Resident Evil 7: Chris Redfield Is Back!

Chris Redfield's new face

Chris Redfield Is Back

Yep, you read the headline right. Chris Redfield is back in the game. Players can once again shoot the zombies on their knees and rush in for a backhand or a haymaker right in the face! Resident Evil 7, the top selling game of last January, will be having its new downloadable content entitled, ‘Not a Hero’. Oh, and heads up! There will be spoilers here. So, if you have not finished the main storyline of the video game yet, please finish it first. Remember, you have been warned. Enjoy!

Meet the new Chris Redfield

After all the released downloadable contents from Capcom that gave us a glimpse of the life of the Bakers, Capcom twitted the following in their official twitter account:

…and they finally answered the question that people has been asking after finishing the main storyline, “Was that really Chris Redfield in the ending of the main game (Resident Evil 7)?”

Still, many of us are still begging for an answer for this one question, how did Chris transform from this:

Chris Redfield before the magical transformation or illness that we are unaware of
Chris Redfield before the magical transformation or illness that we are unaware of

…to this:

Chris Redfield after refusing to continue going to the gym
Chris Redfield after refusing to continue going to the gym

Did he refuse to eat and sleep or did he eat mama Marguerite’s special meal?

Chris Redfield's WTF face
“Do you seriously think I’ll eat Marguerite’s soup of God-knows-what? Dude…”

Chris Redfield will be starring in Resident Evil 7’s latest downloadable content entitled, ‘Not a Hero’. Yep, he will probably have that Solid Snake vibe saying, “I’m no hero, never was”; saying that he’s only hired to do some job. This downloadable content will be out this coming Spring. So, watch out for it, mark your calendars and prepare for more Chris Redfield.

"I'm no hero...never was."
“I’m no hero…never was.”

What will the new DLC be about?

Umbrella helicopter
Yeah, this was a bummer…tell me you were like, “Wait…what?”, just like I was.

There are a lot of speculations as to what the whole downloadable content will be about. Especially now that Capcom hinted in their tweet that Chris will be chasing someone or something. One of the speculations is that, the DLC will feature Chris and his hunt for our beloved Lucas Baker. Yep, the one and only trap-and-party-loving-psychopath-that-blew-a-freaking-cake-for-fun Lucas. A lot of people speculated this because he is the only survivor of the Baker family and Umbrella might want something from him. Which brings us to one more speculation, the DLC will answer the question on how our beloved Chris Redfield become an Umbrella agent. Yes, Umbrella, that pharmaceutical and medical company-slash-organization that started the whole virus thing? I am sure you have heard of them.

The last speculation is the former two combined. Some say that the latest DLC will start from how Chris Redfield became an agent of Umbrella Corporation, to him ending up saving Ethan – and Mia, depending on the player’s choices – from the Bakers, and end with Chris confronting Lucas Baker. If so, we may be subject to another ‘game’ by that crazy, yet brilliant, psychopath.

Mad Chris is Mad
“Get me out of here, Lucas! I swear if I get to you…You piece of – “

Are you excited for “Not a Hero” DLC?

These are just speculations and we can not wait for the release of the downloadable content. Is Chris Redfield now an Umbrella operative? Will Lucas Baker make a grand comeback? What do you think is the significance of the label “Not a Hero”? Tell us what you think in the comments down below and let’s talk.

 

5 RPGs That We All Forgot But Are Still Awesome

Final Fantasy XII

RPGs

2016 has been a great year for Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and just to name a few, we have XCOM 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and Final Fantasy XV. Also, a tormenting torture device called Dark Souls III came out last 2016. While these games have their own share of glory and fame, some wonderful RPGs were forgotten in the box down in our basements. To give you a drop of that nostalgia potion, here are 5 RPGs that we all forgot but are still awesome.

Vagrant Story (also known as “The Phantom Pain”)

RPGs Gem: Vagrant Story
http://wallpapercave.com/wp/OQD8sNj.jpg

Once upon a time, in the year 2000, the developers of Final Fantasy (Square Co., Ltd. which is now known as Square Enix after merging with Enix) decided to make a game with a lot of puzzles, a unique battle system, and a weapon and crafting system that is comparable to a lot of modern games like Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls Series. That game was Vagrant Story. Also known as “The Phantom Pain”, Vagrant story is an action role-playing game that has elements of a dungeon crawler game, a hack and slash game, and a rhythm game.

