Is Fallout 4 This Generation’s Must Own Game?

The open world genre has been blessed with another strong entry. After experiencing such great worlds in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Metal Gear Solid: 5 The Phantom Pain could we really delve into another so soon? Using the beautiful backdrop of Boston, Fallout 4 has a world like no other reaching into the cities rich history with iconic landmarks scattered throughout the game. Already it seems that more people are open to this world with over 12 million copies sold within the first 24 hours thus making it the biggest entertainment launch this year. Call of Duty held this title for measly week making over $500 million dollars but Fallout 4 obliterated all competition making over $750 million dollars. Along with this you have rave reviews unanimously throughout the industry,  With these in mind you have to consider is Fallout 4 the game of this generation?

Building upon a huge legacy created in Fallout 3, Bethesda have spent around 5 years working on this title. This is easy to see with how large the post-apocalyptic world is. The game play for anyone new to the franchise feels ridiculously easy to pick up with the ability to switch perspectives from first person to third to accommodate anyone fussy like myself. Previously picking up Fallout 3 I could never really get into the swing of things. Here though I am completely hooked with exploration, missions and crafting keeping me occupied for days. I can quickly see these days turning into weeks. The control layout seems more open to newcomers too. This was a feature in Fallout’s last outing that discouraged me. This time it seems easier to pick up with its more simple approach.

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Still retaining its hardcore roots we have a deep crafting and leveling up system that for anyone willing to invest time can be very rewarding. The freedom of the planet itself is both good and bad with the main mission of rescuing your son Shaun becoming quickly forgettable with no real pressure being applied for not pursuing. Discovering what this world has on offer is the real charm of the game with experience been rewarded for finding new towns and settlements. Without a doubt this is Fallout’s best feature. That sense of discovering. What could be over that hill? I wonder what’s in that building? These explorations unravel some extraordinary moments where from nowhere you can go from quiet wandering to full on assault with ginormous monsters. You are totally outgunned but for some reason you still think you can win.

A special trait of Fallout is that the difficulty setting is not really applied. If you want to journey into the dangerous part on the map,  you immediately can. You’ll most likely die instantly but feel free to attempt. This is brilliant, keeping you submerged in the world at all times. Voice acting is a great addition giving players more of an insight into their character and how they behave. The many options you can pick in dialogue can really distinguish what sort of person you wan to be. Yes this is nothing new but it’s done extremely well that it needs to be appreciated.

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Now there are some flaws to note. Sadly another trait of Bethesda’s is that their releases are normally ridden with bugs and glitches. This is normally quite a hit and miss situation as some players can go through the whole game not experiencing anything of the sort; Others are not so lucky. So not to beat around the bush, yes this game has bugs and yes there may be some frustrating moments especially if a save file is corrupted (however this seems a very small percentage), but for what is on offer it is absolutely worth the risk. Every day patches are being uploaded to reduce the problems. Fallout 4 is a game that will be around for a long long time so you can guarantee it will be improved continuously. Though this does not excuse Bethesda for releasing another bug ridden game and is something they must make a priority with all future releases.

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For anyone purchasing a new console this year or the next or even the year after. Fallout 4 will most likely be the main title people point to if you are looking for a superb action RPG with a diverse world to explore. Things may change over time but right now I would say to anyone who owns a console that this game must be part of your collection. Everyone has their own journey, Everyone has their own stories and everyone has their own Fallout. This is most certainly mine.

What do you think of Fallout 4? Do you think it is a must own game? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Five Ways To Improve Twilight Princess

The rumors are true. I’m ecstatic to confirm that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD has been announced for Nintendo Wii U. Recently been seen as more of a marmite choice in the series, I am on the positive side and even consider it to be not only my favorite Zelda but one of my favorite video games of all time. This was my first 3D Zelda which contributes to it having a special place in my heart. Considering this nearly ten years on the question begs, What improvements can be made?

Some fans believe the game should be preserved in its original glory, but really that would be pointless. So here I am going to pick five improvements that would bring Twilight Princess into the current generation and transform it from the “marmite” one into the great adventure we all want it to be.

 

Enhanced Visuals

One thing I learned from revisiting this gem is that the graphics have not held up as well as I originally thought. I still remember powering up my Wii on Christmas 2006 and being wowed by how lifelike Hyrule Field looked. Ten years on it doesn’t have the same impact. I will always have those unforgettable memories but by giving the visuals a new lick of paint I could relive this momentous moment only this time in dazzling 1080p. Following on from the direct i’m not going to lie the visuals were a little disappointing however there is signs that this could be stunning so hopefully by the time March rolls around we’ll have the perfect slick imagery.

