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Matt Reed
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Posted: 25 June 2020 at 12:35am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'll say it now...I really love THE LAST OF US PART II.  

There.  Done.  Got that out of the way.

There has been a ton of chatter about this game, rightfully so, since its predecessor, THE LAST OF US, was heralded as one of the best games of the PS3 generation.  It had such a reputation to live up to in the intervening years between the original (released in 2013) and now that it was hardly fair to hold it to such a high standard.  But fans did.

And then came the "leak" just a couple months ago, the specific contents of which I won't discuss because they spoil the story but are nonetheless important because they explain the backlash.  Suffice it to say that what was spoiled sent the anti-SJW crowd into a tizzy.  We've seen it on the main board as well as spill onto other boards (namely the TV and Movie threads).  

The fever pitch to denounce this game became so high from this crowd that within two hours of it's release, it got an incredible number of negative reviews as compiled by Metacritic even though there was not a chance in hell gamers in America could have experienced more than two hours of gameplay.  

That's how ugly a certain segment of the video game community has become.  Not a surprise to any of us who went through "gamergate" but that's a whole 'nuther discussion.  

So that's the context.  The reality is...?

This is a beautiful fucking game.  Yes, it's dark.  Yes, it's dismal.  Yes, it's oppressive. But so was the original. It's a fucking fight for life that is never easy or happy or fun.  That's what players celebrated with the original and this sequel ratchets up that same sense of dread and foreboding. It is, at it's beating heart, a take on RESIDENT EVIL and SILENT HILL. And yet this game takes storytelling to a whole other level.  This world has consequences for the choices you make.  That's not to say that this is a "choose your own adventure" story, but that the main character is forced to make hard choices and we, as an audience/player have to come to grips with that. 

There are quiet moments conveyed through cutscene in Seattle if you seek them out.  There are fun, playful moments when going through the Wyoming Museum if you take the time to discover them.  Or, conversely, you could rush through them all, totally ignoring their importance, just to finish the game.  Your choice.  

I don't think I'm even halfway through the game even though I've played some 20-odd hours, but that's OK.  I'm enjoying the ride. If you only play GTA or can only see video games as achievements to be had or combo-buttons to be pushed, this game ain't for you and, really, you shouldn't be reviewing it from that framework. It's a story and a damn good one at that.
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Robin Taylor
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Posted: 25 June 2020 at 7:11am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I have played all the same games Matt and I agree whole heartedly. Last of Us 2 is extraordinarily long LOL I am almost 20 hour in and barely halfway. 

RT
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John Popa
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Posted: 31 July 2020 at 7:23am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I've been playing the new "Destroy All Humans," which I guess is a remake of an older game. If you don't know, you basically play a Mars Attacks! alien wreaking havoc on smalltown America in the 50's. It's pretty silly and violent and so far, a lot of fun.  
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 01 August 2020 at 12:21pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

IRON MAN VR is FANTASTIC!

Might be the best use of VR for a game I've experienced yet. Taking from the
MCU tradition, there's a fun post-credits mission.

Had close to probably 15 hours of gameplay, which is impressive for a VR
game. Designers did a great job of avoiding potential vertigo issues a lot of
these games can cause (not an issue with me, but I know a few people who
have problems).
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 16 August 2020 at 1:07am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

With the AVENGERS beta winding down its second weekend today, has anyone tested it?  If so, what are your thoughts?

I'll offer mine...

