Tag - review

We Happy Few Alpha Preview

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Describing a game as being “in alpha” can be extremely vague as it can represent such a wide scope of playable states.  I have played alphas where everything was so completed that they were just ironing out minor bugs and it was ready for market, most would consider this market beta but a perfectionist might call that alpha.  Others I have seen called alpha for over 2 years with almost zero developmental progression and none in sight.  I don’t mean to drone on (though I might have) about what entails an alpha but I feel I need to let the players, particularly all the Kickstarters who helped fund it know where the game is.

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The We Happy Few alpha build, which is pretty much the same folks saw at E3, is 50% mapped with no story development yet for the three characters we follow.  In other words it is a world where you can take in the landscape and bump around with a few of the NPCs.  One choice is made at the very beginning of the demo and that choice will make a difference on how much world you get to explore (hint: not much, you will get to choose again).  You get to do a few quests and that’s what they are labeled, you get quests and side quests to get things going but mostly it is setting you up to just experience the what they have created of the world.

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My first and vaguely disturbing thought of We Happy Few was that the game is an Orwellian 1984 Yellow Submarine.  Everyone is taking a drug called Joy, a nice little blend that makes you forget anything bad from the past and think the world is great.  So great that you want Technicolor all around you and mime paint on your face and nice clothes because shabby clothes denotes a “downer” mind and nobody wants to be or even see a downer.  If you fellow friends and townsfolk think you might have missed your Joy then ye shall be deemed a Downer and smacked upon the noggin until you can be dumped in the rubble and rambles with the other Downers.  There is no three strikes rule or anything (but then baseball never really took on the way cricket did across the pond).

At this point, the game is in an early enough alpha it could wind up like an entirely different game than I ran around in since we aren’t getting any of the story yet.  I welcome the idea of a psychedelic take on a New World Order as fiction when the reality of politics are what they are.  Give me my mime paint and bowler hat please. And don’t be a downer!

MilitAnts Review

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I’ve been playing side-scrolling shooters since the first side-scrolling shooters came out in arcades and then on the first home game consoles.  If I didn’t own it my cousins did and, if by some freak of financial windfall, the three of us didn’t then the local video store knew not to expect their copy back for a while.  Of course, Contra held a place more nearer and dearer to our hearts than some family members but friends and family who challenged us and felt the frustration of getting their butts kicked by kids time and time again understood the excitement and fun of the video gauntlet thrown down each time.  Fast forward 29 years… OMG HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG!!! *deep gasping breaths* sorry just give me a moment… let’s just say fast forward a lot and here we are still playing the side-scrollers with the same love as yesteryear this time with a flair that Disney would probably appreciate.

Game On:

The Disney-like part and the aspect that makes the game different from other side-scrollers is in the name MilitAnts.  You play a sole soldier of the ant army who must defend the approach into the colony by a huge swarm of bugs lead by deadly and really, really hard bosses, all on a 2.5D.

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First off to describe the horde you face.  You fight over 30 different kinds of enemies including an army of different termites and an air force of wasps, all willing to put their differences aside to come try to kill you and your kind off.  Talk about making someone angry.  Boss battles are frustratingly hard, luckily the save/restart point is right before so you don’t have to travel far but dying happens aplenty.

One of the best things about being a soldier ant: you may use 2 legs to stand but that leaves 4 legs for weapons.  At first this means next to nothing because it starts you off with the same two weapons (pistols) in your upper hands and the same type of weapons in the two lower arms which are blades.  Not sure why you have to have 2 blades instead a choice to have one gun and one blade, maybe one of the hands are underdeveloped and can’t hold more than a Swiss Army pocket knife.

So you start with two energy pistols that wear down fast and you want to buy some better gear.  To do this you beat down they enemies with combos so that they drop pieces of crystals which you then turn into crystals and buy stuff with.  You REALLY want to have some upgrades in place by the time you hit the second boss or you will find your time filled with cursing in more languages that your realized you knew (for me it was Chinese I think thanks to Firefly).  Adding to the challenge of getting that weapon upgrade is 2.5D.  In case you haven’t experience it it is when the game is given depth and there is a level deep.  So besides side scrolling and shooting those in front and behind you you also need to shoot them beside you.  The only way it ever works really well is with very few enemies back there which MilitAnt doesn’t do or with an amazing target system which begins the problems with the game.

