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Gravity Rush 2 Reviews For PS4

Gravity Rush 2 Reviews For PS4

The original Gravity Rush had many positive qualities, but controlling Kat, its upbeat and unusually skilled hero, was the reason to play the game. With the ability to control her center of gravity, you could walk on walls and ceilings, and–most important of all–fly through a magnificent floating city in the clouds. The unusual gravity-based nature of Kat’s powers made the age-old concept of flight feel fresh and managed to carry the imaginative yet underdeveloped adventure. But by the end, with untapped potential and numerous unanswered questions hanging in the air, Gravity Rush felt like it needed a sequel to finish its tale.

More than just a simple follow-up, Gravity Rush 2 exceeds expectations, filling in lingering gaps while simultaneously telling a new story. It also crucially doubles down on depth and scale, significantly increasing the scope of the adventure and the number of optional missions. Like the first game, you spend most of your time peacefully flying around looking for key items and characters to move the story along. But when the alien-like Nevi appear, Kat turns full action superhero.

Kat can pick off small enemies or weaken large brutes from a distance by magically throwing inanimate objects, but you typically rely on her kick abilities to get the job done–quick-and-dirty combos on the ground and measured homing attacks in midair. Nevi have sensitive red orbs on their bodies, and while you’re required to target them to inflict damage, built-in aiming assists make your life a little easier.

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Kat eventually learns two new “styles” that mix up her relationship with gravity. Rather than merely changing the direction of gravity and falling at a fixed speed, the Lunar style makes Kat move in a floaty manner, with persistent low gravity, and makes her auto-targeting more effective. It also gives her the ability to leap great distances. The Jupiter style allows Kat to hit harder, but she moves in a much more deliberate, weighty manner. Kat’s powers never feel lacking to begin with, but these additions give you a few new tools to wield during combat. Thankfully, you’re rarely forced to use one style over the rest, so you’re free to experiment and devise your own fighting style most of the time.

Fighting in midair in Gravity Rush 2 feels a lot like it did in the first game: exciting and unusual, and at the mercy of the camera. It’s relatively easy to look past this issue since the camera only gets temperamental on occasion, but during tense, prolonged battles, this issue isn’t as easy to reconcile.

More than just a simple follow-up, Gravity Rush 2 exceeds expectations, filling in lingering gaps while simultaneously telling a new story. Kat’s story is reestablished months after the conclusion of the first game, though you spend quite a bit of time in new locations before reconnecting with her past. After the appearance of a mysterious gravity storm, Kat and her detective friend Syd are violently whisked away to a mining camp. Dusty, Kat’s feline guardian and the source of her power, is nowhere to be found.

Before she can locate Dusty and regain her powers, Kat has to navigate a slave-like existence at the camp. While this section does feel a little deflating given that Kat’s powers are the first thing you want to explore, it thankfully doesn’t last too long. If nothing else, the intro helps set up the new cast of characters and a new conflict for Kat and Syd to wrestle with.

After you break out of the intro, you’re brought to a divided society where the rich live in opulence above the clouds, while the poor try to scrape by below. In working to bridge the gap between the two social classes, you come to realize that the poor aren’t the ill-natured thieves the rich make them out to be; the rich, on the other hand, are mostly as slimy and greedy as you imagine. The examinations of these topics aren’t revelatory or groundbreaking–Gravity Rush 2 loves silver linings–but they lend a small amount of relatability to the otherworldly realm.

Given the open world nature of the game, you’re free to explore its locales and pick from a selection of activities and missions that are automatically pinpointed on your map. With over 20 episodes and at least 40 side missions–including skill trials–boredom is never an issue. Through expressive avatars and minimal but effective voice acting–and the joy of flight, naturally–even basic missions are a treat and rarely feel like filler content. Gravity Rush 2 goes to great lengths to connect side missions back to the main story too, revealing new facets of seemingly minor characters that enhance your understanding of their position in society–and, thus, your perspective of the bigger picture.

Simply flying around the world is a captivating experience in its own right, both for the innate thrill of flight and for the beauty of your surroundings. The only types of missions that wear thin are those that force basic stealth rules. Sometimes you have to sneak around a soldier-filled base and avoid their sightlines while you make for a key location, or you may trail a suspicious character to gather intel. These brief missions aren’t very challenging, but should you be spotted, you’re immediately kicked back to the last checkpoint. They aren’t a major intrusion, but by and large, these missions fail to leverage Kat’s strengths, and come across as dull compared to the rest of her high-flying adventure.

Truth be told, you don’t even need to engage with missions to enjoy yourself. Simply flying around the world is a captivating experience in its own right, both for the innate thrill of flight and for the beauty of your surroundings. The world pops with color and character, building on the first game’s strong, Studio Ghibli-esque visuals. And basic exploration is once again made more rewarding by the hundreds of gems–used for ability upgrades–strewn across the map. Kat flies with an awkward grace that feels totally unique, and though you occasionally need to let her fall for a second or two to recharge her power during a long flight, there’s an undeniable sense of freedom to flying through the world, unencumbered by architecture or enemies.

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Beyond littering the world with collectible gems, Gravity Rush 2 incentivizes casual exploration by introducing emergent events, generated by other people playing the game. On a regular basis, notifications pop up when you’re flying to and fro, indicating a nearby treasure hunt. Accept the challenge and you’re whisked away to a specific point on the map. You’re then given a chance to examine a photo of the relevant location in order to pinpoint landmarks and zero in on a treasure chest within a limited amount of time. This provides a fun diversion that tests your observation and navigation skills in new ways, and if you generate a photo that helps another player successfully locate some treasure, you’ll receive a small reward for your work. It’s a small touch, but treasure hunts also reinforce the feeling that you’re part of world that operates independently of your adventure, befitting the new large, lively open world.

