enfrdeitptrues

FPS

  • Prey (2017) (PS4)

     

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    Game Info:

    Prey (2017)
    Developed by: Arkane Studios
    Published by: Bethesda
    Release date: May 5, 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
    Genre: First-person shooter (Immersive Sim)
    Number of players: Single player
    ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence
    Price: $19.99

    It has been a while since the first immersive sim games like System Shock and Deus Ex. Worlds were more pixelated, but also more open. Stories had to be pieced together for the sake of depth and complexity. Sometimes the player could make a character build unable to progress further, having not recognized the importance of combat or crafting on a space station overrun with violent enemies. Often, due to technical constraints, the story was told largely through text and voice recordings and needed to be written to account for this. Prey suggests that these sensibilities can work decades later. A combination of throwback and modern shooter, it succeeds brilliantly. On the surface, Prey is more similar to System Shock than Bioshock and Dishonored could hope to be - space station, evil corporate experimentation leading to infectious enemies, paranoia, resource allocation, human enhancement, and computerized guiding voices. Yet Prey is also a game about a theme to which it commits in every quest, environment, and sidestory. What can be given up to save the many, or the one? What will you do to help people, and at what cost?

    Prey has a twist opening, so I’ll skip to the point: the player controls Morgan Yu, either the brother or sister of the CEO of a research company operating the Talos I space station. I chose to play as a female Morgan. Morgan is trapped on the station with a huge gap in her memory, surrounded by an alien threat called the Typhon. The player’s goal is...well, that’s the point I tried to make earlier. The story branches quickly, with characters insisting it is Morgan’s responsibility to destroy Talos I with the Typhon and herself aboard. They contrast the characters who insist on a responsibility to escape to warn humanity. Others claim the station must be saved to salvage the research trapped inside. Morgan is not forced to act on any one person’s orders. In fact, she can kill anyone who does give her an order. But whatever goal the player decides to pursue, they must make it happen within the game itself. Want to escape? You better find a working escape pod. Want to detonate the station? Your brother the CEO isn’t keen on that and will try to stop you. Choose who to work with or go it alone; Prey will demand exploration and backtracking to open up options.

    Prey’s openness extends to level design. Though progression from area to area is mostly linear, movement within them is organic and open. Maintenance shafts, security panels, shelving, cabinets, and enemies all might hinder certain paths. The player, especially early on, must choose how they want Morgan to solve these problems because progression through the skill tree is tightly regulated, and points put into hacking are not being used for survivability or repair. In some ways this makes navigation far easier than it would be if the game insisted on combat. Viable as a combat build is, crawling through the walls is usually possible with a bit of awareness and patience. I accidentally picked up valuable quest and upgrade items just from poking around non-essential rooms.

    Prey
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Level design encourages a variety of approaches; choice-heavy quests rely on gameplay rather than binary decisions; thematic story and sidequests; lots of worldbuilding detail for its own sake; varied character build possibilities
    Weak Points: Uneven difficulty can lead to unworkable character builds and inventory starvation; buggy quest triggers; frequent load screens
    Moral Warnings: Gun and melee violence against aliens and machines; blood, missing body parts, and corpses of humans regularly shown; violence against humans is possible and occasionally encouraged; R-rated swearing throughout; alcohol drunk by characters and by the player for gameplay benefits; multiple homosexual relationships referred to

    Much of the game is non-essential, and I mean that in the best way. Talos I has bathrooms, lots of them. It’s an advanced space station with hundreds of staff; of course it needs bathrooms. There’s a museum room where (if you can kill/subdue the resident Typhon) you can learn about the alternate history that predates the events of the game. Every dead body has a name, many of which match a specific workstation and a specific bedroom, all of which Morgan can explore. Audio logs tell the interested player not just what evil things have been going on but what certain employees did as collaborators or resistance. There was an ongoing tabletop roleplaying game interrupted by the alien trouble, and I visited the room the game took place in, dice still on the table. The graphics sell the realism of the environment if not always of the human characters. Talos I feels like a place people actually lived in.

    By the time the game starts, Talos I isn’t so inhabitable anymore. The Typhon cover the station, even if you can’t see them. The most basic enemy, small spider-like creatures called mimics, live up to their name. They take the form of everyday objects like chairs, coffee cups, and first-aid kits. Two chairs sitting next to each other might be just that, or one might be a mimic ready to pounce. The player cannot trust the environment and must stay alert to scurrying and flashing lights. While Prey doesn’t feel like a horror experience, it induces paranoia everywhere. Larger enemies are less interesting but more dangerous. A variety of vulnerabilities and resistances ensure the player carefully curates Morgan’s limited inventory space. The game is more about planning for encounters than skillfully fighting, and taking your time will pay off more than rushing into battle.

    Between the shooting, healing, and hiding, Morgan’s resources are always low. Sporadic recyclers and synthesizers let Morgan turn environmental trash into useful items. You must do this diligently to keep up with the constant drain exploration puts on your supplies. There is not an endless amount of resources, and it is theoretically possible to burn through so much that the melee wrench is not enough to get the player through. I appreciated the tension, although it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Prey does not want you to feel empowered. It was a pain to be low on ammunition all the time if only because the shotgun felt so good to use. A whole branch of alien enhancements is available to the player as well, including mind control, telekinesis, and fire. They use up a limited mana pool, so leaning into these abilities is choosing one form of resource management over another.

    Prey
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 90%
    Gameplay - 19/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 10/10
    Stability - 3/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 44%
    Violence - 0/10
    Language - 0/10
    Sexual Content - 6/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

    There are so many gameplay systems here. There’s the inevitable-yet-brief hacking minigames. Prey manages decent zero-gravity controls for extravehicular activity. There’s the GLOO Cannon, which immobilizes enemies and builds footholds on walls. It all works. What doesn’t always work is the quest triggering, especially when other humans are on-screen. It was about 20 hours in when the game didn’t recognize that I’d taken a character into a certain area. I figured out how to convince the game I’d completed the quest, but I shouldn’t have had to. These bugs are not unknown and seem to not be rare for other players. Broken quest lines are a big issue where they come up; fortunately, they rarely did.

    Talos I is fittingly filled with bloody and decaying bodies. At one time I was encouraged to shoot an unconscious man in the head. If you want to know why I did, you should play the game. That might be the only time the game encouraged that kind of action explicitly, but Morgan is free to save or kill every surviving human and still complete the game. Often the player is forced into an either-or situation: attempt to save a few or be guaranteed to save a different, more numerous group. Many times the player has to weigh the threat of the Typhon to humanity against their threat to people in the room. Prey doesn’t force killing per se, but it does force decisions where action or inaction will influence others’ fates. Also, you can’t change the backstory or the actions of others. As such there is alcohol strewn across the station which the player can consume. Talos I is home to horrific human experiments the player can observe and, to an extent, take part in. One side arc follows the romantic relationship between two female crewmembers. Morgan herself (or himself) had a relationship with a female coworker before the events of the game. Among audiotapes and dialog there is much swearing from f*** to undue references to God. Typically the swearing regards the swearers’ place of business being overrun by carnivorous aliens. I’d deem it unnecessary yet not unrealistic.

    If the description of an immersive sim sounds fun and M-rated content is acceptable, Prey is the modern option you want. It has a deep world and many toys with which to play. It is plain good sci-fi joined to demanding resource gameplay. I loved the natural presentation of its moral quandaries, and the gameplay kept my attention despite me usually not having a taste for shooters. Prey hits a niche which games haven’t quite filled for a long time.

  • PREY (PC)

    Download Prey 2 

    Gameplay:

    The game Prey can only be defined by the word…. trippy. You are Tommy, an American Indian who can wait to get away from the reservation he has been stuck on all his life. You get your wish. The shooting is standard fare but the weapons are very much alive! The “grenades” are spider-like little buggers that you “arm” by ripping off their legs, your sniper rifle has a snake like attachment that connects to your eye, and one heavy weapon is a boss’ arm. The gravity (if not the gore) is sure to toss your stomach; you may find yourself on the ceiling when you walked out of the last room on the floor. The portals that open up with the arrival of Hunters (stock enemies) are amazingly fun to toy with do to the fact that if you get behind one you don’t even see it so you can just wait for a hunter to pop out and nail him in the back. The spirit-walking element of the game revealed by your Cherokee roots is nothing special, its main use is to let you solve puzzles and throw switches. When you “die” you go into the spirit realm and have to shoot wraiths to regenerate your health which gets old very fast, but even if you don’t bother shooting any wraiths you will still return to the came to the game with partial health. AI wise there was nothing entirely special, they took cover and tossed “grenades” at me, the sniper fire was very easy to avoid due to the fact that the sniper rifle emits a red laser that shows right where he is aiming. (think Half Life 2 rockets) The boss fights are standard FPS bosses with no new elements thrown in, although (SPOILER ALERT) you do take cover behind a force shield which then breaks but as the boss sticks his arm through the hole you can reactivate the shield chopping off one arm and claim it as your own… gun…. (END SPOILER). In the end you are left wanting more action due to the fact that the game is approximately four hours long, but being able to replay the game in Cherokee mode (a.k.a. Legendary for you Halo people) adds a few more hours to the mix.

    Graphics:

    Prey ran “beautifully” (gorily/juicily/ect) on my mid range system with a GeForce 6600 card with all the graphics cranked to maximum with minimal lag. The lighting effects were beautiful with the way the ammunition glowed in dark places and your lighter shines into the dark. The particle effects where limited but still beautiful, and steam and liquids looked quite realistic. The actual human models looked a bit odd at times in certain postures but overall looked decently realistic (they put the majority of the bump mapping into the faces, so ignore the bodies and it will almost look like a good Pixar film). The monsters were all a biomechanical mess with shining metal sticking through the fleshy areas. Weapons looked very nice and… alive…. They all had heavy-duty bump mapping and the lighting in a room would cast proper shadows on the gun. While in spirit walking mode the graphics stay the same but everything is well lit and in a smokey blue haze. The land of your ancestors, which you make several visits to, blew me away. The rocks and mesas looked incredibly realistic (provided you don’t focus on seams between walls and floors too heavily). They were the most realistic real life based scenery since Oblivion in my book, although the point where you can look into the horizon looks a bit painted. All in all the graphics are quite up to par with today’s heavy hitters.

    Sound:

    The sounds of prey are a blur as you go blazing through the depths of the alien vessel but a few key things stand out. There is creepy ambient noises all around, people screaming, children crying, and Tommy comments on particularly creepy or awe inspiring scenes. The Hunters sound a bit like Elites from Halo (even when you spirit guide translates it to English for you), and the snarling of the cannon fodder beasts is a bit like dogs and a hyena. The weapon fire sound effects are standard fare as far as shooters go, although hearing your “grenades” make this little shrieking noise instead of the standard beep or boom is unsettling. The sound placing and distancing is excellent, if you shut your eyes you can still home in on the source of the sound and tell how close you are to it. The voice acting is “good” by videogame standards. They still cant get convincing voice actors sadly, all games have the overexcited actors who try to put way to much energy or urgency in their voices, or fulfills perfect stereotypes. But as I said Prey is good as far as games go. The original musical score by the guy who did Oblivion is a major bonus, it adds to every type of atmosphere they throw at you in the game. And as the credits roll they play a great indie rock song that blew most people away*.

