Video Game Reviews

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It is your destiny

Here is the thing about Destiny; it’s like a Strawberry Daiquiri. Sure you have people that love fruit and don't drink, and then you have people that drink but don't like fruity cocktails. But there are whole bunch of people who like their booze blended with fruit and served with a little umbrella. Hell, sometimes the people who only like booze or only like fruit try a Strawberry Daiquiri and realize they've been missing out this whole time.

To that end, much like Strawberry Daiquiri’s, if you have enough of Destiny, you are going to have a great time (even if you don't remember all of it).

I will admit that Destiny has repetitive aspects to it but what FPS or MMO doesn't? Now a crowd of people who viewed 'Destiny' as a 'game changer' are probably stamping their feet and howling at the cracked moon about it not being radical enough. Destiny is not a game changer but what it is, is a gatekeeper to a new land of games. I have never seen a game that has blended so many elements from so many different game genres to create something of its own.

Now at this point I should be getting the digs about this game is copying Borderlands or copying Mass Effect or yaddya yaddya yaddya rabble rabble rabble. Well you guys must hate cars because every game borrows elements from others to create their own somewhat unique version. What Destiny does is take some of the best elements from those other games and mashes them together in a wonderfully diverse package. Many will point to the loot diversity and say Borderlands, others look at the MP and say Halo, some point to the RPG elements and say Mass Effect and yes, its fun to point at origins and go 'Simpsons did it!' but the bottom line is those other games don't have all the elements together and that is what makes Destiny such a strong offering.

" In the end, Destiny will create its own fan base much like Borderlands and Mass Effect did. It may not be as broad or as far reaching as Halo, COD or BF because if they wanted it to be that far fetching they would've just made another shooter. What Bungie did, was raise the bar for the level of depth and content that we should expect from FPS games moving forward.

No, its not that revolutionary, its not a totally new experience or idea but its something we've never seen available for mass consumption with such an interesting mix of ideas and gameplay. "

Lock and Load

Sunset Overdrive is a furiously fast take on the open world third-person shooter that delivers high-quality gameplay and good times through all of its excessively loud silliness

You are meant to traverse around the city as fast as possible by using your super human ability to turn an entire Metropolitan city into your own personal skateboarding park. Enemies move at you very quickly, so you have to use your physical talents to zip-line, grind-rail and bounce to both escape and attack enemies. The action is almost like a rail shooter, except you still maintain control of your character at all times.

It did take a little longer than normal before I really got into the swing of the game and some people will be turned off because of that. The game feels like it controls a little stiff and difficult out of the gate, but as you become more and more familiar with the game mechanics, you soon realize that it always handled amazingly and you just had to work on technique.

The campaign and side quests don’t take that much time as I completed them in less than 20 hours and there’s nothing that really makes me want to go back and play any of the missions over. The game does have replay value, but it comes from going after the collectibles hidden throughout the open world. Because of how much fun it is to move through the city like a superhero, collecting scraps of toilet paper and stinky shoes becomes more fun than tedious.

There is multiplayer, but it didn't do a whole lot to make me want to play it for very long. All you do is complete missions while working together with 8 players while also simultaneously competing against them for points.

Most of the humor in the game comes from breaking down the fourth wall and simultaneously pointing out the foibles and absurdity of Sunset Overdrive and all videogames in general. This is not the first game to do that type of humor, but they are one of the better ones at it, as most of the time the jokes land.

" Overdrive is a game that above all knows how to have fun at all times and just like the poisoned energy drink in the game that turned everyone into mutants, it's contagious. "

Leave your Limits

One of the things that continues to blow my mind every time I am playing this game is just how deep the game is, the way the cars handle, the attention to detail in everything and the incredible physics all play a part into just how much fun this game is.

Why, oh why has it taken developers so long to realize that there is absolutely a market for a game like this? As I mentioned, the handling in this game is geared more towards simulation than "arcade" handling and as a result, you have an incredibly deep "easy to learn, hard to master" approach to this racing game. Each of the cars feel truly unique, especially if you are racing them at their stock settings and upgrades. I can feel every detail in the in the cars (of which there are more than 200 of) and how they handle and it's easily one of the most fun driving games out there.

