Category Archives: gaming reviews

Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Most Anticipated Games of 2016
By UNDED
2016 is shaping up to be another year of spectacular game releases. Titles like Gears of War 4, Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster, Amplitude, and Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam are just a few titles that will suck your life away this year. Of all these great games though, I definitely have my favorites. These are my top five picks for the games I’m most excited for in 2016.

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India and Russia

Continuing where I left off on my Games of the Year for 2015, the last two installments of the Assasin’s Creed: Chronicles series will hit this year. Chronicles India released on January 12th. Expect to play as Arbaaz Mir with an all new “trident” hidden blade. Not one to make us wait much longer, Chronicles Russia will hit digital shelves February 9th featuring Nikolai Orelov, as you save a princess and protect a coveted artifact.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

Star Ocean is one of those series that existed well before I knew it was even a thing. Star Ocean first caught my attention when a saw a friend playing it on the 360. Like many massive games before it, it came on multiple disks. There’s something about multi-disk game that I just find romantic. Even today where games can have 60+GB installs, you still only get a 30 hour game. It’s incredibly rewarding to open a game for the first time and see multiple disks. You just know that this game is a huge deal, and you’re going to have to commit yourself, for better or worse, and prepare for one hell of a story to play through. Here’s to hoping Integrity and Faithlessness does the same.

Friday the 13th: The Game

What originally began as a Kickstarter to pay homage to a classic horror series,Friday the 13th: The Game has turned into a full blown gaming experience. Earning the praise of both fans and horror legends alike, series creator Sean S. Cunningham gave the development team his full support for everything they need to make a great tribute, including the license to the franchise. If your pants aren’t wet yet, Kane Hodder, the man behind the mask who is so dedicated to the series he has the word “KILL” tattooed on the inside of his bottom lip, will reportedly be returning to the role, his first time playing Jason in 15 years.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Since it was first teased at E3 2013, I was hooked. Despite it being two years, and many push-backs, Tom Clancy’s The Division is still to this day one of my most anticipated games. I know how dangerous it can be to wait too long for a game. Gameplay changes, graphics aren’t what they promised, and it can turn out to be a completely different experience than what was first announced. That being said, it’s been a long time since I’ve played a traditional players-vs-objective co-op game that I really fell in love with (I’m looking at you Red Dead Redemption) so I can’t help but be really excited for it.
Ace Combat 7

Ace Combat goes as far back as Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies on the Playstation 2. My love for Shattered Skies and the sequel The Unsung War was so great that in the cruelest example of inappropriate hype, I actually left for college to be a pilot right after high school.   I’m a huge fan of flight simulators and Ace Combat not only scratches that itch, it covers it with a smooth, cool, action-y cream. I can’t say I’m too thrilled about the first-person action, lock-on camera of the last game (I feel like it’s a bit much), but it won’t stop me from wanting the newest entry in the series. Set to hit later this year as a PS4 exclusive, it will definitely be a must have for the system.

2016 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for gamers. Triple-A titles are coming out of the woodwork, especially ones promised when the current systems were announced. Along with Sony and Microsoft racing to get backwards compatibility off the ground, there is going to a slew of great titles to play; not to mention your backlog of 2015 games that you haven’t finished or just plain aren’t done with. Regardless of what you end up playing this year, you’re not going to be disappointed. 

Mortal Kombat XL Announced

We Knew This Would Come One Day

Fighting Games are infamous for having rerelease’s a year after being launched, and Mortal Kombat X does that very thing. Today Neather Realms Studio showcase a new trailer for their newly announced upcoming Mortal Kombat X GOTY package. This new package is called Mortal Kombat XL and  will include all the DLC on one disc, which is; Kombat Pack One, Kombat Pack Two, all Skins, and as seen in the trailer, a new classic Pit level. Sounds great, and MKX couldn’t be happier knowing that this and the new netcode system is on its way. You can pick up Mortal Kombat XL March 1st, for PS4, and Xbox One.
Feel free to watch the trailer below

Will you be picking up this GOTY package? Are you happy seeing MKXL coming? Leave a comment below of your thoughts on MKXL

Corpse Party:Blood Drive Review

Corpse Party: Blood Drive Review
By Stellar.Ice

A lesser known JRPG horror game, Corpse Party has been one of the scariest games I’ve ever played (coming in right after PT).  The story follows a group of students who are spirited away into another dimension and trapped in a haunted school filled with hate, agony, despair, and murder. Corpse Party plays as a survival horror, action game mixed in with visual novel elements.  You follow multiple characters as they try to survive.  There are three installments to the Corpse Party series, Corpse Party: Blood Covered (PSP), Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (PSP), and Corpse Party: Blood Drive (PS Vita).

Story (Note: Some spoilers ahead)

Blood Drivetakes place a few weeks after the events of Book of Shadows where Ayumi and her friends believe they have destroyed Heavenly Host and Sachiko’s curse.  They discover that not only does Heavenly Host still exist, the curse of Heavenly Host is spreading into the real world and has become more malevolent than ever.  Tricked into thinking the Book of Shadows can revive her dead friends, Ayumi goes back into Heavenly Host to retrieve the Book of Shadows and, once again, try to destroy Heavenly Host for good.