    Multiplayer:

    Dare I spout this horribly pun of a name for what the designers call MultiPrey… Yes I know its bad… But playability wise its quite fun having all the guys who kicked your butt at Counter-Strike moving slowly and carefully along a corridor as you run up on the ceiling and blow them away with your choice of any gun from the game. Some innovations just for MultiPrey… are: a complex where each trench and hole has a different center of gravity, a map where the entire room is full of gravity switches so you cant ever depend on cover, and the fun ability to sit behind a portal (when your behind the portal you see through it as if it wasn’t there) and blast any poor soul who dares step through. The main flaw with MultiPrey (besides the name) is that with all the gravity switching the game will tend to lag with about 6 or more on a map (possible 18). But it does provide solid fun for a few hours. (XBOX 360 guys ignore this, this is for PC)

    Appropriateness

    Killing non-human, fictional beings (-3.5 pts) Blood sprays on the wall and everywhere else (-2.5 pts) Body parts can be visually unattached (-1.5 pts) Swear Words found in a R-rated movie are used in the game (-5 pts) Partial Nudity (-4 pts) Game takes place in an environment with minor occult references. (-3 pts) Im iffy as to whether the Cherokee lore is minor or majorly occult) I feel its minor as it only has “Spirit walking and the Land of the Ancestors” Occult magic is used by player. (-5 pts)

    Final Ratings

    Game Play 18/20 Graphics 9/10 Sound 9/10 Controls 4/5 Stability 5/5 Appropriateness 29/50

    Final Score 74%

    *according to the band’s website, and I for one loved it (but that’s because I was a fan of the band before hand so I’m severely biased).
  • PREY (Xbox 360)


    System: Xbox 360, PC Rating: M (mature) for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, strong language, partial nudity Prey. One of the first FPS games for 360 and it\'s also available for PC. This review is based around the 360 version, so I don’t know about the PC version. If you don’t know, prey is one of the first games ever to be released on a videogame console. About 40 years ago it was supposed to come out on the old intelvission system but the company went bankrupt and everything went downhill. But humanhead and 2k games brought it back to life, and here’s my review. In prey you take the role of Tommy, a Cherokee Indian Garage mechanic who lives on a reservation with his girlfriend, Jen. (There are no sex scenes with her) you are introduced to all the characters in about ten minutes. Then everything goes up in chaos.

    Graphics: 10

    Even though they aren’t eye-popping good, they are amazing and the world of the sphere is amazing. It uses the Unreal engine 3, and its graphics are unparalleled for 360. I Can’t say anymore.

    Storyline: 9

    There is a good storyline to the game, to bad it lasts 5 hours. It’s excellent, some diversions, and brain bending puzzles, but its great.

    Audio: 10

    Surround sound with Dolby, hi-def audio, and excellent voiceovers, it makes the game real, and I’m not kidding.

    Controls: 10

    Smooth like butter. The controls are great, and work mostly like Perfect dark zero. Very responsive, and changeable.

    Objectionable Content

    Here is where the game goes so downhill it’s not funny. First off blood is not a huge factor in this game, but there’s still a lot of it. Lots of the parts are pretty scary, and extremely gut wrenching, definitely not for the weak hearted. The game is a FPS, so it\'s really not surprising that it\'s violent. –10 points for violence, blood, and gore. The language is just horrible. the F word is said clearly about 50 times through out the game. –5 points. But you can turn it off by going to the audio change in the pause menu, so it drifts away like a dream. +1 There isn’t much nudity in this game. The aliens and some of the other creatures do not where that much clothes, but you kill them and they go away. The last boss, Mother, is scantily clad but not horribly, and you can study her that well. –3.5 for lack of clothing. The last thing that might be objectionable is the spirit walk. With this little added mini-game, you shoot wraiths to replenish Tommy’s spirit and health. Now the spirit walk is where you leave Tommy’s body and you can sneak up on enemies, and its not hugely exaggerated, and it follows some of the ancient Indian myths. I really didn’t care about it, but it might bother other people. Borderline magic (hard to tell if occult) is used by player. -3.5 pts I’ll give this game a nine for its fun game play, crazy hard puzzles, and its good storyline but for the weak hear mind or spirit or stomach this game is definitely not for you. there is a demo on xbox live marketplace and I would recommend checking out first.

    Final Score 78%

  • Quake Champions (PC) (Preview)

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    Game Info:

    Quake Champions
    Developed by: ID Software
    Published by: Bethesda Softworks
    Release date: August 22, 2017
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Up to eight online
    ESRB Rating: Pending
    Price: $39.99 for Champions Pack

    Thank you Bethesda for sending us a review code for the Champions Pack!

    When it comes to first person shooters, both Unreal Tournament and Quake hold a near and dear place in my heart. I’ve played a lot of Quake 2 in my teenage years and more Unreal Tournament in my twenties and thirties. We have introduced our kids to the free Unreal Tournament Pre-Alpha and they are enjoying it so far. In fact, one of my daughters is getting frightfully good at it. When Quake Champions releases its free to play version, I’ll be sure to let my kids know.

    Quake Champions is currently available on Steam and through Bethesda for $29.99 and that price will go up once it’s fully released. For the money you get to play it out of beta and with all of the champions unlocked. You’ll also get three reliquaries worth of good loot which allows you to customize champions to make them stand out more. Like many free to play games, there are plenty of micro-transactions and opportunities to spend real money for prettier customizations. By playing matches and earning experience, you can still unlock backpacks, chests, and reliquaries, but it takes longer.

    There’s a good amount of variety in the champions and they each have three stats and a unique ability. The stats are armor, health, and speed. There are three female champions and most of them are fast and frail. One of my favorite champions is the unholy paladin, Galena, who has more health and armor than the other ladies. Her ability of leaving crosses that heal allies and hurts enemies is pretty cool too. Fans of ID games like Wolfenstein will recognize BJ Blazkowicz and Doom Slayer from DOOM. The acid spraying Sorlag is another one of my favorite champions to play as. The free to play edition will only offer the Ranger. If you want a lot variety, the champion pack is worth picking up at its discounted price.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Interesting champions; beautiful maps and visuals; intense and fun action
    Weak Points: No offline play or LAN support; glitches and lag
    Moral Warnings: Lots of blood and violence; obscene player names and gestures; cussing in the game and in chat; some female characters wear revealing clothing; pagan symbolism

    The matchmaking process takes close to a minute or so to join a game. I had no trouble getting added into 6-8 player Team Deathmatches. Besides a free for all Deathmatch and a one on one dual mode, there is a Sacrifice game mode. The sacrifice mode is similar to capture the flag except you have to bring the spawned skull to your team’s obelisk.

    All of the modes have the coveted quad that spawns every few minutes. Whichever team possesses the quad has a clear advantage with the holder of it doing quad damage. Other item collectibles include ammo, armor shards, health power-ups, and timers to reduce the cooldown time for your champion’s ability. If you see any vases be sure to break them as they may contain a rune that can be used to unlock a champion’s relic armor set.

    The gameplay is fast, furious, and most importantly, fun. Despite being on a low ping server, I did experience some lag which caused some stuttering mid-match. Another glitch I experienced was not being able to complete the tutorial the first time around due to a glitch in the gun sampling room. In order to try the next gun out you have to shoot all of the blobs with the previous one. In my case, one of the blobs would not go away no matter how much ammo I used on it. The second time I played through the tutorial I was able to complete it.

    Quake Champions
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 63%
    Violence - 3.5/10
    Language - 6.5/10
    Sexual Content - 6.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    In its current state, you have to be online to enjoy this game. There is no single-player campaign with bots to freshen up your skills on. There doesn’t seem to be a local network option either. There is a friend system in this game so maybe finding matches with them is possible. Sadly, I don’t have any friends in game so I can’t say with certainty what it does.

    From a moral standpoint, there are some issues worth mentioning. Like all FPS games, there’s violence, but if you don’t shoot first you’ll be on the ground bleeding out. With the various gun types available, there is a fair amount of blood and splatter depending on which ammo is used. Some of the characters use language and hand gestures that I don’t want my kids using. Like most online games, some of the players will have cuss words in their names and won’t hesitate typing out or speaking obscenities in-game. Voice chat can be disabled in the game’s settings.

    In the end, Quake Champions is promising and I look forward to seeing more features added, bugs ironed out, and more players to battle against. The champions are fun to learn and customize and I highly recommend picking up the pack if you like various fighting styles. When the free to play version comes out I’m sure there will be plenty of new players to practice on. Like all games with micro-transactions, be mindful not to go overboard on spending. Be sure that any youngsters playing this game don’t have access to buying items and keep an eye on the people they are playing along with online. Last but not least, take into consideration the language and gore before letting youngsters play this game.

  • Robinson: The Journey (Oculus Rift)

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    Game Info:

    Robinson: The Journey
    Developed by: Crytek
    Published by: Crytek
    Release date: November 8, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift, PSVR
    Genre: FPS, Adventure
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Everyone with Mild Language and Fantasy Violence
    Price: $39.99

    Thank you Crytek for sending us this game to review!

    After his ship crashed, a boy named Robin appears to be the sole survivor on a foreign planet called Tyson III. He’s not alone though; Robin has his AI companion, HIGS, and a baby T-rex named Laika. The young tyrannosaurus rex is quite smart and can play, roar, and follow on command. There are plenty of other creatures to scan and learn about on this island, and not all of them are friendly. In fact, many of the creatures have destroyed various structures and Robin has to fix them in order to survive.

    The 3D graphics in this first person perspective game are incredible. The jungle environment and the creatures are very detailed and look believable, especially in VR. This game is very immersive, but the movements made me and several other gamers motion sick. Because of that reason alone I would avoid purchasing this game at full price. Another factor is the short amount of gameplay as this title can be beaten in less than two hours if the nausea doesn’t get to you first.

    Robinson: The Journey
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Gorgeous visuals; great sound effects and voice acting; fun puzzles to solve
    Weak Points: Motion sickness is a common problem for this game; short amount of gameplay for a $40 title; no touch/motion controller support
    Moral Warnings: Some dinosaurs get hurt, but there is no blood

    Although short, the gameplay is very fun with various life forms to scan, terrain to explore, and many puzzles to solve. To scan the life forms, you have to put your wand in scanning mode and tap on all of the green dots and not the others. If you get another color, you’ll have to start over from the beginning with a different pattern. Smaller life forms like snails and caterpillars are easier to scan than dinosaurs.

    The puzzles are logical and are not too hard to solve. However, if you get stumped, there are several walkthrough videos available on YouTube. In the beginning, the puzzles consist of minor repairs and restoring power to various devices. While a controller is sufficient for this game, the lack of support for touch or motion controllers is a huge oversight.

    Robinson: The Journey
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 66%
    Gameplay - 7/20
    Graphics - 10/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 2/5

    Morality Score - 95%
    Violence - 7.5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Robinson: The Journey is safe for people of all ages to play, but due to the motion sickness I experienced, I won’t be showing this game to others. I don’t recall any foul language, but there is some bloodless dinosaur violence.

    After playing Crytek’s The Climb, I was looking forward to this game. In fact, there are some rock climbing portions in this title, but they don’t involve chalk or stamina levels. Sadly, this game is a disappointment since it makes me nauseous every time I try it. If you enjoy puzzles and dinosaurs, and are not easily rattled by motion sickness, Robinson: The Journey may be worth picking up on sale.

  • Sky Noon (PC) (Preview)

     

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    Game Info:

    Sky Noon
    Developed by: Lunar Rooster
    Published by: Reverb Triple XP
    Available on: Windows
    Number of players: Multi-player
    Genre: First-person shooter
    ESRB Rating: Not Rated
    Price: $14.99
    (Humble Store Link) 

    Thank you Lunar Rooster and Reverb Triple XP for sending us an Early Access code of this game to review!

