Crystal Dynamic’s Marvel’s Avengers is Not Doing Well

Marvel's Avengers

Marvel’s Avengers has been on the spotlight after critics found significant issues. A look at Crystal Dynamic’s efforts and Betsoft online casino offers.

Marvel’s Avengers Need to do a Lot Of Updates to Keep Fans at Bay

Marvel’s Avengers was released a couple of months ago but even as the videogame had a great start in terms of sales, it didn’t live up to its hype. We have already seen so many live service games fall into this trap of poor launches and unfortunately, The Avengers is one such game. There’s still a lot to enjoy about the game like a decent campaign and combat sequences, but the number of drawbacks in the game outweighs its perks. Here, we’ll be looking at some of the greatest issues players and fans have had with Avengers since its launch, hoping Crystal Dynamics will continue giving updates and fixes to some redundant bugs.

The Crystal Dynamics Effect

Avengers die-hards should not lose hope as their software provider Crystal Dynamics is on course to make changes. Of course, they did a shoddy job in releasing the game with bugs, but we have to keep in mind that most of its staff were working from home and it was not a regular drill. Also, Crystal Dynamics released its first update just a few weeks after critics aired their views. Their promptness is more like Betsoft, a software developer for online casino games.

Betsoft Online Casino Offers

In a strict gambling realm, Betsoft must deal with bugs and constantly release regular updates. And, though not as much as video gaming, the consequences of not fixing bugs in casino games like slots are much more catastrophic. That’s because gambling fans need to be pampered with incentives to remain loyal to any online casino. Luckily, there are awesome offers including no deposit bonus codes from many operators.

The Loot

The current loop experience in Marvel’s Avengers is not what every gamer would expect. The first issue we realized is that simply running towards the glowing loot doesn’t automatically pick it up. Instead, you have to stop and stand there for a while to acquire it. Making the loop accessible by constantly moving past it makes the gameplay much smoother. It makes it easy to pick up loot while in combat without fear of getting hit.

While the current loot model may not affect huge characters like Hulk, it is disadvantageous for players like Black Widow who are always in constant motion and will be hindered in case they stall for loot.

Work on Square Enix Account Registration

When you first open Marvel’s Avengers for the first time, there’s swelling music that plays for a few seconds and then you’re prompted to a screen asking you to register a Square Enix account before continuing. There’s no shortcut to this option and the drawback comes in when the Square Enix website has issues. During the second beta weekend, players got stuck in this option as there was too much traffic and other hitches on the Square Enix account registration website.

While we understand the need to have an account, placing it at the beginning of the game makes it a lot more hectic if not selfish. The developers would place it somewhere in the game and make it optional with a twist. For instance, they could offer bonuses or extra points for accounts creation. Forcing players to create an account even before the first instance of gameplay is somewhat punishing.

Characters a Little Bit Off

There’s a lot to ponder on in terms of what Crystal Dynamics did during character creation and their roles as compared to the cinema version. Kamala Khan (Thor), for instance, is a standalone character and there are a few areas that don’t add up as well. Thor seems to be underutilized in this release. First, he comes way after the game has started and even after appearing, he doesn’t put on much of a show. There are no personal stakes in the story with Thor and it seems the game’s focus isn’t on him. Thor looks like an unnecessary character at this stage.

Iron Man is also not very well portrayed in the game, something so many players have noticed. He seems to be the one always ranting one-liners and not too much in the action. The developers might have tried too hard to make him sound like Iron Man, consequently overlooking his role in the game.

The enemy design is not what you’d ideally expect in a game like Avengers. There are about 9 to 10 main types of enemies that differ from each other significantly. Technically, the change is not very significant. The enemies are all some sort of androids or bots and the minor variations are seen during combat mode. After several rounds of fighting, you will notice a cycle of redundancy.

Gameplay After Missions

When you complete a mission’s objective, the gameplay at Marvel’s Avengers immediately stops. Characters stop to function and no mo fights take place. In this era, a little wiggle room for gamers is key. It adds the sense of completion and if the game just stops immediately when an objective is complete, there’s something lost. If you were to pick up loot and finish your objective before the loot, the game stops and there is no satisfaction in that loot pickup.

We’d prefer some more time once the player kills all the enemies but has loot to pick up. Marvel’s Avengers might have added a few extra seconds of play to allow players to pick up the remaining loots before the timer counts to zero. But still, they’ll have to specify whether the loot gathered will be added to the post-mission or lost completely.

Load times and a Lagging Frame Rate

It’s been a while since we experienced such a boggish game launch in terms of optimization. The number of technical issues in Marvel’s Avengers really had our mouths open. The frame rate is probably the most annoying issue and tanks hard when multiple characters are on display. But at the same time, it is understandable with regards to the massive particle effects and on-screen buttons constantly on display. More so if they are played on consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) that have outdated hardware. It is still something that can get out of hand a lot more often than expected.

The next generation of consoles promise no loading times, at least as the developers put it. But in the meantime, there are lots of breaks when you pay Avengers. Expect to wait while loading into missions, restarting checkpoints, or going back to hub areas. It is annoying when you’ve already gotten the gist of its gameplay and experiencing its other issues as well.

Crystal Dynamics Recent Updates

Anyways, the latest update from Crystal Dynamics falls short a little bit, but the rate at which they get released gives gamers more hope. They have included a “Tachyon Thrift Missions,” which does very little at changing the game per se. The only difference in this update is the venue and a limited time during gameplay Otherwise, there are the same characters and old tricks in that mission. The SHIELD Substation Zero Outpost is no different.

