Month: July 2016

Headlander (PS4) Review

Headlander (PS4) Review

Double Fine’s offerings have been off lately, haven’t they? The decorated developer’s output has left me cold over the last few years. It’s been feeling like their trademark wackiness has been coming at the expense of fully realized concepts. This hurts to say about the developers of some of my favorite games, like Brutal Legend and Psychonauts, but it’s just how I feel.

That’s why it’s delightful to see that with Headlander, the developer still has a good head on its shoulders.

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Unholy Heights (3DS) Review

Unholy Heights (3DS) Review

I remember being very interested in Tomodachi Life when it first came out, but I never got around to playing it until I was swept up in the fervour that was Miitomo (which I maintain is still a lite version of Tomodachi Life.) While managing an apartment filled with my Miis and watching their quirky shenanigans was fun for a little while, there was never any real gameplay to keep me invested, and now I lament the purchase. Unholy Heights feels like the game I should have purchased back then, being one part Tomodachi Life, one part Fallout Shelter and all parts fun!

In Unholy Heights, players take on the role of the Devil, who, as the game states, spent his life savings on a place in the projects. Global domination is the name of the game, but the Devil has to start small; attracting monsters one at a time to live in his complex until his army is large enough to deploy.

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Unholy Heights on PC

Unholy Heights plays fairly simply. Players will manage their apartment complex, await potential monsters to take up residence and then collect rent on a daily basis. The game allows for three speeds of progression that players can adjust on the fly, providing them with the option to choose the speed at which the days move.

As monsters move in, you’ll not only need to make sure their apartments are in top form, but also provide them with items they may want. Keeping residents happy is vital as it ensures they pay their rent fully and also affects the Devil’s standing with them. It doesn’t end there. Monsters have particular needs, affinities/contempt for other monsters, and other factors that will increase or decrease the Devil’s standing with them; reading the Bestiary is crucial to understanding the 20 different types of unlockable monsters, and keeping Unholy Heights running smoothly.

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Unholy Heights on PC

The game isn’t just watching the days go by and the rent money to up; the human residents of Unholy Heights aren’t particularly thrilled that the Devil is attempting to amass an army of monsters, and will periodically come to attack his apartment before making off with a portion of his money. Players will have to call on residents to defend the Devil and this is where a decent amount of strategy comes into Unholy Heights. Players must choose their strongest monsters to repel incoming attackers using a combination of melee and ranged attacks, as well as selecting when residents should attack or retreat to their rooms to avoid death. A clever Devil might send a melee monster to tank while a magic monster deals ranged damage, or wait until humans are deep into the apartment before calling on residents to try flank enemies.

Players can also take on “quests” listed on a nearby message board, which usually involves defeating waves of multiple humans for big cash bonuses. Time management is also a key factor in battles and players must pay attention to when residents are home or leave to run errands, lest they be left with an empty apartment when invaders come-a-knockin. Although, this isn’t so much a problem for random invaders as it is with quests.

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Unholy Heights on PC

Given Unholy Heights’ dark premise, it’s actually quite a cute and charming game. The game’s minimalistic visual style lends itself nicely to its simplistic gameplay. Everything takes place on one screen, reducing clutter and making sure everything easy to navigate. Visuals have a colourful and cartoony style while feeling very dynamic as weather changes—residents come and go and both the sun and moon (complete with faces) scroll across the sky, as if the background were on a pinwheel.

Monsters and humans have an adorable chibi style, and much of the flavour text for residents’ activities adds a deviously risqué sense of humour to such a seemingly cute game. Players may be surprised when they find their residents “sleeping naked,” “reading erotic fan-fiction,” or if two monsters fall in love and seal the deal, “engaging in pillow-talk” followed immediately by “feeling relieved.”