The game received high ratings from various video game critics. Knowing Final Fantasy developers, they sure hid a lot of gems in the game for you to discover. Go add Vagrant Story in your list of “to-play” games and enjoy the world of Valendia.

Valkyrie Profile Series

RPGs Gem: Valkyrie Profile
http://www.zerochan.net/295361

Valkyrie Profile is a series of RPGs based on the Norse mythology and follows the story of three Goddesses of Fate namely – Silmeria, Lenneth, and Hrist – as they (well, mostly Lenneth) venture into the world of mortals, in the realm of Midgard, in order to gather brave human souls to serve as ‘einherjar’ or warriors for the coming Ragnarok, the final battle which decides the fate of all creation.

The game has a unique battle mechanics wherein, you link or assign the characters to the buttons on the controller and when pressed, the respective character linked to that button performs an action. It’s a mechanic worth experiencing and the story is fine, especially it covers human behavior and honor. If you want to play this forgotten gem, it’s available on the PlayStation Portable. Enjoy and defeat those enemies, Nibelung Valesti!

Final Fantasy Tactics (Original and the “War of the Lions” version)

RPGs Gem: Final Fantasy Tactics
http://fantasyanime.com/finalfantasy/fftactics/images/fftacticswlpr06-800×600.jpg

Who doesn’t love Final Fantasy Tactics? Well, that is probably because you haven’t played it yet, young squire. This entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was made last 1997 and was re-released for the PSP in 2007 as “Final Fantasy Tactics: The war of the Lions”. Which added new movies, scenarios, jobs, and a lot of words that made me grab a dictionary. You can’t miss a single point in the wonderful story of greed, revenge, corruption, friendship, and betrayal that gave life to the world of Ivalice.

Oh and, various characters from the ‘main’ Final Fantasy franchise also appeared in FFT. Having trouble where to get it? Well, worry no more. The game was made available on the smartphone last 2011. Go on and visit your app store and grab a copy of this critically acclaimed entry in the Final Fantasy universe.

Breath of Fire III

RPGs Gem: Breath of Fire
http://i.neoseeker.com/ca/breath_of_fire_iii_conceptart_Uhbno.jpg

First off, I’ve also played Breath of Fire IV but I never finished it…and I apologize for that, my dear BOF IV fans out there. That being said, I chose Breath of Fire III, the first three-dimensional entry in the series. It offers a lot of mechanics that will make you play for hours and hours. Collecting all of Ryu’s Dragon Genes, fishing, and learning all the skills, are just some of the things that will make you come back and play some more. Battles occur quite similarly to another RPG – ehem, Final Fantasy – which is random. I won’t spoil the story, because there are a lot of plot twists in this game accompanied by a very gorgeous soundtrack. Plus, the diverse characters that will make you properly plan the composition of your party in order to defeat the myriad of enemies that will cross your path.

The game was re-released for the PlayStation Portable for you, guys, to pick up and enjoy.

Xenogears

RPGs Gem: The Xenogears Title Screen
http://wallpapersafari.com/w/tyVioB

Have you ever heard of that game that has a long-haired main character? The one that fights with his fists and has a giant Gundam-like robot? Well, that is Fei Fong Wong. He is the protagonist of the gem that I think is lost in the back of the minds of most people, Xenogears. This game tackles a lot of social issues that makes it more appealing to more matured audiences. Issues include slavery, war, prejudice, and corruption. A lot of critics hailed Xenogears for its somewhat controversial take on religion, humanism, and psychology.

The gameplay involves the use of Action Points or AP in order to execute combos. The Triangle, Square, and X buttons on the controller are used to perform those combos. Then, there are gears. These are combat robots, fighting machines that bear a similar fighting style as the owner or pilot. For example, one character in the game, Bart, uses a whip when outside his whip-wielding Gear. Xenogears has anime-style cutscenes which are backed by gorgeous soundtracks composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the composer for Chrono Trigger, Xenosaga, Soul Sacrifice Delta, and a lot more.

