarding the pieces of Eden and implementing an end justifies the means approach, Shay decides he has had enough and tries to put a stop to the needless bloodshed. He goes against the Assassins and ends up unknowingly joining the Templars as he seeks to help the British colonies defend themselves against the French. Ultimately he realizes he has more in common with the Templars, joins their ranks, and becomes instrumental in obliterating the Assassin Order in the colonies. Continue reading

Rogue Legacy PS4/Vita

rogue-legacy

Rogue Legacy came out on PC a year or so ago but just recently made its way to consoles. Despite being an avid fan of roguelikes and rogue”lites” I never got around to playing the PC version. Recently we were able to get a review code from Cellar Door Games for the Playstation version of the game and I have been playing it non-stop ever since.

What kind of game is Rogue Legacy?

Rogue Legacy plays like an action platformer with roguelike elements. However, I also get a major MetroidVania vibe due to how the map and game levels are laid out. Not only that but the enemy types and variety along with the character combat remind me a lot of 2D Castlevania games. Your character runs around a castle setting fighting off skeletons, armored knights, floating eyeballs and skulls, elemental wizard guys, etc. Your main weapon is a sword which you can swing with but you also can do a downward thrust attack Scrooge McDuck Style, though you only bounce off of enemies and only slightly. You also get a secondary attack in the form of a spell like an arcing axe or throwing daggers. Like I said, very reminiscent of Castlevania sub-weapons. There’s also a very heavy emphasis on platforming elements and while you are making your way through the game you will have to avoid hazards like spikes, turrets, and fireballs as you make your way through corridors and between platforms.

rogue-legacy-ps4What are the roguelike aspects?

Whenever your character dies in Rogue Legacy (and you will die a lot) you take over as one of your descendants. You get a choice between three characters with different random configurations. There are several character classes in Rogue Legacy and they all have different strengths and weaknesses along with a special ability that can be unlocked. Your choice of character can also come with a variety of different and interesting traits. Some of these are just fun and offer cosmetic changes, like Color-Blind which makes everything black and white or I.B.S which makes you fart occasionally. Some of the traits can actually be beneficial like O.C.D. which lets you gain mana by breaking environmental objects. Gigantism increases your sprite size but also increases your swing range while conversely dwarfism makes you really small and shortens your range but lets you access a lot of secret areas. However a lot of the traits can be just awful and really impact how you play, like with Vertigo, Far-sighted, and Near-sighted.

Your progress in the castle and adjoining areas will be reset and randomized upon your death, aside from major bosses which stay dead. Fortunately there are lots of things you can do with all the gold you find stashed away. You do retain all of your gold upon death and in your next life you can use it to put points into a skill tree of sorts. There’s a lot of passive abilities that increase your hp, mana, and stats but some unlock access to new classes, class abilities, and merchants. Once you have a blacksmith you can use your gold to buy new equipment, provided you find the blueprints for the gear in the castle. The Enchantress can give you up to five different bonuses depending on the runes you find within the castle. These can increase your speed, how much gold you earn, give you double jump, let you fly for a short while, etc. If you double up on runes it actually increases the effect so if you equip two of the jump runes (or whatever it’s called) you can actually jump two additional times mid-air. The last merchant is the architect and he will keep the previous castle layout but you will only get 60% of the loot inside. It also lets you teleport to and retry bosses.

Final Thoughts

Rogue Legacy is essentially everything I want in a game like this. Great art style and music, fast-paced and difficult action, and gameplay mechanics that keep me playing for hours on end. The PSN version of the game is also cross-buy and cross-save compatible. In fact, Rogue Legacy has the best cross-save that I’ve seen of any game yet. Your saves are automatically synced (but it can be done manually) and it’s really easy to jump between platforms. I’m spent quite a few hours with the Vita version and it is just as good as the console counterpart. So if you have a PS3/PS4/Vita or any combination of them you should really consider checking this game out. Or if you don’t then it’s always available on PC but I’d recommend you play with a controller since I imagine trying to play this with a keyboard would be a nightmare. Anyway, for what it is I find Rogue Legacy pretty perfect or at least as close as you can get in this kind of game.

