Strikers Edge is the Newest Fast Paced Dodgeball Game

Strikers Edge is the Newest Fast Paced Dodgeball Game

Get ready to go head to head in the newest competitive game to come from Playdius and Fun Punch Games, Strikers Edge. The game combines dodgeball with a medieval theme resulting in an exhilarating experience. This is the first game that Fun Punch Games has developed, while Playdius has published numerous games such as Edge Of Eternity, Dead in Vinland, Post Human War and many others.

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Rogue Trooper Redux (PS4) Review – Not All Clones Are Created Equal

Rogue Trooper Redux (PS4) Review – Not All Clones Are Created Equal

The problem with reviewing re-mastered editions of old videogames is that I never know what standards to hold them to. Do I compare this third person shooter, based on a 1980’s British comic book, with the games that were released at the same time —April 2006? That was only seven months before Gears of War came out and changed that genre forever.

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Destiny 2 Feels Right at Home on PC

Destiny 2 Feels Right at Home on PC

Nearly two months after its original release on current-gen consoles, Bungie is finally taking its first steps back into the massive ecosystem of PC gaming with Destiny 2. After beating the campaign and attempting the Leviathan Raid on PlayStation 4 I decided to put down the DualShock and wait for what was sure to be the definitive version of Destiny 2. With the release date in sight, Bungie was gracious enough to bring me and other games journalists on their own dime to their Studio HQ to have hands-on time with the final build of the PC port. It was a treat to experience as both a long-term fan and a member of this industry.

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Destiny 2 (PC) gameplay images via Activision and Bungie

What was immediately apparent walking into the play area was that we were going to be playing Destiny 2 on powerful hardware. Specifically, these were the same machines shown off at the Nvidia booth during E3, with each PC packing an Intel Core i7-770K clocked at 4.2GHz, an Nvidia GTX 1080Ti and 16GB of RAM. To showcase the graphical prowess Destiny 2 had yet to unleash, our machines were geared to play at 4K resolution at a stable 60FPS on Asus Predator G-Sync monitors. Thankfully though, not everyone needs this level of hardware. Because Destiny 2 has a moderate amount of PC optimization the game has a respectable low-spec for budget players looking to jump into the action. While I would have loved to experiment with some settings, Bungie had put some restrictions on us so I wasn’t able to go as in-depth as I would have liked. Destiny 2 was not running at max settings during this preview event, with many of them set to high and medium. Despite the average settings, Destiny 2 still looks and feels superior to the console release in nearly every way.

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Destiny 2 (PC) – gameplay images via Activision and Bungie

After I switched to PC as my preferred platform for gaming it’s becomingly increasingly hard to deal with the limitations of first-person shooters on current-gen consoles running at 30FPS. Smoothness and clarity are such integral parts of the experience for shooters and Destiny 2 is finally unshackled from those limiters. Mouse and keyboard also offer that next level of precision that aim-assisted controllers can only dream of achieving and the freedom to map the game to my personal preference is ideal for comfort. Hand Cannons, Scout Rifles and Pulse Rifles feel so much more attuned and viable to this control method and I was able to experiment with a larger set of weapons than being locked to the safety of an auto rifle and select exotics on PlayStation 4. Players who do want to use a controller on PC can safely do so as well with everything set to the console defaults except the crosshair, which is a default ten degrees higher and can be adjusted back in the options menu.

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Destiny 2 (PC) – gameplay images via Activision and Bungie

The game ran beautifully throughout the day with no stuttering, screen tearing or annoying bugs to hamper or outright crash the experience. After replaying the opening act of “Homecoming” all the way to “Utopia”, we took a break so Bungie could fast track us to a post-campaign level. We broke into fireteams to explore Nessus, tackle the Pyramidion Vanguard Strike and engage in a flurry of Crucible matches to close out the event. Because our machines were hooked up via LAN connections I can’t comment on the quality of Bungie’s PC netcode for launch. It should also be noted that Blizzard provided no assistance with the PC release of Destiny 2 and their client will only handle whispers and invites, not matchmaking. I had the most fun playing Crucible during the event because it was hilarious to hear all of the team chatter and trash talking going on all around us. Compared to the beginning of the event where we were isolated in our own little games, this moment was truly when the charm of Destiny came out while playing with new companions.

