Author - Jerry Paxton

The Outer Worlds Review – Solid RPG Elements with A Generic Core

Obsidian Entertainment, founded by Black Isle Studios alumni Feargus Urquhart, Chris Avellone, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan and Chris Jones in 2003, knows role-playing games. All of them have roots in games like Fallout, Fallout 2, Baldur’s Gate I and II, and many more. More recently, they were the developers behind Bethesda Softworks Fallout: New Vegas – arguably the best RPG of the “new” Fallout games. So, when they announced that they were developing their own sci-fi RPG IP called “The Outer Worlds”, I was already stoked to play it.

In terms of gameplay, The Outer Worlds is fairly standard for an open-universe RPG. You assemble a crew during your travels and fly from world to world, obtaining and completing quests. Your companions will give you quests in order to gain their favor. There are lots of vendors and types of equipment to utilize, which is nice, and I enjoyed the various weapons you have to choose from. Armor and weapons can even be modified with various kits and tinkered to higher levels so your favorite level 2 blaster doesn’t fade away as you level up. Unfortunately, that’s really the only interesting thing about The Outer Worlds. And maybe that’s the most disappointing thing about The Outer Worlds – it does everything it should but never seems to hook its player into that “must-play into the wee hours” mode like Obsidian’s previous games have. It’s sort of…boring and generic, and I use those words very gently for a developer I deeply respect.

In terms of game design, aside from this genericism and boredom, there is one truly head-scratching issue I have with The Outer Worlds. And that’s the VERY limited types of enemies you’ll come across. Every planet in the colonies has the same kind of enemies – whether it be humans or creatures. While the lack of human variation I can forgive, we’re all people after all, there should be a lot of bio-diversity between entirely different worlds – not just the same five different creature types everywhere.

Visually, The Outer Worlds is a beautiful game, with lush environments. Each colony, space station, or asteroid you visit in your journey is an eye full. Its voice cast is also terrific, and it is nice to hear them act out their given dialog. You also can unlock dialog options based on your character skills, much like other RPGs, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Overall, The Outer Worlds is a disappointment – especially coming from Obsidian Entertainment. While it hits all the marks that an open-world, sci-fi RPG game should, it never innovates or generates interesting enough gameplay to make it a classic.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Out Now

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Today Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Respawn Entertainment and Lucasfilm released the highly anticipated story-driven action adventure game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows Cal Kestis, played by Cameron Monaghan (Gotham, Shameless), on an incredible journey packed with memorable companions, nefarious villains, diverse planets, thrilling lightsaber combat, impressive Force abilities and cinematic moments, all within the much beloved Star Wars™ galaxy.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is now available worldwide on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via Origin and Steam. Also, as announced earlier, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is now available on the Epic Games Store, expanding the number of options that players have to jump into this new Star Wars adventure.

“Working on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has been a dream come true for me and many people on the team,” said Stig Asmussen, Game Director at Respawn Entertainment. “We couldn’t be more excited to get the game into the hands of fans worldwide so they can live out the ultimate fantasy of becoming a Jedi. We created a new team that’s made up of action adventure veterans to create this experience and we’ve worked hand-in-hand with Lucasfilm throughout development to create a highly authentic story, cast of characters, and unique gameplay experience that will live on as part of the Star Wars galaxy.”

In Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, players take on the role of Cal Kestis, a former Padawan hiding in plain sight after the Jedi were all but wiped out after Order 66 was executed by The Emperor. When he’s forced on the run, Cal is quickly met by his companions Cere Junda, a former Jedi Knight played by Debra Wilson and Greez, the larger-than-life Latero pilot voiced by Daniel Roebuck, who flies the crew’s ship known as the Stinger Mantis. BD-1, Cal’s faithful droid that’s as charming as he is useful, will help players navigate and explore diverse planets including the Wookiee homeworld, Kashyyyk, and the never-before-seen planet Zeffo. Cal and his companions are trying to stay one step ahead of the Empire and his new enemy, the Inquisition’s Second Sister, while they unravel a mystery tied to an ancient alien civilization that could help rebuild the Jedi Order.