After more than a dozen hours of helping the poor, supporting your friends, and uncovering corruption at the highest levels of government, Gravity Rush 2 concludes its new tale before revisiting Kat’s origin story. In the final act, you discover the answers to the biggest mysteries laid out in both games. You have to do a little detective work at first to get the ball rolling, but once you find the path forward, Gravity Rush 2 delivers a series of exciting, over-the-top boss battles–one with an unmistakable likeness to the olympic stadium battle from Akira–and narrative-heavy scenes that delve into Kat’s pre-Gravity Rush past.

With a wealth of stories big and small to chew on, Gravity Rush 2 fulfills the needs of both a sequel and a prequel. The first Gravity Rush had enough going for it, but Gravity Rush 2 is stuffed with things to love. While its stealth missions are lame and it’s disappointing to experience camera issues from time to time, Gravity Rush 2 excels in almost every other respect, making its predecessor seem quaint by comparison. This is easily one of the best video game sequels in recent memory, and an adventure truly worthy of its excellent lead character.

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Stardew Valley Review For PC And PS4

On the surface, Stardew Valley is a game about farming, but there are more adventures awaiting curious players beyond cultivating a rich and bountiful garden. From mining and fishing to making friends and falling in love, Stardew Valley’s Pelican Town is stuffed with rewarding opportunities. As modern day woes give way to pressing matters on the farm and within your newfound community, Stardew Valley’s meditative activities often lead to personal reflection in the real world. It’s a game that tugs at your curiousity as often as it does your heart.

Your journey begins in the field, cleaning up a neglected and rundown farm. Plotting and planning your garden requires care and attention to detail. What fruits and vegetables do you grow? How much room does each plant need? How do you protect your crops from nature’s troublemakers? You learn through practice, and while the basics are easy to grasp, you quickly need to figure out the best way to outfit your budding farm with new tools and equipment.

Upgrades help speed up essential tasks like tilling the earth and watering your plants, but advanced equipment becomes a necessity when the time comes to break down large rocks and stumps that stick out in your garden. The crafting menu also entices you with optional time-saving tools; automated sprinklers that water the crops every morning, artisan equipment to make preserves or beer out of your harvest, and refineries, such as a furnace for turning ore into metal bars. If you want something, you can make it, you just have to scour your environment for the necessary components.

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Stardew Valley Review

As your farm improves, you gain the ability to raise livestock. Animals are expensive to buy and maintain, and the barn they live in isn’t cheap either. You start small, with a barn just big enough for a few chickens and ducks. But if you run an efficient and bountiful garden, you can eventually afford to upgrade to a bigger barn and keep hearty livestock like pigs, cows and sheep.

You have to feed your stock every day, which can get expensive, but they will eventually begin to produce eggs, milk and other rewards for all your hard work. Beyond their monetary value, animals are simply endearing to be around. Give them a name and work a little petting time into your routine; before you know it, your commodities have become your friends. Like your crops, the goodies livestock produce give you a sense of accomplishment, but their companionship is a different yet equally valuable reward.

The goodies livestock produce give you a sense of accomplishment, but their companionship is a different yet equally valuable reward. When your farm is healthy and your equipment set, Stardew Valley opens up and your routine expands: after you water your plants, feed your animals and tidy up in the morning, you get to head out in search of adventure and friendship. There’s a mine north of Pelican Town with a seemingly endless bounty of buried treasure, but also danger. Combat is simple–a plain swipe of a sword will brush back most common monsters–but the dangers you face grow as you delve deeper into the mine, pushing your basic tactics to the limit.

There’s a risk/reward relationship to seeking out valuable treasure, as it becomes increasingly more difficult to defend yourself from procedurally generated creatures the deeper you go. You hit checkpoints–in the form of elevator stops–every few floors, which both encourages you to keep going and to return in the future in search of grander rewards as checkpoints allow you to skip past the mine’s early levels. The precious gems you find can be sold for profit, donated to a museum that will conduct and share research, or simply hoarded in a chest to be fawned over down the road.

When you grow weary of toiling underground, you can also spend time fishing on lakes, streams and coastal beaches. Fishing in Stardew Valley is straightforward–you use one button to reel in a fish and let go when the line is tense–but it gives you a chance to soak in your surroundings and experience the joys of catching a wide array of fish unique to specific seasons and locations. It’s a calming experience at sunset after a long day that gives you a chance to reflect on your progress and daydream about adventures to come.

Stardew Valley constantly encourages you to explore, be it mining, foraging for fruit in the woods, or collecting seashells, and your curiosity is amply rewarded. Every hidden area you find, every train track you follow, leads to new sights and discoveries that add detail and color to the world around you. Yet as fulfilling as farming and exploring are, visiting Pelican Town’s community center pulls you ever deeper into your new life. Like your farm at the beginning of the game, the community center needs a little attention at first: you’re sent out on fetch quests to gather the necessary materials to fuel its reconstruction.

Outside of the community center, the rest of Pelican Town’s inhabitants also need your help. In working together to achieve small goals, you grow to understand your neighbors’ personalities and identify what makes them tick. Some are pursuing their hopes and dreams, while others fight day to day to overcome personal obstacles; others are quirky creatures of habit that round out the community’s overall identity.

