Now Arriving: Games of November 2019

I know I’m a little late on this one but it’s better late than never! We’re in the home stretch of the holiday season as November really presents the last major release hurdle. Sure, December has a couple games, but once we make it through this month, the wallet destruction is at an end.

Okay, let’s be honest here. In terms of franchises, it doesn’t get much bigger than Pokemon. The Nintendo Switch is finally getting a game in the core series of games with Pokemon Sword/Shield, taking players to a location that seems to be inspired by Great Britain. In addition to staples like Meowth and Pikachu, players will also be able to pick up a pretty rainbow pony, a welsh corgi, and plenty more new Pokemon.

Not into catching pocket monsters? Not a problem, the gaming industry has you covered! Rockstar is going big for PC users by launching Red Dead Redemption 2 with plenty of PC specific features. Need for Speed: Heat brings players back to the streets with high octane racing and Respawn Entertainment is trying to hit gold once again in 2019 with the single player focused game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

As you can see, there’s a ton of good stuff coming this month. As always, check out the complete list of November 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

Continue reading

Posted in Feature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Overwatch 2 Has Done Something I’ve Been Waiting Years For

So as most of you know, BlizzCon 2019 was this past weekend and while the specter of Blizzard’s tough year loomed over the event, the studio delivered some really awesome announcements. That Diablo 4 cinematic was something else, wasn’t it?

One of the industry’s worst kept secrets, Overwatch 2 was also revealed in full, finally bringing a dedicated PvE side as well.

overwatch 2 paris winston

While I’ve enjoyed the game for what it is, I’ve always felt a major disconnect between all of the story elements and the actual gameplay. I mean, Blizzard has worked hard to create a backstory for its many characters and showcased them brilliantly in stunning cinematics. The world is rich in lore with the downfall of a once beloved organization called Overwatch who set out to protect people. You have different factions like Talon and Null Sector, robots called Omnics who are not trusted by parts of the population, and a talking gorilla who is atempting to rally and reform the now dispersed Overwatch team.

Lots of stuff to unpack there, yes. However, for those people who want to explore this side of the game, well, it’s very hard to because after you get past all of those flashy trailers, Overwatch is essentially a competitive shooter. Players are free to pick from any character they want regardless of the faction they represent. It doesn’t matter if two characters like Soldier: 76 and Reaper don’t like each other or if two characters on opposite teams are technically part of the same faction.

Sure, voice lines give snippets of lore in game, but for the most part, the lore part of the game is thrown out in favor of pure shooter gameplay. While some may be fine with this, I’ve always felt like it was a missed opportunity, similar to what Bungie had been doing with Destiny.

overwatch 2 brigette and reinhart

With Overwatch 2, it looks like the team has placed a bigger focus on the lore and story elements of the series through its PvE missions. Instead of shooting for the sake of shooting, players are guided through various missions against actual enemy targets and a story driving the gameplay. We’ll be getting character backstories and more.

Long overdue if you ask me. Overwatch 2 is likely a ways off, so we’ll have plenty of time to examine this in the meantime. Hopefully this side of the game is given as much love and care as the PvP side has gotten over the years to help it stand out.

Posted in News, Opinion | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Evolving World of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

I’ve always wanted Bungie to go all in with storytelling for the Destiny franchise, something that the studio has struggled with since the series originally launched year ago. Things have improved with Destiny 2 and through the various expansions and with Shadowkeep, we might finally be heading in that direction even if it’s going to take a while to fully get there.

What am I talking about? Bungie has seemingly added more and more in the way of storytelling through cinematics in campaigns, in-game event quests, and now with the Shadowkeep expansion, an evolving world.

destiny 2 shadowkeep vex incursions

The current season of Destiny 2 is called Season of the Undying and it involves the Vex invading the Moon. These Vex are related to the original faction we fight against at the Black Garden of the first game, and they appear to be coming back in force thanks to its leader, the Undying Mind.

