Video Game Review: Remnant: From the Ashes

A genre defines the experience for a game then the developers can build on top of those expectations. Remnant: From the Ashes is a weird game as it is a looter shooter without a lot of loot. The core comes from playing with friends to fight through hordes of enemies and defeat daunting bosses. It gets plenty wrong, but with one or two friends, it becomes harder to deny the addictiveness of this apocalyptic adventure.

An alternate dimension has thrown ancient creatures into the modern world, tearing humanity apart. As you go on your underwhelming and confusing adventure, your nameless protagonist gets a whiff of answers along with plenty of more questions. Like any game with RPG elements, you, a random person in this world with no credibility, gets tasked with saving it from an evil force, The Root. That trope never makes a ton of sense, but it is more logical than the rest of the

After a brief tutorial, you finally get to choose between three classes, perfectly suited for three people to play together. Scrapper is the tank with melee focus attacks, Hunter has long-range capabilities, and Ex-Cultist (who I chose) is the support member with mid-range guns. Each of the options has a lot to offer with their abilities and weapon sets when my friend decided with the Hunter along with my healing ability, we made for a killer team against the monsters.

More RPG elements get added with Trait Ranks. A series of skills that get points dispensed into for stat upgrades like the essential endurance and some more unique to the world of Remnant as you make progress. It becomes slightly overwhelming as more traits get piled on, yet that goes away as I grew stronger and feeling like a savior rather than some random person who gets thrust into the position.

Customizing your hero is rudimentary with all of the basics like hairstyles and color along with some voices and pre-set faces. It did not feel limiting even though it lacked much depth. I was able to quickly create someone then move on, feeling satisfied with my character.

Combat has a punch that lands semi-hard on enemies. The guns feel right while the melee is a little overly simplified. Guns have mods for an alternate fire with some that are universal and others being character-specific. Whether hacking away at a group of small charging creatures or shooting down a behemoth, it has a rewarding vibe to kill without having to deliver much loot.

The meat of the experience comes from big boss battles. Most of them are just beefed up versions of regular enemies, making them pretty bland except for main story bosses that have a fresh face. Too many times these fights would either be too easy (one of which got glitched and couldn’t move to make for an easy target) or overwhelmingly hard with swarms of minions to back up the monstrous foe or their moveset would be unfair.

The balance for the challenges continues to struggle in other areas. Healing or taking any consumable goes too slowly. Inevitably you die for no good reason because the hero needed to take in his/her time drinking a potion or refilling ammo.

Finding, buying, or grabbing dropped goods is hard oddly hard to come by. For a looter shooter, this is more of a shooter that tosses a bone your way for exploring or progressing through the story. I played for three or four hours before finding a gun in the ruins of a city with a few accessories here and there that boost my stats.

Selling or crafting to NPCs is the best bet for upgrades or new gear. Finding materials or gathering enough scrap for trade is balanced without having to grind at all for what I need. When I saved my piggy bank to splurge, I gained plenty of rewards that made me feel stronger than before. The odd choice that I cannot get my head around is that selling for extra cash come from only materials or consumables, so excess weapons or armor sit in your inventory taking up space and irritating my organizational tendencies.

Gathering the loot is even more comfortable with an ally. Shared loot makes covering landscapes more accessible without fearing on losing out on supplies or potential gear.

A staggering amount of variety comes from the invading creatures. Every area has specific sets of foes to face to keep the gameplay fresh. The designs are just as interesting as their different combative properties, but some of the textures need some work to give more life to the flood of ancient monsters.

The safe haven from the utter hell that is the outside world comes from Ward 13. Resupplying, upgrades, and interact with vendors as you catch your breath. A generic hub world that makes up for its lack of life by its worthwhile upgrade and trading system.

The level design comes to blend together as each new area has a theme that becomes boring. The structure of diverging paths that balance openness and a linear road kept me on track while having fun exploring. The hopes of finding something great moved me, but not finding better equipment ran dry. The procedurally generated mechanic does not work for these reasons.

