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Sea of Thieves is On the Horizon

Sea of Thieves is On the Horizon

It’s been a couple years since I’ve heard anything about Rare, the famed studio responsible for bringing us such classics as Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country, and GoldenEye 007. I’m happy to report that they’re apparently still active, and have actually been working on a pretty exciting new project due to come out some time this year.

That project is the sailing simulator “Sea of Thieves”. There’s not too terribly much known about it right now, as it’s currently in a semi-closed alpha program and Rare is is keeping most details pretty close to the chest. What we do know, however, is pretty compelling: Sea of Thieves is claimed to be an open world collaborative multiplayer game set during the golden age of piracy, apparently in a bid to finish off everybody’s “Perfect Game Bingo” cards. Joking aside, the game allegedly takes you to an island-dotted oceanic world and places you on a pirate ship along with your teammates (who will either be your friends or be supplied via a matchmaking system). It then becomes your team’s job to band together as a proper crew to operate your ship and set off for exploration, adventure, and looting.

There seems to be a heavy (and welcome) emphasis on cooperative play. Just like a real world sailing vessel, the ships are complex with a lot of moving parts that need to be operated in conjunction with each other. One player will need to man the wheel while another trims the sails, and yet another raises the anchor, etc. Crews will need to be in constant communication with each other and work well together as a team, or else they’ll soon meet with disaster.

Not all of the action takes place on your ship, however. Early gameplay footage reveals that you do (as least occasionally) make port and go ashore for some land-faring adventures. What exactly these adventures will entail remains a mystery but there is footage of a pirate crew sitting in a tavern drinking rather impressive amounts of ale. To me this implies there might be some RPG-style trading or merchant mechanics in the game, but who knows? The studio has also gone on record saying that there will be treasure hunting, crafting, and other classic gameplay mechanics.

And yes, of course there’s going to be ship-to-ship combat (how could there not be?) Released footage shows a rather exciting fight between a player vessel and another ship (it wasn’t clear if this hostile ship was another human crew or if it was computer controlled). One thing I noticed during the exchange was a surprising lack of a hit bar or other artificial health indicator. Now, it’s entirely possible that Rare simply hasn’t gotten around to inserting those elements yet, but they have stated that they’re striving for realistic physics simulation. In my mind this opens up a really thrilling possibility (and it’s important to note that this is pure, wild speculation on my part): It’s entirely possible that in this game combat isn’t governed by artificial stats like armor or hit points. It’s possible that if you want to sink an enemy it will mean ACTUALLY GETTING TO SINK AN ENEMY. While that’s just my own personal guess later footage seems to hint I might be on to something: the clip shows the player’s ship listing hard to the side with water coming up over the bow, and GENUINE PANIC in the player’s voices as they frantically debate what to do.

Unfortunately that’s really all we know at this point. If you’re eager to take a peak you can try applying to the “Sea of Thieves Insider Program” (I’m trying to get in myself), which will reportedly grant you access to the studio’s alpha sessions. If you’re not one of those lucky few in the program then it looks like you’ll be left in the dark until much closer to release. Rare will probably (hopefully) release more gameplay footage in the coming months, so maybe soon we’ll know more details. In the meantime though I’m incredibly excited. I love ships, and it’s no secret that I love open world exploratory games. A “run your own ship with your friends” open world game like this is exactly the type of thing I’ve been dreaming of since MMO’s first started making big waves a couple decades ago. Part of me wants to temper my excitement and remember that what’s promised isn’t always what’s delivered (looking at you, No Man’s Sky), but with Rare at the helm it’s hard not to have confidence in the game’s success.

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!

Pokémon GO! The Wonders of Nature

Pokémon GO! The Wonders of Nature

Consider this. It’s a warm and beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. You want to get outside and do something but you aren’t sure what quite yet. You decide to hop on your bike and head to the park. You love the park, with all of its birds and trees and nature walks. It’s hard to find great places like this one in the city in which you live, so whenever you can, you go to the park. When you get there, you begin to tune into sounds and sights that you normally night not see if you weren’t paying attention. Once you’ve dialed in, you notice so many wonderful and natural things and begin to classify them in your brain. “Too bad there isn’t a video game for something like this,” you think to yourself. “If there was, I would play it all day!”.

