Author - GamingShogun

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Announced with Pre-Alpha Footage

VANCOUVER – December 3, 2016 – Piranha Games announced MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries to a packed house of MechWarrior fans tonight via a live stage demo at Mech_Con 2016.

The first standalone single-player MechWarrior title in development for PC in nearly 15 years, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries will feature intense PvE ‘Mech combat in an immersive, career-based Mercenary campaign driven by player choice. Featuring an advancing timeline starting in the year 3015, players will adopt the role of a green MechWarrior mercenary thrust into combat as the Third Succession War continues to fracture the Inner Sphere; the vast region of colonized space surrounding Earth. Victory, prestige, and profit will not only require skill on the battlefield, but in the maintenance and enhancement of your BattleMechs.

Set for release in 2018, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is under development by a dedicated and separate development team at Piranha Games using Unreal Engine 4. MechWarrior Online, Piranha’s existing F2P multiplayer-focused tactical ‘Mech combat game (built with CryEngine) will continue its ongoing live development by the MWO team at Piranha.

“Our main goal with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is to provide fans with a standalone, story-driven single-player experience that allows for a great amount of flexibility in terms of player choice, built on a foundation of the intense, tactical ‘Mech combat the franchise is known for,” said Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games. “Along with the release of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries in 2018 we’re going to continue supporting our existing MechWarrior Online game and its fanbase with new updates and regular content releases. MWO is now in its fifth year of development and operation, and there’s still a lot of really cool stuff planned for it. For fans who have been waiting for the return of a true single-player MechWarrior game though, we are really happy to announce MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.”

The game was revealed in a live playthrough during Russ Bullock’s keynote presentation before a packed crowd in attendance at Mech_Con 2016, and was livestreamed to the global online audience via Twitch.tv. That live demo from the event will be archived here: www.twitch.tv/piranhagames.

Hosted by Piranha Games and featuring a variety of partners – each with a deep history of involvement in the beloved franchise – Mech_Con is a special one-day event dedicated to the celebration of BattleTech and MechWarrior. Mech_Con 2016 was the first of its kind, but Piranha aims to make this an annual celebration of these long-lived and much-loved franchises. Attended by fans from around the world the evening was capped off by an exciting conclusion to the first ever MechWarrior Online World Championship Finals, where two teams of eight duked it out on the battlefield for their shot at the World Championship title and a share of the $143,000+ prize pool.

For more information about MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, and to keep up to date with Piranha Games and MechWarrior Online, make sure to visit the MechWarrior Online website, or follow Piranha Games on Twitter through @PiranhaGames and @MechWarriorF2P.

California Missions Models Return to Knott’s Berry Farm

BUENA PARK, Calif., November 2016 – Knott’s Berry farm announced today that the beloved scale models of California’s historic Missions have returned to the park on Wednesday, November 30. This project reflects Knott’s continued appreciation and preservation of California’s rich history.

Scaled models of the original California Missions boarder the same midway between Silver Bullet and the south entrance of Fiesta Village, as it did previously for many years. Twenty-year veteran of Knott’s Berry Farm’s woodshop and current Knott’s craftsman, Bob Weir, has been meticulously restoring the missions for over three years, for a new generation of guests to appreciate.

“Knott’s Berry Farm prides itself in celebrating California’s rich, living history, and the California Mission models hold as much educational value as they do sentimental value for many of our guests,” said Knott’s general manager, Jon Storbeck. “We know that grade school curriculums in California include lessons on the California Missions, so we’re pleased that Knott’s Adventures in Education programs will allow students a unique and authentic learning experience that can only be found at Knott’s.”

In addition to the return of the historic missions, Knott’s is hosting its Early California History Day on March 15, 2017, in which students will have the opportunity to visit and tour the displayed models within the park, as well as have the opportunity to display a mission of their own. One homemade mission model will be selected to represent an individual school and enter into the California Missions competition. The winning models will be awarded special Knott’s Berry Farm prizes.

History

In the 1950’s as Knott’s Berry Farm grew in popularity, Walter Knott needed a way to keep park guests off of the stagecoach trail between the train depot and the northern end of the park for safety reasons. In keeping with the spirit of Knott’s – attractions both entertain and educate – Walter commissioned Leon Bayard de Volo to create scale models of all 21 California Missions. The missions were displayed in lit cases along the midway running between the Calico Railroad and what is now the south entrance to Fiesta Village.