A lot of familiar elements rise to the surface as I played through more of Remnant. Fog walls and resting at checkpoints to restore items all seem similar to one fantasy RPG that is known for extreme difficulty. Remnant does not live up to the quality as its influences, mostly due to its inconsistent difficulty that can be unfair with the waves of enemies or ridiculous bosses.

At best, visually, this game gets a pass, but at worst, it is hard to look at. A lot of the textures, especially with certain enemy types, look watered down. Stylistically nothing works together.

The animations are a mess. The worst of which comes from cutscenes, which look worse than gameplay. The mouth sync with dialogue is laughable by how robotic everyone seems.

Even though your protagonist has a voice, it is never used except for random quips during a battle. Selective dialogue with NPCs is pointless as no decision matters, and you don’t hear your voice. This mechanic should just be thrown out and let other parts of the game get more treatment.

The music has every ingredient to make it epic, yet it is halfbaked. The orchestral style fits perfectly during important battles, but it is too quiet, and the music comes off underdone in many sequences.

On paper, Remnant: From the Ashes has a lot to offer, except it somehow falls on its face. A few glitches appear, ranging from annoying issues like not being able to talk to an NPC to stock up for a fight or the unkillable final boss who turned his God mode on before my friend and I got to him. The lowered price of $40 is not worth it unless you have a buddy who is willing to go down with you to save the world.

Score: 4/10

Support the blog

$5.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Video Game Review: Vicious Circle

Disclaimer: Since I am a Rooster Teeth First member, the company’s paid membership for exclusive content and other incentives, I did get the game for free. I went in with an open, objective mindset, but I thought anyone reading should know this before going into the review.

Rooster Teeth, the internet production company known for Achievement Hunter, animated shows like Red vs. Blue, and a variety of podcasts, has released the first developed game from their Rooster Teeth Games division. Vicious Circle has a unique premise along with some other nice touches, but it lacks enough depth for extended play sessions.

The idea is simple, a group of mercenaries must collect nuggets, a cosmic good, to escape from the level from a deadly monster. Only one can survive, so everyone must work together then stab each other in the back to escape through the evac zone, just don’t die by the rooster alien. The high-speed rounds lack any tension and do not incentivize any teamwork, just push others in the way and live.

Nuggets can be obtained from pods found around the map or stealing from other players. You can’t harm your fellow soon to be enemies, but using gadgets can not only take from them, but it can also ensure survival against any lurking creatures. Devices have a variety of uses that feel unique along with rarity to indicate usefulness.

Each character has a particular playstyle as each merc has one weapon and ability. They all stand out by their looks and powers. The guns, on the other hand, prove to be bland, useless BB guns as fighting off the giant monster proved to be pointless. Slay tiny creatures and run for those shiny goodies to escape without anyone else.

Playing as a dangerous rendition of the rooster in Rooster Teeth’s logo has a lot of power behind its abilities. The overpowered behemoth changes the pace and gameplay radically. While balancing issues are present between the two sides, I would rather play the monstrous bird.

Death has an interesting twist as it is one of the best mechanics found here. You turn into a small alien that must kill anyone to become that player’s chosen character and go on to collect those nuggets. If everyone has turned into those slimy, not very cute creatures, then the big boy monster wins.

Movement is key, yet does not always feel right. Running around has a fun speed to it, yet jumping on the other hand, weirdly feels heavy, especially the double jump. If an award went to the worst jump in gaming history, it would be Vicious Circle.

Lacking levels hurts, but the ones available have a neat, simple design. Each map sets itself apart by its layout and personality. Nothing too fancy, but a delightful touch.

Colors explode onto the screen with neon lights and bright character costumes. While the palette is gorgeous, not everything matches that level due to some watered down textures. Only once I observed this, but items in the world had some obvious pop-ins that distracted from the beauty of the scenery.

Customization hits the basic requirements with character skins, emotes, and anything else one would expect. The basket of cosmetics holds plenty to bring all four mercs to life. It might seem setting the bar low, but it does a job well done.

A wide variety of challenges under gameplay, character, event, and special categories make leveling up easier. Going through the ranks unlocks more cosmetic items, but nothing too tasteful that made me want to go through each weekly.