Just when you thought that you would need to buy a virtual reality headset and pay tons of money in order to experience the outdoors like this, along comes Pokémon Go and it completely reshapes your world. Released in July 2016 and downloaded more than five million times in less than two months, this smartphone game is creating quite a buzz. I still remember playing Pokemon on my Gameboy when I was just a child. It’s incredible how this has now expanded on that phenomenon, the best-selling card game, and how this app treats its players to adventures in the outdoors.

Take your mobile device with you and root out and capture different species of Pokémon creatures and gain points and ranking as you do. There are about one hundred fifty-one different species in Pokémon Go. Some are easy to find and are very common and might take you no time at all to discover, while others are extremely difficult to find, leading you on a day’s journey just to find that one special little pocket monster.

It is said that one hundred forty-two of them are discoverable in the United States, three more in international regions, and six characters that, up to this point, have not yet been found. Imagine then, deciding to find those missing six characters. Imagine where you might go and what you might see. The possibilities are endless and the opportunity for travel is astounding.

Who would have thought that a little game like Pokémon Go could offer the player the tools to travel the world, classifying and categorizing various species of animals, just like scientists do, all over the planet? Now think about the way the different environments that are in play. Certain Pokémon characters only appear near lakes or rivers. Some only reside in the mountains or in forests. This inadvertently teaches players of biomes and natural habitats, which is amazing and educational at the same time. They also vary in terms of population, just like certain species that actually exist in the world, and sometimes one type of Pokémon character will evolve into another, mimicking evolution of the species on our planet! With all of this variety, imagine the places you’ll go to catch your wild Pokémon!

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on your chance to play this game. As much as we enjoy sitting at home playing Battlefield 1, this is a good chance to step outside and get some exercise in! Download Pokémon Go, pack a bag with some food and water and maybe a sweater, call a friend and get out there! Here’s some motivation before you step out into the wild for your own adventure –

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!

Our Thoughts on Resident Evil 7

Our Thoughts on Resident Evil 7

Resident evil 7: Biohazard is the latest installment of the franchise, published by Capcom. fans of the Resident evil Franchise were disappointed with Resident Evil 6 which was released four years ago. The series has lost it much taunted touch with its fanbase. However, with the latest release, Capcom hopes to prove you wrong and that the new numbered game in the series is more than just a return to form.

This is by far the most popular and commercially successful game of the franchise. It is the first installment of the franchise in which it is played from first person perspective. The game portrays an intimate horror with a tightly focused scope and all the traps you will expect from a survival game. No meaningless stuff like the horror of guiding a seemingly terrified character out of a waking nightmare into a safety.

The story of the RE7 revolves around protagonist Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife Mia, which leads him to a garden inhabited by the Baker family. Ethan makes use of weapons and tools in the fight against the murderous cannibals of evil creatures who are referred to as the moulded and the Baker family . The game is a departure of the action oriented and zombie outbreaks of the former series toward a larger emphasis on horror and exploration.

This time, our protagonist is Ethan Winters. Just a regular joe looking for his wife. This is quite a different approach as compared to previous Resident Evil titles. Another big change, and not just a change in the story or approach is how the game is now played in First Person Perspective. This makes such a huge difference to the gameplay and I honestly think that this is the one change that made the game into such a success. Having to navigate your way around the claustrophobic Baker house, traps, and not knowing what you could encounter around the next corner just makes RE7 such an amazing and immersive experience.

To take things even further, on the Playstation 4,  you can even play the game on a VR headset. Although this is quite a game changer considering the genre of the game being horror, many people find it less ideal. Citing issues with how the game isn’t compatible with VR, or motion sickness. Moving in the game while standing still in real life can be quite a disorienting experience. Certain visuals aspects in the game seem much darker and muddier in VR, which might affect gameplay negatively.

Capcom has acknowledged that these problems exist and that you might expect a fix to be coming sometime soon.  If you can get past all the minor inconveniences that come with playing with the VR set, you might actually enjoy the game in VR. If not for your entire playthrough, but just for novelty’s sake.

If you’re a horror game buff, give RE7 a shot. If you’re not, still give it a shot! It’s honestly not that scary, and pretty fun even for non-horror fans.

Well, if you’re too scared, here’s a short gameplay video so you can get an idea of what the game is like before you commit to a purchase. Don’t worry, this video doesn’t have any spoilers in it.

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!