I highly recommend playing Blood Coveredand Book of Shadows before playing Blood Drive, or, at least reading the story/watching a walk through beforehand.  The events in Blood Driveconstantly refer to the events of Book of Shadows. This put me at a loss, because although I had played Book of Shadows, the version I played did not follow Ayumi and Naomi into Sachiko’s estate so references regarding Book of Shadows were lost on me. I felt like I missed a major piece of the Corpse Party story.

I was surprised to see so many unique characters in Blood Drive.  Most of the new characters seemed to possess supernatural powers which made them out of the ordinary.  While the new characters give Corpse Party a new supernatural element, I think they are overdone.  I enjoyed Blood Covered because these were ordinary people placed in an extraordinary circumstance which tested their limits.  Characters with “special abilities” kind of felt like a cheat.  Super powers tend to be a salvation.

Graphics

Corpse Party is a mixture of 3D top down game play, and visual novel. The top down game play is very similar to Blood Covered,however, at times the 3D made the camera feel awkward. Since you can’t control the camera certain walls block your view so you can’t really tell where you were walking or whether or not something was in front of your character. Sometimes, the game would also glitch and enemies would get stuck in certain areas (not that I’m complaining). Since I played Blood Covered, figuring out the map wasn’t too difficult, however, you are not given a map so you need to get a sense of the school on your own. Fortunately, the map isn’t so large that you’ll get lost. While the graphics aren’t super detailed, the game does a good job depicting the horror that occurs within the schools walls. Corpses, bloodstains, rickety floors, mysterious symbols, creepy audio, and excellent text description make the school a petrifying place to be.

Music

If you’re brave, I recommend putting on your headphones and playing in the dark.  Groaning, creaking floors, breathing, frantic ghosts –you’ll be a much braver player than me! As a horror game, Blood Drive delivered well on the music.  Background music often set the tone for the game, getting louder where needed and dead silent to build tension when necessary.  The audio worked in some ways and failed in others. While creators attempted to create 3D audio, which puts voices far away when the characters are far away, and clear when the characters are close up, I felt that sometimes the “distant” character audio felt out of place, particularly in scenes when they are approaching another character.

Gameplay

Gameplay felt very straightforward but does not hold your hand the entire way.  You have no map. You pretty much wander around the school until you hit the right point for a cut scene or obtain the correct item. It is important to read the dialogue because that is the only way you’ll find clues to the next location or object you will need to obtain. Nothing is highlighted in bold for you.  I often found myself walking around the darn school for nearly an hour, getting killed by ghosts multiple times, before realizing that I was simply walking the wrong way.  This aspect was frustrating, but at the same time rewarding. I felt particularly thrilled that the final boss fight forced me to actually write down clues (on a piece of paper) and decipher when to use them. [Note: If anyone gets stuck on the final fight, I’m more than willing to give you a few hints!]  There are many places in the game where you’ll think “How the hell do I get past this!” to figuring it out and thinking “Gee, it was really that easy?” Choices must also be made on the fly.  Making the wrong decision can, of course, make another “Wrong End”.

The school itself is also a complete danger zone.  You can’t run haphazardly through the hallways because there are shards of glass your character can get hurt on or holes in the floor your character can fall through. Running is also limited. Running too much can cause your character to run out of breath and stop completely to catch it –which is terrible when you’re running away from something.

The game doesn’t hold back on the horror either.  Frequently, I found myself afraid to go into classrooms or walk down certain corridors because I knew there would be a ghost waiting for me. Often, I’d have to confront ghosts and discover whether or not they were good or bad, but first, I’d wander the school before even approaching them. Long story short, I spent a lot of time running through the school trying to shake off evil entities hot on my trail. Getting a “Wrong End” was also never pleasant.  Writers did a wonderful job describing and depicting the torture your character would suffer at the hands of an unforgiving ghost. Not only that, but Corpse Party offered a lot of jump scares. Yes, they were cheesy, but when the face appears in the hole you are looking through (yah, duh, of course something would appear there) you can’t help feeling a shudder. Random faces appear in windows, and the loading screen –oh gosh the loading screen!

 Long story short, the fact that the game didn’t hold my hand the entire time, I was led to many “Wrong Ends” and “Game Over” screens. Over, and over, and over again, but I still enjoyed it.

 
Replay Value

The game has so-so replay value.  With each chapter you clear you unlock a Special Chapter, which is essentially side stories about characters that are not really touched on within the game.  I like this extra feature because I get to meet characters from pervious games, however, when finished I’m not quite sure I’ll pick up the game again. Of course, as a completionist, I may pick it up to unlock all the trophies.