The setting of FH2 is based on the Southern European area of Italy and France, the world feels fresh and large due to the new and unique setting, and the activities are plentiful with more than enough in the single player alone to keep you busy for more than 80 hours. There many types of races to keep you busy and even the killer Showcase Events, which put you up against jets, trains and even hot air balloons, and then there are the out of race activities. There are billboards to smash, RPG Elements, old run down cars to find and restore, and so much road (and off-road) to explore.

Graphics should always come after gameplay, but in this game it is incredibly hard not to talk about how beautiful it is. The car models themselves are impressive, with each and every single one of them featuring a beautifully detailed cockpit, but the biggest difference I have noticed with this game and it's new generation of visual effects are just how much love has gone into creating every single last detail and making it beautiful. The paint has depth and detail, each individual rain droplet is beautiful, even when you go into photo mode and zoom in, it's obvious it's not just a low res texture, the chrome on the cars sparkles beautifully in the sun and when you are driving off-road, the dirt kicks up and goes all over your car and wheels in a way that's beautiful and realistic, and then the rain can actually wash it off and make the car clean again.

I could go on and on about the features and details of this game and I haven't even mentioned the incredible player based AI and the online component yet, but I need to wrap this up.

" This game is one of, if not the best racing game I've ever played, I will be coming back to this for years to come. If there is anything left to be desired, it's more open-world, more cars and more activities, not because there is not enough, but because I cannot get enough. "

EXO Changes Everything

" A cinematic summer blockbuster spectacular delivered in videogame form. Call of Duty Advance Warfare advances the action of the game just enough to inject something new and fun while still maintaining the familiarity of the Call of Duty franchise. "

Year in, year out I see the Internet haters comment on franchises such as COD and BF, where people's main criticism is 'more of the same'. Whilst this is an entirely valid comment, I'm not sure what people expect from a well-established franchise that sells millions of copies every year. If the formula is kept the same - people complain about repetition. If the formula is changed too radically - people complain that the game is no longer the series they know and 'love'.

This is where Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare get's the balance spot on without straying too far from the well-trodden path of the COD franchise, there isn't much wiggle room for a new developer to innovate. However, Sledgehammer games have found the gap and exploited it beautifully with the new movement mechanics of the EXO suit.

Make no mistake, the new changes in movement style results in a much harder FPS experience for the standard, casual gamer. The pace of the game is fast, and mastering the dashes and boots to effectively traverse maps and areas is difficult to become accustomed to. But with some persistence, the game becomes very rewarding, but most importantly FUN.

I find the word 'fun' to be the key one here. For me COD has not been at all enjoyable since Black Ops, with the disappointing Ghosts being the lowest troughs the series has seen. AW on the other hand, drags the series out of the muddy valley and at least onto the hillside of a peak, if not quite the apex.

Note this game is far from perfect. Still Activision have decided not to provide dedicated servers for the franchise, cue issues with lag, connectivity and the much-hate 'bendy-bullets' persist. Sadly, this seems to have become somewhat of a trademark to the COD series.

There are some odd implementations from the developer, which are being patched such as equipment that can only be used for a limited time, and incredibly hard to acquire camos but overall, many of the new implementations work.

You may have noticed that I have been almost exclusively dedicating my writing towards multiplayer here, however, I have completed the campaign and there's not much to say here. It's the standard story line of most COD and modern FPS games, with token missions and segments aplenty.

The game looks gorgeous visually, and the character performances allow you to become immersed in what has been, a coherent narrative. The "Advanced Warfare" also helps keep missions fresh, providing new toys to play with and experiences that aren't exactly identical to previous COD's. 

The game as a whole looks nice, but this is to be expected of a AAA title nowadays. The sound and music are solid and fairly immersive; especially when in an intense battle online or solo.

In spite of the glitches, mild gripes and standard online issues COD: AW is a well-built FPS with a new edge for the series. Don't be fooled, this is not a revolution in gaming in any way shape or form. But it does what it says on the tin, it's Call of Duty, and all in all, AW is fun. For me this is the most important thing; after all, isn't that what games are meant for?