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Relationships are gauged by a heart meter, and getting to a certain number of hearts results in a cutscene that offer a closer look into your new friends’ lives. Offering gifts and completing tasks from a board in the center of town are easy ways to increase your connections, and slowly but surely you’re allowed in the inner circle of people’s otherwise private lives. You may befriend a father named Kent who’s dealing trauma after years at war. He’s working on his temper and trying to bond with his child after being away from home. The child, whom you meet in hiding in his parent’s basement, is quiet and introverted. But when you put the time in to get to know him, he reveals that he actually doesn’t mind being alone, even though he believes that he’s at odds with his parents. These personal moments are touching, and encourage you to spend more time getting to know the people around you.

And if you decide to enter Pelican Town’s dating scene, don’t be surprised if you end up with butterflies in your stomach. Giving your crush the right gift and seeing the joy on their face makes you genuinely happy, but you have to put yourself out there first. Sure, working with townsfolk in general is a good way to understand the ins and outs of potential suitors, but no amount of preparation diminishes the impact of anxiously delivering a heartfelt gesture. Because you’ve invested so much time and energy into forging relationships, you get nervous when you expose your feelings, regardless of the fact that you’re courting a pixelated crush. Through strong writing and characterization, Stardew Valley stirs up surprising feelings: when your date shares his umbrella in the rain, you know he’s the one.

Through strong writing and characterization, Stardew Valley stirs up surprising feelings Romance often buds during community events that take place each season. In spring you’ll attend a dance and try to get someone to be your partner. At the summer luau you’ll have to bring something delicious from your harvest for the community potluck. At each of these events you’ll have time to get to know the people within the community and see them in a different light than usual. Although it’s lovely to see them outside of their usual activities, it’s a shame year after year the comments and actions of the villagers remain the same. Still, you can learn from previous years, adding better food to the potluck and finally earning the affection of your favorite dance partner.

Mastering farming and earning the affection of your special someone in Stardew Valley are fulfilling journeys filled with surprising and rewarding challenges. But when you have those accomplishments under your belt, it’s hard to know where you go from there. Divorce is an option, but if you put a lot of yourself into finding a spouse, dumping them merely to extend your game doesn’t seem like an attractive path. Besides, with your money-making farm, cash isn’t a concern either.

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Ultimately, Stardew Valley’s eventful world is so inviting that you may opt to simply start from scratch and forge a new life. For anyone who played Stardew Valley earlier this year when it launched on PC, the new console ports capture the same magic that made the game special all those months ago, and allows you to play from the comfort of your couch. Controls on console are essentially identical to what you get from the PC version’s controller support. Console versions also get the fully updated version of Stardew Valley, which includes the aforementioned divorce option, new farm maps that focus on different skills, and a handful of new mechanics that add appreciable wrinkles to life on the farm and about town.

The sheer number of things to accomplish in Stardew Valley can keep you interested beyond the original three in-game years you need to reach the end of your story–you may just want to start over rather than continue on. You’ll work quite hard to gather enough money for your first horse, so that you can quickly move to the mines to get a mineral to complete a bundle at the community center. It’s all centered around whatever it is you want to accomplish that day. And that’s truly what makes Stardew Valley such a lovely experience, it encourages you to go out and be the best you can be, in whichever task that brings you the most joy. Stardew Valley motivates naturally, with blissful optimism.

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I Expect You to Die Review For PS4 And PC

I Expect You to Die Review For PS4 And PC

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a daring escape. You’ve exhausted your options, had your epiphanies, and applied your knowledge under the extreme pressure of imminent death. It’s only in the aftermath, as your heart rate slows, that you realize how close you were to failure. But you succeeded anyway.

I Expect You to Die captures that feeling. It finds you in the shoes of an international spy intent on foiling the plans of the evil Zoraxis corporation, placing you in discrete escape-room scenarios that test your intelligence, resourcefulness, and performance under pressure. It’s equal parts terrifying and thrilling. It’s a rewarding puzzle game and one of my favorite virtual reality experiences yet.

This is due almost entirely to how well I Expect You to Die uses VR to its advantage. Although it can be played using a mouse, keyboard, and standard monitor, the game is multitudes better on Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR, where Touch controllers or PS Move remotes make proceedings a much more tactile, involving experience. Many of these puzzles would be simple in a standard video game. In I Expect You to Die, on the other hand, they’re nuanced and rewarding. It almost goes without saying, but here, in these virtual escape rooms, you almost feel the puzzles. You’re there, twisting your head to find useful items, glancing at your feet when you drop a primed explosive, extending your hand to seal the cracked window of an underwater vessel.

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The story serves mainly as context for your accolades, setting up each tense situation your suave character finds himself in. These range from bomb defusals to daring submarine escapes. My favorite asks you to create an anti-serum capable of distilling a chemical weapon formula, all the while disguised as a blue-collar window washer. Combining a variety of volatile chemicals is horrifying, but using my sponge on the glass in front of me to throw a nearby guard off the scent lends the predicament a grounded, almost humorous angle–the guard saw me, deemed me a harmless pedestrian, and went about his business.

