It was hard to ignore the initial feeling
of disappointment I felt when I’d learned that the first Cyanide and Happiness video game would be a Battle Royale game. I
never quite saw the appeal of Battle Royale games and even after giving some of
the more notable titles among the genre a try, I was left even more confused by
their popularity. After spending about a week playing Rapture Rejects, I’ve finally begun to understand why how these
games manage to draw so many players in, though this won’t be the game that
completely changes my mind about the genre.
Developed by Galvanic Games and ExplosmGames, Rapture Rejects is a town isometric Battle Royale style game set in a world based on the Cyanide and Happiness webcomics. Similar to most games in the genre, fifty players are dropped into a world where they need to seek out weapons and equipment in order to become the last one standing in a slowly shrinking arena. Players can also play team matches where they’re paired up with another player, going up against other two player groups.
If you’ve never heard of Explosm’s Cyanide and Happiness, I’d highly recommend checking the series out. I should warn however that the series isn’t afraid to make jokes regarding what some would consider controversial topics. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that RaptureReject’s simple plot pokes fun at the idea of the Rapture. Each player is part of the group that God decided wasn’t quite good enough to make it into heaven. Now they must fight to the death to prove their worthiness to God, awarding them a ticket into heaven. As far as setups go for a Battle Royalegame, it’s a genuinely creative one with an hilarious animation to introduceit. It’s unfortunate however that when it comes to the humor you’d expect fromtheCyanide and Happiness series,there isn’t much more than this. Luckily, the game’s visuals are precisely whatyou’d hope for from the series. RaptureRejects features a character creation system with a great amount of varietyto help you create your very own Cyanideand Happiness characters. The game’s environment is also rich with detailsbut with only one map of a destroyed city, the area starts looking bland over aseries of matches.
The gameplay of Rapture Rejects took some getting used to. While movement is simple, using four directional keys, combat is handled by using the mouse to aim and clicking to shoot. This can at times, feel incredibly awkward and make hitting moving targets seem impossible. This also gives a clear advantage to the few weapons with a wide range as they don’t require any real precision. A bigger problem that rises from this is that fighting with fists can manage to beat out guns, not needing to be aimed and somehow having a far longer reach than even some of the game’s guns.
There are a couple more problems that manage to stand in the way of Rapture Rejects’ otherwise fun gameplay. While the graphics do an amazing job of capturing Cyanide and Happiness’ art style, this occasionally comes at the cost of Visibility. Loot and interactable objects can sometimes blend in with the environment or be completely obscured by walls. Although it is possible to rotate the camera, the way it suddenly jerks to a different angle is usually a little disorienting and can be an easy way to lose if you’re in the heat of battle. More likely to take you out of the experience is the potential connectivity issues. It didn’t happen to me often during my time with the game, but if you happen to play with anyone who has a less-than-decent internet connection, it will result in the match constantly freezing. Even worse, lag may cause the game to bring an early end to the match, something that can really burn you if you were having a particularly good run. This occurrence happens more often when it comes to team matches where your partner may end up making the game completely unplayable. As it stands, Rapture Rejects is hardly worth its $20 price tag. The only rewards for playing are new cosmetic items and it’s a slow grind to unlock them one at a time, especially while the game’s lower userbase can lead to matches taking up to two minutes to begin. As it’s still in its early stages, I hope to see Rapture Rejects grow and expand on the variety of content offered while hopefully fixing its number of small but frustrating issues. If not, I’d hope it at least becomes free to play so more people can figure out if its worth sticking around for.
Earth Defense Force 5 revels in B-Movie shlock. Its dialogue is endlessly hokey and absurd. Its plot is goofy and makes no attempt at coherence. Its enemies are a loving homage to the ufos, giant ants, and oddball aliens that inhabit any bad sci-fi movie night. It’s also the most compelling co-op game I’ve played in ages, offering dizzying action against hundreds of creative extraterrestrial foes and creating gaming moments I’ll never forget.
If you are like me, you are a sucker for a thin and light laptop. The MacBook Air started a revolution in what was possible in mobile computing. It allowed people to do real work while still presenting a svelte and light, yet still functional, laptop. Years later, Huawei, a company until now known primarily for phones, is making a major playin the laptop space, and they have succeeded on almost every count.
The MakeBook X Pro is a stunning piece of technology. While Huawei in North America may not be known for high-end laptops, they have knocked it out of the park with this offering. The thin profile with power to spare puts it head to head against some of the best laptops on the market. Moreover, the MakeBook X Pro stands head and shoulders above most Windows laptops, making a strong statement wherever you may pull it out, from the boardroom to the coffee shop.