    Sky Noon is a rather unusual first person shooter, but I found it quite fun. For example, there is no HP or health points at all in this game. Players eliminate enemies by blasting them off of the island with guns – for all of the guns are air powered. Players are equipped with one weapon, an ability (which you can change), a lasso, and a grappling hook. There are four different guns you can choose from: hand cannon, which is long-range and very powerful, shotgun (short range but powerful), revolver (super long- range and somewhat powerful), and the machine pistol which is very long range, super fast, but not very powerful. The different types of guns are useful with different strategies.

    This is the same with abilities. There are a few varying types of abilities you will encounter, and when you spawn, you start with one. To use your ability, press shift. If you want to change your ability, run into the blue floating ability box for a new one. These abilities include booster, which will shoot you farther in the direction you are facing. This can be very useful when your enemy pushes you off the floating frontier and your grappling hook (every player is equipped with one as well as a lasso) cannot reach the bottom of the island, for your booster could potentially boost you upward as you are falling to make your survival chance higher.

    Other abilities include mines, dynamites, and teleporters. All three of these items must be thrown. Mines will stick to any surface it is thrown at, however once thrown, you can press shift at any time to make it explode. Again, all weapons are air powered. A blast of air will shoot in all directions. You can only throw one mine at a time. Dynamites will blow once they make contact with a surface. Teleporters will teleport you to the first place they touch, which can also be useful as you are falling to what could be your death. The last ability is jet boots. Jet boots will blast you upward when you hold shift. The blast is not very powerful, but it could save your life, as it did to me many times.

    Sky Noon
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Great gameplay 
    Weak Points: No bots, not many people playing
    Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence

    You get to choose and customize your avatar. You can be Steve, the male character, or Jaz, the female character. As you gain levels from winning or losing matches, more customization items unlock. There are a few different items you start with, and some options are always unlocked but have the Discord logo. You can customize your character in four different areas: torso, legs, hat, and head. “Torso” is a wardrobe of shirts you can choose from, “legs” are the kind of pants you can have, the “hat” section is a bunch of cowboy hats of all different styles you can wear, and “head” is a gallery of bandannas and a couple of small tattoos you can choose from.

    A few of the game modes are cart, free for all, king of the hill, duel, and time trial, which is single-player. Some of these game modes involve separate teams, and these two teams are Minutemen and Cartel. In time trial, you must go through each golden hoop in a certain amount of time. “Cart” is where you are to push the cart along the tracks by shooting it with your gun or whipping it with your lasso by pressing Q in order to destroy your opposing team’s fortress. Free for All is where players will simply attempt to shoot whoever they please.

    The duel mode is just a fight between two players, where if one player wins three rounds, they win. If a round is not completed within two minutes, the game will start overtime. There are three different duel maps, each meant to not accommodate more than a couple of people: Turbines, Tinytown, and Standoff. These maps are all super fun and different in their own way.

    King of the Hill is a match in which a spot anywhere on the map is selected randomly and your team must stand in that place for the longest amount of time. Once a certain amount of time has been spent in that spot, it will change to a different location. All of these game modes are fun, but my personal favorite is probably King of the Hill.

    Sky Noon
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 96%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Though the game offers a descriptive tutorial which you can replay at any time, the controls still need explaining. Use WASD to move, the space bar to jump, mouse to look around, left-click to fire, and hold right-click to use your grappling hook. Press Q to use your lasso, which can pull enemies toward you or make the cart move if your weapon runs out of ammo (weapons can “run out of ammo” if you use them too much).

    The computer graphics that make up everything you see in this game are not bad. I generally like this art style and I think it’s cool and very detailed, especially on maps and your avatar. These graphics make the maps really detailed, and the avatars very descriptive with the customizations they have been assigned. Sometimes when you launch the game (which takes forever by the way) you will not see the pupils of your avatar’s eyes – just white. It’s kind of creepy. This will fix after a few seconds though.

    The music isn’t bad, either. It does a good job of recreating the wild west feeling – what the whole game happens to be themed on. There is almost no music during the battle, which is appropriate because I wouldn’t want something to distract me during a fight. The sound affect are also fitting. When you fire your air gun or use your grappling hook the sound does remind me of something like that happening, so no complaints on sound at all.

    I thought this game was awesome. It’s so fun, but if you don’t have any Steam friends that are willing to buy this title, then don’t buy it. If you do, however, by all means. Sky Noon deserves a better player base, because this title is fun but nobody plays it. I hope there's more players on when this title leaves early access. I love this game, even in practice mode when there’s nobody to fight against except the dummies. There aren’t any moral warnings besides cartoon violence, too. So I would recommend Sky Noon to anyone who has Steam friends willing to join them.

  • Skyfront VR (Oculus Rift) (Preview)

     

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Skyfront VR
    Developed by: Levity Play
    Published by: Levity Play
    Release date: November 10, 2017
    Available on: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player/Up to ten online
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $19.99

    Thank you Levity Play for sending us an early access code to preview the game!

    In first person shooters you typically kill or be killed yet Skyfront does offer a backstory for this zero-gravity VR FPS title. In 2300 AD, Earth was embroiled in the Final War and many nations and their cities have perished. Our planet was barely recognizable afterward. In 2700AD, mankind was thriving again with technological advances. To commemorate the war of the past, a Skyfront Tournament was created to crown contestants as Guardians and keepers of the peace.

    This game is currently in Early Access and there are two maps and game modes available. One of the maps takes place in a Grecian environment while the other has an Egyptian flare to it. The current game modes are Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. More maps and game modes are in the works before this game is officially released. Some future game modes include 3X3 Elimination and Capture the Flag.

    Skyfront
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Zero-gravity first person shooter; fun weapons; great movement system that does not make me nauseous 
    Weak Points: Not too many players online, spent most of my time killing bots
    Moral Warnings: Bloodless violence; people may swear in the voice chat

    Over twenty weapons and loadouts are also envisioned for this game in the near future. My default configuration was a grappling gun in my left hand that allowed me to quickly travel to nearby structures with a grappling hook. Aside from the grappling hook, I could use my jetpack to maneuver around. My right hand typically held an assault rifle with a shockwave ability. Other abilities include stealth or being able to heal yourself. A temporary shield is a nice option to utilize though it only lasts for a short amount of time and needs to recharge before it can be used again.

    Each of the weapons have their pros and cons. While making your selection you'll be able to see their damage and reload times. As cool and powerful as the rocket launcher is, I found it difficult to aim with. There are plenty of weapons available to equip and try out. Customizing your character is a menu option, but it's not available yet.

    The developers are pretty active and setup frequent skirmishes for the community to compete in. Some examples are the most headshots or the highest killing streak. Not only are the Steam discussion boards active, but there is also a Skyfront Discord server to check out as well. Players often setup matches on Discord outside of the busier Happy Hour and evening playtimes.

    Skyfront
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 74%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 82%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    While I have encountered other players online, most of my time was spent blasting away at bots with mediocre AI. With the quality and potential of this game, I truly hope that the community and multiplayer base continues to grow.

    Graphically, this game is decent. The guns and robots are nicely detailed and the current maps are serviceable. The maps are very spacious and there are plenty of areas to explore and hide if needed. Inside of the floating structures, you’ll often find health power-ups.

    The sound effects get the job done and there is no background music currently. The built-in voice chat is nice, but with all voice-enabled games, this could lead to some unavoidable cussing. While some matches were curse free, others had players dropping the F-bomb every few seconds.

    Though this is a first person shooter, there is no blood or gore. When you die, the screen turns monochrome and you simply respawn a few seconds later and jump back into the action.

    Overall, Skyfront VR has a lot going for it. The developers are inspiring the community with their competitions, updates, and implementing suggestions from the players. In turn, the currently small community is friendly, dedicated, and active. The asking price is a reasonable $19.99. If you don’t mind the current human activity being limited to evenings and weekends, then this title is worth adding to your VR library. While other VR titles have made me nauseous, this one hasn’t. I look forward to the other promises and features to be implemented into Skyfront in the near future!

  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (PS4)

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    Game Info:

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Developed by: CI Games
    Published by: CI Games
    Released: 25 April 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
    Genre: First Person Shooter, Tactical Shooter
    ESRB: M for Mature (Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Drug Reference, Blood and Gore, and Intense Violence)
    Number of players: 1 (Multiplayer will be coming with a future update)
    Price:$53.00
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you CI Games for sending us a review copy for this game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior is one of two current Sniper series out right now, the other being the Sniper Elite series developed and published by Rebellion. The Sniper style of games is a very niche market of video games. Some gamers love the slower and strategic style, while others love the Fast-paced twitch style of shooters like Call of Duty, Halo, and SOCOM. Myself, I love the slower paced shooter games, known as tactical shooters.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is the third (as the name implies) in a series developed and published by City Interactive (CI Games as they call themselves now). This series has been pretty popular worldwide with the first two games selling over 5.5 million copies. CI Games has now upped the ante and brought what fans of the series have been asking for, and that is a fully open world for gamers to explore.

    In Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (SGW3) you play Marine Captain Jonathan "Jon" North who is sent to the country of Georgia to rescue his brother, Robert North, who was kidnapped and taken by a unknown special ops unit lead by a mysterious leader 2 years before in a mission the brothers were on along the Russian Ukrainian border. Jon believes that his brother is still alive and being held somewhere in Georgia, and that is why he volunteered to go on this mission to kill the group that captured his younger brother and rescue him.

    Jon is set up in a secret small base of operations where he can rest, craft items, and plan his missions to kill the Separatist Cells (the group who captured Robert) who are destabilizing the country. Jon is helped by Lydia, a former Sniper and love interest. Along the way Jon discovers that the mission he is on is one that can affect the whole world (in a bad way) if not successfully completed.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Excellent shooting mechanics, deep crafting and customization; large open world map to explore, and a solid engaging story.
    Weak Points: Long loading times at the start or continuation of a campaign. Occasional enemy pop in and out at long distances. Serious stability issues that cause the game to crash.
    Moral Warnings: Strong Language through out. Blood and gore used over-excessively. Some sexual themes and drug used throughout the game. Not suitable for children or young teens to play or watch.

    SGW3 has some top notch graphics and sound effects. I really enjoyed the look of the entire world. On my PlayStation Pro, the game utilized High Dynamic Resolution 10 (HDR10) brilliantly. The colors of the whole world really shown through with HDR10 and the lighting was well done. The sound effects were well done with the weapons, vehicles, and weather effects sounding very good. The chatter that civilians and enemies carried on was above average, but adequate for gaming standards today.

    One of SGW3's big strengths is its shooting mechanics. I really enjoyed lining up my shot, dialing in my scope (adjusting for distance with a dial on your scope), taking in the wind speed and direction, and then firing off my shot. The game gives you a very good sense of being a sniper and that makes us who have been wanting another great sniper game very happy. I love realism and so do the fans of the series, and that is why the Sniper Ghost Warrior franchise has a loyal fan base.

    Another strength of this game is the crafting and unlocking of more equipment. As you kill or knockout enemies you can search them and gain a variety of resources. You can also find a many different crates and boxes with resources for crafting as well. These resources can be used to create a variety of items like different types of bullets, grenades, and other gadgets. The game will also allow you to use money that you collect from fallen enemies to purchase the items mentioned above, as well as guns, gun skins, and drone upgrades as you unlock them.

