The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 1: In Too Deep

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 1: In Too Deep

I Can Only Ever Remember Two

The Walking Dead: Michonne is the mini series following up to the third season of Telltale’s excellent The Walking Dead. As you’ve probably guessed, the game focuses on Michonne and her absence between issues 126 and 139 of the comics. If you’ve played any of Telltales episodic games before, you know what to expect here. Point and click based game-play, quick time events and a heavy focus on choice. These choices effect how the overall story plays out, meaning each player has a different experience. In Too Deep does this perfectly, much like it’s predecessors. In Too Deep seems to follow the same set up as season 2 did; You get involved with a large community of survivors for a number of reasons but it’s not as well done. I also found that I didn’t care much for the supporting characters except for Pete, who serves as Michonne’s partner. I don’t want to go into detail with the plot to avoid any potential spoilers. Michonne is an incredible protagonist, and I was very interested in her well being and state throughout the first episode. Throughout the episode, Michonne will experience flash backs and visions of her children. Michonne blames their deaths on herself and as a result, suffers from PTSD. This gave Michonne real depth and emotion, which is refreshing to say the least. I didn’t experience any technical issues or hiccups in my play-through and the game looks good too. It might just be the updated visuals of season 2, but what’s not to like? One thing that really stood out to me was the combat sequences. They’re still the same quick time events, but they look awesome and feel incredibly satisfying. Michonne feels like what she is; a zombie slaying bad-ass. maxresdefault (6).jpg

Verdict: 7.5/10

All in all, In Too Deep is a fairly strong start for the mini series. Michonne is an awesome protagonist for this, even if the supporting cast suffers a bit. While the story is a bit generic, hopefully it’ll pick up in the next 2 episodes, along with the other characters.

Positives

-Combat sequences

-Michonne

-Technically sound

Negatives

-Supporting cast

-Generic story

Thanks for reading guys. I’m gonna keep these episodic reviews short much like this one. Once all episodes have been released, i’ll review the season as a whole. Up next is Bravely Second: End Layer, followed by Twilight Princess HD!

Once again thanks for reading guys.

Harry

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Dying Light: The Following

Dying Light: The Following

A Trip to the Countryside

Dying Light: The Following is the first major story expansion for Techland’s new IP. Dying Light originally came out in 27th of January in North America and 27th of February elsewhere. It was a new concept at the time, a combination of Mirror’s Edge and Dead Island to create a mixture of parkour and hack n slash fun. Surprisingly, it was fairly successful and built up a fairly large community in a short amount of time. Dying Light: The Following seeks to continue the story of our protagonist Kyle Crane in a new area of Harran, the countryside while introducing new mechanics and fine tuning the mechanics we’ve come to know and love.

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Buggies can have a passenger as well as a driver.

The Prophecy

The Following’s story is set after the events of the base game and starts off with a cut scene of an injured survivor that Kyle finds. The survivor starts talking about a cultist group living outside the overrun, quarantined city of Harran that have found out how to control the virus, meaning that this cultist group is immune. The Tower is running short on Antizin and Dr. Camdens research for a cure is proving unsuccessful, so Crane decides to visit the countryside and investigate the cult. Most of the survivors living in the countryside have converted to this religious cult called the Children of the Sun. They worship a figure called the mother who is supposedly their source of immunity to the virus. I found this story incredibly interesting, as the cult is shrouded in mystery. Scouring the world for clues to the cult’s origin and ideologies was extremely interesting. As the mystery gradually unfolds it ends with a huge plot twist that I honestly did not see coming at all. The story in The Following is significantly better than the main game’s and I really do hope that Techland can pull of the same mystery and suspense in the sequel as they did here. It is extremely interesting and will keep you playing right up to the end.

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This is a painting of Mother, these are scattered all over the world.