Every super spy needs a lighter. Every super spy needs a lighter. Even now, in a year where virtual reality has finally broken into the mainstream, it’s hard to describe the emotions a good VR game can elicit. The added layer of kineticism makes the mere act of swiping a virtual sponge up and down involving, to the point that I was afraid to turn my head and make eye contact with the suspicious guard. I stared straight ahead, both at the virtual world’s digital window, and physical headset lenses in front of me, experiencing a fear that doesn’t dissipate as soon as it may in a standard video game. It’s not just that your hands start sweating–it’s that your whole body goes rigid.

I Expect You to Die is reserved in its approach to VR, but for the better. Each of the four escape scenarios find your character in a seated, or at least stationary, position: in the driver’s seat of a car, the desk of an office, the elevated platform outside a skyscraper window. Furthermore, developer Schell Games grants you the power of telekinesis–with only spare time spent justifying the ability, opting instead to admit how ridiculous it is through self-aware writing–allowing you to pull distant objects toward you. This lets you feel at home in I Expect You to Die’s world. Like your character, you can remain seated, and it won’t feel out of place in the virtual environment you inhabit.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to these controls, as you discern the sensitivity of your telekinetic powers and gauge how hard to maneuver your Touch controller’s analog stick. Once you do, however, you’ll be levitating card keys through complex laser grids, avoiding any alarms and deactivating security measures, giving you a moment to breathe before handling dangerous chemical solutions in the enemy’s laboratory.

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Throughout the game, voiceovers by an archetypical British assistant direct you with one-liners and observational quips that highlight the perks and downfalls of being a super spy. “For your next mission you’re going to the Caribbean,” he muses. “But don’t expect a vacation. I already told you we can’t afford that.” Like the writing that justifies your telekinetic powers, I Expect You to Die’s overall script is humorous, and shows a vivid understanding of its source material–spy movies with heroes too cool, and too daring, to feel fear. And the best part about this game is just that: it makes you feel like those heroes, those Bonds and Bournes and Bauers, as they barely escape with their lives, only to straighten their tie as explosions paint the screen behind them.

I Expect You to Die does slip and fall along the way, though. While countdown timers and decreasing oxygen supplies exacerbate the tension of a bomb defusal or underwater escape, respectively, they result in frequent deaths and subsequent retries when they don’t really work. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, as each new attempt increases both your mastery of the escape room and, as a result, the feeling of being a trained spy. But it does lead to frustration along the way. More than once, I accidentally pulled the pin on a grenade instead of merely grabbing the grenade itself. I also tried my best to rotate a nearby oxygen valve in my underwater sub, only to find the Touch or PS Move controls unresponsive. And, suffocating sucks.

But the annoyances caused by these hiccups pale in comparison to the thrills I Expect You to Die delivers. Through well designed puzzles, intense escape room scenarios, and a kineticism absent in video games on standard screens, I Expect You to Die knows exactly how to leverage the magic of VR, and proves it almost every step of the way.

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Torin’s Passage Review For PC

Torin’s Passage Review

In his latest project, Torin’s Passage, Lowe has cast aside the bathroom humor and created a game suitable for adventurers both young and old.

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Torin’s Passage Review For PC

Sierra has been perfecting their brand of computer adventure games for over fifteen years, and game designer Al Lowe has been a major part of that evolution. His ribald Softporn Adventure, re-made into Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, was religiously played by every teenager with access to a computer. In his latest project, Torin’s Passage, Lowe has cast aside the bathroom humor and created a game suitable for adventurers both young and old.

The script tries to stray from Lowe’s usual vulgar jokes, but still includes playfully overstated poo and hemorrhoid mentions. And while it’s thankfully devoid of his usual sexist fare, you should be prepared for a lot of corny humor mixed in with a few clever lines.

Although Lowe maintained control of the writing and game design, he employed over forty specialized artists to create the game’s visual artwork, music and sound effects, and it shows. Every scene in this adventure is beautifully crafted using a hybrid of hand-drawn cell animation, oil paint backgrounds, 3-D rendered objects, and the less fluid computer-generated art. While this may sound hodgepodge and gaudy, the overall effect is harmonious. Digital music, sound effects, and speech are flawless on a fast machine, but a major slowdown will occur below 75MHZ.

The puzzles, and there are plenty, come in two varieties: contextual (place gum on stick, use stick to pick up coin from grate) and exploratory (push the red button and the bridge lowers halfway, the green one makes it raise halfway). In an interesting (and pleasing) development, Sierra included on-line hints for all of the game’s puzzles. This means no more long-distance calls to a hint-line or frustrating weeks of being stuck in the same place, but wanting to continue the game. Veteran adventurers might weave their way through the game’s difficult logic puzzles, but novices will definitely need to use the on-line hints. Though this game is aimed at a younger audience, it may be too difficult for all but gifted children. Even so, the storyline and characters should keep the young ones enthralled while older siblings or parents wrestle with the puzzles. A fine family play.

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Hoyle Blackjack Review

Hoyle Blackjack Review

The Hoyle card game series from Sierra has long been recognized as a source of inexpensive entertainment for computer game players who enjoy something a little less violent than the slew of enormously popular gorefest games available today for the PC. Hoyle Blackjack is no exception — Sierra has once again released an addictive, economical card game and has even thrown in extra bells and whistles to boot.

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Hoyle Blackjack is a full-featured blackjack simulation that captures many of the elements of gambling in a real casino. Starting off with $5,000 in chips and $5,000 in the bank (which you can withdraw from a handy ATM located in the casino), you can risk high stakes at the table without having to worry about losing any actual money. There is even a tutorial and hint mode to familiarize beginners with the basic strategies of blackjack. Play solo against the dealer, computer opponents, or, with the Windows 95 network option, up to three other human players via the Sierra Internet Gaming System. There are also a variety of casino play styles to choose from, as well as a style customizer which allows you to change such variables as the number of decks at the table and the number of allowable splits per game.