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Unholy Heights also has a simple but quaint soundtrack, and while it only consists of five tracks, they feel like tracks Kazumi Totaka could have created for Animal Crossing. The two-day themes alternate between a smooth upbeat synth track, to a poppy, ska-inspired number while the night theme is calm and quiet with whistled notes. The latter honestly sounds the most like it belongs in Animal Crossing. The battle theme is probably the best: a fast-paced, chiptune J-Pop track that makes the simplistic battles feel fast and fun.

It seems odd that Unholy Heights would make the jump from Steam to the 3DS instead of mobile given how perfectly its gameplay lends itself to a fast, pick up-and-play style, most at home on mobile. However, for a $6.00 dollar digital offering, it’s the perfect game for any 3DS owner to keep on their system where they can easily drop in and out. Charming, stylish, and simple without being boring, Unholy Heights is a must own.

AMD RX 470 And 460 Release Early August 2

AMD RX 470 And RX 460 Set To Release Early August

AMD’s latest family of graphics cards will be complete in early August with the release of both the RX 470 and RX 460. The two cards join the ranks of the previously released RX 480 and all three incorporate AMD’s new, Polaris architecture.

AMD RX 470 And 460 Release Early August

The RX 470 will release August 4th and is being marketed for gamers who want to experience a brilliant HD experience. The card only has one available sku at launch with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and the stock models will have a base clock of 926 MHz. The 470 can be boosted to 1206 MHz, which will pair quite nicely with it’s max computing performance of 4.9 TFLOPS. To give an accurate description of the power this card has under the hood, gamers will be able to play most AAA titles at above 60 FPS with Ultra Settings, including the latest Doom, Total War: Warhammer and Fallout 4.

The RX 460 is definitely the weakest card the family has to offer, but for it’s small size it still packs quite a punch. The card is intended for gamers who wants to get into the latest and greatest e-Sports titles and will easily perform at over 90 FPS at the highest settings on Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2. The RX 460 will be the most powerful on board graphics card that AMD laptops will support to date, being 1.2x more powerful then NVIDIA’s GTX 960M. The card will release August 8 and will have two models, a 2 GB version and a 4 GB variant.

AMD RX 470 And 460 Release Early August 1

Both cards currently have no price to announce, but with their specs it’s safe to assume they will be in the mid-low tier price range of $100-$250 USD. AMD’s latest strategy to win gamer’s hearts is to market their cards and products to the everyday consumer instead of the wealthy enthusiast. Their new Polaris architecture maximizes the performance their cards can deliver, while still adding the necessary features that people want from the industries future, such as VR gaming and stable streaming capabilities.

Moto G4 Plus (Smartphone) Review 18

Moto G4 Plus (Smartphone) Review

One thing I hate is overpriced equipment that underperforms compared to a cheaper piece of tech in the same category. The Moto G4 Plus, thankfully, is the opposite – a cheaper piece of tech that still manages to perform excellently compared to more expensive offerings. When I first got my hands on the Moto G4 Plus, I didn’t want to know the price of it straight away. I prefer to learn that information at the end of my time reviewing tech, once I’ve already determined what it’s worth. What I learned this time is that the Moto G4 Plus is worth its price in every way and possibly then some.  A beautiful design, a stunning back camera, and great internal workings make the Moto G4 Plus one to consider when you’re deciding on a new phone.

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When I’m choosing a phone, one of the first things I’ll study about it is how the phone feels in my hand. I loved how this machine felt. Right away I noticed the comfort of the backing. The plastic almost felt like leather, which reminded me of the Samsung S7 Edge I reviewed earlier this year. The plastic also didn’t feel like it was cheap. It was pretty durable, meaning the G4 Plus ranks up there as one of toughest phones I’ve held. I thought for sure the Moto G4 Plus was going to be in the same price range as the S7 based on this factor alone. Ok maybe not just that, but the front of the phone looked great too. A five and a half inch screen dominates the business side, which is a size seen on another recent high-end phone release, one of the Apple variety. The 1080p resolution was gorgeous as well, making everything on the screen extremely pleasing to look at.