Perhaps the significant outcomes of this game update include:

  • More improved gear for long missions
  • Better gear stats
  • Smoother movement in hub areas, quality life adjustments and an overall streamlined experience

We hope the rate at which the software developer releases updates is quick and finally makes players enjoy the game more. That’s because the current Avengers is not good enough to keep players going on and on. The releases should focus on keeping them glued up to the final completion of the story mission.

We have already seen other games successfully bring updates that make the gameplay better and more enjoyable as well. “Ghost of Tsushima” started as a single-player game but its recent update added a multiplayer option and was free as well. “Hades” and “Genshin Impact” have also made significant changes that made the game more appealing to players. We hope Marvel’s Avengers wouldn’t go down the road EA’s “Anthem” took when it was released.

All in all, Marvel’s Avengers does a lot right. Each of its superheroes is unique and powerful in their own way. There’s still a lot to discover as the game has several milestones to be in a gamer’s wishlist. Overall, the Avengers release seems to be still more inclined as a live service, which prevents developers like Crystal Dynamics from creating a compelling narrative. The game-as-a-service makes sense financially for Marvel’s latest release, but it fails to catch the nitty of gameplay. There are lots of bugs we haven’t still mentioned and only a solid update(s) will save the Avengers from going the same road as “Anthem”. The developer’s at “Anthem” had a lack of playable content, making it one of the industry’s worst live game service launches in the year.

Hitman 3 Final Chapter: Mark January 2021 On Your Calendars

Hitman 3

We got introduced to the secret world of assassins in the first Hitman games, which also gained screen treatment through the movie of the same title. Timothy Olyphant was superb in his portrayal of the nameless assassin, well backed up by the seemingly helpless damsel in distress character of Olga Kurylenko. In the gaming universe, the story of Agent 47 comes full circle, as Hitman 3 is set to arrive in January 2021.

Last Patch Arriving for Hitman 2

In a report dated November 2019, the series’ predecessor — Hitman 2 — received its final patch on the November update. That was some months ago. Since then, Hitman 3 has been the focus of the developers. It is also a confirmation of what IO said was a ‘trilogy’ of games that followed Agent 47’s travel.

At this point, Hitman 3 will be launching after the arrival of next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. During the time the last few major patches for Hitman 2 was released, it was still in development — or the middle of development, as it appears. The speculations look correct, as it would be releasing in early 2021.

Agent 47 Comes Full Circle

The journey that Agent 47 started in the first Hitman outing will finally conclude in Hitman 3. Here, the world of assassination will once again welcome the enigmatic assassin. As always, the stakes are high, and 47’s contracts are never simple. It will take him around the world, always looking dapper and dashing in his preferred suit.

This time, Agent 47 has an extra hand from his agency handler, Diana Burnwood, as well as his long-lost friend, Lucas Grey. Their mission will be to eliminate the partners of Providence, but — as with all games in the genre — things turn sour on the way to their prey. Agent 47 will be thrust in unfamiliar territory and find himself trying to adjust as the situation develops.

Watch The World Come Alive

The locations in the Hitman saga have always been luxurious. Some have also been exotic and packed with high stakes action. You take control of Agent 47 as he tries to explore these masterfully rendered locations and follow clues and pointers toward where the Agent must eliminate targets. Part of the fun is in the planning and execution of these assassinations. You can choose to disguise yourself or create little accidents, no matter how you see it fit.

It is in attention to these details that the game is truly appreciated. Blend in with the crowds, anonymous, and watch your plan unfold. You could also interact with other characters on the path to your ultimate goal. From these decisions, you could watch your plan unfold in glorious 4k – or see it burn down to the ground. You can also watch as the world reacts to everything you do, thanks to the award-winning Glacier technology by IO.

The Finale Comes After A Long Wait

Long-time fans of the franchise will get a feeling of delight in knowing that they can choose whichever way they want to play the assassin — sleek and sophisticated or bumbling and clumsy. Exploration and interaction are huge parts in this gameplay, rewarding players who have that extra streak of curiosity and insight in succeeding re-plays of the game. The game rewards players who immerse themselves in the world of assassination.

Players will also find it fascinating that the series allows for continuation, even from other games. Hitman 3 will allow those who have played and finished Hitman 2 to carry over their character progression as well as discovered locations into the game. With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X boasting playability from the very first games in their series, the upcoming game will be able to receive content from the very first game up to the second.

IO Interactive will develop the last game in the franchise. The developers felt it was a natural choice for Hitman 3 to come directly from them to the players who have followed Agent 47 from the start. They also stated that they felt ready for the challenge and will look forward to completing the journey with the players and the entire community alongside them.

The game’s launch is in January 2021 for the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. In the meantime, there are other free PC games available for players who can’t wait to put their trigger finger to the test.

 

About Author: Jonathan J Kingston is a video game enthusiast, gamer, and a veteran video game news writer for Games.lol. He spends his free time hunting for free game sites and testing their reliability. 

Advance research build up games with the combine technology of cross platform

cross platforming

The modern-day entertainment industry has become more exciting through online games. The latest update of technologies captured everyone’s homes and made many of them busy online to play matches. Immensely, in recent years technology has aided people a lot in getting connected to the internet through different devices. With the advent of smartphones and the development of gaming in mobile phones, people have found another platform and PCs and consoles. Also, people tend to connect easily to different venues and various genres of games. With cloud computing, gaming across multiple platforms has become quite convenient and, most importantly, possible.