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Hoyle Blackjack Review

As if this wasn’t enough bang for the buck, Sierra also paid close attention to the small details in Hoyle Blackjack by adding tasty little extras for that “real-feel.” The blackjack table is textured so realistically you nearly feel the felt under your mouse as you place your bet. To add even more realism, the dealer and the other characters comment on your performance as you play. Luckily, Sierra has included an attitude adjuster for the dealer, allowing you to manipulate just how much of your dignity (and money) he/she will walk away with at the end of the night..

By combining good looks with amusing gameplay, Sierra has done it again. If you’re searching for a blackjack simulation that won’t break the bank, Hoyle Blackjack is the finest you’ll find.

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Giant Machines 2017 Review

Giant Machines 2017 Review

If you’re obsessed with construction equipment and large mechanical things, Giant Machines 2017 probably has something to offer you. Giant Machines 2017 is a game that simulates what it’s like to drive, well, giant machines. These are machines like dump trucks, giant bucket-wheel mining excavators, cranes, and that massive moving platform that hauled the space shuttle to its launch site.

I found the game bizarrely entertaining in short bursts. It’s buggy, not terribly attractive, and frequently requires the player to perform tedious, rather pointless tasks. Giant Machines brings up all kinds of questions about worker safety as well. Does the gigantic excavator really have a 300-foot ladder going straight up, with no safety guards whatsoever? And, if so, who takes that job?

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Giant Machines 2017 Review

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There’s a certain novelty to the game as a whole. Similar to the appeal of movies about sharks in tornadoes, there’s a goofy, yet earnest glee to playing with monster machinery. The 12-year-old in me couldn’t help but get a modicum of guilty pleasure out of plowing through town in a dump truck the size of a house or pushing massive piles of snow for no real reason at all. The game’s snarky narrator is also amusing as he gives you mission goals at the beginning of each level, frequently complaining about the incompetent guy who had the job before you.

Despite the inherent glee of operating massive mechanical contraptions and snarky narrator aside, the game takes itself way too seriously and focuses too much on out-of-place mini-objectives. Anyone who looks at a game like this and thinks, “Hey! That’s a great idea!” is likely doing so because they want to bust things up with giant equipment. There’s some of that, but there’s way too much fixing cables, replacing batteries, and other tedious tasks that just get in the way of controlling the vehicles.

When you finally do get behind the wheel of these mighty machines, the game opts for simulation-level pacing–without really delivering any kind of in-depth simulation. You can control almost every aspect of the various vehicles with a control pad, for instance, but don’t expect a riotous, over-the-top destructive rodeo. Instead, take a deep breath, contemplate life, and think about your day as you literally drive from Point A to Point B at about one or two miles per hour.

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Giant Machines 2017 Review

The camera has an array of options, which are frequently all bad. Viewing from the operator’s booth in some of the machines barely lets you see what you’re doing, and the third-person viewpoints tend to be even worse. It’s not so noticeable when you’re driving a giant dump truck, but for unusually shaped vehicles (such as the excavator), everything is awkward.

Every vehicle has a radio with several music stations. One sounds like weird ’80s-era action-movie synthpop, while another seems to be Eastern European metal. It was all stuff I’ve certainly never heard before. The tracks aren’t particularly good, but I kind of enjoyed the low-budget equivalent to the standard triple-A soundtrack.

Adding “2017” to the name might suggest this is a modern, up-to-date experience, but the graphics engine looks more like 2006 (or older). The machines–especially from a distance–look decent, but the landscapes are sharp and blocky, and close-up textures and architecture are rather primitive.

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Giant Machines 2017 Review

Giant Machines 2017 is only vaguely sim-like and suffers from a slew of flaws. Had the game just dove all-in on the idea of creating a destructive playground in which players could just run wild, it might’ve been a lot more appealing. As it is, the game has a distinct novelty value if you like low-budget, weird games.

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Chronos Review

Chronos Review

Chronos is a game about combat mastery. Hostile encounters lead you through its world, separated only by puzzles and moments of discovery. Understanding your enemies and overcoming them is key to moving forward, while death acts as the teacher that keeps you after class to discuss what you did wrong. Some foes can prove highly difficult, but learning their patterns and how they react to your actions turns such encounters from stilted and daunting to rhythmic and exhilarating. Chronos could be accused of mimicking a number of different games, but what it does with all it has makes for a highly enjoyable experience that stands on its own despite a few flaws.

A third-person action-adventure game, Chronos puts you in control of an 18 year old character, and every time you die and respawn, you age a year. With aging comes changes to your character. While you’re young, there’s a bigger emphasis on your strength, agility, and vitality stats, but that wanes as you grow older–your arcane stat becomes more significant, as your other three stats grow at a slower rate. Starting at age 20, you earn a trait every 10 years that grants you a significant stat boost in either strength, agility, arcane, or vitality. Getting older is just as scary as it is in real life, so staying alive feels paramount to staying strong and healthy; thankfully, it’s not quite as dire as that since I felt like I needed to restart because I had gotten too old–you don’t lose any of the points you assign after leveling up.

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VR lends an incredible sense of scale to Chronos’ world and enemies.