You can get it from the PlayStation Network and enjoy the brain-teasing world of Xenogears.

I hope you enjoyed my list of some of the top RPGs of the previous generations that seem to have been forgotten. If you are looking for games to play while waiting for that next-level role-playing game coming out in just a few months, you can try the games above. You will not regret it.

How about you? If you know any role-playing games, that made you feel like you live in another world, that seem to have been forgotten now? Let us know in the comments down below and happy gaming!

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Is Almost Here!

Resident Evil 7 game

The highly-anticipated release of Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is almost upon us. After being teased at 2014’s E3, gamers have long been marking their calendars for the day they will finally be able to slide this baby into their consoles. Well—the time is almost here. On January 24th, we all can pretend to line up politely then make that relentless mad dash to the checkout counter. Excitement is understandable, but let try to be a “little” civilized folks. I love throwing some elbows as much as the next guy, but remember to BREATHE. We’re all gamers waiting for our copy, no fight club please.

We’re looking at an incredibly stacked year for gaming in 2017. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will be the first of the big games to drop. The horror-survival game looks incredible! Presented in the finest format available; the 4K resolution is truly awe-inspiring. The long gameplay demo release at this past years E3 conference showed an improved stunning environment. From the eerie rooms and hallways, the life-like look of the weapons, even down to the unbelievable effects of the wounds on the body and the blood.

For the first time, you will play in the first-person. Making it even more horrifying to the user experience. If that’s not enough for you, RE7 for the first time ever will also be available on VR (virtual reality) for PlayStation VR. Imagine submersing yourself into a first-person horror-survival game where all your senses are essentially being attacked while being forced to keep yourself alive. It sounds…so much fun! I honestly can’t wait for the hundreds of YouTube videos of people’s reaction to playing this on VR. Someone’s definitely thinking outside the box over there at Capcom.

In terms of gameplay, the creators have stressed “not to expect a shoot off”. Making it sound like you will need to manage your ammunition wisely if you aim to make it to the end. Calling for the much useful real life skill of improvising. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect some of lethal weapons at your disposal. You’ll be able to wield: the always handy chainsaws, powerful explosives (grenades, etc.), flamethrowers (because who doesn’t love a flamethrower?), and the original classics like handguns and shotguns.

Some of the new features include puzzle solving and healing ingredients, like herbs. The healing herbs are a huge benefit to the constant chaos and damage you’re sure to encounter throughout the game. The interesting new thing I believe is the puzzle solving. I mean think about it, imagine trying to deal with a puzzle of some kind and being attacked in waves by monsters and infected people. That battle of focus will undoubtedly by challenged to epic proportions while trying to solve a puzzle. It sounds so stressful…I can’t wait!

I’ve been trying to patient for the release of this game. Truth is, it hast happened. One of my best friends asked for this game for her birthday and I jumped for joy by preordering it as her birthday gift. She went crazy, as one sane person would. Getting the gift of joy. Of course, that joy comes in a box of horror with ominous noises. But besides that, pure joy.

We’re coming down to the end now; Under 2 weeks until the release date. This early contender for GOTY (Game of The Year) should delight fans as the past 10 have. The new improvements with gameplay, design, and format, set this game up to be played day after day. For all the gamers of the world, prepare yourself for this game. It’s one not to be missed or delayed in playing. Don’t let your friends tell you how good it is, go experience it first. Check it out on January 24, January 26th in Japan.

Check Out the Resident Evil 7 Minimum System Requirements & Recommended Ones Here

Evil

Resident Evil 7 is getting closer and closer to its PC release and, judging from early impressions published on various sites online, the switch from third person somehow managed to reinvent the horror genre and deliver an amazing experience to fans of the franchise (and not only). With such – surprising, I would add – praise surrounding the game, you definitely wonder if your computer can handle it and we’re here to let you know by sharing the Resident Evil 7 system requirements.

We have both the minimum Resident Evil 7 system requirements, as well as the recommended ones to share below and there are also some interesting notes on the official release that we’ll have to talk a bit more in detail later. But until then, here are the sys specs your computer needs to run the game:

Resident Evil 7 Minimum System Requirements

– OS: WINDOWS 7,8,8.1,10 64-BIT
– Processor: Intel Core i5-4460, 2.70GHz or AMD FX-6300 or better
– Memory: 8 GB RAM
– Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x
– DirectX: Version 11
– Additional Notes: 1080P CPU/GPU at 30FPS Players will have to either lower texture or set streaming textures to OFF in order to optimize performance.