In a time where it’s increasingly dangerous for Jedi, players will experience Cal’s journey from a young Padawan to a Jedi Knight. Cal’s lightsaber and Force abilities take center stage in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s dynamic combat. Every battle is unique as players engage an array of enemies, from creatures and droids to stormtroopers and elite Purge Troopers to showdowns with AT-STs and powerful bosses. Throughout his quest, Cal will strengthen his connection with the Force, learning powerful new skills which will be crucial in combat as well as for traversing and opening up new paths across these beautiful yet dangerous locales.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is now available both digitally and in stores on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via Origin, Steam and the Epic Games Store. Origin Access Premier subscribers will get full access to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Deluxe Edition on PC for as long as they are subscribed. For more information on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, please visit: https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/jedi-fallen-order

Romancing SaGa 3 Available Now

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 11, 2019) – SQUARE ENIX® today announced that the RPG classic, Romancing SaGa™ 3, is now available to purchase digitally on the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, Windows 10, STEAM®, the App Store® and Google Play®.

24 years after the game’s initial Japanese release, Romancing Saga 3 is now available for the first time in the West on modern platforms. Romancing Saga 3 gives players the freedom to forge their own path, choosing to play through eight different narratives led by eight protagonists, each with their own motives and unique personalities. Developed by industry veterans, including renowned developer Akitoshi Kawazu (FINAL FANTASY®, Romancing SaGa, SaGa Frontier), this HD remaster will feature optimized graphics, a new dungeon called the ‘Phantom Maze’ to explore, and a NEW GAME+ function. Romancing Saga 3 adds new storylines to the game original game, making it the perfect time for both new and veteran players to experience the SaGa series.

To celebrate the launch of Romancing Saga 3 and introduce a world of new players to the epic adventure, a 20% discount is available for the Nintendo Switch version from today until December 1, 2019, and for all other platforms from today until December 4, 2019.

Players looking for even more adventures in the SaGa series can also look forward to SaGa SCARLET GRACE: AMBITIONS™, available on December 3 on the Nintendo Switch system, PlayStation®4 system, STEAM, the App Store and Google Play. Additionally, Romancing SaGa Re;universe™, the popular mobile game with over 15 million downloads based in the world of Romancing SaGa 3, will be available globally in 2020 for iOS and Android devices. To view a teaser for Romancing SaGa Re;universe, visit: https://youtu.be/OZC3IgBa7TU

Romancing SaGa 3 is now available on the Nintendo Switch system, PlayStation®4 system, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, Windows 10, STEAM, the App Store and Google Play. Romancing SaGa 3 is rated T (Teen).

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Reveals Shifting Tides

Tokoname, Japan — November 10th, 2019 — Today, at the Pro League Finals Tokoname, Ubisoft announced the full details of the fourth, and last season, of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® Siege Year 4. Operation Shifting Tides introduces Kali and Wamai — a new Attacker and Defender — from India and Kenya, in addition to an entirely reworked Theme Park map.

Indian Attacker Kali and Kenyan Defender Wamai are the two new operators coming in Operation Shifting Tides. They met in the NIGHTHAVEN Special Intervention Company, a private military group owned and led by Kali. She is equipped with a CSRX 300 sniper rifle that can breach barricades and hatches in a single shot. Her gadget is its under-barrel, the LV Explosive Lance, that destroys all gadgets on both sides of breakable and reinforced surfaces. Wamai is Kali’s best operator at NIGHTHAVEN. His gadget, the Mag-NET System, can attract enemy projectiles and have them detonate at its location. Wamai can make Attackers’ grenades and projectile gadgets useless, or better, turn them against their users.

In addition to these two new Operators, players will be able to explore a reimagined Theme Park map, which is back and newly reworked. The Rail Platform has been removed and the East and West sections have been brought closer together. Inside the building, the East section has largely evolved, primarily the downstairs area. Gargoyle and Haunting Dining bomb sites are replaced with the Throne Room and Armory pair. The new Gong Room in this area also becomes the main entrance, while the Arcade Entrance is now blocked.

Additional updates include the following:

– Limb penetration system has been implemented
– Rappel exist will request a prompt from player to enter rappel
– Operators price decrease (Hibana, Echo, Dokkaebi, Vigil, Zofia, Nomad and Kaid)

The Test Server for Operation Shifting Tides will go live on November 11th. The Test Server is an alternative version of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, allowing players to test upcoming gameplay features that will make their way into the main game itself. Since this is a testing environment, a consistent gameplay experience is not guaranteed on the Test Server. Players are invited to submit the issues they encounter on the Test Server on the R6 Fix platform. The Test Server is exclusive to Windows PC.

For more information about Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, please visit: https://rainbow6.ubisoft.com.

Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair 4-D Dark Ride Announced

Buena Park, Calif. – Southern California’s original theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, will commemorate its 100th anniversary with its largest celebration ever, all paying tribute to the Knott family’s rich history and legacy of family fun for all. Kicking off May 15 through August 30A Knott’s Family Reunion,” will bring together old classics with new favorites, which includes the return of the beloved Bear-y Tales story in an all-new 4-D interactive dark ride, bringing to life a continuation of the classic attraction initially commissioned by the Knott Family and created in 1975 by the legendary attraction designer Rolly Crump.

Knott’s Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair is a new 4-D interactive dark ride that will take guests on an exciting journey through reimagined show scenes that are reminiscent of the original dark ride, including the Boysenberry Pie Factory, Frog Forest, Fortune Teller Camp, Thunder Cave, and Weird Woods,  culminating in a celebration at the County Fair. The story takes place 34 years after the original adventure and will follow Boysen Bear and Girlsen Bear as they travel to the Country Fair to earn the blue ribbon prize for their famous boysenberry pies, but Crafty Coyote is back along with his mischievous pups intent on stealing all the pies for themselves. Guests will climb aboard ride vehicles equipped with jelly blasters to try and recover the stolen boysenberry pies as they travel through whimsical and beautiful environments while competing for the highest score.

“The return of Knott’s Bear-y Tales is perfect for the 100th anniversary because it brings back one of the park’s most nostalgic and beloved attractions in an innovative 4-D dark ride format that will delight an entirely new generation of fans,” said Jon Storbeck, Vice President & General Manager of Knott’s Berry Farm.

Additionally, Knott’s will be celebrating its 100th milestone anniversary by immersing guests in new and nostalgic experiences throughout the park, delighting guests of all ages.

The 100th celebration would not be complete without an Old West adventure. Ghost Town Alive! will return with a new interactive storyline for guests to explore and unravel alongside the characters of Calico. And the summer fun will continue long after the sun goes down when a special 100th Anniversary edition of the popular nighttime party, Knott’s Summer Nights returns with new live music, unique summer food offerings, Instagram-able photo opportunities, interactive experiences, and family-friendly games. Both Ghost Town Alive! and Knott’s Summer Nights will be offered on select days starting May 15 – August 30, 2020.

The Knott’s Family Reunion celebration will serve as the backdrop to the park’s entire 2020 Seasons of Fun events, which brings back all the fan favorites starting with Knott’s PEANUTS Celebration, a unique event dedicated to the beloved PEANUTS characters, taking place weekends from January 25 – March 1, 2020.

In spring, the much-anticipated Knott’s Boysenberry Festival returns with an array of one-of-a-kind boysenberry inspired food and drink items created by the Knott’s culinary team. The Knott’s Boysenberry Festival will offer a month of deliciousness from March 20 – April 19, 2020.

For fall, the spooktacular family-friendly daytime Halloween event, Knott’s Spooky Farm, will invite families with little ghouls ages 3-11 to celebrate the spooky season exclusively on weekends starting September 26 – October 31, 2020.

As winter rolls in, the feeling of Christmas will be discovered at Knott’s Merry Farm, where joy will be in season from November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021.

The best way to enjoy all of the fun offered during the 100th-anniversary celebration at Knott’s along with all of the other exciting Seasons of Fun events is with a 2020 Season Pass. A Regular Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2020 to Knott’s Berry Farm with no blackout dates, and a Gold Season Pass includes unlimited admission in 2020 to both Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Soak City Waterpark with no blackout dates. Knott’s Season passes are now available at the lowest price of the year. Regular Passes are $99 or nine easy payments of $9.50 after an initial payment, and Gold Passes are $120 or nine easy payments of just $11.50 after an initial payment. These offers end on January 5, 2020. Applicable taxes and fees apply. Payment plans are only available at knotts.com.

For more information about next year’s milestone celebration, the new Knott’s Bear-y Tales attraction and Knott’s Season Passes, please visit knotts.com. Join the conversation about the newly announced event at Knott’s this year by using #Knotts100 or #AKnottsFamilyReunion.

Happy Halloween 2019

A big Happy Halloween from the GamingShogun crew. Keep an eye out for those things that go bump in the night. As a reminder, here are some important safety tips to properly enjoy the big night:

  • Rule # 1- Always Wear a Costume
  • Rule # 2 – Always Pass Out Treats
  • Rule # 3 – Never Blow out a Jack O’Lantern
  • Rule # 3 – Always Check your Candy

Reign of Terror Haunted House Review 2019

We LOVE the Reign of Terror (or RoT) haunted house at the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks, CA. It consistently rings in as one of the best haunted houses in Southern California each year and 2019 is no exception. We arrived to the Reign of Terror early in their season and got the chance to tour its 25,000 square feet of space. This year, the Reign of Terror has added more rooms to its attraction, bringing the total number to 115! Something most people don’t realize is that Reign of Terror is actually made up of nine unique haunted houses that connect, Voltron-style, to form one giant one. Each of these haunted house areas has its own theme and style.