Resident Warlock Vanguard, Ikora Rey, has asked us to invade the Black Garden and collect parts from the newly added Vex Offensive mode. The second week following the Shadowkeep launch revealed that she’s actually using these components to build what appears to be a massive portal which will eventually let us invade the Undying Mind’s location to kill him across multiple timelines.

While that sounds cool and all, the big revelation is that the Tower is slowly evolving and changing with each weekly reset. Behind Ikora’s spot is a team of builders who continue to make progress on the massive Vex portal. It’s a small detail but I really like seeing this in the game as it makes me feel like I have a hand in changing this world. My hope is that this is just the beginning and in future seasons this concept is taken a step further.

destiny 2 new light

I’ve always hope that we’d see expansion characters like Ana Bray and Osiris make it back to the Tower. I feel like that would be another nice little touch to help make Destiny 2 feel like a living and breathing game. While Osiris could totally show up in the Tower, I understand it might complicate things with Ana who serves as the point of contact for players on Mars.

Still, I like and agree with Bungie’s vision for a world that is constantly moving forward. I wished the Shadowkeep campaign was a bit longer, but it seems like we’ll see how the story plays out over the course of the next few seasons, especially since we’re getting a new cinematic with the reset this week. I’m intrigued by how things will transform season to season especially since the Vex Offensive mode is going away as well as the Undying title and what apparently will be the Vex invasion threat.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep may be a bit grindier than the series has ever been, but I’m really likely the direction Bungie is pushing the franchise. We’ll see how this thing plays out over the next few months.

Posted in Opinion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shifting Goalposts of Borderlands 3

As I mentioned previously, I’m perfectly okay that Borderlands 3 didn’t push the genre or franchise forward. Yes, the game looks better and has a number of cool quality of life features, but for the most part, this plays nearly the same as what you’d expect. For good and bad.

Borderlands mask of mayhem teaser

However, one element that has seemingly come out of no where are the consistent updates that the game receives. While constant patching and fixes are typically a good thing, the ones for Borderlands 3 have started to really wear down the community and interfere with one of the franchise’s core tenants: Fun.

Let’s explore this topic, shall we?

Continue reading

Posted in Opinion | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fortnite and Black Holes: Shaking Up The Battle Royale Genre

I honestly never thought I’d be writing about Fortnite again on this blog, but something happened over the weekend that to me was just shocking. Naturally, I have to talk about it.

So in case you missed it, Fortnite’s wildly popular Battle Royale mode kicked off a new in-game event over the weekend called The End. I’ll spare you the details, but essentially a combination of rockets and rifts exploded all over the map and caused a massive black hole to appear and sucked everything into it. Guys, this event caused the game to end. THE. GAME. ENDED.

fortnite squad carry

Even though the mode is supposed to be active 24/7 and has a legion of passionate fans and players, Epic Games straight up turned it off. For nearly two days on a holiday weekend here in the US.

I can’t imagine what sort of chaos this caused, especially those that may not be as well informed as those of us that just live on the internet. Think about all of the younger players out there, wanting to log into the game and being met with the black hole of nothingness. I’m absolutely sure there were some epic freak outs, screaming, and destruction of property.

What’s crazy to me though is how much money Epic probably left on the table by keeping the game offline for nearly two days while they worked on updating the game to Chapter 2. Sure, Epic likely isn’t hurting for money at this point thanks to their game marketplace on the PC as well as the fact that Fortnite has been essentially printing money for a while now. They must have calculated that there wasn’t much risk in taking the game down for a short window, but still, in this day and age, it’s a bold move.

Would EA or Activision give up potential revenue for 48 hours? I’d have to say probably not.

So yeah, as most of you probably know by now, Fortnite is back up and is currently in Chapter 2. The third person shooting remains the same, but Epic has changed a ton with the game including a new map, new features, a streamlined weapon system, and a revamped XP system.