Social media integration has made gaming even more flexible and easily accessible to people. So, gaming has taken a diversion to other platforms too. More and more players have gained much exposure to different games. Every time a game gets introduced in the market, players check out on their mobile phones and share the news with friends in gaming communities. The exposure they get to games keeps them entertained all time. Players are now able to play games on their mobile phones at any time. It has also reduced the entertainment cost for them as they do not have to spend too much on games and consoles. Many games update made them readily available on cross platforms allowing players to have fun with all kinds of games. Players also visit different online casinos for betting and playing games.

Communities in Gaming Industry

Communities in Gaming Industry

Gaming providers have made gaming easier for players with much advancement. From buying consoles for different games to playing several games on all devices, the growth has given people high excitement levels. Now, providers always focus only on developing games that are available on all latest and best consoles. Gaming communities have gone high in numbers with more people following different games of their choice. Also, social media has made different communities interact with one another. So, a game lover in one part of the world interacts with players in other parts of the world. The fan base for games keeps growing, and communities gain much strength. Also, with many games with the option to be played only against other players, this has gained much popularity. Players in the communities chat with other players when they play. The entertainment is worldwide, and players get actively involved in gaming. Players focus more on games than consoles, and gaming developers consider this an option to build communities through their games.

Gaming Perspective Through Cross Platform Play

Google and Apple have set the trend in the business market and keep growing in all technology sectors. Gaming is one area where they started recently, and with cross platform play, more and more games will recently launch. Just like people check out online casino games for entertainment and money-making, playing games in their smartphones has become quite familiar everywhere. When buying a smartphone, many people look at the support of gaming before other features. With games limited in specific locations, certain limitations will be found online in the future. The industry is going to be more competitive with games from different providers and also various platforms. The current gaming age gives much flexibility to players to play any game of their choice anytime from anywhere. Players keep switching between smartphones and smart TVs to play games. And, most importantly, games that suit people of all ages are available. Similarly, victims of the day entertain people of all age groups. So, people keep their fingers crossed to see what better and better every year in the technology and gaming industry.

Cross Platform Gaming and Online Casinos

Cross-platform gaming has given a significant edge for gamblers in many ways. With online casinos featuring a wide selection of games and betting options, this platform is extremely convenient. Gaming providers offer new games accessible to people in all kinds of devices they have, including PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Casinos have multiplayer tournaments and competitions in various genres that draw the attention of players. Casinos have brought together the gaming industry and different communities together. It has set an option for many gamblers to gain proper knowledge and exposure not to lose money. Technology has come up with the best connection with casinos. And, casinos that provide quality games and best features hold an excellent reputation. Although many casino games are in existence for more than a century, the variety with online casino gaming has given it better colors. More than just entertainment and fun, casinos are enormous platforms for online betting. The only drawback is that casinos are illegally all parts of the world. Responsible gaming and gambling are what people get to know through casinos and online communities.

Cross-Platform Gaming and Online Casinos

Benefits of Cross-Platform Gaming

With lots and lots of people into online gaming, players wish to interact with one another. Players also prefer to have continuous gameplay when they switch across platforms. With cross-platform gaming, players can easily switch from one platform to another as there is network libraries’ support. Also, when players have the dream to play different games in different media, they make it a reality. Also, they can communicate across platforms and enjoy games. It promotes stability among player bases, which is very important in many games. Many players can play at the same time and together as they wish. It is beneficial in online betting as well, and gamblers find this option completely advantageous. They acquire much knowledge and exposure, which helps them generate huge profits through the deposits they make in games and money they spend on bets.

Games in recent times have, without any doubt, created a considerable difference in cross-platform gaming. Regardless of the cons that this form of gaming faces, it is expected that industry leaders in gaming focus on reliability, security, and even better entertainment. In the coming years, even a better standard of gaming across multiple platforms would be a reality.

Five Awesome Mobile Games You Should Try Out

The popularity, and processing power of smartphones gave rise to “mobile gaming”. It is a term pertaining to video games that can be played on mobile devices, particularly the smartphone. The idea of being able to play games as a means to pass the time while on-the-go without having to bring another bulky device garnered the attention of both the old, and new generation of gamers.

Soon after, a plethora of games became available on mobile devices. Millions of both free-to-play and pay-to-play applications are available on every respective mobile device’s store application. Of course, behind the millions of games available are diamonds in the rough, glistening gemstones that separate themselves from the rest. And if you’re wondering what they are, then here are five awesome mobile games you should definitely try out.

  1. Gacha Life

Gacha Life Mobile Games 

Gacha Life is a casual 2D single player offline game developed by Lunime Games that offers great character customization, and a wide array of selections. You can also create scenes using the game’s Studio mode, where you can pose your characters, and share it on social media. And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, the game’s Life mode allows you to interact with other characters in-game. If you are into anime, and want a casual, slice-of-life offline game while you’re on the go, then you might want to take a look.

  1. Plants Vs. Zombies 2

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Plants vs. Zombies took the world by storm when it was released for the Windows PC, and MAC OS back in 2009. Developed by PopCap Games, it’s cute, cartoonish graphics, as well as its challenging, fast-paced gameplay earned the love of many players worldwide.

Now the popular tower defense game’s sequel is out on all Android and iOS devices as  free-to-play. You can now experience what made this game a hit, with additional features that you’ll only experience in the mobile device version, such as a completely new story, new “lawn” designs, and power-up consumables. If you’re a fan of the original PvZ game, then maybe you should try this out.

  1. Forge of Empires

Forge of Empires Mobile Games

If you’re into real-time strategy games, then you might want to feast your eyes on Forge of Empires. It’s a strategy game developed by InnoGames, and offers a unique take on RTS games. Forge of Empires allows you to grow your army, and empire throughout various timelines in human history, starting from the Stone Age.