This is a shot of the cue area.

The line of Reign of Terror gets VERY long, so I highly recommend arriving an hour early – even if you purchase a VIP express ticket. While this ticket option does decrease the amount of line-waiting, it will still take a while to get in on a busy night (and they all seem to be busy nights). Once you get up the stairs and into the haunted house area, you are treated to a cue unlike I have ever seen. The inner line is decorated so much it might as well be a haunted house all its own! Parking at the Janss Marketplace is free, which makes RoT an outstanding deal given the length of time it takes guests to venture through its winding attraction. On our visit, we took about 25 minutes to walk through the entire thing – a staggering amount of time when compared to most haunted houses.

So, is Reign of Terror scary? Sure! If you get scared at haunted houses, you will definitely get scared at Reign of Terror. If you go to haunted houses as a haunter yourself, in order to judge them or admire and learn from them, you will learn a ton. The set design and overall effects work at Reign of Terror is top notch and puts even the most well-funded, big budget theme park haunted houses to shame. The best part is that, while Reign of Terror is scary and beautiful in its own way, it is NOT an extreme haunt. No one will touch you or torture you in any way, shape, or form. RoT is a classic haunted house taken to the nth degree and worth every penny.

At the end of the gigantic haunted house, you’ll find a photo opportunity and small gift shop where you can get hats, shirts, etc. After your visit to the Reign of Terror, you can enjoy some of the food options that the Janss Marketplace has to offer. Overall, Reign of Terror has become even better for 2019. Its new rooms are scary and make for a perfect Halloweentime evening out. You can find ticket information, hours of operation, and more at their official website.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Final Trailer

October 21, 2019 – Watch the final, exciting trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that debuted during halftime of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” NFL game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.

Tickets to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are now available everywhere tickets are sold!

Check out the brand-new poster and photos and share all with your readers!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases in U.S. theaters on December 20.

Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight Review

A product that should ALWAYS be in your airsoft pack, go bag, or general everyday carry bag is a good flashlight. You never know when you might need to light up the darkness and, when you do, you want a light you can depend on. Fenix has been in the light game for a long while – and makes a number of different models and styles for several categories. Recently, we got the chance to look at the Fenix PD35 TAC flashlight. Based on the PD35 flashlight, but with more tactical options, it’s definitely one you’ll want to check out.

While the Fenix PD35 TAC is very similar in design to the PD35, the tactical model does boast a scalloped front end. The biggest difference between the two is actually what Fenix calls “Tactical Mode”. This mode gives the wielder of the flashlight a much more streamlined control. In this mode, there is a momentary on/off function, then three output settings (1000 lumens, 60 lumens, and a 1000 lumen strobe). In contrast the standard mode of operation for the PD35 and PD35 TAC is “Outdoor Mode”. In this mode, the flashlight can cycle through five levels of brightness as well as one strobe setting. It is definitely a handheld flashlight, but isn’t so small as to be able to comfortably conceal in a standard pants pocket. Thankfully, the FD35 TAC easily fits in a tactical or cargo pocket and it includes a nylon belt pouch which makes carrying the light very convenient. The FD35 TAC is made from aircraft grade aluminum and feels extremely robust.

I actually ran around several airsoft games at night in the desert using the FD35 TAC as my primary light – both for navigation as well as tactical use. The light easily disorients and distracts other people and makes for a great self-defense tool because of this. Its turbo mode is rated at lighting out to 635 feet away from the wielder and that seems pretty accurate. When wielding the flashlight, I had to be very quick to change light output modes depending on the situation. The turbo mode is so bright it will give away one’s position (which in a game of airsoft can be important). The FD35 TAC is also water proof up to 2 meters for 30 minutes, so it is very resilient. Fenix also sells an optional picatinny rail mounts and pressure switches for the light, which would allow it to be used as a gun or helmet light without much issue.