In the Club

Driveclub has been shown off ever since the debut announcement of the PlayStation 4, but does it live up to what was promised? Well as many complaints go they're along the lines of no customization, there's no dynamic weather as of yet (which has now been realeased), and how it's not Forza Horizon 2. Anyways getting back on track (pun intended), this game offers everything that was promised and shown so if you're looking for something that wasn't shown, you best look elsewhere for a racing game.

The driving and handling feels like somewhere between a sim and an arcade racer which is great for those that want a semi realistic yet fast paced racing game. The graphics are stunning and probably are the best on any next-gen console. However, some maps don't particularly look "stunning" during certain times of day where they might look ravishing at another time of day. This game really is all about the little details though. When I was driving in a race when the other cars went past some leaves on the ground they actually flew upwards and back. The headlights and taillights also are very impressive as they capture so much detail. The cars are arguably the best looking feature of this game but the environments are also gorgeous, especially around sunset. The AI in the offline mode is also very fascinating. In the Forza entries that I've played, the AI was very weak and the other drivers never seemed to be trying all too hard or they were psychotic at times. Here with Driveclub, the AI is very consistent yet unpredictable. Many times in a race I would find myself having cars trying to get ahead of me but not in a programmed way, almost as if it were another player playing as them making human-like decisions.

The soundtrack is lackluster since it's not diverse and it is solely performed by the electronic artist "Hybrid" who have created some of breakbeats best albums. The soundtrack isn't bad by any means but if you're looking for a multitude of genres and artists, you're not in luck here. The presentation to the game is good, not great, but good. I wish to see more models for your characters and I hope they'll add more American and Japanese cars as future DLC. The only major problem I have with this game is that the controls aren't explained very well. They're self informative but I wish they would've added some sort of training or practice mode that would you become better at the game instead of using trial and error to learn new techniques to better your driving. I also wish the courses were more diverse blending city and countryside versus it being all countryside. I hope to see in future DLC a United States or United Kingdom location to race in offering cities and countryside. Other than that, those are my only problems with the game that actually make me not enjoy the game as much. The hype level wasn't high so it wasn't disappointing for me as I knew what I was getting into days beforehand. This game is meant for more of a casual racer and those who just want to have some fun while racing.

For those of you who are worried about no split-screen, worry not because the developer said they would add that feature if enough people asked for it, so just keep your voice heard. The menus are slick and easy to control and the interference and loading times are quick and responsive.

" Despite all the above the game isnt for everyone, I would recommend testing out the free version if you're even slightly interested and judge for yourself, because who's opinion matters more on what you think of something, yours or everyone else's? "

Violent Honey Badger

Far Cry 4 is a good game that continues in the same spirit and style of its predecessor but is letdown by a few disappointing flaws. Far Cry 3 was one of the biggest surprises of the old gen as it delivered a fantastic and vast FPS experience against very competitive games within the genre but this outing struggles to deliver the same impact in quality and gameplay.

Firstly, the game looks absolutely fantastic. The visuals, draw distances and effects all look superb and mold the beautiful and thriving world of Kyrat on a grand scale. The island itself is massive but it often feels too cramped with narrow paths, tons of trees and elevated surfaces boxing you in on the ground - it's not as open as the island seen on Far Cry 3 and this may disappoint even die-hard fans. There is a greater focus on elevated gameplay here and scaling heights through climbing which can become a bit of a chore when reaching difficult areas. Despite the size of the map; everything feels more claustrophobic and the general layout of Kyrat and the map seems poorly put together.

" In terms of the gameplay; this outing utilises the same infrastructure of Far Cry 3 which isn't a bad thing. The skills, crafting and general mechanics are all the same which is fantastic as the structure is familiar and works incredibly well. "

There are animals galore to hunt and avoid plus vehicles to move around easier once again. Guns are aplenty with full customisation options and there is plenty of loot to hunt.

Sadly, despite its familiar style and stunning backdrop; Far Cry 4 just lacks in a few key areas. The story is rather bland and boring, most of the characters are dreadful along with the acting plus the core gameplay just feels rather uninspiring. Everything on offer in this game may ooze Far Cry 3 but the overall execution is not quite up to par with that game and the above issues really hit home.

Overall, Far Cry 4 is a good game that follows in the footsteps of it's predecessor but fails to shine in some key aspects. Fans of the series will probably enjoy the experience but may be left a bit underwhelmed with some lackluster features.

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