The game is also an online RTS game, which means you get to test your strategic skills against other players in the game. Forge of Empires is a perfect game for players who love a good conquest, and a battle of wits. 

  1. Honkai Impact 3rd

Honkai Impact 3rd

 Fans of Japanese-style 3D action role-playing (RPG) games are in for a treat, as Honkai Impact 3rd combines all the elements of button-mashing action RPG, 3D graphics, and mobile gameplay. The game was developed by miHoYo, and it’s the third installment of the Honkaiseries.

Fans of the series may be able to familiarize themselves with the various characters available to play. Each of those characters has different abilities. The game is popular for combining multiple elements present in different gaming genres such as bullet hell, platforming, and dungeon crawling. If you’re into pure 3D action-packed RPG games, the likes of Devil May Cry, then you could give Honkai Impact 3rd a shot. The game is available on both Android, andiOS. 

  1. Mobile Legends

Mobile Legends 

Anyone who has been playing mobile games for a while has probably heard of Mobile Legends. Mobile legends is a free-to-play mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Moonton. Your goal is to fight an opposing team of five heroes, with the goal of destroying their main base in order to win.

You can choose from a wide selection of heroes, all with unique skins, and abilities. In addition to its classic MOBA gameplay, there are other modes as well such as an Auto-Chess mode, and Survival mode. The game also offers an easy-to-learn interface on top of its fast-paced battle system. Mobile Legends have garnered over 100 million downloads on mobile store apps, and have been at the center of various Esports events. So you should definitely check this out.

There are still many mobile games out there in both the Google Play Store, and Apple App Store, and the library is only going to get bigger. As the quest for creating great mobile games still continues. But for those looking to see what’s awesome in the mobile gaming industry now, then maybe, you should try these games out.

 

 

About Author: Paolo is an avid gamer, particular to the action RPG genre. His favorite games are the Dark Souls franchise, Shin MegamiTensei series, Devil May Cry, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. He also manages a gaming FB page titled Pandasal’s Bamboo Forest.

Top 5 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mods to enhance your playthrough

Skyrim

First released back in 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has become one of gaming’s cult RPGs. This is largely due to its incredible modding scene that has greatly enhanced the game’s replayability. Thanks to these mods, every playthrough can offer something brand new.

However, with so many available it can be easy to install second-rate or even game-breaking mods. Many are poorly balanced, unoptimized, or even don’t function as a basic level. I’m here to tell which 5 mods I think are the best for a regular, lore accurate playthrough. That means no gun mods, nothing ridiculously overpowered, and no Thomas the Tank Engine.

Agility (WIP)

Agility (WIP) SkyrimAnyone familiar with Morrowind and Oblivion should know just how fun the Acrobatics skill used to be. Essentially, your movement was greatly limited in older Elder Scrolls games until you levelled up Acrobatics. Unfortunately, in Skyrim, this system was replaced by stamina and a sprint function.

The Agility mod switches out the Sneak skill with Agility, a skill tree focused on providing mobility options. By investing skill points into this tree, you can gain various benefits. Increased movement speed, reduced fall damage, faster stamina regeneration, and increased jumping height to name a few.

I like this mod as it allows you to explore Skyrim quickly without having to overly rely on transport. Instead of taking a carriage across half the map, you can do it the old-fashioned way without wasting too much time. It lets you see more of the world early on. The only caveat is that some dungeons are not designed with this skill in mind. The increased jump height especially can be a little unbalanced in this regard.

A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map – With Roads

A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map – With RoadsSkyrim’s default map is not good. It’s an ugly mess of undetailed textures and, frankly, doesn’t do a great job of telling you where you can and can’t go. The biggest problem by far is its lack of visible roads by default. How are you supposed to plan navigation when the map does not even tell you where the roads are?

Fortunately, there’s a fantastic quality of life mod that fixes this. The not so creatively named A Quality World Map does exactly what it says. It swaps out Skyrim’s bland default map for a higher quality one, with roads! This isn’t a flashy mod but will quickly become one you can’t live without once you’ve used it once. Even if you were planning to play vanilla Skyrim, I highly recommend this as it purely improves your experience with no significant drawbacks.

SkyUI

SkyUI SkyrimWhilst we’re on the topic of quality of life mods, few do a better job than SkyUI. SkyUI is a Skyrim mod that completely overhauls all user interface elements in The Elder Scrolls V. You might not have noticed if playing casually, but Skyrim’s menus are not overly well designed.

The inventory in particular just screams “I was designed for a controller, not a keyboard and mouse,” and even then I’d hardly call it easy to navigate with a gamepad. On top of improving general usability, SkyUI stretches out the user interface to use all your screen.

Perhaps the most slept on improvement this mod makes is how it simplifies every item menu. Whilst the default Skyrim UI can only show a handful of items at once, SkyUI can show off most of your inventory on one screen. This is because all of the unnecessary flashy visuals have been replaced by easy to follow design choices. Just like A Quality Map, this is a must-have for even a regular Skyrim playthrough.

The Forgotten City

The Forgotten CityBut what if you’re looking for more than just mere improvements? Of course, it’s nice to have existing content improved, but the biggest mods do more than that. They go the extra mile and add brand new missions and areas to complete and explore.

Of these mods, I think The Forgotten City is the most polished and interesting mod available. The Forgotten City is a story of betrayal and tyranny as a small community is forced to obey the commandments. Failure to do so will result in a rumored apocalypse for everyone.