Resident Evil 7 Recommended System Requirements

– OS: WINDOWS 7,8,8.1,10 64-BIT
– Processor: Intel Core i7 3770 3.4GHz or AMD or better
– Memory: 8 GB RAM
– Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 280X or better
– DirectX: Version 11
– Additional Notes: “1080P CPU/GPU at 60FPS *Internet connection required for game activation. The game is still undergoing development, so all PC requirements are subject to change.”

The interesting part comes from the “Additional notes” from the minimum requirements. Does this mean that there’s no support for anything lower than 1080p in order to get an extra performance boost? Or it’s just the good news that even the minimum requirements can produce 1080p images? I believe that it’s the latter and you’ll still have the chance to lower the resolution to increase performance if you want to.

Here’s the official presentation of the game, in case you need more details about the upcoming game:

Players experience the terror directly from the first person perspective for the first time in the Resident Evil series. Embodying the iconic gameplay elements of exploration and tense atmosphere that first coined “survival horror” some twenty years ago, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard delivers a disturbingly realistic experience that will define the next era in horror entertainment. Returning to the series roots, signature gameplay features including exploration, puzzles and a realistic tense atmosphere awaits players. The classic inventory system returns but with limited space meaning players must choose what they carry with them carefully, making sure they remember to pack their green herbs!

The game launches in January 2017 and, judging from the system requirements that have just been released, some people might have to upgrade their PC in order to be able to fully enjoy the game.

Speculating Street Fighter V’s New Boss Character

The roster for Street Fighter V is nearing completion with only a couple more characters awaiting their reveals.  Karin, Zangief, and newcomer Laura were officially revealed recently, with Laura being accidentally leaked by Famitsu early.  Capcom has stated that there will be sixteen playable characters in Street Fighter V‘s initial roster and more will be added post-release in a League of Legends type of ongoing service.  They’ve also stated that, of the sixteen characters, eight will be series regulars, four will be veterans that have been out of the fight for some time, and four will be entirely new.  With the most recent reveals, we now know seven of the eight all-stars (Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Zangief, M. Bison (dictator), Vega (claw), and Cammy), three of the newcomers (Necalli, Rashid, and Laura), and all four of the returning veterans (Charlie Nash, Birdie, Rainbow Mika, and Karin).  This leaves only one all-star and one newcomer for the initial roster.  However, the remaining characters may already be known as all of these reveals line up well with a supposed leak that was originally released on the forums of popular Street Fighter fan-site Shoryuken.com.

The leak was posted three months ago and claimed that R. Mika, Zangief, Sim (supposedly referring to Dhalsim), Juri, Karin, Ken, Urien, Alex, Laura, Rashid, and Zen would be on Street Fighter V‘s roster before any of those characters had been confirmed.  Initially, I shrugged the leak off as it not only failed to mention Vega and Necalli, but it also contradicted with the number of characters that Capcom themselves claimed would be in the game.  Even when Rashid was revealed, I still wasn’t convinced and chalked it up as a lucky guess.  Dozens of fake leaks are released regularly and, while Rashid isn’t the most common name, it’s still possible that someone just got lucky.  However, now that Laura has also been revealed, it lines up too well to be called a mere coincidence.  Taking the Shoryuken leak as real, that makes Dhalsim the last veteran character (so much for my Necro prediction) and Zen as the last newcomer and is also referred to as the new boss character in the leak.  Unfortunately, it turns out that executive producer Yoshinori Ono really was playing a trick when he heavily hinted at Blanka being announced at the Brasil Game Show.