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Ragnarok Odyssey Ace & Pushing Keen out of his gaming comfort zone

ragnarok-odyssey-aceGaming for us may have mostly taken off with PC games but prior to that we did invest a good deal of time playing stuff like our Master System, Super Nintendo, and later on the N64 and PS2. We used to play all kinds of different stuff together but over the years he has withdrawn into a near impenetrable shell that doesn’t have much room for anything other than MMOs and a few other games. Getting him to even try other types of games can be incredibly difficult.

For years I’ve been trying to get him to play a Monster Hunter game with me but that hasn’t had much success at all. I think I might have mentioned a while back that the first attempt saw my PSP thrown to the ground in frustration. Anywho, a while back I discovered another game in the “Hunting Genre” called Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. From what I could tell it was the updated version of the game like Ultimate was for Tri. I picked it up for my Vita and after playing it for a short while I figured that I might be able to get him to try playing this with me.

Monster Hunter may not have drawn him in initially, but Ragnarok looked like it might do it. Bright colors, Norse-ish theme, wizards, etc. Plus the combat seems more approachable than Monstrer Hunter. If I couldn’t get him to try this out then there was really no hope. After a lot of complaining, guilt-tripping, extortion, and pestering I was finally able to convince him to play it with me. We downloaded the PS3 version of the game (which can play with the Vita as well) and gave it a go. Continue reading

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Quick Thoughts on Dark Souls 2

I’m a big fan of the Dark Souls games, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Dark Souls 2.  I’ve only put in around 15 hours so I haven’t seen too much of the game yet. Had I not gotten the game two days late and restarted my character five times I would probably be farther along. Still, there’s a lot of interesting changes worth noting, both positive and negative.

Spells Require Stamina

This is actually a pretty big deal. Your spells still have a limited number of charges but they also require stamina to use. So after you run away or roll to the side to avoid a nasty blow you have to regain enough stamina to cast your spells. This is pretty much why I decided not to try playing a caster on my first go through.

Cool New Covenants

I really like most of the new Covenants they added to the game. There is a decent mix of co-op and pvp along with some new PvE covenants. There’s a Champion one, for example, that makes the game more difficult and disables all summoning so you have to do it yourself. Another interesting one is the Blue Sentinals, a PVP covenant that summons people to defend members of the Way of the Blue co-op covenant when they get invaded by enemy players.

Soul Memory

This a record of all the souls you have acquired. I believe the idea of it is to prevent people from making low-level characters with powerful gear to invade the worlds of new players. Some people also claim that this prevents co-op summoning if the range is above 500k or something like that. It seems that nobody is exactly sure about the mechanics of this but it sure is bothering a lot of people. Continue reading

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Thief Disappointment

I played the original Thief games when I was younger and since then they have been the standard that all other stealth games get measured by. When I heard that a new Thief game was being made I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that it would be as good as the originals, but it looked interesting enough to try anyway. I’m not very far in the game yet, only up to chapter 3, but I have several things that I wanted to talk about.

Garrett the ThiefDifficulty Customization

Originally, I decided to try playing the game as they had designed it. I picked the hardest difficulty and left every other setting at default. I got all the way up to chapter three before I could no longer take such a patronizing experience. For some reason it seems devs think modern gamers are incredibly inept at playing games and require giant waypoint arrows, visual meters that show the alert level of guards, and special vision modes that make everything intractable light up like a Christmas tree. Fortunately the game allows you to customize the difficulty options in an attempt to make the game feel like the originals. You can disable anywhere saving, the aiming reticle, the focus vision mode, etc. So after turning on essentially every limitation and disabling waypoint arrows, and pretty much everything else, I started over. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that is still same about the game. Even though the focus vision mode is turned off you will still see climbable spots glowing with an offensive blue tint and even though the reticle is turned off objects will still highlight when you aim at them, which essentially is the same thing. Continue reading