    Besides resources the player can unlock weapons (for use by the player) that the enemies drop after you kill them or knock them out. This helped me find better sniper rifles and other weapons for use against the enemy (nothing like using your enemies' own weapons on them). Also there are collectables throughout the open world that once collected appear in your hideout. Also these collectables give the player a little bonus in money (so it's worth finding all of them). I loved how as I found these collectables the developer had them automatically placed in different locations throughout the rooms in your hideout. One type of favorite collectable was rifles from famous snipers in history. These sniper rifles are displayed in a special wall mounted area for the player to check out whenever they wanted. Also in regards to collectables, in the game menus you can see a picture of the item and a lengthy history about it. I love this special attention to detail that CI Games has made available for the player to enjoy.

    Lastly, another thing I liked was the map and map size. The map is rendered in great detail which is very appreciated. I loved that not all areas of interest are on the map until the player travels there and then it shows up (some games do this well, while others show everything, or almost everything). Also the map size is fairly large - not as large as "say" Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands or Skyrim, but it's fairly large. The player as they explore more of the map will unlock "Fast Travel" sign posts which makes the traveling quicker and less of a grind.

    In regards to negatives of the game, the first thing that a gamer experiences is the long initial load time when you start or continue a campaign. It's very long and many players can be put off by it. The developers did say they would try to improve it, but that the reason for the long load time is that the game is loading the entire map and not just a portion of it. This provides for a seamless travel for the player without loading or stuttering as the player travels around the map. Also CI Games has said that this offers very quick load times when players are fast traveling around the map. I have to agree the map loads really quick compared to other games that offer fast travel (i.e. Skyrim).

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 80%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 3/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 72%
    Violence - 2.5/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

     

    Another negative is that the enemies pop in and out if you get too far from an area that they are in. I hope this can be fixed with a future patch; otherwise, it will get frustrating for the player when they want to pull off a 1,000 meter shot and the game won't load the enemies for the area they're supposed to be in.

    The last negative thing I want to bring up is that the stability of the game needs significant improvement. In my 20 plus hours of gameplay, the game froze once, and caused error kick outs of the game 3 times. I was very upset by this and I hope the developer will address this in a future patch.

    The game is supposed to have multiplayer but CI Games has stated they are focused first on more improvements for the game, as well single player future content, and then get the multi player content out later this year. CI Games has promised more free content through out the year so that is something to look forward too.

    For parents I would say this is not for children or young teens. This game got a "Mature" rating for a reason. It has lots of blood (when you shoot an enemy), strong language, and drug references (from time to time). If you have a teen you might want to look at Destiny, Call of Duty, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for their shooter fix.

    In conclusion, this is a very good sniper game with excellent shooting mechanics and realism. I would recommend any adult gamer who is looking for a deep tactical shooter and enjoys a slower style of gameplay. If you're looking for a run and gun type of military shooter you will not find it here. With future patches by the developer, this game will overcome its negative issues and truly shine.

     

  • Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts (PC)

     

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    Game Info:

    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts
    Developed By: CI Games
    Published By: CI Games
    Release Date: November 22, 2019
    Available On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    ESRB Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
    Genre: First-Person Shooter
    Mode: Single Player (Multiplayer planned)
    MSRP: $29.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you CI Games for sending us this game to review via Steam Curator!

    It's been a while since a First-Person Shooter has really grabbed my attention. It's not that I don't like them, but I tend to prefer different genres more, so I don't give this one perhaps as much time as it deserves. When I saw this on the Curator list, I jumped at the chance to play something different, as even an RPG lover like me needs a change every once in a while.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts puts you into the role of Seeker, a gifted mercenary assassin who has been given several contracts to accomplish the goals of an unnamed financier. They have you placed in the newly formed nation of Siberia, which seceded from Russia a few years prior. Your job is to take out certain targets, along with gathering intelligence, as well as various optional bounties, challenges, or other required or optional tasks in order to get the best payout possible.

    There are five main levels, along with a tutorial level. Each area is completely different than the others, though some have snow in common, while others have greenery, or rocky terrain. Each level is a self-enclosed little world, where you can explore it any way you want in order to complete the objectives. There is no set order to any of the requirements; you can do anything you want, as long as the goals are met. I found this level of freedom quite enjoyable, as I would often find out that one path was far too heavily fortified for my tastes, so I would search for another perch to snipe people from.

    Sniping is the primary means of defeating your enemies, and is quite exhilarating. Each time you hit an enemy in a one-hit-kill zone, there is a fairly good chance that the camera will switch to an action cam, where it will follow the bullet in dramatic fashion as it travels from your rifle straight through the enemy (or if perfectly lined up, enemies - that's awfully rare, but really satisfying!) and blows their brains/heart/guts out.  It's quite gory and bloody, but the bass drop used, along with the other sounds and special effects makes it never really get old.  I must have sniped hundreds of times when playing through the game, but even in the last level, I still enjoyed nearly every dramatic headshot in full glory.  Just something about it is satisfying.  I will say, though, that it resets your view after each drama shot, so if you need to snipe more than one enemy in quick succession, that cool effect may mess up your ability to do that, sometimes setting off enemy alarms.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Very good graphics; a great sense of tension, as your death is just a few shots away; sandboxed, quasi open world levels are varied and well made; variety of supported gameplay styles makes different approaches (sniping, stealth) interesting and rewarding; sound effects and music are excellent and set the mood well, and gunshots sound great; levels are very well designed and often offer multiple ways to accomplish the same goals; AI enemies are somewhat unpredictable; taking out entire squads of soldiers makes you feel like a super assassin
    Weak Points: Only five levels; some weapons are clearly better than others; some of the quests I didn't get credit for what I thought I accomplished
    Moral Warnings: Extremely violent, where players assassinate entire platoons of soldiers to complete missions (non-lethal methods are possible, except for priority targets, but extremely difficult); successful sniper headshots (and sometimes body shots) show a dramatic, slow-motion effect that follows the bullet into and through the enemy's body, where you can see their head get blown apart, with blood and guts everywhere; very strong language, utilizing every curse word including '*ss', 'h*ll', 'b*tch', 'b*st*rd', 'd*ck', 'sh*t', and 'f*ck'; while very few women are featured at all in the game, one video mentioned human trafficking, and a woman in a thong shaking her behind is shown; soldiers' banter sometimes mentions sex, like 'screwing her [another's girlfriend]'

    One of the most common actions that you will do during each level is to whip out those binoculars and tag each and every enemy you can. Once tagged, the computer built into your special mask (I like to think of it as a Crysis-lite suit) will remember that enemy, no matter how far away you get. So it always pays to scope them out as much and as soon as possible. Some levels do have jammers, so tags don't last, but that is the exception, and the range of effect is limited.

    Once you tag them, then, unless you decide to use a stealthy approach (which is totally viable), you would then begin to pick them off with your sniper rifle, one at a time. It's always best to get observers and fellow snipers first, as they can spot you from quite a distance, and either alert other units, or on occasion, call in mortar strikes. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you won't survive a mortar strike.

    Generally, it's a combination of hiding, either in brush, from crouching or prone positions, or some other terrain to try to keep enemies from noticing you. It's not until the herd has been significantly thinned out through strategic sniping should you then allow guards to be alerted. Running in there and shooting is possible, but strongly discouraged - depending on the bullet that hits you, you can rarely survive more than two or three hits before you die. The game's only save system is autosaves, as the developers wanted to discourage opportunistic save scumming as much as possible. It can still be done, but you're limited in how much or where.

    While there are only five levels at this time, some of the challenges pretty much require replays. For example, at least one level has a challenge that requires you to kill only a specific target; that challenge is clearly incompatible with others that require multiple targets killed in a certain order. The hardest things in the game to get are these challenges, but doing so allows you to unlock the most powerful upgrades.

    You can upgrade several things. The most basic is your weapons. I found, that for my playstyle, silent weapons, especially pistols, were really valuable. Once I found that pistol, it stuck with me the entire game. You can also buy upgrades in the form of gadgets, like drones, remote control turrets, grenades, and other powerful items. These all require money, and contract or sometimes challenge tokens. Other forms of currency are intel or challenge tokens.

    I never found a use for intel tokens; you collect them, but I never found a way to spend them. Challenge tokens are hard to get, as I mentioned before, but they also unlock the most powerful abilities and gadgets. You can get pretty far with just money, but the top two tiers of skills require challenge tokens. If you want to be the most powerful sniper possible, try to complete some challenges. With that said, if you just want to beat the game, you don't require them to do that. It does add to replay value, though.

    There is currently no multiplayer, but that, along with additional levels, are supposed to be coming at some point in the future. I do not believe a release date has been announced, or if they will be free or paid DLC. Even with only five levels, it took me nearly thirty hours to complete all of the contracts on all of the levels. It was a bit frustrating that a few of the challenges I thought I accomplished, but didn't get credit for. Despite that, I still enjoyed playing it anyway. I would say the value for the money is there, depending on your approach and play style.

    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 90%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 10/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 59%
    Violence - 1/10
    Language - 3/10
    Sexual Content - 8/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

    This game is definitely not for children. It has to be said that there are quite a few moral issues to consider. For one, as previously mentioned, it is very bloody and gory. You are a hired assassin; you kill guys. A lot of them. If you choose to play stealthily, you can choose to sneak up to guys and kill them with a knife. Blood gushes everywhere when they die this way. This also happens to be a great way to not get noticed by other guards. It is possible to go full stealth and avoid detection, but that is quite difficult to do well. I would recommend gaining quite a few challenge tokens and gear unlocks before attempting that.

    When you kill enemies, their blood is stained on the ground, and the bodies only disappear when you reload from a checkpoint. You can also pick up bodies and move them around; I suppose you might be able to use them as a shield, but I have not tried that. You can loot their weapons and ammunition. Foul language is used quite often, especially if you are close enough to hear them talk. If you snipe them from 500 yards away you might not be able to hear much, but if you are closer, the enemy AI often has a lot to say. Sometimes, this can include curse words like '*ss', 'h*ll', 'b*tch', 'b*st*rd', 'd*ck', 'sh*t', and 'f*ck'; other times you might overhear their banter, saying sexual things like how he's going to be 'screwing her [another's girlfriend]'.

    Some of the people you are tasked with eliminating are truly evil, and are involved in human trafficking, eugenics experiments, and more. At least one video cut scene showed a woman in a thong waving her behind around. On the other hand, some Bible verses are mentioned, in particular on a flier promoting an upcoming public funeral (that you caused, as it were).

    Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. I know that I haven't followed the state of the art when it comes to first-person shooters, so it may be possible that I simply missed a better example in this genre, and it may be nothing special to genre veterans. But I really enjoyed my time with the game, and if you are looking for a first-person shooter that's a little off of the beaten path, then I highly recommend you check out Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts. As long as the many appropriateness concerns don't stop you, of course.

  • Sniper Rust VR (Oculus Rift)

     

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    Game Info:

    Sniper Rust VR
    Developed by: Zatun Game Studio
    Published by: Zatun Game Studio
    Release date: June 19, 2018
    Available on: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
    Genre: Shooter
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Mature for blood and intense violence
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Zatun Game Studio for sending us a review code!

    There isn’t much of a story in Sniper Rust VR and the game starts you off in a shooting range when first launched. It’ll get you familiar with the different types of sniper rifles and the control scheme. According to the Steam page, you’re the agency’s best sharpshooter and your missions will have you going against a global insurgency.