This in-depth story is far too complicated for me to do it justice here. Let’s put it this way. Not only did it win a national Writers’ Guild award, but the mod creator claims it can last between 6-8 hours. From my personal experienced, without a guide, this claim holds up.

What’s especially impressive with The Forgotten City is how it manages to execute such foreign ideas for the Elder Scrolls whilst remaining lore relevant. If anything, it actually explains more about the Dwemer than Bethesda ever did. If there’s a content mod you need to try out, it’s this gem.

Requiem

RequiemThere are few mods that boast the bold claim of changing your whole experience that end up telling the truth. However, the Requiem mod has the full right to claim as such. Contrary to popular opinion, Requiem is not a difficult related mod. Although it will coincidentally make your playthrough harder.

Instead, Requiem aims to overhaul Skyrim to make it more logical and immersive. Perhaps the biggest change is that Skyrim’s level scaling system has been completely removed. Instead, all creatures, and therefore quests, have a pre-set difficult based on the enemies’ strength. In other words, you’re not going to be bullying dragons at level three like the vanilla game.

If that’s not enough, the Requiem mod reworks the majority of non-combat skills to bring balance, immersion, and a genuine feel of growth. Even your mastery of the voice now feels like a task that needs time put into it rather than something you just happen to receive.

The biggest praise I can give this mod is that it changes Skyrim into feeling like a strategic RPG, rather than just another power flex. It doesn’t give the player anything for free. You need to work for it, think hard, and only then will you prosper.

If you enjoyed this article consider dropping a comment down below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these mods as well as any Skyrim mods you personally recommend.

The 5 best games to play on Valentine’s Day with your partner

Valentine’s Day

This year’s Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Come Friday, many couples will choose to spend some of their time together playing co-op games. It’s a classic couples activity for younger duos especially.

To keep things consistent, all five of the games featured here have been picked for their local co-op gameplay. In saying that, all of them also have fantastic online co-op support so long-distance couples shouldn’t feel left out.

A Valentine’s co-op classic: Portal 2

A Valentine's Day co-op classicIt wouldn’t be a co-op games list if I didn’t mention Portal 2. Despite being released back in 2011, Portal 2 may very well still be the best co-op game ever made. Also, since the co-op story is only around 6 hours long it should be more than manageable for even the busiest of individuals.

For that very reason, I’ve avoided recommending games like Borderlands 3 that can easily take 25+ hours to work through. Even if it was shorter, I’m not sure Borderlands is to everyone’s taste. In contrast, a game like Portal is very easy to enjoy regardless of taste. It’s a timeless classic with some great lighthearted humor that any Valentine’s Day couple could enjoy.

The only disclaimer here is that Portal 2 is still technically an FPS. If your partner isn’t used to video game first-person mechanics, they can be tricky to get used to. Even so, Portal 2 is probably one of the easier games for newcomers to get into as you can take your time with each puzzle.

Cook with your Valentine’s partner: Overcooked 2

Cook with your Valentine's partner Overcooked 2Made by Worms developers Team17, Overcooked is a cute cooperative cooking game. The core gameplay sees players having to manage a hectic kitchen and get out orders to hungry customers.

What Overcooked does so well is not taking itself too seriously. Team17 was very aware that at its core, Overcooked it just a simple yet fun co-op game. The visuals are adorable, the gameplay is straight-forward, and the potential hours of fun are endless.

I think Overcooked 2 is a great choice for Valentine’s Day as it creates a lot of fun, hectic moments. The only downside is that after a while things can get really tough. When my friends and I tried playing through the entire game, we found some of the later levels unironically stressful.

The high levels of coordination needed to complete some levels can be difficult to achieve. If you’re at all competitive and know you’ll want to finish everything, this might not be the game for you. It depends on how seriously you and your significant other take video games.

Befriend tons of cute critters: Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu

Befriend tons of cute critters Pokemon Let’s Go EeveePikachuStrangely, I don’t actually think Let’s Go is a particularly good Pokemon game. Honestly, most of the content is way too easy and it not featuring most Pokemon really bothers me. But what ruins a game for one person can often make it for someone else.

If your partner is more casual about gaming and only recognizes the original 151 Pokemon, Let’s Go is a great fit. Its co-op gameplay is a little limited but good enough to offer plenty of fun for couples. You essentially run around with one-another and fight double battles with a shared team.

At the end of the day, Let’s Go was designed specifically to bring Pokemon GO players across to the main games. I’m sure many people have played GO who have no interest in any core series titles. Thanks to its mechanical similarities with the mobile title, even someone with little interest in games can easily play it. Therefore, it could definitely make for a great Valentine’s Day game, assuming one of you owns a Switch.

You’ll be dying of laughter: Battleblock Theater

Battleblock Theater for Valentine’s DayYou can more or less substitute in any of Behemoth’s incredible co-op games here. From their early days developing Alien Hominid to their latest title, Pit People, everything Behemoth makes is co-op centric.

However, I reckon the best choice for Valentine’s Day is likely their highest-rated game of all time. Battleblock Theater is a hilarious puzzle-platformer with some of the best narration I’ve ever heard. It’s rare for a game to be this funny.

Besides, if you happen to enjoy Battleblock Theater, all of Behemoth’s games are linked to one another. There’s a bizarre but still interesting story wrapped up in all of the madness. Simply, if you’re looking for a funny story that you and your partner can laugh through together, there is no better choice than this.

The world is your oyster: Minecraft

Minecraft for Valentine’s DayOriginally, I had this slot filled by Stardew Valley. One of my close friends loves Stardew and I’ve always seen it as a great example of co-op gameplay. But after watching a fantastic video by Razbuten, I had a change of heart and switched it to Minecraft.