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Ability To Skip Tutorial  

One common aspect that keeps getting thrown at Twilight Princess is the length of the opening tutorial. Some hate it with a passion due to it limiting the player with what they can do for a good chunk of time. Others enjoy going about Link’s daily routine. Basically enjoying the calm before the storm. Whatever your opinion because this was such a defining factor and put off many players, it would be better if you could choose whether or not to skip the opening. Yes leave the core bits but monotonous tasks like chasing a cat can be left out.

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Repetitive Rupee Messages

Another thing that most agree on that goes from a little niggle to a big annoyance is messages that continuously and unnecessarily repeat. The first time you find a rupee (no matter what the value) a message appears onscreen declaring this. An example of the text is “You got an orange Rupee”. Nothing wrong with this, it introduces the player to the currency of this world. What you don’t want is to be told that every time you boot up  the game. It may only seem a small grievance but trust me after ten hours of play time it grates heavily.

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Increased Difficulty

A feature of Twilight Princess I absolutely love is the scale of bosses. They are gigantic, yet for their size if you know what your doing they fall like dominoes. Some may be a bit awkward but all in all they don’t put up that much of a fight. So this time round I want these brutes given more of a bite than their bark, not the other way round. Really make these monsters pose a threat. An easy solution for this is to add a “Hero Mode” like Wind Waker HD received.

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Expand the Market 

Hyrule seemed a marvel at the time with its city centre bustling with townspeople, however for all the shops that surrounded, very little were actually accessible.  Marlo Mart was a great start but only wet our appetite for more. This felt like a missed opportunity, one that can be easily fixed. Add a clothes shop where you can customize Link, possibly even giving him outfits from other iterations. Install a mask shop in tribute to Majora’s Mask. Anything to make this town seem more alive. There is so much potential here so Nintendo please take full advantage.

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Apart from these minute issues, I adore Twilight Princess dearly and i’m thrilled to see a HD remake. Twilight Princess is due for release on March 4th 2016 for Nintendo Wii U. What’s your view on this hit or miss entry? What improvements would you make? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Five Unbelievable Uncharted Moments

With the recent release of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and the approaching fourth entry, what better time then to bring together the finest moments from Naughty Dogs biggest franchise. From 2007 to 2011 we were treated to some outrageously outstanding set pieces that puts the series in a league of its own. Following in the foot steps of Marco Polo, Lawrence of Arabia and Sir Francis Drake, Nathan’s adventures are both extraordinary and surreal.

After all this is done and dusted though, what are the main points that really stick with you. The parts that you love to revisit time after time. Here I try to diagnose the five strongest moments that define the Uncharted series. Warning spoilers for the entirety of the series:

 

Train-Wrecked (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

If you know the series you will have seen this one coming. So fun you experience it twice. Debatably one of the greatest video game opening levels see’s Drake covered in his own blood hanging for dear life to a wrecked train off the side of a mountain. You ponder how have things got this bad? What has he done to get into this situation? The next essential hours are spent building up to this astronomical cliff-hanger.

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Second-Story Work (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Who would have thought playing as Drake when he was a mere teenager could be so much fun? Fleeing on foot from a number of mysterious agents, Drake’s escapades see him leaping over rooftops. In great movie style the chase is fast and unforgiving. You need a perfect run to make sure your not caught. Jumping from building to building before a detour through a residents flat in the shadow of Mexican Vihuela strings compliment the level perfectly. All leading up to the final stance of Drake having to make a choice whether or not he actually shoots one of Marlowe’s agents. Thankfully its a choice he never has to make with a timely save from Sully

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The Yeti Shadow (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves)

Somewhere in Nepal you scour icy cliffs following a villager for some unknown reason to yourself. The snowy perches are a stunning sight to behold as they shimmer in the light. From nowhere the camera zooms outs ever so calmly. The shadows suddenly start to move thus revealing pale white eyes and snarling teeth. The dark figure disappears leaving me in disarray. What the hell was that? Every next step, you take lightly.


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Supernatural Twist (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune)

The original supernatural twist is a moment I will never forget. After spending hours upon hours searching for El Dorado you discover that that the treasure is cursed. Transforming humans into mutated beings with super speed and strength, you realise for the first time that Drake might be out of his depths. Fighting alongside rival Eddy you begin an all out onslaught on the dozens of enemies coming your way. Tension mounts as Elena scrambles to find some way of helping you escape. Shooting the last of the beasts Eddy smugly taunts their dead corpses off the side of a ledge before suddenly being grabbed and pulled to his death. Now your all on your own to defend. Overlooked too much for my liking, Drakes Fortune has tremendous moments like this that are unappreciated too often.

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Plane Crash (Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception)

Like the train-wreck its impossible to leave this sequence out. Serving as the antepenultimate After becoming a stowaway you are suddenly caught by enemies which results with a fist fight on the open ramp of the plane. Very similar to the final showdown in Air Force One except here Nate ends up hanging onto loose cargo off the edge. Gun fight ensues whilst you scramble back up to safety. Things then go from bad to worse as an engine fire rapidly destroys the airplane before sucking everyone (including Drake) out into the air. Falling out of the sky you somehow manage to grab hold of a crate before pulling the safety cord to release the parachute. As improbable as it is, the level is still incredible.