The area was named El Camino Real (“The King’s Highway”), in honor of the actual California highway that connects all 21 missions.  On the North and South ends of El Camino Real stood two full-size double-arch “ruins,” which were built and installed at Knott’s in 1955 and 1956, respectively.  Today, the double-arch ruin that originally marked the entrance to Mission row near the train station can be found near the Ghost Town General Store and the Indian Trails Stage.  The northern most double-arch is still standing in its original location, behind Wave Swinger in Fiesta Village.

Observe replicas of the historic California Missions such as:

  • Mission Santa Barbara
  • Mission San Gabriel
  • Mission Santa Cruz
  • Mission San Diego
  • Mission San Buenaventura
  • Mission San Carlos Borromėo
  • Mission San Luis Obispo
  • Mission San Antonio
  • Mission Santa Clara
  • Mission La Purisima Concepción
  • Mission San Miguel Arcángel
  • Mission San Luis Rey
  • Mission Santa Ines
  • And more

A 2017 Knott’s Season Pass is the best way to experience the historic scale models with the family.  New 2017 Season Passes include one free admission during the 2016 season to Knott’s Berry Farm and unlimited visits in 2017 with no blackout dates, discounts on select food and merchandise, and access to exciting year-round seasonal events.  2017 Season Passes are now available at the best price of the year for a limited time on knotts.com.

The park will install all 21 mission models within the coming months.  For more information about the missions and Early California History Day, visit knotts.com, and join the conversation on social media using #Knotts

Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery Review (HTC Vive)

Spectral Illusions is a name many of you video gamers out there might not know just yet. However, if you are a part of the haunted house/haunter community, you will no doubt recognize them as a well-known producer of digital projector effects. I had seen them at various Halloween-related trade shows like ScareLA and Midsummer Scream, so I knew that they made quality effects. What I did not know was that this two-person team was working on what might just be the best “on-rails” virtual reality shooter to date: Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery. And it’s out now for your gaming enjoyment… If you dare!

Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery puts players in the shoes of a person exploring an abandoned thrill ride – a mine ride as the title mentions. The experience starts off in a small office attached to the mine ride and shooting gallery. From there, you will make your way into the ride, with the first stop being the stationary shooting gallery. Armed with a six shooter, players can shoot at the various targets as long as they like. The shooting gallery experience is extremely well-done, with 1:1 aiming and gun manipulation. Thankfully, the game still has some arcade shooter in its genetics as you have unlimited rounds for your pistol, and reloading is just a simple control press.

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Speaking of controls, Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery uses the HTC Vive motion controllers extremely well. Movement is done in real-time, no teleportation here, and I am very happy for that. I think teleportation takes players out of the VR experience. Now, it is true that some players get motion sickness while using virtual reality headsets. If this is you, I would highly suggest you skip this game unless you pick it up just for the excellent shooting gallery. This is because after you shoot your heart out at the shooting gallery, you venture further into the attraction, boarding the mine ride itself. From there… Well, all Hell breaks loose and you are in for a wild ride.

Visually, Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery is a beautiful VR experience. The atmosphere is perfect and I experienced a ton of jump scares on this mine ride gone berserk. The sound is equally immersive and just adds to the creep-factor of the ride. In terms of performance, even when the action was crazy and frenetic, the frame rate kept stable and I experienced very little in the way of juttering when I turned my head. You can stand or sit when you board the mine ride, and I highly suggest you stand at moments when you would be standing in the experience and sit when you are riding the mine ride. Have a chair nearby and just be careful not to trip over it, lol.

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Now, there are some bugs that still need to be worked out. For instance – every once in a great while, I would end up getting thrown out of the mine cart due to a glitch. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do at that point except restart. There are no save points or anything like that. In fact, that kind of issue is where the game’s independent development shows through. For the most part, it is an amazing experience that lasts about a half hour.

Overall, Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery is one of the best virtual reality-based experiences I have ever played. Finally, Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery is only $8.99 on Steam, making it one of the most economical VR experiences I have ever played. If you own an HTC Vive, you owe it to yourself to purchase Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery right away. You won’t regret it.