Verdict

Despite not knowing the events of Book of Shadowsand the frustrating amount of “Wrong Ends” I got throughout the game, I had a lot of fun playing.  I love how tutorials were kept to a minimum and how I had to figure a lot out for myself.  Story wise, this wasn’t my favorite installment of Corpse Party. Again, the new characters detracted somewhat to the story and then the out of this world, catastrophic events just felt like too much. I love the basic scenario: What would happen if you got stuck in a haunted school? How would you survive? The camera was somewhat glitchy, but not enough to be overly distracting and the ghosts were pretty darn creepy! Loading screens were also pretty slow, and staring at the creepy ghost face while the chapter loaded felt somewhat unsettling (that darn ghost face!) As I said before: Play this game with headphones and in the dark—it’ll be sure to scare your pants off!

  

Forza Motorsport 6 Review

Forza Motorsport 6 Review
By UNDED

            The latest installment in the Turn 10 developed franchise, Forza Motorsport 6, now brings the series water effects, better driving physics, and enough content to have you playing this game until the next Forzais released. There are three major racing modes: a highly extensive single player campaign, an enormous multiplayer mode, and showcase events that challenge you to battle it out in specific divisions with specific cars. You won’t need DLC for the game because the game is chock full of content, buy you’ll still want it anyway.

            To start off, this game is gorgeous. All the cars from Holden to Hummers are recreated in the most excruciating detail down to headlight shine, rim shimmer, and the sun getting in your eyes. As your car gets damaged (and it will), the paint degrades and the body morphs into a twisted heap of metal racing around the track. The graphics are ever more present when you customize your car with decals and special paints and thanks to a copy/paste tool you’ll never have to guess if your decals match on both sides. Included is a Photo Mode that lets you stop the race whenever you see fit and take a sweet pic of your car with various filters and lighting effects.

            The music itself is nothing special. It never hyped me up in a race, and sometimes reminded me more of an aviation game than anything else. More often than not, I would just put on my headphones and let my Spotify playlist do its thing. The sound effects, however, are a completely different story. Hearing the engine of my dream car (the Dodge Viper) roar to life in my first race gave me chills. Not just a beautiful sound effect, tires squealing will actually help you to recognize when you’re pushing the gas too hard, or braking too soon. As you pass by the finish line in your laps, you’ll also hear the crowd cheer you on.

            Seeing as how Forza was Xbox’s answer to compete with PlayStation’s Gran Turismo, physics have always played a big part in the series. Here, Turn 10 has pulled all the stops. Racing on a regular track is hard enough, especially when you’re just starting to get the feel for things. I don’t play racing sims too often so this was something I had to get used to, but after a couple hours I was comfortable enough that I could start tuning my car. You can change the alignment of your suspension, the stiffness of the springs, and the downforce of the front and back of your car individually –tuning can get extremely extensive. Even so, I never felt that I couldn’t win a race if everything wasn’t tuned just right. In fact, all I ever “tuned” was the tire pressure. That’s right, the tire pressure alone meant the difference between 5thplace, and lapping the last few cars to take home 1st. I laugh to think just how much of a difference that would make on a real track, but maybe it does. Turn 10 has put so much detail into everything else in Forza for the past 10 years, I’d hate to think they’re exaggerating their seriousness for the sport. Still, tuning matters. Even with a “perfect” tune, the tracks are a “whole ‘nother beast” of their own. The first time I raced a wet track was the most horrific thing I endured in a racing game. The track was wet so I wasn’t trying to go too fast. As I was coming to a turn I saw a puddle of water in the road. Being the cautious man that I am, I took my foot off the accelerator and lightly tapped on the brake. Wrong. My car hydroplaned and sent me into the wall at 80mph. The state of the track can be a huge help as well. In one particularly memorable race, I started off the line and was in the back as usual, until the first turn when I hit a small pile of dirt scattered across the road. The dirt actually helped me to slide into the turns. One second I had grip, then I’d hit the dirt and lose as much traction as I needed, just to grip the road again and leave my opponents behind. I must have raced that track for an hour because I was having so much fun.  

The single player career mode has no story to speak of, and that’s ok because this is a racing sim. The focus is not on the driver, but the gameplay. Thankfully, this is where Forza shines the brightest. The career mode will take you through various disciplines of racing including super street, grand touring, all the way up to ultimate motorsport. However, because of the Showcases mode, you don’t have to wait until your 70thhour into the game to race Formula or Super cars. As you progress through the story, Showcase mode unlocks different types of races. The first of which is a formula race around the Daytona Speedway. Truly exhilarating. In Showcase mode there is a sub-selection of races named “Moments in Motorsport” that focus on time-period specific cars. This is where I have to give all my respect to Turn 10. Here, they have paid homage to the pre-war birth of Grand Prix, classic American muscle, and even vintage experimental prototypes  
Despite the soundtrack falling short; the gameplay, customization, and fun you’ll have makes Forza 6 a must own. Whether you’re a racing sim pro, or are a casual racing fan like me, Turn 10 has you covered. Two weeks into the game I’ve spent so much time with it and have just barely scratched the surface. I haven’t even had time to test out the split screen mode yet. With all the modes, cars, and built in features, Forza 6 is one of the few games this year that I can say with complete honesty is worth the sticker price.