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Now for the part that matters most to a lot of people when picking a phone: the camera. The Moto G4 Plus also has a little brother, the standard G4. If you’re torn on which phone to get and enjoy using your phone to take photos, it’s better to go with the Plus. 16 MP of glorious shooting await you on this phone, which again made me believe it would turn out to be in the higher end of the smart phone price range. While it took great photos outside, its indoor shots are what really brought this beast to life. The details and shadows in the photos all looked incredible, probably thanks in part to the camera’s phase detect auto-focus feature. One thing that could have made this an even better camera would have been the inclusion of an Optical Image Stabilization feature. This would have helped counteract shaky hands and offered much more stable and defined looking pictures and video. High-end flagship phones, such as the S7 and the iPhone 6 Plus, feature OIS, which is a big selling points for those phones. However, it is a costly feature, and its lack doesn’t have a huge impact on the appeal of the G4 Plus.

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The guts of the phone may be nothing to write home about,  but they do the job well, especially for a mid-range phone such as the Moto G4 Plus. Inside we find an octo-core processor, the Snapdragon 617. While it doesn’t hold up to its bigger brother the 820, it’s still a fast and versatile chip that pairs nicely with the phone. The G4 line also has several internal memory options, with the base models starting at 16 GB and ranging all the way up to 64 GB. It should be noted that the 64 gig phone also comes with 4 GB of RAM, while the models below it have only 2 GB. The battery of this phone is a true workhorse. At 3000 mAh, it could be thrown in the ring with any of the current-high end models, such as the Galaxy S7, which sports the same battery power but can cost upwards of $400 more. This is one feature I believe gets overlooked too often when purchasing a phone, and it’s great to see mid-range phones upping their game.

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If you’re on the market for a new phone, consider the G4 line, especially the Plus model. The Moto G4 Plus looks and feels like a high-end model but without a price tag to make your wallet cry. It has almost everything you could possibly need from modern smartphone without any unnecessary fanciness, and continues the trend of great phones for this year.

Street Fighter V Shipped Less Than 100K Copies In Last 3 Months

Street Fighter V Shipped Less Than 100K Copies In Last 3 Months

Capcom recently released their quarterly earnings report from April to June, revealing they shipped less than 100 000 copies of the fighting game through the past three months.

In the report, Street Fighter V is listed as having shipped 1.4 million copies. However, in Capcom’s previous earnings report, the number remains the same.

It’s a disappointment to Capcom, who wanted the game to sell at least 2 million copies of Street Fighter V by Mar 31, 2016. The game sales were likely hampered by poor word of mouth, mainly stemming from the game’s lack of substantial features at launch.

Street Fighter V has steadily released extra content since the game’s release in February. Most recently they added premium summer costumes for Cammy, Laura and Ibuki as well as the addition of Juri, a fan favourite from Super Street Fighter IV, to the roster. Earlier this month, they added Balrog and Ibuki as playable fighters, and a cinematic story mode entitled A Shadow Falls.

Capcom also recently released Capcom Pro Tour-themed DLC, including 3 new costumes (retailing $6 each), new colours, new titles and a new stage (retailing at $10) that updates based on Pro Tour events, like EVO. Proceeds from DLC sales will increase the Capcom Pro Tour prize pool.

Despite the game’s poor launch, Street Fighter V is still making waves in the competitive scene, having a big showing at this year’s EVO 2016 tournament. The Street Fighter V finals were simultaneously broadcast on Twitch and ESPN 2; with over 201,000 viewers watching on ESPN 2. We’ll have to wait until the next quarterly report to see if game sales will benefit from the EVO showcase.

Street Fighter V is currently available for PS4 and PC.

Kerbal Space Program (PS4) Review

Kerbal Space Program (PS4) Review

Do you ever wonder why people still use that tired old phrase “It’s not rocket science” when they’re trying to explain that something is simple to understand?  Well, the short answer is that it’s completely relevant today:  rocket science is hard.  Really hard.  It will probably still be hard for most regular human beings to wrap their heads around even 50 years from now. 

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