The developers have promised more content updates, and it seems the plans can bring more life to this somewhat lifeless multiplayer title. Lacking in content, a good feel for the gameplay, and not hitting the mark for its premise makes this a dud. A $20 price tag is tempting, so read up on updates until it is safe to put in your credit card information.

Score: 4/10

Support the blog

$5.00

Header image via Rooster Teeth

Video Game Review: Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Taking a step away from a franchise’s formula can be healthy to ensure nothing in the future gets too stale for fans. In this case, the collaboration between Machine Games and Dishonored creators Arkane ended up being the wrong choice. Youngblood has plenty of great ideas that are not compatible with Wolfenstein’s DNA.

Taking place in the 80s, Soph and Jess, twin daughters of series protagonist B.J., go off to Nazi-infested Paris with their friend Abbey in hopes to find their missing father. The girls discover the current plans of the Fourth Reich and take action to stop it. This story happens to be one of the only redeeming qualities as it sets up the future of this world.

Wolfenstein  Youngblood Screenshot 2019.07.29 - 19.44.29.89.png
One of the many collectibles found in the world.

The coop experience is the only way to go on this one. Selecting either sister only makes a cosmetic and starting weapon difference, other than that it does not matter. While it is built for two friends, or random people, to join together to kill Nazis, the servers prevent a consistent playthrough. My friend disconnected continuously randomly or had his game freeze. Thankfully my end was steady with a glorious 100+ FPS.

When playing you can pep signal your sister, giving the AI/player a boost. Like the upgrades, use coins to purchase new signs. Each one has a life-saving purpose, making it one of the few additions that feels welcome.

Double trouble for Nazis is good and bad. If your companion is down, a revive or sacrificing a shared-life brings them back. Shared-lives allow for a freebee to avoid death and continue the fight. Losing all of the extra lives and dying leads to a major setback in a mission as checkpoints are almost nonexistent.

A disconnect for a cooperative experience comes from not picking up loot for both players. I find a chest with money, and my friend needs to open it too, or he misses out. I understand separately collecting certain items like ammo if one needs it and the other does not, but at times it felt frustrating as one person gained things the other missed.

Playing with an AI sister will be painful, trust me as I had to finish by myself. The intelligence is low as its response time to enemies or me needing a revive is erratic. At times, it helped me right away while other dangerous situations my robot of a twin felt like standing in the middle of gunfire enjoying the sun. The slightly redeeming quality is that she can teleport to you, which is also inconsistent.

Missions given need to be transported to and from with metro maps. The fast traveling system is required to get from one activity to another, making this experience loading screen hell. If enemies are nearby -even though they cannot reach you- leads to the inability to get to the destination. This system needed to be more streamlined to avoid unnecessary loading screens and walking around a map to find the fast travel station.

Actions are random side activities that pop up from Abbey notifying about something happening in the area. These are overly repetitive and lack of reward. Just the press of a button or kill a few Nazis then it is over.

The RPG system of leveling up is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the skill trees and upgrades to weapons using experience (for skill tree) or coins (money for weapons) is empowering and meaningful. The other hand, the enemies feel to overpowered if they are a higher level, forcing upon side missions and activities rather than moving forward with the narrative.

Upgrades.png

Enemies have a variety of weakness depending on the ammo your gun uses. The idea gives extra strategy, yet feels offputting in a Wolfenstein game. It gets in the way of the flow of combat as I frantically switch weapons for certain foes. Some tougher Nazis and robots, especially bosses, are sponges soaking in damage without a care in the world.

Despite the annoying to kill Nazis, it is a blast using the variety of weapons. Machine Games manages to continue its excellent combat even if it is fumbled by the new mechanics.

Exploration for collectibles and supplies is worth the time spent. Finding gear certainly helps during the fight. Collectibles can be fun like some concept art or discovering documents or audio logs to flesh out the lore of this world can be fascinating.

Music lacks substance, especially when the 80s has so much to offer. The styled disco tunes play lightly and add nothing during the action.

Microtransactions are in this narrative-driven game, for some reason. If you wish to not complete daily/weekly challenges, that are weirdly placed, or kill Nazis while completing other objectives, then using real money can earn gold to upgrade. I can let it slide as I felt it was never necessary to spend extra cash for a cosmetic item or to better my power of slaughtering racists.

