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Friday
Aug022019

Guns, Gore, & Cannoli 2 Review

Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 puts you back in the shoes of the gangster, Vinnie Cannoli. 15 years have passed since that massacre with all the zombies happened in Thugtown, but now something has changed. A new villain calling himself The Dark Don has appeared and he is putting their crosshairs squarely on Vinnie. Of course that doesn’t sit well with Vinnie and so he once again hits the streets, picks up tons of weapons, and takes care of any obstacle, be it car, doors, cops, gangsters, Nazis, or the occasional mutated rat. In order to accomplish his goals he will have to return to Thugtown and then take his many talents to Europe where he’ll have to mow through Nazis on World War 2 battlefields.

I’ve got to be honest with you, I thoroughly enjoyed the first game and was thrilled to hear that I could continue Vinnie’s story. For the most part this game lived up to the hype I had built up in my mind. There were a couple of small things, mainly the aiming didn’t feel as solid using a gamepad, but other than that I couldn’t stop playing the game. There are quite a few bosses you’ll have to get through, and some of them took me multiple attempts to conquer. One thing that you’ll learn is that there is no such thing as a truly “safe spot” when dealing with bosses. You’re going to have to constantly be on the run, jumping and sometimes double jumping, all while shooting to succeed.

Graphically this game looks just like the first, and that’s not a bad thing. The scenes you’ll play through, the enemies you’ll face off against, they all look great while your traversing this side-scrolling game. The music in the game definitely gives you that 1940s vibe, which fits right into the theme of the game. There’s also the witty one-liners that Vinnie will spit out, or the enemies will toss your way that add an additional layer of enjoyment.

If you like side-scrolling games with that “Metal Slug” type of feel, you’re going to want to get this game ASAP. It’s that solid of a game. I might also recommend that you bring a friend along and co-op to extend that enjoyment… just in case one of you takes one too many bullets/bites/hits/etc.

 

Sunday
Jul212019

Silence: The Whispered World 2 Review

 

You start the game with a boy and his sister hiding in a bomb shelter praying that they survive an air raid. To calm his sister, Renie,  the boy, Noah, starts to tell her a story which turns out to be an abridged recap of the first game of this series. During that story a bomb hits and their world goes dark. Noah wakes up in a strange place and his sister is nowhere to be found, and this is where the real story will begin. 

This is a point and click adventure game so as you play through the game you will be in control of either Noah or Renie. There will be times where you will have to change between the two to advance the story enough to solve certain situations. You will have to be on the lookout for objects in the environment that you’ll have to immediately need to use, or will save for later. You’ll also be joined by a couple of characters that are willing to help out with your quest to find a way home, as long as you help them defeat the false queen (a mysterious character who seems to be taking over this world with the help of monsters that upon touching you turn you into a copy of the monster).

This game, I have to admit, definitely had its challenging, and slightly frustrating moments, mostly because I chose to play this game on the Nintendo Switch, which lacks a mouse, so trying to change the focus of what I want to interact with was sometimes tricky (hence a level of frustration that shouldn’t have been a part of the game). There is definitely a flow to the game, and once you get used to the way things work, and have an idea of how to take on many of the puzzles throughout the game, I was definitely hooked. The developers did do some sneaky things, such as throwing in a little pinch of morality here and there, which made you make choices that weren’t always “rainbows and butterflies”.

Overall this was a stunning game, I enjoyed the story (even with some of the last minute twists, that TORE my heart out), and I would have to say that if you are a fan of good point and click games, you’ll have to check this game out. Having only played it on the Switch I can only hope that the PC’s controls are a little bit better, so perhaps that version of the game will be a little less stressful with the game mechanics, but either way you should definitely give this game a look.   


Wednesday
Jul102019

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech Review

After having such an amazing experience with SteamWorld Dig 2 I made the decision to see what else the SteamWorld game catalog had to offer, and so I took on SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, an RPG with the art style of other SteamWorld games. As you might have guessed with the word 'Quest' in the title this is of course an RPG. Actually let's take it a step further, this is a turn-based RPG with action mechanics utilized through the use of cards.

So let's give you a little bit of background, in this game you're going to be playing, the vast majority of the game, with a party of three characters. Each character has a unique set of cards that you can unlock as you go through the game. The cards fall into three different categories: Base Attack, Support, and Steam Pressured. I think the first two are pretty self-explanatory, so let's just talk about this strange "Steam Pressured" category, think of Steam Pressure as what most games would call Mana. All non-"Steam Pressured" actions will increase the pressure, which of course will in turn allow the player to unleash more devastating attacks. There is one thing that could make for an even more devastating attack and that is if you string three of the same character's cards in a single turn. Doing so will really cause a good bit of havoc on the battlefield. The story is broken into areas and chapters. The areas, after you complete them the first time, will give you a percentage of treasures found (so if you are looking for that 100% completion rate...).

There are five player characters that you will have at your disposal, and as much as I would love to tell you all about every single one of them, I'm going to be totally honest with you, as is mostly the case, with me, I stick with the party I'm given off the bat. That of course means I'm not sure if there would be any advantages to the last two characters, however the first three filled my needs. The first three fall into the following categories: Warrior, Magic User, and Tank. In my opinion that's a winning combination, so I wasn't going to mess with success. I did complete the entire game with them, so there's that.

