Review Ratchet & Clank

Written by Twisted Ideas

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Ratchet & Clank has been in a weird limbo for a few years now. A Crack in Time was intended to be the final chapter in the duo’s story but we kept on getting games. All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault were spin-off games, Into the Nexus was a shorter game that felt more like an epilogue than a full game and they have been in cameos and characters in several other games. To help promote the upcoming movie at the end of April, the original Ratchet & Clank has been remade and it is the team’s first game on the PlayStation 4. With a few changes to the game’s plot and structure, does Ratchet & Clank stand tall in this next generation of gaming?

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Preview The Division Open Beta – First Impressions

Written by Twisted Ideas

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The Division is a game that I’ve been hearing about for years and it still has yet to release. I had little interest in the game prior to the open beta that appeared on the PlayStation Store earlier this week but I decided to give it a try. I did all of the story missions available to me and I leveled up enough to get into the Dark Zone, online portion of the game and my big questions is, what’s everyone so excited about?

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News Fallout 4 DLC announced

Written by Twisted Ideas

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Have you had your fill of Fallout 4 yet? Probably not but Bethesda finally announced the first run of DLC for our favorite wasteland game. Automatron will retail for $9.99 on March, 2016. Wasteland Workshop will retail for $4.99 on April, 2016 and the largest DLC, Far Harbour will retail for $24.99 on May 2016. Bethesda has expanded on their original plans for their DLC therefore their Season Pass will increase in price. However if you buy the Season Pass before March 1 you will receive the announced and future DLC planned for release in 2016. If you’re at all interested in getting more Fallout then it’s in your best interest to buy the Season Pass to save yourself a lot of money, or you could wait for a Game of the Year Edition, whenever that will come out.

Source: https://bethesda.net/#en/events/game/fallout-4-add-ons-automatron-wasteland-workshop-far-harbor-and-more/2016/02/16/77

Trailers Trailers from Last Week – 1/31/2016 – Things are looking good

Written by Twisted Ideas

King of Fighters XIV has gone back to the 3D visual style, not seen since Maximum Impact. The series has always been known for its 2D graphics and the hand drawn look from XII and XIII stood out from the top fighting games. The 3D graphics have been coming under some backlash but they have been slowly refining the visuals. When this game is released, hopefully it becomes visually appealing and more approachable gameplay wise.

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Review Xenoblade Chronicles X

Written by Twisted Ideas

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Xenoblade Chronicles X was Nintendo’s highest profile third-party game for 2015. Visually stunning for the system and stood out from the crowd in the triple A gaming circles. It is technically a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles the same way that it was apart of the Xeno series but does not follow its story. It’s a sci-fi story of epic proportions but is Xenoblade Chronicles X a pillar for the Wii U’s limited library.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Developer: Monolith Soft

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Wii U

What is it about?

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Earth is on a losing battle against the Ganglion invasion. As a final gambit, Earth’s governments evacuates the planet on numerous space stations in hopes of survival. The only known survival are those on New Los Angeles who have crash landed on the planet Mira, after fending off a Ganglion assault. Humanity needs to integrate the planets locals, protect themselves against its hostilities and prepare themselves against another Ganglion attack.

How does it play?

Xenoblade Chronicles X is an open world JRPG with combat mechanics similar to MMORPGs.

Mira is a massive world, divided into several regions with a variety of wildlife and dangers. Enemies can either be passive until provoked or hostile on sight. High and low leveled enemies are scattered regions and strong enemies can disrupt fights if they’re too close. Powerful enemies occasionally used to gate off areas and make exploration difficult because you’re typically able to beat anything too high beyond your level.

The game has three main types of missions: Story missions, affinity missions and side missions. Story missions will progress the game, unlocking new missions every chapter. Affinity missions revolve around your companions, requiring your relationship to be high enough to undertake. Side missions vary from hunting/gathering or small stories regarding the locals of NLA.

