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Tag: review (page 2 of 3)

Destiny’s Alpha

As an owner of a PlayStation 4, I was tickled pink to learn of Bungie’s alpha test of their upcoming title “Destiny” over the course of this weekend. And having lost many, many hours the past few days glued to the console, I thought I would share my thoughts on the game.

Screenshot of The Tower from Destiny

I have arrived!

What I liked:

  • Shadows – whether it’s distance or the angle of the light source, shadows are cast with great detail. In fact, my attention to this detail got me out of many ambushes.
  • Graphic Detail – if this is the quality of product we get for an alpha release, I can’t wait to see what the beta and final releases will have in-store. Whether it’s birds in flight (which you disturbed from rest), or the transition from day to night, it’s obvious Bungie has put a dollar or two down on this area.
  • Raiding & Teamplay – while I enjoy an FPS title like the next guy, I’m more a storyline/cooperative play type of player and Destiny doesn’t look to disappoint. While we only had access to one dungeon in the alpha, it took our team of 3 just over an hour to clear – something I would attribute to our inability to communicate or coordinate.

Screenshot of ship from Destiny Alpha

Look ma, I’m flying!

And what I didn’t:

  • Ships and Vehicles – not sure if this is really a dislike or a question, but what exactly is the purpose of the two? Aside from transportation on a map, vehicles had no real purpose outside of the Crucible (multiplayer arena) and the ship was a neat way to showcase a loading screen.
  • Class Differentiation – while we had access to the Titan, Hunter and Warlock classes, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the three aside from their special ability. Each could use any weapon and with the immense cooldown associated to the special ability, we were just different dressed fraggers running around shooting things that moved. I’m hoping this was simply a problem due to the limits in the alpha and that we see much more differentiation and customization in the final release.
  • Race Abilities – I like customization, but customization with purpose. There are three races in the game and all they seem to do is help you look just a tad different from the guy next to you. No benefit, detriment or anything in between.
  • Navigation – whether by design or not, the fact you don’t have access to a map in a game which wants you to freely explore the world is odd. While missions will eventually populate a waypoint on your HUD, it’s easy to get lost and turned around.
  • Shotguns – one shot, one kill. I’m really, really, really hoping this weapon gets nerfed in multiplayer. The fact I was able to get 20 frags in multiplayer is a definitive sign of an overpowered weapon. I’m not that good!

Now before you go and castigate me for the simplicity of my opinions, keep in mind that this alpha release provided us only a small taste of the overall game. We had access to one multiplayer arena type with two maps, one storyline, one dungeon, and a level cap of 8. In fact, the only real expansive component of the alpha was the exploration of the open world of Old Russia.

But that’s all okay. I’m still freaking excited to have had the chance to find my Destiny.

I just hope the beta launches tomorrow and not July 17th as advertised. 😀

Oh, and one last thing – recognize this guy’s voice?

Einsätze IST Wolfenstein!

With some time this weekend, I picked up a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order (for my PS4 of course) and spent some time fragging Nazis.

Wolfenstein Gameplay Screenshot

Run and Gun, Baby! – courtesy of Bethesda Games

Built on the premise that the Nazis win the Second World War (by dropping an atomic bomb on Manhattan among other things), you start off as Wolfenstein stalwart B.J. Blazkowicz before this aforementioned turn of events on his way to bring hell to Hitler. Riding shotgun in a bomber during a massive air raid, I was blown away by the level of detail you’re treated to and found myself getting yelled at by my AI friend who really wanted me to get my act together as I took a gander or six at the surrounding environment.

Without spoiling too much, you start off with menial tasks around the plane to get you accustomed to the game controls and eventually find yourself on German soil growing used to gunfire, explosions and foul-mouthed soldiers (I’m assuming their cursing their virtual brains off). In fact, the first chapter or two is designed to rekindle your love of Nazi fragging and get you used to the gameplay before giving you our plot twist and getting you REALLY into the game.

We’re talking guns-blazing, free-flowing, hell-unleashed into the game.

Yet in a shift from previous titles, those of you who would prefer stealth and strategy as an option – essentially all of you smart and patient people – will appreciate the introduction of Commanders. Once they notice your presence, these pains-in-the-neck characters will continue to call-in reinforcements until such time as you dispatch them from the world. While I much prefer running into rooms guns blazing, I can attribute many of my deaths to these irritants and have found myself now taking my time and considering my approach.

It’s obvious from the get-go that the developers ensured enough time and detail was given to the storyline, and while I’ve only really scratched the surface of the entire game, find myself understanding each characters place in the game. Scenes before, throughout, and after each chapter provide a sufficient segue to the next task at hand and give the game a logical feel. If there were anything I could describe as a miss, it’s that some of the characters are given very little back story or definition, and while they do fit into the overall plot, have you wondering why they needed to be there in the first place.

I should probably admit this now, but I’m actually a fan of single-player story-lines. While I do enjoy the squad-play of multiplayer fraggers, I’ve grown ornery in my old age and have found myself trying to avoid hearing pre-pubescent teens and other such trash telling me what they are doing with my various family members.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase (even if I missed out on the digital download discount) and would recommend Wolfenstein to anyone wanting to relive the simplicity we remember from id shoot-em-ups. Sure it’s single-player only (at least for now), but if you’re anything like me you won’t mind that fact – even more if you’re into achievements and secrets (there are plenty).

