This Weeks Xbox Deals with Gold (March 31st – April 7th 2015)

This Weeks Deal of the Week For Xbox One!
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition – $59.99 $30.00
Slender: The Arrival $9.99 $6.99
Lego Batman 3 $49.99 $29.99
Lego Batman 3 $74.00 $44.99
Lego Marvel Super Heroes $19.99 $5.00
Lego The Hobbit $29.99 $12.00
Lego The Movie $29.99 $9.90
Aprils Free Games with Gold
Pool Nation FX
Child of Light

Also Released Today

Geometry Wars 3 $14.99
R.B.I. Baseball 15 $19.99
Dungeons and Dragons Neverwinter $0.00
And Some More Sales!
Dragon Age Inquisition Deluxe Edition $69.99 $35.00
FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition $59.99 $30.00
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare $39.99 $13.20
Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition $14.99 $6.00
Battlefield 4 Ultimate Shortcut Bundle $49.99 $25.00
Battlefield 4 Soldier Shortcut Bundle $24.99 $12.50
Battlefield 4 Vehicle Shortcut Bundle $19.99 $10.00
Battlefield 4 Weapon Shortcut Bundle $14.99 $7.50
Battlefield 4 Air Vehicle Shortcut Kit $9.99 $5.00
Battlefield 4 Ground & Sea Vehicle Shortcut Kit $14.99 $7.50 
There is also a free demo for The Crew as well so be sure to check that out! 
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Dying Light Review

            Developed by Polish studio Techland, Dying Light isn’t a huge departure from their 2011 release Dead Island, or its sequel Riptide. As much as I hate monotony, that is a good thing. Dead Island was a nice break from the horror games available at the time by introducing breakable weapons, and an RPG style leveling system. Dying Light continues this trend of zombie slaying, and now adds free running.

The game starts you off as Kyle Crane, a man who working for a government agency. You are literally air-dropped into the city of Harran to find special files the government wants back. Smell like cover-up, anyone? You’re ambushed by zombies in a scuffle gone wrong with some locals and you wake up in a compound of refugees trying to stay alive in this hellhole of a city. The RPG elements show themselves in your three skill trees. Survivor, Power, and Agility. Survivor focuses on ways to help you get the most out of your supplies, and making it possible for you to set traps and such. Emphasis on your Power tree will make you better at combat, allowing you to hit harder, and opens up different abilities to help you with the undead menace. The Agility tree will probably help you the most, making you a faster sprinter and faster climber. It even includes some abilities that help with knocking enemies down for a faster get away.

Zombies in games have always been a bit of a cliché. Whether it’s a gun or a machete, you aim for the head and hope they go down the first time. The free running mechanic allows you a creative means to escape if the situation ever gets too heavy. Depending on how you spend your skill points, you can even vault over enemies only a few hours into the game. That makes combat a little more satisfying. I was having way too much fun vaulting over enemies, just to turn around and kick them into a spiked barrel. Free running becomes the most useful at night, when Volatiles come out. Volatiles are especially fast and aggressive zombies that can climb up ledges, jump across roofs, and just give you an all-around run for your life. Full disclosure, for one of my saves I took advantage of a glitch (it has since been patched) that allowed me to max out my Survivor tree. With that, I was able to wield guns and high level melee weapons quite early in the game. Even with a katana that could do 1300 damage, the Volatiles still took me down with ease. They hunt in packs so you’ll be hard pressed to find yourself being chased by a single one.
             
If you’re at all familiar with Dead Island, you’ll have an idea of what the story has to offer. By far the weakest part of the game, the story isn’t more than a reason for you to get yourself in extremely one sided situations. One mission had me in a fenced-in compound surrounded by waves of zombies trying to navigate a gauntlet of electrified gates. I have no recollection of why I was there. They genuinely try to get you to care about the story in one moment near the beginning of the game that saw you trashing a cooler of medicine, medicine that can help families trying to survive. It all just falls flat when you don’t actually see the benefits of these risky situation. Is it too much to ask for a thank you letter from a sick girl to pop up in my inventory unexpectedly?

            Dying Light isn’t the best looking game, but it definitely holds its own as a current gen contender. If there’s anything Dying Light is best at, it’s the genuinely freaky atmosphere. More than a few times I have run into a shaded alley, only to be greeted by a handful of zombies that I didn’t see when the sun was in my eyes. The bodily details on dead people feels accurate (considering I’ve never seen a dead body), the sun shines bright and clear making it easy to generally know how much daytime you have left, and nothing has grossed me out more in a game then smashing a zombies head and watching blood, brains, and teeth spray onto the pavement.

            It took me about half an hour of failing at free running before I decided to try one of the other control schemes. After I had switched to something more comfortable for me, free running and combat felt much more intuitive. Free running in particular became fluid and easy. The first few hours into the game I was using the terrain to hop over roof gaps, climb up poles, and jump 30ft down to the roof of a car; rolling off to get away. Before long I was outrunning Volatiles with ease, and with every Agility level increase I just got faster. Combat with melee weapons is crude, but fun. Later in the game when I had guns available I kept one on me as a ‘just in case’ for human enemies, but always used my melee weapons for standard zombie slaying.