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Your options in combat consist of attacking, dodging, and blocking. Your weapon of choice should correspond to where you’re putting your skill points; if you use a sword, you’ll benefit from more agility, while an axe will become more powerful with a higher strength stat. It’s unfortunate that there are more strength-oriented weapons earlier in the game, as I only got a chance to switch up my sword for a worthwhile weapon when I was deep into the second half of my playthrough.

Arcane is Chronos’s form of magic, though it acts less like what you’d expect and more like a power attack. However, this isn’t a bad thing, as executing arcane-infused attacks is incredibly satisfying. When you get the first arcane stone, it adds a little extra kick to your heavy attacks. Additionally, your attacks become infused with the arcane magic when you dodge at the right time, further enhancing the satisfying rhythm of combat.

Puzzle solutions range from finding and combining the right items to spotting hidden points of interest in the environment. The former works every time, however, the puzzles that require a keen eye can be a pain; an early puzzle that required me to notice a relatively small detail had me stumped for quite a while. The solution consisted of looking intently at something I wasn’t yet able to interact with, so I just brushed it off as something I would deal with later. Eventually, after going through every room and tinkering with every little thing a couple times, I discovered the solution and was able to progress–it was a frustrating bump in what was and would continue to be an engaging adventure.

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Chronos Review

The story revolves around three different worlds, defeating three bosses, and then slaying a dragon. There’s more to it, and it even (sort of) explains why you age a year every time you die; however, it’s all delivered through computer terminals, books, and other optional articles. It’s not the most exciting or interesting narrative, and you won’t feel lost or confused if you choose to ignore it–the sparse narrative acts more as a world-building device than anything else. Chronos allows itself to be all about the combat, puzzle-solving, and adventure.

Initially, Chronos didn’t strike me as something that would make much sense in virtual reality. However, as I played, my mind was quickly changed. Chronos made things you wouldn’t even think about in a non-VR game stand out in effective ways. Gigantic enemies feel huge and made my palms sweat more than I’d like to admit, and there’s a type of enemy that only moves when you don’t look at it–not your character, you. These seemingly small touches make a big impact when playing in VR.

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Chronos Review

Chronos made things you wouldn’t even think about in a non-VR game stand out in effective ways. Chronos is played at a fixed camera angle that shifts as you explore the world, similar to classic Resident Evil games. In one room you’ll be positioned on top of a table, while in the next you could be looking down on your character from a ceiling corner. This method allows for great scene composition, adding to Chronos’ already foreboding atmosphere in an awesome way. One particular moment sets a creepy mood as you–the viewer–are put behind the bars of a prison cell, watching your character move about on the other side. This approach is a defining element of Chronos, and it’s a boon the majority of the time, but it proves problematic on occasion when you have to judge the location of pitfalls from an ill-fitting perspective. Enemies can also get in your way and obstruct your view, and while this is a rare occurrence, it plagues your encounter with the last boss, who’s otherwise frustrating. It’s a disappointing bookend to what is otherwise a game filled with fantastic enemies and rewarding combat.

Chronos’ flaws are obvious, but thankfully few and far between. When you push your way through its more annoying aspects, it welcomes you with enticingly grim set pieces and tense encounters. It’s a highly-rewarding game that proves you can leverage VR to enhance traditional games, but Chronos doesn’t use it as a crutch; it stands tall all on its own.

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Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review PC

Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review PC

There are more than 100 characters to discover in Lego Marvel’s Adventures, and it’ll take dedicated players dozens of hours to access every single one. But even when you’ve unlocked only a handful, it’s clear that many of the characters play in the same way. There may be a lot of Marvel heroes and villains to be found here, but there’s also quite a bit of repetition.

The same could be said of the many Lego games that have released in the decade since Lego Star Wars kickstarted this popular franchise. There’s a familiar, predictable feel to most of these games, and outside of cosmetic differences and some non-impactful combat additions, Lego Marvel’s Avengers very much plays like the latest iteration of a well-worn template. After the wildly inventive Lego Dimensions last year, Avengers feels a little old-fashioned.

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Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review PC

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Chibi-Robo Zip Lash Review Games Online For PC

Old-fashioned doesn’t necessarily mean tired, though. Lego Marvel’s Avengers is packed with fun moments and plenty of content, even if all the beats are ones you’ve heard before. This Lego game goes back to proven ground as a charming action adventure that has a strong focus on puzzle solving. Most of the game plays out in the same way–two or more characters (drop in/drop out two-player support is present as always) traverse through levels, fighting their way through hordes of enemies and having to solve puzzles that usually involve the use of unique character traits. Tony Stark, for example, has the mechanic ability to fix broken machines, while Black Widow’s invisibility allows her to sneak past security systems in order to disable them. Very few of these puzzles are taxing (which is apt for a game aimed at kids), with the key to even the most obtuse ones usually being “hit enough environmental objects until the solution presents itself.”

Combat is simplistic, and is limited to one attack and another special attack. Lego Marvel’s Avengers tries to improve on this by introducing unique moves that result in two characters combining their skills. Thor can strike his hammer on Captain America’s shield to create a massive shockwave, for example, while Scarlet Witch can take a whole quiver of Hawkeye’s arrows and shoot them out in all directions. There’s a good variety of these combinations to be discovered, at least within the core group of Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers–the uniqueness of these moves thins out once you get to pairings with other, lesser-known characters. But with the very simple combat (as per usual there’s no penalty for losing lives) there’s no real incentive to use these flashy moves other than for the brief visual flair they provide.