    If you’re familiar with sniper rifles, you’ll be happy to know that this game features the DSR-50, Mac-7, and the SVD. Most of the guns only give you two shots per magazine, but the SVD goes much further. I like how each gun has a different feel and kickback. No matter which option you choose, there is no silencer and you’ll be outed after your first shot, so make it a good one!

    At your base, there will be a dog that follows you around and a computer to accept classified missions. Each mission has several parts and if you quit before completing them all, you’ll have to start over from the beginning. Most of the mission objectives are to kill everyone, but sometimes there is a hidden sniper in the mix or a high ranking official that you can’t let escape alive.

    Sniper Rust VR
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Decent variety in sniper guns to choose from; infinite ammo
    Weak Points: You cannot resume partially completed missions; dated visuals
    Moral Warnings: Blood and violence

    In the beginning of each mission, you’re free to take your time and look around to get a feel for the number of enemies and their locations. If there is a flight risk, I recommend taking them out first. Once the first shot is fired, everyone will scatter and start shooting back. Though you may have cover, it’s destructible and won’t last very long. There are in-game achievements; one of them is to clear a mission at full health, and I have yet to do that. I also haven’t earned the 100% accuracy achievements. As you earn achievements, you’ll unlock some new skins for your guns and gloves.

    Not surprisingly, there is blood that sprays when you hit someone. As you take damage your screen will get redder and redder until you’re dead. Thankfully, if you die you can restart at the current mission and not from the beginning.

    Like many first person shooter games, there’s an announcer that will compliment your shots. You’ll hear comments like “Multi-kill” and “God-like.” I don’t find those very fitting, but the notification of the last man standing is very helpful. There is background music as well, but it’s not annoying or memorable.

    Sniper Rust VR
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 68%
    Gameplay - 12/20
    Graphics - 6/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 87%
    Violence - 3.5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

     

    The developers have listened to user feedback and are continuing to improve the game. I guess there wasn’t any or much cover when Sniper Rust VR first launched. Though the graphics have been overhauled, they’re still a bit dated. They get the job done though. The missions take place in different locales like docks, mountains, deserts, forests, and ancient temples.

    At first Sniper Rust VR was only available on Oculus and recently got HTC Vive support. With my Oculus “moderate” rated VR environment, I often struggled to see some of the enemies shooting at me. Perhaps a bigger room would make this game a little easier. I experienced some tracking issues, but many VR games have that problem. The controls are a little wonky and take a little getting used to; again a bigger VR space (or a Vive) can probably help.

    Hopefully, the gameplay gets more refined as the missions are a bit repetitive. Shoot, duck, kill everyone (or die trying), repeat. There is a demo available so that’s worth looking into if you’re interested in purchasing this game. The asking price is $9.99 which isn’t too bad. At the game’s current state, I only recommend this title for sniper enthusiasts.

  • Space Junkies (Oculus Rift)

     

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Space Junkies
    Developed by: Ubisoft Montpellier
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Release date: March 26, 2019
    Available on: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PSVR, Windows Mixed Reality
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: up to four players online
    ESRB Rating: Teen for violence and user interactions
    Price: $39.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us this game to review!

    As an aging gamer, I’ve played many classic first person shooters (FPS) when they first started to emerge in the 90s. Classic games like Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and Unreal Tournament bring back fond memories. The thrill of collecting better weapons, armor, and health power-ups while trying to stay alive has been added to a solid virtual reality game: Space Junkies.

    Ubisoft is no stranger to VR games and we have reviewed a few of them. Space Junkies isn’t their first multiplayer only game and I hope it succeeds as VR is still developing a user base. Thankfully, I’ve been able to find players to battle against but sometimes it takes a couple of minutes to gather one to three other players in the lobby. The first time I played there was only one other person online and I can safely say that this game is the most fun with more players. In the multiple gaming sessions I’ve embarked on, there was at least one player who would curse while playing. Keep that in mind if you’re going to have kids play this game. There are options to setup private matches or invite players/friends that you already know.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fun space themed first person shooter
    Weak Points: Multiplayer only and like many VR games, this one can use more players online
    Moral Warnings: Bloodless violence; foul language used by other players online

    Before you can partake in the online battles, you must first complete the tutorial to familiarize yourself with the weapons and controls for movement. If you prefer close combat your space suit has a shield and a laser sword behind each of your shoulders. While great in a pinch, the guns are undeniably more powerful and fun to use.

    If you’re familiar with FPS games, you’ll recognize many of the guns available in Space Junkies. There are some futuristic pistols that can be dual-wielded if you can find another on the map. The chain gun is pretty powerful, but requires two hands to operate. The biorifle is super powerful as well but has to be pumped and is only good for one shot before requiring a reload. The rocket launcher is good for a few rounds and will detonate after you throw it when it’s out of ammo. The slingshot is quite powerful, but takes time to pull back and aim. If it does connect with your target, a huge chunk of their health will be gone. My biggest complaint is that health doesn’t seem to deplete fast enough when getting attacked. Although you’re given credit for headshots, it still can take a few hits before an opponent goes down from them. It all depends on the weapon used but still, a blow to the head is usually an instant kill. Just ask Goliath (1 Sam 17:49).

    The maps are well designed and have different themes to them. There are plenty of places to duck for cover, but like most FPS games, all of the good weapons and power-ups are out in the open. I like how they display a countdown for when they will respawn. If you’re playing a team-based match, you’ll have a tracker for your other teammate. For the enemies you’ll have to listen for their jetpacks to know when you’re close. If you’ve been detected, the screen will let you know and you can expect some projectiles coming your way shortly after.

    Space Junkies
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 82%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Sound wise this game is pretty good. The over-enthusiastic announcer in entertaining to listen to. The weapon sound effects are fitting. There is no background music, only the sound of breathing in space.

    There are a few game modes available. Free-for-all is your standard death match mode where nobody is safe and whoever has the most kills after five minutes is declared the victor. If there are only two players you can Duel with them. King mode has a crown that can be worn by a player and non-teammates must try to take it off of their floating body. The person who wears the crown the longest, wins. Teams can consist of one to two players one each side. The more, the merrier.

    No matter if you win or lose you’ll earn experience for each battle. If you leave early, you will be penalized so please don’t do that. When your character levels up, they will get a prize box which will unlock various cosmetic items like avatars and backgrounds.

    As a multiplayer only title. Space Junkie’s success is determined by the online community. There are no bots, only some targets to shoot in the lobby while you’re waiting for people to join. So far, there has been a decent turnout of players. I hope new content keeps coming to keep players interested and that it’s a success. It’s definitely one of the better VR games out there.

  • Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4)

     

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    Game Info:

    Star Wars Battlefront II
    Developed by: Electronic Arts
    Release Date: November 17, 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows
    Number of Players: Single-Player (campaign), 2-Player (local), 40 Players (online)
    Genre: Third-person Shooter, First-person Shooter
    ESRB Rating: Teen for violence
    Price: $14.69
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Several years ago, my siblings and I spent hours on our PlayStation 2 playing a game called Star Wars: Battlefront II. The game was a perfect culmination of two things we loved: Star Wars and video games. It was easily one of our favorite games based on a popular franchise. About ten years later, EA announced that they were rebooting the Battlefront games in a style that was more akin to modern shooter games. The result was gorgeous, but very bland. After receiving much criticism, EA took a second shot at Battlefront that featured significantly more content. While the results aren’t perfect, the final product represents a fun time and a massive improvement over its predecessor.

    The new Star Wars: Battlefront II’s upgrades are immediately clear. Instead of featuring four to five worlds based on the Original Trilogy, the game features sixteen worlds based on all three Star Wars eras. This instantly gives Battlefront II an artistic advantage. Not only is there more variety, but the worlds look much more like something out of the movies than the original. The 2015 game used the Original Trilogy’s limited special effects as an excuse to make empty worlds based on generic themes (such as a desert or a forest). This is thankfully not the case with this one. Not only are there more creative worlds from the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies, but the same worlds from the first game have much more Star Wars-specific features. For example, Tatooine actually takes place in the bustling city of Mos Eisley instead of just an empty desert.

    But the game does not only improve on the level design. Because it takes elements from all the Star Wars movies, there are significantly more characters as well. Finally, we can play as characters such as Yoda and Darth Maul in glorious HD graphics! After all the updates, pretty much all of the most important characters from the Star Wars universe are now playable, including Obi-Wan Kenobi (my favorite character since I was a kid). You are also able to play as troopers from all the eras. First Order troopers, clone troopers, Resistance soldiers, and droids join the roster, making the battles more interesting. Unlike the Heroes, though, the standard troopers are playable only on planets from their respective eras. For example, clone troopers cannot be played as on Jakku and Stormtroopers cannot be played as on Kamino.

    Star Wars Battlefront II
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: New online and offline features that make the game more whole than its predecessor; characters and worlds from the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies are featured; level up system keeps things balanced for new players; graphics continue to look amazing
    Weak Points: Physics are a little floaty; requires paid services for the majority of features (consoles only); lots of data needed to play
    Moral Warnings: Violence consistent with the Star Wars franchise; the Force is present for gameplay purposes; loot boxes

    Battlefront II also adds a number of new offline modes that makes the game feel more complete. One of the most common criticisms of the last games was a lack of a campaign mode. This time, however, there is a full canonical story dedicated to the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The plot follows Iden Versio, the leader of the Inferno Squad, an Imperial Special Forces unit. After seeing the second Death Star blow up above the atmosphere of Endor, she now has to find out how to deal with the war afterwards. While telling the story from the perspective of an Imperial is interesting, the story itself is rather boring. It’s not only a bit short; it just doesn’t contribute anything special to the saga. I’d still say it’s better than nothing, though. Being able to play the game against CPUs with straightforward objectives is still something that has benefit, even if the context isn’t that great.

    A couple of other offline modes include Battle Scenarios and Custom Arcade. Battle Scenarios are fun because they present challenges with specific rules. Sometimes they require you to play as a certain character. Other times, they will limit what kinds of weapons you can use. Each Battle Scenario has three difficulties and is separated by Light Side and Dark Side. Custom Arcade, on the other hand, is a good way to set up your own rules. You can pick any world, what kinds of characters are available (heroes, troopers, or both), how many enemies there are, and how difficult they are. Both Battle Scenarios and Custom arcade support two-player local multiplayer, which is nice for those of us who grew up on local play.

    Of course, all of these offline modes are practically extras compared to the online modes. Battlefront II, like its 2015 predecessor, is a game that emphasizes online multiplayer. There are over ten online modes. Most are trooper based, but there are some modes for heroes and some modes for spaceships. The modes present a good amount of variety. I personally enjoy playing Heroes vs. Villains, a 4 vs. 4 multiplayer match where everyone plays as a main character from the saga.

    Star Wars Battlefront II
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 10/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 3/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 9/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

    Perhaps the most interesting, though, is the recently added Capital Supremacy. This mode features Command Posts like the original Battlefront II. This time, however, the fight is a bit more complicated. By capturing Command Posts, the teams gain points and fill a meter. Once their meter is full, the team flies up to the opposing team’s battleship and tries to destroy it. If the team trying to destroy the ship fails, both teams go back to the battleground and try again. There are a lot of layers to this mode, which makes it feel like a full-scale, realistic war.

    Playing online can prove to be both fun and challenging. Though it’s difficult to get into the action amongst players who have been at this a while, the game makes it easy to level up your characters. You can earn experience points for killing enemies, hitting enemies, “playing the objective,” and even dying (which the game refers to as “sacrifice”). While dying might seem like a cheap way to gain experience, it helps level the playing field for new players. Leveling up characters allows you to purchase Star Cards, which unlocks special abilities. You can also upgrade your Star Cards so that their effects are more potent.