In terms of maximum brightness, the Fenix FD35 TAC is more than capable of blinding an attacker or lighting up large swaths of land with its maximum, 1000 lumen turbo mode. According to the manufacturer, it can output this level of brightness for about three hours. Powering the FD35 TAC are two CR123A batteries. One smart feature of the light is that, if you insert the batteries backwards, there are safeguards in place to not damage the circuitry of the unit. Speaking of power, if you opt to use rechargeable lithium ion polymer batteries in the FD35 TAC, it will let its user know when the batteries are starting to die by slowly decreasing the brightness level leading up to a power loss.

Overall, Fenix has done an outstanding job with their FD35 TAC flashlight. For just shy of $80 dollars, you get a flashlight with the performance and quality of units selling for two times as much. The Fenix FD35 TAC is available now from various online retailers.

LA Haunted Hayride 2019 Review

The 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride brings with it a new production company as well as design firm. Will these changes be enough to raise the hayride up from the slump it has been in the past few years? In many ways, yes. However, there are still several, some serious, issues that the LA Haunted Hayride must address in order to keep in the haunt community’s good graces.

The biggest change to the LA Haunted Hayride in 2019 is that “The In-Between” midway area has been completely overhauled, becoming the fictional town of Midnight Falls. Set in the 1980’s, Midnight Falls is putting on a Halloween carnival and its residents are roaming the grounds. These residents, in a Ghost Town Alive style, are not really scaring anyone. They certainly interact with guests, giving lore about the town and other residents, and generally entertain. But this is a mixed bag as, on one hand, the interaction is fun! On the other hand, there is a distinct lack of scaring going on in Midnight Falls. They need some residents that solely scare guests. The Scary-Go-Round, a skeleton Merry-Go-Round ride, is on the premises but not functioning for some reason. This was a sorely missed aspect of past hayrides. They need to bring this attraction back in order to help sop up some of the crowds. There is a stage setup where, on our visit, Monte Ravolta performed, and there may be other acts throughout the run – I can’t speak to that.

The food offerings of the 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride have improved, with plenty of meat and vegan based options at a new food tent. Also on-site during my visit was Auntie Anne’s pretzel truck and a cinnamon roasted nuts kiosk. Something I did miss was more of the Halloween-oriented fare like caramel apples and pumpkin spice flavored options. It would be nice to have some more sweets on the menu. While past LA Haunted Hayrides didn’t do the main dishes very well, they did have the sweets.

Of course, we need to discuss the hayride itself. Unfortunately, this year’s hayride is really spotty in terms of quality and narrative. In past years, the hay wagon would briefly stop at each vignette, allowing guests to take in the scene. This year, the hay wagons just kept driving – which wouldn’t be an issue if the scenes were engaging enough to make a positive impression. There are only a few scenes that make sense in the overall theme of Midnight Falls. There are also large areas without any decorations or monsters where there should be. In fact, it seemed like the hayride monster cast was a fraction of its former number.

As a whole, the various mazes of the LA Haunted Hayride have definitely gotten better this year. The Darkness is now a more traditional haunted house experience called Roadkill Ranch and Trick or Treat is back with some houses giving out candy again (which is the way it should be) – just remember to say “Trick or treat!”. Midnight Mortuary is a new haunted house for the LA Haunted Hayride and was built, in part, with help from some of the folks from Sinister Pointe. It is a great haunted house and features various, fun, physical elements as well – things like crawling through passageways, etc.

The night we attended was severely overcrowded. Guests waited for hours…. Some just trying to get through the security checkpoint at the entrance of the LA Haunted Hayride and others mired down in the line for the hayride ride itself (even the VIP line was long). The maze lines were practically nonexistent and there was barely any wait for the food options. If you are not going to purchase a platinum pass (which is very pricey for what you’re getting access to), I suggest getting to the site at least an hour early to line up. Then, once you get inside, go immediately to the hayride attraction and ride it. After that, you should have smooth sailing as you enjoy the mazes, food, and shows.

Overall, the 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride feels like a beast in transition, trying to throw off the shackles which weighed it down in previous years while not quite being able to achieve its sky-high goals. There are several ticket options available to attendees – from hayride-only passes at $35 dollars all the way up to the platinum pass for about $110 dollars. General Admission is $45 dollars and I can definitely see paying that for the event. Despite its shortcomings, there are fun and scares to be had within its mazes and Midnight Falls area. This year’s hayride is not worth the platinum level pass unless you have plenty of money to burn. For $110 dollars, you can pay for two Knott’s Scary Farm tickets (with money left for parking and food) or one Halloween Horror Nights general admission ticket.

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