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The game is a port, it doesn’t really hide the fact and the interesting thing is playing on the keyboard and mouse then PC with a game controller there were certain things better in each.  Using keyboard and mouse seems a little bit better at targeting though maybe a little bit slower going between targets.  When it comes to jumping however the controller wins hands down and holds its better in pretty much everything else.  That might be why in the PC online manual for it has controller directions only.  Personally I kinda wished they had just stayed with controller controls and not done the .5 part of the 2.5D.  It made a game I enjoyed whenever there was no creature back there frustrating when it would pop up and I would have to try to target it.

One thing I have to note is that the game is very beautiful, which a lot of players don’t care about but I think adds to the Disney way about it even more.

Last Thought:

I was really excited for MilitAnt which might also explain a bit of my frustration with it.  It is a decent side-scroller with the 2.5D gameplay and a bit of the Disney flair.  I think I might go take a break from gaming and watch one of the insect flix until I get angry at one of the bad guys and replay a boss or two.

MilitAnt Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Kerbal Space Program – A Review (Xbox One)

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Kerbal Space Program is the very first game produced by Squad, an interactive entertainment company based in Mexico City.  Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is the dream of Felipe Falanghe, who was prepared to quit Squad to work on this game.   Adrian Goya and Ezequiel Ayarza, owners of Squad, told Felipe that he could keep his job and work on this game once his assignment was completed.  The final product is probably the nerdiest game I have ever had the pleasure of playing, allowing me to toy with both the science of space flight and the insignificant lives of the little green Kerbals that foolishly volunteered for my space program.

Story

Kerbal Space Program does not have a story line in the conventional sense, but it does have a narrative depending on the game type you pick.  KSP has three game modes:  Career, Scientific, and Free Flight.  In Career, you have to manage everything for your space program, from funding to reputation to research and development.  This mode is the most story like, since you have to research new items and run the risk of ruining your space program.  Scientific mode does not have the funding or the reputation stakes that Career mode has, but you will still need to have successful launches in order to earn points to unlock more items for your space crafts.  Free Flight mode is just that, everything is unlocked and there are no stakes.  Just build your ship and let it fly.

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I am usually one that feels when a game is lacking in story, the game is lesser for it.  KSP does not have a story line, nor any type of character development or plot, but I never once missed it.  I was so focused on keeping the reputation of my space program up, while developing space craft that would not burst into flames the second I hit the launch button.  The lack of a story here will not impede your joy with KSP, that is, as long as you get a kick out of playing as a rocket scientist.

Game Play

Kerbal Space Program is one of those games that is easy to get into, but hard to master.  There is some deep mathematics and physics going on here, but it never feels academic.  The tutorials do a great job in getting even the worst of us into understanding orbit and escape velocity.  Starting off in Free Flight mode allows you to really mess with the different ways you can build a space craft, and the ways it all can go wrong.  You will have access to quite a number of different options, from hull designs to engines to fuel storage and wings.  You can build the classic rocket or a shuttle type craft that can use a landing strip to launch and land.

I spent most of my time in Career mode, where you begin with a small amount of items based on an entry level space program and develop from there.  Building your first rocket is easy.  KSP gives you a cabin, parachute, and engine.  As long as the engine and the parachute fire off on different stages, then there really isn’t a way you can kill your first Kerbal.  A safe landing increases your science points for more items, and your reputation to keep the facility open.  On my second try, I was able to get my Kerbal into orbit, which really impressed me.  Then it hit me, how do I get him down?  Well, that particular Kerbal may still be orbiting the planet to this day, but the knowledge I learned from that flight was vital.  Being able to reset a flight immediately without penalty helps to, especially for the weak at heart who can’t stand to see their little Kerbals fall back to the planet.

Just escaping the planet is a task, but when you factor in the many planets and moons you can launch your Kerbal to, or what your Kerbal can do during a E.V.A., you will be busy for hours.  KSP is like having a Lego set that will occasionally explode into a fireball of debris and little green people.  For me, either Career mode or Free Flight mode are the way to go.  Science mode felt pretty much useless to me, and didn’t offer anything that the other two modes didn’t.

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Aesthetic

Kerbal Space Program will not win any awards for aesthetic, sound design, or voice acting.  The graphics and visuals are basic, but do the job that they are intended to do.  Sound design is exactly the same, you get the sound of the engines but I wouldn’t expect much more.  Voice acting is all but non-existent.  Beyond a few grunts or groans, the Kerbals are mute.  I couldn’t even get one to scream as the rocket plummeted head first into the mountain ranges that surround the space facility.  None of these lack of visual or audio polish should deter you from playing Kerbal Space Program.  The game is solid and fun to play, even without cutting edge graphics or a Hollywood celebrity voicing the Kerbals.

Final Thoughts

Kerbal Space Program is a blast to play.  Period.  It is a challenging, scientific, space simulator that feels just about right and realistic, without pushing it too far.  The physics in KSP behaves almost perfectly without being frustrating.  The sense of accomplishment one gets from a successful launch and recovery, will only push  you and your Kerbals to expand  your space empire further and further.  Having the three different modes means you will find a mode that is perfect for the type of game you are looking for.  Kerbal Space Program is a great game for those that are looking for a challenge and to be able to see if their creations can fly.  This one is a must own for anyone interested in a challenge.  Kerbal Space Program is available now for the Xbox One.

Product Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

LoveHandle Smartphone Grip Review

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Let’s face it normally when you think of love handles you think of that patch of fat on your hips that refuse to leave.  If it is on your significant other it could be a spot of comfort that you hold onto in a chilly wind as you snuggle up, if it is on you it is the spot you glare at whenever there is a birthday party or wedding with particularly good cake.  But there have been a few products out there with the same name that are handles used to protect the things you love and the one I have found the most impressive by far is the LoveHandle electronics flexible band handle.

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LoveHandles On:

These have been around for a while and have been an “As Seen On TV” product but there was something that always makes you feel a little nervous trusting your multi-hundred dollar electronics to a little strap of of elastic, plastic and adhesive.  The funny thing is that we often hold them by our hands instead which can become far more compromised and likely to be holding other valuables. LoveHandle uses high quality elastic bands wrapped into solid plastic with a 3M adhesive.  When you consider it all the weakest point in the whole process is the adhesive and there are few adhesives that have a strength greater or more trusted than 3M.  I use an iPhone 6+ and after attaching the band and deciding I fully trusted it I held the strap by one index finger and spun it as hard as I can (alright I was sitting on the grass so I did hedge my bet a touch) and kept doing it until my finger got tired then checked over the strap and saw nothing wrong and I am still using it.  I use a wallet case so I really don’t want to drop and lose my phone when recording Bellagio fountains or July 4th fireworks or take a picture out the car window of the newest somehow worse Hello Kitty on the Las Vegas Strip charging for pictures.  They come in different colors as well so it was easy to match my case or they can be custom ordered by companies as rewards for employees and customers with their individual logo on the elastic.

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When my wife and I are going to bed at night we tend to wind down looking at our phones, I am usually reading a book on it and she is usually making last minute FB and twitter posts.  More than once the way we have realized it was time to go to sleep was when the phone slips from our hand in exhaustion and *SMACK* phone to the forehead if we are lucky, I have a bone disorder that can cause my nose to break from such a strike.  Now if I fall asleep my hand and phone attached to my fingers just drop to my chest.  I have enough LoveHandles for my wife to use one soon, I think a couple more decent self inflicted smacks at bedtime will do it.

Another great use for the LoveHandle is that not only can it keep the screen in your hand it can keep it out of the way of your hand.  Carrying groceries, coffee, FroYo, frozen dinners, hot soup, basically anything you would want to keep separated from a sensitive piece of electronics can be slid onto the back of your hand really easy using the strap so that it is kept safe.  I was recently on a walk, slid it around to the back of my hand and went to take a drink, the water spilled all over my hand where the phone had just been a second before. It may have been fine but I’m sure I didn’t have to worry and find out.

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One last thing and this really should not be minimized. I have nerve disorders and damage in multiple places in my body which can cause my to lose feeling in half my hand.  That means the heavier the electronic and the more prolonged the use the more I have to worry about dropping them.  The LoveHandle comes in more than one size to accommodate larger electronics and hand size but even at it’s minimal size it can dramatically help people with grip handicaps handle their electronics safer.  The handles are so efficient I have plans on putting them on my game controllers so that when I am doing prolonged gaming I don’t have to worry about dropping the controller due to my own issues.  The plan is to put them on the underside of the handles so that my last two fingers which I have almost no feeling in will just be strapped on the controller.  It will definitely go on one of my iPad 2 cases and probably on the bottom of one of my laptops so that when I pull it out or put it back in a bag I won’t lose my grip.  Just as importantly no matter what I did the LoveHandle never lost it’s grip unless I wanted it to.

Last Love:

The LoveHandle is a rather simple idea that is a genius low cost solution on how to keep your valuable electronics safe without compromising use.  Besides all the consumer uses listed above I am sure folks will find tons of commercial and industrial uses for them as well, and as a handicapped individual I can tell you I will be coming up with more and more ways to use them than as seen on TV.

LoveHandle Smartphone Grip Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con 2016 Photo Gallery

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con is one of my favorite cons of the year. I have always looked forward to it – to experience the big names in the business that it always seems to draw.  The past has brought Dr. Who’s and CW bad guys as well as great artists who created some iconic comic book and cartoon characters.  This was the first year it had moved into the Las Vegas Convention Center Central Hall to give itself the breathing room it was beginning to lack in the South Point ballrooms.

Normally I would have thought moving it to the big convention center would have brought even bigger names, though some of the past would be hard to top and just as welcome to anchor the convention.  Unfortunately and strangely the show was a bit anorexic when it came to celebrities this year.  Rob Liefield who has shown up yearly with great energy was in the program but at the last minute didn’t make it and former celebs and writers such as Len Wein, George Perez, and John Barrowman were never on the list.  This didn’t stop it from having some great panels about Preacher and Harley Quinn with signing slack neatly taken up by Steve McNiven and Kevin Eastman but I hope with the new space will come new possibilities and next year we will wind up with the star studded con we are used to from this event.

Photo Gallery

Corsair K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

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The Corsair K70 mechanical gaming keyboard is an utter workhorse. Ruggedly-built and featuring crisp mechanical keys, the K70 is more than capable of handling any intense gaming sessions you can throw at it. Sporting a black brushed aluminum body, the K70 is of high strength and low weight in comparison to other mechanical keyboards on the market.

The Corsair K70’s mechanical keys feature crisp and responsive Cherry MX key switches and, while they are a bit too quiet for my tastes (I prefer audible clicks), they are extremely responsive. This all plays into the 104 key rollover and anti-ghosting tech built into the K70. You can jam down a huge number of keys and not get any degradation in input going to the computer.

Installing the K70 is very easy. You simply plug it into a USB 2.0 port and start typing away. The K70 is a macro-less keyboard, so no software needs to be installed in order to use it. Some  may feel the lack of macros to be a drawback but I never use them much in practice.

The lighting scheme on the Corsair K70 is simple. It is just red backlighting with multiple brightness levels. There is an updated model of K70 out, the K70 RGB, which has full RGB lighting instead. I didn’t mind this lack of color variety as the backlighting is bright enough to let me use it in dark rooms and is not distracting.

I was fortunate to try out the K70 in several of my favorite current titles: Fallout 4, DOOM, Master of Orion. The keyboard just works. It may not be super fancy, but it works. I never had to worry about it failing and the K70 never came up short. It even sports a pass through USB port so you can plug your gaming mouse into it. I LOVE this feature. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it makes organizing your desktop and cables a lot easier.

Overall, the Corsair K70 mechanical gaming keyboard is an excellent gaming keyboard for those of you needing sheer performance without all the bells and whistles of super-expensive models. It may not have full RGB lighting or macros but it effortlessly does the two most important jobs a gaming keyboard can do: Being responsive and comfortable.

The Corsair K70 mechanical gaming keyboard retails for $129.99

Corsair K70 Gaming Keyboard Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan – A Review (Xbox One)

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Platinum Games and Activision have brought us video game’s latest attempt to bring the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to life in digital form with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan.  I would like to preface this review by saying that I have been a massive Turtles fan since my first TMNT comic way back in 1986.  The cartoonization of the Turtles left me somewhat disliking that particular version, making me always see the comic version being the true version, and anything other than that not up to par.  The Turtles have starred in five different tv shows and five movies spanning two franchises, all based on the non comic versions of the Turtles.  The last tv show by Nickelodeon, I have to say, has been the best of the lot for me and I was extremely happy when I saw that this game would be based on that show.  That happiness did not last very long into the game.

Story

The story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan is your typical TMNT story line.  Shredder and the Foot clan have joined forces with General Kraang and the rest of the Kraang to unleash their next generic evil plot and the Turtles must rise up to stop them.  The story is pretty much taken right out of one of the Nickelodeon cartoon episodes, so it feels like I’ve seen this story a million times before.  There really isn’t anything special going on here at all.

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The good news is that the developers don’t take anytime at all rehashing the Turtles origin story, since they are assuming that you already know that by now and don’t need it retold again.  There isn’t any character development, no surprise endings or twists, and really nothing more here then a generic Turtles story from a kids cartoon network.  Which is why I wish a developer would one day do a comic version and allow for much more character development, especially in the area of the constant clash of power between Raphael and Leonardo.

Game Play

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan sticks with a video game genre that fits the franchise quite well:  the beat ’em up.  You select one of four Turtles, outfit your turtle with a load out (more on that later), then head into the stage where you will bash in the heads of every enemy the game throws at you, until you reach the arbitrary amount of baddies to start a boss battle.  The buttons do exactly what they do in every beat ’em up in the universe:  light attack, heavy attack, dodge, and jump.  By pressing left trigger, you can summon your Ninjitsu Power to defeat the enemies as well.  Each turtle will have their own special power, along with a series of generic ones that can be switched out via the load out screen.  As you level up through the game, you unlock upgrades to your ninjitsu powers.

This is all a very good base for what good have been a very good game, however, it ends up just being bland and boring.  The combat, which is the heart of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan feels lack luster.  Your blows never feel like they have any impact, in fact I was never sure I was hitting anything half of the time.  You can spend the entire game just spamming the regular light and heavy attacks and win all the battles, making the ninjitsu moves unnecessary.  Then there are your a.i. partners.  You see, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan does not support local co-op, so either you play online or solo.  If you choose to go solo, your team mates are morons.  Sure, they will try to save you if you go down, but I witnessed my a.i. companions trying to diffuse a bomb in the middle of the railroad tracks and were continually run over by the subway train.  The a.i. just would not move them out of the way.  You can switch between turtles as you play, but that just means the a.i. is now in control of the turtle you just left.

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Aesthetic

Platinum Games did the right thing and did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan in a cell shaded style, but the turtles all look a little goofy to me.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, but there is a small detail gone awry here somewhere.  I like the looks for most of the game, but each individual turtle just looks….off.  The colors are nice and match the cartoon well.  The turtles do sport their iconic colors from the cartoon series, though I would love a game that has them in their standard comic red eye masks.  Again, wishing for more of the comic turtles then the cartoon ones.

Voice acting is solid and the turtles sound pretty darn close to the actual television show, though they did not get the actual actors for the game.  For instance, Nolan North is Leonardo instead of Seth Green.  North does an outstanding Leonardo, but fans of the television show will be able to tell the difference if they listen closely.

Level environments are boring and typical for a Turtles game.  You fight in the subway, the streets, sewers, etc.  I found it fascinating, of course, that the streets level was completely devoid of any human life.  While I have never been to New York, it is hard for me to be able to imagine a time at any point of the day where a neighborhood is completely devoid of any life at all; no traffic, no people, nothing.

Final Thoughts

As much as I wanted to, I just cannot like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Mutants in Manhattan.  The look and the base game play are solid, and you can see a very good game lies beneath all of the garbage that got piled on top.  The combat, the root of the entire game, is boring and has no punch at all.  The ninjitsu powers are pretty useless when you can beat all the enemies just by spamming your basic attacks.  The dodge/counter mechanics feel clunky at best.  The levels are lackluster and completely devoid of life and soul.  Finally, the story is nothing special, at all.  You have seen this story a million times in a million Turtles episodes over the years.  I just cannot recommend this game, even to a hardcore fan of the television show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Deadlight: Director’s Cut Review

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Over the last couple of years not only have the indie games had a very nice resurgence but they have done so with beautifully stylized gameplay.  Limbo was a great example of this and one that many people not even into video games heard about with its gloomy black and gray atmosphere and child protagonist who suffered the fate of many hells.  Other great examples were Contrast with its vintage carnival feeling and Valiant Hearts with its pencil drawn appearance and heart wrenching story line. This is indeed a great time for indie games to show style and shine.  Which brings us to another great example of this trend: Deadlight: Director’s Cut on the Xbox One.

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Hands On:

Deadlight popped up on my radar the moment it was announced because for the last 20 years whenever I have a game with a clan or guild I always name it the Deadlighters and also the first reference to “deadlights” I had ever read was in Stephen King’s “It”, a favorite read of mine.  Then when I saw how the game looked I was constantly watching for updates and waiting impatiently for the release date.  I love stylized games and this is the perfect time to have that love flourish with episodic games like the Tell Tale titles “The Walking Dead” and “Fables” and even some big names like Dishonoured, Bioshock Infinite and the Borderlands games.  Deadlight: Director’s Cut reminds me a lot of Limbo with a little Borderlands feel for the background since the background has colors to their settings whenever there is light but the foreground is almost exclusively shades of black.

This isn’t just done for atmosphere though, it plays key into the game itself.  The zombies instead of going with a name like walkers or deadheads or zombi are called shadows because when they attack in dark places all they are are moving shadows, at their most in a well lit environment they are shadows with a little grey silhouette where the light strikes them.  This makes it so that sometimes the choice isn’t whether or not to fight or run but trying to figure out where they are and how many since once they pile up in a group they are just a black and grey mass.  Those of you who just think they will crank up the contrast and brightness to make them out better should know that they considered this and all you do is just make all the shadows look washed out and grey, no help it just spoils the mood a bit.

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You can have a beautiful looking game but if the gameplay sucks it doesn’t matter.  It is a side scrolling platform game but unlike most of them in that genre it isn’t a fighter.  Fighting is the quickest way to get yourself killed.  Run, jump and roll are really you keys to survival.  Sure you get an axe at one point and even a gun and shotgun a couple times (the game finds ways to take these away when it chooses) but unless you are fighting a lone shadow or attacking from a point of advantage such as above and out of reach odds are they will kill you.  Their damage seems to compound by the number of them you are fighting so that if you are fighting one and button mashing B with all your might you may only lose one or two of your health bubbles but if another one comes along you will be dead in seconds.  Gunshots to the legs will drop them and slow them as they have to get back up but headshots are the way you need to go.  There are a couple of spots where you get a secure location with a bullet stash nearby so that you can fire away and release some frustration but mostly you are dodging shadows and finding creative ways to use the environment against them and to keep yourself safe.

For the most part the save spots are pretty well located so that if you go through a series of difficult jumps and dodges you get rewarded with a save so that you can worry about the thing around the next corner.  There are different ways to make it through sections which is nice, when you die and go back to a spawn you might find yourself considering another approach.  For puzzling purposes you can’t swim, which I would probably find far less annoying if it were not for the fact that your character is a park ranger from a small town in Canada that came down following a recording that Seattle had a safe zone.  By the way if there is one thing that I have learned from apocalyptic stories never trust a government recording, feel free to check it out but do so with great care.

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Another thing about the game is it is set in Seattle in 1986, which means you see a dark silhouette of the Space Needle jetting up towards the grey sky when you are outside and it is before the time that you could just give your wife and daughter a call on their cell phones and ask where they are now.  There are multiple ways this could have been handled such as power outage or government communication blockages but just setting it in 1986 seemed a nice and elegant solution.  In general the storyline is full of elegance and on this Deadlight Director’s Cut the alternate ending makes you really think about what you just played through and makes you consider playing through the game again, maybe this time on Nightmare Mode which means no save points (yikes!).

Besides Nightmare Mode Deadlight: Director’s Cut also boasts a Survival Arena mode in which you see how long you can survive and your score is posted on a leaderboard online so you can see who are the best shadow boxers out there!  It also has beautiful 1080p graphics and improved controls so if you played it before and felt it was sluggish jumping or had poor response in some other way they have been working to get the bugs out and have come up with a nice smooth play.

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Last Light:

Deadlight: Director’s Cut is a beautiful game with solid side scrolling gameplay and fun but challenging puzzles.  The storyline will make you think about what you would do in an apocalypse and if you pay attention to the clues in the story and the hidden items you might just figure out the alternate ending which is almost as dark as the shadows themselves…

Deadlight: Director's Cut Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

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Japanese culture has always been unique in its development and tastes but some of the most well known ways are those that gamers experience.  In particular would be the fighting games which have developed so much respect over the years that they are often only partially dubbed and instead are subtitled in sections where the beauty of the language can be appreciated.  This is also found in Japanese animation which is known for it’s uniqueness and sometimes naughty or risque nature which then bleeds over to the video games which are often based of the animated or printed works.  So one form of expression effects the other and keeps circling until sometimes it hits a spot where folks stop and say “wait a minute… that isn’t very PC” like in the occasion of Senran Kagura Sinovi Versus.