However, what about the three characters left over?  Unless the roster has changed mid-development or the stated number of characters was an outright lie, there isn’t enough room in the plan for Juri, Alex, and Urien to join the cast.  Well, the simple explanation is that these characters won’t be in the initial line-up, but rather are the first ones in line to be added post-release.  One of them may even be announced near launch as a free preorder bonus.  There is an event scheduled at New York Comic Con that would be the perfect place to reveal the all-American Alex.  I doubt anyone would be used as a preorder exclusive given that Capcom knows how much they’ve burned their fans with on-disc DLC in the past and they are in no position to garner more bad press for themselves.  After all, the only reason Street Fighter V is being developed at all right now is because Sony offered to help publish it.  More likely, preordering would get you a voucher for a specific character that would have to be unlocked with either grinding or microtransactions otherwise.  Then again, never underestimate a major game developer’s ability to dig its own grave.

ZenSpeculation2

The one major mystery surrounding the roster is the identity of the supposed new boss, Zen.  With such an innocuous name, Zen’s playstyle, personality, and even gender are all anyone’s guess.  However, I think we may have already seen Zen and can deduce some of his abilities.  In Street Fighter IV,  Shadaloo enforcer and former boxing champ Balrog decides to go rouge in order to steal Shadaloo tech and sell it for his own gain.  In the end, all he walks away with is a mysterious child experimented on by SF4’s main antagonist,  Seth.  It’s my guess that this child is Zen and he will appear in Street Fighter V all grown up and in control of his latent powers.

Being raised by Balrog, Zen would likely be a boxer and the roster is still in need of one.  Having a boxer as the new boss would be an interesting twist, and he has his mysterious powers to differentiate him from Balrog and Dudley and make him stand out as a boss character.  Given that he was found in the same facility that created Seth, a creature made up of the best moves of all the other Street Fighter characters, the possibilities for his powers are essentially limitless.  He could mix up his pugilism with projectiles, spacing techniques, barriers, or who knows what.  Just having a straight-forward boxer wouldn’t be much of a boss, so Zen will definitely have some overwhelming abilities to put him on the level of Akuma and Gill.  Once again, I want to emphasize that this is all just wild speculation on my part and Zen could just as easily be an entirely new character unrelated to anyone or anything we’ve seen before.  Zen could very well be a space alien with three legs and shoots lasers from its eyes for all we really know.  Before you call that ridiculous, keep in mind that Street Fighter has never been shy about casually throwing around monster men like Blanka and Necro.  I just think Balrog’s ending from SF4 feels too much like foreshadowing of events we’ll see play out in SF5 to ignore.

Who do you think will be the new boss character for Street Fighter V?  Who do you want to have join the post-release roster first?  Do you have any lingering concerns as we approach the game’s release?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Questions That Should be Asked of Street Fighter V

Recently it was announced that Street Fighter V will allow gamers to unlock extra content through playing the game rather than by paying for it. For those unfamiliar with the series, Street Fighter has a history of releasing multiple installments of the same game with extra characters and stages in each new release. Street Fighter IV was released as Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and Ultra Street Fighter IV. Street Fighter IV was priced as a normal game and each subsequent edition cost about as much as an expansion pack.

On the face of it this is great news. Rather than pay periodically as Capcom refine the same game players will be able to be rewarded for playing the game with more content to invest their time in. However I have a couple of questions which I believe that we should keep in mind before celebrating.

How much content?

Street Fighter V will be starting with a roster of 16 characters, Street Fighter IV had about this many in the arcades but added eight characters for the console release. This may not seem like a lot but it bears asking, will players be getting as much out of Street Fighter V as they did IV?. I mentioned earlier in this article that updates to existing Street Fighter games have been priced in a similar way to expansion packs and they have come with similar levels of content. Could this shift in philosophy also lead to a change from fewer, larger releases to smaller, more frequent ones? This leads me to my next question.

How much will they cost?

The advice that I want to give anyone following the series is to look at how much individual content packs for V will cost and consider the following question, would they be charged less if said hypothetical content came out in a new edition of a Street Fighter game. You may be thinking that these issues can be avoided, after all the whole point of this change is that you can get things for free that you used to have to pay for. To this I reply by asking

How will new content be unlocked?

Many a poorly designed “free to play” game will incentivise its player base to participate in contradistinctions by making it take a considerable amount of time to achieve anything for free and/or by making the method by which free things are unlocked incredibly tedious. At this moment Street Fighter fans should be wondering if they are truly going to be rewarded for their time and skills or bored into paying anyway for something they were promised would be free.