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Destiny 2 (PC) – gameplay images via Activision and Bungie

The PC port of Destiny 2 is great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t share many of the same issues that persist in the console release. Endgame is the largest complaint the community currently has. While we have heard of the new improvements and event-based content coming down the pipeline from Twitchcon 2017, Destiny 2 currently lacks that hook to keep a majority of its players logging in every day and that won’t be fixed until an expansion releases to repeat the cycle. I’m also worried at the size of the playerbase at launch. While Destiny and Destiny 2 have grown strong with a console playerbase, there’s nothing new for them to experience here except a smoother framerate and improved visuals—if they have a powerful enough rig to play it. Destiny 2 PC needs to reach out to a different set of players and grow a brand new community from the ground up, which could be a struggle.

Destiny 2 Feels Right at Home on PC
Destiny 2 (PC) – gameplay images via Activision and Bungie

Before I had to leave we were able to ask questions to the PC dev team and the only question I had burning in my mind was how Destiny 2 PC would address gameplay balancing going forward from the console release. Because of the precision of keyboard and mouse, some guns could now be considered more viable or powerful than others in the competitive meta using this control method. Currently, Destiny 2 PC will be moving in the same direction as its console counter-parts, including day and date release for all upcoming DLC and season patches, but if those separate gameplay tweaks need to occur then they will be addressed in future patches. For a more in-depth critique of Destiny 2, feel free to read Bryan Calhoun’s review, which shares many of the same thoughts.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out some of Cole’s prereviews, such as Total War Arena and Detroit: Become Human!

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Hands-On With The Evil Within 2

Hands-On With The Evil Within 2

QuakeCon is in full effect here in Dallas, Texas, and thanks to the rad people at Bethesda I was lucky enough to spend some time with The Evil Within 2.

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The Evil Within 2 gameplay images via Bethesda Softworks

First things first, the game finds Sebastian, several years after the events of the first game, a burnt out alcoholic with zero credibility. The world doesn’t believe his accounts of what happened at Beacon and like any fantastic horror/noir protagonist; he is drowning his misery in alcohol. Three years go by, and this is when we join Sebastian again to lead him through yet another terrifying, messy, reality warping and zombie blasting adventure.

The Evil Within 2 sees our happy-go-lucky hero being dragged back into the messy world of STEM in hopes of finding his apparently—but not really—missing daughter. Kidman, Sebastian’s pal from the first game, contacts Sebastian to let him know that Lily, his daughter, is actually alive and was the test subject for the evil Umbre…sorry, Mobius corporation’s plans to use STEM on Lily to create Union, the setting for the sequel.

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The Evil Within 2 gameplay images via Bethesda Softworks

Gameplay is familiar for those veterans of the survival horror genre, including various weapons that never seem to have enough ammunition, upgrades galore, and the always-entertaining and satisfying stealth sections. What’s interesting about The Evil Within 2 is the semi open-world structure, which really works in conjunction with Sebastian’s communicator device. This device can pick up signals, and the player can choose to focus on the main goal of finding Lily, or tracking down the source of various other signals—side quests—to find out more about the story, discover what happened to certain Mobius agents, and find more weapons and upgrades.

As far as upgrades go, Sebastian can collect all kinds of ingredients and crafting materials to upgrade and expand his skill set, weapons, and personal attributes. A hub world of sorts takes the form of the Krimson City police department, and it is here where Sebastian can tinker with his weapons and journey into the realm of creepy madness to upgrade his own statistics—like health, stealth, etc.

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The Evil Within 2 gameplay images via Bethesda Softworks

The setting of Union is traditional survival horror fare, with an Inception-style twist that shows various aspects of the “city” in warped and geometry breaking fashion. Creaky doors, rotting corpses, flies, detritus, broken down cars it’s all here and all adds to the atmosphere of a messed up pseudo-reality where anything can happen. The sound design is fantastic, especially when played with a decent headset. Moans, groans, bugs, screams, and thunderous glitches all sound fantastic when pumped directly into your brain and all comes together to form a full-on horror experience.