Simko and I jointly played it last weekend, the first beta weekend that was open only to PS4 users.  When I say "jointly" I mean only insomuch as we were on headset playing through the limited offering, not that we were able to play multiplayer...which is really what we wanted to test out.  
  • I thought the opening 20 minutes were amazing.  In it, you get to play all the heroes: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Black Widow in that order.  They had some jaw dropping moves, a relatively intuitive fighting system, and it was an adrenaline rush.  
  • Be warned: this game is a button masher.  By the time we got to Black Widow, who had to fight Taskmaster (as a boss) on her own, it was a slog.  I got through it slightly faster than Simko because of my recent experience with these kinds of games (not my favorite) but it's a whole lot of double joystick moves, combos of R1/L1, triangle, square, square, square, zero while trying to also keep track of when you have earned enough "energy" to perform a classic super heroic action.  There's a lot going on.
  • SPOILERS here: The Avengers are more like the X-Men in this story.  An event happens that turns America against them, they disband for five years, and then the story picks back up with them trying to reform to fight AIM.  I'm not a big fan of the dystopian worldview nor do I understand the need to have a "five years later" motif imposed upon it.  
  • Our main character, the one we're supposed to root for, is Ms Marvel.  This is a Ms Marvel that was introduced in the last decade, one in which I have not read mainstream superhero comics, so I was unfamiliar with her.  That said?  As an older comic book fan who loves video games, I didn't understand her inclusion at all.  That could very well be my failing.  But her powers are not at all aligned with any Ms Marvel that I was familiar with and were more akin to Mr. Fantastic or Elastigirl than any other iteration.  She was, however, the easiest playable character to get a handle on with regards to controlling her powers. Perhaps because she was so similar to the Insomniac Spider-Man, what with her elastic powers acting like Spider-Man's webbing swinging.  Take that for what you will.
  • Speaking of that: This was a hard game...on EASY, which is the default and only option for the beta version.  There is so much button mashing when facing a litany of villains that it was more of a chore to get through rather than a fun or exciting exploration.
  • This is, without a doubt, a multiplayer game.  That needs to be said again: this will be no fun as a single player campaign.  I got to the point in the beta where I could matchmake, although that feature never allowed me to even hook up with three other random game players, so I played a mission on my own.  Big mistake.  In said mission, I needed to keep AIM baddies off of three different marks on the map to allow Jarvis to upload information.  Although I could keep AIM off of one, my NPC teammates didn't know the objective and I had no way of telling them to defend the other two points on the map.  Try as I might racing from one to the other, I never had enough time to do it on my own.  I gave up after three tries, frustrated that I wasn't able to do it even on the easy difficulty setting. 
  • The world is empty.  There are no normal human beings that populate it.  That might be fine in a BOARDERLANDS game, but when you have missions in NYC it feels sparse.  The narrative that they've "evacuated" the civilians feels weak when faced with numerous empty streets.  
In the end, I'm willing to cut the game some slack.  We were playing a beta version that didn't coherently tie the narrative together.  But I do worry that it's focused on the long game at the expense of a fun, enjoyable story whether or not it's with a multiplayer friend.  The Tom Clancy and CoD games have thrived on seasons that last for years at the expense of any concern for character or coherent  narrative.  I thought the success of Insomniac's SPIDER-MAN would have paved the way forward for a thoughtful superhero game that did require some amount of button mashing but also allowed for some introspection and storytelling, but that doesn't seem to be the case with AVENGERS at least at first blush.  

Final review TBD.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 16 August 2020 at 9:07am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Matt described it perfectly. I HATE button mashers. Hate. Matt was VERY
generous in his description of my frustration and annoyance with Black Widow.

I know there was feedback after the Week 1 beta, so I figured I'd give it another
shot. Still a lot of button mashing, or trying to memorize sequences that would
challenge anything in the DaVinci Code...but I took a different approach and it
worked much better for me. I've also avoided anything to do with Black Widow
as a playable character. The Ms Marvel issue...totally agree. A character that
sticks out way to much, and is forced on the player. Definitely Elasti Girl. Also
the easiest and most consistent to operate. I did get through the mission that
Matt had frustrations with...by essentially taking a Spider-man approach with
Elastic's Girl...errrr...Ms Marvel...and continually sweeping the area to protect
the download areas.

I'm a bit more optimistic than I was last week, and am slowly backing up from
my comment to Matt last week "this is looking like a $60 waste I won't even
bother to play".

Also...being beta, they're clearly working out issues they've identified internally
(they do ask you to rate each experience as feedback), and they're giving a
small taste, without giving the full meal...so I'll also be hopeful that the best is
yet to come, and this is more of a Deve;lopmental fine tuning.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 22 August 2020 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Gotham Knights was just announced. Open world RPG with Arkham-style combat and two-player online co-op. 


Gameplay demo:



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Bill Cole
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Posted: 24 August 2020 at 11:39am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Does the Iron Man VR game work if you're sitting down, or do you need to stand all the time? 
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 27 August 2020 at 5:23pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Pushed back to 2021, but looks awesome:

Lego Star Wars Gameplay Trailer
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 30 August 2020 at 2:36am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I used to be a strong advocate for the Lego video games, but I've since become bored by them.  I loved the original Batman games as well as the first SW trilogy, but they did something different with their hubs and the gameplay became incredibly repetitive as you had to finish the game and then go back with different abilities to play it all over again just to get everything.  At the end of the day, it became incredibly tiresome for me and I stopped playing them.  Don't think I'll go back.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 30 August 2020 at 10:00am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The Lego games look like they should be fun, but I can't stand them...I've
never bothered to complete one and it doesn't bother me a bit.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 31 August 2020 at 2:48am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

GHOST OF TSUSHIMA.

Jesus Christ. What can I say about this game?  Amazing? Check. Phenomenal? Check. Groundbreaking?  Check. 

A PS4 exclusive, it's absolutely breathtaking in its scope and storytelling.  Yes, it borrows from what came before.  It's an ASSASSIN'S CREED game without all the future bullshit.  I'm a HUGE AC fan and even I can understand the monumental leap in story and structure this game has taken.  

You're a Samurai faced with the Mongol invasion of Japan.  You're still young, however, and are learning your "trade" so to speak.  Although you can progress through the main missions to get to the end rather quickly, that would deny you the rich world that is set up by side missions that matter as well as simple encounters you discover along the way.  It's a rich tapestry interwoven into a game that I suspect will take 100 hours or more to complete, all of it well worth it.  

Can't recommend it enough.  I've only started Act II and don't want it to end.  I think about it even when I'm not playing it, which is a sign of a great game. 
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