    Playing online or offline will earn you credits, which can be spent to unlock costumes, emotes, and victory poses. Credits are more difficult to earn quickly offline, though there are still certain challenges that can earn credits faster. This brings me to discuss the infamous loot box controversy. Before the game was released, EA had announced that they were going to have loot boxes that would provide players competitive advantages. This caused an outcry, with several people claiming that this made the game into a “pay to win” kind of game. EA thankfully removed this before the game was released, but the damage was already done. Though you can spend real-world money to get things in the game, the only things you can get are purely cosmetic. I for one have only spent about $45 on the game: $25 on the disc (the game is even cheaper now than when I bought it) and $20 for two months of PlayStation Plus so I can play online. Truthfully, this is the only thing that bothers me regarding money. I think it is unfortunate that, aside from PC users, players are required to pay for an online service so that they can experience the majority of features. Still, given how cheap the game is by itself, paying for online isn’t as bad as it could have been.

    While I don’t find the financial aspect of the game to be that problematic, there are a few other notable problems. First, I felt that the physics took some getting used to. After playing several hours of Destiny 2, which has pretty realistic physics, I was surprised at how much floatier this game felt. I eventually got used to it, but it still doesn’t have the same gravity that the Destiny games have. Another issue I had was that this game is a major data hog. As of right now, it requires about 100 GB of data to play online. I have a larger storage capacity, so it worked out fine. But without one, it would eat up about one-fifth of my PlayStation 4’s data. For those of you who have a PlayStation 4 Pro (or an Xbox One X), this shouldn’t be an issue. But for the rest of us who bought the original systems, the amount of data this game takes is annoying at best. Finally, Battlefront II requires a solid internet connection to be fully enjoyed. Though some modes like Blast or Heroes vs. Villains can perform fine under most circumstances, larger modes that have forty players need really good internet. Sometimes it worked for me; other times it didn’t. I believe this is because multiple people were connected to the same router, but sometimes it seemed like it struggled when I was the only one using it.

    There are a few moral concerns for the game, though none of them branch beyond what is common for Star Wars. Characters yell in agony as they get shot and killed by lasers. Jedi and Sith can slice people with their lightsabers (which, like most Star Wars games, function more like baseball bats). None of the violence is graphic, though. As with anything involving Star Wars, the Force is present. It should be noted, though, that the Force is only a gameplay element and is not an important part of the story. Some parents might be concerned about how the game emphasizes killing other players instead of just CPUs. There’s nothing sexual in this game, and I don’t recall any sort of language (though some people’s usernames can be inappropriate). Even though loot boxes are no longer able to give you a competitive advantage, they can still pose a risk to younger players. Kids should be monitored on what real-world money they spend on this game. I don’t believe this will be an issue for adults, but it still is worth noting.

    The new Star Wars: Battlefront II may not be as fun or as content-filled as the original Battlefront II, but it still is an enjoyable game that is significantly better than the Battlefront that came before it. The game is so cheap now, I would recommend it to almost any Star Wars fan. The graphics, characters, worlds, and multiplayer modes make this game one of the better Star Wars games to have come out in a long time. Unfortunately, there are still the drawbacks from the data requirements and the mandatory online service fee. Even still, Battlefront II is a solid title that serves as a great celebration of the franchise.

     

  • Super Destronaut: Land Wars (Switch)

     

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    Game Info:

    Super Destronaut: Land Wars
    Developed by: Petite Games
    Published by: Ratalaika Games
    Released: March 13, 2020
    Available on: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
    Genre: First person shooter
    ESRB rating: Everyone
    Number of players: 1
    Price: $4.99

    Thank you Ratalaika Games for sending us this game to review!

    Super Destronaut: Land Wars is a very fun first-person shooter where you shoot aliens and collect lots of coins. The levels are procedurally generated, so every time you play, you will be met with something new.

    There are lots of game modes for you to play. There are the challenges, which are fun tasks for you to do. They can be things like “kill 10 enemies” or “collect 2000 points”. You will get a score of gold, silver, bronze, or, if you do poorly enough, no rating. You will be judged by how long it takes you to complete the challenge. The other modes are the arcade modes. There is Classic mode, Hardcore mode, Combo breaker, Maximum strength, and Snail mode. Classic mode is just a normal game, no buffs or changes. Hardcore mode makes it a lot harder by making the enemies have more health. It also has you start at wave 5 so the enemies are stronger. Combo breaker is a mode where your multiplier meter is full, and if you let it run out, you lose. You also lose if you die. Maximum strength is where you get a rocket launcher at spawn, and can blow up multiple enemies at once. Snail mode is like Classic mode, except you are very slow and cannot jump.

    Super Destronaut: Land Wars
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Extremely fun
    Weak Points: No multiplayer; occasional crashes
    Moral Warnings: Violence

    There doesn't seem to be a story, but all I know is that you are killing aliens because you don't want them to destroy you.

    The music that plays while you shoot up aliens fits well with the feel of the game. The sound effects are the same way. There are laser sounds when you shoot, and it sounds like someone is shaking a bag of coins when you grab money.

    The controls are better than I expected. I played it on the Switch, and it surprised me how easy the controls were. I personally think that it's better with a pro controller, but you can use what you want.

    Super Destronaut: Land Wars
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay: 17/20
    Graphics: 9/10
    Sound: 7/10
    Stability: 4/5
    Controls: 5/5

    Morality Score - 89%
    Violence: 7.5/10
    Language: 10/10
    Sexual content: 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural: 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

    What I think is needed is multiplayer. It is the perfect type of game to have an online multiplayer feature, but for some reason it doesn't exist. It is the only thing that I think Super Destronaut: Land Wars is lacking.

    As I said, the maps are procedurally generated. But every generated map has the same color scheme and overall feel. There are trees and rocks everywhere, and there is always a maze-like atmosphere.

    There are no moral issues other than violence. You walk around with a gun, and shoot pixelated aliens. Nothing bad. It is very tame, so if you or your child buys it, you don't have to worry about bad violence or gruesome details.

    Super Destronaut: Land wars is an extremely fun game that anyone could play. I agree with the ESRB rating on this one, because the only thing that is wrong with it is the violence. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys playing first-person shooters like this one.

  • SUPERHOT (PC)

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    Game Info:

    SUPERHOT
    Developed By: SUPERHOT Team|
    Published By: SUPERHOT Team
    Release Date: February 25, 2016
    Available On: PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Xbox One
    ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence, Drug Reference
    Genre: First Person Shooter
    Mode: Single Player
    MSRP: $24.99

    Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

    Originally kickstarted in 2014, SUPERHOT is based on the gameplay concept that the rest of the world only moves when you do.  This allows for some rather interesting strategic possibilities, and helps create what SUPERHOT told me to say is the 'most innovative shooter I have played in years'.

    Taking a somewhat retro aesthetic, you join this game as a player in a new VR game.  The computer itself is reminiscent of one from the 1980s, with a tube TV screen shape, and a simple retro text interface for the menus.  The 3D first person style graphics are somewhat similar to 1980s rendered graphics, with simple polygonal flat surfaces, and characters rendered equally simple, using all triangles.  The sound effects also reinforce this point, as there is no music, but excellent sound effects that reinforce the 1980s VR feel, with lots of intentional distortion similar to period pieces like Lawnmower Man and Max Headroom.

     

    SUPERHOT
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Very neat (and fun!) time manipulation mechanic; scenario and story are interesting; lots of bonus challenges once you beat the game; it's the most innovative shooter I've played in years
    Weak Points: Main campaign is fairly short, beatable in under three hours
    Moral Warnings: Drug reference according to ESRB (I missed it); you kill everyone you come in contact with, or they kill you; computer bosses you around and makes you do strange things like share the final strong point above

    In each level, your goal is to be the last one standing.  Every person on each level has only one goal, and that is to kill you.  Some use guns, others use melee weapons, and others just their fists.  The same goes for you – you can use any of those weapons, or virtually any other of the movable items in a level to disrupt or kill your opponents.  This can often be critical, as you can be vastly outnumbered – and you only have a split second to startle one opponent or dodge the bullets from another.

    The level design is well done, as I found each one requires a new skill, or twists on already established ones.  There are some surprises as well.  Time doesn't technically stand still, it just goes at about 1/1000th speed.  So bullets, vehicles, and other fast moving things still move, just really slowly while you wait.  This can lead to some tense situations where you have to act faster than expected.  It also allows for some tricky planning where you can use that to your advantage, especially once you unlock body hopping.

    While each level is rather memorable, each one isn't that long, so the game can go by quickly.  I was able to see the ending the same day I started playing, in under three hours.  However, there are a lot of challenge modes and other forms of unlocked content, but no new actual levels from what I saw.  However, some of the challenges are pretty neat.  I found Katana mode lots of fun, for example.  In this mode, you start each level with a Katana, and cannot use any other weapon at all. If you throw it at someone, you better plan for a way to go pick it up again!

    SUPERHOT
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    And that's really the thing about SUPERHOT – while there is definitely action here, there is also a fair amount of strategic planning, and lots of repetition until you get it just right.  It somewhat tests your reflexes, but if you can learn from mistakes and plan around dealing with multiple threats simultaneously, it can be a lot of fun.  And you'll feel like Neo from the Matrix while doing it.  Or even Agent Smith.

    It is probably not surprising that there is plenty of first person violence, that clearly you are inflicting on others.  And you have not done your job unless it's fatal.  There is no blood or gore at all; characters split into triangles and fade away when killed.  I did not see any curse words at all, and while the ESRB pointed out a drug reference, I did not pick up on it.  The computer is rather pushy, and performs some kind of psychological manipulation on the player.

    SUPERHOT is honestly a really fun FPS game that is much different than most in that it is more about strategy than pure twitch reflexes, as you have plenty of time to line up shots.  My only real complaint about it is that it's short.  I believe that the ESRB rating of Teen is appropriate in this case.  I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.  It might even be one of the most innovative shooters I've played in years.

  • SUPERHOT VR (Oculus Rift)

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    Game Info:

    SUPERHOT VR
    Developed by: SUPERHOT
    Published by: SUPERHOT Team
    Release date: December 6, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence and drug reference
    Price: $24.99

    Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

    SUPERHOT was successfully Kickstarted in June of 2014 and exceeded the initial goal by $150,768.  For as little as $14, backers could get a DRM-free version of the game that we reviewed here.  Backers are also entitled to the newly re-vamped VR edition which sells exclusively on the Oculus store and will come to Steam sometime in the near future.  Until that happens Vive owners can play the game using Revive.

    SUPERHOT VR uses the same formula of slow motion FPS action where the enemies only move when you do.  Any movement including your head or hands will prompt your attackers to charge at you or fire their weapons.  If you have ever wanted to relive the slow motion Matrix scenes, it’s possible with this game and an Oculus Touch setup.

    The Oculus Touch integration is great and I experienced minimal glitches.  I once launched the game and only one of my hand controllers was not detected for some reason.  I actually did pretty well one handed.  It’s so fun to catch a rifle with one hand and literally blow the enemy to bits in the same instant.  Since the enemies appear to be made of glass they shatter upon impact.  There is no blood or gore to worry about here.  When I relaunched the game, both controllers were working again and I was able to get further in the game with two hands.  Dual wielding is fun too!