Superb gunplay, eccentric characters, and an exciting story remain strong; however, Youngblood adds a lot of new elements take away from its core traits. The gameplay loop has always been repetitive for the series, but this manages to spoil it with halfbaked ideas. Not a terrible game, especially for $29.99 (US) price, but not worth the money, so go play the previous three titles and ignore this weird cooperative spin-off.

Score: 5/10

Buy the game and support the blog:

Buy and support the blog: Wolfenstein: Youngblood – PlayStation 4

Buy and support the blog: Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Xbox One

Buy and support the blog: Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Nintendo Switch

Support the blog

$5.00

Video Game Review: My Friend Pedro

Devolver Digital has a distinctive personality to their games, unlike most companies in the industry. Their latest side-scrolling shooter, My Friend Pedro, highlights the brains behind the studio. This action-packed title is a little treat that went above and beyond my expectations, which will rival everything else coming out for the rest of the year.

The unnamed protagonist wakes up in a basement of a building owned by Mitch the Butcher, a high ranking man in a dangerous crime organization. A magical banana named Pedro guides the masked killing machine to help him through his journey to eliminate this organization from the city. A psychedelic, delightful narrative that flies by without staying around longer than it needs.

This 2D side scroller seems straightforward enough until I got deeper into the depths of its campaign. Initially starting with parkour and shooting, more mechanics get introduced after a chunk of progression. Once it began to feel repetitive with its massive waves of enemies, a new trick was thrown in for more complex gameplay with vehicles, traps, and plenty of new enemies.

To enhance the gameplay. Focus puts the game into slow motion for any situation. Along with dodging, a lot of tactics get piled on for a challenging experience. I only played on average, the easiest difficulty, and I had my fair share of moments where I had to rethink how I played to get past an obstacle.

The movement is fluid and feels right with every jump, roll, and swing. Wall jumping and some other moves took time to feel settled, but I enjoyed the journey of learning how to maneuver within the world.

Boss battles are far and few between the many levels, yet when they arrive, it is a blast to tackle. Each principal opponent to fight has something new to the table that feels different from the rest.

Finishing any level grants you a score based on time completion, enemies killed, and other bonuses. Depending on the number of points earned, a rank appears. Nothing really happens, but for players who are hungry to improve upon their score, then this is for you, but I was not a fan of this arcade-esque system.

Desktop Screenshot 2019.06.20 - 13.57.56.13.png

Level design is tight to flow with each step without any confusion. I am dumb, so I got lost on what to do for brief moments, but that rarely happened. The linear direction enhanced the intense gunfights while feeling lacking in any optional activities. Collectibles or other optional activities would give a lot more substance to the experience.

The best aspect of the levels is the length. Pacing here hits perfectly to never have a lull in the gameplay. I could easily hop in and out for short bursts of fun or can go on a binge with large chunks of my day flying by as I shot criminals for my magical banana friend.

A particular style makes this a standout title from anything else in years. The aesthetic and colors pop to make every moment enjoyable. A lot of the characters and environments repeat too much, but the graphics and shortly lived story makes these issues less annoying.

The music never stops in the best way possible. The beats are straight out of a nightclub that goes strangely well with the brutal violence. The flow is already flawless, but the neverending tunes make it all that much more fun as I went around gunning down every baddie in sight.

This $20 adventure is full of surprises to keep itself from getting stale. While it lacks in content in the game and no endgame at all, the price and amount of joy, I had made up its flaws. A well-written story with plenty of twists, yet I felt voice acting would have made the humor land harder, but the tongue-in-cheek writing still put a smile on my face.

Score: 9/10

Support the blog by buying the game or donating money below:

Buy: My Friend Pedro – Nintendo Switch

Support the blog

$5.00

Video Game Review: Rage 2

The unlikely sequel to Rage got my interest due to its surprising announcement and the collaboration between id Software and developers of Just Cause, Avalanche Studios. Having Avalanche’s experience in open world chaos and the minds over at id software which created the first person shooter genre, it sounded like the perfect combination of developers. Instead, Rage 2 delivers on the gunplay and not much else.