            Unfortunately I only had a few hours to spend with the multiplayer thanks to a friend, but this is definitely THE reason to play Dying Light. Nothing feels more surreal than getting your friends together to run down the street smashing everything that moves, liberate a safe house from human enemies, or take down a giant zombie brute slugging around a massive hammer. I was caught out at night once with a friend when we were spotted by a pack of Volatiles. He wasn’t as good at free running as he thought, and was quite pist when I left him behind. Survival of the fittest. Yeah, we haven’t played together since.

Summary

Dying Light aims for the head and swings; missing the neck but sticking you wholeheartedly in the face. From the graphics, to the combat, to the free running, to the eerie music that keeps you unsettled, Dying Light needs to be experienced. If narrative is what you’re looking for this isn’t the game for you, but as an exceptional, zombie slaying, multiplayer hoorah to fill out an empty night, nothing is more perfect. 

Cast your vote to help choose which day will work for you to attend a Hearthstone Tournament

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Zombies in video games

Zombies in video games
by Dark-Laharl

Zombies have a long history in video games. We can trace them back to the NES and SNES era, for example, Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Zombies have proliferated every aspect of media in recent years –almost to the point people are sick of seeing them.  However, gamers still find zombie games fun to play, and developers are constantly altering the zombie genre to make game play fun for the players.

In the beginning, zombies were shown as shambling corpses out to eat human brains and flesh. In recent years, zombies have evolved into a deadly creature; more worthy of being a threat in video games. Zombies needed to become a threat because the old zombie (the shambling corpse) could only be a threat when they were in hordes.  If you found a lone zombie of the older variety it would easily be killed in the game posing no real challenge. Consider Dead Rising. These zombies are classic zombies, slow and dumb. They can be killed easily by shooting them in the head or dismembering them completely.

If you want to make a game where the biggest threat is the zombie, the zombie doesn’t need to be extreme. When you have a massive amount of zombies running (not walking) at you, your heart starts to pump a little faster. If you want to go the classic route, Hordes will work but only if you do it right. Games where zombie hordes are dangerous include Dead Rising, Dead Island, Dying Light, and Left 4 Dead. These games are only a few modern examples that have taken it a step further by making the mechanics of playing the game a bit more fun. Dying Light, for instance, lets you: modify your weapons, set zombies on fire, poison zombies (which is usually impossible to do), and electrocute zombies. Another mechanic they added to Dying Light is that more dangerous zombies come out at night, compared to the day time when they are dumb and slow.  At night they are smarter, able to climb, faster, and much stronger than your average zombie.

The predecessor to Dying Light is Dead Island. You’re stuck on an island over run by shambling corpses and tasked with surviving to find a way off the island. Dead Island is fun because it forces you to pick your battles. You usually have to beat zombies to death because guns and ammo are rare, but they don’t make it easy on you because you have a stamina bar. This means you can’t just beat zombies over and over until they’re “dead” because you’ll grow tired and left vulnerable. I believe Dead Island breathed new life into the genre because people are REALLY tired of shooting zombies.

Another good example for slow/dumb zombie hordes is Dead Rising the game is made so that all you do is kill zombies on your way to an objective. It can be really fun to mow down zombies in imaginative ways. Dead Rising provides the mechanic that allows the gamer to combine weapons to make super weapons like the “paddle saw” and the “nail bucket”. Dead Rising proves that you could make a classic shambling zombie game fun. Of course Dead Rising also includes psychos, and characters who went crazy because of zombie infestation. This is a good distraction from constant zombie killing but they are optional; you don’t have to kill them if you don’t want to.

When developers moved away from the horde to make the individual zombie a threat, zombies lost their humanoid shape and turned into mutants.  Take for example “The Flood” from the Halo series and the “Necromorphs” from the Dead Space series. “The Flood” takes a base creature and mutates it by adding whips to the hands, and growths to the torso which cause it to explode (in some cases). The “Necromorphs” are similar, except, instead of adding whips to their hands they grow sickles from their shoulders. The mutations in both Haloand Dead Space create a much deadlier zombie but they don’t want to eat the living; they just want the living to die so they can assimilate into the horde. I believe both “The Flood” and “Necromorphs” still fall into the zombie category because they fall into that dead/alive niche. This evolution of the zombie has become a necessity in order to try and keep the zombie genre fresh.

Zombies will not be falling out of favor as a character in video games any time soon. Zombies are a fun enemy; they are a good excuse to kill humans without them being “human”. The zombie is a great enemy for horror games.  Zombies (mutated or classic) will continue to find their way into video games and even weasel their way into games that were not originally a “zombie”  games to start with (Red Dead Redemption and Call of Duty being great examples).

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em zombies are here to stay. Personally, I love zombies. There’s something intriguing about humanoid enemies who are neither dead nor alive.  What do you guys think? Do you love zombies? What’s your favorite zombie themed game? Let me know what you think!

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