Ghost Town Mine Ride & Shootin’ Gallery Review Score:

(5 out of 5)


 

2016 Knott’s Merry Farm Review

The 2016 Knott’s Merry Farm event is up and running, spreading some serious holiday cheer at Knott’s Berry Farm. Located in Buena Park, Knott’s Berry Farm has a long history of holiday-inspired events, most recently in the form of its Scary Farm. But enough about the frights – now it’s time to look at holiday delights (please blame rhyming on the Hamilton soundtrack I am listening to).

Knott’s Merry Farm features a ton of holiday treats for family members of all ages. This year, the Merry Farm sees several shows for guests to enjoy such as the annual Christmas ice show. It’s amazing as ever and the skaters are to be commended for their performances. Walking around the park again this year are the carolers – something I wish the “park down the road” (i.e. Disneyland for the non-Southern Californians here) would implement, but I digress. The Calico Saloon Christmas Show is back in the Calico Saloon and is, as always, a fun hoedown of a time while It’s the Merriest Christmas Show Ever, Charlie Brown graces the new Calico Mine Stage. Of course, during Knott’s Merry Farm, the rides are still in operation so you can get on the renovated Calico Mine Ride and Log Ride or head over to Camp Snoopy so the kids can enjoy some kid-focused attractions.

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Santa’s Christmas Cabin returns with its array of treats. Pastries, cookies, egg nog, milk, and a lot more are available for your enjoyment. Unfortunately, the amazing cinnamon rolls of four years ago have yet to return, but I keep hoping! I highly recommend getting a polar bear cupcake at the pastries booth, followed up with some hot chocolate! It’s a great pairing for a wintry sort of day – especially if this crisp, cold Southern California weather we are having keeps up. Also inside Santa’s Christmas Cabin is, well, Santa! You can take pictures with the “jolly big guy”, and the little ones can tell him what they want for Christmas.

Even though the Ghost Town Grill is not a seasonal restaurant, I wanted to make sure to give it a special mention in my write up of the Merry Farm. Being able to sit outside on the small patio while eating a piping hot bread bowl of beef stew is something that I wish everyone could experience. The sights and sounds of Ghost Town are beautiful, and the patio is a great place to people-watch. There are several lunch dining options at Knott’s Berry Farm, but I have to recommend everyone try the Ghost Town Grill during your adventure.

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All throughout Ghost Town, you’ll find the Christmas Craft Village where Knott’s Berry Farm has brought in a variety of vendors to show off their wares. There are artisans of every kind in the craft village and you’re sure to find some great holiday gifts for you and yours. During our visit, I purchased a couple of nifty handmade ornaments as well as a fun Christmas sign to put our in my yard. It should be noted that, for a discounted price, you can purchase a ticket to visit just the Christmas Craft Village.

Overall, Knott’s Merry Farm is a fun time for young and old alike. It’s a down-home Christmas celebration that exudes Americana and holiday cheer out of its every ribbon and ornament! Knott’s Merry Farm runs until January 8, 2017. You can find ticket information and park hours of operation at their official website.

Photo Gallery

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

From all of us at GamingShogun.com, we’d like to take a moment and say thank you to all the readers out there who make our site possible. Please take a moment and think about what you’re thankful for today! And eat good stuff!

2016 GamingShogun Holiday Gift Picks Part 1

For the 2016 holiday season, we thought we would jump on the gift recommendation bandwagon and bring your a gift guide of our very own! Here is Part One of our holiday gift guide.

Gaming Peripherals

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Logitech Prodigy G231

$69.99 – The Logitech Prodigy G231 gaming headset is comfortable, user-friendly, and offers some great sound quality for under $70 dollars (now on sale at most retailers). Its cloth ear cups are extremely comfy and even washable!

Product Link

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Razer Ornata Chroma

$99.99 – For just under one hundred Dollars, the Razer Ornata Chroma is an exceptional gaming keyboard that manages to combine the benefits of both membrane and mechanical keyboards into a perfect gaming experience. Also, its backlighting system is out of this world with vibrant patterns to choose from.