Hack, Slash, Run, Jump and Drive

If you’ve played Dying Light, than you’ll feel right at home with The Following. The gameplay is identical to the base game with some new big additions. The biggest and most streamlined is that you now get a buggy, which has tons of upgrades and customization. This is extremely fitting because the countryside is wide, vast and open, much unlike the city of Harran. This does mean there isn’t as much parkour this time around, but the buggies more than make up for it. The world is begging to be explored with little easter eggs, secrets and side quests to find and complete. I actually found some of these side quests really interesting and some of them were actually pretty dark, but I liked the change. With the introduction of the buggies there comes a new Driving skill tree, allowing you to upgrade your buggy in various ways such as installing an alarm system, having access to nitrous and being able to drop mines out of your buggy. None of the upgrades are useless and I felt my car getting faster with every speed upgrade. You can also find freaks of nature around the map which are giant zombies with names. In my time playing the game with my co-op partner, we found two, one of which was a giant toad and the other was a massive demolisher. Techland also added in new gun types like SMGs, crossbows and bows. The biggest problem I had with the actual gameplay was that there honestly weren’t enough safe houses. More often than not my co-op partner and I had to drive a fair way to get to our objective. This wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t giant, impassable mountains in the middle of the map, but it’s not the end of the world. The game still works on the day and night cycle, the main difference being that there are stronger, faster night hunters to keep up with your buggy. They definitely prove to be a threat and the chases are just as suspenseful as the main game.

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Ramming into hordes of zombies is glorious.

Where the Grass is Greener and Zombies are Meaner

If you haven’t realized yet, The Following is set the vast, open Countryside of Harran. Old farms and water towers litter the landscape of the green grass. It’s a really nice change from the claustrophobic city of Harran and The Following is better for it. The countryside looks beautiful, especially when sunset is taking place (as dangerous as it is) and it never gets old to look at. The first thing I noticed as I came out into the countryside was the water, the water looks really really pretty. The game also runs like a treat too, much like the main game did. I suffered a few frame drops now and again, but nothing to hinder my experience. The sound design is also fantastic and hearing the buggies roar at top speed through tall grass really immerses you into the game. All these things aside, my experience with The Following was unfortunately, far from flawless. A day or two after the release, connections for co-op was horrible, to the point where we couldn’t join on each other until the next day. This really upset both of us and is honestly unacceptable. However, after the first occurrence of that particular incident, we didn’t have any problems since and played the game just fine. It was upsetting and annoying that it happened, but at least it’s fixed now.

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The map for The Following is bigger than the city of Harran.

Verdict: Very Good

Although there were some technical hiccups along the way, The Following serves as a worthy expansion to Dying Light. I can’t recommend this expansion enough if you enjoyed the main game if you don’t have it already. If you’ve ever been interested in Dying Light and want to buy it, please do yourself a favor and buy the Enhanced Edition, it comes with every piece of released DLC and the base game, trust me, you won’t regret it. I must say however that if you didn’t enjoy the original game you won’t enjoy The Following unless you’re incredibly into buggies. A fantastic expansion for a fantastic game. Good luck to Techland for what they’re working on next (Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a sequel) and hopefully it’s just as good as Dying Light.

Positives

-Buggies

-Beautiful open world

-Great story and fantastic ending

-Unique and interesting side quests

Negatives

-Driving can be tedious due to lack of safe houses

-Multiplayer issues shortly after launch

Once again thanks for reading guys, Bravely Second: End Layer is up next!

By the way, do you guys want me to change my verdicts to a score out of 10? Let me know in the comments!

Harry.

XCOM 2

XCOM 2

More than Just a Guerrilla Movement

It’s been 22 years since the very first XCOM game, UFO: Enemy Unknown or otherwise known as X-COM: UFO Defense. To say that XCOM: Enemy Unknown was simply a successful reboot would be a severe understatement. Not only did it serve as the new XCOM game fans craved for so long, but also set an extremely high bar for turn based strategy games. So when XCOM 2 was teased and inevitably announced, a lot of hype surrounded the game. XCOM 2 did exactly what Enemy Unknown did, set the bar even higher for turn based strategy games, even if technical bugs hold it back sometimes.