Or maybe you just want to experience the gem of an image below!

Wolfenstein Minigame


Don’t Starve!

Don't Starve PS4 Title Screen

It’s been a few weeks since Don’t Starve from Klei Entertainment was released on the PS4 (and as a free title for those with a PS Plus membership) and having spent some time with the game, I have to say it’s frustratingly addictive.

That’s right.

Addictive because of it’s simplicity, frustratingly so due to it’s lack of direction and similarities to a roguelike, as well as it’s cartoonish appeal.

You control Wilson, a scientist tricked into building a machine that takes him into a fantasy world where the darkness can kill him, if he doesn’t starve first. Or get attacked by tentacles. Or simply goes crazy. There are just so many ways to die.

To survive, you run around a world looking for food, wood to build fire (yes, I may have lit an entire forest on fire once), and materials to build inventions (like a pretty hat made from flowers). As there are no instructions, you pretty much have to stumble into success by first figuring out what the lay of the land is like (randomly generated each time you spawn) and then determine the best course of action before death takes hold.

Sure I’ve probably not sold you on the title, but trust me, you’ll get hooked within the first few minutes so make sure to give it a try!

Kingdom Rush

Having never had the knack for first-person shooters, I’ve always been more interested in games that require a little more brain power than hand-eye coordination. And as I’m always on the go, this tends to have me gravitating towards the simplistic frustration that is the tower defense model of game play. Well gosh darn it, I think I’ve found a winner!

Kingdom Rush

Image courtesy of Ironhide Game Studio

Kingdom Rush by Ironhide Game Studio is a graphically beautiful tower defense game that rolls out medieval fantasy theme. But don’t think it’s just your typical tower defense format as they’ve mixed in a few RTS elements to set it aside from the usual fare.

While you have your usual fare of towers (arrow, magic, artillery, defense), the largest deviation from the norm is how the defense tower places soldiers in the path of oncoming enemies allowing you to focus your other three towers to create a world of hurt. And as you progress in the game, you gain options to have each tower progress to one of two specialties both with pros and cons – in reality no tower is the wrong tower, you’ll just find some work far better it specific situations.

Cosmetically, it seems that the developers spent considerable time on every little detail whether it be the movement of mobs to the voice-overs that each of your towers possesses (including the censor beep for those foul-mouthed artillery dudes). While the game comes across as very cartoonish, the gameplay is definitely mature enough to keep adults occupied and quite possibly frustrated if they happen to be perfectionists like me. And while a few hours of gameplay will have you finishing the game on normal mode, there are both challenge levels and a heroic mode to add new quirks (and hair losing frustration) to keep things fresh

For a mean $2.99, this game is available to those of you rocking the iPad for full HD glory. However, for those of you who tend to be frugal like me you can rock the whole game for free via Armor Games. So why don’t you give a try and tell me what you think?

There Be Orcs

Image courtesy of Ironhide Game Studio

Theatre Under the Stars – Joseph

Theatre Under the Stars

If there is one thing I’d like to do more of, it’s to partake in more of the fantastic theatrical productions we have access to here in Vancouver. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a play, so I jumped at the chance to take in Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park when the opportunity presented itself.

Beginning back in 1940 (for a total of 64 years as a few years the production ceased for a variety of reasons), TUTS has been providing great entertainment at fantastic prices throughout the summer. This year, alternating productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Singin’ in the Rain can be seen for prices as low as $29. Joseph (the particular production I saw) began on July 9th, while Singin’ was seen the following day – July 10th. And if you’re worried about getting the seat you wanted, a new experience this year is “all-reserved” seating.

Joseph & Cast

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – courtesy of TUTS

I should qualify what I’m going to say next with something simple – this will be the first time that I’ve seen Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Futhermore, this edition of Joseph is also a “dynamic and fresh approach to this classic, with plenty of magic and comedy and a few other surprises.” Here’s what James Cronk (TUTS producer) had to say:

“Although Joseph has been done numerous times, this will truly be a unique adaptation. We have a few surprises up our sleeve and are excited to offer people the opportunity to see Joseph like never before. It’s about fun, singing and laughter, and it’s a show that will be enjoyed by everyone in the family, which is exactly what Theatre Under the Stars is all about.”

Suffice to say, I quite enjoyed the “fresh” approach, even though I had nothing to compare it to. And what was really neat to see, was the involvement of one lucky child from the audience to act as the “12th” brother throughout the production. I may be 32, but I was wishing I was at least 20 years younger because something like that would have been right up my alley.

I’ll concede that many purists out there might buckle at what they have just read, but the energy from the stage was awesome. Nearly everyone (I couldn’t see every face, but from the sounds of the audience I’m pretty darn close) was engaged throughout the show and the applause roared like thunder when it concluded, so I’m sure there were a few impressed purists in the crowd. Heck, Marnie who happens to be the enlightened one, and had seen the Donny Osmond version of Joseph when it was last in Vancouver, was impressed – that’s good enough to me.

If my schedule allows, I was so pleased with what I saw that I’m thinking of taking in Singin’ in the Rain. In fact, maybe we all should? Just keep in mind that it’s all over until next year after August 21st!

Disclosure: I received the tickets through a 3rd party (unrelated to Theatre Under the Stars) for providing some voiceover work – http://cmp.ly/0

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