Product Link

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Logitech / Saitek X-56 Rhino HOTAS System

$249.99 – This new HOTAS (Hands On Throttle and Stick) system from the people at Saitek (now under the Logitech umbrella) is one mean motor-scooter. Built for space combat sims like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen, the X-56 Rhino HOTAS features plenty of controls to help slew your spacecraft around the cosmos.

Product Link

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Das Keyboard X40 Pro Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

$129.00 – The Das Keyboard X40 Pro Gaming Mechanical Keyboard was created by the folks at Das Keyboard, so you can expect top-notch mechanical key switch performance. The X40 is geared for gaming, with stylish design and LED backlighting, and doesn’t disappoint.

Product Link

Drones

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GoPro Karma

$799.99 – While it is currently under a recall (GoPro is offering affected users a free Hero5), the GoPro Karma is an easy to use and fun drone that has some great image stabilization thanks to its Karma stabilizer system. Hopefully GoPro works the

Product Link

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Zoopa Q420 Cruiser

$99.99 – Zoopa’s Q420 Cruiser drone allows the pilot to take 720p video and also have a fun drone-flying experience without breaking their bank accounts.

Product Link

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard

$499 – DJI has been making drones for a while now and their products are next-to-none in terms of performance.

Product Link

Games

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Shadow Warrior 2

$39.99 – Shadow Warrior 2 is an irreverent, gore-filled first-person shooter that will provide you with a ton of bloody fun.

Product Link

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Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

$59.99 – Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the latest and, in some ways, greatest iteration of the venerable empire-building series.

Product Link

Planet Coaster Alpha (6)

Planet Coaster

$44.99 – Planet Coaster is an excellent theme park building and simulation game. Not quite as cartoony or stylized as Roller Coaster Tycoon World, Planet Coaster features some amazing ride and scenery building capabilities sure to please.

Product Link

Virtual Reality Systems

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HTC VIVE

$799 – I have had the privileged of using all of the VR headsets and motion controllers on the market with the exception of Google’s Daydream. The one that consistently stands out for overall user experience is the HTC VIVE. Not only does it feature a great screen and front-facing camera, but its motion controllers are intuitive and unobtrusive.

Product Link

 

Happy Halloween 2016

Well, here it is: Another Halloween! Here at GamingShogun, we LOVE the Halloween season – so much so that we created a Halloween/horror related column and cover things like Midsummer Scream, Scare LA, Knott’s Scary Farm, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, and a whole lot more!

We still have a couple of out-standing reviews to post up, so we will be doing so soon. But, now, it is time to get your costumes on, party, hand out candy, and do whatever else your ghoulish minds can come up with.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction 2016 Review

This year’s Sinister Pointe haunted attraction is titled “Fear the Mark” and, in the narrative, takes place right after their very entertaining, pre-season “Seance” haunted experience. Apparently, the resident medium opened a portal into four hell dimensions and it’s up to you to find your way through to safety. Depending on which demon you get “assigned” in a small Tarot card reading moment, you will get access to special “key rooms” just for that demon throughout the haunted attraction. This means that you have four possible configurations of the attraction to experience. This is a great concept, and when I first heard about it back at Midsummer Scream I was excited because of its ingenuity.

We got the chance to go through each of the demon experiences during our visit to Sinister Pointe. Our favorite of the four configurations was the demon “Rebus” – so if your medium pulls that Tarot card for you, expect fun things. Each of the demon paths offer something different in their special key rooms, some requiring guests to crawl, move through tight spaces, sometimes a combination of the two – and more. In typical Sinister Pointe fashion, they manage to pull a couple cool tricks out of their bag that I had not seen before in other haunted attractions.

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Unfortunately, a few big problems plague the 2016 Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction. The first of these is a strange disparity of of high and low production value when it comes to rooms inside the maze. Some look absolutely great – in fact, the first real room you enter has a creepy medium hand you a Tarot-style card with one of the four demons featured on it. This room has amazing decoration and design and was a high mark to set when just entering the experience. However, some rooms look really bad – mostly when considering the level of work Sinister Pointe is capable of (and has delivered) in past experiences. The best of the worst example for this is a central room that resembles a sort of skate park with a wedge/ramp in the middle that a monster can slide across. The walls of this black light lit room feature haphazardly spray-painted neon outlines of doors, not making a whole lot of sense. I don’t know if they just ran out of time or money or whatever – but this disparity of quality definitely shows. Finally, it didn’t feel as though there were many monsters in the maze – I would like to see more in there to scare guests. To their credit, the monsters that were inside the maze were doing their very best and delivering good creep-factor and jump scares where able, so big kudos to them as those monsters are going to make or break Sinister Pointe’s attraction this year.