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The size of some of the late-game enemies is huge!

Join Us or Become Them

XCOM 2 takes place 20 years after the events of Enemy Unknown, but don’t fret if you haven’t played Enemy Unknown. On their first play-through, most players actually lost the war against the aliens in Enemy Unknown and so the canon ending is that the aliens successfully invade earth and take charge. The form the Advent group, made up of high ranking alien and human officials. You play, once again as the commander for the XCOM initiative tasked with overthrowing the aliens and taking back Earth. I really liked this setting for the story. It feels like it’s a desperate last attempt to defeat the aliens, using anything and everything you have at your disposal to do so. A short way into the main story you discover that the aliens are preparing the Avatar program. I won’t get into specifics to avoid spoilers, but all you need to know is that completion of this event is a game over. This brings an excellent sense of urgency and purpose the revived guerrilla movements of the XCOM program. The story was surprisingly good in my opinion and moves with the various missions fluently.

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This is the Archon. Awesome design!

The Strategic Layer

If you’ve played Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 will feel familiar in terms of gameplay, but with a few new additions. You’ll be spending most of your time on the Avenger when outside of missions. The repurposed alien supply craft serves as a mobile base of operations for XCOM and its facilities. Here you can research projects, build items, customise soldiers, seeing what the Proving Grounds can come up with, and build new facilities to meet your requirements at the time. The Proving Grounds is a really cool idea, you build items that you don’t get an unlimited supply of such as Wrath Suits, W.A.R Suits and Spider Suits, which are as cool as they sound. You can also create experimental grenades, ammunition types and heavy weapons which give you random variants. For example experimental ammunition can create ammunition with poison effects or tracer rounds which increase your aim. The character customization also received a massive overhaul and it is wonderfully detailed, allowing you to create friends and loved ones in the game to create an attachment to your soldiers. Your main resources are Intel and supplies, each serving their own purposes. You’ll be faced with multiple decisions at different times, each with different outcomes, so choose wisely. Dark Events are a new addition to XCOM and make it even more difficult to make choices. These Dark Events act as de-buffs and come in threes. The catch is that you can only counter one, meaning that one of the other two can activate at any time. I really liked this system and it gave me something extra to think about during missions. Speaking of which, missions mostly play out the same way as they did in Enemy Unknown, just more refined. It still runs on the same R n G formula and all levels are procedurally generated, which allows for lots of replayability. One of my favourite parts of XCOM 2 is the various enemies you encounter. Throughout the campaign you’ll meet different enemies of varying sizes and threats. All returning enemies like Sectoids and Mutons have been changed too. Advent troops are the main enemies you’ll be seeing, and after a while they start to get repetitive but you can expect to find a new enemy every few missions. One enemy I like in particular is the Archon. I don’t know why I like it so much, I just think its design is really cool. Through combat, soldiers get promoted to a class out of Ranger, Sniper, Specialist and Grenadier. Each class and both skill trees for each feel fleshed out and viable in any play-through making it once again, hard to pick out of two very useful skills. XCOM acts as a guerrilla movement, Firaxis took this opportunity to implement a new mechanic called Concealment, which is signified by a light blue outline around the edge of your screen. Most missions, all of your units will be concealed, meaning the aliens aren’t aware of your presence and will continue patrols as usual. This allows you to setup your units for an ambush, meaning you can clear a group of enemies in fell swoop. Pulling this off feels incredibly satisfying and I really hope this mechanic returns in any future instalments. Multiplayer also makes a return in a similar form to Enemy Unknown. You make your own custom loadout, choosing from all human units and all except 1 alien unit from the main campaign. I never experienced any connection issues in the multiplayer segment of the game and I intend to keep playing it.

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The blue streaks represent concealment.