    SUPERHOT VR
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Awesome game mechanics that have you really dodging bullets, knives, and other projectiles in slow motion; flawless integration with the Oculus Touch controllers 
    Weak Points: Cannot choose levels until you beat the game; relatively short
    Moral Warnings: Killing glass like beings that shatter upon impact; can use wine bottles as weapons

    Besides shotguns, there are pistols and machine guns. Each gun seems to have unlimited ammo while the enemies wield them, but run out quickly once they get in your hands.  In other words, don’t expect your attackers to run out of bullets.  When the gun runs out of ammo you can chuck it at your opponent to take them down.  Other fun weapons include knives, cleavers, shurikens, staplers, ash trays, and even a dog bowl.   

    Attacking is one thing, but you also have to thwart the attacks of your foes.  There is often some form of cover, but be prepared to dodge several bullets coming your direction.  Each segment consists of a few levels and if you die in the middle of a level you’ll have to begin from the first one.  After a few levels are completed, you’ll see and hear the phrase “Super Hot” and are often whisked away to a computer room to progress the minimalistic story.

    The premise of this game is that you’re playing a VR game and your goal is to destroy some pyramid.  In order to progress the story, I had to shoot myself in the head a couple of times.  What SUPERHOT VR lacks in story, it makes up for in the action.

    SUPERHOT VR
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 19/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    SUPERHOT VR is my favorite VR game so far.  The movement is smooth and the action is tight.  I was getting so into ducking and dodging bullets that I smacked my flat screen TV.  Thankfully it wasn’t damaged.  My legs were also sore the next day; in addition to the sweat on my head, I was exercising my muscles too.  If people ask me what I’ve been doing to workout I’ll tell them that I’ve been having fun dodging bullets.

    One minor nitpick that I have is that until you beat the game, you can’t choose what level to play.  Since I have completed the game this is no longer an issue but until that happened there are no profiles or an easy way to let people experience the game from the beginning without messing up your progress.  

    Though SUPERHOT VR is a rather short experience that can be completed in a few hours, it’s a must play for Oculus Touch owners.  I hope that more levels come out for it and I look forward to future releases from the SUPERHOT Team.

     

  • SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition (Steam VR)

     

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    Game Info:

    SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition
    Developed by: SUPERHOT
    Published by: SUPERHOT Team
    Release date: April 24, 2019
    Available on: Steam VR (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, etc.)
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence and drug reference
    Price: Not available at retail (arcade venues only)

    Thank you SUPERHOT Team for sending us this game to review!

    This is probably going to be a rather unique review. The main reason is this game is actually not available for retail purchase, but only for arcade operators who directly contact the fine folks at www.superhotgame.com/arcades and fill out their contact form. Well, that and members of the press who requested it, which would be us. We already have an excellent review of SUPERHOT VR, here. (To my shame, I've been sitting on this game to review longer than I would like to admit. I finally decided to rectify that.) Please refer to that review for how fun and appropriate it is if you are a normal gamer curious about SUPERHOT VR. This review assumes you are already familiar with that game.

    In the original virtual-reality masterpiece SUPERHOT VR, when you start the game you go right into the levels, and the prompts on screen not only teach you how to play, but occasionally will ask strange things of the player for the sake of storytelling, like shooting yourself in the head. You don't get any control over what levels to play, or any optional game modes until you've beaten the game once.

    Given the style of game as it is, SUPERHOT VR has understandably become really popular, and is still considered one of the best VR games out there. Not because of its graphics (they are fairly low detail) but because the feeling of dodging bullets in a virtual world and shooting back is just too much fun. Because of the bite-sized nature of the game (each level is just a few seconds), it's a perfect fit for VR arcade venues... if only it was just a bit more flexible. Enter SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition.

    SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Entertaining game mechanics that have you dodging bullets, knives, and other projectiles in slow motion; motion controls work excellently; a much more streamlined experience than the original game; adds scores and high scores for arcade play

    Weak Points: Relatively short; I'm still terrible at throwing shurikens; any form of 'story' is missing in the arcade edition, along with a few bonus modes

    Moral Warnings: Killing glass like beings that shatter upon impact; can use wine bottles as weapons 

    In this Arcade Edition, you bypass all of the storyline fluff, and immediately go to a main menu, where you get to choose what game mode you would like to play. It's all in an easy to navigate menu, where you have the option to begin (standard game mode), level select (choose to start on any level - all unlocked from the start) and custom. The custom modes include challenges where you are time-limited to see how far you can get in the time provided (HOT at 5 minutes, short at 15, and long at 30 minutes), and an endless mode.

    The real meat of the game is in the operator mode. When you launch the game, the attached monitor and keyboard both play special functions. The monitor is meant to be a public viewing of what the player is doing, and if no one is, it plays a video trailer loop intended to drum up interest. There is also a score tally, which is totally new to SUPERHOT VR (it's not included in the original). Each action, whether killing, headshots, and so on, is counted and tallied up at the end. Of course there are leaderboards that you can join if you have a good run. If you use a non-custom mode, you can even compare your score with the online leaderboards.

    In order to bring up the operator mode, the arcade operator would press 'Ctrl+A' while looking at the monitor. It then brings up an overlay, with which they can then make changes. These are written out to an 'arcade.ini' file that is written out in the install directory. (These settings can easily be copied/restored as needed.) You can also affect the running game, by restarting the level, restarting the game, skipping to the next level, adding time, or ending the current game entirely.

    The operator mode's available game types include Full Game, No Time Limit, Short (15 Minutes, All Levels), Long (30 Minutes, All Levels), HOT (5 Minutes, Hard Levels), Free Play, Endless, and Custom. The first four modes are pretty much hard-set; you can't customize them. For the Custom/Free Play/Endless modes, you can specify how long they can play or how many lives they have (it's one or the other), and if they have a grace period or if the game ends abruptly when time runs out. You can also customize some text displayed on screen (#ONEOFUS is default; it could be set to MYARCADE or whatever) as well as if the game mode is displayed, the score is displayed while playing, or if the SUPERHOT logo is visible. There are also other settings, like control variations, whether or not to display the trailer, as well as leaderboard settings. Finally, you can adjust when or where the real-world boundary is displayed.

    SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 19/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    For those curious, the standard edition, while not having scores, does have bonus modes not available in the Arcade Edition once they have beaten the game. These include a 'Hard Core' mode, and 'No Guns' as well as 'Headshots Only' modes. Of course you are also missing the chance to see some half-broken CRTs and such as you look around the virtual dilapidated computer room that you start in once you've beaten SUPERHOT VR. You can easily simulate Endless, Whole Game in 10 minutes, and speedrun modes in the Arcade Edition.

    Just like SUPERHOT VR, there are standard appropriateness issues, like gunshots and melee violence. It seems like most of the in-level commentary text that the normal game displays is also missing. All you see are basic tutorials, numbers that highlight your score as you earn points, and of course the titular SUPER HOT when you complete a level. It's comparatively sparse on commentary compared to the normal game. There are some times (like if you want to exit to the main menu) where you need to shoot your head with a virtual pistol; these moments don't seem to exist in the Arcade Edition. (At least returning to the main menu it something you can grab, which isn't available in the normal game.)

    SUPERHOT VR: Arcade Edition is a fantastic way for arcade operators to encourage their customers to enjoy the fun of SUPERHOT VR in a way that is seamless and without distraction. The game is a top-rated VR showpiece at this point, and making an arcade-focused release makes a lot of sense. If you are one of the lucky few to run a VR arcade, I highly recommend you check this out by contacting the great folks at superhotgame.com. If you are just a normal gamer curious about what the VR version includes, hopefully this helps answer your questions; other than the scoring system, pretty much everything else is included in the original SUPERHOT VR, and no doubt at a lower price.

    (Game scores taken from our SUPERHOT VR review)

  • Tick Tock Bang Bang (PC)

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    Game Info:

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Developed By: Dejobaan Games, LLC
    Published By: Dejobaan Games, LLC
    Released: June 9, 2016
    Available On: Windows
    Genre: First-Person Shooter
    ESRB Rating: N/A
    Number of Players: 1
    Price: $9.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you Dejobaan Games, LLC for sending us this game to review!

    Superpowers are a bit like playing the lottery. Sometimes, exposure to intergalactic radiation lets you make indestructible force fields and turn invisible. Sometimes, you’re born with a gene that lets you shoot lasers from your eyes. Sometimes, the best you can get is making time slow to a crawl while you’re standing still. If you belong to the latter group, know that you can still make a killing in the movie industry.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang puts you in the shoes of renowned stuntwoman Delta T, who can manipulate the flow of time while she stands still. To finish filming Tick Tock Bang Bang, the movie based on the true story of the Boston Sky Robot Uprising of 2032, she’ll have to utilize her powers to dodge runaway cars, flaming projectiles, and exploding mannequins. Luckily for her, getting hit in the face with a garbage truck only ruins the shot, not her bones.

    The game is split into fifty-one decently diverse levels, ranging in time from a few seconds to around two minutes at most. In essence, Tick Tock Bang Bang is a series of obstacle courses revolving around dodging and/or destroying a number of different robotic attackers. Your goal is to complete the objective, usually either reaching a spot in the level or destroying a number of robots, in as little time as possible. Getting hit by a car or robot attack sends you back to the start to try again. The main mechanic revolves around standing still to slow time, aiding in your predictive movements. If this sounds familiar, it's no fluke - SUPERHOT was a major influence on the creation of Tick Tock Bang Bang, and its robot even makes an appearance about midway through the game.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Stylish action; absurdly multifaceted level and robot creator
    Weak Points: Clunky gameplay; no music outside the title screen; small, inactive community
    Moral Warnings: Shooting robot drones, a few humanoid

    As the levels and robots get more complex, so too do your tools. You start with nothing but your natural time-slowing abilities, but you soon gain a futuristic gun – though you’ll have to scavenge for ammunition from the world or busted bots to use more than an extremely short burst of lightning. Other pickups, including black hole generators and EMP bursts, are rare but vital – and usually a blast to use. It’s a good thing, too: by the end of the game, you’ll be up against some seriously gigantic robots, capable of spewing missiles and lasers all over the map.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang controls well enough, with standard WASD movement, jumping with the spacebar, and the comically useless “gargle” command on G. Jumping can be a bit off, however: you’ll have to leap what seems like well in advance of the ledge, or you’ll just fall. The time-slowing mechanic is activated simply by not moving, but this can conflict with situations that require some waiting around; you’ll have to jiggle around back and forth to keep time moving if you don’t want to spend the next half-hour waiting for a laser to pass by. There’s also a hefty delay between your shots, so prepare for more jazzercising if you want to deal with more than one robot at a time.

    While the base levels will likely only take you an hour and a half to get through, the real meat of the game comes in its Steam Workshop integration. Once you’re done trying to set the best times versus the online leaderboard in the main game, you can turn your creative prowess on making your own levels and titans. These editors are ridiculously detailed, with tons of options for everything imaginable – including stage props and robot weapons that aren’t found in the story mode at all. It’s also free to publish, letting the rest of the community, however small it currently is, tackle your challenge. While there aren’t too many community creations – maybe twenty of each – what is there is generally great, including robots resembling Mothra and Mr. Potato Head. If you’re not the creative type, though, there will be little to keep your interest after finishing the main and user-created levels.