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So there you have five unbelievable Uncharted moments that have made the series a phenomenon. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is fast approaching with expectations high lets hope they will bring us some more surreal moments. What moments stand out for you? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Why I’m Excited for Outlast 2

Red Barrels seems to be a company that know how to freak out their target audience. Both Outlast and Outlast: Whistleblower had some pretty intense and terrifying moments, some which still scare me today despite knowing what is going to happen.

The reveal trailer for Outlast 2 hit Youtube and I was stoked; I’ve been waiting for anything relating to Outlast 2. Even if it was little teasers on Twitter. The trailer itself doesn’t reveal too much, which isn’t a surprise in itself, though it does leave me wanting to know more about the story and what is going to happen.

And the ending of that trailer, did anyone else jump like I did? Just me?

We know the game will be taking place in the same universe as Outlast and Whistleblower. We know there is going to be a different setting with different characters. I’m eager to learn more about the world of Outlast and how they’re going to incorporate all the lore they’ve created during the first game. Were there other experiments done in different laboratories? Is the Walrider going to affect those it comes into contact with? Just how is the story going to work?

One of the biggest questions is did Waylon’s footage put Murkoff fully out of business and for justice to be served?

I’m looking forward to what kind of enemies they create as well. Even though it’s not taking place in Mount Massive Asylum, there is still plenty of ways to create Variants, or something else entirely. This really opens up the possibilities and gives Red Barrels a little more freedom since they can take from other sources.

Story aside, the biggest thing I’m excited for is the scare factor. I play horror games to get scared and lately horror games just haven’t been that scary. Some disturbing moments but nothing that has made my heart pound, my palms sweat and the urge to curl up into a ball and sob. Outlast achieved that. It still does. I spoke that some moments still scare me. The dark sewer part in Outlast where Chris Walker is waiting for you in the water. Running away from circular saw man aka Frank Manera in Whistleblower.

Red Barrels delivered the scares and I have no doubt that they will be able to manage the same level of terror in Outlast 2. I really cannot wait to be terrified and considering it has a tentative release date of Fall 2016, I don’t have too long to go.

For those that haven’t seen it, here is the teaser trailer for Outlast 2:

So, what do you all think? Are you as excited as I am or is Outlast not something you enjoy? Or do you feel like they should have kept it as 1 game and not bothered with a sequel? Let me know how you feel in the comments below!

Top 5 Non-traditional Games for Halloween

Do you enjoy been scared out of your wits? Do you want to struggle to sleep? Do you want to jump out of your skin at every flickering shadow? Nope, me neither. That’s why for this Halloween I’ve created a list of video games that are not full on horror but have sprinkles of terror throughout. These titles can literally be anything that have alarming moments, but are not seen as horror games.

There’s nothing wrong with liking horror but if your a big o’l scaredy-cat  like me, you want to play something that has elements of dread but not so much that you start barricading your windows. Enjoy!

 

Luigi’s Mansion 

Starting with the king of the scaredy-cats we have this GameCube classic. Luigi’s Mansion is still a cracking outing for the youngest Mario brother. A short entry on this list with the game easily beatable in under 8 hours, yet those few hours are spent well. A more lighter take on ghosts see’s Luigi investigate a mysterious mansion that he won in a contest he never entered. Inside we scour the building looking for his older brother coming across colorful ghoulish residents as they try to capture him. Whether it’s the humorous personalities of the mansions inhabitants or simply hearing Luigi humming to the background music. There is plenty here that brings a smile.

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Bioshock 

Rapture is a place no one ever thought they wound visit, but what a visit it was. After barely escaping a plane crash unscathed, you find yourself on a journey to the bottom of the ocean to find a dystopia; Rapture. Unknown as to why you have been brought here, you wander the city with only a voice from a radio called Atlas. This game has the right balance of pacing, action and tension that tells a terrific story over its 20 hour or so length. A defining game for the Playstation 3, the city of Rapture not only has a creepy, eerie presence but to look at it’s a marvel.

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Metroid Prime 

Samus Aran’s leap into the third dimension is a stunning, atmospheric adventure that breathed new life into the Metroid series. The first entry in the trilogy still stands out as its strongest because never have you felt more cut-off from the universe. Exploring a desolate planet, Samus squares off against some formidable foes as she pursuits Space Pirates in an attempt to stop their biological experiments. One of the most highly rated games of all time, This first person-adventure is seen by some as perfection. Now available on the Wii U eShop as part of the trilogy bundle, If you haven’t delved into this franchise this is the essential starter.