Hitman 2016 – The Complete First Season

Hitman 2016 – The Complete First Season

Ok, I’ll admit to shedding a few tears when I finally finished Hitman: Absolution. I loved its non-linear gameplay, its twists and turns and manageable maps and characters. I spent a few days playing it exhaustively from start to finish and cheered myself on when I finally made my last kill. This was my first experience with the Hitman series and definitely was not going to be my last. I immediately found the first in the series, and just went from there, indulging my love of first-person shooter games and loving every minute of them. After a slight lapse in new episodes, IO Interactive finally released Hitman 2016: The Complete First Season. Square Enix definitely had the foresight to market this product exhaustively and their attention shifted to making this game available in both smartphone and tablet form, while IO Interactive set its sights on creating a less linear experience, with attention being paid to an open world sandbox concept and making it extremely interactive in terms of the different game playing environments. They even created and integrated new technology known as Glacier 2 rendering, which enhances the AI capabilities of the entire game itself. So, basically, IO Interactive took the time to refresh the Hitman series by updating some of the main features and making them seem new again.

Another wise choice was the decision to release each of the six “episodes” in monthly installments, thereby keeping us baited, one month at a time. Not only did it enable IO Interactive to continually update the game engine, thereby giving us the most up to date, a most deliberate effort so far in the entire series. It also allowed the developers to get continual feedback from the players as each one rolled out, enabling them to improve certain aspects of the game as the players tested them out. In addition to season one, as it is called, there were also bonus episodes offered after the others were distributed. Three, to be exact, know as “The Icon”, “A House Built on Sand” and “Holiday Hoarders”, all which provided three more missions and multiple experiences. That being said, each mission seems to get better and better, basically because IO Interactive had the patience and forethought to slowly release bits and pieces for public consumption. A genius idea if you ask me.

In my opinion, Hitman 2016 is a masterfully designed game, full of much non-linear gameplay. You can play the same mission fifteen times and never see or experience the same thing twice. There are multiple weapons, costumes, camera angles and strategies you can use every time, making for an exciting experience, no matter how many times you’ve played it. It really makes you feel as if you are 47, choosing your own adventure as you move through mission after mission, never experiencing the same thing twice and feeling many levels of exhilaration after the completion of each one.

In terms of episodic gaming, Hitman 2016 takes the cake. It is an intricate and difficult game to get through and it makes the player think long and hard before taking that shot or making that move. It’s AI style and detail-driven design makes for some of the best and most visually stimulating first-person shooter experiences on the market today. I’d definitely recommend you to try out this game if you haven’t already. You probably won’t regret it, and even if you do, feel free to blame me for it!

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!

Our Review of Final Fantasy XV

Our Review of Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV is yet another disappointment from Square Enix, who cannot seem to understand what the fans want from a Final Fantasy title. It’s almost funny – they nailed fan desires on the head with Bravely Default and came very close with Bravely Second, but Final Fantasy XV turns out to be a different beast. Unfortunately, the beast it turns out to be is not the one that Final Fantasy is known and beloved for.

In certain ways, they’ve certainly made an improvement. XV is an open world title, rather than the linear hallways that XIII was known for. This is a welcome and wanted a return to one beloved aspect of Final Fantasy. The glut of side quests and optional content, far outstripping the main story, is another aspect that fans will enjoy wholeheartedly. These things are not enough to save XV in the eyes of most Final Fantasy fans, sadly.

However, the story is sub-par, if we’re going to be generous. Final Fantasy is, or at least was, a franchise known above all for its powerful stories. These often revolved around unlikely, or seemingly unlikely, heroes who had the obligation of saving all from some existential threat. What is XV about? A prince and his eclectic collection of bodyguards saving his kingdom from his fiance’s father. The politics of war. Highways, gas stations, and diners.

As you can no doubt see, it’s rather a depressing departure. Rather than an existential threat to the world of annihilation or despotic tyranny, we will simply save a kingdom from an erstwhile ally. Rather than being an underdog or some unlikely hero with a hidden past, we are to play as a prince. Rather than existing in some high fantasy world with science fiction elements to a greater or lesser degree, we play in a world that, save for monsters and a few other elements, is very like the real one. We see cars and gas stations, talk to people in diners, and then leave to fight monsters.