I am very skeptical about Street Fighter V at the moment. My main concern is that Capcom are only pretending that we are going to see a glorious return to the days that you only needed spend money once on a game to get everything that came with it. My concern is that Capcom are instead trying to use this announcement to sneak a free to play economy into their next big budget game with thee aid of a smokescreen that will have their fans cheering their actions on.

Please don’t feel the need to take my word for it, I could be wrong and I hope that I am wrong. Just keep my questions in mind over the coming months.

Content Stigmatisation: The Bane of Gaming

Gaming

I love content me. There is nothing better than completing a game only to find tens of hours of additional game ready to play that is not directly linked to the “main game”. Extra modes, unlockables, challenges, and characters; they all add the experience. Whilst not a sure-fire, set in stone rule, the more content a game has, the better the value. Well isn’t it a shame that content in modern games is, well, missing. Ergo, the value of gaming has dropped.

But why has game content went the way of the dodo? Simple: DLC. It seems more and more common for developers to release a game with blatantly missing content only to “fill in the gaps” later with overpriced, underwhelming DLC packages. Last years Destiny is a shining example of how a game was neutered and then spoon fed with addons at a later date. You have a game ripe with potential, the only draw back being there is nothing to do, the main story is short and actually goes out of its way to not explain the universe, and low and behold, ridiculous DLC comes along to fill in all those gaps at an extravagant price. Buy a half finished game at full price, then pay more for the right to play the other half later on.

This kind of thinking is ripe in the gaming industry of today, and with day one DLC actually having the audacity to exist (we are looking at you Capcom), especially when the content is already on the disk (still looking at you Capcom), the problem is not going away. And whilst we are staring uncomfortably at Capcom, what is with Street Fighter 4 Super Hyper Turbo Champion Extreme Edition Plus Arcade? Everything you have added to Steet Fighter over the years could, and should be added as DLC, and in some cases, a patch.

Microtransactions. Oh how I despise you. Once only found in terrible F2P mobile games, microtransactions have begun to crop up in AAA titles. Traditionally microtransactions are designed to allow you to skip tedious parts of a game, which is great in a F2P title that has freakishly long downtime. But when you had this kind of rubbish in full price games like Forza or Assassins Creed, you are literally paying the developer money to:

  1. Play their game
  2. Play any on disk day one DLC
  3.  Not play the game

And this trend will not stop, because people do it. Developers are literally asking you for money to not play their game, after you spent a small fortune buying the game in the first place.

Content in gaming nowadays is a taboo. If you want to have a meaningful, full experience you simply have to fork out additional money for features that should have been present all along. That, or wait a year or so for the Directors Cut, otherwise known as: The actual game we should have released a year ago.

5 Reasons Why Super Smash Bros Is Amazing

Super Smash

Nintendo‘s Smash series has spanned 4 generations, starting on the N64 as a way of combining Nintendo’s biggest names and allowing them to duke it out in an all or nothing deathmatch. Of course, with such a strong premise, the series is immensely popular. No other game has so many legends in 1 place (we don’t talk about Sony’s attempt…). Where else can you have Sonic, Sega’s super fast mascot, go toe-to-toe with Samus Aran, the legendary Metroid hunter? Here are 5 reasons why Super Smash Bros is amazing.

5) Massive Roster

Lets be blunt, Smash has a massive roster falling just shy of 50 characters. Its size, and scope is only matched by its diversity. Every character in Smash 4 feels unique, and adds its own set of challenges to the mix. Having so many characters, with the vast majority of them being unlocked from the get go, allows you to experience something new and different every time you load it up. Of course, this is not taking into considering the expansive stage selection, all of which having an “Omega” version for a true test of skill.

4) Accessibility

The beauty of Smash is that literally anyone can pick it up, and have a good time. With only 2 attack buttons, a shield and a grab you can learn the basics in about 5 seconds. That is the level of accessibility Molyneux wanted for Fable…done right, and done much, much earlier. Despite the simplicity, you feel fully in control of your avatar, every move is responsive and lightning fast. With every controller imaginable supported, and every button, and stick, completely rebindable, you have PC level of control optimization, so Smashing always feels comfortable.