You are tasked with installed probes throughout Mira for valuable intel. Probes reveal a portion of the map on your FrontierNav and minimap, as well as creating Fast Travel points. Probe sites are the primary source of credits (income) and miranium (upgrade resource). Basic probes are initially installed but they can be replaced with research and mining probes for focused returns and combat related probes that give bonuses throughout the region.

Characters can equip a firearm and melee weapon along with armor. Equipment with open slots can equip augments to add passive effects to them. Your class influences the arts (combat abilities) and skills (buffs) you learn. Arts are your main source of damage. Classes provide arts that work well together in combos for even great damage. All arts have a cooldown after use as well as a secondary cooldown after it’s ready to use for a powerful bonus. Characters will periodically attack with their equipped weapon and will earn TP. 1000 TP is used by certain arts and 3000 TP is used to revive characters and to trigger overdrive. Overdrive buffs your character, greatly reduces cooldown and unlocking tertiary cooldown bonuses for arts.

Soul Voice is a mechanic that provides buffs to your party and is the main source of healing during combat. Certain combat action will sometimes trigger a Soul Challenge QTE. A large orange ring will enclose on a icon. Successful Soul Challenges will provide a buff based on how you customized your Soul Voices. Soul Challenge get faster the more are seen in a battle.

Midway through the story, you can earn a skell license. Skells are powerful, personalized combat mechs. Skells have separate gear and aren’t affected by most augments equipped on the pilot. Skell weapons also have their own arts. Skells require fuel for combat and flight. If you run out of fuel then you can only use normal attacks. You can refuel by exiting the skell or by spending a refuel item or miranium. If a skell’s health reach zero then it’s destroyed. Skells have insurance points that can replace them but if you run out then you have to pay a high price if you want it back.

There is an online component. You can join players online and participate in short missions, offer equipment drops for sale to other players and complete squad missions for reward tickets. You also earn daily division reward items which are the only source of consumable items in the game.

How does it look?

The design of Mira and its creature is incredible. Much like the prior game, Xenoblade Chronicles X make a massive, varied world unlike most open world games. Mira is populated with wildlife so you can’t go far without seeing something. Each region is varied and has distinguishable terrain so you never get too lost when you’re not viewing the map.

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The graphics aren’t the best even on hardware comparable to the Wii U. The game looks dated but the visual design makes up for the hardware limitations. The real sticking issue is the lack of options when customizing your main character. It’s really sad.

What’s great about the visuals are that every piece of gear is visible on your party. You can’t color gear anymore, other than skells but you can equip equipment as fashion gear. You get to keep the look you want and still equip the best gear for your character.

How does it sound?

The soundtrack is well composed and varied. There are a lot of genres that you wouldn’t expect from a sci-fi game. You have techno rock, orchestral themes but also stuff like hip-hop and very causal themes too. Some tracks have great vocals too.

The voice acting is typical but effective. There isn’t any bad voice acting but the speech patterns for some of the alien races will seem odd. It gives them characters though because of their speech patterns and distortion. It is odd when you do see some races that speak like normal humans though.

They developers didn’t even try to lip-sync the dialogue to the Japanese mouth movements. It would be very time-consuming and the written dialogue is good enough but the lack of effort is sometimes comical.

What do I think?

Xenoblade Chronicles X is fun and addicted but can be hard to crack and get into. There’s a lot of mechanics to learn and the game’s is anything but elegant at teaching you. You can get by, learning as you go and still enjoy the combat, exploration and completing missions. The biggest gripe with the game is how bad the tutorials are how vague some mission objects are.

The tutorials give you too much information too early. The in-game manual is a great reference tool but clunky to use. Most missions are straightforward but the fetch quests are not. The descriptions for gathering/hunting missions rarely narrows down the target beyond the massive region. The vagueness and the random nature of item collection can leave you stuck on missions for much longer than you would believe. It’s even harder when high level enemies detour you from somewhere you want to explore.