A Rocky Revolution

XCOM 2’s biggest problems are fortunately technical ones. I say fortunately because Firaxis and 2K are aware of said problems and they will eventually be patched. However, during your 20-30 hour play-through expect to experience bugs, minor framerate issues and game breaking glitches. Some of these didn’t affect me all that much such as guns not rendering in when shooting at enemies, units not rendering in general and as I said small frame rate issues. I did however encounter a few bugs that did inhibit my enjoyment. The first bug I encountered was when I took a 100% shot at an Advent soldier, only to watch my soldier turn 90 degrees to the left and fire into open air, not damaging the enemy unit and I was punished heavily for it, so I had to reload my save. I never experienced this bug apart from this one occasion though. The second bug I encountered was on a particular mission called Operation Spectral Fog. Once I reached the end of the mission, I saved and stopped playing. When I came back to finish the mission off, I tried to load my save only to find that the game would crash every time I reloaded any save from that mission, forcing me to effectively restart that mission. This bug appears to happen in other missions based on other posts I’ve seen by other players, however I never experienced it apart from this particular mission. It did frustrate me, as it was a story mission and one of the longer missions in the game.

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Concept art for the Advent Stun-lancer.

Verdict: Must Buy

XCOM 2 is a must buy if you’re a fan of XCOM or turn based strategy games in general. If you aren’t terribly interested in strategy games or the XCOM franchise, I highly recommend you look into various reviews and opinions before you buy it if you haven’t already. If XCOM 2 interests you at all, please look into it and if you like what you see, buy it, you won’t regret it.

Positives

-Concealment mechanic

-Story and Setting

-Alien Design

-Strategic Elements

-Customisation

Negatives

-Small Performance Issues

-Technical Issues

Thanks for reading guys, Dying Light: The Following is next!

Harry.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

The Perfect Storm

As a long standing fan of Naruto in all of its forms, I was extremely excited for the conclusion of the Storm games. Storm 4 being the 6th and supposedly final entry into the series, expectations are high for what CyberConnect2 call “The Perfect Storm”. So does Storm 4 meet these expectations and serve as a fitting conclusion to the series? I’m glad to say that it sure does.

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The spectacle in some fights is amazing.

Because We’re Friends

There honestly isn’t all that much to say for Storm 4’s story mode, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Storm 4 picks up just after Storm 3, still following the same story line and events of the manga. Of course we knew this would be the case and i’m happy to say that its nearly identical to the manga in its own way. The end of the story is told through outstanding cut-scenes, images and CGI. The voice acting is excellent in both language options (English and Japanese) however I would recommend setting it to Japanese. This is not only because it’s more authentic, but also because the lip syncing in the cut-scenes is only done for Japanese, so I found it annoying and odd when playing in English. For those who are unfamiliar with the manga or anime, but have been following the games, Storm 4 is a fitting ending to this expertly crafted story even if it isn’t as detailed as the manga or anime.

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The fight with the 10-Tails is as cool as it looks.

A Formula Perfected

Storm 4 features 4 main modes from the get-go: Story, Adventure, Online Battle and Free Battle. Story mode gets rid of the open world that Storm 2 and Storm 3 used as a hub world for the story and instead uses a system that’s similar to Storm Revolutions Ninja Escapades mode. You move from level to level in a time line. This time line branches every now and again, telling the stories of Kakashi and Obito, Hashirama and Madara and the overall conclusion to the series. This worked better than I thought it would and is incredibly accessible. Any cut-scene or fight can be replayed from this timeline, meaning you don’t have to sit through battles to get to a particular section you want to revisit. I found this incredibly useful, simply because I wanted to go back and do some of the quick time events again. I finished the story mode in around 6 or so hours and estimated times are shown for both cut-scenes and battles. Adventure mode is set after the story mode and consists of the open world from Storm 2 and Storm 3. In this open world, quest like events can be taken on to earn goodies. Most of these events consist of fighting, fetch quests or a bit of both. You only control Naruto in the open world, but when you pick up memory fragments across the world you enter a battle as whoever that fight is based around. There is also a fast travel system implemented which is a lot more useful than I thought it would be. I managed to do all the events in Adventure mode in 7 hours. Adventure mode was definitely an interesting experience, but I did prefer Story mode. Free and Online Battles are exactly what they sound like. Free Battles allow you to play against computers or a second player as characters of your choice. It certainly adds a lot of replayability to the game and is tonnes of fun to play with friends. The Online Battles are the same, the main difference being is that it’s Online. My only gripe with Online Battles is that they can lag, even if you’re hosting the session. Some games it was fine but others it got in the way completely and ruined the experience. I’m sure some people don’t have these issues and hopefully it’s fixed for those that do. I can see many people sinking hours into both of these modes, hopefully providing longevity to the game. The combat system that the Storm series has returned once again and it is flawless. It plays almost identically to Storm 3 with a few new additions. The ability to synchronize awakenings based on support characters is awesome and the team ultimate jutsu are back too with a few new ones. The character roster has also been expanded once again to 147 ninja, making it the largest roster in the series.