3) Content

Fighting games are notorious for having very little content. You have you arcade mode, a team mode of some sort, some online functionality and usually, that is all you get. Like its predecessors, Smash 4 is full of unlockables, collectables, secrets and crammed with stuff to do. On top of your basic 4 man smash, you have Arcade, Event, All Star, 8 Man Smash, Conquest, Smash Tour, Ranked, and Unranked Online play, Master Orders, Crazy Orders and full Amiibo support. There is also a Level Editor, a music area where you can make your own playlists from unlocked tracks, which contains some of the best music in gaming, and a trophy room where you can get trivia on some of the most obscure things from Nintendo’s past. Oh, and an incredibly difficult Challenge List pushing you to your absolute limit if you want to complete all of them. In short, there are hundreds of hours of game.

2) Online

As I mentioned, there is Online in Smash 4. Unlike Brawl however, Nintendo has really stepped up their game, and we finally have a proper online suite in order to play Smash against people from around the world. Whether you want to play intense 1v1 matches in an all or nothing ranked mode, play team modes or just go for the classic free for all, Smash Online has you covered. It has taken long enough!

1) Depth

Smash may be one of the most easy to learn games on the market, but it is also one of the hardest to master. It is a common misconception that Smash is casual, simple and button mashy, however this is not the case. Since Melee Smash has had a massive following in the Pro scene, with tournaments all over the world, and with the dawn of E-Sports, you can see the amazing things people can do with only 2 buttons. This is the real reason Smash has stayed so popular over the years, and why people beg for sequels. The games simplicity is a ruse, a cunning disguise, something to hide the truth, and that is that Super Smash Brothers is a hardcore fighter that requires incredible reflexes, planning and skill to come out ahead. To put it plainly, it is one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming. Well played Nintendo, you had us all fooled.

The VGamerZ Monster Files: Blanka (Street Fighter)

Blanka

No offense, Blanka, but look at yourself. Welcome to The Monster Files, you big ol’ ginger man-beast.

This feral fighter has been a Street Fighter icon since his introduction in the second release. From the start, he stuck out like a huge, green sore thumb, which was just what Capcom intended. His backstory, even by fighting game standards, is all kinds of nuts.

Blanka was once human, but mutated following a plane crash in Brazil as a child. This, apparently, turned him green, as well as granting him the power to generate electricity in his body. It makes perfect sense, I’m sure, if you’re a Marvel superhero.

But crazitude aside, these traits are highly useful in combat. Blanka doesn’t fight traditionally, unlike Ryu with his shotokan karate or Chun-li’s Chinese martial arts. His attacks are brutal (that biting your darn face right off grab of his in particular), powerful, unpredictable and wild. If you’re familiar with the character, you’ll know that he plays unlike just about any other character in the genre.

Blanka 2

He’s best known, of course, for that infernal electricity. By simply mashing the button, you can generate a short-range shock field which will electrocute any fighter who makes contact with you. This is his signature move, and you’re crouched immobile while performing it, but it’s a huge pain for jump-ins and cements Blanka’s reputation among the most vicious of Street Fighter stalwarts.

Another trait that sets him apart is his mobility. While not especially fast-moving, per se, Blanka’s character-defining spinning attacks let him also cause trouble when you think he’s at a safe distance. These let him roll into a ball and ‘dash’ forward Sonic the Hedgehog-style. It’s another manoeuvre unlike anything else in the game.

Naturally, all of the fighters were designed to look, feel and play as differently as possible. To get that whole world fighting championship feel, you need to be able to contrast Zangief’s slow, devastating wrestling moves with Vega’s swift, elegant ‘Spanish ninja’ techniques. But even so, Blanka was –in more ways than one– the wildcard. His unique design has endeared him to fighting game fans everywhere.

VGamerZ’s GameZ of 2015: #5- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Monster Hunter 4

Monster Hunter

There’s a school of thought that mobile gaming can’t do big, complex games. The most popular are quick, simple and outrageously addictive little vignettes like Flight Control, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird and their ilk. By extension, handheld consoles’ titles aren’t a patch on their big ol’ tv-powered brothers. Apparently.

This is to be expected, of course, what with technical limitations and such. Still, the humble 3DS has been doing some impressive things recently. Smash Bros. was quite the package, and now here comes a truly vast game for the system: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

Franchise fans will remember the last title, which hit the handheld and Wii U simultaneously. This time, it’s 3DS exclusive, and one of the system’s most anticipated releases for some time. Let’s take a look.