The thing is that I really enjoyed this game from start to finish. It is the story of a wannabe adventurer (and friends) trying to prove to the world that they are actually legitimate adventurers. There's humor and stereotypes scattered through the game, and the story flows. I would recommend that you do replay some of the areas, even if you have the 100% completion for the area, it's always good to have a little extra coin on you to pay for upgrades for your characters. When the story came to a close I felt closure, enjoyment, and triumph (basically all the feelings you want at the end of the game). If you're looking for a solid RPG, this is definitely one you have to add to your playlist.

Monday
Jun032019

SteamWorld Dig 2 Review

Get back to digging in the sequel Steamworld Dig 2. The story continues from the first however the main character has mysteriously vanished and it is up to the robot, Dotty (also known as Dorothy), to get to the bottom of what actually happened to Rusty (the hero from the first). You will find your way to El Machino, a city that is suffering greatly from seismic activity deep underground. You will have to dig your way down, literally, to try to get to the bottom of these mysteries (what happened to Rusty, and what is causing all these earthquakes). To do that you'll have to collect resources that you can turn around and sell back in town. Now you might be asking yourself, you speak of these resources, and you're going to be selling them, but what can you get for your hard earned money. Well it's all about upgrades. There are several different components that you're going to want to keep in mind, health, water, fire, resource pack size, abilities, and weapons.

Health, of course, is the easiest to explain, if you have health you're alive, if you don't well you die, but I will point out that death doesn't really mean END GAME, it just means that you drop most of what you have collected on your latest run down into the mines/ground/other things ( ;) ). Water at first glance probably sounds odd, however this is what is going to be powering MANY of your abilities such as your pneumatic arm, bombs, etc. Fire is basically your light during your adventures down, once the light gets too low its very hard to see and the need to return to town becomes more pressing. Resource pack size, I think that's probably self-explanatory, the bigger the pack the more resources you can gather and bring back up with you. Abilities are something that you're going to unlock as the game goes on and there are definitely enhancements that will better those abilities. The weapons part is really just powering up your pickaxe. It is the main item that you'll be using throughout the game, and of course the stronger it is the more damage you can do to enemies and tough spots in the game. There's also TONS of hidden places in the game that will give you COGS, these lovely items allow for further enhancement of your abilities/items.

The one thing that one has to look at when reviewing a sequel is simply does this game match or hopefully succeed the first, and to be honest I feel like this one was much more streamlined and I didn't feel the level or pain of grind that had to be done in the first one. I also felt like there was faster progression through the actual game (ie. the story). You're definitely going to meet some crazy characters, some a bit more than others, but I definitely felt like this game was a rather large improvement. I somehow ended up playing through this game in a single sitting (about 8ish hours), and I don't regret a single moment spent on it. If you have the chance I HIGHLY recommend picking up this game.

Wednesday
May222019

Big Name Gamer/Streamer Suing eSports Team

I will fully admit I have no real legal background, and so I'm not versed in contractual law, but this story is definitely something that has caught everyone's attention. Apparently the gamer known as Tfue, one of the biggest streamers out there, has decided to sue FaZe Clan, the team that he has been a part of, due to an apparent California law that states:

The state law requires that any person or company "who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist" must be licensed by the labor commissioner and conform to professional regulations. By definition, "artist" includes "persons rendering professional services in motion picture, theatrical, radio, television and other entertainment enterprises."

From my understanding this revolves around the fact that Tfue can't accept solo sponsorships (those just for him and not for his team). The big on being an apparent deal with HyperX, a direct competitor of FaZe Clan's sponsor SteelSeries. One of the issues, I believe that is being seen, is that he would be able to take All the earnings for that HyperX sponsorship, whereas he would only be able to take some sort of prearranged percentage of any money made by the team.

So there's a couple of things that stand out to me, for this issue, remember I don't have a law degree, but you have a team/group of gamers that train together, play together, and of course compete together. That team has sponsorships, tournament winnings, and whatnot. Just like ANY professional team the bigger names get a bigger cut of the pie, but never the whole thing. There will of course be a certain amount that will be retained by the owners of the team, basically to keep the lights on, and then the rest will go to the other players. There is also certain teams that have exclusive contracts with a specific manufacturer of a certain type of goods. Those contracts make it so that as part of that SPECIFIC team no one can take a contract/sponsorship with a competitor (ie. Nike, Gatorade, and others).

For your "traditional sports" this approach works out rather well, especially since the money being made by the players is already a good chunk of changes, as well as the sponsorships that they are able to be a part of. The thing that makes Tfue's situation different, and makes almost all only "influencers" different is the fact that the money for being part of a time can, at times, pale in comparison with a solo sponsorship contract. There is a catch, though, at this current moment in time. Not many, if any, eSports teams can allow for single players to take on solo sponsorships. There is too much chance for conflict of interest as well as there is the potential for rigging events. I know that no one things that gamers would intentionally tank, but let's be honest, if they can make a boatload more from that "single match slip", most will do it. The best example will always be the gamer "Life" and his permanent ban from Professional Starcraft II tournaments.

How will this affect eSports pro teams in the future? What will be the outcome of this lawsuit? Who knows, but for now it appears that there is quite the pissing match between those for Tfue and those who stand with FaZe Clan.