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Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review PC

This simplicity makes Lego Marvel’s Avengers feel light and breezy, and despite its adherence to formula, there’s still undeniable fun to be had in conquering the game’s many levels. Several action sequences are propulsive and exhilarating, such as a battle on top of a moving train (taken from Captain America: The First Avenger) and a long section set on New York streets in a battle against the Chitauri.

A lot of the joy here can be attributed to the charm the Lego games exude, something that is again abundant in this latest version. The game’s main quest line follows events from the first two Avengers films as well as some of the standalone Marvel films from the MCU’s Phase Two series, but puts it’s own irreverent, kid-friendly spin on them. (Movie spoilers incoming.) Quicksilver gets sprayed with ice cream instead of bullets in Lego Marvel’s Avengers version of one key scene in Age of Ultron, for example, while some of Tony Stark’s routines to get in and out his various Iron Man suits are played to good comic effect. There’s even room made for some sweetness, such as a quick, quiet flashback scene in which Captain America finally gets to have his dance with Peggy Carter.

Outside of the main story, Lego Marvel’s Avengers also features several large open-world areas for exploration. These areas are dotted with quests, checkpoint races, and collectibles. They feel more alive and vital than in previous Lego game iterations of open world environments; the New York area in particular feels jam-packed with things to do, with many Marvel characters dotted through its streets. That same sense of goofy fun in the main quest lines permeates these worlds as well (gigantic dragon Fin Fang Foom, for example, needs culinary help for some strange reason).

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Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review PC

It’s probably no surprise to say that Lego Marvel’s Avengers appeal will vary depending on your affection for Marvel characters (particularly their Marvel movie versions), and as a fan I was made giddy by the level of detail to be found in this game. The most impressive for fans is the huge number of available characters, which spans a wide gamut of both the well-known and esoteric. Tony Stark alone has several Iron Man suits that he can wear, while obscure names like Captain Universe and Madame B also make an appearance. My personal favorite is Squirrel Girl, who also happens to come equipped with a Hulkbuster-like suit of armor.

After the inventiveness of Lego Dimensions, it’s tough to go back to a game that follows the old Lego formula. But Marvel’s Avengers mostly staves off franchise fatigue thanks to its fast-paced, cheery nature. If you’ve played a Lego game in recent years then you’ll know what to expect: another familiar and fun adventure that you can enjoy with your kids.

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Armello Game Review For PC

Armello Game Review For PC

When you don’t have three friends and some reasonably good beer to keep you engaged, a board game–especially a virtual recreation of one–has to work a lot harder to hold your attention. Armello accomplishes this and then some, and while it could use some fine tuning, it remains one of the best virtual board game experiences available.

At first glance, Armello can feel like a tangle of things–dice and cards and boards and coins and stats–but the quick four-part prologue does a good job of making sense of these pieces. Your primary actions include moving a character around the board to complete quests and avoid hazards. There are eight playable characters, and each character has different strengths, weaknesses, and abilities in addition to items they can equip to skew their stats in a slightly different direction. They also each have great-looking combat animations. Ever wish Disney’s Robin Hood had 40% more bears punching each other senseless? Well, this game is for you!

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Armello Game Review For PC

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To win in Armello, you have to either kill the king or have the highest prestige when the monarch dies due to a disease called the rot. Every full day–one turn for day and one turn for night–the King’s health dwindles lower while his rot creeps higher, so no matter how things shake out, there are a finite number of turns that can be taken before the King will keel over on his own. It’s also possible to defeat the King in combat, either by gathering four spirit stones from quests or tiles, or gaining a higher rot level than him. If a would-be assassin fails, the victory will automatically be handed to the prestige leader. Unless you’re playing against clever friends, a prestige victory is almost always the easiest way to win. This can make the game feel unbalanced, especially when playing against AI opponents that frequently make ill-advised assassination attempts. That said, if you can resist the siren song of an easy victory or have other players wanting to spoil your plans, the varied win conditions provide enough variety to accommodate different play styles and keep things spicy through multiple sessions of playing with friends.

You also have a hand of cards–which are as well-animated as the characters themselves–that can be anything from equippable items and followers to spells and tricks that can be applied to yourself, other actors on the board, or specific tiles. Imagine if you could slam your Hearthstone deck down on a Clue board and swarm Professor Plum with Murlocs, and you have an accurate idea of just how neat this is in practice. Cards all have different costs to play, and crucially, they can be played regardless of whose turn it is. This allows for some tense moments and sharp twists in matches with other human players. On the other hand, when it comes to the A.I. opponents, the game tends to jump around a bit too fast to take full advantage of that ability unless you’re particularly quick on the draw.

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Armello Game Review For PC

What Armello suffers from most is a lack of customization options, something it could have stood to learn from more-traditional strategy games. There’s no way to define whether you want a quick or a long game, A.I. skill levels are static, and when you’re playing with friends, you’re bound to a move timer whether you like it or not. Graphics controls are also somewhat limited, which means that you won’t be able to turn off the haze of clouds in the sky, which would be dlightful if you didn’t have to look down through them when you zoom out to see the full board.

Armello picks and chooses a variety of elements from board, card, 4X, and role-playing games without demanding either a familiarity with or a fondness for any genre. It also leaves a lot of room to engage as deeply as you want with the game’s guts without feeling like you’re floundering if you don’t. Whether you’re bumbling your way to the top or playing all your cards right, Armello makes regicide ridiculously entertaining.