Monster Hunter, for the uninitiated, is an action RPG (well, technically) from Capcom. It casts you as a greenhorn ‘Hunter,’ a sort of mercenary charged with eradicating the big ol’ angry creatures that roam the world and threaten settlements. It’s all very action-centric, and we’re using the term RPG in the loosest sense. Loose enough to drop right off and roll under the sofa, at that.

There aren’t many of the usual genre trappings to be had here. Sure, there’s a little hub town, prattling NPCs to talk to and item and equipment shops, but as far a plotting goes… there’s slim to bupkus. Between quests to murderise things, you’re really just in the hub to stock up on hunting equipment and upgrade weapons or armour.

For Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, little has changed in this regard. You’ll spend your time grinding up the ranks and building your HR (Hunter Rank), which is the key to accessing the bigger and claw-ier missions. To succeed there, of course, you’ll need more powerful weaponry and more resilient armour, which you can craft by defeating the monsters already available. And so the circle of Monster Hunter life continues.

Missions take place in large habitats, with ten or 10 or so zones. You’ll have to stalk your prey between zones, marking them with paintballs when they fly away and other little intricacies. They’ll limp away when they’ve sustained too much damage, stagger from too many hits on a weak point, and otherwise act like the wild animals/bosses they are. This is a hunt, after all.

Monster Hunter 4 B

The core combat is the name of the game, and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brings only slight tweaks to a winning formula. The real-time arcade combat is as slow-paced and deliberate as it ever was, emphasising positioning and timing over anything else. Button mashing will get you killed in moments. The beauty of these games is in correctly predicting where your foe will be and nailing them with a fully charged Great Sword hit, or getting in that final Roundslash to power up your Longsword as the monster staggers.

There’s a wide range of weapon classes, each of which makes a huge difference to how you approach a fight. The fast and mobile Sword and Shield is a combo weapon, letting you apply lots of elemental or status hits quickly (the paralyse or poison effectively, in the latter case), while the devastating blunt damage of the hefty Hammer can KO monsters with powerful hits to the head. Whereupon it is left immobile for a while and ripe for a beating. There are also ranged weapons, in the form of the Bow and the Light and Heavy Bowguns. Gunners are a different type of hunter entirely, requiring a separate set of armour to their melee (blademaster in Monster Hunter terms) allies. In exchange for being able to attack from a safe(er) distance, their equipment has only half the defense by default.

Monster Hunter, in all its forms, is a huge undertaking. Fans of grinding for rare drops and the like will take to it like nobody’s business. Crafting a particular monster’s armour set or weapon upgrade can take many battles with it, and demands dedication. It’s the kind of game where simply deciding to learn a new weapon class can grant you weeks of playtime.

For veterans of the series, there are some rather nifty new mechanics and additions here. The first of which is mounting. During combat, you’ll find opportunities to perform jumping attacks on the enemy. Doing this correctly will allow you to land on its back and attack away, filling the mounting gauge. Doing so before the monster throws you off will result in a long stagger animation as it falls, allowing for ample free hits.

There’s also (whisper it) a tentative attempt at adding a little more story this time around. Your hunter joins a travelling caravan at the beginning of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and will move with them through various hub worlds; attempting to solve the mystery of an artifact held by the leader. It’s nothing big and complex, but it’s step beyond anything the series has tried in that area before.

Which sums up the new installment perfectly. As always, Capcom’s flagship hunting game is a daunting franchise for new players to get into. It may ease you in with tutorial missions, showing the basics of gathering and simple weapon controls, but then you’re face to face with the Great Jaggi and getting your face chewed on (well, sometimes). New players certainly have a lot to take in, and this release is really no more noobie-friendly. If you couldn’t get into Monster Hunter before, this one will do nothing to change your mind.

For me, it’s always been a series that you either invest hundreds of hours into or you don’t click with at all. The former camp will delight in the two new weapons, the tweaked ‘vertical’ element to battles, and the first portable release with true online functionality. A Western release has been long-awaited, and for many it’s a game of the year contender now it’s here.