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Sequel to one of the greatest video games of all time. Majora’s Mask takes on a more frightening and sinister tone. Mask’s as per the title play a huge part of what makes this game both so special and so freaky. Taking Link into the darker world of Terminia, you meet a vast array of wonderfully weird characters that constantly keep you on your toes. Facing off against the mischievous Skull Kid you try to save the world in a mere 3 days before the impending moon destroys all life. With a recent release on the 3DS, there is no better time to jump into this great. Just don’t look up.

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The Last of Us  

Naughty Dog’s masterpiece has had every praise thrown its way. With numerous game of the year awards, the story of Joel and Ellie is a unique encounter that is worth revisiting time and time again. The relationship between the pair is at the heart of this story, however to form this they have endevour through some treacherous times. These scares comes mainly from try to avoid spore infected humans at every corner. Just make sure you don’t run into a bloater. Yuck.

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So there you have five nontraditional horror games to keep you going over the Halloween. What do you think are the the best nontraditional games to play this season? Leave us a comment below to tell us why and Happy Halloween.

Crash Bandicoot: 5 Reasons Why It’s The Best Platformer

Naughty Dog has taken the spotlight recently due to gaming marvels like The Last Of Us, The Nathan Drake Collection and the upcoming (and much anticipated) release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. With all the praise and excitement received on behalf of these unquestionably awesome titles, it is almost as if we’ve forgotten that some time ago now, The Naughty Dog team presented us players with the greatest, most memorable platformer of all time, Crash Bandicoot.

The game’s aim was all but a simple one, ”beat the bad guys”, and yet Crash Bandicoot proceeded to go down as legend, a wonderful Playstation Classic. Here’s 5 very plausible reasons as to why Crash Bandicoot is in fact the best platformer game.

1. The Game Is Wack!

To summarise Crash Bandicoot generally, the game is extremely whacky. The foundations for this general feel to the game are laid at the very first level, Crash’s home N.Sanity beach (an obvious play on the word ”insanity” for the more oblivious reader). As soon as Crash, Naughty Dog’s anthropomorphic rendition of a bandicoot, gets swept up onto the sandy shores of the island, the craziness begins to unfold as he has to traverse through evil crabs and tortoises in order to complete the level. Snapping plants and lily pads, hostile mammal wildlife including bosses Ripper Roo (a mutated kangaroo in a straight jacket) and Koala Kong (an over grown, body-building koala) and strange unpredictable settings all contribute to the whacky atmosphere the player will be subdued to as they play eagerly through this platformer’s painfully addictive levels.

A game series released more recently with mildly comparable wackiness was Rayman Origins and it’s sequel Rayman Legends (Ubisoft). Despite it’s vibrant, crazy settings and the games general incoherence, it still struggled to compete with our Crash Bandicoot classic.

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2. Crazy Yet Cute

Nothing makes a game more memorable and enjoyable than a downright awesome character stealing the leading role. Crash Bandicoot, the games protagonist, achieves this criteria exceptionally, mostly evident in the fact he is the face of the more classic side to Naughty Dogs releases and generally in Crash Bandicoot’s overall success as a game.

Crash is eccentric, crazy and cute. Upon playing this game in it’s prime, I found myself spending countless occasions being inactive and leaving Crash to his own devices, watching him fail at juggling apples. These animations were funny and gave Crash the character he couldn’t portray verbally (he doesn’t really speak aside from his emotional outbursts after completing a level or boss battle). Furthermore, Crash’s slapstick death animations and end of level summaries (given boxes are missed during a level) are incredibly comical also as he must stand on a pedestal and take the boxes he missed to the head. Crash is not all comedy however, he is actually rather adorable and as the player more or less tortures him during a playthrough they will no doubt grow to pity the poor soul.

Crash is a well developed starring role to this legendary platformer and it is hands down one of the reasons Crash Bandicoot remains to be the best platformer ever.

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3. Superb Soundtrack 

Although not immediately a noticeable contributor to the awesomeness of Crash Bandicoot, the soundtrack accompanying the madness within the game plays a huge part in the overall tone and enjoyment of the game.

The music for each level in Crash Bandicoot is fun and bouncy, maintaining the general feel of the game whilst still remaining suited to the specific tone and setting of each individual level. If we take one of the levels titled Slippery Climb as an example, we can see more literally how the soundtrack contributes.

The level itself is relatively dreary and dull, however, the soundtrack for this particular level somehow manages to capture this but twists it to be somewhat catchy and bouncy, maintaining the collective pace and ”feel” of Crash Bandicoot.

In certain levels, the rhythm and beat incorporated within that levels soundtrack actually provide some aid in level completion. For instance, in levels The Lost City and Sunset Vista the rhythm of the soundtrack coincides and matches up with the speed of the interchanging platforms within the level that Crash must jump between, making the level considerably easier to get to grips with.

Crash Bandicoot’s original soundtrack is not only key to generating the fun, bubbly feel of the game, but also poses to be helpful too. It definitely adds up in making Crash Bandicoot the best platformer.