At first, I didn’t really consider Minecraft a co-op game of sorts. I grew up watching many Yogscast and GirlonDuty let’s plays where individual personalities didn’t often interact with one another. And yet, when I thought about it deeper, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed Minecraft solo despite playing well over 500 hours of it.

Sharing a world with someone else is a special experience. Minecraft is such a sandbox by its very nature that every small encounter, decision, and outcome is unique to that world. Having someone who shares those experiences and can talk to you about them is what makes Minecraft so good. Without the co-op experience, Minecraft is a failure of a sandbox game. But with it, Minecraft is the best sandbox game ever made.

Minecraft’s true beauty is even simpler though. It doesn’t matter if your partner has never played a video game or contends at the professional level. Everyone can enjoy Minecraft. Its concept accommodates complete rookies all the way to builders who make a living playing the game. Minecraft truly is the game that any Valentine’s Day couple can enjoy.

So, from the above list, what is your Valentine’s Day game? You can post your choice in the comments box below.

Effie Review The Tale of a Man Fighting For His Youth

Effie Review

Effie Review

Every so often I get inspired to give an unknown indie game a go. After skimming through Steam’s new releases list looking for something to play, I came across Effie. The ambition of a small indie studio and eye-catching screenshots reminded me of the time I got to review Crosscode. What should have been just another indie game ended up being my 2018 game of the year. Reminiscing on this got me excited and so I found myself playing through Inverge Studios’ first-ever game. Let’s jump into Effie Review.

What is Effie?

Effie is a 3D action-adventure platforming game that takes inspiration from classics such as Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. The core of the gameplay will see you navigating simple platforming segments, defeating waves of enemies, and exploring the land of Oblena.

Oblena has been cursed by an evil witch called Melira. She’s also responsible for cursing our protagonist, the heroic Galand. Melira has stolen away Galand’s youth and left him as an old man before his time. It’s up to Galand to seek out Melira, save Oblena, and get back his youthhood.

melira witch

Effie’s gameplay is simple enough and won’t take you very long to understand. Basically, you travel to three different cities in order to remove Melira’s curse. This is done by repowering each of the cities, a job that took me roughly 3 hours.

Inside of each city, there’s a mix of simplistic puzzles and straightforward platforming segments. Hardly any of Effie’s gameplay is designed to be difficult or mentally straining, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes Effie very accessible and a great choice for those looking to relax. Because of this, Effie could be a good purchase for children or parents looking to play with their kids.

effie and Galand

I do have some concerns about Effie’s length. A complete playthrough where I collected every relic only took me just over 5 hours. I have no doubt a more skilled player could cut this down even further. Given its $20 retail price, this is a real hurdle.

Gameplay

Not all of the puzzles seem overly logical. Many of them are memory puzzles that require you to guess until you either get lucky or figure out the order. I’m not overly keen on puzzle design that prevents you from being able to complete it on your first go.

Perhaps the strangest design choice was to opt for an open-world environment. The world itself is relatively empty outside of a handful of designated areas where experience and relics can be found. The sad thing about this is that not only is it empty, but it’s tiny too. Attempting to explore beyond a mile or so out of the map has the game force teleport you back in. Effie may very well have been better off just opting for a generic level selection screen or a central hub world as many of its listed inspirations implement.

Gameplay combat

Many critics have complained about clunky camera controls and imprecise platforming, but I have to disagree. Certainly, neither are outstanding or particularly impressive but I do feel they are very serviceable. Perhaps is Effie was a precision platformer like Super Mario Odyssey I’d care more, but most of the jumping segments are easy enough. The tools Effie offers are more than adequate to avoid getting in the way.

A pretty serious balance concern regarding the combat can be encountered early on. Once you arrive at Woodborn City, you are given the ability to throw your shield like a boomerang. For some reason, this one-shots the majority of enemies in the game. Only those that are protected from light attacks can survive a hit. For me, this ended up replacing attack combos entirely since it was just too strong not to use. Given how easy the game is already, this isn’t ideal.

Visuals

I remember fondly when I first stepped foot into Oblena. Those striking bright red flowers and forestry are truly beautiful. They provide the kind of sights people worldwide would travel to see. It’s rare I just take a moment to stop and take in the world around me. That takes something truly special.

effie environment

Effie’s visuals aren’t just for show either. Thanks to its simplistic, low-poly design, it’s very easy to understand what you can and can’t do. There’s no need for obnoxious tutorials or on-screen messages flashing, “Go this Way!” Anyone with even a basic level of platformers will instantly know where to go and what they can jump on.

Performance

Unsurprisingly, Effie is not the hardest game to run. The majority of modern systems will easily reach a stable 60 FPS on medium settings. On my mid-tier gaming PC, I managed a very consistent 90 FPS on high settings. Even during intense combat segments, my game never dropped below 75 FPS.

For those that do need to drop settings, doing so makes a huge difference. On Very Low my FPS varied between 200 and 240 whilst Low saw this number drop to 125. Medium and High ran similarly well whilst Ultra hovered between 60 and 80. Simply put, Effie is extremely well optimised.

puzzle effie

As for the settings, there’s a pleasantly surprising amount of choice. Many indie games tend to skip this stage of development, but Effie does no such thing. There are options for draw distance, resolution scale, texture quality, shadows, anti-aliasing and just about anything else you’ll need. This is a well thought out PC port.