    Tick Tock Bang Bang
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 74%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 5/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 96%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The game as a whole is visually interesting, but aurally dull. Most of the levels take cues from Mirror’s Edge: lots of bright, primary colors against a plethora of white. The bots are finely detailed, and those that animate do so smoothly. The various attacks are bright and obvious, and the game runs fine even with lots of incoming fire – though if you create a titan with hundreds of lasers and energy saw blades shooting everywhere, your computer will gain its own time-slowing powers. There is, however, not much to be said about the music – mostly because there’s not much music to talk about. You get a dubstep-type track when you first boot up the title screen, a second in the credits, and some generic club music included in the level creator; that’s all. No music plays at any point in-game. The sound effects are convincing, and the small amount of voiceovers from Delta T and the director are generally high in quality, but it’s all a little empty with no background music to go with it.

    Despite the potentially intimidating title, Tick Tock Bang Bang has no real moral problems. It is an FPS, but you’ll only turn your sights on mindless robots. There are a few humanoid ones, looking like segmented mannequins, who act as suicide bombers. There’s also a “martini” prop in the stage creator that serves as an event trigger, but this is found nowhere in the main game and only in a few custom stages.

    Altogether, Tick Tock Bang Bang is an enjoyable romp with varying longevity. If you’re the sort of person that enjoys creation, then the two editors and Steam Workshop integration will be right up your alley – though, with the small player count, the amount of people seeing your work might be on the low end. For the rest, it stands as a neat, if short, experience that might be worth a look or two when a sale crops up. Just remember that any resemblance to other games, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    -Cadogan

  • UNLOVED (PC)

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    Game Info:

    UNLOVED
    Developed by: BlueEagle Productions
    Published by:  Paul Schneider
    Release date: September 29, 2016
    Available on: Windows
    Number of players: Up to four
    Genre: Horror FPS
    ESRB Rating: Mature for intense violence, blood, and gore
    Price: $9.99
    (Humble Store Link)

    Thank you BlueEagle Productions for sending us this game to review!

    I’ve been playing FPS games for a while and they usually take place in well-lit areas and have a wide variety of maps and gameplay modes to choose from.  While UNLOVED offers plenty of gameplay modes, the environments are dark and dreary and there are not many to choose from. 

    If you enjoy survival horror and FPS games, then you’ll appreciate the combined gameplay that UNLOVED provides.  Up to four players can partake in exploring the randomly generated levels to complete their objectives without dying first.    

    The levels typically have locked doors and chests that have keys/omens scattered around that have to be located first.  There’s usually a generous amount of weapons and ammo laying around too.  The default game mode (Ultra Violence) has a slight delay when picking up items and opening doors.  The Arcade mode is faster paced and lets you collect items and open doors instantly.  Since I’ve recently discovered SUPERHOT, I enjoyed the Hot Mode where the enemies don't move unless you do.  Last but not least is the Classic Horror mode, where there are larger areas, stronger monsters, and slower moving players.

    UNLOVED
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Good variety of gameplay modes and the co-op play is nice if you have people to play alongside 
    Weak Points: Not many maps or online games to join; game crashed to desktop when I set the screen resolution
    Moral Warnings: Dark and creepy atmosphere adds to the horror theme; lots of blood and guts are shown when attacking the hideous monsters

    Though picking up every single weapon and ammunition is tempting, the more you grab, the more monsters will spawn and start homing in on your location.  If you have greedy friends, this game will get very challenging quickly! The starter weapon is a pistol, but you can swap it out to a shotgun, nailgun, or railgun.  Each weapon has an alternate fire mode which is activated with the right mouse button.

    Besides weapons there are mysterious objects scattered throughout the levels.  By collecting these pictures and other items, you can unlock memories or character customizations.  Even if you die, the objects you’ve collected will stay with your character.  If you don’t die, you’ll earn karma which can be used to upgrade your persona.  If you play online, it’ll be nice to stand out from the other players out there.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t see too many online matches.  There is a LAN mode available if you want to play alongside those in the same household.  You may have better luck going that route than finding a reliable online game to join.  

    UNLOVED
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 76%
    Gameplay - 14/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 69%
    Violence - 3.5/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 1/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    UNLOVED won’t be for everyone though.  While I do enjoy FPS games, I have never been a fan of survival horror titles.  Unfortunately, this game pushes the latter genre too much for my comfort zone.  The environments are gritty and the atmosphere is very dark and creeps me out.  It truly felt like I was exploring a haunted house and waiting for the next creature to jump out at me.

    On top of the creepy atmosphere is the over the top violence.  Many of the wretched creatures already have their guts hanging out and make you cringe upon seeing them.  Once you attack them, blood starts to spray and splatter everywhere.  

    UNLOVED is definitely not a game for kids or the faint of heart.  If you like horror movies and FPS games, you’ll probably find a lot to like in this game.  It’s a bit too dark for my tastes which is not surprising since I’ve never been a fan of horror movies anyway.  

     

  • Wanted Killer VR (HTC Vive)

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    Game Info:

    Wanted Killer VR
    Developed by: Playsnak
    Published by: Playsnak
    Released: May 23, 2019
    Available on: Windows
    Genre: Action
    ESRB rating: Not rated
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Playsnak for sending us a review code!

    Wanted killer is an extremely fun VR game where you gather your guns and go to battle. There are four characters to play as, and lots of different guns to shoot with. Each character has their own specialties, and also their very own campaign. It’s got plenty to offer.

    The story of Wanted Killer is that there is an evil corporation called Genetic Minds that wants to take over the world. You and your team are trying to stop them before they can do so.

    Wanted Killer
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fun; worth every penny
    Weak Points: Abandoned; bugs; crashes
    Moral Warnings: Violence; mild language (h*ll, d*mn, *ss)

    The characters you can play as are Ricky, Teo, Mia, and Aya. Ricky is the only one who can hold a gun in both of his hands. He starts wielding dual pistols, but you can change that. If you kill an enemy, you can take their weapon. What makes Ricky strong is that you can use two different types of guns. You can use a submachine gun to lower your enemy’s health, and finish them off with a shotgun. Teo is different. He has a throwable stunstick in one hand, and a really weird ice rifle thing (there are elemental guns; ice and electric stun enemies; fire and acid damage over time). What’s nice about him is that the stunstick instantly kills almost anything, and it also can hit multiple enemies at once. Mia uses an SMG and a riot shield. She can only hold one gun, but she can hold it with two hands. If you hold a gun with both hands, you get improved accuracy. Mia’s riot shield comes in handy. You can see through it, so you can beat a mission without even a scratch. Aya is a sniper. She uses an icy sniper rifle, and nothing else. She can hold weapons with two hands, but she’s still by far the hardest character to use. The sniper does a lot of damage, but in order to get precise aim you have to use the scope (which is really hard to operate).

    You have three places to store weapons that aren’t in use. You have two holsters and a backpack. You have a holster on each side, and a backpack on your back. You can put your hand to your side and squeeze your controller to get one of your holstered weapons, and to get the one on your back, you must reach over your head to where the back of your neck is, and do the same.

    Wanted Killer
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay: 16/20
    Graphics: 9/10
    Sound: 7/10
    Stability: 2/5
    Controls: 5/5

    Morality Score - 83%
    Violence: 6/10
    Language: 7/10
    Sexual content: 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

    Since Ricky’s specialty is dual pistols, both of his holsters are taken up by those. But with Mia, on the other hand, she can carry more weapons than Ricky can. She has both of her holsters available, so her SMG can go into her backpack.

    When you kill an enemy, you can teleport to them. When you teleport, you can either instantly go to them, or you can fly to them in slow motion, letting you kill other enemies on your way. Some campaign levels require this, because in some of them you have to keep teleporting in order to stay alive. Also, when you teleport to someone you can take their weapon.

    Morally, Wanted Killer is okay. I know the name is a little misleading, but there actually is no blood at all. You are killing people, but it seems to be self-defense.

    Wanted Killer is extremely fun. I would recommend it to anyone who loves action-packed VR games like this.  Just be aware that the developer's website is expired and that their social media accounts have not been updated in over a year.

  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PC)

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    Game Info:

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
    Developed by: MachineGames
    Published by: Bethesda Softworks
    Release date: October 27, 2017
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Xbox, Windows
    Genre: FPS
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
    Price: $39.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus takes place in 1961 when the Nazis rule America and BJ Blazkowicz, aka “Terror Billy," is one of the few remaining members of the Resistance. The story carries over from New Order and has you re-verify which of the two soldiers you spared from the Nazi General Deathshead. BJ Blazkowicz’s previous victory took quite a toll on him and you’ll witness a bloody surgery involving removing some of his intestines to save his live. You’ll start off the game with only fifty health and being wheelchair bound. I like the overcharge ability that temporarily boosts your health past maximum and slowly brings it back down to normal.

    Even in a wheelchair, BJ can seriously kick some Nazi butt. There’s a wide variety of enemies including Nazis, KKK members, dogs, robotic dogs, robotic soldiers, drones, mechs, and ridable fire spewing robotic dogs. To take down these various foes, BJ has access to a lot of fun guns, grenades, and weapons of mass destruction. The laser guns and flame throwers are always fun, but you first have to take down some tough robotic soldiers to gain access to them. Naturally, the world and environment is destructible.

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Great story; voice acting; and character development
    Weak Points: Experienced a couple of game crashes
    Moral Warnings: Lots of violence, blood and gore; strong language and blaspheming; prejudice and racism; sex scenes and nudity (breasts shown); alcohol and drug references

    The visuals in this game are impressive and quite realistic. The war-ravaged towns, enemies, and friends are all incredibly detailed. This game ran great on my desktop and scales down enough to be run on portable devices like the Nintendo Switch. There are a lot of flashbacks and cinematic sequences. Many of them are sexual or violent in nature. BJ had a troubled childhood with a drunk and abusive father who did not tolerate his friendship and first love with an African American girl.

    There are some sexual encounters and references in this game. Breasts are shown during breastfeeding, sleeping, and even in combat. A lot of cussing and blaspheming is heard throughout the story as well. The main campaign can be completed in less than ten hours. There are DLC side stories available if you purchase the season pass. Each of the stories has multiple chapters that add a couple more hours of gameplay. Each of the characters in the side stories can utilize an ability that BJ had access to in the main story. However, BJ had to choose only one upgrade option with others being available through side quests. If you only focus on the main story, this is a good chance to see what you missed.

    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 10/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 37%
    Violence - 0/10
    Language - 0/10
    Sexual Content - 1/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

    There’s plenty of side quests and things to look for during the main campaign. Each of the missions have collectible items like gold and toys to locate. By killing generals, you’ll get enigma cards which can be used later to locate and hunt down high ranking Nazis who are in hiding. The enigma machine is a bit of a pain to use since you have to solve enigma puzzles within a certain amount of time or you’ll lose an enigma card trying to crack it. It’s nice that there’s more gameplay available after completing the main story, but the timed enigma puzzles are too much of a hassle for me to bother with the extra quests. I am enjoying the Freedom Chronicles DLC and am looking forward to more chapters to be released.

    For an added challenge, you can complete this game on several difficulty levels. You’ll earn a Steam achievement for each difficulty it gets completed on. There are also several in-game achievements that tally up how many overcharged or headshot kills you make.

    Though the $59.99 asking price is a bit steep for a ten-hour game, it is fun and continues a great story. I picked it up for a good price during the Steam Christmas sale and it included the season pass. This is in addition to the Xbox One version I bought and gave to my brother since I preferred keyboard and mouse controls over a gamepad. If you enjoyed the previous entries and don’t mind the graphic violence, language, and sexual content, you won’t be disappointed in this one. Though I did experience a couple of random crashes, the autosaves had me lose minimal progress. Despite the crashes my overall experience was a positive one.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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