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4. Crash Caters For All

I quite vividly recall the first time my mum sat me down, Playstation One controller in hand, ready to play Crash Bandicoot. After some swift tutorials from her on which button did what, how to tackle the crabs, the first notable enemy of the game and some insight into the Aku Aku mask that hovered beside me, it was safe to say I became addicted. Now, the best part about that little anecdote is the fact that 14 years on from my first playthrough, I am still undoubtedly addicted to Crash Bandicoot. The fact that this game can be appreciated over a span of age groups is what in fact makes it such an outstanding game. It has the profound and valued ability to appeal to the adult with a love for addictive games and too much time on their hands whilst also being able to devour the attention of youngsters attracted to the games vibrancy and simplicity. Crash Bandicoot can even manage to engulf a nostalgic fan as if it were their first playthrough.

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5. Adamantly Addictive

Lastly, yet most importantly, Crash Bandicoot harnesses the profound addiction factor expected from a platformer. No matter how many times you fail on a level or become infuriated as Crash stands on that pedestal in humiliation as the one or two boxes you missed drop shamefully on his head, you will always continue to play. Crash Bandicoot almost taunts you with its simplicity and being a seemingly straight-forward platformer and, in doing so, continues to draw in players. Furthermore, Crash Bandicoot’s incredibly fun levels are almost impossible to turn boring or repetitive, allowing you to indulge time and time again.

All in all, a combination of its catchy original soundtrack, simple game dynamic, strange characters and unquestionably lovable protagonist is the reason Crash Bandicoot remains to be so darn addictive and in turn the best platformer.

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The legendary platformer

Crash Bandicoot will always be the best platformer in my eyes. It harnesses each and every aspect to a successful platformer and will always stand as my means of comparison for any more recent platformer as I just don’t think it can be topped. 14 years after my first playthrough, I can still sit there happy as Larry playing this awesome game for hours upon hours and, to me, that makes it the best platformer.

Life is Strange: Beyond a Strange Ending

Life is Strange Max and Chloe

Life is Strange is based on a peculiar time travel narrative, where most events seem typically bizarre and unrealistic. It’s an alter reality story with tons of fiction involved but the ending goes much beyond all that.

— > Spoilers Ahead <—

I finished Life is Strange yesterday and I couldn’t stop thinking about how strange the whole ending is and how unsettling it all felt. Basically, the ending is the ultimate and final meaningful decision that players can make but for some reason it turned out into a huge disappointment. And that’s mainly because one of the choices is reasonable, logical and quite predictable and the other is simply the complete opposite, which is somewhat absurd, cruel, and even inhumane. In my opinion, it’s just a quick second alternative that developers came up with. It’s different, the results change everything and on top of that it’s an easy narrative input. However, the core significance is still there and it’s very far from being realistic or accurate to the entire plot. Let’s analyze both ending options more closely.

Sacrificing Chloe Price

Saving Chloe has been the whole point of Life is Strange. In fact, the main connotation of this game is how certain events are unavoidable no matter what you do, or in this case, how many times you go back in time and try to change and fix things. Also, when you’re fated to die, you can screw up time and even the world itself but death will eventually catch up to you all the same. Anyway, if you finally stop saving Chloe you can restore order and peace to the small town of Arcadia Bay. No one has to get hurt besides Chloe, climacteric events do not take place anymore and the two villains will get arrested. It’s the perfect ending and probably the most faithful one to the “real” timeline, where Max’s powers would not interfere. I know Chloe is a very dear friend to Max but honestly, is she that important to make it worth sacrificing an entire town? Is it worth screwing the world for one single person? Probably not. That’s why this option is so consistent and logical. Decisions do not come without consequence.

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Sacrificing Arcadia Bay

The second option is nothing more than giving up on Arcadia Bay. By choosing Chloe players will be sacrificing hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives, along with all existent buildings and infrastructures. Thing is, this option is controversial in many ways. Why pick Chloe indeed? Max has to save her a total of seven times during the whole game, including this option as well. She seems to have her destiny marked, how many more times will Max have to save her, thus inflicting even more damage in the timelines? Besides, let’s re-think her importance. They were apart for many years without any contact and when Max returned to Arcadia Bay, they weren’t in very good terms. In fact, Chloe spent half the game bragging about how Rachel was the most important person in her life. So let’s see, Chloe is just a friend, alright a close friend but I still can’t see enough affection to ever justify this choice. Nonetheless, the totally bizarre detail comes when Max and Chloe face the tremendous destruction left by the mega tornado. The two friends observe the scene and then, they drive away into the horizon as if nothing actually happened. I mean, are they even human? Or is this just a rushed and quick solution for a second ending alternative? I mean, it really makes no sense in several different ways, so I can just assume the developers ran out of concepts and ended up making something completely different where saving Chloe was once again the main goal.