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Trials of the Blood Dragon Review Games

Trials of the Blood Dragon Review

There’s an alluring sense of immediacy and simplicity to God Eater Resurrection. You jump into a mission knowing full well what your orders are, you carry out those directives, and you exfiltrate when the job is done. It’s the same kind of glamorized efficiency that makes spy fiction so appealing. The narrative device that improves on this premise is, of course, when things don’t go as planned, when the agent or squad must adapt to changing circumstances. It’s due to a shortage of these surprises, however, that God Eater Resurrection never transcends its safe, uncomplicated design.

Resurrection’s world is candy-wrapped around an anime-influenced aesthetic and the medium’s ever-growing fascination with urban dystopias. Along with the variety of environments, there’s a lot of creativity to be found in the design of the enemies you’re sent to destroy: four-legged beasts with faces of old men, living iron maidens, and large bipedal lizards with stylish helmets.

You play the newest member of a team of god-killing soldiers, a group of teens and 20-somethings who’ve managed to survive an apocalyptic event in which hostile demon-beasts dubbed “Aragami” took over the world. As with many teen-targeted manga-styled ensembles, the cast is a collection of distinct personalities with limited emotional capacities. All the tropes are here: the archetypically neurotic support teammate, the brooding all-business specialist, and the squad member whose bubbly, saccharine demeanor can be forgiven thanks to her usefulness in combat.

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Trials of the Blood Dragon Review

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Your custom character fits right in as the rookie who sounds self-assured no matter what voice type you pick. Your squad’s confidence in the face of humanity’s likely extinction is complemented by the extreme designs of their multipurpose God Arc weapons. Not only are these tools of destruction often larger than the people who wield them, but these gunblades also eat Aragami–hence the “God Eater” name. These echo the kind of transformable armaments found in Monster Hunter and Vanquish, only they’re infused with the ferocity of the beasts they kill.

Resurrection’s faithfulness to the original PSP version, Gods Eater Burst, underscores its limitations. The original appealed to that specific on-the-go audience that enjoys brief play sessions. It’s a different set of expectations in the context of a console in a living room, where it feels more natural to tear through a dozen missions in one sitting. It’s unfortunate that you can’t take on multiple assignments in Resurrection without enduring the time-consuming process of returning to base to assess your rewards after every mission.

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Trials of the Blood Dragon Review

There isn’t depth in combat so much as there are multiple moments in a fight where you need to adapt to changes in an Aragami’s behavior. When it’s enraged, you keep your distance, and when it tries to escape, you give chase. It’s like a chess match where the opponent always gets to make the first move. While the majority of the sorties are involved, there’s little room for improvisation. You can pick up the pace of play by using attacks that capitalize on an enemy’s elemental weaknesses, using consumable enhancements, and, most significantly, using the God Arc to bite a chunk off the Aragami. These mid-conflict opportunities not only provide a temporary stat boost for your customized protagonist but to your teammates as well, provided you can spare a couple of seconds to shoot your buddies with Aragami-infused ammo. Yes, you have to fire at your squad. It’s unusual, but it sure beats having to run up to them to enhance their abilities.

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Trials of the Blood Dragon Review

The straightforwardness of Resurrection’s missions is both its greatest strength and most frustrating weakness. There’s comfort in knowing what you’re getting into and in the specificity of your missions. Unfortunately, it takes less than a few dozen quests before monotony sets in. There’s a modicum of gratification in maxing out your gear to keep up with the increasing difficulty of every subsequent batch of missions, yet there’s also a palpable sense of routine, since the Aragami throw very few curveballs. This uncomplicated approach has one bright spot: It’s easy to manage your team, which is both self-sufficient and made up of meaningful contributors. Given that boss battles can reach a frenetic pace, it’s often more sensible to leave your buddies to their own devices.

The simplicity of the maps reinforces this level of ease. Resurrection avoids the Monster Hunter-style loading-screen tedium of chasing your prey from area to area. A ranged strike from anyone on your team will stop a fleeing Aragami. Rarely does a target use the terrain effectively enough to find respite for longer than a few seconds.

There’s a bit more depth to be found in Resurrection’s customized gear and crafting systems. Player progression doesn’t rely on gaining experience through kills but rather on weapon upgrades and other improvements. The challenge lies in ensuring you’re well-rounded enough to have a countermeasure for every enemy type. It’s a compelling judgment game to build a small collection of melee weapons that address every possible Aragami weakness, whether that’s through crushing, piercing, or slashing attacks. Then you have to factor in the weight of each weapon in the field and to determine how much damage you can deal per second. The one downside? There’s no item or weapon so rare or exceedingly useful that would warrant replays of any operation. Aragami item drops and the mission-completion rewards are abundant enough that you’ll always have items to craft and gear to enhance.

Beyond crafting and buying new gear, there’s little reason to spend time at your base, despite the game’s implication to the contrary. Conversations with NPCs are mostly superficial, save for the occasional chat that triggers the next batch of missions. HQ is merely a poorly created illusion of a grander base of operations, especially given the organization’s in-game role in saving humanity.

For as much as Gods Eater Burst excelled in 2010, it’s since been outpaced by similar games. That includes prey mounting in Monster Hunter and a more engrossing atmosphere in Toukiden: Kiwami. There’s comfort to be found in the simple mission goals, but it’s impossible to ignore how repetitive they are–and how outdated they make Resurrection feel in practice.

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