Set 30 years later, the world has slightly rebuilt itself, but still struggles against various bandit factions and the powerful Authority who want their power back. Walker, the last ranger, joins the remaining resistance to defeat the Authority and their leader General Cross. A typical story of fighting back an evil powerhouse with some interesting characters, and not much substance.

Rage2 Screenshot 2019.05.14 - 17.15.35.71.png

While the narrative leaves plenty to be desired, the amount of context was given to help people like myself who never played the original title is impressively well done.

The first thing you do when starting up the game is to select a male or female Walker, which is utterly pointless in a game with no dialog choices, no customization, and no third person option.

The characters have some interesting characteristics, but due to dull writing and passable voice acting, I could not find anything in my heart to care for these people. When there should be humor or dramatic beats, I felt nothing seeing this adventure play out between the heroes and villains.

While the open world offers a variety of environments with a generous amount of space, not much substance can be found. Bandit camps, races, bounties, and other activities are available everywhere, but everything feels so bland and lifeless. Yes, this a post-apocalyptic universe, some liveliness to the side missions to allow for more motivation to complete them. The one benefit to exploring the wasteland is to find gear, materials, and money to upgrade Walker.

Rage2 Screenshot 2019.05.14 - 17.04.40.97.png

Gunplay remains excellent, which is no surprise. After my run through, I only unlocked a handful of guns because most weapons can be opened by exploring to find ARKS that will give new abilities or weapons. The alternate fires and different feels to each new piece to my arsenal felt perfect as I gunned down every enemy in my path.

Abilities have a wide variety that makes a significant impact on the gameplay. Powers like overdrive which enhance your damage and healing capabilities or shatter which kinetically blasts foes not only assist greatly in combat but makes the game that much more fun.

Upgrading weapons, vehicles, and abilities can be done with feltrite, a crystal that can heal and be used as a form of currency to unlock ways to make Walker more powerful. Other attributes must be unlocked by completing objectives for key allies, who each have their own skill trees. Every time I unlocked anything, it felt meaningful by how much it can alter gameplay to enhance my enjoyment and survival out in the wasteland.

Getting around can be done by fast traveling to major cities or driving. The driving is horrendously clunky and can be worse depending on the vehicle. Too many of the cars feel either too light or heavy. On top of the transportation that gets stale quickly, the camera often times freaks out and makes everything that much more awkward while trying to traverse this massive landscape.

Moving on foot feels much more fluid and comfortable. Think of DOOM in its speed and mobility. If the map were not so big, then I would have a lot more fun running to each point.

Using a GPS to track a location or objective is the most basic mechanic in vast open worlds, yet most of the time the purple line did not follow until I had to turn it off and on to start moving towards my destination.

The gameplay is quite accessible with tutorials that come up briefly to show the ropes on how to use specific guns or abilities. While this is useful and does not get in the way of the overall flow, other tips that pop up to deliver information on new found activities feel excessive at times while disrupting the game.

Enemies have little variety, but the few types do require altering strategies slightly, making them more attractive than generic bandits. When a lot of opponents come up in larger battles, then the combat gets much more engaging. The best comes during the boss fights, which feel inconsistent in their difficulty, but I had plenty of enjoyment with these challenging foes. Setting the game to hard hits perfectly between challenging and fair.

The AI is also inconsistent with their behavior. Sometimes I saw smart strategies play out, other times they would charge until someone died, while the last percentage of the population would stand there, allowing me to shoot them in the head.

Interacting with NPCs to trade or for missions can get tedious. Traders and Walker have the same exchange every time the two come in contact. Other times I have found trying to talk to a supporting character to advance the story, and they will not respond for a short, yet annoying amount of time.

The color palette is vibrant with neon colors but gets pulled down by the dreary world of copy and pasted buildings and the mediocre graphics. At times the game looks gorgeous, while other times objects look muddy and not appropriately textured.

Rage2 Screenshot 2019.05.13 - 18.50.32.16.png

While the visuals are a letdown, the animations are far worse. Lip syncing and facial animations are painful to look at, especially since so many interactions are so close to people’s faces.