That said, are these changes enough to pull you back in? Personally, I haven’t played Fortnite in a good long while and while I think this change is interesting, I’m not sure it’s going to pull me back in.

Posted in News, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Arriving: Games of October 2019

We’re continuing our descent into the Fall and Holiday season, finally landing at arguably the biggest and most robust month of the year. October, as it does every year, brings the most games and the biggest names so I do hope you’ve been saving.

The month starts out with a bang as Destiny 2 continues to expand with it’s latest expansion called Shadowkeep. It reintroduces players to the Moon, a destination last seen in the very first game, though a lot has happened to it since players were last there. Not only that, Destiny 2 now offers a free to play version, giving the entire first year of content for free along with a ton of other modes and activities. If you’ve been waiting to try the game out, there is now no better time.

If you’re feeling a little burnt out on looter shooters these days, October still has plenty of new content for you. Luigi’s Mansion 3 arrives on the spookiest day of the year for the Nintendo Switch, the next chapter of Ghost Recon arrives, and the reimagined Call of Duty Modern Warfare makes its debut. Obsidian is returning to the FPS/RPG genre with their SciFi Fallout looking title The Outer Worlds.

Needless to say, October is stuffed with new games. Believe me, there’s a ton more to see this month. Head below to check out the complete list of October 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

Continue reading

Posted in Feature, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Last Of Us Part II Finally Gives Fans Answers

While most would likely agree that Sony’s State of Play stream yesterday was largely a disappointment *cough*no Batman reveal*cough*, the major bright spot came at the very end with The Last of Us Part II.

The reveal gave fans another look at the game courtesy of a very impressive and equally brutal trailer. It’s been a while since Sony of Naughty Dog has given us new information on the game, and this trailer should satiate fans for now.

New story revelations were revealed including what appears to be the motivation of Ellie. She’s apparently on a mission of revenge against a new group that brutally attacked and likely killed her love interest Dina, who fans saw at the E3 2018 press conference cinematic. Though some have hinted that it may not be as straightforward as the trailer makes it seem.

To many the big news came at the end of the trailer which showed a much older Joel seemingly helping Ellie when she runs into a bit of trouble. Have a look here if you haven’t seen it yet:

The trailer also finally revealed a release date for the highly anticipated title. Although it feels like it’s been in development for an eternity, the game is finally hitting PlayStation 4 on February 21, 2020.

First off, the visuals and character models look insanely good, though coming from Naughty Dog and their body of work, this shouldn’t be surprising. While the Clickers remain a big threat, to me, it looks like the focus is going to shift focus more on this evil group of survivors who I believe are called the Seraphites. While not much is known about this group, they’re a sort of cult that is apparently out to purge the world of sin. They were also primarily featured in the particularly violent Paris Games Week 2017 trailer.

I’ll be honest guys, I’m completely torn on this game. As I’ve stated in the past, I liked The Last of Us, but I can’t decide if I actually enjoyed my time playing it. That’s not a knock on the game or anything, because I think that’s the point. I can remember feeling tense and stressed through most of it whether it was exploring the ruined world, dark corridors where the sound-based clickers hid, or dealing with hostile survivors like David and his cannibals. I won’t lie, I had to take breaks from playing it because it was exhausting and emotionally draining.

The story was fantastic and again, the visuals were top notch, but the themes were definitely heavy and didn’t lend themselves to being what you would consider fun. That was the point though. This isn’t supposed to be Super Mario or a game to pick up and blow off some steam. The Last of Us Part II looks to amplify a lot of that, which is clearly seen in a lot of the promotional trailers and media. It’s violent, brutal, and promises to be something that’s going to stick with you. Again, these aren’t bad things and I can already tell that this game will be one of the final crown jewels in what has been a hugely successful lifespan for the PS4. Who am I kidding, my tune will probably change when we get closer to launch, but either way, this is a game all PS4 owners should be watching.

Posted in News, Opinion | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments