Author - Allison Burr

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship Game Review

WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship, also known as WRC 10, is the newest installment of the series’s off-road racing simulation video game. In this edition WRC celebrates its 50th anniversary and the game comes packed with four new 2021 rallies and additional stages, teams, and multiple cars to mix things up. This installment is available in two editions, standard and deluxe. On top of the standard game, the deluxe edition offers an additional Arena Panzerplatte Stage and historical content that celebrates the real world event’s anniversary.

WRC 10 was originally released on September 5th, 2021 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One via the Epic Games Store. It has also since been released on the next generation of consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. It is likely to launch on the Nintendo Switch console six months later, which has become standard for most non-Nintendo branded games.

Compared to the previous edition, WRC 10 includes multiple updates such as a livery editor that allows you to create your own team and with custom colors and a revamped sound design which makes the game even more immersive. Adding to the competitive nature of the game, WRC 10 includes daily and weekly challenges along with specific clubs so that drivers can be matched against the community at their own level.

WRC 10, unlike it’s other rally game competitors, offers a very hands-on immersive game. While some rally games lend themself to a mario kart like playstyle with race after race, WRC’s career gameplay expands simply racing to that of controlling, maganging, and customizing your career path. The amount of effort the game puts into these choices is outstanding, even down to who you hire onto your team and how their personality either compliments or clashes with others on your team. WRC puts your rally career into your own hands and for serious fans of the sport, it is a refreshing way to immerse yourself further into the culture. For those looking for a simpler playstyle the game offers a quick play mode which allows you to quickly jump into the driver’s seat and take off. I enjoyed this mode over the career mode as the main objective is racing over managing and making career decisions.

WRC 10 keeps the game interesting by letting you customize your car specs and even how you play. The camera mode can be switched from first person in the driver’s seat, dash view perspective, car grill perspective, and the standard third person view. The stage design also adds to multiple hours of play by allowing you to customize weather, play on a variety of roads (dirt, asphalt, gravel) and even allow the stages to be played in reverse which mixes up the game even more.

The graphics of WRC 10 are clean and what you would expect from the newest installment, but I did notice that colors appear washed out at times with the default settings. The in-game weather conditions felt accurate, with the pouring rain effect being the most impressive. The cars looked realistic with detailing and the paint jobs were crisp as to be expected. The only thing that felt lacking was that the spectators/audience had a very low poly count which made them look 32-bit at times. While your eyes mainly stay on the road, it was a bit distracting seeing such poor audience graphics cheering me on.

One of the main issues I experienced in the game was an odd lag that occurred every so often mid turn. For a split second in turns, the game would lag and the graphics had to catch up. This issue was both distracting and frustrating as your position is crucial in the turns. This issue occurred while the game was run on a GTX 1080 Ti aio water-cooled graphics card, and hopefully this issue is something that is patched soon. I also noticed that at times the game’s physics also seemed very linear, and easy to predict – almost like the car was weightless while shifting, which also distracted from the overall immersion.

WRC 10 offers an immersive rally sport game, carrying with it the stamp of approval from some of the world’s top drivers. Compared to the previous edition (WRC 9), WRC 10 offers additional cars, new maps, and historic content (deluxe edition restricted) but if all you want to do is race – there might be a better game out there for you.

Before Your Eyes Game Review (PC/Steam)

Before Your Eyes is an indie game that first started out as a kickstarter funded game titled “Close Your”. This game ended up raising 179% of its initial fund goal, and although it was originally set for release in 2017 it will finally be available on Steam on April 8th, 2021. What sets this game apart from a multitude of other indie games on Steam is that the actions in the game are controlled with the blink of your eye via webcam tracking. In a press release developers GoodbyeWorld Games stated that, “Each blink will help the players interact with the world or make the memory fade and disappear like a dream… Players move organically through the story and experience its emotional peaks and valleys in the most natural way, until they reach the end of their journey and realize the ultimate truth”. Since hitting its initial funding goal, GoodbyeWorld Games partnered with RYOT, Verizon Media’s Emmy Award®-winning content studio and innovation lab, to help bring their idea to life. Just as promised Before Your Eyes really makes you cherish every blink, because just as the trailer teases, “no matter how much you like it- you’re not going to be able to stay”.

The game’s premise places you as a soul floating in an ocean that was lucky enough to be scooped out by the ferryman for him to take you to your judgement. As you are whisked away to the afterlife the kind ferryman allows you to take one last trip down memory lane, literally. Unlike other games though, this game is controlled by your eyes via webcam with support from your mouse. As the games main gimmick, if you do not have a webcam it is playable with just a mouse, but where is the fun without the stress of trying to hold out on blinking for as long as possible. Another added feature of the game that I was glad to see implemented is that the game will take into account if you are wearing glasses and adjust the sensitivity. The game lets you adjust the sensitivity at any time, and even with an older webcam was highly accurate in tracking blinking. The main controls are that the player uses the mouse to look around, and blinks to interact with objects or skip time. Separating the characters eye direction from the eye motion tracking prevents the game from getting too chaotic and helps reduce the likelihood of motion sickness. A more subtle feature of the game is that it allows you to replay sections without having to start over entirely. This is helpful for those moments you can’t keep yourself from blinking, or for any in game achievements you wanted to try and pick up.

Although it is a shorter indie game, I would recommend anyone who is interested in a new play experience. At first I approached it as a challenge to not miss a moment, and was both sad and laughing at myself when my eyes watered and I just had to blink, not knowing what I would miss out. This game is best played at your own pace to interact and develop the story. It would be too easy to speed blink your way through it, but that is not how it is meant to be enjoyed. Before Your Eyes reminds us all to take a moment, call someone you love, or start that adventure you’ve always wanted; because just like you can’t stop blinking, you can’t stop time from moving.

Before Your Eyes comes out on April 8th and is now available to wishlist on Steam.

WRC 9 Nintendo Switch Review

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship, also known as WRC 9, is an off-road simulated racing video game. The game has been endorsed by some of the world’s top drivers as being the most in-depth rally game on the market. This installation includes three new rally locations (Kenya, Japan, and New Zealand) along with 15 classic “landmark vehicles” from WCR history to choose from and over 100 special stages to be tackled. In March of 2019, WCR 9 became the official game of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship and included it’s 14 locations, although the COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the real life event causing cancelations, reschedules, and additional real life locations to be used.

The game was originally released on September 3rd, 2020 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One via the Epic Games Store. It has also since been released on the next generation of consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. The Nintendo Switch version, like most non-Nintendo branded games, was released a little over six months after its console and pc siblings.

WCR 9 FIA for the Nintendo Switch has a $49.99 price tag for the standard edition and the Nintendo E-Shop also offers a bundled deluxe edition that includes a couple of DLC vehicles for $72.00. Not surprisingly most retailers are offering a $10 price cut for the PlayStation and Xbox editions as the game has been on the market for six months already. Thankfully the Switch offers the DLC from day one, unlike with other titles where Nintendo lagged behind several years when releasing DLC, which caused a lot of gamers to feel left out.

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After powering up the game you are immediately asked if your skills in racing/driving simulators, options are novice, intermediate, and expert. After choosing the novice option the game gave me a car and a short tutorial on which each button controlled, then I was out on the open road with my first time test. This test helps the game determine the best set up for you, and upon completion it will recommend use of ABS, TCS, and Starting Assist depending on how well the game believes you performed. Thankfully their recommendation is optional and you are allowed to choose the assists you personally believe you need. Additional gaming difficulty options include a scale of difficulty from 50 to 150, damage effects to the car (both visual and functionality) and a permacrash option that takes you out of the race if the damage to your car is too severe. I have to say the switch joy-con controllers feel out of place in a serious racing game such as WRC 9. I would recommend a pro controller if you have the option, the loud buzzing of the joy-con vibrations at every acceleration ended up making my left hand feel numb and a larger solid controller would be much more comfortable overall.

This first initial test then brings you to the rest of the game, which is incredibly detailed for what you would think in a racing game. The main menu allows for controlling multiple aspects of your racer including crew management (with mechanics and agents), research & development, test area, statistics, standings, event calendar and more. This is not your standard Mario Kart. The game even uses the in game currency to pay for event registration fees and other items, so you really have to budget and take it seriously.

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Overall the gameplay is what you would expect from a racing game, but sadly the Switch version once again fails in visual quality to its console siblings. The newer consoles bring a better experience, but that would be expected for next generation gaming. Although it isn’t as visually stunning, the Switch excels in its main gimmick of being portable. In handheld mode the graphics take a dive in addition to the game having considerably longer load times. Even with the downgrade in graphics, the game plays smoothly which is all you really need when deciding to play on the go, as long as you don’t mind the aesthetics.

In general the Switch version of WRC 9 brings all the fun of racing to a more portable experience. If graphic quality isn’t your main concern I would recommend picking it up, especially if you are feeling a need for speed. It seems unlikely that it will appeal to anyone who wants the highest visual quality experience, for that I would save your wallet for the next gen or pc versions.

Roccat Elo X Stereo Gaming Headset Review

The ROCCAT Elo X Stereo is the brand’s newest affordable over-the-ear headset marketed for gamers. The Elo X is the most affordable of the Elo line which includes the X, the Elo 7.1 USB, and finally the Elo 7.1 Air. Today we will be focusing on the X that weighs in at 314g, and has a cable length of 1.65m. The Elo X along with it’s more expensive siblings is marketed as being ultra-comfortable all purpose cross-platform stereo headsets.

The Elo X features a removable noise canceling mic if you would rather use the headset as a set of headphones for gaming or general music listening. In addition the headset comes wired with a 3.5mm jack and an additional PC splitter cable connection. This allows for cross-platform compatibility on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4™, PS5™, Nintendo Switch™, PC, Mac, and Mobile. Unlike other gaming headsets, this allows the user to enjoy the stereo sound on any device, anywhere, instead of having to have multiple headsets for gaming or leisure. An added bonus is that the splitter cable for PC allows for a quick transition from PC gaming to console and back, as you can leave the splitter cable connected to your PC separately.

The headset itself includes a mute button and volume control on the back of the left ear cup, and is not RGB enabled. The lack of buttons to adjust and play with comes as a relief as sometimes headsets can get too complicated to mess with in the middle of a game with all the additional features they add. For added comfort ROCCAT uses a self-adjusting metal headband and rotating earcup hinges for added flexibility that create a weightless fit that feels unique to each user. This made the headset feel secure but not too tight, it would be easy to wear the Elo X for multiple hours without any discomfort or worry of it sliding around.

Another of the Elo X features is that it is ‘glasses friendly’, which uses superior memory foam ear cushioning featuring Turtle Beach’s proprietary ProSpecs™ Glasses Relief System. This system is made up of dual-foam ear cushions, with softer foam in the section that rests against your glasses to alleviate pressure. I was skeptical at first but I didn’t even notice any pressure when I put the headphones on for the first time while wearing my glasses. With the rise in blue light filtering glasses, more and more gamers are finding themselves with an added inconvenience of headphones not fitting correctly or pressing on their glasses frames, thankfully ROCCAT seems to have engineered a fix for this issue in a way that you happily won’t even notice.

In terms of performance the Elo X has precision-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers that offer crisp stereo sound. The low notes definitely made a rumble and higher audio came through cleanly and crisp as well. The rich bass sounds were impressive for such an affordable headset. The detachable noise canceling microphone includes TruSpeak™ technology to ensure that your voice sounds the same in the digital world as it does in the real world. After listening to my recorded voice, I was surprised to hear it was crackle and static free even when raising the volume of my tone and even lightly clapping my hand next to it. The microphone also is flexible which allows the user to bend and shape it so that it fits comfortably in front of your face.

Overall the Elo X is an affordable ($49.99) alternative to many higher end gaming headsets that are on the market. This headset offers high quality audio and comfort all while not breaking the bank. The materials it is made out of create a high end feel, all while staying lightweight and surprisingly comfortable. This sleek black headset is sure to look at home along your other gaming peripherals, both ROCCAT and other brands.

Corsair Katar Pro XT Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair has released their newest ultra-light FPS/MOBA gaming mouse into the market, the Katar Pro XT. This is their newest update to the original Katar model that was released by Corsair a little over 5 years ago, and most recently the Katar Pro Wireless mouse that was released in June of 2020. The mouse comes with the updated Corsair box and logo design, the logo on the mouse is discrete and stylish unlike some of its earlier predecessors. The mouse’s smooth matte texture is offset by a discrete triangle side pattern that allows for easy grip.

Weighing in at 73g (compared to the Wireless model at 96g), the Pro XT is extremely lightweight out of the box. This lightweight mouse provides agile control for FPS and MOBA gameplay, but is also a joy to use even just for day to day tasks. The compact symmetric shape is suitable for both claw and fingertip grip styles, but sadly there are only side buttons positioned on the left side of the mouse, making it only accessible for right handed users. Although the mouse is not particularly eye-catching as some of the other mice options on the market, it does come with an RGB scroll wheel that can be customised using the Corsair iCue software. This software enables vivid dynamic RGB lighting control that can be easily synced to other Cosair iCue compatible tech. The Katar Pro XT comes with a custom PixArt 12,400 DPI optical sensor that offers precision and high-accuracy tracking. This has been increased from the previous wireless model’s 10,000 DPI. This gives the mouse its incredibly smooth and quick movements which translates into faster FPS/MOBA gaming response. Combined with the lightweight specs, the mouse requires very little effort to move.

At around a $30 price point, this makes this mouse highly accessible. The Katar Pro XT comes ready to play and responds only moments after plugging it in. The RGB is automatically set up to a smooth rainbow transition that is appealing if you are not looking to download the additional software to customize it. The soft drag reducing paracord cable is a nice length for people with computers on the floor which allows for use even if your step up is not right next to your monitor or on your desk. I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth the cable moved out of the way when using the mouse, especially after having been accustomed to a wireless mouse. The large buttons make this mouse easy to handle and it is well sized – neither too big to hold nor too small to get a good grip on. The audible click when pressing either of the keys makes it easy to tell when it has fully engaged and each of the six buttons is fully programmable, allowing you to customize your mouse to fit your gaming needs. These built in durable Omron Switches are meant to last for years and are guaranteed for 50 million clicks.

Overall the Corsair Katar Pro XT offers an ultra lightweight aesthetically pleasing mouse. It is subtle but the RGB accent makes it stand out on your desk, and reminds anyone who sees it that this is not simply an upgraded office mouse. The softness of the paracord cable is an absolute treat, making this a wired mouse that I actually enjoy using. This mouse is the perfect combination of a lightweight gaming mouse that can also easily be used for working from home, especially in a time where a lot of computers now hold that dual purpose.

The Outer Worlds Review on the Nintendo Switch

The Outer Worlds is a first person action RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment (of Fallout New Vegas fame) and published by Private Division. The game was originally released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, & Microsoft Windows back in October 2019, and eight months later Nintendo released it on the Switch. With the current cost of $60 on the Switch and the competitor’s price tag of $40, it is a hard decision to make on ff it is worth picking it up.

Starting out the game, it is immediately evident that the process of porting it to the Switch caused a loss in graphics quality and has a drastically lowered resolution compared to the other platform releases. As you start to explore the first planet the landscape is barren and consists of cut and paste textures such as stone and grass. What is even stranger is that the load screens take thirty seconds or more for each time you enter an environment or need to restart from a death. This makes the game even more of a chore if you were looking to play it in more challenging modes.

Entering the first firefight on the planet showcased just how odd the joycons feel in a first person shooter. The stick sensitivity was choppy and took a lot of trial and error to get them relatively smooth. It is clear that the Switch wasn’t built for first person shooters like the current gen Xbox and PlayStation controllers. What is also interesting about the control configuration is the reversed placement of the A and B buttons. In The Outer Worlds these buttons control the jump (A) and crouch (B) actions. For anyone used to the button mapping on the other consoles this will cause some confusion. It was a funny yet frustrating interaction with enemies while jumping up and down behind potential cover, instead of actually crouching behind it. It all depends on personal controller experience, but may take awhile to relearn and get over the frustration.

The low graphics quality coupled with the choppy nature of the thumb sticks quickly left me with a case of motion sickness. Unlike other platform ports of The Outer Worlds that allow you to adjust the field of view, the Switch sadly lacked these options. Instead, the game opts for an adjusting text size feature, clearly helpful when switching to handheld mode but not so helpful in making the game more playable. I was sad to see that after switching to handheld mode the text was already at max (about 7pt font). It would have been nicer to see more options to customize the view or even larger font sizes if that was the more important feature to have.

Within the control options the game allows you to choose a feature that is exclusive to the Switch, motion aiming. By opting to use motion aiming, the right joy con allows you to physically aim when the gun is aimed down the sights. After more sensitivity adjustments it seemed like we were ready for battle, but resulted in even worse motion sickness with the abrupt camera shaking and auto lock-on fighting for control. Even with auto lock-on removed the shaking and sudden movements remained. It seems like it would be a fun gimmick but the application of it became a feature to try out once and quickly move away from.

After eagerly switching to handheld mode, the graphics quality surprisingly took another drop. Characters no longer rendered faces had faces at a distance of twenty feet in game. This made the game even less interesting and hard to follow with the small text limitations that had already been maxed out. The battery life will vary on each console but was upsetting to see that it had dropped from 100% to 93% in just ten minutes. Overall the docked TV experience was the preferred way to play.

The switch version offers two features that are unique to it. The first is the portability, the main gimmick for any switch game, and the second is being able to play with the joy cons in each hand free style. This allows for a more relaxed gameplay feel. Exploring the planets never felt more laid back than doing it from the comfort of having your hands rest however far apart you wanted. Sadly both of these can be said for any game on the switch and is not a new innovation that The Outer Worlds is bringing to the table.

The lack of graphics, controller precision, and empty feeling story made this an easy game to put down and move on from. Overall I would suggest you wait this one out until the price drops. The game feels like it’s trying to force a square peg into a round hole. For the price of a brand new game I would recommend a title that was made and developed for the Switch, you’ll get better gameplay, much better graphics and save yourself the time and headache.

Arise: A Simple Story Review

In a time where online first person shooters and battle royal games dominate the market, Arise: A Simple Story invites both new and veteran gamers to take a step back to a simpler game style and as its namesake – a simpler story. Arise was released digitally December 3rd, 2019 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Epic Games Store.

Arise has a very somber start, with the screen opening upon what looks like a Viking funeral. As the older gruff man is lit on fire the screen transitions to him waking up in Snow with indication to use right stick to move. Thinking this would move my character, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this control commanded the sky, not the body. With this motion the player is able to manipulate time back and forth. This is put to interesting use in the first level to change the landscape from a frozen snow landscape to spring flowers and back.

As a haunting voice commanded “arise” with soft piano melody as backup, I knew that this was where my story was to begin. I was now in command of this man who appeared to be at the end of his own story. With no backstory or idea of where to go, I set off to the first snow covered level. The game left me to explore with only simple control hints appearing on screen when I reached an insurmountable obstacle. On the Xbox the left stick controlled the player with the A button as a simple jump motion. The right stick then controlled the sky, or “time” both to rewind and fast forward.

As I aimlessly wandered about the first snowscape playing with the time speed controls I was pleasantly surprised to see puzzle solving elements woven into the game itself. Instead of the generic “move block into space to solve” kind of puzzle, the game focused on obstacles that stood in the way of your advancement. These puzzles required the use of the time control to make the snow melt into water to lift wooden tree trunks to higher ledges, command the sun to shift the direction sunflower platforms faced, and rewind falling rocks from a cliff face. Although the game lets the player choose their own pace to explore, there is a set path that the game guides you to with stone markers indicating an element of the story – of the man’s life. It didn’t take long to understand that this game was about the journey, not the destination.

The lack of text and simple controls makes this game highly accessible to all gamers. Though the gameplay and repetitive obstacles soon became monotonous and at times felt like the memory cut scenes were placed too far apart from each other. This made the game seem to drag on and become a race to get to the next area to advance more of the story. This story is derived from what the player puts together from flashback cut scenes, the music tone, and “memory drawings” that can be found hidden throughout the stages and marked by butterflies. These memory Easter eggs give the game more of a collecting completionist feel to the game, but if you don’t mind having the full story can easily be ignored and overlooked.

As the game goes on, you realize your character is a man who has lived a long, complicated life. Each small discovery is something that you as the player are witnessing for the first time but as the character are reliving as lost memories that even he has forgotten. The game does an amazing job of painting contrasting levels that showcase both the joys and sorrows of a life. The small sweet moments are set against contrasting levels filled with sorry and despair. The first chapter of the game brought me to tears, and the lightning filled level titled “Alone” stirred up self-reflection and fragments of my own life that I was finding myself adding onto the character. The lack of dialogue and written story lends itself to the player creating their own story and adding their own human element into this game that ended up being both an exploration of the character’s life and a look into my own.

After a couple hours of solo play, I decided to dive into the two player mode option. I was curious to see what this second player could add to the experience but was instantly let down to see that it just split the controls, myself having control of the character and the second player manipulating time. With the addition of a second player the game instantly lost its intimate feeling and became just a platformer where poorly timed jumps and miscommunication with the second player became comical and tedious. This is definitely a game better suited for one player, but it was interesting to see that it offered the ability to share the experience more with the person beside me.

It is easy to say that the game trailer had me hooked instantly. Sadly the trailer has the problem of showing the “greatest hits” of the game, these striking moments that when played through lost their power as I realized I had already seen them once before. The downfall is that Arise is the type of smaller game that needs a hook to get people interested in picking it up, and while the trailer did just that, the game itself seemed to lack in new emotionally stirring sections. I recommend giving the trailer a quick watch and picking it up if it tickles your fancy. It isn’t a game for everyone, but it is a game that will definitely stick with me for a while and my own memories that it stirred up along the way.

Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle Review

Attack on Titan (AoT) is a Japanese manga series that was adapted into an anime, and most recently transferred into the realm of video games. In the AoT realm, humanity lives within a city surrounded by three walls that protect them from the giant human like Titans that wish to devour them. In humanities last effort to survive, they create an army of humans with a set of equipment, the Omni-Directional; Mobility Gear, that allowed them to fight in the air attached to iron wires that hook on to the terrain around them. Equip with this gear, humanity must push back against the advancing Titans in hopes of one day being able to live outside their walls.

Attack on Titan 2 was released on March 20th of 2018 and offers the players a glimpse of what it would be like to be a part of the story. On July 5th, an expansion Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle was released which furthered the story mode and included additional battle modes. I went into this sequel game having a basic knowledge of AoT. I knew there were titans, they were naked, they were the bad guys that needed to be taken down, and that I was ready to hack and slash my way through the air.

The game loaded in and immediately recommended easy mode, it then gave the player the option of setting the gore to either on, or off. The final option the game offers before starting is “auto-assist”. This feature is a type of autopilot that helps the player automatically complete aerial maneuvers. For this play through I chose to go with normal difficulty, gore on, and no assist. One of those I had to change almost immediately.

The game play seemed simple at first but aerial combat soon became the bane of my existence. During the tutorial training mission, I found myself frustrated trying to button mash the controller and found my character very often slamming head first into the ground. After about five minutes of frustration I buckled and turned on the “auto-assist” mode. This mode made a huge difference. I soon found myself as a medieval spider-man swinging across the screen with giddy excitement. What was first a chore, become immensely fun. I felt intimidated by the Titans at first glance but soon found myself doing aerial moves and taking them down single-handedly all with the help of the auto-assist. It allowed me to enjoy the game, but also didn’t make it feel like I was cheating or that the game was holding my hand. I still needed to be alert and in the driver’s seat at all times.

One of the most surprising aspects of the game for me was the audio. I went in expecting to be reading text off a screen and becoming bored rather easily. Instead the game had a wide range of voice actors, with all in game dialogue text accompanied by Japanese voice over. The game also allows the player to fully customize their character’s appearance, clothing, and choose from both ten male and female voices. I began to feel more a part of the in game world knowing that my character had their own style, and more importantly their own voice.