All of this is yet another disappointment from the once kings of the JRPG genre. Square Enix has demonstrated they understand what we want, and that they are still quite capable of it with the Bravely franchise. Why they persist on using the Final Fantasy name, the name of their premier product, as their experimentation space, burning fans time and time again, while they do ‘the right thing’ with a second tier name, is unknown and bizarre.

It seems that we’ll have to relegate Final Fantasy’s greatness to memory, friends. There are always other companies and other franchises looking to edge into the JRPG market, which at the moment seems to be very promising to us.

Indeed, one possible challenger was released just in February of 2017. Nioh was developed by Team Ninja, and published by Koei Tecmo inside Japan and Sony Interactive Entertainment outside Japan. It’s an action RPG, so hardly a heir to Final Fantasy’s turn-based glory of old, but for what it is it seems to be excellent. It’s been compared most often to Dark Souls, another no-name franchise that turned out to be a fan favorite, just like Final Fantasy once was. Look forward to our Nioh review, friends!

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!

A Brief Review Of Battlefield 1

A Brief Review Of Battlefield 1

A Respectful Homage To The First World War

Battlefield 1 is actually a military shooting masterpiece which was created by EA DICE. It transforms the extensive battlefields of World War I into an amazing and rewarding shooter which challenges gamers in ways that have been mostly lacking from the FPS genre for decades.

For individuals who have no idea, World War I had been fought between 1914 and 1918, and its ending was the deadliest battle in the history of mankind, with more than 17 million dead. The war was actually fought between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers, and there were more than 20 countries involved between the 2 sides.

Somehow, DICE was able to capture most of these facets masterfully. This game features a variety of maps, which range from dug out ditches to desert villages to mountainous hills. It’s a remarkable spread of destinations, and each spot feels and plays in a different way.

Superbly Immersive

No building on Battlefield 1 is secure. A gamer may think that the windmill which they observe is actually a hearty fortification, but then find out that it is a tank shell or perhaps an explosive mortar to completely destroy the building. The same will also apply to sand bags and most of the trench fortifications. Nevertheless, an explosion which sends fumes, as well as debris flying, does not only destroy, but also reshapes. The walls of the aforesaid windmill might now produce a rubble pile at the bottom of the building, offering a different kind of cover for all those on the ground. The colors of light are likewise outstanding, as fog, dirt, gas, fumes, and other things can significantly alter the look of a battle.

You will find as many as 7 game modes being offered. 5 are standard multiplayer modes (Conquest, War Pigeon, Team Death Match, Rush, and Domination). The 6th mode is Operations, the very best of all the multiplayer modes. The Operation features 2 maps, and in case the assailants take all the objectives in the 1st, then this game will move to the 2nd map. In case both these maps are taken, the assailants win, however, if the defenders manage to hold them off, they win. If the assailants fall short, they get one more chance – this time, strengthened by a Behemoth. In case the attackers are unsuccessful 3 times, the defenders will win.

Great Design

The gameplay is excellent. Every single gun feels unique, and more than half the weapons are bolt-action or semi-automatic, although 3 of the 4 classes have automatic options obtainable. Assault has got the most effective anti-tank weapon, Support features mortars as well as ammo, Medic can revive as well as heal, whilst Snipers obtain gear for spotting and armaments with high range optics.

Included in the graceful gunplay are armored vehicles, tanks, biplanes, behemoths, and horses. While unique in design, many of these work just like the earlier battlefield games. Behemoths are giant weapons which one side may use to reshape a conflict. The Dreadnaught features a number of heavy artillery cannons which can demolish any structure. The Armored Train has got just one artillery cannon as well as heavy machine guns. All of these have different pros and cons, and all can be demolished. Nevertheless, when employed successfully, a Behemoth will be able to swing an Operation or Conquest in favor of the group operating it.

Conclusively

In general, it is among the best Battlefield video games ever made. It features a meaningful (although undoubtedly short) single player campaign. It has got a lot of multiplayer modes, and 9 diverse maps. Even though there is not really as much customization as in the earlier games, the fantastic gameplay ought to more than make up for the shortcoming to fully customize a weapon. Battlefield 1 was definitely a blast for us to play and review. It’s one of the most epic first person shooters ever published. DICE really outdid themselves on this one.

Graduated from MIT with 2nd class honours. I play games during my free time to de-stress. I also do some writing here and there. Hope you enjoy my articles!