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Hands On… err Game On:

You may have heard of this game, well seen it in writing, hearing it is kind of hard to understand to most folks in the U.S. but you may have in the right group of friends.  It is the immediate sequel to Senran Kagura Burst which, once again, in the right circles you may know as the tales about warring shinobi hidden in girls’ academies across Japan as well as mercenary strike teams all composed of “buxom ninja girls”.  They do battle not so much to save their lives but rather to stay clothed as each section of health dropped takes a piece of clothing with it.  You don’t go down to visual full naughty bits but a couple of band-aids over the tips of jiggling top section and what I would guess to be a micro-panty covering the front lower section or a light flash might be considered a bit exposing and less than PC.  All “in HD and silky smooth 60fps on Windows”.  There are different outfits from undergarments to powerup special garments to be unlocked and used over 20 different characters giving lots sexy fun to be had.

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Now there are people who the above would be all it would take for them to say game over, give me a different title.  The pros and cons about are valid and not what I’m here to debate.  I’m a game reviewer, I am giving you all the information you will need to decide if a game is for you or perhaps a family member.  There is no true nudity but it comes close and the girls are mostly the school girl archetype that get stripped down.

With that handled let’s get into gameplay.  As you fight you level and with each level you can unlock more attacks and combos as well as purchasing more clothing styles.  Clothing styles that are unlocked are cosmetic but make the game more interesting.  The weapons that can be unlocked and purchased however do add to gameplay so it is good to keep an eye out for those.

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It is 3D brawler gameplay with mid-air combos and some silly, fun special attacks that I won’t spoil here.  There are 20+ fighters all have their own weapons, attack styles, combos and special attack.  The game was originally released on the PS Vita so now this version has the advantage of all the DLC that came down on that platform included in it.  Clothing comes off as a damage indicator much like in other games which would have had a large cut that would be bleeding.  In a sense this game gives you an option to gratuitous blood and violence by having sexuality instead, though our society is generally known to be more tolerable of violence over sexuality as we witness on television.  I forgot the clothing was even coming off and was concentrating on health meters for when to use a special health boost or when a special attack was ready.  Bystanders watching you play the game probably get the most from the clothing flying off.

The game has four different story narratives for the four different groups making it interesting to approach from each view and know why they are willing to go into a battle where the costs are the loser has their school burned to the ground.  One of them is rather disturbing, made to be funny no doubt but would be a crime in our country and I can understand why they wanted to fight.  This game uses its storylines to point out that even good can be a shade of gray.

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Beside the single player campaign there is also 4-person multiplayer online in classic Death Match, Strip Battle to unclothe your opponents, and Understorm, a race to grab the most falling undergarments from the sky.  The first two are pretty obvious and standard but the Understorm was pretty funny, I found myself laughing pretty good during that one.  It was nice to have one where you are almost doing an odd Easter egg hunt.

There is only one real complaint I have about the game but some people will find it a pretty decent one.  The game is a direct port and very obviously so.  All tips and instructions are given for a controller and trying to train let alone fight on the keyboard is miserable.  So I grabbed my Xbox 360 controller and plugged it in and the game played fantastically.  Some hardcore PC fans just hate to use a controller and for them you can remap the controls to suit your needs.  I found plugging in a controller to be a far easier and just as satisfying game play.

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Last Peek:

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a great game with solid brawling, fun combos, and all around nice action.  It has plenty of playtime from plenty of point of views as well as online gameplay to keep it always fresh.  It is also not a “PC” game and is loaded with gratuitous jiggling, near nudity, and lots and lots of panties which may upset some players.  For those that don’t mind a bit of naughty bust out your controller and give it a play.

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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Hard Reset Redux – A Review (Xbox One)

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Ah the classic first person shooter of my youth, how I remember you fondly.  Your ability to carry 50 guns for no explainable reason, non-regenerating health which forced me to explore the level to find the hidden health packs, and  the complete lack of any cover to hide behind to slow down the action, made you so much more difficult at heart then the shooters of today.  Even your lack of story really made the action felt fast paced and frenetic, compared to the Call of Duty or Battlefield of today.  But every once in a while, a developer remembers those tough, old first person shooters of their youth and sets out to remake then using today’s technology.  That’s how we get games like Hard Reset by Flying Wild Hog.  Hard Reset was released in 2011 on the PC and immediately received praise for being similar to games like Serious Sam or Painkiller, enough so that Flying Wild Hog decided to remake it to today’s graphical standards with Hard Reset Redux.