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South Park: The Stick of Truth

south-park-stick-of-truth

The new South Park RPG comes out today and we were lucky enough to get an early review copy from Ubisoft. It probably goes without saying that the game is full of violence, cursing, and a whole lot of other offensive content, but it’s South Park so that should be fairly obvious by now. The show has been on for over 15 years or something, so I’m sure most people who would complain about anything are probably burnt out by now. But hey, at least it seems like they go out of their way to insult everybody rather than any specific thing.

cartman-the-stick-of-truthPresentation and Story

The Stick of Truth looks pretty much just like the TV show. Admittedly, I’ve only seen sporadic episodes from the first several seasons but they seemed to replicate the aesthetic rather well. The music is also fantastic and features a lot of pieces that fit really well with the fantasy motif. As far as I can tell all of the voice actors seem to be the same people that do the TV show, and the whole game seems stuffed with various cameos and references.

In the beginning you take on the role of the “New Kid” and create your very own South Park character. The creation is fairly limited but you are able to pick from several hair styles and colors, a base outfit, and even skin color (Which does influence a few conversations in a way I’m sure you can imagine.). Once you are in the game you can wobble around and explore your environment which consists of parts of South Park (Some neighborhood streets, downtown, etc.). Almost immediately you will find your way over to Cartman’s backyard and be asked by the grand wizard himself to join the KKK — the Kingdom of Kupa Keep. It’s then that you get to choose between one of four classes: Fighter, Mage, Thief, or Jew. I’m actually very curious as to how many people do a double take at that point in the game. Anyway, through most of the game you will essentially be taking part of the kids’ fantasy game that has the humans and drow elves waging war over the fate of The Stick of Truth which grants the bearer powers over the universe. Continue reading

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Our Holiday Buyer’s Guide

We’re a little late getting our guide up this year, but that’s because we wanted to ensure we played enough of the games we are recommending. With the launch of the Xbox One, PS4, and release of so many games for the last-generation hitting stores so close to the end of the year, it was a little overwhelming to go through all of the titles and find the best ones to recommend.

If you’re looking for a gift for the gamer in your life, or simply want to ensure you spend that Christmas cash right, we hope our guide will be of use to you. Be sure to ask us if you have any questions not addressed in our guide. Note: Some games are multiplatform but we included them for the consoles we played them on.

Click on the hardware to see our gaming recommendations.

PS4
Xbox One
wii-u
Last-gen
3ds
PC-Gaming

 

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XCOM: Enemy Within Review

xcom-enemy-within

I’m not sure how long it’s been since Enemy Unknown came out but I do remember it was one of my favorite games that year. It might have even been among our personal GotY back then. The new expansion just came out and 2K was generous enough to supply us with a review copy. Enemy Within does not disappoint and expands upon an already fantastic game.

Usually when I hear about an expansion pack I assume the content takes place after the original, but that’s not really the case with Enemy Within. It adds a bunch of stuff on top of the already existing game which I suppose makes sense. The original game’s story was already a minor aspect of the game which in the end was more about playing through multiple times, etc. Kind of like playing through a game of civilization where you’re really making your own story. So it does of course retread through the original game’s content but there are a lot of nice additions that make playing and replaying fun again.

I’m going to break down most of the new stuff here.  Read on! Continue reading

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Finishing Up Last Gen

I haven’t posted in a while because I’m currently trying to wrap up as many backlog PS3 and 360 games as I can before the new systems come out. Not only that but there are several Wii U games I’m still playing, but I’m not in such a hurry with those. I feel all sorts of things when a console generation winds down and a new one is set to start. Mostly just stress, though. Anywho, I figured I’d write about some of the last games I’m playing from this generation of consoles.

batman-arkham-origins

Batman Arkham Origins

This particular game seems to be getting mixed reviews. It’s not made by the same guys who made the previous 2 Batman games and in all honesty it’s just more of the same. That’s not such a bad thing, though, especially since Arkham City was a fantastic game. It may not do too many new things, but what is does is still enjoyable.