The laptop has a premium feel throughout its construction. The aluminum body oozes quality, with the fantastic touchpad, battery life, and raw horsepower adding to the already splendid offering. Thedays of big and bulky Windows laptops are slowly going away with splendid bofferings from Dell, Razer, HP, and Microsoft, yet even with the strongcompetition in the PC space Huawei have crafted a laptop that stands out—andone I was truly sad to send back once the review period was up.
It helps that I was testing the top model of the MakeBook X Pro range. The thin laptop boasted a Nvidia GeForce MX150 with2GB Video Ram, a 512GB SSD drive, a quad-core Intel i7, and 16GB RAM. It was a positive beast when it came to most tasks. I frequently used it to render video, play games, and other basic media work. While I would still jump over to my desktop for anything overly intensive, the power and performance of the MakeBook X Pro was staggering for such a thin and light device.
Not to just follow the crowd and copy what Apple is doing with their latest laptops, Huawei managed to include a full size USB-A point along with the dual USB-C Thunderbolt 3.0 ports. If that were not enough, they also included a USB-C dongle in the box to allow an HDMI output, making it ideal for that second monitor.
Not that it is needed for everyday use, the monitor on the MakeBook X Pro is stunning. The 3,000 x 2,000 multi-touch panel makes media viewing and production a dream. Colours are vibrant while detail feels crisp and clear. The near edge to edge feel of the monitor is also a marvel, with almost no bezels, and only around 5mm on the edges of the screen.
It is this near edge to edge screen the first and main issue with the MakeBook X Pro is found. To make room for this screen, the webcam had to go. Unlike most modern laptops (Dell XPS 13 excluded) the web camera is not located at the top of the screen, it is in fact located on the keyboard and can be accessed by pressing down on the special pop-up camera button. While I do not use web-cams all that often when I did have to jump on a Skype call, the upward angle camera was far from flattering. While it does work in a pinch, it was far from ideal.
Even with a strange camera pop-up button on the keyboard, the typing experience on the MakeBook X Pro is fantastic. Over the 2-3 weeks I used the laptop I did most of my writing, video, and editing work on it. While it is a small laptop, the space between the keys managed to make for a comfortable and easy to use typing experience. There was almost no learning curve jumping from my home desktop to the MakeBook X Pro. The keys had enough key travel to make every keystroke feel satisfying, and the traditional layout made for an easy two-handed typing experience.
The only thing I liked better than the keyboard was the touchpad. The spacious trackpad allowed for ample space to do work related tasks without needing to resort to pulling out the portable gaming mouse. The glass touchpad allows for all Windows gestures, and the overall feel could be considered “MacBook” like.
In fact, the overall feel of the MakeBook X Pro can be compared very favourably to the AppleMacBook Pro range of devices. It is a device that, much like Apple’s range of laptops, has a feeling of quality throughout. Even the design borrows heavily from the MacBook playbook, with the all-metal build and sleek overall look.
Thankfully, the MakeBook X Pro manages to stand out from being a knock-off with styling that sets it apart. The ability to play some of today’s more modern games is also a bonus. Testing games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Overwatch, Quake Champions, Wolfenstein, and The Witcher3, I managed decent framerates as long as I was okay with turning down the resolution or texture settings. The Nvidia GeForce MX150 makes for a decent dedicated video option, pushing the Intel i7 to the limit in some of today’s most exciting games. If you really want to push this laptop, you can even make use of the Thunderbolt3.0 ports and add on an external GPU, although that will set you back another $400-$800 depending on model and video card choice.
Honestly, when it comes down to it, the Huawei Make Book X Pro has a lot to like, with only a few nitpicks. The build quality is fantastic, and the power under the hood is astounding. Throughout my time with the laptop I found it to be great to use, and if it weren’t for the web-camera issue it would be one of our only 10/10 laptops. Sadly, with that issue, and it being a business-focused machine, it does hurt the overall usability of the overall package. If you don’t need or don’t care about the webcam on offer, the MakeBook X Pro is one of the best laptops you can buy in2018, I just hope Huawei fixes the web camera issue with their next outing.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate is easily the best entry in the series. I figured I’d get right to the point for this review, seeing how I used up all my best anecdotal-intro material on a previous piece analyzing the Smash Bros series. And I’m sure it seems obvious that the resident Nintendo-boy would sing the praises of another tightly made Smash Bros; but after watching each Direct and playing it twice at demo events, it genuinely impresses me just how much is going on in this game.
The Coen Brothers hit more often than they miss. Although some projects lose their focus (Hail, Caesar comes to mind immediately), their signature brand of macabre satire is something I want to experience throughout eternity.
For a while, it seemed like smartphones were getting dull and uninspired. They were a slew of rectangular pieces of glass and computer parts that did what they needed too, but never felt like they pushed the limits of what is possible.
Coming out just a little over a year after the original game, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight feels like it’s been rushed out to strike while the iron is hot rather than Atlus waiting for the pieces to fall into place.