Technical problems weigh the experience down even further. Persistent stuttering comes in and out throughout my entire time playing. Objects popping in too late happened a handful of times. The biggest occurrence was a constant glitch of characters speaking, but no dialog could be heard. If you decide to pick this title up, turn on subtitles. Other times the audio would just come in late when I was lucky.

The idea of Rage 2 sounds amazing with id Software and Avalanche’s portfolios being so reputable, yet none of the brilliant ideas were exercised enough to make this the colorful, charismatic shooter that it had claimed. By the first game’s unenthusiastic reception, that should have been a warning sign for everyone that this sequel would not be worthy either.

Score: 5/10

Want to try Rage 2 out? Buy it and support the blog through the links below:

Buy and support the blog: Rage 2 – PlayStation 4

Buy and support the blog: Rage 2 – Xbox One

Video Game Review: Days Gone

E3 can have its moments where a developer showcases their project, and it happens to be nothing like the product shown. Days Gone happens to be that title. This was my most anticipated game for 2019, and I have been let down by this miserable experience with a cookie cutter open world game that has little to no substance.

The world has become overrun by an infection that turns people into zombies, sorry, BendStudio has coined the term “Freakers.” Deacon and his biker club buddy William “Boozer” plan on heading up North for a fresh start away from other people and the Freaker infestation, along the way they get sidetracked and must prepare for a more extended amount of time than initially planned. This sets them on a path of conflict with rival factions and having to work with allies to survive. On top of that, Deacon has an unbearable journey to find out what happened to his wife that takes far too long to get to the point.

DAYS GONE SCREENSHOT 2.jpg

The narrative stumbles every step of the way with overly dramatic moments with characters that nobody playing will know right away or have objectives that waste time. The game starts off with a long-winded cut scene that does not make any impact because everyone has had zero time to develop, but I guess drama needs to happen at some point, so let us jump head first into the chaos. Instead of a 30 or so hour campaign, this should be cut in half due to the amount of filler and overabundant amount of plot points.

Transitions between cutscenes to gameplay are rough. The editing does not feel seamless, and loading screens appear for no apparent reason. Sometimes in the middle of a scene, a loading screen will appear to disrupt the flow of what is happening. Most of the loading does not take a long time, but on some occasions, a long wait must be endured.

The personalities are abundant and feel like individuals without feeling cluttered with too many people to interact with. Sadly, nobody is that compelling, especially the protagonist. Deacon is an illogical man who is way too inconsistent and contradictory with his actions and words. Sam Witwer who plays Deacon overacts too often, and the rest of the cast have their acting issues but are much more stable in delivering their lines. Some of the acting problems could occur from poor writing and possibly just as poor directing since some people yell or speak softly at the wrong moments. If freakers are nearby and Deacon says everyone needs to stay quiet, then he is the one who ends up screaming always.

The tone feels like a day time soap opera with its overly dramatic beats that never stop. Even the music feels out of place by being too over the top or giving weird vibes in areas that should not have any music.

Much of the gameplay relies on riding a motorcycle to get around the vast environment. The bike is fun to drift with, but riding feels off with the bike’s physics and mobility.

The bike is like another character who is your child that needs taking care of at all times. Finding fuel or parts repair the bike to keep the engine running. Getting upgrades feels worthwhile, but any cosmetics purchased will feel like a waste of resources.

Deacon can get new abilities by three skill trees or finding a shot that injects him with either better health, stamina, or survival vision. The skills varied from melee, ranged, and survival. New attributes significantly turn the tables when situations get difficult. Out of everything done in Days Gone, upgrading the protagonist is one that is not ruined.

DAYS GONE TREE.jpg

Combat can either be ranged or melee. The guns have a weight that feels nice to shoot, especially some of the heavier weapons like shotguns. Using melee may come in handy, but it is painful to use. Trying to guide Deacon with the left analog stick and smash R2 to hit any Freaker or crazed survivor is unnecessarily clunky with some terrible animations.

Enemies can be taken down using stealth. Just like most other games, hiding behind tall bushes and other methods of staying out of sight might seem generic, but it works well. Going around with a silent weapon or takedowns will bring anyone down immediately. The only issue runs into the inconsistently moronic AI who either cannot spot you even if you are crouched directly in front of them or they spot you instantly, but this won’t be the only issue with the dumb foes you will meet in this world.