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The game looks fantastic on PS4.

The Smoothest Storm Yet

Like most other franchises, Storm 4 makes the jump to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and it benefits greatly. The game looks amazing in 1080p and runs at a smooth 60 FPS with almost no hiccups. There was one noticeable drop in frame-rate in one of the Story Mode missions, but it never caused any unfair deaths or annoyances. Every arena and open world the game has to offer is faithful to the manga and they look beautiful. The CGI and cut-scenes are exceptional and this makes the quick time events amazing. Yes I did just say quick time events. A staple in the Storm series is what they’ve always been, but they’ve also always been jaw-droppingly awesome and Storm 4 is no exception. I found myself in awe after seeing any one of them play out and even went back to revisit a few of them just to experience them again. The sound effects and music are also amazing, with some themes from older Storm games returning, especially in the Memory-Fragment battles.

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I’m not lying when I say this is the first fight in the game.

 

Verdict: Very Good

If you’re a fan of Naruto, the Storm games or anime you have to give this one a go. This is one of the best entries into the Storm series and serves as an extremely fitting conclusion to a thankfully excellent franchise. The Storm series as a whole has been excellent, and i’m sad to see them come to an end. Hopefully CyberConnect2 work on more Naruto games in the future with the same love and care that they have given to the Storm series. If they choose not to continue with Naruto, I wish them the best of luck and can’t thank them enough for doing justice to the series.

Positives

– Largest roster in a Naruto game

-Fitting conclusion to the series

– Looks amazing

-Spectacle is awesome

-Fighting system is perfect

Negatives

-Minor frame-rate drops in certain missions

Thanks for reading guys, a review for XCOM 2 will be up hopefully in the next two weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

-Harry

 

 

2016

2016

Happy New Year!

Happy new year guys! 2016 has already started, but quarter one for gaming is just about to kick off, and what better way to start it by talking about my plans for this year! I aim to review as many games as possible, while still being able to keep up with school. Some reviews might take longer than others because of this but I will do my best to get them out as soon as possible. Here are some of the games I hope to review throughout the year. Other games that are announced throughout the year have a possibility of being reviewed. If you want to clarify any of the games I plan on reviewing, leave a comment and let me know!

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As of now I hope to review:

– Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

-XCOM 2

-Dying Light: The Following (Expansion)

-Mirrors Edge Catalyst

-The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (Expansion)

-Dishonored 2

-Bravely Second

-The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

-Zelda U (If it’s released this year)

-Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation/Conquest/Birthrights

-Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

-Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

-Horizon Zero Dawn

-Nier: Automata

-The Walking Dead: Michonne

-Batman: A Telltale Games Series

-The Wolf Among Us Season 2

-Walking Dead Season 3

-Doom

-Overwatch

That’s pretty much it at the moment. Of course other games will be announced throughout the year and I will undoubtedly pick some of them up and review them. Hopefully all of the games listed above will get a review but no promises.

Thanks for reading guys. Hopefully 2016 is another awesome year of gaming, even better than the last!

 

P.S. If anyone is curious about what i’m most excited for this year, at this stage it’s Dishonored 2.