Final Verdict on Effie Review

Although it fails to evolve many mechanics typical of its genre, Effie offers a very competent 3D platforming experience. I fell in love with the visuals and the story is charming enough whilst it lasts, Unfortunately, at just 5 hours long, Effie is slightly overpriced at $20. Perhaps down the line if it gets a better sale or some new content, then I’d be more inclined to recommend it.

I hope you leaned something from this Effie Review. If you have something to add, please use the comments box below.

 

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Demo First Impressions

Mystery Dungeon

The latest Nintendo Direct brought with it some very exciting news. After five years of hearing nothing, Nintendo finally announced a brand new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Set up to be a remake of the original Red and Blue Rescue Team, DX has been announced for a March 6 release.

Even better, Nintendo didn’t have us wait long to give it a shot. The demo went live on the Switch eShop straight after the initial announcement. I managed to free up some time to play through it last night. I had some concerns coming into this but I’m happy to confirm that this looks to be a very good game.

What the Mystery Dungeon Demo Has to Offer

The demo consists of around the first 40 minutes of the new Mystery Dungeon’s story. Specifically, you’ll get to work through the iconic quiz, pick a partner, explore a couple of dungeons, and test out Makuhita’s dojo.

QUIZ mystery dungeonWe also get a good idea of Rescue Team DX’s completely reworked visuals. And oh my, are they pretty. Rather than adopting Super Mystery Dungeon’s realistic 3D models, Rescue Team EX’s art style is based on the initial concept art for the originals. This means you get to enjoy some beautifully crafted hand-drawn scenery.

It’s a nice detour from the originals which honestly just looked like generic gen 3 Pokemon games. That’s not to say they didn’t look good, but rather that they failed to stand out from Emerald and the Gen 1 remakes. In contrast, Mystery Dungeon DX puts forward a truly one a kind visual presentation.

The demo also gives us a glimpse of both old and new mechanics that some fans won’t be familiar with. Some of these are lifted from Super Mystery Dungeon and Gates to Infinity whilst others are making their debuts.

auto attack feature mystery dungeonThere are mega evolutions, which is nice given how the main series games refuse to acknowledge them, the ability to freely switch between party members, and the same old recruitment system everyone loves. Interestingly, a recent data mine suggests shiny Pokemon could feature in some capacity although Alolan and Galarian forms look unlikely. Sylveon was confirmed though so guess who’s choosing Eevee for their playthrough.

Easier Than Ever Before

Unfortunately, not every change is for the better. Nintendo has shown an unwillingness to make Pokemon games even remotely difficult in the last five years or so. In fact, the Battle Frontier was removed from the core games because game director Junichi Masuda deemed it too difficult and time-consuming for today’s players.

This urge to make things easier has affected Mystery Dungeon’s development. Starting with the positives, many quality of life changes have been made to improve the player’s overall experience. For instance, there’s now a Diglett hole connecting your base camp with the Pellipper office. This can save a little bit of time and minimize the need to go back and forth constantly when grinding missions

Pokemon gamesThe problem is that many other changes seem unnecessary. Perhaps the most jarring difference is that standard attacks have been removed entirely. Instead, pressing A will now have the game automatically pick the best attack on your behalf based on type match-up, stats, and range.

That’s only the beginning. Move sets for every starter are now heavily optimized before you’ve even entered a dungeon. Case in point, my Eevee had type coverage with Bite and my partner Pikachu had Grass Knot, Iron Tail, and Fake Out from the get-go. Even Mystery Dungeon’s Link Moves have been given a buff by no longer costing extra PP, despite already strong in past games.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD Review

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz

2019 saw its fair share of retro game remakes. We got Final Fantasy VII, Spyro Reignited Edition, and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. They all aim to bring back that classic, purer gaming experience we all once enjoyed. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this there was a remaster that got somewhat overshadowed. The world forgot about Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD.

Originally released in 2006, Banana Blitz is widely considered to be a classic of the Nintendo Wii’s early library. Unfortunately, it was held back somewhat by the Wii’s hardware limitations and never got its true chance to shine. Almost fourteen years later and SEGA have finally ported their cult classic to PC, packaged as a shiny remaster. So how well has Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz stood the test of time?

Super Monkey Ball HD’s Reworked Content

As you would expect from any half-decent remaster, Banana Blitz HD has reworked much of the game’s existing content. Specifically, the core levels have been reworked to be more difficult to complete. This isn’t too surprising since the original Banana Blitz was dumbed down to accommodate for the Wii’s awkward motion controls. Let’s remember this was a launch title and many developers still had no idea how to use the technology properly. SEGA has also chosen to cut 80% of the 50 original minigames in order to improve the quality of the ten left in.

Super Monkey Ball HD’s Reworked Content

Both of these ideas are good in principle, but the execution is lackluster. Whilst I have no problem with the minigame cutback, since most of the original fifty were not very good anyway, the ten they’ve kept aren’t all that inspired either. Hurdle Race and Snowboard will have you falling asleep half-way through whilst Banana Blitz’s rendition of Monkey Target is completely void of any personality. I thought Space Monkey Attack and Dangerous Route were both okay but the other eight all heavily lack in something or another. They play more like a tech demo than an actual game.

As for the difficulty rework, it’s both a success and a failure. To their credit, some of the later stages are far more challenging, especially from World 7 onward. The problem is that everything before then is just too easy. Banana Blitz transforms from a casual platformer to a fast-paced, challenging physics game in mere seconds. The difficulty spikes out of nowhere which can be a little jarring.