With all of the fun combat and downtime talking with characters from the manga, there were a few downsides. My first major issue was the point of view shifts from game play to the cut scenes. During gameplay, the player’s perspective was third person which made it easy to navigate and take in the world around them. Cut scenes however, were told from the first person perspective. This made looking up at Titans thrilling, but also took away from the story as it was jarring to suddenly switch perspective mid battle and no longer be able to control the character.

The second gripe I had was long it took to reload. In AoT2, the player has to keep an eye on their blade sharpness and how much gas they have left in their Omni-Directional Mobility Gear. The issue wasn’t how fast these gauges depleted, but how long it took to reload them. The developers did not make it possible to both move and reload simultaneously, so mid battle with a Titan the player would have to stop in their tracks to reload, all while hoping the Titan didn’t happen to notice.

I am amazed how well Attack on Titan transferred over into the video game realm and much the developers packed into one game. The basic story line covers the first 50 chapters from the manga, and the additional Final Battle DLC covers another 40 chapters. With the creative tie in to the story while getting to fully customize a character, I found myself enjoying the adventure and wanting to know what happened next. Both fans and newcomers alike that feel up to the challenge of being humanities’ last defense should definitely step up to the plate!

Anime Expo 2019 Rundown and Photo Gallery

Anime Expo (AX) is the largest anime convention in the United States with over 100,000 fans in attendance. AX is known for occurring four days over the 4th of July and began back in 1991. Since its start, AX has been taken over by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) and has evolved from its roots into a large convention that fills both the South and West halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

AX offers fans a widespread of activities, from their Exhibit Hall, live gaming, maid cafés, artist alley and more. The exhibit hall has grown exponentially over the years and offers fans exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities, and the chance to find an elusive anime figure. Key players such as Atlus, Crunchy Roll, and Viz Media had their booths up front as usual, but this year Bandai took up a large portion of the floor with their 40th Gundam Anniversary celebration. The hall was a buzz with their 9 foot Gundam Statue and the opportunity for both new and old fans to step up to build their own RX-78-2 to take home.

Another anniversary celebration took place at the For Fans by Fans booth where the little cartoon pug Puglie had a 5th birthday celebration cake for fans to take photos with and meet the creator Euge Leung. From simple beginnings, this little pug has taken over the internet with his love for food! It is great to see such an interactive way for fans to take part in the celebration and even adopt and take a Puglie home.

Once part of the Exhibit Hall, the Artist Alley has taken over its own separate space just below the hall. It was great to see so many artists offering their original art, keychains, and even on the spot art commissions. Since expanding the artist alley, AX has allowed more niche anime and video game representation that they would not have from the main players on the exhibit hall floor. These artists build their own displays and sell their work that they brought with them.

One of Anime Expo’s short comings has always been organization. Although this year was better than previous years, they still have a long way to go. Years prior it was always the dreaded “badge pick up” that caused attendees to arrive a day early to devote an entire day to standing in line to pick up their badges on site. Since switching to mailing badges, this stress has been lessened though sadly replaced with the newest issue, the Security & Bag Check.

With the influx of attendees, AX has put in security check points to make sure that only badge holders are allowed into the convention space, with only approved items. Due to poor planning, attendees were faced with multiple zig zagging lines without shaded cover or clear direction. On day one alone, attendees were faced with multiple hours of waiting to make it into the convention center itself and faced line merges and people cutting in the line. Premier Access Attendees had a much shorter wait with their own express line, but at the cost of a premier ticket. Peak hours such as the exhibit hall opening and lunch time caused an overload on the lines and attendees were faced on deciding if they should leave the hall for lunch- or wait in the food lines for on-site meals. By the second day of the convention, the staff had a better handle on the situation, but there were no major adjustments. By upping the staff at the convention center, Anime Expo has kept up with the number of attendees but miscommunication and poor information is a major factor in the chaos to enter the convention center its self. Hopefully staff can learn from this experience and come up with a more streamlined system to keep attendees both safe, and comfortable.

Anime Expo is a gathering of anime fans from across California and across the world, one that any fan needs to experience. Parking can get pricy, lines sometimes endless, but overall Anime Expo is worth the adventure into Downtown Los Angeles in July.

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