To spot materials for crafting or other supplies, you can use your survival vision. Think of every other game post-Assassin’s Creed, and that is what you get. A magical sight that highlights what you need for objectives or survival. The overly used mechanic goes away too quickly unless you take your time to find upgrades, but that will take up many hours to get this ability to become efficient.

In the beginning, the world feels full of interactive items and mechanics that can make for an exciting survival experience. After a few hours, everything starts to show its true colors with how repetitive every task and obstacle is out in this North Pacific landscape.

Activities from doing jobs for camp members, clearing out infestations, and other side tasks have their rewards, but everything is a slow burn to gain much out of these optional objectives. Camps build trust levels to unlock new gear, but that takes a lot of time to build and then you need credits which can be earned by completing missions or turning in items that these bases can use.

Enemies have plenty of different types from various humans with varying levels of armor or weaponry to the kinds of freakers that are waiting to eat your flesh. The diversity does not get utilized well with new freakers getting introduced out of nowhere and feeling forced rather than an organic evolution of tougher threats. Other survivors wanting to kill Deacon take too many bullets to die unless they are shot in the head. I understand if an undead creature takes a lot of bullets, but a regular dude with no shirt should not take that much damage to kill.

Weather and time of day make a huge difference in anyone’s ability to see or hear Deacon while also radically changing the behavior of the living and infected. Snow and rain storms come in and out naturally while changing the look of the environment in refreshing ways.

Visually, Oregon looked pretty in this post-apocalyptic scenery. Nothing took my breath away with the graphics, but it did ease some of the misery down a notch.

Completing the story has some endgame objectives for other conclusions to people’s individual stories while still having room to complete any side activities that were missed. The post-game gives an extra boost in playability, sadly any urge I have has been beaten out due to this wretched journey.

Technical issues here do not generally ruin the experience, but make it that much more painful to play through. Sometimes the game would slow down, not significant frame drops, but enough to be noticeable especially on a PS4 PRO. The most consistent issue comes from lip and audio syncing. Eventually, every cutscene became people’s mouths moving then the dialog coming in later.

Audio comes in at many different levels. Sometimes characters sound too loud or too quiet when they are talking normally. This along with Deacon’s need to comment on everything happening makes it impossible to hear what anyone is saying without subtitles, a requirement to understand what is happening in this occasionally incoherent narrative.

PlayStation had a ride of successfully compelling singleplayer titles, and this is their biggest dud of the current generation. Full of uninspiring ideas from the bland collectibles, dull story, and inconsistent animations. Days Gone fails its premise that was shown during E3 all those years ago and goes beyond with its painful narrative with the worst protagonist I have had to play in recent memory.

Score: 3/10

If you do want to buy Days Gone to support the blog or are curious enough to try it for yourself then you can do so below:

Buy and support the blog: Days Gone

Video Game Review: Mortal Kombat 11

Yet another giant franchise that never dies, but unlike most, Mortal Kombat continues to outdo previous titles with a consistent experience. Accessible for new players or people who suck at fighting games like myself, I was able to enter without playing much of the last few games and enjoy my time. While 2019 is only a few months in, NetherRealm’s latest entry in this fighting series makes it into my top tier of favorite games.

Taking place after the last release, Raiden’s time manipulation has dire consequences. The Keeper of Time, Kronika, wants revenge and a plan to restore time, but the protector of the Earthrealm along with its occupants will defend history by defeating the time controlling antagonist. A short, sweet, and cinematic experience that gave me time with most of the roster of fighters to get a handle on their different playstyles. While I was lost in what was happening during the first hour plus, due to smart writing and context, I was able to get a grip on the narrative where I was able to appreciate this world. The characters all felt alive with their rich history and dynamic chemistry with one another which extended my experience with this cheesy, yet compelling story.

Much of the voice acting hit the tone perfectly and made each of the diverse personalities come alive. Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade was one of the few downsides. Ideally, she fit perfectly for the character, but her acting was at times mediocre or at her worst moments felt flat with a lack of emotion. Everyone else had much more consistent line delivery.