My main gripes with the game would be the following:

– It’s partially the same city layout as Arkham City so it feels like a lot of retreading.

– A lot of the new areas seem to have rather poor grapple points. It’s really difficult to latch on to high places and trying to make your way across the city can be a chore.

– The combat seems to have been tweaked a little. You don’t seem to be able to interrupt your animations anymore to counter somebody. I suppose this makes the combat system a little more realistic but it really messes with you when you are used to the old system.

– Pretty much the entire voice cast has been replaced. They’re pretty decent soundalikes but I can tell and to be honest it irks me.

– A little bit glitchy. Sometimes things don’t seem to trigger right and I’ve fallen through the floor several times along with some enemies which makes it impossibleto kill them.

As bad as it may sound… it really isn’t. I’m still having a blast roaming around the city and pretending to be Batman while growling out one-liners. There are several pros to the game that I should also mention.

+ The story isn’t that bad — It’s actually kind of interesting. I wasn’t really expecting that, especially since I don’t think they brought back Paul Dini to do it.

+ Some of the new gadgets are pretty cool. I particularly like the remote claw which can shoot out a batclaw to a target and then launch an additional line to something else like a propane tank or fire extinguisher or another guy. It’s fun to play around with.

+ Getting to actually visit the Batcave is nice. You can do challenge missions there and talk to Alfred

+ There’s a neat crime scene mode where you reconstruct what happened to a victim and gather new clues and info. It’s cool to see Batman do some of his detective work, which I’ve always been a fan of.

So yeah, I enjoyed it and I think most people who like the originals will as well. It really just depends on if you can enjoy more of the same, especially if it’s more of something that was already really good.

LEGO-Marvel-Superheroes

Lego Marvel Superheroes

Keen and I were both blown away by this game. Being huge fans of the Lego games we’ve come to expect quite a lot but I don’t think either of us saw this coming. It’s actually kind of interesting to note that every new Lego game that comes out ends up being our favorite. I don’t think I could say the same about any other series. Anyway, if you’re played any Lego game before then you know how they work for the most part but here are some of the things that we love:

+ HUGE CHARACTERS! I’ve always loved Hulk and seeing his figure like 3x larger than regular heroes is ridiculously awesome. This holds true for pretty much every large character like Abomination, Thing, Juggernaut, Hulkbuster Armor, etc. Personally I would have loved it if Venom was at least slightly larger than Spider-Man but I’m just thankful for what I got.

+ So many different characters to play. You’ve got like every freakin’ Marvel hero here: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Wolverine, like every other X-Man, Mr Fantastic & Co., etc. I haven’t unlocked everybody yet so I don’t know the full extent of the roster but it’s at least every major hero. Not only that but all of their villain counterparts. When I got to swing around the city as Venom I lost it. Some of them tend to be clones of other heroes but on the large they are mostly unique and have some rather awesome abilities. I’m sure anybody that has seen Lego Thor call down lighting to charge Mjolnir will understand what I’m saying.

+ Giant open-world New York. Between missions you can roam around the city and do various sidemissions or find collectables. It’s absolutely great. To get there you just SKYDIVE off of the SHIELD helicarrier and free fall until your chute deploys or your webs or boosters or whatever. Flying characters like Iron Man and Thor can zoom around the city at incredible speeds and fly high into the air. Spider-Man can swing on his webs quite stylishly, too. The only thing that disappoints me is Hulk can’t super jump. He can rampage down streets but there’s no large leaps or wall-running. It kind of makes me miss the Ultimate Destruction Hulk game.

+ The game is pretty hilarious, especially now that the Lego games have voices. There are tons of comic and pop culture references. I think they even got the same guy to voice Phil Coulson, which should be a plus all on it’s own.

It’s just all-around a fantastic game and easily the best Lego game ever. Heck, it may be one of the best Marvel games ever. There is honestly only ONE thing wrong with the game and that would be the Dynamic Splitscreen. This thing has been the bane of our existence ever since it hit the Lego games. It is most assuredly the easiest way to make yourself go cross-eyed and get a migraine. The screens spin and separate and just go flat-out nuts. Really the only way to avoid this is to just turn on static vertical splitscreen. It may not be quite as nice as the instances where you can actually share one screen and sometimes it may make seeing certain areas difficult but it is pretty much required if you want to play co-op and not feel sick.

