God of War III: Remastered
It’s been a very weird feeling playing God of War 3 again after five years. It was a game I remembered very much enjoying and even got the Platinum for back on the PS3. Now playing the remastered version of it on Playstation 4, it kind of made me realize I don’t really care for this series anymore. Don’t get me wrong, God of War 3 is one of the most gorgeous games made back in 2010, and it’s a testament to this game that the PS4 doesn’t really improve all that much, but at the same time, it’s a series that seems so juvenille to me now. Won’t really go into too much detail, but the tone, gameplay, and the character of Kratos isn’t something that really appeals to me in anyway as it did back then.
I’m sorry God of War 3 Remastered. It’s not you, it’s me. I believe I’ve changed for the better while you just reflect a past me who loves to see an angry man killing thousands of people with no remorse. I’m going to go now, but if you ever want to maybe change as well, give me a call.
Rocket League takes arguably two of the least mainstream gaming genres—sports and racing—and mashes them together into an incredibly fun, addictive experience that keeps players coming back match after match. The beauty of this game exists in the simplicity of its design. On the surface, “soccer with cars” is accessible to pretty much anyone and scoring goals against other players/bots online or in a single-player match provides a great sense of pride (aptly punctuated by the ball exploding upon scoring, sending cars flying across the field). But deeper maneuvers utilizing boosts, jumps, trick shots, etc. make this game a prime example of the “easy to learn, difficult to master” type of game.
Completing matches will regularly unlock new cars, decals, antenna decorations, and other cosmetic options to dress up your rocket car. None of these change how the cars handle or operate; they simply allow players more unique customization (I’m typically out there sporting my Team Fat flag, a Fez, awesome Flame decals, and a slime-filled rocket trail). Extra perks on these items would have been great but they would also be a nightmare for the team trying to keep the game balanced. By keeping Mario Kart-esque weapons and item-based extras out of the game, players are competing solely on their skill level, which will make the eventual push towards eSports and spectator modes that much more entertaining, in the same way that Super Smash Bros. is often played with items turned off.
Few experiences in gaming are as satisfying as scoring a game-winning point with no time left on the clock. Now imagine scoring that point by flying through the air in a race car and ramming the ball at just the right angle to hit the goal over the opponent flying at you. That is what Rocket League has in spades.
Follow Trevor on Twitter @snarkystarkey and play games with him on PSN/XBL: tstarkey0810!
Batman Arkham Knight: In the Family
Batgirl is awesome. Put aside all beliefs or annoyances of a female Bat-family member and just take in how cool she is. The too-short DLC features Batgirl and Robin attempting to stop the Joker just days before Valentine’s day, which Killing Joke fans know as the day Barbara Gordon would be shot and paralyzed by the Joker. This sets In the Family before Arkham Asylum and the days of Oracle.
The small amusement parks serves as a playground for Batgirl’s remote hacking skill, something that was in Arkham Knight for the caped crusader, but is beefed up behind the hands of our female crusader. She can hack electric panels, blow up objects, or even set up a “fear scenario” where several guards are paralyzed by the lights going or something of that ilk, and Batgirl can instantly take down several thugs in quick succession.
The DLC is fun and short, and maybe a bit shallow, but much like the Harley Quinn story DLC from Arkham City, it’s very fun to play as a totally new Bat-character. If anything, it just really makes me want a Batgirl game.
~~~~Alex, and oh look: I review Arkham Knight too!
Life is Strange: Dark Room
Oh man. This game.
It’s weird to see what kind of place I am, here with Monthly Passions, in regards to writing about Life is Strange. Back in January, this series showed some promise, and I was into what it was putting down. Now, writing this in August, it’s a contender for GOTY for me, and it has taken the proud position as my favorite modern adventure game.
Especially with Dark Room, Life is Strange starts standing on its, breaking those trope it depended on before, going in a new direction, and getting super dark and twisted. It’s exciting, to say the least. The character-work, the clever twists (along with the less clever, but significantly darker ones) all work together in this super, massive long episode.
I’m being super ambiguous because there is a lot to spoil here, but Jacob and I already took care of that in the spoilercast you can watch right here:
[youtube id=”UNItCQb8H1E” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Play this game. It’s worth the time.
~~~~Alex, and hey, maybe check out my review of this episode?
Originally released for the PS3 back in 2012, ThatGameCompany recently brought its award-winning masterpiece, Journey, into the new generation—and it’s still incredible.
You can run through Journey from start to finish in two or three hours, and the game is best experienced alone, in a dark room, all at once, with high quality audio and video. It’s an experience. It will build you up and break you down, toying with your emotions like powerless puppets on a proverbial string. Every little facet of artistic expression that went into the creation of Journey elevates its medium, from Austin Wintory’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack, to Thatgamecompany’s wonderfully intentional game design; the way the world keeps you on a very subtle rail while simultaneously immersing you in a seemingly infinite landscape is some of the most brilliant level building I’ve ever seen.
Even the game’s one supposed flaw—”oh, it’s not long enough for the price tag”—isn’t really a flaw at all. Journey’s two or three hour investment makes the experience feel more like walking through the first hour of Pixar’s monumental “Wall-E” than it does playing a video game. Again, “intentional” is the key word. Its brevity is one of Journey’s best attributes, as it never leaves you enough time to detach from the impending reality of your nameless, faceless character’s existence.
I will admit that remaining objective about video games is difficult, and in general I tend to stray away from words like “perfect” or “flawless”. That being said, having played through it three times, it is my opinion that Journey is a perfect gaming experience.
Guild of Dungeoneering
The Guild of Dungeoneering was a game that came out of nowhere for me. I found out about this game when Felicia & Ryon Day played it on Co-Optitude. The card-based mechanics for both dungeon generation and battle intrigued me. I had to look it up on Steam as soon as I finished watching the show (which is something I do rarely, as I don’t typically do a lot of PC gaming).
Notable game mechanics:
- Dungeons have a few pre-set squares with monsters & loot. Cards are random, and you use them to place room tiles and set monsters and loot on the map. Your character is drawn to higher-valued loot and drawn away from powerful monsters, so you use your cards to guide your hero.
- Gold earned in the dungeons is used for guild upgrades to unlock classes, talismen, and items.
- Each class has specific battle cards, as do each type of monster.
- Leveling and getting treasure chests give you a choice of weapon or armor. Each item has cards and other buffs tied to it.
- If your character is defeated, it is dead and is replaced by a new character of the same class. You will gain any gold your character found.
- However, the sting of permadeath is weakened by the fact that any leveling up and earned items do not leave the dungeons. Your character will always enter a dungeon empty-handed and at level 1.
The developers have already patched the game to add battle animations, sound effects, and achievements, with a road map of things they wish to do in the future, such as Steam Workshop support, a Spelunky-like daily challenge system for endless mode, and porting the game to phones and tablets. I have enjoyed what I have played so far, and I am pleased that there are plans for the game to evolve.