Life is Strange Ending

What’s really strange is how all this could be simply solved if Max rewinded to a prior photograph than the selfie one at the classroom. She would then have time to protect Chloe from her first death sentence and she would also end up solving the girl crime scheme, as it happened at the end. This game is ultimately about fixing things, so this choice would be idyllic, probably too idyllic thought. Everything would be fixed with just one simple rewind, thus very little damage input between timelines.

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Complicating what’s simple is one of the most common skills in modern days. So this really doesn’t surprise me. What’s unacceptable however, is the fact that something so simple goes beyond strange and pseudo-complex, to become an unfounded sensationalist matter. Hail teen-drama based plots:

Chloe: Let’s kill everyone, let’s be done with it and live an amazing life because we’re the best friends ever… right?

Max: Yes, but only since one week ago and after I saved you seven times!

Smash Bros: 5 Likely DLC Characters

The Smash Bros Fighter Ballot has closed. All votes are in, but who will be added to the roster? There’s no doubt that Super Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U has one of the greatest line-ups of video game characters to ever grace a screen together. From Sega’s Sonic to Capcom’s Megaman, there is such unique representation that it’s hard to believe more can fit in. Yet, back in April, Nintendo asked us all who we would want to see join the already stellar cast. Now 6 months on, it’s time to look at which likely contenders could be added over the upcoming months.

Just for reference, this list is comprised of likely candidates to join the brawler going off of popularity and statistics gathered from the community’s votes in the Smash Ballot. So as much as we would all love to see Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and Simon Belmont, you won’t find them here.

 

King K. Rool 

Wanted by thousands of Smash fans for years, the king of Kremlins seems like an ideal fit. There is a lacking presence of heavyweights and villains currently, so you have both boxes ticked with King K. His moveset already seems set up with inspiration taken from his appearances in the Donkey Kong Country series, you could use anything from his Pirate or Mad Scientist designs. Created by Rare but surprisingly still owned by Nintendo, this is an easy pick that would make fans happy.  Another Character into the Donkey Kong franchise is also welcome.  Image 6

 

Wolf

If I had to put my money on anyone from this list, I would choose Wolf without a shadow of a doubt. The antagonist of the Star Fox series has already made a debut back in Super Smash Bros Brawl, however, unlike characters like Lucas, Mewtwo and Roy, has still not made a return. It just seems like a matter of time before his announcement is made. When you think about it, Wolf makes the most sense out of the remainder of characters. On top of this, you have Star Fox Zero due to release next year and what better way is there to promote the game then by adding the nemesis of Fox McCloud?  Image 2

 

Shovel Knight

Yacht Club Games’ prized possession has  sky-rocketed since his release. Even though he’s a third-party character, Shovel Knight is becoming more probable with his very own amiibo on the way. Yacht Club Games have also got their own campaign going to get the knight into the franchise. Then there was the leak on the official Nintendo website saying that the amiibo will support Super Smash Bros. This was denied shortly after by the creators, however, more and more pieces are falling into place and making it seem as if the indie mascot is destined to be picked.

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Inkling

It’s Ink-redible how well Splatoon has done both in terms of sales and critical acclaim. Now seen as a big hit for Nintendo, their turn to appear in Smash Bros is one that will certainly happen. The question is when. Many think they will be saved for Smash 5 or will just be given a stage like Super Mario Maker was. Others believe its time to cash in on the squids while they are popular and dominating a high percentage of votes. Either way, they would be a superb edition, but I too am inclined to wait until the next entry.

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Banjo Kazooie

Another creation by Rare, however, unlike King K, the duo are still owned by the company. The least likely from the list, but one of the most requested, every N64 fan would relish in the return of Banjo-Kazooie back on Nintendo hardware even if it’s brief. The bird and bear’s reputation has never diminished due to the success of their first two games; Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has even tweeted his willingness to get the much loved icons into the fighter by saying “I think it would be cool if Banjo was in the next SSB DLC” before going on to add that “We’ve worked with Nintendo on Rare IP before, no issues”. As positive as these statements are, this still seems like a pipe dream. We will have to wait and see how this one pans out before we find out if we will be getting “Jiggy” once again.

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Honorable Mentions: Shantae, Rayman & Issac 

So that concludes our list of 5 likely characters to join Super Smash Bros. Do you agree with the list? Who would you like to see join the fight? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.

Why Does Hearthstone Have Adventures?

The biggest problem with the most recent adventure-based expansion for Hearthstone, Blackrock Mountain, is that it ultimately did very little to shake up the meta game at large.  Only one new deck really emerged from the expansion, that being the infamous Patron Warrior.  Even the highly-touted dragon synergy that the expansion introduced ended up amounting to very little at the time as there just wasn’t a wide enough variety of cards to make a dragon-focused deck viable.  In contrast, the following, more traditional expansion, The Grand Tournment, added a far wider range of possibilities by virtue of simply adding a whole lot of cards.  It even brought dragon decks to the forefront with just a few additional cards.  This all made me wonder why Hearthstone even has these adventure-based expansions like Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain in the first place rather than just going for traditional expansions in the style of Goblins Vs. Gnomes and The Grand Tournament exclusively.  Why put all of this effort into designing all of these boss challenges that players will be done with fairly quickly and only release a fraction of the cards that a traditional expansion would include?  Isn’t that sort of practice just bad for both the players and the developers?  After giving it some thought, I realized that it’s actually quite the opposite.  Not only do Hearthstone adventures offer a great deal of satisfaction for players, but they also provide an invaluable service for the developers.

For the players, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in the guarantee for the cards you are going to get out your purchases, especially when it comes to the legendary cards.  While legendaries aren’t necessarily the strongest cards, there is an undeniable sense of gratification that comes with obtaining cards on that highest tier.  Sorting through booster packs is great when you stumble upon something special, but it often leaves you with uninteresting cards.  It’s possible to go through dozens of packs without finding a single legendary and those playing on a budget can go months without adding one to their collection.  For those players, adventures are a major step forward for their collection.  There is also the sense of completion that comes with having all of the cards in the set fairly quickly.  If there is any deck you want to build that calls for those cards, you’ll always know that you have them.  In that sense, adventures are the Hearthstone equivalent of starter decks.  There’s a much smaller card pool than a pack expansion overall, but you are sure to have the entire set.

Along with the cards, players also get to enjoy the unique challenge of the bosses.  While there is little incentive to revisit these bosses after you’ve beaten them, that short time spent with them forces players to examine the game closely in order to find a boss’ weakness.  Highly technical bosses like Garr and Vaelastrasz force players to think outside the box and develop new tactics for the game that they haven’t considered before.  They can also inspire players to attempt similar strategies in constructed play, finding new avenues existing within the game that they never realized before.  After taking on Vaelastrasz, players will likely be in the mood to play around with milling and fatigue-focused decks, especially those who hadn’t known of the concept before.

However, the ones who gain the most from the adventures are the developers.  I don’t just mean that in a financial sense as releasing packs that players have to continuously sort through would net them more sales than wings of an adventure that anyone can grind enough gold for in a week or so per wing.  What the developers truly gain from is the room to experiment with their unique boss fights.  Balance is much less of a concern in PvE than it is in PvP as there is only one side of the fight that really needs to be accounted for.  As such, the bosses can be equipped with all manner of conceptual mechanics.  For example, Chromaggus’ ability to force cards into your hand that work against you until played is a brilliant idea that might be worked into actual cards in later expansions.  Even if the idea never works out for any collectible cards, it doesn’t go completely to waste now that it’s incorporated into this one boss fight.  Adventures are a playground of experimentation where cutting edge ideas can be put into practice rather than be left to sit on the drawing board.

That previous point can be debated with the release of the Tavern Brawl game mode that runs a different challenge every week.  While Tavern Brawl has given Blizzard another avenue to experiment with new concepts, it doesn’t offer the developers quite the same level of freedom as boss fights do.  The brawls are still PvP and, while balance isn’t as important here, there still needs to be a level of equality in place.  You can argue that one deck plays to a brawl’s strengths more, but the developers still strive to keep that gap narrow.  As such, designing conceptual cards is exceedingly more difficult for a brawl than it is for an adventure.  It’s not surprising that only two brawls have introduced conceptual cards so far, those being the Showdown at Blackrock and the Banana Brawl.  Ironically, those are two of the least popular brawls in the series, whereas the most popular brawls are the ones that put an unusual twist on the existing game, such as Too Many Portals and Double Deathrattler.  Tavern Brawl simply isn’t as viable a testing ground for new ideas as boss fights are.

Another way Blizzard can only experiment in Adventures is to introduce cards that rely on one other, specific card.  Feugen and Stalagg each have the ability to summon the mighty Thaddius upon death, but only if the other has already died at some point.  Releasing cards like these in card packs would frustrate players who manage to find one of these extremely rare cards, but now has to find the other one to make either worthwhile.  It wouldn’t be impossible to get away with these cards in packs as several physical TCGs have built themselves around collecting specific cards already.  The Pokemon TCG is built largely around evolving specific Pokemon into other specific Pokemon, while Yu-Gi-Oh has plenty of fusion cards that are useless without their specified components.  However, by releasing these cards as a set in a single adventure, it makes things far more satisfying for the players.  While there may be a precedent with other games, that shouldn’t be an excuse to hold Hearthstone back in its own design.  Bundling these interaction cards together with adventures makes them much more enticing and makes collecting much more enjoyable for players.