So yeah, one flaw that is fairly easily remedied. Other than that it’s just amazing, fantastic, sensational, spectacular, incredible, etc. Insert your favorite.

The List Goes On

My gaming backlog is like some kind of undying and ever-growing entity. It’s constantly dogging my steps and haunting me. I still have several games I want to finish up before Friday and the arrival of the PS4. Hopefully things go well enough and I can get my thoughts and impressions of the new systems out with a decent amount of haste. So stay tuned in the coming weeks for our take on the PS4 and Xbox One. It should prove fairly interesting.

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Disney Infinity: Toy Story In Space

Toy Story in Space

The latest, and I believe final, Disney Infinity playset is Toy Story In Space. It seems they have saved the best for last since this adventure offers some of the more interesting additions to the Toy Box mode and presents itself in a very fun way that captures the spirit of Toy Story rather well.

Disney Infinity Toy Story CharactersThe Premise and Characters

The adventure starts out with your characters landing on an alien world and trying to protect a local colony from volcano bombardment. The exact details of how and why you are here never really seem to be revealed but it seems obvious enough that you must be playing through the imaginary world of whoever is playing with the toys. The pack contains the Buzz Lightyear and Jesse figures. Surprisingly Woody is sold separately, but it makes sense from a marketing standpoint, at least. If the playset had both Woody and Buzz then I imagine there would be tons of Jesse figures on store shelves, and that never looks good. But really, who wants to play as Jesse? Maybe I’m alone in this but I find the character to be obnoxious.

Toy Story in Space Combat SimulatorI’m not entirely sure if Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their roles or not, but it sure does sound like them. Jesse’s VA is different, however. Other than that it seems like the rest of the NPC toys are played by their original voices. Ham is definitely Ratzenberger and Rex is obviously Wallace Shawn, or The Nagus as we call him. I definitely appreciate it when original VAs reprise their roles because I find the alternative to be rather off-putting.

Quite possibly the best part of the adventure would be the LGMs (Little Green Men aliens). The whole adventure is full of them and everything they say is pure gold. The phrasing and inflection used to deliver each line is absolutely hilarious and Keen and I were laughing at almost everything they said.

The Gameplay

This adventure is not unlike some of the other playsets. You can roam around collecting capsules that contain more toys and completing various quests. During your stay in the Alien Outpost you also contribute to building it up by adding additional facilities. One such building lets you take on various simulation missions and battle against several of Emperor Zurg’s robot minions, which is a fun diversion when you tire of running quests.

There are several pieces of equipment to unlock and they are a blast to play around with. Here’s a summary of the kind of stuff you get to unlock for use:

Toy Story in Space ItemsBlaster – A Star Command blaster pistol that is quite useful for shooting your friends and enemies alike.

Pixar Ball – Each Toy Story character throws these by default but you also gain access to a baseball variant, larger version, and even one that can be throw at people to heal them!

Jet Pack – Zoom around the world fast, but unfortunately you can’t gain any altitude. Still useful for crossing vast distances and empty voids.

Boost Pack – Boost yourself to new heights and glide gently back down. When used in combination with the Jet Pack it allows for some fun and quick travel

Bullseye/Alien Horse – Not really an inventory item but still useful. Ride around on Bullseye speedily or mount the Alien variant and use it to bash through obstacles.

Goo Guns – They come in two colors: Green and Purple. The green goo makes things grow to 3x their size and the purple shrinks them. Make your friends giant and your enemies tiny! Or the reverse!

Infinity and Beyond

The Toy Story playset is by far my favorite of the additional sets and comes in right behind Pirates in terms of all-around greatness. It’s full of fun, familiar characters and awesome additions to the Toy Box. You’ll get at least 7-8 hours out of the adventure alone and it’s totally worth it.

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