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A ticket for one time through the Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction can be purchased for about $24 dollars. An “all-night”, pass which allows trips throughout every demon key room configuration, can be purchased for about $34 dollars. When we break down the cost of the all night ticket, it comes out to about $8 per demon – a really nice value considering the cost of one demon ticket is $24 dollars. Also, please note that tickets are sold in the front side of the shopping center that Sinister Pointe is located in while the actual entrance to the haunted attraction is located around the back of the center.

Overall, Sinister Pointe’s 2016 haunted attraction is an entertaining time so long as you pick up up the ticket allowing you access to all four demon paths in the maze. It’s a bit more expensive than the one-time through ticket, but well worth it as you will see all the special key rooms they have to offer.

Sinister Pointe
1851 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, California

You can find out more about Sinister Pointe including ticket information at their official website.

Review of Summon Entertainment’s Epic Roll

Summon Entertainment’s first tabletop game offering is Epic Roll. The premise of the game is that up to three players (a Warrior, Wizard, and Ranger/Elf) are attempting to defeat the Necromancy-wielding Lich that has polluted the land with monsters and undead creatures. However, killing this Lich is not easy, and players will have to fight through hordes of his minions to reach their target. The basic play sequence for a round is that a player will move one battle space forward towards the Lich, then roll an encounter die. This encounter die has various creatures on each side – creatures like ghouls, mummies, and more. Whatever that die turns up will be the creature the player battles for this space. Each creature has its own health level and two clear gems are placed on each. After this, it’s a simple matter of rolling dice – the hero’s die and the creature’s die. Whatever the dice land on is what action was performed. Actions can be a critical attack, basic attack, defenses, and misses – with each hero die having a different combination of these actions. For instance, the Wizard die is capable of a lot of damage but lacks any defense at all, whereas the Elf’s die is loaded with defense but lower damage. The basic monster die never changes, at least until the player “levels up” by reaching the midway point on his or her journey to the Lich.

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Once a level up occurs, that player will roll a new “power die” as well as different set of encounter and monster dice – making things a lot more challenging. The new power die for leveled up characters is rolled along with their hero die and, if landing star side up, triggers the player characters “special ability”. These abilities are based on the player class and can turn the tide of a losing battle. These dice rolls continue, with the clear health gems being moved in the negative as attacks land until the player or monster is dead. If the player dies, they go back to the beginning or, if they have leveled up, the level up battle space. If the player wins, the move once step closer to the Lich and their health resets. Once the player reaches the Lich, the monster gets its own power die as well, so watch out as that evil boss is tough!

After successfully defeating a creature, the player will also gain a treasure card. These treasure cards are able to be played during battle and can add extra damage or defense to a dice roll. There are also “counter spell” cards which can be played during another player’s combat – nullifying their card effect. So, you can kind of screw your friend in this, but that’s just part of the fun – will the players be nice to each other? Who knows!

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It should be noted that the first thing I noticed when opening the nicely-compact Epic Roll game box (the box also doubles as a dice cage FYI) were the graphics on the fold-open game board. Visually, Epic Roll has a clean sensibility with crisp graphics on both its game board and cards. In contrast to these crisp graphics, the player avatars are simple colored gems, but those could technically be swapped out with any D&D or Pathfinder mini-figure if so desired. However, despite their simplicity, the gems fit in with the game board well and are easy to keep track of thanks to each gem being color coded to its player class.

Overall, Summon Entertainment’s Epic Roll is indeed an epic roll of a time – especially for people who don’t have several hours to spend with their tabletop gaming sessions. Epic Roll is easy to learn, with plenty of advanced options for those desiring them, making it a great game for young and old geeks alike. The game retails for a reasonable $24.99 and is available now.

[easyreview title=”Epic Roll Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4″ ]

Summon Entertainment’s Official Website

Epic Roll Tutorial Video