Story

Hard Reset Redux is the old style shooter from beginning to end, and that includes the game’s lack of commitment to fleshing out a solid narrative.  Cut scenes are fully voiced and presented in a graphic novel style, but really don’t give us any more glimpses into the overall story.  The story goes roughly like this, you play as a armed protector named Fletcher in the last city of Bezoar.  Bezoar is now constantly under attack from rogue robots that have gained autonomy through their advanced a.i.  The robots are trying to wipe out the last trace of humanity, and it is your job to prevent this by simply killing every mechanical being you see.

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Compared to other shooters today, Hard Reset Redux  has a very lack luster story that is told horribly.  There isn’t a clear narrative here at all.  Now, whether that is due to the developers not having a writer to put the story in a clearer format, the story was lost in translation, or simply wanted to be closer to the old school shooters of my youth isn’t clear.  The end result is that the story does not matter in Hard Reset Redux at all and will not add nor take away from your enjoyment.  In the long run, that makes Hard Reset Redux feel much closer to games like Quake or Serious Sam then Call of Duty.

Game Play

Hard Reset Redux goes back to the beginnings of the first person shooter genre for much of it’s game play mechanics.  To begin with, regenerating health is gone.  You much be able to find health packs in order to continue on in the game.  That means you will have to explore each level and find those secret areas in order to survive, and the enemy a.i. will make that a difficult task.  Hard Reset Redux focuses on fast paced action that is going to test your skills as a gamer.  This game is hard, but it isn’t unfair.  While the action will feel hectic, you will always feel like there is a glimmer of hope and that it is possible to get through a certain section alive.  I never played the first version of Hard Reset but from what I understand, Redux did re balance some of the game’s difficulty based on the negative comments of it being too hard.  Expect a challenge, but don’t expect it to feel impossible.

Hard Reset Redux does go against one of the old shooter conventions in terms of weaponry.  Characters used to act like pack mules and was able to carry 10 massive weapons at one time, but Hard Reset Redux will only give you two weapons; an energy weapon called the NRN and a projectile weapon called the CLN.  While Hard Reset Redux does limit the amount of weaponry you are given in the game, it allows you to modify these weapons in a great many different ways.  This includes boosting health, damage, ammo capacity or adding alternative fire modes to the weapons, like a shotgun or grenade launcher.

You pay for these upgraded at stations located around the city, using something called NANO as currency.  NANO is gathered from kills, or can be found just laying around the levels as you explore.  The secret areas will also contain huge stashes of NANO to help you purchase the modifications you are looking for.  NANO is plentiful enough to buy what you need to in order to progress in the game, and some of these upgrades feel absolutely necessary in later levels.  You also have a melee attack, that is a katana, but you will almost never use it.  It caused more hard to me then good.

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Aesthetics

Hard Reset Redux looks like it was cut from the same cloth as Blade Runner in terms of visuals.  The levels look dark and gritty, but with enough bright neon to light your way.  The robots looks suitable threatening, and you will have no problem in seeing what is an enemy that means to turn you into a soft pile of goo, and what is a vending machine.  The graphics have been upgraded from the original game, and look quite pretty on the Xbox One.  In fact, it compares nicely to many of the AAA game releases that have hit the console in the last six months, without the hefty price tag.

Voice acting is par for the course in a game like this, not great but not the worst I’ve heard either.  Since the story is almost non-existent, the voice acting wasn’t a big deal for me at all.  Sound design was quite good.  The sound effects and music adds to the gaming experience and makes the game feel even more hectic then it may actually be at that time.  The guns have a satisfying sound when fired, the robots sound convincingly menacing, and the city sounds like it should.

Final Thoughts

Hard Reset Redux is the classic first person shooter in a beautifully updated shell.  The action is fast paced, the a.i. is a serious threat, and the level design is an almost perfect marriage of exploration and keeping the action going.  Hard Reset Redux does everything right, and for the fraction of the cost of a AAA game.  Flying Wild Hog addressed the negatives of the original version of the game by re balancing the difficulty and by adding in extra content to keep the game from being to short.  All of this for $19.99.  What Flying Wild Hog have done is put out a serious contender for part of the market that the new Doom was aiming for.  For a third of the cost of Doom, you will get the same old school shooter action, the same great fight sequences, and the same gorgeous visuals.  Plus, you can order a pizza, some beverages, and still have some left over.  Hard Reset Redux is available now for the Xbox One.

Hard Reset Redux Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
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