Each fighter’s gameplay feels distinctive that separates everyone from the other. The move lists were a mix of complicated and straightforward allowing for someone as bad as me to play while having room for veterans to grow their skill set. I had to do homework to find the most accessible characters to use when fighting my friends, but that extra leg work made it worth it as I started to learn more.

Some adjustments have been made compared to previous iterations. The defense and offensive bars have been moved separately and get used by specific attacks or interactions with the map. These UI changes make the game much more intuitive when facing friends or random players.

The most significant change steps away from X-ray moves towards fatal blows. When on your last legs, a special move unlocks to deal extreme damage to your opponent and giving a chance to win the fight. The special moves take aspects of the old X-rays while maintaining the brutality. X-rays happen at random with critical blows so anyone missing those will have plenty of moments to see bones snapping into organs.

Fatalities never disappoint as always with creatively gruesome deaths to all of the iconic characters along with the newer faces that have been added. Each character has two, one of which must be unlocked. I wish the variety increased compared to other Mortal Kombats. I still feel they always give a low amount when so much more can be done with this iconic mechanic.

Similar to fatalities, the brutalities are powerful ways to finish your foe. The biggest difference is that these moves happen as the last hit of the match which instantly kills the enemy. Since I am terrible at the fighting genre, having this alternative grants me the ultimate way to finish off my friends.

Each stage has its own identity and works perfectly when fighting. Some intractable objects can be used to maneuver across the map or use as a weapon. However, the number of interactions within the arena should have a lot more variety. Rather than a game-changing feature, it feels more like a gimmick at times. Some of the weapons used for special attacks are worth it like taking a jackhammer into someone’s skull is never a problem in the world’s most brutal fighter.

Both Klassic Tower, yes everything in the world of Mortal Kombat starts with a “k,” and Towers of Time are modes to unlock plenty of rewards while fighting through a tower full of enemies. The AI increasingly get more difficult after each win, but succeeding in the challenge is worth the time and effort. Compared to other game types that involve fighting AI, this is one of the most fun, especially when it means avoiding replaying the story a countless amount of times.

Multiplayer involves regular fights or King of the Hill, which consists of a line of players battling to become king. The king fights the next person in the queue and continues until that person is dethroned. A cycle of trying to maintain a streak of wins is fun, but if you are in line, then you have to wait and watch until your turn comes up. I found myself waiting more than playing and would rather face people in a standard match.

Rewards are given with any task from campaign progress, winning any type of match, daily challenges, and discovering items in the Krypt, an elaborate maze full of danger and puzzles with plenty of chests to unlock using koins. While many of the unlocks take a long time, especially cosmetic items, the time flies with all of these diverse ways of gaining money and other materials needed to get that new skin or unlock the second fatality.

Microtransactions can be used, but have never felt restricting. Anything that involves real money only circles around something cosmetic. As long as nobody gets an advantage, studios can monetize away for all I care.

Kustomization offers several presets for each fighter or the option to make a new loadout is up to the player. I stuck with the presets by modifying them myself. Alterations to a character include costumes, weapons, augments for upgrades, and move sets to personalize anyone to your liking. The kustomization settings may seem basic, but for what it is, this mode has plenty to offer.

While I found NetherRealm to continue their impressive upgrades to the visual aspect, I did find one inconsistency. Hair often rendered poorly into a blurry mess; however, this would only last for a short time, but enough to make it noticeable. Besides that issue, the rest of the game manages to balance stunning masterpiece and horrifyingly violent with its diverse settings and plentiful ways to murder others.

Mortal Kombat 11 has its issues with not being able to stretch itself out into a more in-depth game but makes up for its flaws in almost every way. A generous story with multiple endings and selections of characters in certain fights allow for some replayability. Combat continues to improve with an intuitive system while having room for more advanced players to rip the noobs in half. NetherRealm prove themselves to be the kings of the genre yet again.

Score: 9/10

Buy and support the blog:

Buy: Mortal Kombat 11 – PlayStation 4

Buy: Mortal Kombat 11 – Xbox One

Buy: Mortal Kombat 11 – Nintendo Switch