Controls and Camera

Certainly, the transition away from motion controls has helped Banana Blitz HD a bunch. Gone is the painful flailing off your Wii mote, replaced by traditional dual analog controls. Well, mostly anyway. For some reason, SEGA has opted to not let players use the right analog stick for camera adjustments. This made sense in the original due to hardware limitations but feels like a considerable oversight in today’s age.

Controls and Camera

And oh my, does the gameplay suffer from it. Controlling the monkeys themselves isn’t hard but knowing where you’re going definitely is. Some levels involve technical navigation across thin platforms, but you can’t adjust the camera to see where you are. If these platforms are directly behind you or at a 90-degree angle, you just have to hope you guess right. I’d say easily at least half of my deaths were thanks to the automatic camera.

Aesthetic

Despite its gameplay shortcomings, Banana Blitz HD still has plenty to offer. For one, its visually a really nice-looking game. You might think the 2006 art style would be dated but surprisingly not. It holds up nicely, is very colorful, and its generally just easy on the eyes. It’s a damn shame about the camera given how clean-cut the graphics themselves are.

Audio

The new theme song “NA In Love,” is a charming and cute addition to the title screen. Having a vocalized song in a Super Monkey Ball game feels odd at first but I found myself quickly growing fond. It’s a very catchy tune that captures the wholesome fun that Banana Blitz is all about.

Other than the main theme, I found both “Smooth Sherbet,” and “Cobalt Caverns,” the standout stage songs. Fun fact, when you play as Sonic, Banana Blitz HD’s new hidden character, there’s a remix of the Sonic Rush ending theme as well as the Sonic Mania character selection theme.

Aesthetic audio

As for the voice acting, it’s as cute as it is annoying. Sure, all of the characters are very adorable and hearing them cheer “Yahoo!” in celebration is fun and all. But after you’ve heard the five hundredth “Yahoo,” you’ll really want it to stop. Keep in mind that every time you jump, go near an edge, finish a level, or go fast, your monkey pal will have something to say.

Final Verdict About Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz

Is Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD any good? Sort of. It’s a competent remake of a classic which mostly suffers from the same flaws as the original. SEGA has tidied up the visuals and tweaked the stages, but the core gameplay is practically identical. This might be what some people want from their remasters, but not me.

I think this was a great opportunity to bring Banana Blitz in line with its superior predecessors. However, by failing to do so SEGA has simply reminded fans how much more they’d like a Monkey Ball 1 and 2 remake instead. Still, even with its flaws Banana Blitz HD could be a decent pick up at 50% off in the future.

Could Cloud Streaming One Day Kill Off Dedicated Consoles?

The theoretic of cloud streaming’s potential is very exciting. Imagine an age where you could boot up a brand-new Battlefield game through your phone with hyper-realistic graphics and zero input delay. Furthermore, you would no longer need to buy pricy consoles as you could just hook up your phone to a monitor or TV.

It seems inevitable that cloud streaming will one day be the go-to method of gaming. However, what’s harder to tell is when we can expect this. Before we consider that, I think it’s important to understand where this idea originates. What was the first real attempt at Cloud gaming?

Cloud Streaming’s Early Years 

Cloud Streaming’s Early Years“OnLive is cloud gaming, but what is cloud gaming?” Anyone who explored YouTube during 2014 has likely heard this advert at some point. OnLive was a cloud streaming provider way before it was even a niche idea in the industry. The idea was that by purchasing an OnLIve membership, you could play high-end AAA games without the need for expensive hardware.

Instead, it would be your internet that got tested. Assuming you had fast enough internet to stream 1080p, 60 FPS games, anyone of your smart devices could play pretty much any PC game. Obviously, back then 4K wasn’t exactly the goal for most games. It was a legitimately brilliant idea. But it didn’t work. OnLive was discontinued in 2015 due to a lack of interest. They sold their patents to Sony and gave up on the idea of cloud streaming altogether.

Make no mistake, OnLive was on the right track. They were just ahead of their time. OnLive had some difficult bandwidth requirements for 2014’s standards but today a similar service could certainly function in some capacity. I’m not the only one who thinks that either. For instance, Google Stadia is basically the same concept with a few practicality tweaks here and there.

When Can We Expect Practical Cloud Gaming?

When Can We Expect Practical Cloud GamingIf one thing’s clear, it’s that major video game heads are not concerned about Stadia for the time being. Recently, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa claimed it will be at least “10 years from now,” before cloud streaming will be relevant. In other words, both current gen and next-gen consoles have nothing to worry about. But is he right about this?

Japanese publisher Square Enix would certainly disagree. Their president, Yosuke Matsuda, has promised his studio will soon develop “gaming experiences only possible in the cloud.” It’s difficult to know exactly what he means by that, but it could refer to futuristic visuals.

Many developers down tone their games’ visual fidelity to be playable on various platforms. Even on PC, it’s rare developers will release titles will full access to their engine’s capabilities. An example of when this did happen is Project CARS 2 which could run at 12k resolutions with VR support. Of course, there aren’t many commercial monitors or GPUs that can display 12k at a good FPS, but it was left in to futureproof the game.

With cloud streaming its possible players could run games at ridiculous resolutions assuming their internet holds up. Those physical hardware constraints become less of an issue. If players only need to buy a high-res screen, the price of gaming drops in the long run.

So, when should you expect cloud streaming to catch on? As a niche, core gaming product, it’s already available. Major companies like Google and Amazon are already on board trying to sell you on it. However, internet constraints worldwide still hold back its potential. Given the rapid growth of internet speeds, I’d say the mid-late 2020s is a good guess on when cloud streaming will become mainstream. Until then, we’ll just have to wait patiently.