Blackrock Mountain may not be the best example of an adventure given how niche many of its cards were, but it should simply serve as a lesson on how future adventures should be focused rather than a signal that the idea itself is flawed.  The key to successful adventure sets lies in focusing on general mechanics for most of the cards, as seen with the more fondly received Naxxramas, rather than attempting to establish new archetypes of their own.  They also need bosses that act as mind-bending puzzles and memorable encounters rather than exploitative tricks.  While I use my Naxxramas cards much more frequently than my Blackrock ones, I vividly remember almost every boss from Blackrock while only having fond memories of a few Naxxramas bosses.  Hopefully, the developers now have a full picture of what does and doesn’t work with adventures and will be able to consistent deliver excellent adventures from here on.

Ultimately, adventures truly are a boon to Hearthstone.  While cards come out slower because of them, they do come out smarter as a result.  The developers are given the freedom to experiment with cards in ways that they can’t anywhere else by testing experimental concepts in boss fights and introducing unique interactions.  Meanwhile, players are given a fulfilling, complete set of cards to add to their collection more easily than digging through card packs in the hopes of finding the cards they’re looking for.  Blizzard simply needs to look at what works best for adventures to improve their future releases and their value towards the game won’t need to be called into question again.

FIFA 16: 7 BPL Debatable Player Rankings

Another year, another set of FIFA player rankings to debate. These ratings judged by EA are now as high profile as the actual game itself so they are usually not taken lightly. Who has been granted a major upgrade? Who has slipped down the pecking order? Here we find out which players in the Barclays Premier League have been given an unjustified upgrade or an unnecessary downgrade.

Note: This is just my personal opinion and is not suppose to be contentious. My own views are not here to annoy or insult, they are purely my choices for who I believe deserved a bigger upgrade or did not deserve a harsh downgrade. Enjoy.

 

Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) 82 – 78

Liverpool did not have the greatest of seasons last year nevertheless Mignolet was one of their few standouts, yet he has been given a downgrade. The Belgian was joint second in clean sheets for the season with a commendable thirteen. So if anything he deserved an improvement on his ranking or at the least should have retained his previous score.

Simon Mignolet, Liverpool v Everton

 

Radamel Falcao (Chelsea) 88 – 83

Once one of the most sought after strikers in Europe, now seen as another Premier League flop.I still believe this rating is harsh. Falcao was mostly a bit part player under Louis Van Gaal at Man United and never really got a decent run of games to prove himself. Yes it was a poor year for the Columbian but all in all a downgrade to 83  is brutal. I think an 85 or 84 would have sufficed.

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Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea) 75 – 78

Swansea are a team that most football fans enjoy to watch. It’s taken them a while but they are now seen as a regular in the Premier League. One defining factor of last season was Lukasz Fabianski. With thirteen clean sheets under her belt. he was pivotal in Swansea making it to 8th in the table. An upgrade to the 80 mark would have felt more fair.

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Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) 86-87

Now I like Mesut Ozil as a footballer. When he plays well, he is extraordinary. Since his arrival in England however he has yet to hit his top form. Last season was certainly not a bad season for the German, but I wouldn’t say it was deserving of an improvement to his current 87 Rating. Moving him slightly down to an 85 would have made more sense. It would have seem fairer too when you consider his team-mate Alexis Sanchez is an 86.

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Juan  Mata (Manchester United) 85-84

One of their most expensive signings ever is starting to become more prominent. Very underrated in my opinion. Compared far too often as the “poor mans David Silva”, Mata has a lot to offer that is overlooked. His assist rate is one of the highest in the Premier league and his passing is up there too. Long balls are one of his key assets that have helped United out more often than not. David Silve is valued at 88 which I understand. In my eyes Mata does not veer far from his Spaniard team mate. I think retaining his position at 85 would have been justified.

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Fraser Forster (Southampton) 75-76

Yes another Goalkeeper, Get over it. Like both Mignolet and Fabianski, Fraser Forster was a vital asset to his club last year. Again joint second with thirteen clean sheets is something to be proud of all around. Southampton achieved one of their strongest finishes to date with 7th place so why was Forster only given the bare minimum of improvements. Easily deserving to be an 80 or more, the English Saint has been constantly consistent and is likely to rise more and more.

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Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) 86-87

One of the top strikers in the world who delivers every year. Aguero is seen by most as currently the best player in the Premier league and i’m inclined to agree. With an astounding 26 goals winning him 2014/2015’s Golden Boot its surprising that Sergio hasn’t been given more of an enhancement. Not faring far from the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, the Argentinian’s score should be edging closer to the worlds best. Eden Hazard was shot up to 89 so why is Aguero not around that mark. On the basis of consistency and where they should be ranked, Aguero should be a 90 if Hazard is an 89. That’s coming from a Chelsea fan too…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on August 16, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

So there you have 7 FIFA Barclay’s Premier League rankings that I disagree with. Whats your view on the above players? Who else do you think deserves their score adjusted? Leave us a comment below to tell us why.