While last years Resident Evil 7 resurrected—ha!—what was basically a dead franchise that started this entire genre, The Evil Within 2 looks to be the heir to the throne. It looks and sounds fabulous, and has plenty of crafting and combat mechanics to keep players busy, especially on the harder difficulties. The game launches, fittingly, on October 13th, a Friday. I don’t think Bethesda could have chosen a better date to drop their next installment for their signature horror franchise.

Castle Story (PC) Review – Nostalgic Castle Building

Castle Story (PC) Review - Nostalgic Castle Building

I always like building things. Taking raw materials and putting them together into something wondrous is something that will never grow old for me. So when I’m playing video games and I’m able to create things in the game, I tend to find myself lost in that. For Fallout 4 I spent too many hours just customizing my settlements and enjoying myself. When I first saw Castle Story by Sauropod Studios, I immediately fell in love. The game promised resource gathering, base building, and the ability to defend my base form monsters that would try to destroy it. I figured, this was a game that would eat away at my time. For the most part, I was right.

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The Lion’s Song (PC) Review – Complex Simplicity

The Lion's Song (PC) Review - Complex Simplicity

I do, at times, think of myself as the pretentious artsy sort of person. It’s an unpopular thing to be in most circles, so I try not to go overboard with it too often. My poor fiancé is going to murder me one of these days after I go on some long rant about spectacle or something along those lines. I mention this because The Lion’s Song makes it difficult to contain that little art nerd in the back of my mind. I will try to keep him contained, but fair warning, this could get artsy.

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The Lion’s Song is a four-part, episodic adventure game that tells the stories of several people in Vienna, Austria during the period leading up to the First World War. Students of Austrian history will know this as Wiener Moderne; a time of cultural, artistic, and scientific growth in the region. Interestingly enough, this game deals with people intricately connected to those three spheres.

At first, players will be struck by the simple, monochromatic pixel art style. At first, I was convinced that this limited colour scheme was meant to be evocative of retro Game Boy games, but as I played the soft sepia tones evoked a different kind of nostalgia, unrelated to gaming. The Lion’s Song brings out a quiet feeling of simplicity while telling stories about complex, interesting people.

Gameplay is on the simpler side of adventure games. You won’t be managing an inventory or a host of verbs with which you can make your mark; just clicking on the world will suffice for The Lion’s Song. In fact, I would classify it as a visual novel, if there were not branching pathways that actually affect the story overall.

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Throughout the episodes you will explore sound and silence as violinist Wilma combats her own self-doubt, help artist Franz understand himself by painting others, and combat exclusionary sexism with mathematician Emma. There is, of course, a final episode to give closure to these characters and their desires for success.

The sound design throughout is exemplary, though the music in the first episode stands out. Here we follow a young violinist as she attempts to compose a new piece but grapples with writer’s block and depression. Appropriately, the silence here is just as fascinating and important as the grumblings of the impending storm, the creaking of old lanterns, or the grumblings of a hungry stomach. Additionally, the way dear Wilma fidgets at her desk, poking into every drawer, cabinet, and cubbyhole as she struggles to find inspiration may be the realest thing I have ever encountered in a video game. I’ve spent a lot of nights doing that exact thing.

Every character and every interaction in The Lion’s Song is earnest and believable. I came out the other end feeling connected to all of them. I cared deeply about their struggles and felt bad when I made a choice that turned out poorly for them. That was how the entire game went for me.

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If I had any criticism to bring against The Lion’s Song, it would that it’s short. Every episode lasts about an hour, and while there are alternate choices and plenty of connections between the characters that can be explored through additional playthroughs, that’s really it for replayability—unless you just want to revisit these characters and their struggles again (a legitimate concern).

It’s a small indie release, so I do not think you’ll hear a lot about The Lion’s Song. It doesn’t fall at the heels of some massively successful Kickstarter project and it isn’t a huge AAA affair from some lucrative publisher. It is an earnest game that tells stories about art and passion before events transpired that would change the world forever. The Lion’s Song is about the innocence that was lost and the stories that you haven’t heard before. Even the credits are presented in an interesting way. You can play the first episode for free if you don’t want to take my word for it.