The story has better setup than plot. The revelations leave more questions than answers and their timing leaves little done with them. There’s no real reason that your party is kept in the dark about these revelations. The game doesn’t even build up to these moments well either, it’s mainly just shock value. The affinity and side missions contrast the seriousness of the plot, sometimes to a bizarre degree. The citizens of NLA are rather carefree. They are more concerned about their livelihoods than contributing to the immediate concerns for humanity. There’s also a lot of internal conflict among the humans as there is a lot of corruption and violence against other species and even humans.

The combat system is similar to some MMORPGs. Arts have cooldown time and there’s a plethora of stats, gear and classes to build your characters. The combat may seem dull at first glance but there’s a lot of depth once you figure it out. There’s little strategy during combat because most of it is handled outside of battle with your character build. Execution does come into play but without a good setup, fights can go long even with large level gaps against enemies because the health is so high.

Skells are my favorite aspect of the game. You’re basically a Gundam, wiping out monsters that seemed unbeatable on foot. The flight module lets you see the world in a new light. You’ll discover parts of Mira that you probably never noticed before. The upkeep is annoying but bearable if you choose your battles wisely.

Should you get it?

Xenoblade Chronicles X is a standout title for the Wii U. It has a larger scope than most games on console and manages it on inferior hardware. The game may feel outdated gameplay-wise and it doesn’t do a great job teaching you how to play but once you get comfortable then you will have a hard time putting it down. It looks stunning in its design and hopefully a sequel will bring the series to greater heights.

Article Life is Strange – Limited Edition

Written by Twisted Ideas

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The physical version of Life is Strange was released this week. It comes with the game, 32 page art book and soundtrack, featuring 22 tracks. The art book is done with the same artistic personality as Max’s diary in the game. It’s very much like a scrapbook. The concept art are displayed as photographs taped into the book and the negative space is filled with great doodles and artwork that you may recognize from Max’s diary. The soundtrack has the fantastic indie songs from the game plus the original score. Many of the songs are fantastic but a couple of the original songs are just incidental music. They’re songs that suit the mood of the game rather than being on your music player but that’s the case with most video game soundtracks. There is a commentary that will be available for everyone who purchased either version of the game. Unfortunately, the commentary is absent from the physical version and of the time of writing should be available within the week of release.

The Life is Strange Limited Edition is one of the better standard collections editions I’ve bought; and by standard I really just mean one’s that really don’t raise the price of the game, (though more expensive than the digital and what Telltale sells at retail). There several special editions that I’ve gotten in the past that really feel like cheap pre-order bonuses with the amount of content is skimped on in the art books and soundtracks. Kirby’s Dream Collection is really the only standard special edition that I have that really matches the quality of this because it has 20 years of history to pull from. There’s so much personality put into this and other companies should strive to put more into these bundles. If you still haven’t played Life is Strange you should. It’s a powerful story and if you can find the limited edition then you’re in for an extra treat.

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Article Team Shy Guys’ Top Ten games of 2015

Written by Twisted Ideas

2015 has been a great year in gaming. There have been a strong showing from long awaited sequels, anticipated games that lived up to their hype and some surprise breakouts from new IP’s. While I haven’t reviewed all of these games throughout the year and the last few months of 2015 have been busy for me in the writing department, I have played and thoroughly enjoyed these games.

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News Nintendo Direct 11.12.2015 – Games, updates and a new challenger

Written by Twisted Ideas

As stated this is the first Nintendo Direct since the passing of Satoru Iwata President and CEO of Nintendo. This Nintendo Direct marks off the end of this year and the first half of next year with a strong and health lineup of new games, sequels, remakes, amiibos and surprises. Love them or hate them, there’s something here for everyone.

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Trailers Trailers From Last Week – 11/8/2015 What are you doing with those mushrooms?

Written by Twisted Ideas

With Fallout 4 releasing in a few days and this game is looking big and better than ever. Not much more needs to be said. Fallout is a great series and I have high hopes that Fallout 4’s ambition will have it stand alongside its peers as a game of the year contender.

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